Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shovel? Maybe Later

Poor guy, he’s probably wondering: What happened to all those signs of spring I saw yesterday? Where are those blossoming cherry trees? And where is everybody else? - Photo courtesy of KELLY (Colorado)

SUDDENLY, it’s wintertime again in Colorado ... writes KELLY: Last week trees and flowers were blooming. Then we had this crazy blizzard. Now next week, the temps are supposed to be back in the sixties.

There is over 20 inches of snow on my patio in only the last five hours. It is still snowing. The governor declared a state of emergency. More than 100 miles of the interstate, many highways and many main roads are closed.

There is only one highway and one two-lane road to my town; they are both closed.

But, KELLY continues ... the blizzard is actually good ... because my town gets 100 per cent of its water from the mountain’s melt-water. But ... it is not so good for all the trees and flowers that began blooming last week.

And concludes: I think I’d better go out now and shovel a little, or tomorrow it will be even deeper and heavier shoveling!


WEATHER WAS certainly a matter of concern to LOREE (Kansas), too:

I have this habit of listening to my NOAA weather radio ... much more like getting it from the horse’s mouth!

The forecast for tomorrow (at the time she was typing an e-mail to me) ... and especially tomorrow night, doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun ... storms and possible tornadoes!

I don’t need a crystal ball to let me know what kind of a night I’m in for with Psycho dog. It’s reached the point that I make sure she isn’t around, even, when I listen to NOAA ... for they do NOT spell words like "deadly lightning, wind, rain and tornadoes," which are now all a part of Dixie’s vocabulary!

(Loree confides that it has reached the point that she almost feels like they ... her canines ... have taken HER in, the way they rule the roost around there)

Anyway, Loree continues: with the dread of tomorrow night building in my mind, I typed "thunder and lightning make my dog go CRAZY" into the Google search line and hit "Go"! Well, it seems I am not alone, for that brought up page after page of the very same complaints from other earthlings, as well as possible "help" steps for surviving those episodes.

(She found a remedy that seemed promising ... and I’m awaiting further developments as she puts it to work. Particularly since it’s supposed to be good for people, as well ... and, Loree reports ... honest ... "I ordered two bottles ... one for the dog and the other for me ... in case hers doesn’t work!")

LOOKING BACK - All the way back to Monday, Nov. 11, 2002 ... when Squiggles & Giggles was a weekly e-mailed "newsletter" ... and I was dancing on the table in celebration.

Why was I dancing?

Well, Jo Ripley, artist/owner of The Itty Bitty Art Gallery in Waynesville, Ohio, had heard me read one of my poems about art (in this case a painting I had done) at an open mike session at Borders ... AND, on the basis of that, invited me to bring in some of my paintings ... she liked them, and they joined some very good company in her gallery.

Alas, "Itty Bitty" is no more, but I really enjoyed that interlude.


OTHER VOICES - In an e-mail entitled "Spring has finally sprung," HOMER (Illinois) writes: "Well, I think we have survived the winter, and now we have to prepare for ‘tall grass,’ fast flies, hungry mosquitoes, and humid weather. How y’all doing?"

(Oh, so far so good, HOMER ... but if we hear those flies and skeeters heading this way, we’re heading for the tall grass, in hopes they won’t find us there)


TODAY’S POEM: Snow is never funny ... really. It can be beautiful, particularly in the aftermath, but it can be devastating, too.

But funny? I don’t think so.

There was one occasion, though, when I thought the situation ... particularly my reaction to it ... might just bring a smile for the reader who has had the same experience ... and the same reaction I had ... to one snowstorm in particular.

The poem:


From door to street
Isn’t all that far,
But with a sleet-
And snow-bound car
Stuck in the drive,
I might just as well
Take another five
And snooze a spell.
(originally published in Mature Living)


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, March 21, 2009

Breakfast for Two

Ah, SPRING! It’s officially here ... after all those months of huddling together for warmth ... after muttering to ourselves as we kept counting the days remaining ... it’s REALLY HERE!


Spring, of course, is when a young lady’s thoughts turn to ... gardening.

At least that’s what happened to LOREE (Kansas), and here's how she relates THAT experience :

Well, I wanted a garden again this spring ...

I go through that absurdity each spring when the birds start singing and the sun feels warmer. Unfortunately ... I tend to lose interest as the weeds spring happily up in the tilled dirt.

This year I decided to spend the new stimulus money (which isn’t even here yet!) on one of those new-fangled Mantis cultivators. Not only did I spend the expected money, but added $40 of my own to it, to complete an online transaction.

Yesterday was the big day ...

Though it said "completely assembled," it turns out that it was up to ME to put the tines on it, secure them with the cotter keys (remember those?), and get it ready for a test run.

(I even ordered an electric one, since I do NOT do rope pull starts NEARLY as well as I used to in my heyday).

