241st Birthday and other things

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4th of July

Happy 241st Birthday USA!  There are many aspects of our beautiful country I am proud of but unfortunately, there are many aspects I am not. Our present leadership and the increasing amount of hatred for individual differences I find appalling.  I’m sick at the path our country is heading as I am sure our forefathers are. They would be very disappointed at the misuse of power that happens daily in our country with the twisting of the Constitution they wrote.  We are facing dark times and I’m not sure the damage can be repaired.

We have to stop trying to make everyone into one mold if this world is going to thrive. We need to embrace each individual, and respect their uniqueness and whenever possible support them in their journey because together we can do anything. We need to remember ultimately we all share the same home…. Earth.

May, June,  and early July

I really enjoyed reading Tami’s summation of her month and decided I’m going to give it a whirl today but I’m going to do the past three months.  I love reading other blogs because you get so many inspiring ideas.  Theresa has helped me focus more on the time I spend writing. I actually managed to write for the month of June 80 hours. Not too bad but I need to get more writing time in.

I’ve enjoyed reading the different bloggers the past three months. Initially, I tried to read everyone each day but found it was too time-consuming so  I choose five different ones each day. I spend time catching up with their entries while I am there. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers. Thank you!

In the 7  weeks, I’ve been crocheting on the Mandala I have 103 hours invested. There will be probably that much more to complete it because the rounds are so much larger.  I am very happy with the color choices, it is so vibrant. My friends Sara and Debbie each had the opportunity during the past weekend to snuggle underneath it. The smiles on their faces made all the time invested so worth it. I wish I had taken a picture of them, next time I will definitely do that.

I did take a couple mental health breaks from the Mandala and crocheted a couple hats and a scarf. Right now I’m working on jellyfish in turquoise and blue for my oldest granddaughter Mikhayla’s new apartment’s bathroom in Goleta, California. I still can’t believe she’s 21 now, time flies when you’re having fun.

In May and June, we’ve had 18 guests in the Airbnb part of our lives staying in our home. I baked scones, muffins, cookies, and brownies for their enjoyment.  Staying on top of the furballs was probably the most time consuming since they are shedding a lot with the warmer weather. The calendar is important too because our lives require a bit more planning than they once did but all in all it’s worked. We blocked out time each month for family and friends so we’re not overwhelmed.

We’ve been enjoying having the windows open before the peak of summer really hits so that has added to their shedding I’m sure. So far in the month of July, there are 8 bookings and in August we have 6 thus far.

Macavity has benefitted the most, in my opinion, he was a very shy cat with strangers but has become more social with the different interactions. I had to chuckle with his recent antics of lying on the front landing in front of the stairs to go up to the upper level to reach the bedrooms so whomever passes must rub his belly. He especially loved having Sara dote on him while she was spending time with us.  We can’t wait until she returns again, we have so much fun together.

The renovations are coming along slow but sure. The dang water pipes Vic has got under control since the pex pipes and shark bite fittings have made the process rather easy.

I finally got the back yard under control with the dang weeds growing between the patio stones. The birds drop so much seed it is an ongoing battle all the time. I had to put bird netting around my peppers, squash, cucumbers and tomato plants because of the pesky squirrels. The have-a-heart trap is going back in the lower yard too because they are so destructive to my garden.

Sara and Vic hung the lights on the lower level before the party on the first of July. It looks so pretty down there after dark, I love how the lights give the space a beautiful ambiance. Speaking of the party, we hosted “a gathering of the minds” party with the writing group and their significant others. At one point there was 26 of us here out of the 30 invited. 🙂  Sara and I made three different salads and homemade sangria. We were very pleased with the results. Vic cooked burgers, hot dogs, and kielbasa on the grill and Mother Nature even cooperated long enough to complete the grilling time before she down poured on us. Even then it was only a brief shower and we were able to go back outside.  I was very pleased with how everything came together and seeing the enjoyment of all that joined us made all the extra work so worth it. I even managed to get 15 minutes writing time in early that morning.

