Monday, February 28, 2011

Self-Deprecation


Recently, a woman I respect told me to stop insulting myself. It actually made me cry, a little, because she’s so very right, but I don’t know how to stop. Self-deprecation is a way of life for me and mostly, it works. But if it’s annoying to other people – well I don’t want to be annoying. Here is how it started.

When I was young it felt like people had these vast expectations. I was going to grow to be 6 feet tall & play basketball! I was going to be school Valedictorian! I was going to be a concert pianist! I was going to be beautiful. Now, notice that I said it felt like people thought these things about me. I don’t really have any evidence to support that, but it’s what clenched my gut. So in defense I started being “less than” so that people would be pleasantly surprised when I had a success. And I really liked their pleased surprise – much more than I liked their supposed expectation. Playing myself down became an important strategy so that I could please people in a way that felt comfortable to me. And playing myself down helped me support my habit of not wanting to work too hard. I could just get by on minimum effort and then “zing!” I’d do something special.

Now see how I slipped that self-deprecation in there so slickly? “…my habit of not wanting to work too hard…” If I spoke truth I would say that what really happened is that I worked faster & better than other people, so I was done sooner, so I could go read my book or whatever I really wanted to do. And that behavior has just been reinforced in the work world – my boss desperately gives me tasks to keep me busy & I still finish in plenty of time to feed my blog habit.

I’m getting sidetracked. That’s how it started, this habit of putting myself down. But then I thought it was kind of funny. I don’t like humor that puts down someone else – it makes me uncomfortable. But it seems like there has to be a victim in humor, so I prefer it to be me.

The sad part, the part that made me cry when I read the “stop insulting yourself” comment, is that for the most part I believe this stuff I say about myself. I am clumsy. I am a dingbat. I am overweight and out of shape. I am a shallow person who can’t contribute anything of substance to the conversation so let’s just say this funny thing instead.

I really am. And if I can’t find humor in that, then where can I go? I don’t want to read my blog anymore if I can’t find humor. But I also don’t want people to think I hate myself. I don’t! I think I’m flawed, but I still care very much for that kid who was afraid she was going to be 6 feet tall, and I care for the 5’4” adult that I am now.

Maybe I’m not as shallow as I think I am. I write pretty damn fine poetry. There! I said it! Now let’s get to the believing part…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Wordzzle



Wordzzle! Wordzzle! Wordzzle! I just like saying it. Sometimes I call it WordIZZLE and sometimes I call it WORDzle. It amuses me. Yes, I’m in an odd mood. Fortunately for you, I wrote these stories earlier this afternoon when I was in a more normal mood. Or what passes for normal for me.

Anyway, after you read my stories please go to Raven’s Nest to check out the other creations.

Words for the mini: foster children, window washer, chipmunks, chip, pillage

“Watch your steps dearies,” Druscilla said to the foster children from next door, carefully wending her way through the spoils of her recent antiquing venture. She had to admit that the pillage was out of control, and she once again felt a twinge of guilt at getting the goods so cheaply. Fortunately the twinge was short lived. It didn’t do to have too much of a conscience in this business. The children were chattering like chipmunks (or at least like Chip & Dale), never having seen so much old stuff in one place before. “Ok, I have jobs for both of you. Who wants to be the window washer and who wants to dust?”

Next door, Cecilia luxuriated in her scented bath. Paying fifty dollars to that old bat next door was a small price to pay to get the children out from under foot for two hours. Perhaps she could work it into her budget to do once per week. Ahhh….

Druscilla watched her laborers with a small smile on her face. When they finished here she was going to take them to the bank to open savings accounts. Twenty-five dollars each was a nice healthy start for these two. And she knew from experience that they’d need all the help they could get.

Words for the 10-worder: parapet, fluster, farm grown, astonishing, march, start from scratch, still crazy, ice cubes, fetid, goose

I am not easy to fluster, but the whole situation is just astonishing. Astonishing I tell you! Why, my pulse is still crazy just thinking about it. Let me start from scratch with my story. It will astound you as well, I’m sure.

I wanted farm grown tomatoes. A simple desire, and I decided to go to an actual farm to get them. March Hare Farm is just down in the next county, so I headed there one fine summer afternoon. I had parked in the farm yard and proceeded to the door of the house, when I felt a missile strike me on my left shoulder. Perplexed, I looked around for its source. And felt another blow to my back. I whirled around (getting annoyed at this point) and looked up. Upon the parapet on the roof (for that is what it resembled) was a goose! And it was flinging what appeared to be ice cubes in my direction! Ice cubes!

