How I Named My Blog

Being a poet and an occasional pun-ster, the "Not on the Road" title is multi-layered. First, it was a response to old Jack K's "On the Road," since I'm definitely not he. Also, I've moved around a bit throughout my life (like in the last two and a half years!), and I'm sick of being ON the road. And of course, being an animal lover and very active in dog rescue work, I don't like seeing animals, wild or domestic ON the road, dead or alive.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Amendment Wrongs

Yes, you read that correctly. We no longer have First Amendment RIGHTS. They're gone. Take a look at recent police actions in Boston, NYC, UC Davis, Oakland, etc. This is what the US will look like under martial law.

I do have to say, I am proud of the Lexington KY Occupiers and our authorities for respecting one another and respecting rights. It's wonderful to watch democracy in action. But what the heck is going on in the rest of the nation? Is the Constitution softer than Charmin, so it's gone down the crapper?

And not only is the US's new drone base in Ethiopia "operational," Obama is moving US troops to Australia to counter any possible moves by CHINA. I used to say, "This is not the Obama for whom I voted," but apparently it IS the Obama who got my vote and the votes of millions of others who were duped. But seriously, what was our alternative in 2008? McCain and Palin??? That's not a choice. That's the poor punchline to the bad joke, "Why don't more Americans vote?"

2012 is not looking any more promising, no matter who the Republicans hold up for us in candidate costumes, and we've already seen Obama in action. I'm voting for Stewart Alexander in 2012. I can't in good conscience vote otherwise.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mitch McConnell's Job Description

7 peaceful adults (all except one of us qualify for the Senior Discount at Dairy Queen) were prevented from going to Senator Mitch McConnell's office in Lexington, KY on Wednesday. They knew we were coming, so they shut down the office, and had police waiting for us before we even arrived. We were not even allowed to enter the building.

Excuse me? Mitch McConnell is my employee, and since when can an employee lock his employer out of the office?

Mitch seems to have totally lost contact with the reality of his job description. He thinks his job is to be sure Obama doesn't get re-elected. That's NOT a Senator's job. A Senator's job is to take care of his constituents, to represent our best interests. Instead, he represents corporations and big money and the GOP.

And what about my constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom to peaceably assemble? Hello? Well, we've known for years that the Constitution of the U.S. isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Bozos like Clarence Thomas (who NEVER should have made it to the Supreme Court) have seen to that. (I did send a note in the mail to Anita Hill back when she testified against him before the Senate. I told her I believed her. I still believe her, and Clarence Thomas has no business serving on the Supreme Court.)

I sure hope Kentucky wises up and cans both of our senators the next time they each come up for re-election. In fact, I have absolutely no idea how this state elected Rand Paul to the Senate. This obviously reflects the deficiencies of Kentucky's educational system. We've got people voting who are obviously incapable of basic brain functions. I am amazed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Execution of Troy Davis

Can someone please explain to me WHY Troy Davis is going to be executed this evening at 7 p.m. First of all, the death penalty is barbaric, and study after study has proven that having a death penalty DOES NOT DETER CAPITAL OFFENSES. Secondly, I believe that this man is not guilty.

If Georgia won't listen, why hasn't Obama pardoned this man? To do so is within his capacity, yet he seems to be ignoring the issue completely. This is just one more disappointment I have experienced with the man for whom I voted. Gee, he'd pardon that ax murderer, Michael Vick, praised him in fact, but he won't lift a finger to help an innocent man. What's wrong with THIS picture.

No, I won't be voting for Obama in 2012. He's disappointed me too many times. And the Republicans have absolutely NOTHING to offer. Every one of them except Romney comes across as totally out of touch with reality, and I won't vote for Romney either.

So, for 2012, it's Stewart Alexander all the way. It's the only logical choice.

And could someone please explain to me WHY the media is ignoring the protest in Wall Street? Oh, it's all fun and games with the Arab Spring. But when protests hit the U.S., it seems censorship takes over. I didn't realize I was living in Syria or Yemen, but apparently I am!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Park-ing Day

I'm an odd hybrid at Latitude Artists' Community in Lexington, KY. I go there as both an artist and a volunteer, and I love it!

On Friday, Latitude had their third annual "Park-ing Day," where we turned a downtown parking spot into a small park for the day and exhibited a diarama of Tuolumne Meadow in Sequoia National Park. Hap Houllihan and Whitney Baker read some of their own nature-related poetry, and I read "Pastoral" by Steven R. Cope, one of his poems from his first collection, In Kildeers Field.

On Thursday, Service Dog, Katie, and I attended the workers' rights rally in front of Fayette County Republican Headquarters. Governor Walker was here from Wisconsin (and we know what a mess he's made there) to support David Williams in his run for Governor of Kentucky. What does it say about our nation when the Teamsters and the Old Hippies are all out there protesting together? Now, THAT is a thought to consider. One of the chants was, "Tax the rich; feed the poor." Another was, "We want jobs." And there were far more people at the rally OUTSIDE in the rain than they had attending their cozy rally indoors at the headquarters. Many, many drivers going past honked and gave us thumbs up (Yes, they were definitely THUMBS). I didn't hear a single person going by yell something negative at us. Obviously, if they didn't agree, they just ignored us. But there was a great deal of support.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How many moves are worth a fire?