My first writing class and assignment went well. I am excited about the class but also worried that in the process I will lose my own voice with the methodology. Several of us taking the course discussed the same concerns with other writers and decided to work together if we have issues. That’s the best part of our in-person writing group, we help each other grow to our potential with honest feedback. I’ve created a character Mairin, she’s going to be my hero in my story about facing death. I’m going to work on expanding on her character traits today so I’m ready for the next class.

I need to bake fresh scones and cookies this evening or maybe tomorrow morning since a new guest will be joining u tomorrow evening. Today, Vic and I are going to spend some much-needed couple quality time together.

Enjoy your day wherever you are. I’m sending you positive vibes.

Quote

“I’m good at multi-tasking. I can listen, ignore and forget all at once. 🙂 “

 

 

 

 

Mandala and Other Updates

Mandala

Part 12 is complete, The scallops as I thought took me about 3 1/2 hours per round. I’m very pleased with the color choices for this part. It is 65 inches now. I’m taking a short break from the mandala because we have a good friend coming in from Ohio and I promised her a snuggle under this gem.

 

Hat

I whipped up a hat this evening with the same colors because I really liked how they look together. Not that I needed another hat. The hat I completed in 2 hours, it’s just a simple beanie. I decided to do the long single crochet and half double crochet’s to make the pattern. The upper section is all double crochet which made it real quick to do.WIN_20170627_23_01_10_Pro

Writing Class

On Thursday evenings for the next ten weeks, I will be at a writing class with Raz Steel. He pledges that a writer can write a book with his instructions from start to finish with his techniques without getting stuck. I’m game. I can write great beginnings but then I crash, the middle gets my ass every time. Then I get frustrated and there it sits. Wish me luck.

Raz is a published author of two books Love Without Blood and Blood Between Lovers. We are very lucky to have him as one of the writers in our Lower Bucks Creative Writers Group that meets in Langhorne, PA every week.

I pruned the juniper shrubs, and the hydrangea vine because both have got out of control in my lower back yard. My back is screaming this evening from all the tugging I did on the dang English ivy that was overwhelming the yard.

I have one more task to complete on Writing.com than I can crash. I am so ready but I needed to get some writing time in today. Sadly, this entry is all I’ve done since I worked in the yard for over 8 hours today,  then I came in and made strawberry, orange and rhubarb scones for the guest staying with this evening. She mentioned how she loves strawberry rhubarb pie this morning during breakfast when she was eating strawberries. She inquired if I make pies. I told no, I’m not a good pie maker. I told her about the strawberry rhubarb scones and muffins I’ve made. She thought that was interesting so I promised I would make her some. Lucky Sara gets to enjoy them too when she arrives tomorrow. This is the first time I put the oranges in and that addition made them spectacular. Tangy and sweet, yummy.

Inspiration

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

Barack Obama

Sweet dreams

Scone variation 

I followed the same recipe except I added 1/2 cup more flour to compensate for the fruit. I added 1 cup of finely chopped rhubarb and 1 cup of chopped strawberries 🍓 and the zest of one halo tangerines and then I finished peeling it and chopped it up.  I baked them on 400 just like the original recipe but for 20 minutes because they were wetter than when I used the dried fruit and nuts.  I love how they’re tart and sweet.

Writer’s Resources and more

Author’s Connection

This link surprised me with the information available for writers. It’s always a good thing to double check before entering contests or submitting work for anthologies because the expenses can add up and if you’re like me money doesn’t grow on trees. I was surprised at how many bogus contests there really are.

http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/contests/

Mandala

I’m on round 82 the last round of part 12, I’ll post a picture when I’m done. I am very pleased with the turquoise, teal, and burgundy together. I’ve decided to do a hat and scarf in the three colors for me.

Airbnb 

I made cinnamon macadamia scones and cranberry macadamia scones for the guests this weekend for breakfast. The fresh fruit is pineapple, strawberries, and honeydew melon. I also have Stonyfield French Vanilla yogurt. They shouldn’t be hungry.

For dessert in the evening, they have the choice of buttermilk sugar cookies, coffee white chocolate macadamia cookies, and double chocolate chunk cookies. I try to keep a varied selection on hand.  My favorite of this week’s selection is the coffee white chocolate macadamia ones, they are so moist!

