Someday We Will!!

Guys!! Guess what came in the mail today??

That’s right: bills and advertisements.

Okay; also Pam Webb’s new book!!

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The generous and highly intelligent (and talented, modest, gifted, amazing…) Madame Webb gifted me a copy after I left a comment on her online book release. She even addressed the inscription to my mother, whom I gave the book to today.

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The book is about what activities the grandparents look forward to doing with their grandchildren.

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So perfect. Thank you, Cricket Muse!

 

(Click here to pick up a copy from Amazon!)

Someday We Will, by Pam Webb AKA Cricket Muse

“Celebrate your ‘somedays’ and the ‘somedays’ to come.”

My friend, Pam Webb, is PUBLISHED! Her beautiful picture book was inspired by her thinking of what she and her sweet granddaughter would do together, someday. As she points out in her video, the current quarantine situation means this book applies to everyone.


I cried.

Besides recommending this book because it’s excellent and I love my Cricket Muse, I am also sharing because she’s offering a free signed copy if you respond to her book launch post.

Congratulations, C’Muse. I couldn’t be more proud.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

The results of this contest are going to be delayed every time; until my children start free, public babysitting at the end of this month. Sorry.

I won’t make you wait any longer. This week’s winner is:

Darling Maisie

by Bruce Goodman

I can’t say I’m that crazy
About Maisie
And when I’ve had a few things get a bit hazy
Anyway, before very long she’ll hopefully be pushing up a daisy
Or two.

Almost inevitably she has to be regarded
As a favourite relative and not discarded
Because if I say otherwise I’ll get bombarded
And cursed and I can ill afford to be unguarded
In the matter.

There’s very little in Maisie’s life that I approve
But she’s fabulously rich and my lot is likely to get improved
Thus I’m feeling behoved
To love her and hope she dies soon, overfed and boozed;
My darling third cousin twice removed!

Congratulations, Daisy -I mean, Bruce! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

I really had difficulty narrowing things down. I think everyone did well at mis-matching meter, misspelling or misusing words, and tweaking rhyming patterns where they ought not to be tweaked. Bruce’s entry won by merit of it sounding the worst when I read them all aloud. Vocalizing helped me catch the true spirit of his terrible meter, and dub him the most terrible poet of them all (this week).

Good work to everyone! Here are the runners-up:

A Tribute to my once favourite brother

by Deb Whittam

We were brothers (political license here)
Who challenged the stars to duels
With the words we wrote.

We were comrades (more political license)
Who downed Guinness, ok perhaps not Guinness but its … political license …
As we coloured the sunset with our crayons.

We were amigos (Like the three amigos but my chest is hairier.)
Who took the wrong turn, not that I was navigating, hey Charles,
Then built mountains for astronauts to scale.

We were all we needed, just us, you know, you and me, two is better than one, ain’t it grand to be a duo and not in a band,
Who composed melodies that sent
Wayward angels into raptures of delight.

We were all of this and then,
My brother over the seas (Ok not technically my brother but political license and all that jazz)
You had the gall to beat me and now you are just a stop sign I will tear down and stomp on while pretending it’s your head.

—–

Auntie M

by Ruth Scribbles

Bless her heart
She’s just old
And loves to scold

Surveying the kingdom
Nothing is pleasant
No good words spoken
Especially about peasants

Leaves are trash
Unmade beds are a mess
Perfection is the name of the game
Otherwise out of the will
You’ll be unnamed

I fear she will live forever
And ever and ever
The one thing she didn’t perfect
Was how to undo the defect
Of living so long

And so goes my song
Oh my darling Auntie M
You are loved
With all your foibles
Oh my darling Auntie M

—–

Untitled piece

by Kytwright

My gran’s budgie ate Trill, he chewed up the seeds with a will,

He was imaginatively called Budgie Boy,

a mirror with a bell was his favorite toy,

which seemed to give him joy.

But when you opened the cage door,

he’d fly out and mess on the floor.

Then gran to no avail,

would try to coax him from the curtain rail,

my grandma’s budgie, who ate Trill.

—–

The Bongo Bingo Poet Beat

by Peregrine Arc

Oh! My dear old Uncle Mingo
How he loved playing his Bingo.
Russian Roulette in retirement with all his savings
Soon became his weekly misbehaving.

One fine day he died and was broke;
His lawyer gathered us around the table at the woke
“Nothing’s left, nothing at all;
And you owe me $3500 for telling you all.”

And now Uncle Mingo’s dead, it’s true;
I’m at his funeral, dressed in blue.
And when we turned from the grave
“Bingo!” was heard, shouted out by the knave.

