Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ode to Tea

Thanks be to God for the gift of tea:
          The favored drink of many societies
          steeped from leaves of many varieties
          Tea is its name - a delightful beverage
          And many a merchant has gained some leverage
          Exporting tons and tons of tea
          To satisfy the likes of me.
          The fragrant  leaves, from which it's brewed,
          White, green, or black - are multi-hued.
          With or without a sugar lump, it's
          Often paired with toast or crumpets.
          Tea can be common, or quite high-brow -
          Indeed, the study of the tao
          of tea can lead one's mind to ponder
          How it came to be, and wonder
          Who was first to sample its flavors
          Or dole it out as royal favors
          Offered to some concubines
           Instead of finest silks or wines?
          No coffee brewed could ever win
          A taste contest that tea was in.
          And putting exceptional flavors aside
          The truth just cannot be denied:
          For its medicinal values alone
          To tea belongs the crown and throne.
          Served piping hot, or over ice,
          Plain or with some added spice
          Sugary sweet, with lemon or cream
          (Or on cold nights, a shot of Jim Beam!)
           Tea's possibilities stretch to infinity
          Depending upon your desire or affinity.
          And so unto this royal treasure,
          My praise is offered without measure!
No finer quaff will ever be!

Needless to say, I love tea!  If you've only used tea bags - I don't care who makes them - then you have never really had tea!  For a wonderful treat, find a store or shop that sells loose tea, either in a packet or box. Choose two or three varieties, (Start by sampling the aroma of the leaves.  If you like that, you'll like the tea!), and for your first taste of each, drink them separately, brewed according to directions given by tea salesperson, or by reading the package.  Some tea should never be subjected to the insult of boiling water.  Too hot can ruin the delicate flavors of some varieties.  In my 1-quart teapot, I spoon in 3 or 4 heaping teaspoons of the leaves (I like my tea STRONG!).

What I love to do is blend varieties:  I particularly like a half-and-half mixture of Lady Grey and Jasmine.  Have fun discovering your own blend!  I pour the hot water over the tea, immediately put the lid on the pot, and swaddle it in a wonderful cozy my niece Abby (Knitter par Excellence!) made for me.  I usually let the leaves infuse for about 5-8 minutes.  My first cup is weaker than the last cup, but that's OK!  It's all good!  I also like my tea sweetened sometimes (I know, I'm not a purist), and will add honey or sugar to my liking.  If a quart of tea doesn't get me through until lunch time, then I just heat some more water and pour it over the same leaves.  I have been known to eke three pots-full out of one portion of leaves!  If you desire, you can put your leaves in a porcelain or stainless steel tea ball, however, I don't believe those gadgets allow the tea to steep properly.  I use my antique hammered silver over-the rim strainer.  The fine holes in its shallow bowl keep out all but the tiniest leaves from your brew - you really need a few strays to be left at the bottom of your cup!  Otherwise, how will a gypsy tell your fortune?

I lift my china cup (or pottery mug) to you all, Gentle Readers!  It is filled to the brim with prayers for your happiness and wholeness.  And remember - from the first sip to the last little drop from the pot, when it comes to tea, there can never be enough. . .
(Unless you are miles from the nearest restroom!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

OH! The E-Mails I receive!

I received the following e-mail earlier today from a friend of long standing.  (For now, that is.).  My snarky comments are in boldface green.

Don't tell me your age; you'd probably lie anyway-but the Hershey Man will know!
Maybe I would, and maybe I wouldn't, and who the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks cares what the "Hershey Man" knows?  And who is the "Hershey Man?"

This is pretty neat.
Neat?  Neat?  And "pretty neat" at that?  This doesn't come even close to being neat.  I have spared you from the ridiculous form - with multiple fonts and colors - that this communication came in.  Suffice it to say, it was not "neat." Besides that, it came loaded with all sorts of photos of enticing chocolate treats!  How cruel could one be?  Perhaps she is jealous of my recent miraculous weight loss?  Ah hah!  Now I get it!  For your safety, I eliminated those photos.

What a stupid directive!  What person with any brain would not scroll down after being told that?