Here’s the original recipe by Cindy. I never follow any recipe to the letter, it’s just me. I’m not a huge fan of almonds so I substituted chopped macadamia nuts and I used white chocolate instead of the chocolate. I didn’t bother to toast the macadamia nuts either. I also increased the vanilla to 2 teaspoons because I am a huge vanilla fan. However, you prepare them they are divine and the perfect adult cookie.

Recipe By: Cindy Carnes
“These cookies are a step above any you have ever tasted.”

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Toast almonds in oven for 10 minutes or until brown.
  3. Dissolve coffee in 2 tablespoons hot water. In a separate small mixing bowl mix flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer at a medium speed until fluffy. Pour coffee, vanilla and eggs into the butter mixture; mix well. Reduce mixer’s speed to low and slowly pour flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  5. Fold chocolate chips and almonds into the dough. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 3 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

Quote

“Memories may find me but they will always be behind me. I’ll take today over yesterday…any day ” unknown

 😊❤️

Life in a Nutshell

I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy.  I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.DSC_0019

I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s  Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.

I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.

If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.

https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2017/06/just-my-style-hat-free-pattern.html

Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.

We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.

After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment.  He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast.  The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken.  I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters.   It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration.  But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!

Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.

I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52885002/posts/1489123409

If you’re looking for healthcare info  I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.

https://vlcrain17.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-scandals-in-for-profit-medicine/

He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.

I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6515

If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.

 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”   

Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

 

Shrouded

She gently caressed the withered rose in the vase sitting on the drop leaf table with the crocheted doily Grandma made. She sighed as the last petal slid to the table now shrouded in dust. On the other side of the room stands a silent Grandfather clock, the brass arms twined in cobwebs. She doesn’t miss the clanging of the clock; it used to wake her up when she slept over as a child. She left Grandpa’s old shirt with the tattered collar and worn sleeves draped on the kitchen chair just like it was every night after he came home from work. On the floor, two small dishes sit yellowed with age where Rhubarb used to feast at night now surrounded with mouse turds.  She misses Rhubarb, he kept the mice at bay in this beautiful old house, but she’s the only one left now, and she can’t bring herself to move a thing, it’s easier to live like a ghost rattling around among the forget me not mementos than it is to live without them. 

Fatal Attractions and life

I was reading the latest newsletter from Book Riot about the most disturbing books and chuckled when I realized I’ve read all of the titles Romeo Rosales had listed. Oops, I definitely have eclectic and morbid reading habits. I’m sure you’ll recognize the titles, too! Why as readers are we attracted to true crimes and horror stories?

American Pyscho by Brett Ellis appealed to me because at the time I was trying to find myself similar to the author except I’m definitely female. Ellis comments about American Pyscho  “Whenever I am asked to talk American Psycho, I have to remember why I was writing it at the time and what it meant to me. A lot of it had to do with my frustration with having to become an adult and what it meant to be an adult male in American society. I didn’t want to be one because all it was about was status.” Me either, the status quo wasn’t appealing at all. The character of this book represents everything that is wrong with American culture, extreme consumerism, making a lot of money at any cost, and nihilism of some group of young people. We hate the character yet we wonder secretly if we have some of those traits. (1991) (1)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote appealed to the younger me because I was told this book was too graphic for me to read so, of course, I snuck it and read it anyway.  In Holcomb, Kansas the Herbert Clutter family was brutally murdered in 1959. Capote and his friend Harper Lee went there to research the case. It took him 6 years to complete the first non-fiction crime drama. The killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested six weeks after the murders and later executed by the state of Kansas. I read it by flashlight in my bed at night and needless to say, I didn’t sleep well but I couldn’t put it down either. My grandmother did discover her book missing and I got grounded to boot.(1966) (2)

The Excorist by William Peter Blatty I originally saw at the drive-in theater on the Barre-Montpelier Road back in the dark ages it seems. I was a whopping 16 years old, married to my first husband when it was released. I couldn’t sleep at all that night after the movie. Nor could I forget the movie, I had to know more so I purchased the book and read it in two sittings.  I was like a moth to the flame. The novel was inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism according to Blatty. He heard about demonic possession while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University. (3)