—–

Uncle Fred and the Things He Ded

by Charles

From when I was young, ‘til when I’m dead
I’ll always remember Uncle Fred
When I was just a fresh-faced kid
He told me all the things he did
He climbed all mountains and fought all wars
He visited every nation’s shores
He had several PhDs
All attained with relative ease
He said he could do most anything
And even taught a pig to sing
My esteem for the man could not be higher
A brilliant man and accomplished liar

—–

Thanks for playing!! Come back in about 12 hours for next week’s prompt.

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Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to Terrible Poetry Contest #36!

Need a bit of guidance? Read my basic outline here. This is the sort of contest only undertaken by the satirical at heart, by the artists who know that starving is a silly way to be.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: A tribute to your ‘favorite’ relative. We all have them: that maternal aunt who means well, that grandfather who keeps asking when you’re going to make something of yourself, that sister who’s so successful you just want to bless her heart.
  2. Length is totally up to you, but I prefer short. Grandma probably does too, Dearie.
  3. Rhyming is optional. You do what feels right to you, like that time you were with what’s-his-face -remember? That didn’t end well, now did it? -Of course, your relationships usually don’t turn out for the best. I was just telling your mother, the other day, that…
  4. Speaking of, I’m sure your mother would have something to tell her bridge club if you made it terrible. We wouldn’t want yet another Christmas where I only have your collection of Star Wars toys to share in the family newsletter, now would we?
  5. Let’s not shock your relatives, unless cementing your status as a Black Sheep is your thing. PG-13 or classier is fine.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 2) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Ashwin Vaswani

Gramma Dear

Flowered pots and colored notes
fly gently on the walls;

Whose smiling, standing stick-men

Wave out from rainbowed pen?

 

Wrinkled cheeks and vacant eyes
of startling, once-clear blue;

What’s inside now, Oh Gramma dear?

What’s cloudy and what’s clear?

 

Gnarled hands and anxious grip
that once held mine with love;

Whose fingers do you think these are?

Whose hand felt from afar?

 

Silent words and down-turned mouth
mar lips that laughed and spoke;

What joke or story would you say?

What do you think today?

 

Who are these strangers milling round;
unfamiliar people?

Where is the you

You know?

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Remembered for Carrot Ranch‘s weekly prompt: growing older

May 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older. It can be humorous, dark or poignant. It can be true or total fiction. It can be fine wine or an old fossil. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 14, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Cristian Newman

Is Mental Illness Something We Get From Our Ancestors?

Recently over at The Bipolar Writer Longname Blog, James wrote an article asking if mental illness were a genetic thing. After reviewing some mental health history in his family, he noted opinions that professionals have on the matter. He asked curious questions, including: “Knowing that Bipolar disorder might be something that can affect other people within my own blood makes me wary of the future. The big question becomes, could I pass this on to my own children?

His article garnered a sizeable amount of traffic. Like, 206 ‘likes.’

I, in turn, was surprised. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed, Astounded. Etc. Is this even a question? Why is it a question?

I do not wonder if mental conditions are genetic. I look at myself and see my grandfather’s anger, my mother’s nose, the potential of cancer because of a grandmother, and a few sources of depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.

I assume that everyone feels this way about his family that came before, but maybe he does not.

Then again, this knowledge might be due to my upbringing. I’ve mentioned before that I am LDS and was raised that way. One (of many wonderful) quirk(s) is that we really know our family history. No joke. I know who my grandparents are/were on both sides. Further, I know my grandparents’ parents. If I want to, I can go on the computer and research my grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents. I can often find a picture and who they married and where they are buried.

Sorry if I weirded anyone out. I bring up my ancestor voyeurism in speculation of its impact on my belief in heredity. Since I am perfectly comfortable knowing my progenitors and since I see similarities in features and behaviors, I therefore feel perfectly comfortable associating mental illnesses as yet another genetic trait.

True, there are some cases where Great-great-great-great Grandpa Bob may have been a little off because of those times his younger brother dropped a hobby horse on his head. Hopefully there are historical notations for aberrations like that.

Overall, however, I see serious mental illness as hereditary a trait as red hair and freckles. Or height and intelligence. Or photoptarmosis and liking black licorice.

Do you think so, too? Why or why not?

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—————-

Short, sweet; here’s what I did this week:
Wednesday, April 17: Moved with history in “There is Hope in the Flame of Notre Dame.

Thursday, April 18: “The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 19: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Saturday, April 20: Responded to P’Arc’s post about her pen name with “A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still be Sarcastic.

Sunday, April 21: Wrote “Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig” in answer to P’Arc’s nomination.

Monday, April 22: Re-blogged Jennie‘s story about teaching.

Tuesday, April 23: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-One.”

Wednesday, April 24: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Raise Strong, Independent Daughters AND Mothers,” and a poem titled “Good Morning!

I received my first and last paycheck from Kids are the Worst. It was fun while it lasted and I hope they contact me again once things settle down.