I cannot recall if Benjamin Franklin said it was 4 or 5, but I can say I feel like I've been through enough moves in the last 2+ years to have been through an emotional fire as well as having lost some belongings I would have preferred to still have. My son is supportively philosophical about it, and wise, "It's just stuff, Mom." He's right! As a Quaker, having fewer things helps me with my testimony of Simplicity. Biblically speaking, where one's treasure lies, there lies one's heart. I would hope that my heart does not lie in material possessions, though much of my heart was filled with my pets and my rescued dog fostering, and I can no longer do that work. However, I am still involved in rescue as background workers are always needed. And I do still have Katie, my Disability Service Dog. Ziva, my Service Dog in Training, will be joining me soon. Having grown up in a military family (though the Coast Guard doesn't move its families as often as the other branches of the service do), one would think I'd be used to the weeding out that goes along with relocation.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Definitely NOT on the road anymore

I'm still reverberating from the hospital and the move and the loss of my canine family and country living. Too fried still to write, but did make it to most of Holler Poet Series #38 which was a grand time. Nice to see poetry so appreciated by the masses!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There is nothing so constant as change

I am now living in Lexington, and am sick and tired of feeling like a nomad.

Many losses in the last month. I thought I'd found THE place for me, loved my neighbors, could have my dogs and do rescue, could have a garden (kind of -- since the only 2 places I was told I could use were either on a steep slope or in the shade, so I opted for the level shady place), but the griping and control dramas finally put me in overload. NO ONE should tolerate bullying, and if you think only kids get bullied, think again. It could have been a "win/win" situation. Ah well . . . more of life's lessons learned.

So, now the country mouse must become a city mouse. Big adjustment. Hope to have kale and lettuces growing on my balcony soon, and already have a community garden plot reserved for next summer. I intend to bloom where I've been planted.

On to the next chapter of my life. And I do NOT want to be "on the road" any more. No more nomadic existence for this girl. I need to STAY PUT.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A new koan for your contemplation

How can someone run a restaurant if they do not know upon which side their bread was buttered?

The BAAAAAAD Tenant

Someone I known on Facebook is griping about their landlord (for their business) for NOT fixing things, and this same person and spouse are griping at me, their residential tenant, FOR taking care of the property and the two horses TOO well -- at no expense or hindrance to them, mind you. In fact, I have saved them money and improved the value of their property.

No, I'm not kidding. No I'm not misunderstanding. However, I am amazed, astounded and yes, even appalled.

First, why would any reasonable, logical and HUMANE person object to having their horses cared for well? I don't get it, but yes, indeed there you have it. How dare I care about the two horses that I am legally supposed to care for in exchange for $25 a month off on my rent (though I pay for their water)? First thing I did when I moved here was to get all the boards with nails in them out of the horse pasture where the owners had tossed the boards with nails in them.

Heaven forbid that I should even HOPE that the local feed store carry fly-wipes which would make the horses more comfortable! The local feed store does NOT carry them. WHEW! I'm saved from making THAT horrific error. Oh yes, I was definitely chastised for even wanting to buy the fly-wipes. Gosh, let's just let the horses be miserable! And these are "rescued" horses, no less. Rescued from what? Poor nutrition and insects?

Secondly, do they know how hard it is to get a good tenant?

I had been told multiple times prior to moving in that I could do anything I wanted to improve the property, since nothing I could do could make it worse. True! They had utterly trashed it. They admit it and the neighbors are all witnesses. They had utterly trashed the property, inside and out. I tell no tales, carry no lies.

So, silly me, I was finally able to get YEARS worth of horse manure out of the barn -- and I had already asked and they said they didn't want the manure, so that was not the problem. No, I was chewed out for "obstructing their access to the barn" by removing the manure. HUH? HOW? No access was obstructed. And how would they know? They hadn't been out here in weeks! Actually, while the front loader was being used to scrape the manure out, they would have had GREATER access to the barn, as we had to have the main barn door open. Go figure!

And suddenly, out of the blue, due to my cleaning the barn (so that now when it rains the horses are no longer standing hock deep in wet manure), I am to be sure of seeking their permission for any further projects. A complete 180 from what I'd been told multiple times previously.

Mind you, I've done so much work on the yard, people I don't even know have stopped to thank me for cleaning the place up. This is not an exaggeration.

And yet, there is still a tarp on the side of the house over the gaping hole from the storm damage this spring. The owners got the insurance money and spent it, but the house has gone unrepaired. Hmmmmmm This could make winter rather interesting.

But I'm obviously a BAAAAD tenant. BAD GIRL! Go to your room! Whatever you do, do not take care of the place you are renting. You are a baaaaaad tenant. ;-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another koan

If the solid waste from uncastrated male cattle has a molecular structure, how is it we can see right through it when people dish it out to us?

Koan

Why would the master want the horses to be standing in old manure up to their hocks?