Wolf Boys by Dan Slater This was a grisly yet compelling tale of impoverished Mexican-American youth molded into assassins by Los Zetas, the fearsome drug cartel. It’s an engrossing read with a nightmarish vision of a hyperviolent and corporatized narcotics industry, seducing a new generation with minimal alternatives. A reminder what lies behind the social landscape in the border region of extreme poverty and garish wealth…elaborate courtesy and low-barbarian violence. I stayed up all night with my head wrapped up in all 352 pages because of all the media coverage about the need for a wall between our countries. A wall will not solve the issues. (2016) (4)

Blood Meridan by Cormac McCarthy I was reading a lot during this time about the old west when someone recommended this one to me. I was interested in learning more about the Glanton gang but soon found out they were not appealing characters at all. “The bulk of the novel details the gang’s conversations and depraved, murderous activities as they travel on horseback throughout the borderlands. The gang encounters a traveling carnival, and, in untranslated Spanish, each of their fortunes is told with Tarot cards. The gang originally contracts with various regional leaders to exterminate Apaches and are given a bounty for each scalp they recover. Before long, however, they murder almost anything in their path, including peaceful agrarian Indians, unprotected Mexican villagers, and even Mexican and American soldiers.” I gagged a few times but persevered to the end. Zane Grey’s book about the west are a lot easier to read than McCarthy’s. (1985) (5)

Helter Skelter  by Vincent Bugliosi  Like everyone else at the times it seems I wanted to know more about the Tate/LaBianca  murders and Charles Manson. What created this monster? Why were so many young women attracted to this morbid man?  It wasn’t enough to read the book, again that moth in the flame moment I watched the movie, too! I can’t imagine what went through Bugliosi’s mind writing the book. (1974) {6)

The Road Out of Hell by Anthony Flacco I couldn’t believe this man was a decorated WWII vet, a loving father, and grandfather in addition to being an active community member. Just goes to show how deceiving surface images can be. “The heinous murders were committed by Gordon Stuart Northcott; a Canadian-born sadist who murdered between three and twenty young boys. The story is told by Sanford Clark, Gordon’s nephew and captive from the age of thirteen to fifteen. Sanford was beaten, molested, and raped by his uncle while he was held captive. But the worst part: He was forced to take part in the murders or risk being murdered himself. ” The movie Changeling is loosely based on this book. Yup, I saw that too! (7) (8)

People are morbidly fascinated with crime scenes and horror and sadly some feel the need to replicate the scenarios.  How can we treat our fellow humans so deplorably?

While I am on this topic I would like to send prayers for all the families involved in the bombing incident in Manchester, England yesterday. I pray for a time when all violence stops and we exist peacefully together.

Speaking of peacefully, I cannot say Round 66 on my mandala has been a peaceful journey. This row and I established a love-hate relationship. I’ve taken each of the eight sides apart more than once now so the spacing works. It is so easy to miss a stitch and when you do the end of the section will not work. I am on the final section and when it is done I will share a picture with you.

In Vic and Lyn’s world, this is our first week of being an Airbnb hosts and thus far our first guest initially booked for one week but now as extended his stay for three more weeks. He is here Sunday evening and leaves on Friday morning to return to his home. He works less than a mile from our home so it works out perfectly. We have guests joining us each weekend for the next month as well.

When I put the listing up on Monday, May 15th, I never anticipated how quickly this would all come together. My husband and I did some quick renovations to our home over the weekend and finished an hour before our first guest arrived. Phew!

I hope all of our guests will be as easy as our 1st one has been. Time will tell.

My writing time took a serious hit over the weekend with all the cleaning and renovation projects but hopefully, I’ll be back on track. Yesterday, I was too tired to write and reality wise I was too tired to crochet too but I did it anyway. Unfortunately, I ended up having to take it out and fix my mistakes there too. 😦

Today, I’ve accomplished 35 minutes straight. 🙂

1.https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/47587-american-psycho-at-20-catching-up-with-bret-easton-ellis.html

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Cold_Blood

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exorcist_(novel)

4. http://www.npr.org/2016/09/10/493436482/wolf-boys-tells-the-story-of-americans-lured-to-join-mexican-drug-cartel

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Meridian

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helter_Skelter_(book)

7. http://bookriot.com/2017/05/22/the-most-disturbing-book-i-have-ever-read/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Riot%20Rundown&utm_term=BookRiot_TheRiotRundown_Tue-Thur

8. https://anthonyflacco.com/the-road-out-of-hell/

Featured Poet~Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska

On Death, without Exaggeration

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “The People on the Bridge”, 1986
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

 

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.