In no time at all, I had that heavy-duty 200 feet of extension cord untangled, plugged in to the cultivator, and WHOA, NELLIE!

That little thing pulled me forward, bucking over the buried honeysuckle roots like a bronco faced with its first ride! To add to my problems, I was so startled that my hands froze on the handlebars, and trying to find the OFF switch was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Then there was the small matter of the two dogs ...

Psycho dog, not to be outdone by wimpy Sammi (trying to act brave as well) ... both went on the attack ... growling, barking, teeth gnashing ... I feared for their lives, momentarily, before I started to worry about my own!

Finally, and I know it was an accident, I found the switch without even LOOKING ... and there was a sudden deep stillness ... with me relieved and the dogs disappointed.

I can see right now ... there will have to be some strict ground rules for the dogs ... and I admit that I will need a few lessons to get comfortable with that tiny monster!


Whoa, NELLIE, indeed! If I undertook such a project, I’d still be working to be sure those tines wouldn’t go flying off in all directions ... and the dogs ... well, I imagine the dogs would be standing there ... looking at each other ... wondering how long it was going to take me to get that thing up and running.


TODAY’S QUOTE: "When the road gets bumpy, I just slow down, lean back, relax ... and enjoy the scenery." - Professor Squigglee. (If you’ve heard him say that before, please forgive him ... he’s not "getting old," he’s been there for a l-o-n-g time)


THOUGHT FOR TODAY: "As you get older, your secrets are safe with your friends, because they can’t remember them, either." - courtesy of HELEN (Florida)


TODAY’S POEM: As is sometimes the case, I was not actually a witness to the crime depicted in the poem, but the information came from a usually reliable source (not, incidentally, Luke the Cat).

I did meet both principals in this case. I can believe that one of them was, indeed, engrossed in the newspaper when the action took place. He has been known to work an occasional crossword puzzle.

I find it hard, however, to believe that Luke would stoop to such thievery as is detailed here.

Still, it does appear to be one of those crimes of opportunity, and when opportunity knocks ...

Good news, though: I understand that Jerry and Luke, despite this transgression, remained good friends.

Today's poem, originally published in Capper's:


An unsuspecting
Jerry buries his
nose in the news,
savoring the paper
while Luke the Cat
pulls a little caper
with a stealthy paw,
takin' the bacon
from Jerry's plate.


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

Afterthoughts ... in response to your comments:

I think you're right about the Mantis, This and That ... sounds like a good workout. In my case, though, I'd likely get my workout by running in the opposite direction, if I saw one coming toward me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Then One Day, Spring

"Winter is almost over here in Ohio and we can see the deer wandering around now." - Illustration courtesy of WALT (Ohio)


AT LEAST one reader of S&G has admitted that she forgot entirely about DST! "I finally figured it out Sunday evening," she reports. (Her name is being withheld on the theory that she may be an ally, albeit an involuntary one, in my one-person campaign to bring an end to DST foolishness).


I DON’T KNOW if the fault is DST, but it could be ... the days are flying by so fast! Here it is Friday again (as this is written) ... and it seems like only yesterday that it was Friday a week ago ... and I was "sprinting" to collect my thoughts and others' (mainly others') for another installment of S&G. My, how time flies when you're ... well, whatever ...


LAST WEEK’S poem about my old hat reminded LOREE (Kansas) of the one her Dad wore to "important events" ... "so old, with a tiny feather in the band for decoration, but alas, which also served to draw attention to the dark discoloration around the hat ... caused by sweating ... and the hat had its own unique odor. But I knew when he dressed up in a suit, and put that hat on, that our destination was going to be something special!"


BOOK NOOK - Word from KELLY (Colorado) is that she’s reading "Deep Survival," by Laurence Gonzales ... and she says: "Don’t let the title fool you – it’s about much more than extreme wilderness or war scenarios. It’s so good, the first pages are giving me chills (the good kind!).


PROFESSOR SQUIGGLEE would like a show of hands ... yours, that is: How many of you came through Friday the Thirteenth unscathed? All, I hope ... or maybe something ... not really bad ... but funny, happened to you. OK?


LOREE (Kansas), who has administered so many electronic pats on the back via S&G (I long ago lost track of exactly how many) ... has a site that I recommend:

When you visit, pay particular attention to her poem, "Dear JT" ... which marks the second anniversary of her youngest son’s death. "I try to do a poem (for him) every year," Loree says, "though words have a way of being inadequate for describing my feeling this day."

She adds: "The graphic is a photo of him, at 4 years old ... he was a happy-go-lucky kid ... just like me!"

She has lots of other poems ... and music ... on her site. Have a good look around.


TODAY’S QUOTE: "The world’s drivers seem to be divided into two groups ... the SPEEDERS ... and the HEEDERS ... of speed limits, of course. The first group seems to operate on the philosophy that "a little bit" ... doesn’t really matter, as long as you don’t get caught – like a little bit of shoplifting, a little bit of cheating, while the other group (a very small number, it would appear) seems to accept that those roadside/streetside signs are meant to convey a message: The safe LIMIT - not an option, but a LIMIT - on forward motion on a particular stretch." - Professor Squigglee.