It takes less than a minute ...
Sure it does!  If you scrolled down - which of course you did - you will know that for all you math idiots - like me - this will take way longer than a minute.

Work this out as you read ...
What does she expect?  That I'll work it out as I sleep?

Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
We've already covered this, haven't we?

This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.
Fun?  Is her life so pitiful that such a truly COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME would be considered FUN?

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more
than once but less than 10)
Good grief!  Of course it would be more than once!  But who on earth does not want chocolate more than 9 times a week?  Who doesn't want it more than 9 times a day, let alone a week?

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
Why is that bold?  Sounds rather limited to me!

3. Add 5
No, absolutely not - that's enough of that!  I'm done with the math!

4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator
Yeah, RIGHT!  If I won't multiply by 2 or add 5, what makes her think I will multiply by 50?  I mean, really!  50 for Heaven's sake! Therefore, I don't need a calculator.

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1760 .. If you haven't, add 1759...
Isn't that prejudicial?  What does it matter if you've had your birthday yet or not?  Perhaps you have chosen not to have one at all?  And if you can't choose both, some of us will definitely be left out.  Also, I thought the "Hershey Man" knew your birthday already anyway!  But I give in (for argument's sake only) - we'll say my birth year is 2050.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
That's an egregious assumption!  Why do I have to be born in a 4-digit year?  I won't even admit to a 3-digit weight , let alone a 4-digit year! (Except if there's an argument.)

You should have a three digit number.
Says who?  How would they know, really - unless they know the results of my calculations in advance! Hmmm...I smell a rat.

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).
 Oh yeah?  Oh yeah?  We'll see about that!  And does she really think we're so stupid as to not know what our original number was?

The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)
Indeed, YES, it is!!!!! Interestingly enough, they got this one right - although I fail to see how!  (See my answers below.)

At least she gives us fair warning!  Wait out the rest of this year, and then you won't have to do this test at all!

My answers:
1.  I'll be conservative and say 375.
2.  750 - OK, so I multiplied by 2 (did I get it right?)
3.  Nix
4.  I repeat, NIX!
5.  2050
6.  So I get a negative number . . .-1300!

This  test is wrong, wrong, wrong!  -1300 is no 3-digit number!

I thought I wasn't supposed to like chocolate less than 2 times a week!  But negative 1?  No way, José!

So I'm 30 - Well, here they got it right!  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day (and this test succeeds only once!). 

This whole thing ends by retitling it "The Chocolate Calculator."  She needs to make up her mind!  Besides, if it IS a calculator, why would you need one for #4?

I have now come to the end of the snark.  Apparently, I, too, know when enough is enough. . .

(This post comes with a wink and a smile ;-D and an apology to Linda, who will forever be my dear friend!  Oh, and thanks for the e-mail - it made my blog easy today!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


(Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

So, taking to heart  the advice so often offered to me, I give you today's ode - the Ode to Simplicity. You'll see. . .I am trying!

I've heard it over and over again -

The bigger the word, the more the pain

To understand what one is reading!

But I'll not heed such lazy pleading

To simplify the things I write -

No! I can't give up the fight

To use the whole vocabulary

Comprising my own formulary

Of words I use for the edification

Of those who lack my sophistication!

Sound condescending or high-fallutin'?

My reply is "Yer darn tootin'!"

Though I've come at last to the conclusion

That precise expression is my delusion.

Still - I struggle every day

For exactly le mot juste to say.

(Therefore, when I'm in a pinch

I will resort to using French.)

But knowing the distance words can create

'Twixt poet and reader, I know my fate:

Continue to complexify

and use those words that vexify

Or reduce all words to just one syllable

Like "cash is due" for "services billable."

I see it now, my choice is clear:

For my readership will shrink, I fear,

If I continue on my path

And thus incur their scorn and wrath

For my poetry, often complicated

With words long and unaltercated.

Were I to define, their minds would atrophy,

And explaining to them my lofty philosophy

Of language, most surely would perturb me,

Irritate, nettle, rag, disturb me.