(If there's an answer to this, I haven't found it yet. I'm still trying to figure out why I got chewed out for cleaning years and years worth of manure that no one wanted out of the barn. If I'm paid $25 a month to care for the horses, I'd think that would include providing clean housing for them. Obviously, I was wrong. Silly me!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Digging one's way out of grief.

I've been bad about blogging, but for a very good reason. The death of the very gifted poet and a dear friend, Mark Brown of Louisville, KY, threw me (and a great many others) for a loop. The man had one of the purest hearts I've ever known, and was also one of the most gifted poets I've ever personally known. His colleagues at the Spalding University MFA program concur. Not only was his poetry incredible, but his insights into the poetry of others as evidenced by his acclaimed critical essays which even received national attention remain as living proof of his genius. But it is Mark himself, his laughter, his quick wit, his compassion for others (as in the poem, "Libby's Kiss") is what we will all miss.

So for over a week, I and others have staggered around in the mental ozone trying to process the unbelievable. While some folks who gathered to remember Mark on Saturday had brought pieces they'd written since hearing the news, many of us haven't been able to write about IT or about anything since his death. I suddenly understand the way the Greeks would take 12 days to observe the passing of a loved one. I have not hit the 12 day point yet, but my brain is beginning to function once again.

I first met Mark in 1988 under entirely different circumstances. When we met years later as poets, we kept trying to place one another. It's hard when years have passed and we've aged and put on weight. But finally one day it hit us, and oh what a laugh we had over it. And how many friends we realized we had in common outside the realm of poetry.

He was a multi-faceted man who will be missed by a great many people, and I believe much of our grief is for the poems he will never write.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Poem: Garden

GARDEN

This meager plot provides distraction.
Toil of weeding, hauling managable buckets
of mulch and rotted horse manure,
turning soil untouched for years --
all leave me boiled in sweat.
My thoughts attempt mutiny,
rebelling against the authority of focus,
but this labor of growing
makes me mindless
which sometimes is a good thing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

an excellent movie!

I had heard of this movie when it first came out, but didn't think about it again until I saw it at the library. Oh, what a find!

Young Victoria didn't get the acclaim it should have. The acting is excellent, the costumes are outstanding (from a clothing historian and finicky costumer herself). It's such a splendid yet eventually sad story, and probably not the best thing for me to be watching at the moment. At least those two lovers, despite their high stations in life, had 20 years of bliss and 9 kids to boot (so we know what they were doing!) And Paul Bettany is such a gifted actor. He plays every kind of possible character -- the sign of a truly great actor. He is malodious as he should be as Lord Melbourne.

See it if you have the chance.

And now, despite the heat, I am off to Shelbyville for a necessary errand or two. Aaargh. High 90s today and tomorrow. The usual temperature for this time of year here is 80 degrees. Oh, that would be a cold snap, and a welcomed one at that.

Got the lawn mowed yesterday in the 91 degree weather, knowing worse was on the way. Did a bit of work in the garden later in the evening. I fear the weeds are getting ahead of me, though I'm at them daily. And more compliments from neighbors on the yard, which is so supportive.

But I've worked so much outdoors, the indoors is far behind other than my several times a day with the shop vac to keep up with the shedding dogs. I am far from unpacked from moving, and haven't even started to paint, though I have the paint.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

I haven't been able to convince the dogs that it's cooler outside than it is inside.

After I feed the horses, Butter and Jelly are getting baths. That should help cool those 2 old ladies down a bit. Butter is a yellow Labrador X Redbone Hound mix and Jelly is a Belgian Sheepdog, and they are both 10 years old now, or is it 11? Gosh, I'll have to pull out their files to look.

First thing this morning, I had to get Keelin and Fergus, the 2 Setters Ohio English Setter Rescue took into their program, from Lincoln County (Stanford, KY) to LaGrange to meet up with transports to go to their long term foster homes. Keelin had been an angel the entire 2 weeks she'd been with me . . . until this morning. I put some lavender oil on her for its calming effects, and she's the first dog I've ever found on whom it had the opposite result. She peed in her crate while I was trying to get chores done, then when I put her outside, she rolled in every bit of dirt she could find. She was positively filthy, and I had to do a quicky clean up on her. I don't like sending dirty dogs out on transport. She had never done these things before. Why this morning?

Fergus of course was his typical good boy self.

Then after I got them on the road, I headed to Shelbyville to meet up with Julie Sloan to get the Setter from Flemmingburg, KY, Ben. What a sweetie he is! He must be about 6 years old, and he is crate trained. Knew what "Kennel Up" meant, and is snoozing away in the "quarantine room," where all my new fosters go when they first arrive. It's also the coolest room in the house, "lucky dog." It's on the east side of the house, gets the shade of 2 trees, and has 2 big windows for cross ventilation, as well as leaving the main door open so the breeze blows in.