TODAY’S POEM - I’m always glad when spring arrives, as is evident in today’s poem. Oh, I don’t spend the whole winter in a countdown of the days until that happier, warmer season arrives ... but I do look at the calendar occasionally, and do some rough calculations as to when the ice cap might start retreating.

Where I grew up, the arrival of spring was a happy occasion, indeed.

The poem:


After the long, gray parade
of frozen winter months,
there eventually came a day

unlike others in our valley,
when the sun seemed brighter,
warmer, the breeze softer,

clearer, carrying birdsong
in floating crystal notes,
snow beginning to inch back

from the steaming roof edge
of a nearly-empty coal shed,
sending tear-like trickles

of water drip-drip-dripping
onto earth where daffodils
soon would be punching

slender fingers through,
reaching for the warmth.
Then high along the ridge,

at the bluffs where a stream
would struggle with thirst
in July, there issued

the robust song of water
newly freed from the cold,
tumbling head-over-heels

to reach the rocks below
and come racing toward us
with the great good news.

(originally published in Capper's)


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, March 7, 2009

Goodbye, Old Hat

REMINDER ... for the benefit of those who might not have heard by now: This weekend is when we’re supposed to set our clocks forward ... on the rationale, as I understand it, that the time change will give farmers an extra hour for playing golf in the coming summer afternoons.

And how do I remember which way the clocks go?

Easy, right? First we SPRING FORWARD ... then we FALL BACK.


The more I think about it, the more confused I become (as though I could be any more confused than I already am).

Anyway ... if you’re as confused as I am, check with neighbors to see what they’re going to do in the middle of tonight ... unless, of course, they check with you first.
Good luck.


ONE OF MURPHY’S Lesser Known Laws (courtesy of HELEN, Florida): "The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room."

(This will be evident, of course, when you’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to reset all your clocks. Actually, does anybody reset them then?)


LOREE (Kansas) ... had a busy day ... did the outside chores, came in and thawed out, then did a couple loads of laundry, attacked the kitchen ... and, it would appear, the kitchen fought back.

She has a buffet-type piece of furniture there, holding her video viewer ... and the TV is perched precariously on the top shelf. Loree opened the doors beneath, sat down, and ... SURPRISE! ... "everything stuffed inside behind the doors slid out into my lap ... seed catalogs, JC Penney sales notifications, and ‘Birds and Blooms,’ for clear back into the beginning of 2008 ... last time I cleaned it was in January of last year, so I was a bit behind schedule this year ... I was amazed to count at least a dozen seed catalogs already ... for THIS year."

She kept the catalogs ... and the "Birds and Blooms," still in their wrappers and unopened ... and some time this year, she says, she actually get around to using the viewer to look at them.

Having survived that episode, she capped her day off with a two-hour nap that made it possible for her to get up long enough to do the outside chores again, fix supper ... and clean the kitchen all over again.

(Whew! I’m not sure a two-hour nap would be enough to get me going again.)


WALT (Ohio) writes: "After a very long time I finally found my way back to S&G, with help from Loree out in KS. It was like meeting an old friend that I had not seen for a very long time."

Welcome back, Walt ... old friend! Welcome!


Which leads us to ...

TODAY’S QUOTE: "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa (courtesy of WALT, Ohio)


EARLY WARNING ... as you may already know ("bad news travels fast") ... next Friday is FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH ... need I say more?


THE OTHER DAY we had the pleasure of having lunch with a group of former co-workers whose custom it had been to gather to celebrate birthdays of those in the group ... It was great seeing them again, of course ... but I was amazed, via their respective updates, at how fast their children seem to be growing up. And how old I’ve become.


TODAY’S POEM - I don’t even have a picture of it (the hat that’s mentioned in today’s poem, that is). The original had never, to the best of my knowledge, sat for a portrait ... nor even had its photo snapped by someone mistaking its wearer for a celebrity.

So I had to resort to a stunt double to illustrate the poem about its plight ... and (sniffle-sniffle) mine.

The double, of course, is a younger version of the vanished one, but it's gradually becoming ... well, quite comfortable, like an old pair of shoes.

But now, the poem:


"My old brown hat is gone!"
I cried.
"When did you have it on?"
she sighed.
"This year, or last.
Time goes so fast."
"The one rumpled, crumpled,
and torn?"
"Yes, yes! Tattered, spattered,
Twenty years my best buddy ...
all that.
My oldest, dearest friend,
my hat.
Now it's gone, left no trace.
I'm wild ..."
"I'm sure it's, uh ... someplace,"
she smiled.
And, looking me straight in
the eye:
"But it was time to say
(originally published in Capper's)


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