NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-eight

A day with work and sun and clouds and a tasty lunch and dinner. Breakfast wasn’t bad either.

You seem concerned and ask if I’m all right
But see, we don’t really know each other
And if we did, we probably would not.
So I nod and say I’m good as do you
and we turn to work which is what we share
People talk of their feelings all the time
I wasn’t raised that way, but to get through
Never let them see you cry, be polite,
be respectful and work hard to get ahead
All the things that make a civil world,
a smooth landscape where nothing sticks out.
And so I’ve kept myself to myself a lot.
Perhaps we could start by saying who we are
But if we did, we wouldn’t choose to know.

NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-eight

NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-two

Wow – a week to go? how did that happen? How was your April? How was your day?

Woke up to snow and January cold.
There was no mail in the box —
I stood looking at the daffodils
crushed down by a cruel spring night.
From there, things went on —
web pages just hung and didn’t load,
the pounding surf of the web reduced to
ebbs and flows of bandwidth.
It was warmer in the car at
lunchtime than inside the house,
and my cats looked woeful but
glad to get rid of me for an hour.
The daffodils were up when I returned
disregarding metaphors or forecasts.

My pen scratched and sputtered and
I realized finally – it had run dry.
I laughed at myself for having
muttered myself over this all day.
I cleaned it at the bathroom sink
flushing it with water til clear
then carefully filled it and – imagine –
only got one tip of a finger blue.
As I stood and scrubbed away the ink
the sky was orange at the horizon
and the sun a diamond in the
branches of trees somewhere near
I bowed my head to my task again,
the story of the day within.

NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-two

NaPoWriMo – Day Eighteen

A quiet snowy day. We didn’t get the four to seven inches but there was slushing and there higher hills that were still white this afternoon. NaPoWriMo challenged us to “write an ode to life’s small pleasures” but there are so many right now, I’m going with a bigger one. Time.

Thirty days and thirty-one days to pause
Who knew in a lifetime you’d have this chance
From first awakening, to sliding grateful
back into a bed that holds you safely
Day after day of being. Looking and
seeing. Painting or writing or something
you haven’t named yet. Making breakfast. Lunch.
Wondering if it’s too early – guess what –
the answer to that is no. Do it now.
Do something else or more of that – later.
Go out on the porch with a cat in arms –
take a good whiff of the morning waiting.
However many more days and every –
Pick up the daily. Heft it. Wield it.

NaPoWriMo – Day Eighteen

NaPoWriMo – Day 10

There were three poems, but this one was a little more ready to go. More in the continuing string of longer than normal poems! Someone on facebook asked what pickles were on our refrigerator shelves and a lively listing ensued. Later it was summed up as a great long and very informative conversation that had nothing to do with the news! I totally agreed. What a welcome diversion.

After I was sick at the beginning of March, I took an actual list and did a pantry shop, just before things got locked down. (When I’d started to feel well enough to stay out of bed for awhile, I had got it in my head to clean out the pantry and kitchen shelves, which I did, a little at a time and many trips to the trash can.) I was glad to have just freshened up all my go-to items, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get some groceries for pick up and some fruits and veg delivered!

In these days —
“these difficult times”
when grocery shopping has
taken on a whole new
sense of adventure,
we talk about our
childhood meals and
favorite candybars and
how our sourdough is doing
as though we are indeed
in “difficult times”
My pantry has all the
old standbys, spaghetti,
makings of sauce, baked beans,
soup, sandwiches, pickles, relish.
Tea, coffee beans, sugar.
A few bottles of adult
refreshment for evening
Raisins, a jar of oatmeal.
Doubtful I will starve
although the cats would
tell you otherwise.
They seem concerned.
I reassure them daily.

.

NaPoWriMo – Day 10

NaPoWriMo Day Three

Thank You For These Groceries

I always cooked before, and
then I stopped. Mostly stopped.
I didn’t give up eating.
Nor were there no bags
of hopeful pasta, apples
and good sharp cheese.
In solitary pleasure
this week I’ve sliced and
diced and blanched,
washed and stirred.
I rise to make breakfast.
I sit down for dinner.
You ask: I stopped why?
The reason no longer matters
so I am taking it back,
bowls and spices and knives.
And today, with no one,
I ate, grateful for food and
time and reason to be grateful.
Glad my hands remember.
Thank you for these groceries.
Thank you for letting me
remember the pleasure
of cooking and eating.
Thank you for this food.
Amen.

Besides doing some cooking and dishwashing (and even a work meeting…), I went out and painted from my car today, in the rain, because… outside.