So, "The Revolving Doggie Door" of Setter rescue continues at the Soggy Dog Croft in Turners Station, KY.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

new poem DONKEY BAIT

DONKEY BAIT



She burned the oatmeal
while weeping again over that stupd carrot,
the one that startled her
dangling before surprised eyes,
swinging so close to her nose
she thought she could smell it,
and the breeze of her fingers set it spinning.
It pulled her forward
remaining just, oh just out of reach,
but she could see it's perfection --
the golden glow and that plume of green.
She heard the seller's voice extolling sweetness,
and she longed for that sharp snap,
the crunch between her teeth
and sugar on her tongue.

Snatched away it was,
and sour grapes played no role in discovery
for it was merely Garden Ridge plastic,
an item for display in a table arrangment,
something pretty to gaze upon and occasionally dust
but nothing to allay hunger,
no sweet orange taste on the tongue
and certainly no satisfying crunch.

Now she just feels like an ass
who followed bait set to swing
before eyes longing for more than pasture.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Insomnia!

I slept through the heat of the day. Ah, I love the concept of the siesta. But then went to bed at 10 p.m., slept for 2 hrs., and by midnight, BAM! I was awake. At least my being up has not yet awakened the dogs. I have to be up at 6 a.m., so this 2 hrs. of being awake in the middle of the night does not bode well.

My brain is in over drive. Too much to think about. Waaaaayyyy to much to think about. A romance that failed in 1973 and failed again recently, trying to figure out table weaving, trying to finish writing one of my novels-in-progres: Petros, trying to balance my budget, and then I decided to work on perfecting my naalbinding skills as well.

No wonder I can't sleep! Naalbinding would give anyone insomnia.

Heating up in several areas

Going to be 95 here today. Ugh. The house is already heating up. Need more fans!

And then there's the heat in Columbus, Ohio over the football coach. Now really . . . is he being used as a token example? Students I know at UK say the football and basketball players get all kinds of "gimmes," from leniency on academics to freebies. Yes, all violations to the NCAA rules, but like the IRS, you only deal with penalties if you get caught.

Haiku for the day

Yes, I know, Haiku aren't supposed to have titles, but since when have I cared about rules?


The Drunk Peasant

Put coins in my bowl.
Rice I can easily get,
with dimes I buy beer.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Choices via Tolkien

Sometimes in life we are given the opportunity to be knights, or sometimes we are given the opportunity to be Hobbits -- those wonderful creatures who understand that the purpose of life is the pursuit of joy yet within the cradle of nobility of spirit.

Unfortunately, sometimes people throw those opportunities to the wind and end up being orcs, so twisted on the inside that they insist on making those around them as unhappy as they themselves are.

It's all about the choices we make. Don't throw away your opportunities for joy. Don't allow yourself to become an orc, thinking you're role in life is to follow orders without question, to adhere to a rule of life that doesn't allow the pursuit of true joy.

Bernard Cornwell Sharpe Series

I'm conflicted about my enjoyment of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. OK, yes, I'm a history nut. Even majored in history in college. The fiction I write is usually historical fiction. But . . . I'm a Quaker and a pacifist, and yet I get such enjoyment out of the adventures of Lt. Dick Sharpe, he of the green coat, of the rifles and Napoleonic guts and gore. I'm also a Patrick O'Brian fiend. So I get to enjoy Dick Sharpe on land and Aubrey and Maturin at sea and in their occasional misadventures on land, where they do not belong at all.

I'm not reading them in order, because I can never find them in order, and I seem to do just fine with a flexible time line. Right now I'm finally getting to the book where he meets Astrid in Denmark. Ah, there's Astrid who I'd heard about in future adventures. Poor Astrid.

Cornwell has produced such an engaging character in the earthy Sharpe. A man up from the ranks (like my father, though I don't think my father enjoyed killing when he fought in WWII), an orphan from the back alleys of London, a murderer who escapes the gallows by joining the army which then encourages him to commit further murders. But he has such an aura of nobility about him. He rises above the aristocrats with whom he is destined to contend.

If any budding novelists want to work on character development, read Cornwell and O'Brian. The popularity of the two series is most definitely the result of splendid character development. We know these men, and despite their flaws, we adore them.

country living

I have mowed THE LAWN. Now, THE LAWN here is not a lovely expanse of suburban green with the occasional shrub around which one must haul the mower. No, it is 20% grass, 10% not grass, and the rest is a Cooperative Extension Agent's field day of broadleaf and woody weeds, some of which probably originated in the Brazilian Rain Forest. On days when I mow THE LAWN, I don't worry whether or not I've gotten in my walking for the day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

SCA Midrealm Arts and Sciences

With the coersion of Nora London and her husband, Tom Hughes (President of THE SCA, Inc. -- I still don't know how that happened ), I made it to the Middle Kingdom's Arts & Sciences Competition yesterday. Oh, no entries from this girl. My last entry was YEARS ago, the mega research and multiple test batches of olive oil soap. I still have my documentation somewhere, and every now and then I make another batch of soap.

It was awesome to catch up with old friends and make some new. Sat and chatted with Baron Christophe for a bit. He will always own a special corner in my heart. 8-) Grouchy gnome or not! And his woodworking keeps getting better and better. I've got my eye on a gorgeous wooden chest with a rose carved on the front of it. Oh, if I have a few thousand gilder on hand, I'll buy him out entirely. There's a lap desk with a little drawer that would be perfect for my calligraphy.

