Around this time last year, I wrote a tribute to my late friend Peter, a wonderful, generous soul with a brilliant, restless mind and a quirky wit.
Among the many things Peter taught me was how intelligent rats are. He loved rats, and through his eyes and tutelage, I came to see these “filthy rodents” in a fresh way.
What’s that acrid, dreadful odor?
A decaying animal within our walls?
That’s happened once or thrice—
A facet of our coexistence ...
The timing is eerie--and not because I wrote the original post admitting to my commission of Murder One: Beetlecide so close to Halloween. No; my unease is due to the fact that the episode that occurred just days ago is pretty darned close to the anniversary of my previous offense. Surely that has meaning...
Wherein I learn-by-doing the power of mindfulness in handling everyday mishaps (Recipe included...)
Though we had ample warning, I--ostrich-like--wasn't quite prepared for the move to the new techie demands.
Dribble is a silly word.
Maybe not when we’re talking about the Harlem Globetrotters—or kids in a schoolyard testing their prowess by bouncing, bouncing, bouncing that ball on unforgiving asphalt, then arcing skyward toward a topless/bottomless structure seemingly stitched by a gargantuan spider.
Or a baby’s slo-mo Vesuvius after imbibing squished bananas and squashed squash from a teensy spoon dipped too generously into a tiny glass jar by a harried automaton-a-mama whose patience is now pandemic-thin. In such instances, the word bib, found conveniently nestling within the word dribble, is very useful indeed.
Ah, the image: I am seated at a magnificent golden harp, my flowing blonde tresses resting on my shoulders, my tall, slender body leaning slightly forward, long fingers playing glissando after glissando. I am just warming up, but I am already enraptured.
Oh, the reality: It’s true that I’m thin and have long fingers. The rest of the description is more problematic.
The Attorney General for the People Person of the US Receives Scrutiny
Once again I must turn to Bill-Barr
To examine behavior bizarre;
This is not the first time
That things seem to skirt crime
And his antics sink less than subpar.
In the world of the lovingly kind
I’ve found myself caught in a bind:
Consumed by my hate
It made my gut ache
’Twas a matter far over my mind.
Nobody would ever accuse me of being a math whiz, though I do feel I have skills some of my younger acquaintances lack: I eschew a calculator on occasion to make sure the various cortices of my brain responsible for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division get a little workout.
You just never know when your battery may run down while you’re stranded on a desert island and have an immediate need to balance your checkbook.
Oh, and there’s another mathematical task that I’ve mastered. An older friend told me not long ago that physicians who are concerned that a patient may be in the early stages of dementia will test mental agility by asking said patient to subtract backwards from 100—by 8s. I’ve gotten quite facile at that effort—and have moved on to 7s with similar success.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m inviting you to join me in exploring a story that involves number theory—a deep dive that I have no business whatsoever attempting. But my friend Allan, who excels in math, knows I like quirky stories and thoughtfully sent me this one, which appeared in Popular Mechanics.
I’m not about to write of food
Or remembrance of repasts
My blog is clogging up right now
And I need your help real fast.
I used to have a sub-menu
That offered all my oeuvre
But a WP Engineer warned
Its growth was a SNAFUer.
I reallyreallyreally do not like inanimate objects talking to me. I avoid Siri, preferring to do my own research than to hear her voice—or to have her record my every Internet search (though I hold no illusions about privacy anymore…). I am not tempted to invite Alexa into my home to find that old Sinatra record for me, thank you very much.
And back in the day when we actually got into cars and drove places, I always resented the high-pitched voice of that GPS woman, who on occasion directed us to dead-end streets and once recommended that we exit sharply to the right when we were in the middle of a bridge. I’m not accusing her of malicious intent, but her satellite-guided bumbling was not a confidence-builder. I am perfectly capable of bumbling on my own.
Why then, do I invite the man-in-the-box into my life practically every day?
I guess I'm making a large leap in assuming that a) you haven't seen this photo before; and b) you've had the Zoom experience that so many of us have been introduced to in this time of social distancing.
Please don’t get me wrong: I am appalled, shocked, infuriated, and beyond sadness at what’s become of our country and world.