Well, I hied myself under the safety of the porch roof and pounded on the door. To the fetid hag who answered the door I shouted, “Goose! Ice Cubes! Parapet!” while trying to not breathe the air around her (I’m fairly certain she had not bathed in many days). She stared at me uncomprehendingly for about 30 seconds before she said, very slowly, in a loud, stern voice, “Harold, you are to get down off the roof now, take off that blasted goose costume, and apologize to this lady!” Then with what I supposed she thought was a kindly smile, she asked, “Now, ma’am, how can I help you?” At that point I was quite sure that I didn’t want anything from this insane asylum, so I just told her I had changed my mind and raced for my car.

Can you believe that? I took pictures of the bruises in case I ever needed to testify in court. You know, because folks like that will surely be arrested for something someday. Why, I can’t help but wonder how many bodies are buried under those tomato plants even now.

Wait – I heard that. I am not “melodramatic much!” I’m not!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Project 365 – Week Nine



I think we have a nice eclectic selection of pictures this week – hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, February 20th      
Yes, it’s all the usual suspects at our bird diner.


And here’s a new fellow – a woodpecker!


Monday, February 21st  
Another cardinal shot. For some reason I think he’s looking particularly cocky in this picture.


Here's his mate. Maybe. There are a lot of cardinals these days, so really, she could belong to anyone. Or no one. I'm not judging!


Squirrel. I don't think I need to say more than that. 


It was just a bit rainy as I drove home from work…


Tuesday, February 22nd
I’m pretty sure that the Tax Time Pig is supposed to be Abraham Lincoln, not a Hasidic Jew, but you can decide for yourself.


Dr. M took a picture of these shy campus deer. I love how the one on the right has her head cocked to one side so she can see him better. Please note the absence of snow in the Tax Time Pig picture and the still somewhat heavy snow in the deer picture. Dr. M works about 70 miles north east of where I work - big climate difference some days!


Wednesday, February 23rd
Dr. M saw another deer down by the railroad tracks.


Here is the State of the Bug. I was listening to an audio book & it was tender vittles! Made me cry! Not sob like The Hunger Games, but definitely tear up. It was the last book in the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins, who also wrote the Hunger Games series.


That picture reminded me of this one – do you reckon I didn’t want to have my picture made?


Thursday, February 24th     
Thursday night we realized that neither of us had taken a picture. So I ran back to the bathroom & took a picture of some penguin silly bandz my niece had given me for Christmas. I keep the package on my desk & some evenings when my hair bugs me I pull it back with a band - & then just hang the band in the bathroom when I’m getting ready for bed. I don’t know why the two I have here are black – there are lots of other colors.


After I took that picture I got intrigued by all the lovely colors of the weather pattern that was bringing more snow to our area. This is on Dr. M’s computer.


And here – isn’t it cool how the TV Weather Person’s dress matches the colors in the weather pattern?


Friday, February 25th
We got a little bit of snow at our house, not very much where I work, and a good bit where Dr. M works. He didn’t have to go to school Friday (they opened at 10:00 & his only classes are at 8:00 and 9:00). So while he was home he took a picture of this sweet Junco.



I wrote about this flag that flies outside my building on Tuesday & decided that I needed a picture of it.
  

I confused Dr. M when I told him about taking a picture, so he went out in search of other tattered flags for me. I get pretty irate when people go all flag-wavy on me & then don’t take care of their own flags – but as my poem says, I can’t really talk too much because of my own hang-ups.



Saturday, February 26th
Although the furry guys can stretch out and look sleek…


Our squirrels have not had a rough winter :)


Dr. M put my Valentine rose petals in this vase – aren’t they gorgeous?


Go to Sara’s blog here to see the blogs of all the other Project 365 participants.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Poetry Bus Gets Fleeced!


