snow and cats…in a slideshow.

Here’s what happened overnight: December 1, 2020. This is the scene from my office window, directly across the street is the Huge Yellow Tree that I featured here a few days ago. Alice, my little cat that also appears in these pages now and then, has never seen snow before…she was quite impressed, although she seemed to be worried when she saw her friends outside of the door.

The wet snowfall was quite heavy, and weighted down tree branches. I’m happy to say that now, a day later, much of the snow has fallen off and most branches have snapped back into position…except for the occasional branch that has broken and will take some tree-trimming to repair.

The trio of yellow/white cats are related to each other in a couple of generations, but none of them are related to Alice. The tent -like structure is my most recent annual version of a cat shelter. These cats are not my house cats, and they just live outside at will most of the year, but I like to provide this ramshackle shelter for them. The main structure is under the cats, a table lined outside with bales of straw, and clear plastic to provide windows and light. The shelter walls are adjustable depending on the weather, if it is too warm they are uncomfortable, but I want them to have a warm place to sleep and hang out in the winter. The temperatures here in Ohio vary greatly within a very short time, and it could get unseasonably warm, or down below zero.

I still have not quite figured out the new innovations built into the Word Press Editor, otherwise I would have captioned each photo. I haven’t done a slide show before. All of the photos on this post, and on my site SOMETIMES, are taken by me, unless otherwise stated. More photos of the snow (and the cats) to follow.

Frilly aprons and Floating Island…remembering Home Economics

Back in Junior High School days 1940/50s most American girls were required to study Home Economics. Boys had Shop Class, which familiarized them with tools like wood saws, screw drivers, hammers and drills other Man Tools used for building cool objects like birdhouses, candlestick holders, bookends and the like. Their sisters and other girls learned sewing skills like hemming, threading needles, and taught them their way around the Singer Sewing Machine…a wonder that was already familiar to housewives. The girls got to choose fabric yardage, buy a variety of sewing equipment like seam rippers and pincushions, and embark upon the adventure of sewing an apron. The making of the apron introduced the girls to cutting, pinning, basting, gathering, seam-sewing, and attaching pockets.

The girls also learned about kitchen appliances and acquired cooking and baking skills…and soon were capable of producing a delictable dessert called “Floating Islands.” The lesson involved making vanilla pudding, then adding a dollop of Merinque “floating” on top…which, to refresh the memory, involved separating egg whites from the yolks (without breaking the yolks!) and whipping the whites into a frothy cloud of topping…then browning the merinque under the broiler in an oven. (A valuable skill for learning to be a wife ūüėČ

Girls also learned the art of washing clothes…sorting, washing, hanging on a clothesline, (no dryers yet) and proper folding….or ironing, which involved additional skills. I used to like ironing. In fact I liked it so much I may write a blog about it.

All this reminiscing about Home Ec class…and its joys or horrors for young girls, depending on their point of view…brings us to the point of this particular blog post—making homemade masks for use during the COVID19 pandemic.

Immediately the internet was flooded with pictures of masks, patterns of masks, sewing instructions, news articles from the likes of CNN, Washington Post, New York Times — in addition to all the DIY online shows, magazines — even the government produced demonstrations, patterns and tips for making masks.

So immediately upon getting everybody excited about making face masks….the fabric stores ran out of elastic; then they ran out of dark color fabric, and plain prints suitable for a small garment in place of lavender unicorns and smiling flowers. The biggest outrage of all, there was suddenly a shortage of sewing machines. All the stores were sold out. But undaunted, I decided to order one online. I found a Singer Sewing Machine site, which had numerous heavy-duty machines, each $84.00, no tax or shipping, and the promise to “ship the next day.”

So I cleared a place on my kitchen table for the new machine, and waited…and waited…and finally after about three weeks, did a USPS tracking check. Ah ha! My sewing machine had arrived from China at the USPS distribution point in Akron, Ohio. I waited for it to be shipped on to Cleveland, where it would then go to my town, North Ridgeville. About ten days later I did a PayPal search, and discovered that although my sewing machine had been indeed waiting in Akron …it had disappeared. Someone stole my sewing machine. I got my money refunded immediately, but still…

By this time I had discovered that my little Singer that I had had for maybe 20 years worked just fine once the top thread was threaded correctly. Duh. It wasn’t that I had forgotten how to thread sewing machines, a skill I learned when I was about eight years old…”they” had altered the threading sequence ever so slightly over the decades since Home Ec class.

Same point of view, two days later:

Same Yellow Tree….taken on Saturday, November 15. Same vantage point, view out the window of my office room. Then scroll down to see what three days and a brief, but mighty windstorm did to the neighborhood:

Taken Tuesday, November 17. The Tree, as I call it, is seen as actually at least two individual trees, as is obvious from the second photo. It took only two Ohio November days, a touch of thunder, rain and hail, and high wind to completely change the scenery. Nature at work. (Photos ©Sometimes, 2020.)

Autumn Ohio glory in full color

A late summer shot of my Tree Garden

A little (Hazel) nut tree is new this year.
My gorgeous Red Maple tree.

This Ginko Tree’s genes from the State House in Columbus, Ohio.

This giant Red Maple tree planted in 1940. Not sure of the genus of giant Yellow Tree across the road…
Another shot of the Yellow Tree.

