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, 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?


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?


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


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


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.