***REMEMBER TO ENTER THIS (TWO) WEEK’S POETRY CONTEST!!***

 

Photo Credit:
Rod Long

Grandma’s Tears

The sun-warmed beach felt wet and warm
To tiny feet through after-storm;
A woven bowl within her hands,
A flutt’ring hope within the sands.
Searching, searching patiently;
Seeking out a memory.
A glint! A glare! She shouted, skipped!
She danced in young explorer bliss.
For, bit by shining bit, she found
Crystal shards strewn over ground.
And, ducking leaping dancing low
They came to fill her basket-bowl.
Look, Gram, she told the sunshaft sky;
Laughing, she lofted basket high,
I fin’lly found your present, here;
I fin’lly found your star-shed tears.
Clouding sunset smiles played:
Snug’ling, warming, happy rays.

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Beach-combed for Carrot Ranch‘s writing prompt.

January 24, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about shards. You can write about the pieces, the item they once were, or who picks them up and why. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 29, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Bakery Blues

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Edward sat, staring at his monitors. “My uncle works at a cookie factory!” He remembered his nephew, Sam, bragging to his class. “The cookies with M&Ms!” Sam’s peers had been duly impressed; M&Ms were a much sought-after candy for preschoolers.

Edward had felt a little proud, but also knew the poor kid wanted some credit for having an uncle drop him off, instead of parents like the others had.

“Do you get to eat all the M. M. cookies you want?” a boy in a red shirt had asked.

“Didja bring us some?!” A small girl in braids demanded. A tiny chorus of, “Oh, yes; did you?”‘s and, “Where are they?”‘s immediately followed her innocent query.

Luckily, their sweet, young teacher came to the rescue. Walking up behind the excited group, she placed her hands gently on Sam’s shoulders and looked up at Edward. “Shhh! Shhhh!” She quietly reprimanded, till the chattering stopped. “I’m sure we can have Sam’s uncle come and talk to us sometime about his job.”

“An’ will he bring cookies?” The girl asked, determinedly.

The teacher smiled at her, then up at Edward. Edward shrugged and looked down at his shyly shuffling feet. “I’ll talk to Ms. Prutt about it,” she said.

As baked desserts and giant mixing machines and oven temperatures automatically scanned beneath his bored scrutiny, Edward easily recalled and replayed the entire exchange. He thought about what he would tell all those eager children if he were to go in and talk honestly about his job.

“Well, kids,” he imagined saying, “First, I get to scan my name badge. Then, I walk to a magical land called a locker room.” Riveted, that girl with braids would yawn. “After changing into a protective jacket, hard hat, goggles, and ear protection, I pick up …a tablet computer.”

At that point, Edward was certain, Sam would ask if Edward got to play games on the tablet. “Yes,” he’d have to answer, “The games are called Spreadsheets and I check little boxes to mark whether the equipment is working.”

They’d be so interested, he might have the entire class asleep two hours before naptime.

He sighed, watching the millionth cookie pass by the electronic eye. He decided a nap on his part might be averted if he went down for another physical inspection. Glancing at the million and first cookie on the conveyor belt, he determined to visit the Inspection and Packing area.

A short trip out of Monitoring, across a catwalk, down some gleaming stairs, through Personal Sanitation, and out an automatic door brought him in front of that same line of cookies. A handful of workers in masks, hairnets, and gloves idly monitored the cookies. The M. M. cookies, he told himself.

“Hey, boss,” a man named Asay said, looking up to see Edward. He probably smiled.

Edward smiled in return. “How’s it going?” He and Asay used to work together in Mixing, before Edward trained and applied for his current position. He’d talked to his friend about moving up as well, but Asay claimed to like Production better. Now that Edward had been an inspector for a few months, he found himself agreeing with Asay’s perspective.

“Bored yet?” Asay teased, guessing accurately. He casually removed a cracked cookie, sliding it amongst fellow discards to the side.

Edward pretended to be indignant. “Of course not!” He continued, “We, in Inspections and Monitoring, are never bored.”

Asay laughed, leaning over the conveyor to look more closely at the new batch. “Hey! These have all blue M&Ms!” He exclaimed.

Curious, Edward walked forward. Sure enough, the first five cookies had all three chocolate candies in a blue shell. “Should we keep ’em?” Asay wondered aloud.

They both watched the cookies move down the line. They reminded Edward of the cute class of preschool faces. Blue was Sam’s favorite color; the boy would love to pull one from a package. Edward could even hear Sam’s exclamations: “Look, Unca Eddie! All blues, just for me!”

Edward, standing near Asay on a busy production floor, turned to his friend. “Of course we’ll keep them. What kid wouldn’t want to find one?”

Asay’s dust mask pulled to each side as he grinned. “Yeah,” he said. “You’re right.”