TFE is driving the bus! He gave us some really intriguing pictures, with the stipulation that our poem had to be 14 lines long, and I thought I was writing a poem for the second picture. But when I came up for air my effort had nothing whatsoever to do with a couple of boys, a donkey and a dog. So I decided that it matched, vaguely, the prompt regarding the Van Morrison song. Here are our instructions:

“Plan B, Van Morrison has a song, 'You Don't Pull No Punches But You Don't Push The River' [go here to hear the song – it’s worth your while in my opinion]. In it he mentions 'The Veedon Fleece' I don't know what the feck that might be so write about whatever the Veedon Fleece may be to you and then whittle it down to FOURTEEN lines

Like TFE I mostly prefer free verse for my own poetry, but I couldn’t resist the pull of the sonnet given the 14 line restriction. So, here you go, my take on the Veedon Fleece (which apparently was someone’s name, but I’m ignoring this & believing that it’s about finding something you’re searching for). After you read mine then go check out the other offerings here.

The Veedon Fleece

I want to help you drive the day away
To sink into your lonely shepherd’s mind
And find that corner tucked behind the gray
Where what I am, and what you are, unwind
The sheep are safe, locked in behind the gate
And I am here to draw you to the moon
Its waning light is bright enough to skate
Through fields and fens to find our midnight boon
Just wait my love until I loose your soul
It waits right there to be set free, unchained
It wings away just like a thought made whole
Unfettered by the care of this day’s pain
I watch the moon until it fills the sky
We watch the moon together, you and I

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday


It’s that time again – let’s be thankful!
  • This is TMI, but I’m thankful that no one can see the bra/underwear combo I’ve got on today. Woohee – it’s the clash of the color families. At least they’re clean, & I’d like to say that I was extra careful driving in today (to save the paramedics), but in truth I just drove as I usually did.
  • I’m thankful that in my dream last night my mother seemed to be handling her incarceration in the federal pen rather well. My uncle Bill was there too. I don’t know what they did – but I suspect it has something to do with the Brookford Mafia (this is an inside joke) and I want to know where my share of the dirty money is!
  • I’m thankful that work has been busier than usual, but not overwhelmingly so. Contrary to popular opinion I like to be busy. So there.
  • I’m thankful that despite the fact that I was burning up this morning I did actually put at least a light raincoat on before leaving for work. I’ll probably appreciate it when I leave work this evening. It’s such a struggle for me to visualize being cold later when I’m hot now.
  • I’m thankful for Greg at Greg’s General Store for hosting the Thankful Thursday posts. He’s moving on from the blogging world (he wants to have a REAL life – imagine that!). We’ll miss him, but I understand the need to disconnect from this electronic age. Not that I plan to do it myself anytime soon :)
That’s it for today – what are YOU thankful for?

P.S. I would be open to hosting the Thankful Thursday meme if other folks want to participate. Just let me know!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tattered


Tattered

A flag flutters
in the breeze -
its tattered edges
no better kept
than my
ragged soul.
I could preach
about respect,
but that’s the
conundrum, isn’t it?
What do I know
about reverence?
And so I look away
instead of inside.
Let’s just keep
stirring the pieces
in the box so that
we never have to see
the unbroken picture.

This is a Magpie and a One Shot Wednesday. Please go to those sites to read other excellent writers!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Miscellany

I wasn’t going to do Miscellany today, but there’s just so much to talk about.


  • Like how my Weight Watchers Ravioli kind of smells like the microwave does after you accidentally nuke metal (or is that just me?), or like my tooth does after it’s drilled. Should I be concerned? I’m eating it anyway.
  • Like how I wish I had brought my camera into the office so I could take a picture of the giant mountain of peas on top of the ravioli – I’m not very good at eyeballing portion sizes so I just dumped the whole thing on there. Eh – we all need extra peas every now & then, right? We won’t discuss how the container they were in had measurement markings on the side so I should have known how many peas I had.
  • Like how Annie Parsons is going to Haiti & you can download some of her songs to help pay her way (she leaves Friday, so hurry!). She is such a good singer/songwriter.
  • Like how I got to wondering about the fact that my gynecologist told me a couple of years ago that I would need to stop taking birth control for a period of time so they could do some blood test for menopause. But if I don’t have any symptoms because the birth control masks it why would I want to stop just to see? Does that make sense? And why am I thinking about it now?
  • Like how last night when I went to turn my computer off I started looking for the timesheet program so I could clock out. Clock out from the weekend. I guess that’s about right!
  • Like how I was complaining about our rain (I know – I’m such a whiner!) until I read Karie’s blog post about how we need rain for spring. So I’ll shut up now.
That’s probably all you can stand anyay, isn’t it?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Ramble Through a Fen, Take 2

Last April Dr. M & I visited a local fen* & vowed that we would go back every month to see all the changes each season brings. Well, yesterday we finally returned. I guess we missed out on the every month thing, didn't we? Yesterday was sunny and sort of approaching warmth, but once we got on the trail it was really breezy & I discovered that 43 degrees in the shade feels very different that 43 degrees in the sun. But it was nice to do a little bit of outdoor walking. Would you like to join us?