 

Poets and Poetry, Writing Challenge and the Mandala

I will admit there is a smugness among poets because we try to use our poetry to make something happen or stop happening. We hang onto that thread of belief that what we wrote will shorten a nightmare, maybe even save a life. We find it unimaginable to not try with our writing.

There are definitely some bad poems out there but for every bad poem, there is the one intellectual poem that will strike a nerve. As an author on more than one occasion, a poem I’ve written has surprised me with the end result being different than where I began.

This particular poem has engaged different readers in ways I didn’t anticipate. From how did you know how alone I feel, or I’ve been there or are you okay?

Undesired

I lie

withered beside

the road like

a broken little bird

to confused to fly.

My neglected state

is apparent

even to the most

oblivious of

the oblivious.

Anger and frustration

sustain me

initially

but even that

energy fades

leaving a pitiful wisp

of what I once

was.

Now, a memory

shuffled among

many, I’ve

lost value

over time

until all

that is left

of me is

dust.©

The writing challenge had a slight bump in the road, Monday, and Tuesday no matter what I began writing ended up torn into pieces in frustration. My poor pencil snapped at one point because I was pushing so hard into the pad. Course, having my migraine spike that the control meds didn’t take the edge off didn’t help. I decided to sleep,  read some and work on the mandala until the Botox injections finally kicked in and the migraine from hades dissipated. It’s been three days since the injections and I am still struggling but at least today when I sat down to write I wrote something I liked.

Marcus sent me back my critique on Death and I and unfortunately, his commentary was the same as Vic’s that with all the time I’ve been spending trying to emulate what other authors in our local writing group do I lost my own voice in the process. So today, I went back to the table with my beloved pencil and began again line by line.

Funny thing before I knew it three hours had flown by and a whole pot of coffee drank. Oops, sorry, Vic.  (I’m a serious coffee drinker unlike my husband, he doesn’t usually drink more than one cup whereas I am usually a pot and more. I sleep like a baby every night regardless what time I indulge.) For this week, Theresa, Ronel, Tami I have almost 5 hours accomplished, although 2 I really feel were unproductive.

I did get some blog reading done. I spent some time with usathroughtyoureyeswith Audrey, Tom, and Emma (their dog). I also tried finger crocheting without much success, Yolanda. I did enjoy catching up with your crochet posts. The sweater is gorgeous but she (Yolanda) is frustrated with the sleeves. My only crochet clothing projects were vests for my children when they were younger. I do hats and scarves quite often because I love the look of Tunisian stitches. I’ve avoided shirts because of the sleeves and the way they drape or don’t drape as she discovered. Misstalkaholic had an interesting post about the Wagah border I enjoyed in addition to her examples of baggy shirts and wearing options. I’m guilty of liking loose baggy shirts untucked and just hanging there but then I’m 61 years old and comfort matters immensely to me. Tami is trying out bloglovin. I wish you lots of luck Tami.  I blog on Writing.com, I don’t have time to commit to another site beyond here and there. I did see oceanoriginals is looking for pattern testers. I briefly contemplated that and decided not to stretch myself any thinner than I already am.

We’re on Airbnb now, trying to earn some much-needed money to finish the renovations in this stone fortress so I really need to stay on top of the house cleaning and not let my furballs get to out of hand.

Mandala update:

I’m on round 66, the most challenging row thus far I have encountered. The directions are a bit complicated and working with two yarns at once have definitely slowed my progress. I’m working with baby blue and royal blue in this section which is Part 10. The designer did note there are only two colors in this part.

