Saturday, February 28, 2009

Summertime Blues

THIS JUST IN ... from LOREE (Kansas) ... "Oh, my gosh ... this is FRIDAY, right? I just now had a thought fly into my head ... that I had NOT checked out S&G ... This has been one of those weeks, when the warm temps had me out and about ... and everything else seemed so immaterial!"

But she did pay a visit ... just in the nick of time. Professor Squigglee, that old stickler for punctuality (in everybody else), was just about to mark her absent.

Loree’s take on the poem? "Lost in Thought" sort of became "Lost in Time" for her, in view of the kind of week she had. She noted "Splash!" (the art), too ... and that set her to thinking about the need for painting the new siding on her shop/studio ... whether to call in a crew ... or do it herself ... which she concluded would definitely qualify as "Splash!"


KELLY (Colorado) indicates that the weather there has been running hot and cold ... "One day 60F, the next 30F. It’s fun to have a 60F day in February. Sure makes my green thumb itch! But I’ve learned the hard way. It often snows in May."


TODAY’S QUOTE: "I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back." - Maya Angelou (courtesy of HELEN, Florida)

Helen’s e-mail, which contained several Angelou quotes, had the following ending: "Please send this to five phenomenal women today ... If you don’t ... the elastic will break and your underpants will fall down around your ankles!"

Now THAT’S a warning I take SERIOUSLY.


BOOK NOOK – Word from KELLY (Colorado): "I am really enjoying People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. Come to think of it, Penguin is the publisher of a lot of the paperback fiction I enjoy. I also started checking out Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who ... series. I read them years ago, and thought I’d re-read a couple here and there. They’re lovely for light reading."

Me? I’m still making my way ... slowly and carefully ... in my spare time, mind you ... through Poetry and Experience, by Archibald MacLeish.

And what’s on your reading table?


TODAY’S POEM - I’ve been looking forward to summer ... longing for those mornings when we won’t wake up to find the world turned into a sheet of ice ... locks frozen ... ducks and geese slipping and sliding across the pond.

Oh, how I long ... all winter ... for those summer days of sunshine and warmth.

Of course, when summer finally arrives, I try to find REFUGE from it ... and my thoughts turn to those cooler temperatures of autumn ... or spring ... or even winter.

I suppose it was ever thus. Has been, with me ... at least a very close and dear friend reminded me the other day when I was expressing a longing for summer.

"Don’t you remember LAST summer?" she asked. Actually, I did (I just about melted) ... but sorta, kinda acted like I didn’t remember it at all.

But even the extremes of summer can provide material for a poem, and It might even find a home someplace, as this one did (with Capper’s):


I've got those
good for nothin'
summertime blues.
My handkerchief
has wilted,
my shorts have
turned to glue,
my socks have
already melted
and run down
into my shoes.
Oh, I've got 'em bad,
as bad as they can be,
those prickly-pested,
heat infested,
good for nothin'
summertime blues.


FREE ADVICE – from KELLY (Colorado): "Now be nice to your computer so it doesn’t conspire with the noisy squirrels in mutiny again! And give a little pat on the hood of the trusty Little Red Car."

Consider it done, Kelly. Consider it done.


COMMENT? Feel free ... below, if you like.

Or if you prefer e-mail, that's fine, too ... especially for more detailed observations, to

... and it helps if you put "Squiggles" or "S&G" ... something like that ... in the subject line (just remember, no religion or politics ... please!)


UNTIL NEXT week ... take care ... see ya.

© 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost in Thought

WARNING: I have nothing to write about this week ... really ... even The Little Red Car has been behaving ... and Professor Squigglee ... well, we all know he’s famous for dozing off ... even when exciting things are happening all around him.

The reason I start off with a warning?

We all also know that my inclination is to write endlessly ... about this and that ... then about that and this ... when I have nothing ... really nothing ... to write about.

But this week I am going to try very hard to avoid going off in all directions ... just because I have nothing of substance to say.

I almost said I was going to PROMISE not to do that ... but promises are so fragile ... so easily broken ... I’m just going to TRY, rather than promise ... and leave it at that.