(All photos ©Sometimes, 2020)

Writing whisps and whispers, revised and re-posted

[This poem that I wrote in 2016 reappears occasionally as I look through my blog, I have re-published it before (in 2017 I think,) but in between it becomes obscure and only pops-up when I discover it again.]

I write when the bottom is sinking in again
and the Snafu rises to the surface.
Sometimes writing a poem has the effect of
sucking all the Bad out, and diluting the poison.

I write when the mania has taken control
and after the screams have subsided
or are drowned out by the deep silent sobs
and the shuddering fibers of my thundering heart.

I write when there is no other way to speak
when the words refuse to be dragged
from their pages where they are neatly shelved
hidden shyly behind thoughts and whims.

I write when I am alone, not forgotten
as much as being un-present, invisible at night,
lonely and merely outside of my realm of being
lost and quite unaware of existence.

I write when in a crowded room of laughter and jest
…a make-believe woman far from magical dream scenes,
waiting quietly for something unknown and unexpected
returning from a place she never had been.

I write on an airplane, lifting off into the sun
embarking on a journey to the mysterious lands
beyond comprehension or itinerary, planned or imagined;
faceless strangers for companion, confidences, and comfort.

I write in hotel rooms, or tropical cabanas, by swimming pools…
in restaurants and cafés, in city squares and gardens,
by convent walls with crumbling paths of ancient stone
in sun-baked patios cooled by humming, whirling fans.

I write in trees–high in the branches, among bird’s nests and aeries
hidden from prying eyes that would observe or edit, or criticize…
the thoughts and ideas that appear to be written in flowing script,
too fine to be human–word letters shaped with flourish and flair.

I write in buses, (in between naps,) inspired by wheel sounds on pavement,
the hiss of the door and the pull of the brakes, give texture of sensation
to the passing landscape–punctuated with traffic lights and bus stops,
and spend the travel time enjoying the skills of the driver.

I write in bed, holding a fat notebook precariously, (an impossible position,)
gripping unyielding edges until my hand aches and throbs so the pencil rebels…
defying legibility of penmanship, the rational thought of re-settling begins to intrude‚Ķ. or  the Cat succeeds in dislodging my grip.

I write the best, in my opinion–in my Mind.   But alas! thoughts are fleeting!
The challenge: to timely capture elusive expressions of tender intuition…
those whispers that transverse the deep realms of the conscious mind
…before they can disappear without having been born.

©Sometimes,2016

If I had a contest this post would win the best prize…I smiled throughout! from Edge of Humanity Magazine

I have been following Edge of Humanity Magazine for awhile, and it is truly remarkable in its content and photography. My face aches from smiling so much while I read this. I am a huge fan of the Goodwill and Salvation Army, to mention just a couple of American thrift shops. This innovative and interesting project has practical as well as esthetic appeal.

Anyone else using the DuckDuckGo search engine? Re-blog from Jnana’s Red Barn.

I like this subject—search engines— Thanks to Jnana Hodson for the reblog. He is one of my favorite writers.¬† I did comment, and feel inclined and encouraged to write a blog about search engines here on my own blog, Sometimes;¬†coming soon.

Jnana's Red Barn

Always a contrarian with an aversion to Big Brother, I’ve been open to alternatives to Google for online research. Still, it seems to come up with the broadest results.

Lately, though, I’ve been relying on DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com/) as an alternative, largely on its promises to keep my wanderings more private. What I am finding interesting is the fact that it comes up with a different swath of results than Google does.

Yes, I still turn to Google, no apologies, but I do like getting off the freeway, if you know what I mean.

I am curious about other search engines other folks are using ‚Äď and why.

What are your search engine preferences?

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On Writing Poetry for Fame and Fun

A couple of years ago I enrolled in some WordPress classes. They were free, and served to help in learning the WP system, and meeting new like-minded people online. Short stories, flash-fiction, various forms of poetry, and educational or informative opinion pieces. Photography classes were fun and instructional. All of the classes were interactive, no pressure—there was a daily assignment and interactive chat rooms and commentary. Students were free to do a project that was “assigned,” do something else, skip the exercise altogether. There was no judging, no right or wrong, everybody’s work was respected no matter what.

My favorite was Poetry Class. I suppose I learned some poetry forms back in literature classes in high school, but most of that information I either ignored or filed away back in my file-cabinet-brain. To this day I love reading poems out loud. There is something about poetic meter that is as deep as song, and pulls me out of the doldrums or self-pity-dumps within my soul.

My favorite example is in these first six lines of the classic account of the famous (if factually lacking) poem by e.e.cummings.

The first poetry that comes to mind to this very day is e.e.cummings’ classic account of the famous (if factually lacking) poem about Christopher Columbus. Hear are the first six lines

(Here we go: let our eyes glide over the words of the opening line::)
“In fourteen hundred and ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.”

(Now, let’s try it again, with emphasis:)
” In FOURteen HUNdred NINEty Two
ColUMbus SAILed the OCean BLUE!
He HAD three SHIPS and SAILED from SPAIN
He SAILED through SUNshine, WIND and RAIN
He SAILED by NIGHT; he SAILED by DAY;
He USED the STARS to FIND his WAY.”

Doesn’t that metered rhyme add a poke and a jog to the reading?

[to be continued…]