Nora and I had a great visit, and she blessed me with an early birthday gift of some pearl earrings one of the merchants had which I had been eyeing, but knew I could not afford them at the moment. They reminded me of a book and movie I like, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, with Colin Firth (sigh) as the Dutch painter, Ver Meer. So now I am The Girl with the Pear Earring(s).

There was a merchant with card/tablet weaving supplies and book, and yarns/threads to die for, but again, that ghastly issue of lack of shillings. What's a girl to do? My open excuse for not going to Pennsic is that I have no one to care for the animals for me to run off to The Past for a a week or two, much as I would love to. Last time I went was 1999.

The REAL reason I'm not going is that it would bankrupt me. The shopping there is like no where else in The Known World. But yesterday I did indulge in a couple of packs of the small cards for the tablet weaving. I tried it about 25 years ago, but never really had the time to pursue it properly, as Emz was a baby and I was in the midst of becoming a single parent WITH a baby, so things like tablet weaving went by the board. Now I'm an old lady with a house full of dogs and 2 horses to care for, so NOW I can find the time to diddle with things like table weaving.

The entries in the Arts and Sciences Competition were splendid, but of course this was at the kindgom level, and entrants must achieve a certain score at their regional levels in order to qualify for entering at the kingdom competition. The calligraphy and illumination, armoring, leatherwork, textile arts, cooking, brewing and vintning, you name it! Beautiful, wonderful things to see. And the level of costuming for the populace in general seems to have improved, though maybe it was just the type of event, but I think not. I think people in the SCA are moving up a notch in the images they want to present -- to one another as well as to the public. There were some lovely examples of costuming for multiple periods.

And Tom and Nora's son, Devin, became a squire, which brought tears to my eyes. Gosh, he just finished his freshman year of college, and I remember Nora waddling around Pennsic in the heat when she was pregnant with him. I also weighed 118 lbs. at the time, so yes, that was many years ago.

So, a huge THANK YOU to Nora and Tom (Dame Nicolaa Halden and Master Sean O'Seanesy, and I kown I spelled that wrong, Tom, so please forgive me!) And a big THANK YOU to the Barony of the Fenix for hosting this lovely event. I almost drove back up this morning for Crown Tourney, but the lawn is nearly knee high, I have plants to get into the garden, and I'm still giving the dogs each their spring cleanings.

Oh, and I sat down with the heralds and finally worked up the "device" (my coat of arms), since I got my Award of Arms back around 1989 and never registered my "device," or my name for that matter. And now I have to go hunting for that journal of Bishop David of Wales to document my stupid name, and heaven only knows what happened to that book in all the moves. Procrastination, thy name is frustration.

Speaking of which, now I must go mow the lawn and get more plants into the soil. I received a gift of a huge mass of vegetable plants that were going to be pitched as they hadn't all sold in a fund raiser, and I am more than happy to give them a home. I'm going to be canning 'til the cows come home this summer, which will be a long time since I don't have any cows -- yet!

one of my old limericks

This one took a 2nd place in the limerick category for Green River Writers a few years ago. It always earns a grin or two.

A lively old Scot we call Hamish
requests we consider him blameless.
It seems that his kilt
was too frugally built,
and at first we all thought he was shameless.

;-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Haiku for Today

the dogs all blow coat
hair floats and whispers in clumps
I love my Shop Vac

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

new poem: UPSIDE DOWN

Suddenly
the world has flipped
magnetic poles swapped places
and when you flush
everything swirls in the wrong direction.

You
had nothing to do with this,
yet the shabby overcoat of blame
dangles from your hook --the one
with your name scrawled
in third grade cursive over top.
Wasn't that label beneath the hook
yesterday?

Perhaps you did make a wish one year
snapping that annual turkey bone,
or tossed half-hearted prayers
skyward, with no conviction
that selfish prayers such as these get answered.

Apparently they do.

Now everything is backwards,
topsy-turvy,
whopper-jawed and catty-whompus.
And you must find the spell
to turn the world
right side up again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still wading through the morass

I'm still trying to perfect the "look and feel" of the blog, but BlogSpot and I are having our differences in how to communicate. Some of the text on labels still doesn't want to change to darker colors. Bear with me. I'm not unaware of how annoying it is. It's annoying the heck out of me!

blog format change

Due to the request of a follower, I changed the template on the blog, as she said the white characters on the burgundy background were too hard to read. I hope the black characters are easier for ya'll to read. I am always open to feedback to facilitate readership. I'm still fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out all the details for the "look and feel" of my blog. I have no idea what I'm doing!

Haiku for today

bay horse stands tip-toe
calling the storm through his nose
wind holds his passion

Monday, May 23, 2011

new poem: Grail Quest

Wow! I've got 5 followers! Believe me, I'm excited!!! 8-)

Now for my newest poem:

GRAIL QUEST

38 years
he sought her
his lost dove
the one with weak wings
the one would could not fly well.
At dusk his round calls
circled on winds
stirred by desire
and meek hope

But once he found her
what was to be done?
An obituary would have been simpler.
He holds her in his cupped palms
repeating well-rehearsed coos.
She cannot perch there forever
teetering upon his open hands,
mincing toward the tips of his fingers.