They both watched the cookies for a few seconds longer; Asay more closely than Edward. Edward had a thought. “I’ll see you around,” he told his friend, turning to leave.

“Okay, bro,” Asay answered, waving behind him.

Back through Sanitation and out the other side brought Edward to the ovens. He continued on, waving at a few people he knew and trying to look authoritative. Soon he was at Mixing and Shaping, his old stomping grounds. Three people worked in this area. The younger two were chatting and watching the enormous mixing machine. Soon the scooping mechanism would deposit balls onto the baking racks. For now, it was churning and the workers were idle.

Edward approached the third person. She was sitting on a special stool just after where the dough would be placed on sheets and given candies. Standing to her side, he spoke loudly, “HELLO, CAROL.”

An old woman turned to smile pleasantly up at him. Her grey curls were kept at bay by a company hairnet and her gnarled, gloved hands rested on a company uniform that covered her lap. “Why, hello, Edward,” she replied warmly. “How are you?”

Edward waved vaguely. “Oh, fine, fine,” he began; then, “I’M FINE. HOW ARE YOU?”

If possible, Carol smiled more widely. Edward had the fleeting idea that she was exactly the sort of worker children would expect to be at a cookie factory. They wouldn’t expect her to be hunched over machines in a hairnet and plastic apron, of course. Carol belonged in a homemade apron, proferring a steaming batch she’d just pulled from her kitchen oven.

“I JUST WONDERED,” he yelled over the mixer and age-related hearing loss, “DID YOU HAPPEN TO SEE A BATCH OF BLUE M&M COOKIES?” He glanced at her face, and caught a wry smile cross the old woman’s lips.

Carol shrugged, raising her clasped hands. “Now, wouldn’t that be a nice surprise for a small child?” She asked him innocently.

The mixer buzzed, startling Carol and her two coworkers to action. Scooping cups lowered to the surface of the dough and began lifting and depositing balls onto baking sheets. Each ball passed beneath the M&Ms depositor and on to the ovens.

The youngest worker pulled the first ball from the tray and ran it through a nearby Composition Tester; it passed. The second watched the progress of the machines, ensuring they were all clean and moving easily.

Carol, as Edward knew well, closely monitored each passing pan. Every cookie must have three M&Ms. If they had more, she was to slide it to the side. Fewer than three, to the other side. When the batch had finished moving down the line, she would carefully place the removed balls onto their own pans. Those with extra(s) had one or more removed. Using a bin of M&Ms to her side, she added chocolate candies to dough balls that had too few.

“Yes, Carol,” Edward answered, out of her hearing. “Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise?” Smiling to himself, he began walking back to his main work area.

“Well, kids,” he now heard his future self saying, “At the cookie factory there is a grandma named Carol.” He planned to look around the room and ask, “Do you have a grandma? Does she make cookies?”

He climbed the stairs, warming to the story forming in his mind.

“Carol is just like your grandma, but she makes cookies for all the children in the world.” He’d bring out a bag. Why not? They got to bring home remnants, as long as they never re-sold them. Holding it so they could all see, he’d say, “Carol’s main job is to put the M&Ms onto each cookie that doesn’t have enough. One day, she pulled three blue M&Ms from her bag. ‘I wonder,’ Grandma Carol said, ‘if any little boys and girls would like to have a cookie with THREE BLUE M&Ms.'”

Sam, the boy with the red shirt, the girl in braids, and the rest would watch him closely; they’d wonder if he had brought them just such an amazing cookie. Edward paused at the door to Monitoring. Could he get a full batch of cookies like that? Maybe he could even get all reds, all yellows, or all greens.

Entering his office, he planned to ask his manager that afternoon.

Plantae uel Animalia

Forget me not
(Picture from Memory Foundation.)

If you were to assign a flower to my childhood personality, you might search among the less-desirable weeds. I wouldn’t have minded; I’d have stuck my prickly, unwanted self even further into your business.

My grandmother, however, was a soft-spoken, kind-thinking sort. I never heard her raise her voice nor speak insult. She was more like the gently-swaying field flowers of springtime, shyly smiling to a beckoning sun.

While people greeted my coming akin to a dandelion outbreak, we all recall my grandmother’s mischievous blue eyes with forget-me-nots.

At least dandelions are my son’s favorite.

Dandelions

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge.

While You Sleep

Who will love you, when you’re empty;
A stranger sitting, all alone?

Whose anxious faces keep appearing;
Some of whom have your blue eyes?

What hands will gently still your shaking,
With fingers just like yours?

What voices will tell nighttime stories
As you nap away the days?

Who will sing your childhood songs
In sweet, soprano tones?

Who will come, when days are past
And only night awaits you?

We will love you, Grandma, Dear;
We’ll hold, and tell and sing.

We’ll care for you, though you’re not here,
While you go to sleep.