SPEAKING OF TRYING, I always try to find a piece of art ... something I’ve turned out ... a drawing ... a painting ... a photo taken with my cheapo digital camera ... maybe a doodle ... just something to go along with the accumulation of words.

Today, if I can put my hands on it, I’m sharing an acrylic painting that you may have seen before. I call it "Splash!" Hope you like it.


TODAY’S QUOTE: "Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers (courtesy of WALT, Ohio)


LOREE (Kansas) was looking for a man ... but not just any man, mind you. She was looking for the mechanic where she had bought her riding mower.

"I threw the belt off my pretty new lawn mower," she explains, "so the blades would not engage, and I couldn’t mow."

When she called him, the mechanic promised her he would come out the next day, armed with a new belt, "just in case." No problem, right?

Days passed ... no mechanic, no belt, and NO phoned explanation.

Plan B: Loree called a friend ... and she sent her currently unemployed son out to take a look.

Loree continues: "I got my little trusty floor jack out, and in no time at all we had the mower all jacked up. I got the manual ... and we followed the pattern, around all FIVE pulleys, and, in no time at all, I took it for a test drive."

It was WORKING again. And that absent mechanic? Who needs HIM?


BOOK NOOK – After a delightful interlude with Imagining a Life, by Jane K. Kretschmann, I’ve dusted off one that I started a long time ago. It’s not light reading, by any means, but I’m enjoying bits and pieces of Poetry and Experience, by Archibald MacLeish ... as I’m winding down late in the evening. Admittedly, I may have to backtrack to pick up some of the threads ... but I’ve done that before, too ...


TODAY’S POEM - Admittedly, I’m not always sure exactly what the trigger is for a particular poem. What I’ve jotted down on a scrap of paper may not even be headed in the direction of a bit of free verse when I first scribble it. Later, it may grow into something worth sharing with others ... maybe not.

Sometimes I simply go off the deep end with a word or phrase so common in our lingo that we don’t even give it a second thought. I like to take a look, sometimes, at what the word or phrase’s mirror image might really be.

Take "lost in thought," for example. We all know what it really means, that we are engrossed in our own thoughts to the extent that we’re not really aware of our surroundings.

Then one day I took a look at it from the prospective of really being physically LOST in thought ... not likely to happen ... but it did turn out to be a poem, accepted and published by ByLine Magazine.

The poem:


If I were to become
lost in thought,
would I wander forever?
Would anybody notice
that I hadn't come
home for supper?
Would search parties
form sagging lines, go out
into the darkness,
beating the bushes
and calling my name?
Would I be
on the six o'clock news?
Would I ever
be myself again,
or would I return
as someone completely
different, a person
I have never met?


COMMENT? Feel free ... below the current installment, if you like.

Or if you'd prefer e-mail, that's fine, too ... especially for more detailed observations, to and it helps if you put "Squiggles" or "S&G" ... something like that ... in the subject line (just remember, no religion or politics ... please!)


UNTIL NEXT week ... take care ... see ya.

© 2009
Afterthoughts ... in response to your comments:
Thank you, This and That. I'm glad the painting ... a bit of a departure for me ... hit the spot for you on a mid-winter's day. I also hope the sound site gets things straightened out ... meanwhile, I'm looking at other possibilities ... in my spare time, of course ... now where did I put that digital recorder?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Someday, Yes!

(One of my old, old paintings ... dusted off just for the occasion)


And I hope it’s a great day for you ... even if ... like me ... you’re confined to merely WATCHING while others indulge in the sweet treats that go with so many holidays (my doctor seems to have ways of detecting that I’ve even been watching, much less gobbling any of my ... former ... favorites).

As some of you may recall, I was once known as The Cake Man ... but now it’s officially ... and forever ... The Cake Man (ret.).


FRIDAY WAS SUCH a beautiful day here in Ohio that I did indulge in one of my favorite pursuits.

The Little Red Car was ready and waiting when we emerged from the back door ... descended the recently ice-freed steps and walked ... with nary a skid nor slide ... to the garage.