He wavers between
clutching her tightly to his own feathered breast
or tossing her back to that
vast and empty sky.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

To Walk in the Light

Yesterday, I spent my contemplative time focusting on what it means "to walk in the Light." As a Quaker, this is an important phrase and issue.

Walk in the Light: to be enlightened, enlightenment, to see our way out of darkness

In order to understand the Light, it helps enormously to have experienced and comprehended the darkness, whether we mean the darkeness of life's circumstances or the darkness that results from our own unwise, selfish, and/or short-sighted choices. When we chose to act without integrity, we are not walking in the Light.

Are there ever times when the lighted way is unclear? Of course! We Quakers use contemplation and the consensual process as means of discerning which path is the lighted path. Sometimes the way that is eventually revealed surprises us; it's not what we had originally assumed. It is too easy to jump to conclusions -- "This is the way things should be," we might think early in a situation or a decision-making process. This is why we Quakers use silence to leave ourselves open to the ultimate teacher, that which is of God within us, which is the best teacher of all.

Odd as it may seem, sometimes being aware of personal boundaries is a huge manifestatin of the Light. What is and what is not in my personal domain? If I overstep, my integrity is compromised. Having my own way is not contiguous with walking in the Light.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dressed to Serve Breakfast

I wrap my heavy robe over the flannel gown, and in my barn boots
trudge down Hwy 574 to feed the horses.
It's nearly 8 a.m., and they've been standing at the fence
eyeing me out with the dogs;
they wonder why room service is so slow.
My loose hair flies in this misty wind.
I cannot wonder what the neighbors think --
they say they love my fortitude.
That is enough, and the horses have been fed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Karma: Payment for the Past

I just watched a video on Iraq Veterans Against the War. Everything those vets said confirmed what I had said before we invaded, but now more and more people are seeing The Big Picture, and saying that we cannot achieve peace through violence. Violence only begets more violence, and this is how the wealthy of our nation increase their incomes.


But on a more personal level, I've been haunted this week by how a decision I made 38 years ago affected more lives than my own. Can I write this off to the folly of youth? I did have my reasons at the time, good reasons. Even now, I can defend my decision to terminate a relationship that just wasn't working at the time. That doesn't mean that either of us were or are not good people, and re-connecting this last week has confirmed that. But we certainly are very different individuals. So would we have grown apart anyway, or would we have grown together? The great unanswerable questions of "what if" will always remain unanswered.

What if Leah's Jason hadn't ben a Marine who died horrifically on his 2nd deployment to Iraq? What if I hadn't already had plans for the evening that Sam Lehman asked me to attend the AGR Christmas Party in 1975? What if I hadn't broken up with Dan Bevan in January of 1973?

While I cannot change the decisions I or others made in the past, I do feel regret for those whom I have personally hurt. And I cannot help but wonder at times if the pain I deal with (physical and/or emotional) is not some sort of repayment for the harms I have done to others.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seasonal Reminder

Had to get up and retrieve another quilt out of the closet last night before I could fall asleep. Yes, it was that cold! I have to remind myself that Kentucky's "frost free" date for gardening is May 9. I have to remind myself of freezing my fanny off in a mini skirt at a Derby Party in 1989 when we had sleet. (I weighed 118 lbs. then, so mini skirts were possible. These days at 58, I don't care what the weather is or what I weigh, mini skirts are not in my wardrobe anymore.)

And 2011 is now Kentucky's wettest year on record since record keeping began in the late 19th Century. We've had 29" in the Louisville area since January 1, and I'll bet the lion's share of that has been in the last 3 weeks. It's not the cold that's preventing me from getting my veggies in the ground, it's the soggy ground. Any attempt at cultivation would result in making bricks. I don't mind hauling horse manure up from the pasture, but soggy horse manure is heavier than dry. My barn boots are positively disreputable!

Of course one benefit of the cold is that it has kept the insect population at bay for the moment. I keep up with continual cootie checks on the dogs for fleas and ticks and haven't found either, which surprises me. I was sure I'd have seen a tick or two by now, even with my guys all on prevention. Heck, I usually find a tick or two ON ME since I love being outdoors. Gads, I hate those things. They give me the heebee jeebees.

Did have a slight ant invasion in the house. I think everyone I've talked to has. The ants are moving to higher ground! Ants aren't listed as marine life.

The ponds are full, the creeks are muddy and over their banks, but everything is a lovely green and the weeds are growing in great profusion. I have found the previous residents' plantings of lemon balm and spearmint. And I've found a grape vine that's going to receive some tender care and cultivation, even if it's just for the leaves for making dolmas.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rural Quakers of North Central KY can now gather together!

Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends, aka "Friends") will be meeting for unprogrammed worship every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. beginning May 7, 2011 at the Port Royal Methodist Church, 8230 Port Royal Road (Hwy 193), Port Royal, KY (Henry County). This is an informal group that is under the guidance of the Lexington (Kentucky) Friends Meeting. I'm the contact.

