I’ll just post the pics to show the progress. It’s hard to type, my fingers are so sore and rough!
A good friend is currently in a place that is unenviable, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor and then a lung tumor. It seems that the lung tumor is, and the brain tumor might be treatable. Yesterday she had to give a speech to her Toastmaster group about Uncertainty. We were talking on the weekend about this and the fact that she had just received the copy of Busting the Bard that I sent, and I said I was always open to subjects for inspiration for sonnets. So she challenged me with her subject ‘Uncertainty’, and when a sonnet promptly fell out of the end of the pen, she found inspiration to include it in her speech.
We stagger on uncertainty’s straight path,
a hodge-podge mix of dust and stepping stones
that zigzag through our lives and cut a swath
of chaos, for we know not where it goes.
Between the forest of many different trees
that hang low branches that might offer fruit,
succulent nutrition or poison’s tease,
and grow so thick that we cannot see through
to surety. This path, these trees are set
and we must follow, gamble right and left
at forks, and clueless how to place the bet –
our lives – to flourish or to be bereft.
So flip the coin of vague uncertainty
the other side is possibility.
I seem to have spent so much time recently on travelling and teaching, there’s been little time to paint (except commissions) or write, though the most recent trip to the Phoenix area produced another eight sonnets which I have yet to even type up. Nevertheless, even without prompting from something or someone, occasionally a poem will fall out of the end of the pen.
Happiness is a gray stick
A thick, gray, gnarly four-foot stick to hold
and lean on, when you have Atlas’s day;
warm wood to grip, not metal, when you’re cold;
a friend to prod dark paths and find your way
between elations clouds, chasm’s dark eyes.
Such is the stick of happiness, who prods
you on from gray dawn to a bright sunrise
with steadiness solider than carrot gods
that promise futures. Happiness is now,
it takes tomorrow when it becomes today;
yesterday’s a less, not a furrowed brow –
or just a tale that we can laugh a way.
When you walk with the stick of happiness
you’ll go through life with more, and never less.
I do love staying in Airbnbs. The price is right and you get to meet some nice people. I have a few favorites and have made some friends. There is one particular couple I’ve stayed with about four times, I know where everything is in the house. They have three airbnb rooms. The last time I stayed there, they were away for the weekend and kinda left me in charge of the two young guys staying in the other rooms; I got to be the house Mom. They also mentioned that one guy had left a suitcase for later pickup in the garage.
The first night, I hadn’t been in long when the doorbell rang. It was Fedex. I signed for the package, put it on the hall stand and texted them that the package had arrived.
The second night, I hadn’t been in long when the doorbell rang. It was the former room guest returning for his suitcase. We found the suitcase in the garage and I texted them that it had been retrieved.
On the third night, I was microwaving my dinner and decided it needed to go in for another minute. HummmmmmmmFFFZZZZTTTT. Oh ****. I tried resetting the GFCI on a nearby socket, but no go. The microwave had been plugged into a socket apparently on a different circuit. A few sockets behind the stove were off, but the stove was on still and the microwave could be plugged into the GFCI socket and I could continue dinner. I texted them what had happened and said that it wasn’t a big deal, they could wait til Monday to fix it.
After dinner I went to put water in the freezer for the following day. Oh no, the fridge is off – plugged into the same circuit as the rest of the dead sockets! So now we’re on phone calls. Grabbing the flash light from my truck I followed their instructions to the breaker box, but wasn’t getting any joy from resetting the marked circuit breakers. There was one of the other guys in the house, and after we ascertained that he wasn’t going to lose anything when the internet went down, we rebooted the house electrics. Still no joy.
By now the couple are planning to abort their trip and drive home. However, the young strong man (they’re really handy sometimes) easily pulled the fridge out of its alcove and now we had access to the plug. Back to the garage and rummaging for their extension cords, we ran a line to another area that was working, and we were back in business except for…. the tripping hazard across the kitchen floor. So, warnings to both other guests that the kitchen light needs to be left on so we don’t trip on the wire, my hosts unpacked their suitcases and went back to their trip.
They say that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity, but I’m beginning to wonder. I have an additional monthly fee on my Verizon cellphone bill that allows me to make international calls (for a costly per-minute fee) and with rearrangement of new technologies, I no longer need it. So I went on the website to cancel it. Could find how with a couple questions to the FAQ bot, so I clicked for a Chat person, thinking I was going to get a human. I didn’t. At first I wasn’t perturbed by this, but a couple lines in….. this is the transcript of the conversation. I’m the voice in blue.
It gave me one answer four times and another twice before it finally realized it was out of its depth. By then my session had timed out in the other window and I was connected to a black hole. I followed a different track later to get to a real human, by which time I didn’t really care if helpdesk was being outsourced to Alpha Centauri, it was a sentient being…..
Recently my other half asked me ‘What’s the deal behind the phrase “As mad as a hatter”?’
Well, he was asking the right person, I actually know the answer. Years back when hatters where hatters, mercury was used in the process of hat making. So this was all before people knew that mercury wasn’t good to handle and lick your fingers after, get it on your skin and such. So hatters would handle mercury and get mercury poisoning, which would become evident in them going nuts. Hence the phrase, as mad as a hatter!
In a similar vein, here are some of the nasty things that artists – or art handlers – have to take risks with.
As I say to my students. Once you get the temptation to lick your brush, wash your brush in your wine or drink it after, remember that one of those pigments might be phthaloCYANINE blue.
There’s something to be said about driving one of the most popular vehicles in the country. When you get to the parking lot, you get to park in the Silverado Section