So if the reader's always right,

Then I must give up and cede this fight!

From this day on I'll do my best

To satisfy my rhyming quest

By using words both short and easy -

Even when they make me queasy.

But, until I get the hang of it

You can expect me to harangue a bit!

©Paula Tohline Calhoun-2010

This shameless act of self-promotion, by posting my odes several times on multiple sites, is my attempt to put myself  "out there" as much as possible. My bust won't, so I have to distinguish myself otherwise.  Besides, it is my blog, after all.  Please feel free to write your own and publish new material every day.  Me?  I'm lazy, and loving it!

Regards to you all, my Gentle Readers, and when it comes to my sterling poetry, may you never get

enough. . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More about getting old...

I venture to say that "You know you're getting older" when you start writing multiple posts about getting older. Such is the case for us all (getting older I mean). Now, what was I writing about. . .? Oh yes, getting bolder. Don't know why I decided to write about that, as I am certainly not getting any bolder. Maybe I shall try. In the meantime I share with you this wonderful video, shared with me by my friend Linda.

Enjoy - and I wish you all, as ever, enough. . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Mother's Wedding Rings

My Mom's first wedding ring, nestled inside of Dad's.  Note the two "black eyes."

I  wrote a post recently about a ring that my father had given me many years ago:  http://reflectionsfromacloudymirror.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-and-ring-part-2.html

Well, here is a bit of a different story of two others.  It's about my Mom's wedding rings.

Neither of my parents came from affluent backgrounds, although they did come into some affluence through work.  When they were engaged to be married - and I have no idea how long their engagement lasted, although I suspect it was not for long - there was no engagement ring.  Perhaps it was not the fashion, but I assume it was because there was not the money for that sort of extravagance.  I do know that they were married on a Tuesday, with family and friends in attendance, and that my Mom wore a nice brown suit, and my Dad his best (or only) dress suit.  My Dad had a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and had an incredibly analytical mind - extremely intelligent and insightful - he was at that time someone who would today be considered a "nerd."  He always carried a slide rule - might have been born with one clutched in his hands, instead of sporting a "silver spoon in his mouth" that others are said to have.  His habit of always carrying his "rule" around led many to believe that he would consult this device before answering "I do" at the wedding.  Sure enough, the slide rule was in his shirt pocket at the ceremony.  I am told, however, that he did not feel the need to consult it when asked those most important questions.

He must have splurged in the cash department when it came time to purchase the wedding ring for my Mom.  He bought a lovely platinum band that held a 1/2 circle of small diamonds.  It was not an enormously expensive ring, I'm sure, but it probably represented a good chunk of his savings, and its value was in the love represented and not the money spent.  Mom had that ring throughout their almost 49 years of marriage, but she did not wear it in the last several years.  Two of the tiny diamonds had fallen out and been lost.  (This ring, with inferior diamonds removed is pictured above,with Dad's ring.) My Dad took the ring to have them replaced, which they were, but unfortunately they were replaced by stones so inferior to the others that they stood out like sore thumbs on the ring.  He was very disappointed in the jeweler's work, but rather than make a huge fuss, he decided to pay for it, and then get my mother a new ring.  What he got for her - and I do not remember when in their marriage that this happened (it was sometime in the second half of their life together) - was a beautiful yellow gold band with 5 decidedly larger diamonds set on it.  She was thrilled, of course, but she always treasured both.

As I am the only daughter of their three children (and the youngest as well), her jewelry was left to me when she died.  Other than her rings and a few other pieces of semi-precious stones jewelry, the main piece I received was her beautiful string of pearls.  My Mom's name was Pearl, and she wore those pearls every day.  She liked to say that she wore her name.  If you forgot it, just look at her neck!  Daddy had given that beautiful strand to her around their 10th wedding anniversary, I believe.

