Seven Sometimes, a poem

Sometimes I feel like crying
but all the tear drops are dry.

Sometimes I feel like singing
but have forgotten the words.

Sometimes I feel like flying
away from everyday.

Sometimes I feel like dancing,
but my feet refuse to move.

Sometimes I feel like laughing
but I just don’t get the joke.

Sometimes I feel like writing
and hope my Muse will concur.

Sometimes I feel like dying
but there’s lots of living still!

©Sometimes, 2016

Moon-watching on a cold Winter night

These are some photos I took with my little Sony Cyber-shot.   I was intrigued by the visual effects through the double-pane window, so opened the door and went outside onto the small deck.   There is very little room for movement there.  Specifically what I wanted was to capture the moonlight reflecting off an icicle hanging from the eaves.      The temperature was about 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr

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In the second  photo the moon is shining off of the icicle, I was not able to get more  length because of the cramped space.   The moon is hazy, not clear.    I think the horizontal row of light in the lower right is reflecting off of snow across the road at a greenhouse there.   I like the way that the maple trees are outlined against the background, but I wonder if there is a way to pull up better contrast.    I am not using flash in this photo.

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There are three orbs in this photo.  The top one is the moon, the one to the left is a street light, and the llower orb is a reflection of the moon taken from inside the house, through the window.   Both the moon and the street light reflections can be seen on the railing of the porch outside.   In the lower photo, there is a double reflection of the moon.  DSC02226

“Me Time?” Why it’s not my ideal Saturday morning? It never is…

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

 

Why not?  Well, let’s see…the answer to that involves a ride in a tow truck.   Not that there is anything wrong with wreckers–in fact it’s sort of fun when the ride is on the turnpike when the truck can go really fast and the driver likes to lean on the horn.  Scares the bejeebers off of me if I’m the motorist riding along minding my business, but sitting there riding shotgun in the tow truck cab is…..well, empowering. 

It had warmed up to about nine degrees with the sun streaming down on the tundra.  The van had stopped in the middle of the driveway, facing the road, a bonus for the tow truck driver.    The two rear tires were beyond flat, they were flapping off the rims as they  dragged up onto the flatbed.

Thank golly for the AAA club membership that includes towing costs, or I would be lamenting with comments involving dollar signs $$$.   As long as I’m on the subject, the club only pays for the towing. not the tires…which set me back a few bucks.

To get to the actual WordPress Daily Prompt question about “Me Time”…

My ideal Saturday morning would be to get up at 8:00 a.m., make coffee, feed the inside cats, feed and water the outside cats without having to retrieve the one who got inside when the door was open. Then toast a couple of strawberry PopTarts without burning them.

Then sitting down at the computer, and settling down to work.  Ideally, there would be a wireless signal, and yahoo has my email ready. So far so good, but if the Windows decides to update, that is an issue.  The myriad computer connection issues will not be present this morning.  Ah…at last, fingers on the keyboard, web site working well, its time to get to work.

Then, keys clicking away, a feeling of contentment arrives.  The computer and printer and all other things that could possibly go wrong take a day off, and cooperate happily.  The telephone does not ring.  No one rings the doorbell.  Peace and quiet reign.

OK, that’s the ideal Saturday morning for me.

Then the interruptions begin.   A tentative voice whispers “Mom…”  Followed by any combination of sentences beginning with
“I need, We are Out of, The ___ won’t work.  The cat threw up…, Will you take me to ____.   I need twenty dollars–.”

The tow truck not withstanding, any number of Murphy’s Laws are applicable to cut into Me Time.

Continue reading ““Me Time?” Why it’s not my ideal Saturday morning? It never is…”

How I handle my books inventory…hey, wake up, this will be fun

My best friend has her own way of handling her stash of books. She either fills boxes with assorted books or arranges them haphazardly on shelves: no particular order, no genres, not even all in the same position…backwards, upside down, stacked, any way at all. Her paperbacks range from new to should-have-been-tossed-ages-ago. She doesn’t care if there are rips in the covers, bent over corners, or no covers at all.

Being a book collector and a book seller, I admit to having different ways of shelving and sorting depending on one criteria: My Books; and Books to Sell.

What is the difference? Let me elaborate.

My Books, which as the name suggests, my personal collection of books that pre-dates my book-selling business. My Books are sorted according to subject, and the system within each category has the books sorted alphabetically within. My largest category is, of course — History. United States History, Latin American History, Ancient History, and World History.

OK, please stop yawning. I’ll get along to my Books to Sell inventory system.

First a word about my inventory. (I’ll keep it brief, I promise.) In a nutshell, I have right now about 1,500 books actually listed online. However, my numerical system includes inventory numbers up to 2,500.

Why? Those have been sold.

I have a straight numerical ordering system. Originally it started with book 00001, but the actual starting book is numbered 00028….

WHY?, because my computer ate the first twenty-seven book titles.

When a book order comes in, I find it easier and more efficient to think of it as number 02371. Here, let’s find the book….ah, hear it is: Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell….right on the shelf where it should be.

Isn’t that book about a horse? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just have a category: HORSES?

No, it’s easier to have it just listed in order: 02371. See how easy it was to find this book? See the little white sticker with the book number on the book spine?

What if it was not in its space?

Well, that means there would be a frantic search, entailing looking behind and under, or misplaced, on the shelf. We won’t really go into that to any depth. If it is really missing I can always buy one from HalfPriceBooks.

How did you know how much to charge for that book?

I’m glad you asked! I look on Amazon and there are hundreds of this book. But since this is a specific edition and it does have an ISBN number, I just look on the list and choose the picture that is on my copy.

ISBN? International Standard Book NUmber…every book published since about 1973 has its own unique ISBN number.

What if it was an older edition, or a different edition…would you list another one instead?

Oh no, I wouldn’t. It is important that the customer get exactly the copy and edition that they want.

Why would they care?

It may be that they are looking for an exact book that a teacher read to them when they were in third grade, and it had this picture of the beautiful black horse galloping over a meadow. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to find an exact edition…then what I would do is make a specific listing for the exact book that I had.

That sounds pretty complicated.

Oh, I can explain it all to you. First you do a search on Amazon: with the name of the book and as any details from the copyright page ….please don’t roll your eyes like that.

Sorry…let’s go get ice cream. I’m never going to sell books anyway.

,

A Place I would NEVER want to visit? Nah…

Is there such a place? I don’t think so. Oh sure, there are places where I would not want to be at a given time…say in the midst of a fire-fight in a war zone. But that could be anywhere at any time…even a small town stand-off between police and a gunman. I wouldn’t want to be in Florida during a major hurricane. Or out on a polar ice cap wearing a bikini. A lovely volcanic island would not be very attractive when covered with molten lava.

Would I like to visit those places? Not under the circumstances described, but in fact there is no place that I would cross off my list of places to visit EVER. There is an inherent charm in every place. Or if “charm” is not really the way to describe it, I should say an inherent “interest” or “attraction” or even a morbid fascination.

At this time of year in Northern Ohio we often hear people say they are moving to or vacationing “some place warm to get away from the winters.” These are the same people who say they live in this area because they “like the changing seasons” or don’t like the heat and humidity elsewhere.

Having lived in, visited, or traveled all kinds of places in the United States and elsewhere, I can honestly say that there was no place that I did not like, if for no other reason than the unique characteristics.

During actual residence in Texas, Oklahoma, Germany, and Arizona (all courtesy of the U.S. Army)… the exciting and mundane all blended into day-to-day living conditions in special circumstances. Living in a place for any period of time over a few days is admittedly much different than spending a couple of fun weeks in hotels and resorts. Eating in restaurants is much different than whipping up spaghetti in one’s own kitchen.

The features that delight some tourists and disgust others — oceans, deserts, iceflows, mountains, heat, cold, forests, miscellaneous bugs and disgusting or scary animals — remain pretty much static in any given location. It can be mighty hot in Arizona; cold and rainy in Seattle; friendly people in Georgia, detached ones in New England; alligators in swamps and bears in national parks. Yeah, some people love it and some don’t.

A bit of discretion and common sense is a good thing when it comes to choosing timing of a visit to a certain area. Go to Florida when its warm and sunny; go to Michigan when the weather is condusive to getting out and enjoying those lakes. Try to avoid New York during blizzard season.

Then there is me–like I always say “do as I say, not as I do….” Back in the 1990s when a grad student here in Ohio, I had occasion one year to schedule two research trips. Where and when? Wisconsin in the spring, when there was still snow on the ground…and New Orleans in September, when it was too hot and muggy to move. Now those are two destinations that I should have chosen better times of the year…reversing them would have been good. But although my timing left a lot to be desired, I LOVED both destinations.

My secret refuge high above the trees of Yucatan.

There is a place that I go to in my mind whenever there is a need for a shut-down.   It is called Nohoch Mul, a pyramid built by natives a long time ago on the southern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cancun, Mexico.  It has probably been overrun by tourists by now, but when we were there years ago it was still in a pure state of ruin, cleared only of enough vines to allow stout-hearted climbers a relatively open path.

I had been to the Mexican pyramids before, but not this particular place… COBA     When I saw the great pyramid, I knew that I HAD to climb to the top.  I am terrified of heights, so when my husband looked up and found me half way up the pyramid he was bemused.  In fact… I was already wondering how I was going to get back down…but I was committed at that point, and concentrated on reaching the top. The last step is the worst, as there is usually nothing to hold onto.

Once my knees stopped shaking, and it became apparent just how far below was the ground, and looking down at the tops of the big old fir trees, I gazed around in a circle.  As far as I could see was jungle, with an occasional bump of another pyramid peeking above the trees.  There was a small building on top of the pyramid, made of stone, empty.

For a few minutes I was alone at the top, in awe at the beauty and air of ancient times.  This is the moment that has endured in my memory and the magic place that I go to when necessary to be free of all earthly concerns.

The next person who appeared over the edge was a man with a camera, a biologist or anthropologist (or just a guy with a camera.)  He went to the little building, reached inside one of the niches and pulled out — a BAT.   It was sleeping, since it was middle of the day.   To my amazement he took a pair of tweezers from his bag, and removed a tick from the bat’s mouth, saying that ticks were unhealthy for bats.

I made it back down the pyramid without having to call the local EMS helicopter, and lived happily ever after.

Dealing with Writer’s Block — Just write about it!

Most writers suffer from an ailment called “writers’ block.” I Have given the malady a lot of thought over the years, and I do have some suggestions to offer. Here’s what I suggest to others: JUST WRITE! Sit down and grab your pen, and write something…even if its wrong. Start with a word like “the,” and add a noun… cat, woman, oregano plant…and build from there. Even if it doesn’t make a bit of sense, just get the fingers to work writing. Once a few sentences of jibber jab are flowing across the page, the muse will take over and unlock the channels of deathless prose that are stuck in your brain.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well here is what I personally do when I sit down to write: I sit and stare at the pen, or inspect a fingernail. Then get up and head for the kitchen for a cup of coffee…what the heck, and pop something in the toaster. While away from the writing place I might as well use the bathroom. I try to ignore things like the washing machine beckoning for a load, or plants gasping for the watering can.

If the phone doesn’t ring, or the cat do something bad in the hallway, or the coffee stays in the cup, I head back to the writing place, sit down, and write some words like: “the elephant took a chance on finding a place to park in the busy driveway…” yep, doesn’t make sense, but heck…there just might be a spark of genius in one of the words in the sentence–elephant, driveway, parking… and there we go! Writing at last.

This post is a response to a Daily Prompt post. The post dealt with a wonderful suggestion for creating a sort of “job jar” for writers who often need a boost in creation of ideas to write about. The link is included below, in case readers suffer from writers’ block. And who doesn’t?)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/prompt-box/#comments

The problem of the very fleeting nature of brainstorm ideas, like dreams, are such that ideas for clever turn of phrases, a hilarious thing that happened, a flash of brilliance from the brain–these happen all the time. We just need to be prepared to capture these gems and write them down for posterity.

Which brings me to the opposite of writers block–trying to stop the flood once the ideas do start pouring forth. Sometimes I can’t write/type fast enough, and have no way to remember the footnotes and flashes of insight that dash through like those metaphorical calendar pages that zip by in the movies.

Writers’ Block is always a good topic itself to set the writing juices flowing.

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