We are open to participation by Conservative and Liberal Quakers and to anyone else who would like to attend. There aren't that many Quakers in this area. Let us join together! I am hoping we will have some participants from Owen, Trimble and Carroll Counties as well.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Further frustrations in the pursuit of simplicity

It's hard to pursue simplicity in a complicated world. How many times have I said that in the last 3 years? How about the last 3 weeks?

The grass and the ground finally dry out sufficiently for me to mow, and I nearly accomplished the feat, but somewhere along in the midst of the backyard, complexity made it's nasty move on simplicity once again. (Dairy goats. I know I need to get a pair of dairy goats.) SOMETHING of a mechanical nature when awry, and I can hear it rattling in the assembly, and the mower goes no more. I was nearly finished!

So now a stretch in the backyard and the area in front of the fence along the road remains unmowed.

If anyone is interested in spending money on a health club membership, you can pay me and come mow my lawn. That's enough exercise for anyone pursuing basic fitness. You'll need to bring your own mower though. I've 'bout had it with this beast.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's going to be a busy day!

I've already been out stacking firewood. The fellows from the tree removal company were so nice, and they not only lassoed the limb that attacked the house on Wednesday, they cut it up into short pieces for me.

Actually, every single person who has been out to deal with the various aspects of the damage has been so nice and helpful! Shelby Energy was here within minutes of when I called them. Unfortunately, with more rain last evening, the dead elm can't be removed just yet. When the moss on it is wet, it's like Gorilla Glue in the equipment, so we have to wait until things dry out a bit.

The sun is trying to come out, and supposedly we're to have decent weather today, and sunny and 80 degrees on Sunday. I can get out and poop--er scoop and then even MOW! With all this rain, the grass has been growing like it's on steroids, but it's been so soggy, there's no way it can be mowed. Some sunshine and breeze will work wonders.

I have a mountain of work to tackle today. The bread dough has been fermenting all night, so it's ready to be kneaded and set to rise in the bread pans. Am starting the "remodeling" in the Sitting Room -- pulling nails, filling holes, sanding, washing walls and woodwork, all in preparation for painting. And I have a mountain of laundry to catch up on! With line drying, I've only had use of the lines in the laundry room/dog room, so laundry has been slow going. Today will be a good day to get the washing dried outdoors.

Of course when one line dries laundry, that means the drudgery of ironing. I'll chalk it up to part of my exercise plan. And it's cheaper to use an electric iron than it is to run an electric clothes dryer. My last electric bill was $28. Yeeee ha! I'm very careful with my energy usage.

I'm stuck at home waiting for the folks who are going to repair the hole in the house today anyway, so I'll put that time to good use. Now, if I can just keep from getting one of those headaches like the one that zapped me yesterday. I think there was just TOO MUCH happening and my brain blew a fuse.

And if it really is sunny and 80 degrees tomorrow, it's HAPPY DOG BATH DAY! Dougall and Murphy (nee Monkey -- his adoptor in Maryland is re-naming him Murphy) are both blowing coat and look positively disreputable! Definitely time for baths and mega brushing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inevitable

INEVITABLE


The large limb lounges along the west side of the house
leaving wires dangling close to the ground and a wound
open to the pathogens of rain, insects and nest-seeking birds.
Of course one deluge after the next fell in succession
with western winds driving water into the attic
saturating insulation, coating anything electrical.
I harvest fallen siding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Evacuation of Sulphur, KY

The rain doesn't seem inclined to cease. NWS tells us it's just not "normal" for the Kentuck, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers ALL to be at flood stage at the same time. Well, no kidding. It's also not normal to get 24 inches of rain in two weeks time. Thank heavens it's not snow.

Now we hear that the dam that creates Lake Jericho (northeast of Louisville) is crumbling, and when it lets go, the community of Sulphur, KY will be sloshed away in a Kentucky tsunami. This will be worse than the Licking River disaster of 1997.

Along the Ohio River, the tiny berg of West Point, KY has already been evacuated. They've been through this before; Sulphur has not.