When our sons became adults I told them that they could both have one of my Mom's weddings rings as engagement rings for their brides if they desired, as both rings were set with diamonds.  Our youngest could have the second ring, our oldest the first.  They both had adored their Granny and were pleased that they would have this token to offer their intended brides.  Our youngest son, Matt, took us up on the offer.  He was the first to marry, and on New Year's Day 2006, at 12:01 a.m., he asked Suddie to marry him after calling her up to the stage where he and his band were performing.  Everyone was in on this proposal except Suddie, and we love seeing the pictures from that night and see the love and excitement in the eyes of them both.  Four years go by, and Josh is ready to propose to his lovely girlfriend, Sarah Beth.  I reminded him of Mom's first wedding ring, and that it was his should he want to use it as an engagement ring.  He was delighted to accept the offer.  That's when the problems arose!

Being a Methodist pastor's family, we have moved around a lot in our almost 35 years of marriage.  As a matter of fact, we now reside in the first home of our very own, since we lived in church parsonages up until Ashley's retirement.  This is our 11th residence together.  I won't say it's the last, because I never know if Ashley will get itchy feet or not.  Since I have seen evidence of recent "foot-scratching," I'm holding my breath.  But that's another story entirely!

When we moved to our current home here in NC, I was still in recovery from my last round of serious illness.  Although I was able to participate in most of the packing to move, my mind didn't hold on very well to exactly where I had packed everything.  This included my jewelry.  I remembered seeing the ring and her other precious items, and putting them in her jewelry box, and I could have sworn I remembered unpacking that box when we arrived at our new home!  But when late last year I went to retrieve Mom's first wedding ring, in order to have it repaired and ready for Josh to use when he was ready, it was nowhere to be found.  *Cue the eerie mystery music*

I went crazy.  For weeks, even months, I searched for that ring, as well as for my Dad's wedding band (which I had also misplaced) and I knew that I had packed them together.  Well, I remembered wrong.  I did find my Dad's ring, and it was by itself in a box hidden deep within another box in my dresser. The hiding place of Mom's ring was still a mystery.  I found her jewelry box and the ring was not in it, so I began to wonder if it had been lost in the move, or perhaps even stolen.  Knowing that it is just a "thing," I tried not to obsess over it, but I felt a very sentimental attachment to that ring and I really wanted to find it.  As earlier this year it began to appear that Josh was nearing the time he would pop the question, Ashley and I decided to take the next "logical" step.  (*Cue ironic laugh*)  We contacted a dear friend of long standing, currently living in Arizona, who is a genuine psychic!   She has always had the reputation of being able to find lost things, and while we had never consulted her in that capacity before, we knew others who had had success with her gifts.  Kathleen has always contended that her "finder of lost things" is the spirit of her deceased father, and at our request (by telephone) she agreed to consult him as to the whereabouts of the ring.  She said immediately that she knew it had not been stolen, and that it would be found, and told us that we were to put it completely out of our minds and to cease looking for it.  So we did.

About a month later, I finally had the determination to tackle cleaning up the clutter and mess that was our bedroom.  It was a huge task, as I had let things go for far too long.  Along about day three of that job, I got down on my hands and knees (no small task, let me tell you!), to pull out things that been pushed under our dresser.  Lo and behold, what is there but my Mom's jewelry box.  I had completely forgotten that she had two of them.  They are of similar style and color, and I then recalled that one of them had been my father's, but she had started using it in addition to her own after Daddy died.  With trembling hands I opened the latch and lifted the lid to discover that precious ring, so long sought after, sitting in the spot where I had placed it more two years earlier.  The relief and joy on finding it was indescribable!  I went shouting through the house to find Ashley and show him what I had found!  We called Josh to tell him that the ring had been recovered, and then decided to call Kathleen that night to let her know that it had been found - just as she said it would be.  We unfortunately forgot to call that night, but we did several days later, and recounted to her the whole story of the recent discovery.