The entrance looks very inviting, doesn't it?


As we approached the walk I decided to read the signs.


Hmm - this seems somewhat ominous. But we press on.


OK, yes, there is some flooding. But it only went over the top of my boots, so we decided to persevere.




 And quickly saw evidence of the beavers' handiwork.


Ah, here is where we believe the culprits live!


But I found the watery milieu beautiful in its on way.




But then we encountered an obstacle that could have perhaps been overcome by hip waders (or excellent balance on slippery boards).


So we turned back and paid attention to the ice that was still a thin layer on the water. Dr. M said it felt like being inside a chilled margarita glass. Hmm - I wonder how he knows what the inside of a margarita glass feels like?


As we left we decided that this year we really will go back again every month. Really! So keep your eye out for a March post.


*Fen: n. A fen is a type of wetland fed by surface water, or groundwater, or both. Fens are characterised by their water chemistry, which is neutral or alkaline. Fens are different from bogs, which are acidic, fed primarily by rainwater (ombrotrophic) and often dominated by Sphagnum mosses.[1] [From Wikipedia]

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2011 Project 365 – Week Eight



This week the star of the show is that old devil moon. Although I don’t know what’s so devilish about it – I think it’s lovely :)

Sunday, February 13th      
Finches! We’ve been so fascinated by the other birds this winter that we haven’t posted many pictures of our finches.


Look! It’s NON-indignant penguins! We are finally thawing out here in the middle of Ohio.


Signs of life – yay!


Monday, February 14th  
Here is the State of the Bug. Can you tell where I am? I had a dental appointment at 7:00 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. But since I didn’t have any cavities or other traumas I considered it a good thing.


Well hallelujah, the Tax Time Pig has put on a new outfit. There are hearts on the “dress” but otherwise I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here. Heh.


Tuesday, February 15th
My sweetie brought me flowers, candy and a card for Valentine’s Day. Of course, we didn’t get a picture of the flowers until the next day – gorgeous! 


Here’s our weekly squirrel. 


While Dr. M was photographing squirrels & flowers, I was taking a picture of the goose deterrent at work. I think it’s hilarious when I see the guard headed out in the morning to put Mr. Coyote in a strategic place to scare the geese off.


Wednesday, February 16th
Dr. M took this picture of some horses he sees every day. The one horse is saying to the other horse, “See, it’s that crazy guy with a camera again!”


Our first moon picture of the week.


And here’s one later that night – you can tell it’s not quite full.


Thursday, February 17th     
As I was leaving for work we had this great sunrise. This is how I can tell the days are getting longer – usually I leave in the dark & the sunrise is behind me so I never see it. Dr. M was taking these pictures as I drove away.




Birds!


My flowers are still pretty…


I had lunch with an octogenarian friend. She’s a wonderful liberal (a Rachel Maddow fanatic) and I enjoy hearing her take on the world. We can talk religion & politics without worrying about getting annoyed with each other.


I had the Chicken Pesto Pizza – I only ate half of this plateful. I love it when I get to pay for lunch one day & eat for two days - & it was just as tasty on Friday.


Friday, February 18th
Dr. M took this rather artsy picture of some geese on the move.


He had a late meeting & on his way home he called & said, “Put your shoes on – I have something to show you!” So when he pulled into the driveway I ran out to the car – I felt like a teenager on a date. He took me to our local park where we could see the full moon in all its glory. I took this picture of the moon over the water (water – not ice!).


Saturday, February 19th
Dr. M has been trying to remember how to adjust the camera settings to get a good picture of the moon. This morning he was successful! Here’s his 6:48 a.m shot.


And here’s the one from one minute later – I love how the outlines of the trees are just visible (click on the picture to make it larger).

Bonus: tonight's slightly waning moon!
Manual settings: ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/400

P.S. Happy birthday Jenrod! You know who you are :)

Go to Sara’s blog here to see the blogs of all the other Project 365 participants.