Round 64 and 65 were a snap unlike 66. I have taken it apart now 3 times because I messed up the popcorn spacing and the changing of colors which shows big time if you don’t have it as directed. It didn’t help either that Purryl, our oldest tabby, decided to chew the yarn I had pulled out either. A migraine didn’t help either.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis

I’m taking my time and checking often now so I don’t have to take it apart again. Plus I moved to the table so the mandala did not lay on top of me because it is mighty toasty here. I could give in and put the AC on but I’m resisting. We’ve been shut up for so long I want to hear the birds sing, and even that crazy woodpecker who’s clearly not working for the government because I can see his accomplishments .:)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

Have a great day!

Mandela Madness Part 9

This has been a relaxing selection in the Mandala crochet journey with very simple stitches and an opportunity to make sure my stitches are exact. If your using only the video it doesn’t provide you a check process like the typed our version on the designer’s site does.  I have found the stitch count at the end of each row a godsend as the size grew.  Thankfully, I only had to adjust one section of the eight sides. 🙂 http://www.crystalsandcrochet.com/mandala-madness-part-9/

It is 57 inches in circumference now.  I worked with lavender which reminds me of my lovely lilacs blooming outside. I chose the teal oddly enough because I was wearing the same color shirt and I hadn’t used it in awhile so I worked with the teal. I do want to use each color six times throughout the mandala. I chose the vivid pink because my rose buds are just beginning to open. I hope the crazy wind and torrential rain we’re having today don’t knock them all off.

I looked ahead at section 10 Tami, you may want to as well before drawing your next Tarot card. Part 10 is a large section but only uses 2 colors one is the background and one is foreground, it makes a flower with one color and the other is the backing which really highlights the flower.

As I studied part 10 and tossed around different color choices I decided that checking out the next round would help me make an informative decision. Wow, there was a mandala done totally in black and white, it’s gorgeous. The creator is Ineke Mooijenkind, from Gouda in the Netherlands .

What caught my attention even more … directions to square the edges at the end to better fit a bed. I’m definitely doing that. So there goes, I only have 50 more rounds to go out the window. I don’t know how many rounds it will take yet.

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That’s Ineke lying on her masterpiece. I love how the black and white looks, I may do a second one now that I’ve seen the black and white together.

Writing Challenge Update

I managed to get 90 minutes in yesterday but not consecutively. I took a nap yesterday afternoon after hearing about my brother-in-law’s passing. Vic and I played cribbage over dinner and then I decided to log into Writing.Com and respond to the prompts I posted the night before in Blog City and BCoF. These are blogging groups that I manage on the site. In Blog City, I work with Joy, Megan and Norb, we each post prompts for the bloggers to respond to in their blogs. As leaders, we interact with them and the other bloggers encouraging conversation. IN BCoF, it is Neva and I and we also post prompts and interact with the bloggers. Between the two groups, there are 180 bloggers signed up but on the daily average, we have about 35 active bloggers each day. I responded to all the bloggers that wrote on my day in the two groups and wrote a blog entry myself.

Today, was day 2 of my turn for Blog City I’ve blogged and replied to my fellow bloggers and now I’m here putting this entry up. So far I’ve written 90 minutes and this entry isn’t done yet. 🙂  I enjoy blogging to different prompts because it is kind of like a warm up exercise for me.

Last night, I caught up on reading some of the different bloggers I follow on WordPress too. I encourage you to read Haunted by Wedding Dresses, it’s an interesting twist about voices in a woman’s head.

https://theresabarkerlabnotes.com/2017/05/12/haunted-by-wedding-dresses-part-5/

I learned a lot about monkeys and their connection in different cultures as well reading Ronel’s blog.

https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/monkeys-in-mythology-and-folklore-folklorethursday/

I checked out the collection of  Printables on  Wulfie’s Essentials, she’s right there is nothing more frustrating then to see something advertised for free and then when you get there its another story.

Collection of Printable’s for All Crafters!

Timing is everything when I saw Tami’s Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake I was lying in bed and too dang lazy to get out of bed instead I dreamed a very non-caloric dream of chocolate dancing in my head. But I did leave a message asking what time is dinner and dessert Wednesday so we can drop in.

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake Recipe

The problem with making all those tempting desserts in my home is there is only the two of us and we are dieting. ( Yes, Vic we are)  Desserts are dangerous when it comes to calories and are never done in one serving here.  Having a dessert at a restaurant does have its advantages, there are no leftovers to finish.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome Moms out there.

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes