New Leaf…stay tuned

OK.     Enough time has been wasted on the agonizing and agonistic misadventures of the United States Government (or lack thereof.)    I do hope to live long enough to ingrain some of the History of the World Under Trump into my DNA.   Right, I’m not even sure that is possible, about the DNA that is, but the truth is that until about twenty years ago I was not even aware of such a thing.       Science was never my bag,  although my interests and obsessions lie as much with clouds and rocks, bugs and sea creatures, as any one.

A basic interest in Geneology is in fact part of my basic make-up, due largely if not mainly to my Dad’s Mom, my Grandmother Lillian Turney Piper.    The font of knowledge or awareness of our family origins was argueably Lillian’s mother, Ann Avann Turney, of Tenterton, England.      OK, enough with the name-dropping.

We lived with the aforementioned forebears until I was three, so direct influence of Great Grandma Ann was by osmosis, so to speak.   She no doubt talked with me a lot about family affairs.  She also kept personal diaries after the age of about 80, when she was forced to curtail her former active social life and retreat to her home.   There she wrote her faithful diary entries…and discussed life and the world with visitors and family.    She read daily newspapers and other periodicals, and often wrote and received personal letters.

Visitors included members of social clubs, and church membership.   GG Ann was into all sorts of world activities, and wrote poetry.   Yes…a poet.   There was no WordPress then, of course, no computers or email.   The telephone was tied to the wall with a cord, and used only in turn with other people on the line (of course they listened in) so one just stated their business and got off the phone.    No texting…no cell phones.

GG Ann was keenly interested, and involved to whatever possible extent, in the WCTU: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union.   Their target—Alcohol.     I wish that here would follow exciting tales about women in long dresses and big fancy hats smashing bars and bottles with axes.   Or at least, rolling pins.     I have no details about GG Ann’s adventures with the WCTU, although there are extant examples of her original poetry and quotations clipped from newspapers.

To get back to my new pursuit…as I said earlier, my preoccupation with the United States government (or lack thereof,) only grows by the hour, and has no practical application to my personal blog.    My associates, followers, correspondents, critics…mostly are on the same political page wherever they are in our world.   Common sense and questionable judgement urges me to stay out of the comment sections of various venues, on the premise that everyone has an opinion and anything I say they will ignore, take offense, or call me names…which hurts my feelings.    Preaching to the choir has no direct result except winks and thumbs-ups…and arguing with the posters, trolls or not, is counterproductive and only makes me mad.

This morning a blogger pal reposted an article from a newspaper that mentions the Koch Brothers and hitherto emphasized family (group?) The Mercers.   I know who the Koch Brothers are…friends of Trump, I think…but the Mercers?   Hmmm, I have decided to find out who these people are, what they are up to, and—if they are related to ME.     GG Ann’s grandmother was a Mary Mercer… so that’s my new preoccupation.   (stay tuned)

 

 

The Pen…by poet Charles Yonkings

The Pen

There is a bang
as the gavel
strikes the bench.
My mind unravels
from the sentence
that is imposed
Just another case closed
and life as I know it ends…
Ten years thrice to
serve in the pen.

But then
I pick up my pen
and start to live again.
With each stroke of  ink
I transcend
my transgressions,
release
my repressions.
And for the first time
I am truly free
because of the pen.

©Charles Yonkings,2016

Extradition…by poet Charles Yonkings

Extradition

Click go the cuffs
clamped on wrists,
rubbed raw
from the irons’
cold embrace.
Legs shackled,
chained at the ankles,
Crammed
in a cargo van
Filled
with fellow fugitives
on a journey
across country
to fulfill fate’s wishes
and the desire of destiny.

©Charles Yonkings, 2016

Stats are fun!

I love the STATS feature of WordPress, and every once in awhile go to the page and look it over.   Actually its two pages.   They are very well organized, and I notice some new twekes that I really like.  For instance the Followers list now has that little round bubble photo with the blog avatar.   Mine is a yellow rose.

Today I have had four visitors so far, or to be more specific, visitors from four countries: UK, Ireland, Australia, and someplace else.   The multi-color map illustrates where the viewers are in the world at a glance.

There are statistics showing Yearly and Daily progress.   My stats begin when my blog did: 2011.   I think two people looked at it that year…and I know who they are!    2012 and 2013 the blog sort of languished in cyberspace without much attention.     Then at the end of 2014 it picked up, when I started to take it more seriously.

In 2015 and 2016 the posts multiplied.   This is when I enrolled in several WordPress classes, which were free and fun.   This is also when I met lots of other bloggers, some of which have remained loyal to this day, originally classmates in various courses.   There was Writing 101, Writing 102;  Photography; Poetry Writing; Fiction Writing….just to name a few.   The classes were voluntary….could follow themes or just wing-it and write whatever.   Different forms of Poetry—that was my favorite, where I learned forms of poetry that I never knew existed.    (Oh, I guess I did, from some old English class participation, but promptly forgot.)

The cool thing about the classes was that there were assignments, and huge class lists of bloggers that signed up, and every day for the class period (a week, month…) my followers list grew.

So for a good time check out your Stats.

 

Second Guessing myself…

Day 8, 2017.

Wow!  We are already heading into the second week of the new year.   January is the busiest month of the year as far as family birthdays count.   My late husband, two grandsons, a son, great-granddaughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law.  And that is just my immediate family, not counting at least one niece from my Florida-Clan.

I used to send cards with detailed notes in them, and even money.    Now that I am basically a poor church mouse, I’m lucky if I get a card out at all.   Oh, sure, there are electronic cards that are relatively easy to send, and I must say those are often very attractive…and they even sing or play music for the recipient.

My intentions are good, and yes, I do know what they say about good intentions.   I do at least think about people on their birthdays.

Unfortunately (I guess,) I am not really into Facebook or other social media.   Let’s not go into that here, with a wink and a nod to my excuse/reasoning that these venues cause a LOT of trouble.   E-mail was bad enough, always a risk for correspondents.

Blogging is my love, being a source of endless blank pages on the computer screen, beckoning with a promise that I can write/say almost anything about nearly any subject.  I write poetry, essays and diaries about the good old days…at least MY good old days.     My goal for this new year is to write something every day…or at least re-post something that I have written since my blog SOMETIMES was born.

One of the sweet things about blogging is that we tend to attract like-minded writers who more or less follow our work.   We enjoy each others’ photos, essays, and poems, and short stories.

One rule I set for myself is to write with care.   To me that means avoiding offending anyone, getting uppity with those who do not agree with me, or writing obnoxious or unsubstantiated  things.    Normally I rest fairly well assured that when I push the SEND button, and later when someone opens my post to read it, there will not be any adverse effects.    Sometimes (often, actually) what I write is intended to be humorous, though representative of my views and opinions.   Satire and sarcasm I use sparingly,  with care and judgement.

I have published 671 posts to this blog, Sometimes, as of a glance to my Stats page just moments ago.    This represents steady publications the last couple of years, and the total over the life of my blog since 2011.   I have deleted two posts that I recall, rewrote a couple, but most have stood as written.      I don’t think I’ve offended or insulted anyone, and I take great pains to avoid such writing.

My number one goal this year is to write every day.    Actually I do write daily, usually in a variety of diaries and notebooks…then transfer items to my blog.    Once in a great while I have misgivings about a post, and accordingly re-write it, edit it for spelling or grammatical errors…and for any questionable content.     It takes a few moments to go back in the pages and fix typos or mis-spellings, or to make glaring corrections of fact.

Yesterday I wrote one of my problem pieces, and have mulled it over in my mind since.   It is about the infamous Wall which has been proposed…whether actual or theoretical, our president-elect now owns this idea, and possibly feels he has an obligation to “build the wall.”.     My purpose was to post the link to photos of the existing wall between the United States southern border and Mexico.   The suggestions that were included in my post are facetious…tongue-in-cheek…sarcastic.   When I came to my computer this morning I fully expected (dreaded, perhaps,) some negative comments about my rather outrageous “suggestions” for extending the border.    Especially worrying to me are “guests” or browsers who happen-upon  what I write, not regulars that recognize snide…ok, snarky…sarcasm.    So far so good…

 

 

 

I’ll pick a BIC…pondering a pencil

At once the rhyme is stalled,
the fluent flow of words stilled,
the dulcet murmur bereft of
sweet music of endless ages.

The pencil point  rests upon a noun,
its description lost and barren
with failing adjectives and
lingering resting diction…

The words are there,
upon the page,
waiting patiently
for the tender tenor of softly
scratching graphite on white paper…

So  satisfying are pages
filled with silver grey threads
woven in intricate, unique handwriting.
Pencil lead so soft, recorded with
the flourish of fine exotic ink
without the permanence of errors
impossible to eradicate with invisibility.

© Sometimes, 2017

organization begone!

So far so good
on my New Year’s resolution,
already Day Two!

Clearing my desk
may be part of the solution
of my goal to be tidy.

On the other hand,
the only reason to tidy my spot
is to pile up new clutter.

Neat pristine spaces
seem such a darn waste…
like bookshelves sans books!

New manila folders
with crispy sharp tabs
are nice but tend to confuse.

Organization
tends to mystify storage
if it all is “where it belongs.”

So for Twenty-Seventeen
the main goal is writing
and working the blog!

Happy New Year
my friends and fellow bloggers
wherever you are!

© Sometimes, 2017

Welcome back…Muse

suddenly the dam holding my attempts at poetry in abeyance has broken.  Praise be!   This was an especially long slump, and it probably won’t be my last, but I’m SO glad its over.   I have not even had my camera out except for ebay work—which means no autumn trees, no flowers, not even any cat pictures.

Here’s one I wrote a while back…just waiting for the light of day.

 

My Muse has left me
she’s taking a break,
a well-deserved furlough
for both of our sakes.

She works night and day,
inspires me and prompts
with clever ideas
and turns of phrases.

Without her I stumble
stammer, or mumble
incoherent turns
of uninspired chatter.

poignant and pointed
and perfectly phrased
trite and trivial
droll or drivel…

patronizing or haughty
sometimes a bit naughty
dramatic or dull
inappropriate or inane

flowery prose,  tortured phrases
along side ravings that make me seem crazed
or things that perhaps would be better unsaid—
I’m just so happy when my Muse is not Dead!

© Sometimes, 2016

 

STATS update…new record! Hourly views up to One from Zero! Woot…

I got a nice note from WordPress yesterday:

On Sunday October 2 you surpassed your previous
record of “most likes in one day” for your posts
on Sometimes.    This is pretty awesome, well done!

Current Record— 101
Old Record— 100

 

Then later on yesterday I had another message from WordPress:

Your blog, Sometimes, appears to be getting
more traffic than usual!  

31 hourly views
Hourly views on average — 0

A Spike in your Stats!

To date — October 3, 2016     I have had on my blog —

569 Posts
16,507 Views
5,960 Visitors

 

Dreaming imaginary Prague

(original title: Dreaming imagination)

I have never been to Prague, except in daydreams…
but my impressionable mind is easily led
into the magical world of zithers and Gypsys,
of violins singing and wailing in ageless melodies…
music of joy and abandon…or sadness and melancholy.

Put on your hat, my girl, and come along with me…
We will trip the light fantastic (or is it a Fandango?)
whirling, twirling and dancing …and laughing at nothing
as our echoing soles  click and ring among  the cobblestones…
back to the days of fancy and intrigue.

Halcyon days of exquisite youth and passion for it all–
sordid or glorious, respectable or ridiculous–
days when common sense stayed at home amid the quiet
and comfortable over-stuffed chairs…and crackling radio static
never quite able to drown out the strains of an orchestral tune.

Prickles of goose bumps remind of running with n’er-do-wells
and bad influences…those mysterious, exciting  ones that
never existed, masquerading as “ladies” and “gentlemen,”
life’s forbidden (or at least frowned upon) adventures
among the brilliantly dark recesses of shadowy corners.

The mere mention of Prague always brings unseen wonders–
half-vision, half-dream.      There are Ladies in satiny dresses
and impossible shoes…. dancing away the nights, until dawn.
They sway with the music of instruments with no names,
enticing dangerously handsome partners with unknown designs.

But I digress, as is my wont…
the thoughts of romance and mystery subside–
old Prague returns to an idea that lives on
for dreamers…and poets.

©Sometimes, 2016

Thinking about Gerunds

Sitting on the swing, and swinging, with Peggy
half asleep and full of bliss
and thinking about something I may have never
thought about before —except maybe in English class
back in the distant days of schooling.

In a daydreaming state, defying description,
except for some beautiful words:
lingering
meandering
singing
dreaming
swinging
remembering
enjoying
words with lovely meanings of warmth and comfort
and a glorious state of well-being.

Getting to an upright position, from such a lap of luxury,
after napping on a swing on the last day of Summer
is a fete of accomplishment in itself!
aching
smarting
limbs sleeping and creaking
glad to be alive!

©Sometimes, 2016

(Here’s a Wikipedia post that is a must for people who like Gerunds and the like.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerund

childhood memories of war

Perhaps the most vivid memories of nursery tales were not of bunnies or bantering fairies…but of War and its aftermath.     We here in the United States did not suffer the horrors that children in other countries did, the bombings and air raids and worse.   But such accounts were very much vicariously present.    And directly following the Hot War followed the Cold War, with its insidious psychological terror.

I was eleven when World War II ended in 1945.    What I write here are my impressions as a child.

Here in the Cleveland, Ohio area we had three major daily newspapers in Cleveland,
in the 1940s-1950s.    Subtlety was not a virtue to our dueling newspapers, bent on gathering new and worse  predictions and statistics to entertain and scare the heck out of the readership.     Everyone read the papers…there was no television in the vast majority  of our homes, and except for newsreel productions in the movie theaters,  the newspapers were the major source for information about the “doomsday bullseye” which so impressed us as kids!   We lay on the floor with the front page of the paper spread out before us,   especially the issues with the giant bulleye dominating the front page…we traced the maps and figured out the implications for us personally…we lived  roughly 30 miles from the epicenter, which was presumeably down-town Cleveland.      In those days the  Cleveland area was a major producer of steel and—I was very proud to say—the twelfth largest city in the United States.

…tales of missile silos that later became parks
where ducks paddled in glistening ponds
surrounded by Lilies and Begonias
casting their colors in pinwheel flashes

This  was all a  grim and grotesque point of pride for me (for many of us kids) in the knowledge of having—within our own perimeter—huge metal monsters capable of unspeakable destruction.   This perverse, but prevailing situation had the effect of providing bragging points in discussing the relative extent of our living areas from the Bullseye Center at the heart of the city.   The really spooky thing is that my peers and I understood (mostly) the implications.  We discussed it in school, and excitedly and conspiratorially mapped our own possible destruction and theoretical  survival rather matter-of-factly, if not with particular sophistication.

The encouraging news—such as it was— lay in the conjecture that relative safety
existed outside of a radius of thirty miles… outside of the “immediate blast” area.
After that was a series of concentric rings, inside of which various stages of non-annihilation “might” exist.   This included various degrees of exposure to radiation,
and theoretical projected life-expectancy.

But comfort came in the form of experts’ advice on preparing our underground shelters and keeping them stocked with water and food… supplies sufficient for about two years.    Then came the horror of realization of implications that under the category of “supplies” would have to come stores of ammunition to arm the guns that would be necessary to guard our family stores  against neighbors and friends—and planning for continued survival AFTER the theoretical “all-clear” sirens sounded and we could come out of our shelters and return to — What?

Even us children understood that if the GOOD news was that survival from an atomic blast would (or might) be possible—this was also the BAD news.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Novels

The Name of the Rose, Humberto Eco.    (I love this book, have read it at least three times, its about a monastery library in the 12th Century.)

Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan (All-time favorite.   My third grade Christmas present.  About some Norwegian kids and German soldiers.)

The Last Juror, Robert Grisham  (I like Grisham, this is my favorite novel of his.)

Wake of the Red Witch, Robert Rourk (My late husband’s favorite, he read it I don’t know how many times…I read it once, and it is the kind of novel that I didn’t want to end.)

Bad Spell in Yurt, C. Dale Brittain (series)   (I love her fantasy tales, I’ve read the series except for the last couple.)

The Queen’s Fool, Phillipa Gregory   (I enjoy this because although its fiction about Henry the VIII and his carryings-on, there is enough historical fact to justify reading romance fiction so avidly 🙂

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy  (I love this book, intriguing and romantic.)

The Sahir, Paulo Coelho  (Coehlo…anything he writes is wonderful.)

Mistress  of the Morning Star, Elizabeth Lane  (The plot is the very first account of the Aztec empire, Hernan Cortes, and his lady La Malinche.   This is fiction…but it is also my top influence for choosing Latin American Studies as my field.  I tried to use it for a reference once, but that was not well-received by my mentor 🙂

Fahrenheit 911, Ray Bradbury    (All the things I like: firemen, the future, books, crooked governments, and Science Fiction at its best.)

The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman (I have all of Hillerman’s books, and I want to read them again.   I like Navajos, indigenous people in general, Arizona, the Desert, and cops.)

She Who Remembers, Linda Lay Shuler.  (Historical romance again…about native society and a female head-of-state…and Kokopelli! )

These titles are all novels that I have read at least once, have some kind of personal attachment, and plan to read again.

mundane memories, my personal day of horror September 11, 2001

Great events of all magnitude—those days that remain in our memories as vignettes of personal recollection—return almost as re-runs of popular experience. Everyone has his or her own version of what happened to them, or relative to them on that day…some, actually “most,” I should say, are pretty mundane. Perhaps the vivid memories of irrelevant, impersonal  details of a monumentous happening, is what keeps us sane when the world around us is in turmoil.

Here’s what my day—September 11, 2001—was like.

At a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I pulled into the parking lot of the bank. The car radio was tuned to NPR (National Public Radio) as usual, and there and there had just moments before been a news flash, cutting into the programming, announcing that “an airplane” had flown into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. Details were sketchy.

The first person I encountered was a U.S. Postal Worker, a mailman, who had parked his little vehicle next to mine. I said “did you hear about the 757 jetliner hitting the trade center tower in New York?” He replied that he had not had the radio on since he had begun his route.

“No,” he said… “but it could not have been a 757…maybe a 737.” I often wonder if, when he realized that I was right, he remembers saying that.

My next stop on my day’s itinerary was Target. The check-out clerk had not heard the news about the incident in New York…nor had any of the customers standing in line. There was some discussion about the crash being an accident; the plane in question having been a small commuter jet aircraft; and general disbelief that such a thing could happen in the United States!

During the day the radio continued to report the progress of the unfolding drama in New York, and when I got back home the television news was all over the story…and that Boeing 757 crashed into that building over and over and over again as they re-ran the film footage. Then the second plane hit the other tower, with black smoke billowing into the skies.

My granddaughter was coming back to Cleveland after a stay in California. Flying on the red-eye from Los Angeles, the flight was on time and nearing Cleveland. Her mother, and uncle, were waiting at the airport, approaching the security check-in place, where they were stopped by security guards. They were told they could not go beyond the security point. (At that time visitors or meet-and-greeters were normally permitted to progress to the loading gates to meet arriving passengers.)

My son, who is dark complected and has a beard, was getting more attention from the security people than usual, questioning him about where he was going and who he was. He and his sister were told to wait where they were, which they did. The security guards seemed agitated, and there was more hustle and bustle around the area than was normal at that time in 2001.

Soon, passengers came hurrying down the passage and toward the baggage claim area, and a brief wait, my granddaughter appeared walking down from the arrival gates. The airport staff directed her and the others to leave the area, and on to where her luggage was sitting off to one side…the attendant told them to hurry, that the airport was closing…to get the baggage and…get out! (She didn’t say why, probably not sure of the reasons herself.)

A call from my son in Minnesota, asking if she got in all right, was the first actual knowledge they got about what was happening in New York.

By this time (shortly after 9:00 a.m.) all of the airports in the United States had been put on alert and were closing down completely to any air traffic except flights that were imminently landing at various airports. All flights were diverted to Canada. Apparently, our girl got in on the last flight into Cleveland.

Later that day my ex-husband, the father of those I mentioned here, was taken to the hospital (in Michigan, I think) and was in critical condition. He understood what was happening on the television, but he was in very grave condition…and sometime after midnight on the next day, September 12, he died.
—–
During the night, after the infamous 9-11 day, I remember getting up out of bed more than once to turn on the television to determine if I had dreamed the whole thing…but every time I tuned in the channel that plane was crashing into that tower. No dream…a nightmare, but not personal. This event has affected everyone in the world and created many personal memories.

How terrible must be the actual memories of those first responders, and people who were rescued before the destruction was complete…and relatives and friends of those who were killed during the tragedy.

So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

Please take out pencil and a piece of paper.      Number from one to 10.   (It doesn’t matter what kind of paper, and the numbers should be 1-10 in a vertical column.)     You are to list (not necessarily in order) YOUR  top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written.      You have 30 minutes to complete the list.

Wow!      Moments ago I read a page on selling books on eBay.    I actually do sell books on eBay, but mostly on other venues, mainly Amazon.     The list, which the author of the article noted was A list, not intended to be THE LIST of the all-time great books.

Here is the eBay writer’s list:

Top 10 Books of All Time Photo from the eBay page.  I am duly impressed!

I believe I have now on my shelves ALL of the ten works on the list.     I would like to say that I have read and studied every single one of these books…but since I am a very truthful person, I can’t make that claim.

I did read part of  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I enjoyed.    The other classics are so much discussed and made into movies, and snippets (or pages) have appeared in various sources, that they are impressed upon my mind having read the novels  per se or not.

OK, in my defense, English and American Literature HAVE been included in my curriculum,  but during my college career the only course I remember that specifically dealt with “classic great modern literature” was a University of Akron  graduate seminar on Latin American Fiction.    That course, I recall, came as I was overwhelmed (pretty much) with heavy-duty studying and reading…so much so that I was   reading non-fiction textbooks on the History of all sorts of times and places—and did not have time for the luxury of reading my favorite “lawyer-books” and Sci-Fi, and light bedtime reading…I would fall asleep with a huge textbook, not a little paperback.     Reading those Latin American novels (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Lorca,)…was almost like cheating on the curriculum…a real treat.

Another seminar at Cleveland State dealt with Karl Marx and his assorted works.  Now this may sound stupid, but I was a tad shy at the time with my Essential Karl Marx paperback and reams of print-outs from reference books.   I mention that because one of the eBay writer’s TOP TEN GREAT BOOKS is the classic Vladimir Nabovosky book Lolita.    Well!  at the time I was in college ten-twenty years ago I would have kept THAT book in my book bag.      I have the book now for sale (I think.)   No, I haven’t been so inclined to read it.

While on that general subject, it always amuses me to recall that when I was a girl THE banned book (really…banned!) was Forever Amber,   by Kathleen Winsor.    Well, let me tell you…that book was not very interesting to me when I tried to read it years and years ago…and I never did find the titillating parts that I thought were hiding within the book.     Recently, like last year, I finally found out that the book was banned for political reasons…not for…well, you know…sexy stuff.  😉

So…good luck with those lists!