Is it needless to say, this is all putting a very wet blanket on the Kentucky Derby Festival. While the weather is to clear by Friday giving us "partly cloudy" predictions for Friday for the running of The Oaks for fillies and then for the Kentucky Derby itself on Saturday, I do have grim predictions for the conditions of the infamous "Infield" area of Churchill Downs. The party crowd that inhabits the Infield for The Oaks and the Derby is known for dealing with soggy bottoms in the past, I'm not sure kayaks and skiffs will be allowed past gate security despite the obvious need this year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I hate cars. Oh, it's personal, most definitely. But in the U.S., if you don't live in a metropolitan area, then you don't have "public transportation." I love being out in the country, so having wheels is an absolute necessity. But cars need maintenance and the occasional costly repair. So right now I'm staring at a BIG repair bill because someone who did a repair right before I acquired the car didn't do it correctly. Not only does the repair have to be re-done, but the problem caused by the poorly done repair caused further damage. Oh, this hits the budget hard. Fancy vehicles aren't my thing. I'm into PRACTICAL. Just something reliable to get me where I absolutely need to go. And with the current gasoline prices, I sometimes go for a week or more without leaving the property. I walk up to a neighbor's to visit, so it's not like I'm isolated. I'm busy writing, working, caring for the dogs (my own and my rescues). Sometimes the biggest trip is a run to the feed store 4 miles away. But when the wheels fail, and when a repair is expensive, . . . it sure does put me out of sorts. How often I think of a horse and buggy. Yes, horses too have their expenses, and I'd be constantly worried about something that would cause a whopper veterinary bill. It's just costly to get from Point A to Point B, no matter how one looks at it. And with the way people drive their cars and trucks on these back roads, being in a horse-drawn conveiance isn't necessarily safe! I think of Miss Eliza Bennett walking 3 miles to visit her sister who was ill. My problem is, if I walked 3 miles, I wouldn't have gotten to any place to do errands! No store, no library, no post office. Yes, just getting where one MUST go occasionally costs money. A sad state of affairs.

Learnng to Pace Oneself

Those of us with chronic pain issues have to LEARN to pace ourselves, and for many of us, it's not a quick study. You feel good at the moment, so you get on a roll. In the back of your mind, you're thinking, "I really ought to quit now," but you get into the "just one more thing" mode, and finally, you KNOW you're going to be paying for it. Yesterday I decided to deal with the broadleaf weed thingies that produce cockle burrs. Ugly weeds they are, and I don't like the burrs either. They get caught in the dogs' coats, in my clothes, etc. Well, I just got going, and kept going, and I'd see one more thing that needed to be done. By bedtime, I knew I was in trouble. Slapped on a pain patch at lower neck/upper back when I went to bed, and took all my meds like a good girl. Woke at 1 a.m. in abject misery. Dosed again and zoned off and on until I had to get up at 6 a.m., but oh boy, am I paying for being so all fired productive yesterday! When will I learn to be happy with having accomplished a little? When will I learn to say, "That's enough for today. There's always tomorrow?" You'd think pain would be a very powerful negative reinforcer from a behavioral standpoint. What would old B. F. Skinner have to say about this? He'd probably accuse those of us who are slow to catch on of actually having masochistic tendencies, but he'd be wrong. We don't like pain, we just dislike being unproductive even more!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sinus Valley Blues

"Spring has sprung,
the pollen's great.
I now have got
a big headsche."

Much as I love spring and all the blooming things, the Ohio River Valley has the well-earned moniker of "Sinus Valley." It's a college fund for the kids of ENT docs. My FACE hurts -- those sinuses above and below the eyes. I want to just go hide in the dark with a hot pack on my face.

And I MUST be getting old. Growing up, I never understood why Aunt Ces and Uncle Mike went to AZ every winter and Aunt Dude and Uncle Luke headed for FL. NOW I understand. I'm sick of 7 mos. of cold weather every year, and I'm from New England originally! The growing season in KY is short enough with our last "frost free" date as May 9. We have been known to have sleet on Derby Day here in KY. I remember 1985 in particular. You just don't set your tomato plants until after May 9 unless you're into gambling.

Maybe the next time I move, I should just head farther south. I wonder if the growing season is 2 weeks longer down in Somerset, KY? I know folks down that way. Every now and then, New England calls to me, especially the ocean of my heritage, but yeeesh! Not after the winter those folks just experienced. Things were bad enough just south of the Ohio River.

And I was stuck in that crazy house with the furnace that didn't heat but did eat 200 KWH of power A DAY. The landlady said she'd rather pay the electric bills for me than pay to repair the furnace, so she got the huge bills, and I froze my tail feathers off! Some days it didn't even get to 50 degrees in that cave. Now I'm in a house with a functional furnace, replacement windows and good insulation! What a concept!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

When life throws you curve balls . . .

. . . you duck and run, and for 2 years that's what I've been doing -- ducking and running from some really nasty and unexpected curve balls.

But now, I am definitely NOT on the road anymore, and am settling in on a remote country road in northeat Henry County, KY. Wendell Berry lives about a mile from me, so I think I've moved into a fine neighborhood. I have also landed in the midst of some splendid neighbors, absolutely wonderful people!

The dogs are happy, though this morning was a little stressful for Possum, one of my Setters. There was an entire flock of wild turkeys in Ronnie and Nancy's cow pasture across the road. I put Possum out to go potty, and the poor dear didn't know if she should poop or point. Wally and Marley ended up being rescue because they (in the vernacular) "won't huhhhhnt," so the turkeys were not an issue for them.

We had around 4 inches of rain on Tuesday, so the ground is still too soggy for me to resume gardening, but I have a stack of alterations to do for a friend, and that will keep me busy today, along with continuing the work of a mejor editing job on Keith's Keep, the young adult historical novel I completed writing some years ago. And this evening I'll hammer out another chapter in Petros, a novel I'm writing about a family in north central Kentucky during the early 1930s. (The historian in me has loved the research.)