What she then told us added a whole new wrinkle to the story.  She said her father "came" to her one night several days before the day we had found the ring, and said that he knew where the ring was, and that we would find it "by accident" very soon.  But, she also said that when he came to tell her this, he had a very sad and distressed look about him, so she asked him what was wrong. *Cue more eerie music* Her father said that I was not to give this ring away; that I was to keep it, have it repaired and sized for me to wear.  He was adamant.  On hearing this we felt a bit dismayed.  First of all we wondered, if we decided to take that advice, how we would tell Joshua, and second we wondered what could possibly be the reasons for not giving this ring to him and passing on one of our family's legacies? Rather than telling Josh one way or another how we felt, we told him what Kathleen had said. He was also mystified, and seemed (to me, anyway) disappointed.  We left the issue up in the air for a while and sort of waited a while for our feelings to settle a bit.  We offered Josh a financial advance whatever he decided to do - either get a new ring entirely, or to have Mom's repaired.  Nothing was said for a while.  Then one day Josh sent me an e-mail photo of a ring he had found while searching online.  Sarah Beth has a Celtic heritage as well as Josh, and he decided to look for a Claddagh ring to give her.  Below is a photo of the ring Joshua decided he wanted to give to Sarah Beth.  It turns out that the more he thought about it, the more he felt he wanted to give her a ring that would symbolize their own relationship and one that had to do with both of their lives.  As much as he liked the idea of the "legacy" ring, he decided he wanted to go another route.  Problem solved!  I had told Josh that our reason for backtracking on our original offer simply was not good enough.  The idea that we would acquiesce to a psychic vision as the basis for such a personal decision simply did not feel right, and that with all our hearts we wanted him to know that the ring was once again offered to him without reservations whatever!  "Please tell us, Josh, if you feel at all bad about our withdrawal of the offer.  If there is any desire on your part to have your Granny's ring, please say so - it is yours, and we give it with joy!"  Josh said, and we believed him, that he really wanted to give the Claddagh to Sarah Beth, as it would mean so much to them both.  And so, he ordered the ring, and last weekend he offered it to Sarah Beth, and she accepted joyfully!  Needless to say (but I will anyway), we are very happy for them both, and we are looking forward to having another daughter in our family -  especially one as delightful and beautiful as she is, both inside and out.  Wedding plans are being made for the autumn of 2011.

So, what of my mother's first wedding ring?  We are going to have it repaired and sized for me.  It will look very lovely with my own engagement set and wedding ring, and will serve as a beautiful memory of my wonderful Mom.  We hope Kathleen's father is pleased and relieved.

Besides, our granddaughter, Zoë Alison Calhoun, is due any day now!  Maybe someday. . .

Until the next time, I wish you all enough.

The Claddagh ring, with natural emerald and diamonds - and it's even more beautiful in real life!
. .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Ode. . .

Ode to Eating
©2010 Paula Tohline Calhoun

When did the joy of eating
become a sinful passion -
and our senses take a beating
from being slaves to fashion?
The richness of a frosted cake
the salty crunch of chips
are given up, and in their wake
leave rock-hard abs, and bony hips.
Which in and of themselves are good
being slim is no disgrace -
but surely tasting, savoring food
still has its rightful place!
Sweet aromas in the air,
fresh bread with honey dripping,
a newly ripened peach or pear
and dry white wine for sipping.
Can we without a sense of guilt
enjoy in moderation
the pleasures of our stomachs filled
and voice appreciation
for meals by loving hands prepared
and laughter 'round the table shared?
          Here's to the wonderful sense of taste
          I will not have it go to waste,
          or foolishly give up its pleasure
          for the sake of a smaller waist to measure!

Enjoy, with thanksgiving, the pleasures of taste - and remember that moderation is a virtue.  It is a good thing to know when enough is enough. . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How do you pronounce English words? And NO, the answer is not. . .

ngglsh wɜːdz! English is a tough language - or so I've heard - I can't comment on that as I have been speaking it since I was a child. I progressed rather rapidly through the "WAAAAAHHH!!!" stage to better words including above all: "Feed me!" I got better and faster results that way. Up to that point I had wondered why on earth people would change my diaper when all I wanted to do was eat! I kept saying (so I thought) "The OTHER end, you dopes!" Live and learn.

Recently, a blogger friend of "My Literary Quest" fame (see link on right of this page) published a portion of a poem I remember reading when I was in grade school or thereabouts. Here is the link to that wonderful post. Read and enjoy!