The wind was still a bit nippy (a reminder that, hey, it’s not quite spring yet) ... so we went to a park ... had an in-the-car picnic ... dining on sandwiches we had picked up on the way ... and sharing a low-cal drink.

Then we explored the park ... well, parts of it, at least ... on foot.

We didn’t venture too far from the paved portions ... driveway ... parking lot ... a walkway down to a dock where we watched the ducks and geese enjoying the open water.

We couldn’t help noticing that there was still ice on the water nearest us ... still a bit of snow in a shaded area along the shore.

But it was great to get out ... even though when we arrived home I discovered that ... while I was gawking I’d been walking in some mud. It appeared that The Little Red Car had stepped in some, too.


BOOK NOOK – I’ve finished reading Imagining a Life, by Jane K. Kretschmann ... enjoyed it ... recommend it. And what have you been reading ... or recommend ... or both?


PICKING UP THE PIECES - One of these days I’ll quit harping on computer problems ... weather problems ... math problems ... all kinds of problems ... and simply get back to normal squiggling and giggling.


But when I sat down to start work (Work? Can I really get away with calling it that?) on this installment of S&G, the phrase, "picking up the pieces," immediately came to mind ...

I have so much of that to do ... maybe I should rename S&G ... all of it ... PICKING UP THE PIECES.



SPEAKING OF picking up the pieces ... LOREE (Kansas) watched as the workers jumped out of their truck and hit the ground running. They were there to install a new carport.

"What they said they usually do in 40 minutes took an hour at my house," Loree reports. "Not because they enjoyed the location and hated to leave, but because the wind was gusting to 50 miles per hour."

Loree was especially concerned for their safety when it came time to take the long, wide sheets of roofing metal "up top."

"I warned another bystander," she says, "to be sure and stay upwind from the sheets on the ground ... then came inside for a cup of coffee and a break from the wind."

"I returned to the window in the entry door just as three sheets of metal decided it would be easy to fly ... and got airborne. They traveled probably 20 to 30 feet before crashing into the circle drive further north."

The project was completed though ... and Loree concludes: "Even in Kansas, the wind eventually tires out and lays to rest."


TODAY'S POEM - On occasion, I may say that I'm "sprinting" ... but don't worry, I'm not ... even when others are standing still, my own motion would never be mistaken for sprinting.

I do move short distances ... or for brief periods of time. In that respect, I may seem to be "sprinting" ... but even that is a bit of a stretch.

Likewise, this talk (in today's poem) about high jumping is not to be taken literally.

Oh, there was a time ... mind you, I didn't set any records in the high jump ... but I did manage to clear the bar a few times ... the crossbar, that is ... and ... maybe once or twice ... I did come dancing up out of the sawdust-filled pit (those were the good old days ... before all these cushy landings that await jumpers now).

Anyway ... for now, the poem:


I keep setting
the crossbar higher
on personal goals,
practicing harder
on my approach,
take-off, landing,
working toward
that height
my mind's eye
sees as my limit,
that level I will
someday clear,
adrenalin pumping,
glitter of sawdust
showering off me
as I come dancing
up out of the pit
into the circle
of winners. Yes!

(originally published in Capper’s)


IF YOU FEEL like making a quick comment, please do ... below the current installment, if you like.

Or if you'd prefer e-mail, that's fine, too ... especially for more detailed observations. Just send an e-mail, please, to and it helps if you put "Squiggles" or "S&G" ... something like that ... in the subject line (just remember, no religion or politics ... please!)


UNTIL NEXT week ... take care ... see ya.

© 2009

Afterthoughts ... in response to your comments:

I'm glad you like the little painting, This and That. It's something of a worm's eye view of the steps leading into what was once one of my favorite stopping places on our summer jaunts. I sometimes still feel the sun on my back when I look at it, so I've enjoyed it, too, and enjoy sharing, of course.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anybody There?

Recent days have been a blur ... like being caught in a swirling snow storm ... like we actually were (though, thank goodness, we were just watching from indoors).