Finally, I went into my sewing room tonight, thinking maybe I should make a few face masks after all and I pulled a few fabrics, then gave up for the night in part because I had this creepy feeling that I was being watched…

NaPoWriMo Day Three

April the First – Day One NaPoWriMo

I’ll be sending off poems on postcards this April but I’ll still be posting a poem a day here. That’s the plan! So here’s the official start.

the tears start up and
so fly up the hands
the northern palm
fitting precisely,
one for each eye.
are tears secret?
are tears secret
no matter the cause?
kind words, fear
the endless uncertainty
the grace of sun
the blow of daily
yet up fly the hands
to hold back tears
strength of walls
will of rocks
what of the river?
what of the sea?

April the First – Day One NaPoWriMo

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Yes I was struck down by something last week. I’d gone off to a talk at the Clark (sorry guys) and driving home felt sort of punk. Chest feels rough, that weird head thing when you’re probably running a temp. This went into a dry cough and felt like it was going to a typical bronchitis thing. Napping? I’m suddenly good at it. Normally, for me, things start in the head and go down, ruining voice, mild cough, deep cough, and then better with cough that goes on for weeks. This was not that but stayed the same until yesterday when suddenly I started sneezing. I waited to take a claratin and then everything went back to how it had been. Weird interruption by allergies? slash shrug.

It felt plain weird to be home sick while the whole world is sort of freaking out about COVID-19. Call in with “I’m still sick, sorry” and wonder if they’re like “oh thank god she’s not coming in!” LOL. Maybe it was just the low fever talking.

I stayed home. I had recently grocery shopped, although not everything on my “emergency list” but I was good. (And I’d picked up eggs and bread so I worked on my “soft-boiling eggs by observing how quickly the shells dry” skills) But let me tell you friends, apart from having the mandatory symptomatic relief stuff (and checking to see that your digital thermometer actually works…hey the hand is 85% accurate!), here’s what really saves your butt in times like this.

Well, this. And not so much this when you’re trying to sleep and keep sticking out a foot to cool off, LOL.

THIS! This is my thermos. Everyday, just about, I make hot tea in it and bring it to work or out to paint or at least have it in the car. When I went to Wales I had a similar one which proved a great comfort when I’d get turned around (aka lost) and would pause to reflect on the landscape. This one has fallen down the stairs a few times, leaving it with some dings and some finger holds but it does a GREAT job of keeping things very hot.

So, when I’d make a cup of hot tea this week I’d make another in this. Awhile later I could have a second cup without getting up. This thermos is the best money I’ve spent on something in the past several years. It also has a pour-through stopper which works like a charm. It holds about twelve ounces which is a mugful, but you get 3-4 capfuls which is a nice way to drink hot tea whether you’re sick or not. If I’m out painting, it distracts me so things can dry.

This was one of the Salada tags this week. This box is all about smiles for some reason. So remember to keep your distance and let your smile tell the tale!

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Almost the end of November

Did you wonder where I was? Yup, November brings NaNoWriMo. I knew there were some days at the beginning of the month that no writing or at least little writing would be possible – a wedding and some other things but I wasn’t prepared for the struggle of what would happen next. I had no idea. Which is why, frankly, no writing to get to the end of this story had been happening.

But now, when I could be working on it, even house chores seemed more appealing. I tried new tacks such as hand-writing notes to myself about things that might happen next. I wrote a sketch of a big thing that I knew, or hoped, was going to happen. I dabbled quite briefly with a different idea I had, thinking it was a short story and putting it back in the drawer when it seemed much larger.

I had a few big word count days and a whole lot of low word count days. Which adds up to a half-NaNo but which did indeed bring me almost to the very end.

Here I will say that despite the help that hand writing notes (fountain pen and tiny softcover Moleskines, how writerly, eh?) the power of digital tools is immense. November first, at our local launch party, a big storm came up just before I was packing it in. There was a tiny power blip. My BBEdit screen, non-responsive. I ended up screenshotting it just to save the few inches of paragraphs that were visible, a tiny bit of what I’d done. Came home and finally had to shut down the computer. I chose re-open windows of programs that were open, not holding out any hope for the unsaved document. But there, BBEdit (because it doesn’t suck) opened, opening two other windows and the unsaved document in its entirety.

I so love the Barebones Software guys that when I discovered there was a paid upgrade available that night, I gladly plopped my money down for it and sent them a big thank you.

I also love that as I worked on what a character was reacting to and feeling, I could cut and paste the whole ending-to-date into a new document and change it over into something that seemed better, more coherent and tweak it, free from the rest of what had been written. It finally got added back, replacing the old not-quite-right part. Yeah cut and paste!

So here we are at the end of November, and there’s a new pile of words for this book. I’m good with it.

Almost the end of November

Sir Harry

In all his majestic majesty.

Sir Harry

and… painting

Also may have traumatized the wee furry things by vacuuming a little. They seem to have recovered nicely.

and… painting