But I also know that laughter is the best medicine, and even smiling has been shown to have a positive effect on our immune systems. As we all need our immune systems to be as strong as possible now, I thought I’d tell you some fun things—a few real, others of undetermined origins that have found their way to my inbox. (I hope you haven't seen them already!)
I’ve often said that I’m one happy blogger: I love to write and to research new topics; I’m grateful for your feedback; and—this was one aspect of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but is becoming one of the most valuable—I feel personally enriched by meeting so many extraordinary, talented people from all over the world.
The most recent is Judy Dykstra-Brown, a poet, writer, artist, and lecturer who blogs at Life Lessons. She’s a prolific blogger, posting something—sometimes several things—every day. That energy alone boggles my once-or-at-most-twice-weekly blogger mind!
A portent of spring,
Still garbed in winter’s drab gray
They crowd the feeder—
Six at a time, reserving each perch.
The WordPress Happiness Engineers are cheery;
They respond as best they can.
But a SNAFU is making me weary;
What you're reading is not what I'd planned...
Sponsor? I have no sponsor, and my accountant says that’s a problem because it also means I have no blogging income. Thus, after a year of blogging and accurately filling out the appropriate Schedule C form itemizing the costs I incur in this endeavor, I am in serious danger of slipping to the wrong side of the law.
According to my accountant, I will no longer be able to take those vast deductions, which could possibly reach all the way into triple digits.
I am a fairly verbose writer who’s long been wedded to my nonfiction status and believed myself incapable of writing fiction. But on just my second try, my bite-sized piece of fiction has been accepted by The Drabble, a blog featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of 100 words or fewer. That’s quite nice, so I’d like to tell you about it.
Last night, I committed premeditated Murder One.
Specifically, it was beetlecide. Doing so was not my first preference. If a nearby window had been open, I would happily have deposited the little being where it belonged. That is my normal modus operandi. Albert Schweitzer had an influence.
I am severely dog-deprived. I smile at every canine within yards of me and pat any whose companion humans give me permission. Today I accidentally happened upon a blog post by someone who wrote about the loss of her pup and included a video of him, in his prime, singing what she assured us was “Happy Birthday to You.” It made me weep.
My grandnephew and his fiancée have a dog that might well have been a disaster. Much to our dismay, they acquired him from a pet store, where he’d spent the first six months of his life in a crate. But he is now a wonderful, lovable mush, nicely trained, and I would dognap him in a millisecond if I could get away with it.
[Note: As this is Labor Day Weekend, my brain is taking a holiday from blogging, and I am reaching back to my personal archives for a poem I wrote nearly two decades ago.]
I’m trying to fathom this wondrous new world
Of black holes revealed and of wormholes uncurled,
Of hyperspace, cyberspace, space here and there,
Of DNA fingerprints gleaned from a hair....
Now listen, friends, as I unveil the chorus
Of those I’m calling 23&WE
We’re not discussing folks who came before us
It’s those who say what this country should be
And how they’ll make enough of us agree
They’re poised to set out from the starting gate,
And one of them may well decide our fate.
When the world is too much with us—as it occasionally is for me lately—we often turn to nostalgia. My fellow blogger JP recently wrote a delightful post about a childhood “Freeze” moment: while playing a piece in a piano recital, he lost his place, couldn’t find it, recovered as best he could, and somehow lived through the humiliation.
I guess we all have “Freeze” moments when we wish we could turn back the clock and get a do-over. JP’s post reminded me of mine, which occurred when I was a high school senior. My current self finds all this quite amusing, but those decades ago, my sensibilities were different.
An Exploration in Rhyme...
An Introductory Note:
I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for quite a while, and I am quite serious about it; it’s had a beneficial effect on my life. But in my description of my blog, I speak of “seeking dialogue to inform, enlighten, and/or amuse you and me.” The emphasis here is on “amuse.” I realize things have been pretty heavy in Annie’s blog world, with focus on climate change, the political scene, and race relations, so I thought it was time to lighten up a bit in this holiday season.
What follows is a piece I wrote some years back, which was published in a now-defunct humor magazine. It still amuses me, and I hope it will elicit a smile from you as well. Perhaps it will also evoke feelings in concert with my desire to find common ground…