So! Get the idea? (Try reading that poem aloud! - and I still have an argument going over whether query and inquiry rhyme. I say NO, and most others say YES! I think I'm right! My blog, my prerogative.) It must be a mind-boggling task to learn such variety and to know when certain rules apply and when they don't. I'm still getting some of those rules straight - particularly when it comes to the ones I have forgotten over the years. It's one of the reasons why I always have a hard-bound copy of a dictionary close at hand, or go to one of the various free dictionary sites online. As a comment on the above post, I posed a quiz. Many of you have seen it before, but if not, can you guess the pronunciation of the following common English words?

GHOTI? OK, that's an easy one (perhaps.) How about GHOUGHPTEIGHBTEAU?

Use all the pronunciation rules you can think of and figure them out. Anybody who doesn't, can comment and I'll send the answers - or maybe I won't! I may someday post them on my blog - you'll just have to read it occasionally to find out!

Until then I close with my hope for you all - that your education has been adequate and that you use good English enough. . .

OK, OK, I'll give you a hint to one of them:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For the Beauty of the Earth

Gracious, goodness me!!!!  Another post, and so soon!  Before you know it, I'll be posting 10 or 20 a day!  (Shudder, shudder)...I tremble in awe of nrhatch and theonlycin, who seem to be able to do multiple posts so effortlessly!  Since my typing is limited, I wanted to share with you some random photographs taken this year around our house here in the mountains of North Carolina.

In the presence of such creation, I am in total awe of God's mysterious wondrous variety!  How blessed we are to witness all this beauty - created for God's own pleasure, which God has so wonderfully shared with us.  I ask that wisdom be granted to all, that we might tend it carefully, to keep it safeguarded from our own foolishness.  How much we have lost because of our own wanton destruction!  How much remains for which we are to show our faithful stewardship?  It's up to us all...enjoy the beauty of the earth!

Here is some of  my recent photos- it is a song of praise to the Creator.

Love those antennae and feet!

Smok(e)y Mountain "smoke" - and I prefer putting the "e" in Smokey, though sometimes I bow to convention.

Near sunset, after a rain.

These guys (and mates) are incredibly prolific!  I've seen hundreds throughout this summer.

They seldom share one of these blossoms. . .

Reflection of the sunrise in our gazing ball.  A spider was busy overnight.

No, I am NOT a lawn ornament!  I'm a Canada Goose (and don't call me "Canadian!"  Never even been there!)
He obviously knows his complementary colors!

Chirrrr - rip!

On these blossoms, they will often share - especially if they are different species.

If you can enlarge this photo, you will see the sticky "sap" that they exude from the ends of their feet.  Keeps them stable, I guess!

Is this where Sikorsky got his idea?

For those of you wondering what some of those insects are:  The black and yellow fuzzy beast is a "Hummingbird Moth."  I had never seen one before this year, and was fascinated by the incredible CONSTANT rapid flapping.  Only a couple of the photos show his wings as more than a blur.  I love the one with the "helicopter effect" of his wings, seen from above!  Also the orange/black butterfly is an "Aphrodite Fritillary," the black/blue is an "Indigo Swallowtail," the black/white moth is called a "Neighbor Moth," and flies around in day and night - unusual for most moths.  BTW, the Hummingbird Moth is also diurnal.  Most of you will recognize the "Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail."  The white/light blue butterfly is a "Summer Azure."  Can any of you find the grasshopper in the grass in one of the photos? The black/orange/white-spotted butterfly is the Silver Spotted Skipper."

Sunset. . .
Hey!  You up front!  Are you sure we're going in the right direction?
The flowers which most of the butterflies are on are our aptly named "Butterfly Bush," and the large hot pink blossom is our Hibiscus - some of its blossoms are more than 8" across, which is not unusual.  The farther south you go, the bigger the blossom!  Hope you enjoy!

Until next time - enough. . .

And now, for today's ode. . .