There were days that we didn’t even get out of the house ... unless you count popping a head out and extending a hand to see if any mail had arrived.

Others tell me that they experienced three days like that ... but it seemed more like three WEEKS to me. Time really drags sometimes, doesn’t it?


EVEN AFTER we broke free of the house and ventured out across the icecap ... there was ONE night ... and I’m sure The Little Red Car will not forget THAT night.

You see, Brimm Manor ... the main part of Brimm Manor, that is ... is separated from the luxurious, multi-bayed garage by a long, sweeping driveway (I’m sure I’ve mentioned the long, sweeping driveway before).

Without any encouragement ... or assistance from us ... that driveway had turned into a long, sweeping ice rink.

Not having any ice skates in Little Red when we returned from an evening out, we decided it would be better ... safer (we didn’t want to break any ice by falling on it) ... to use the servants’ entrance at the side of the main house.

That, of course, meant that poor, long-suffering Little Red shivered in the driveway overnight.


NEXT MORNING, we discovered that Little Red was covered with a new blanket ... of fresh snow and icicles.

As might be expected ... Little Red was a bit put out about being treated that way ... didn’t respond cheerily at first when we turned the key ... but relented (the prospect of new, warmer adventures, no doubt) ... and we were on our way again.


ONE PLACE we visited ... on a br-r-r-isk winter evening ... was the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center where we ... and a pleasingly large crowd of others ... were treated to a poetry reading by Jane K. Kretschmann, leading off this year’s series of "The Poet Speaks."

It was a great reading ... and on the way home we talked about how glad we were that we had ventured out on such a cold night ... Little Red seemed pleased, too ... and just purred right along.


ONE DIVIDEND of our venturing out to the Troy-Hayner was that I acquired a SIGNED copy of Jane’s (yes, we’re on a first-name basis) collection, Imagining a Life ... and it’s on the top of my current must-read stack.


ANOTHER PLUS ... the Troy-Hayner is always showcasing a generous supply of pluses ... was that we had an opportunity to view the stunning work in the "Uncommon Threads" exhibit by the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network.

The very thought of that is enough to bring warm feelings ... but that’s nothing compared to the visual treat the work provides.

For those within driving distance, I heartily recommend a look ... but don’t delay ... the show ends February 22.


MORNING FOG ... have I mentioned that before? It ushers in the start of each day for me.

I thought surely that would cease with retirement ... you know, an easy schedule ... no need to be out and about before sunrise ... or even AT that blessed event.

But it never ends, I guess.

Here I am on Saturday morning ... thanks to having frittered away a Friday evening in the face of a looming S&G "deadline."

I’m sure you’ve already detected inverse tendencies at work ... the less I have to say, the more I write.


WHAT I REALLY sat down to say was that I appreciate your patience ... I really do ... while I continue to struggle ... not with just the encroaching icecap ... but with computer problems ... and my own tendencies toward disorganization and slowness.

I’m trying ... really trying ... to catch up on my "Chosen Words" postings ... to stay current ... now ... with S&G ... AND to catch up on responding to your kind, generous, thoughtful comments through all this.

One of these days ... I almost said that I’ll be fully caught up ... but I’m not sure that will ever happen.


MEANWHILE, your continued patience, please ... and, finally ... here’s another poem:


If I were to begin
sharing my poetry,
all these feverish
things I’ve written,
would anybody hear?
Would anybody listen
during "open mike"?
Would bus passengers
get up and move out
of earshot? Would
strangers dart down
dark alleys? Would
cats cross the street,
dogs whine, beg off?
Would - I say, would
you please wake up?
(originally published in PKA's Advocate)


IF YOU FEEL like making a quick comment, please do ... below the current installment, if you like.

Or if you'd prefer e-mail, that's fine, too ... especially for more detailed observations. Just send an e-mail, please, to and it helps if you put "Squiggles" or "S&G" ... something like that ... in the subject line (just remember, no religion or politics ... please!)


UNTIL NEXT week ... take care ... see ya.

© 2009