Once again I resort to my less than off-the-cuff writing.  Due to one-handedness, I'm posting some of my Odes to the Everyday.  Until my one-handedness improves, I will be doing the simpler stuff, like "Copy and Paste," instead of stream-of-consciousness writing.  Do I hear sighs of relief, or some heartfelt "Awwww's?"  Anyway, as this is a gardening and reaping time of year, I present to you my. . .

Ode to My Black Thumb

Whenever I take a morning walk
On a bright and sunny day
I usually take the time to talk
to my plants along the way.
I speak with gentle tone, for
They're dying from neglect
There's much I must atone for-
They've lacked for my respect.
For though each seed was planted
With all my best intent
It seems I took for granted
That they would be content
To grow, without a second thought
from me to fill their needs
and do the daily things I ought:
Adding water and pulling weeds.
The day of reckoning is here
I bow my head in shame
Before the ones I held so dear
And to each gave a name.
Of these withered leaves I ask:
Forgive, please, my mistake!
No more will I take on a task
That needs a hoe or rake.
Vowing this, my slate is clean -
My floral sins forgiven.
And so, to keep my garden green
To this idea I'm driven:
(And pardon me if this sounds sarcastic) -
From here on in, I'm buying plastic!

So, with my UNusual brevity, I conclude, wishing you all enough. . .

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, or. . .?

I  know that all of you, my Gentle Readers, have been wondering where I have been!  Right?  Of course you have - so I will tell you.  I have been indisposed.  Isn't that a lovely word?  Indisposed. . .what does that mean exactly?  Well, Merriam-Webster defines it thusly:

: in·dis·posed
Pronunciation: \-ˈspōzd\
Function: adjective
Date: 15th century
1 : slightly ill
2 : averse

For our purposes today, we will use the first definition - slightly ill.  I am currently in the "recovery phase" following some rather delicate surgery on my right hand/wrist.  Any of you who actually know me are aware that I have had problems with my right hand for several years now, following a surgical accident which occurred during a procedure to repair a broken elbow.  It's a long story, and maybe someday I'll write it out, but I won't bore you with it now.  That is a story to which I am completely averse to telling (at least today!)!

On August 6, I had surgery to fuse my right wrist.  Because of a number of different problems inherent with my own particular wrist anatomy, the surgery took more than 4 hours. I was in hopes that my excellent surgeon would be able to accomplish two procedures this time around and avoid a second surgery, but that was not to be. I am in hopes over the next few weeks, that with some different therapies we will be able to avoid that altogether, but only time will tell.

So!  You now have me as your friendly ONE-HANDED blogging companion.  I know I've said that I've been one-handed before, but now I really am - I'm not to use any of my right fingers - even the two that work! SO, typing and blogging have become a real challenge for me, and because it has become such a time-consuming chore to get my thoughts on paper or screen,  I'm sure you will be relieved to know that I will be publishing over the next few weeks some chapters from my forth-coming "Book of Odes to the Everyday."  Doesn't that sound grand?  If such a book ever comes out, it will be because I print it in my own basement with an old mimeograph machine... I do have a few chapters written, so I will begin with my first ode, which was written many, many years ago - the ones to follow in the forthcoming weeks have been penned more recently. 

Ode to My Books
©1997 Paula Tohline Calhoun

Books in bookshelves, firmly packed,
Books on counters, neatly stacked.
Books by every couch and chair
Books on floors and on the stair.
Books for pleasure, books for learning
(Not one single book for burning).
Books for reading, books for show
Books that shine with afterglow
Of days spent telling stories culled
From those same pages read of old.
Books we’d love to give away,
And books to savor, meant to stay
With those who know the joyous taste
Of books embossed and leather-cased
Devoured as the hours pass
While sitting in some boring class.
(Those who say that class was wasted,
Don’t know just how good that book tasted!).
Books by authors known to few
Books so old that now they’re “new.”
Books that nourish starving minds,
Books for everyone, all kinds.
Books that still reside in me,
Fresh, as they will always be.
Should all the world and all within it
Fall away this very minute –
Were there no humans left to love,
Just my books, and God above -
Then list my life replete, well fed!
With all my books, I’ll be well-read.

And - when it comes to reading, dear Gentle Reader, there can never be enough...