Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poetry Challenge #4: Found Poem

Okay, folks, 

I thought I would give us a break from scrutinizing our word choice and worrying about syllable counts to bring you one of my favorite forms of poetry: the found poem.

A found poem is sort of the literary equivalent of a collage. A true found poem is actually writing you found somewhere else, whether that is an advertisement, a conversation, a novel, speech, or even another poem. True found poems do not add any new words to what was found, but the punctuation and line breaks are up to the poet. If necessary, you can change verb tenses, pronouns, etc. to fit what you want the poem to look like. Ezra Pound (in his Cantos) and T.S. Eliot (in The Waste Land) worked pieces of literature into these larger poetic works, but found poetry can be much shorter as well. One of my favorite examples of found poetry comes from William Carlos Williams.

This Is Just To Say 
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten 
the plums 
that were in 
the icebox 

and which 
you were probably
for breakfast  

Forgive me 
they were delicious
so sweet 
and so cold

As you can see, this sounds like a note someone left on the refrigerator door or on the kitchen table to explain what had happened, but Williams plays with the formatting to make it into a poem. I love that! You can see another example of a found poem on my husband Bill's blog here.  There is a more thorough description and more examples available at Poets.org. I have that site bookmarked, there is a ton of good stuff there!

For my own example, because I have already had various of his songs running through my head since the news of his death took over the TV airwaves, I chose to pull lines from many different Michael Jackson songs to create a found poem. I originally planned to only use one line from each song, but some of the songs have such short "lines" that I grabbed several. I also tried to keep to songs that were love-themed, and ones that Michael actually wrote himself. Hopefully it works.

On Love (after M. Jackson)

Eternal (ah eternal) love shines in my eyes (ooh)

There’s a magic that must be love

You got to be startin’ somethin’

Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost who would dare to try

Every night she walks right in my dreams

She said I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round

And be careful of what you do cause the lie becomes the truth

Electric eyes are ev’rywhere

You're every wonder in this world to me

You're just a product of loveliness

And the whole world has to answer right now

You’re just another part of me

Each time the wind blows

I hear your voice so

I call your name

We were so young

And innocent then

There’s a place in

Your heart

And I know that it is love

I can’t let her get away

Now I believe in miracles

And a miracle

Has happened tonight

Kiss me and free me

You're always in my heart

You rocked my world, you know you did 

All I gotta say is that I must be dreaming, can’t be real 

You help me understand 

That love is the answer to all that I am

Well, there you have it. I hope you have fun looking at the world through a poet's eyes this week, and please share what you find here!

Being sick sucks.


Please forgive me if my blog entry today is not up to my usual standards; I have what feels like the mother of all head colds. I am usually extremely healthy, and I have to think that times like these remind me how good I have it the rest of the time.

I did actually write a little bit of my "novel" last night (I will remove the quotes when I am reasonably certain it will turn into an actual novel), but I'm afraid my brain won't be up to the task tonight. I'll hopefully go back to it again tomorrow. Luckily tonight's poetry challenge is a bit easier than last week's.

Haiku News

says Iran's young idealists
will prevail in time.

Redmond allowed out
Get a proofreader...

Seven people shot
at a Detroit bus stop; one
more reason it sucks.

Monday, June 29, 2009


So, I started a "novel" this past December. I woke up from a very vivid dream that I knew could be the start of a really interesting novel idea. I wrote down everything I could think of that belonged to that "world" (it's a kind of fantasy-genre idea) and have continued to keep some notes when I come up with new characters, etc. but I have only really WORKED on writing it for 2 nights. I have one page actually written. It's kind of depressing. Yes, I was in school at the time, but now I have time and I haven't touched it yet. 

The other day, out of curiosity, I looked up the bio of Stephenie Meyer, the author of the "Twilight" series. I discovered that she is a mom of three young sons and the idea for her books came to her in a dream on an ordinary day when she had to take care of her little boys. She is now making $50 million a year. It may sound ridiculous, but I have to think that if she could do it (busier than I am in the parenting department!), I could too. I don't really care about the money so much, I just would love to get this book done and hopefully published. But to do that, I need to start working on it. I need to get my butt in gear. To do this, I think I am going to have to set myself some deadlines. I think I'll start by just getting myself to try and write at least a page every day. Usually if I get a page I want to do more, so hopefully that will get the raw material down and then I can start playing with it. Sorry I'm thinking out loud here. I guess I'm just looking for some moral support from you!

Hence the early blog post today. I will return tomorrow with a new (and not as intimidating, I promise!) Poetry Challenge. So today's your last chance to have a crack at the sestina!

Haiku News

now doubts eyewitness accounts
of Neda's death. Hmm.

Madoff sentenced to
150 years.
Payback is a bitch.

Michael Jackson's mom
given custody of kids;
hope they're OK now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Day at the Zoo

This afternoon we met my siblings who live in the suburbs of our city to spend some time together at the zoo. As close as we live, we don't get a lot of opportunities to meet up, so the together-time was nice. The kids all enjoyed themselves and saw a lot of animals, the weather was warm but not too hot, all in all a successful time.

I think in some ways it will become easier to take the boy to places like that. Right now he just cycles between wanting to be carried and wanting to walk, but he won't hold your hand, so you have to herd him to avoid him falling down stairs or stepping off ledges and the like. Also, he is very distractible and even with weird looking animals in front of his face sometimes he is more interested in the people or objects around him. The other thing he did a lot was call everything "Puppy!" That was really funny when he saw a turtle. 

I was fully expecting him to go right to sleep, but he is insisting on whining; I guess I'll have to go remind him it's time to sleep now. He is usually so good at bedtime, maybe we let him get a little overtired this evening. Hopefully he'll settle down soon.

Haiku News

silently on Saturday;
it's not over yet.

Billy Mays found dead;
Sure, I found him annoying,
but this is too much.

40 years later,
Gay Pride parades countrywide;
still so far to go!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On burning WAY too many calories...

So, I was assigned by my half marathon training program to run 9 miles today. I did that, although somewhat slowly, since I didn't get out there till about noon and the high today was 88. At least I had my iPod, that can distract me a bit so it doesn't seem quite as long. I only had a little while to stretch and wait on the boy to wake up from what turned out to be a VERY long nap, then got in the shower and got ready for the BBQ. My lovely husband suggested we take advantage of the nice weather and walk. I am used to walking above and beyond my running requirements, so I agreed, but walking nearly 2 miles on a nearly-empty stomach is not recommended. We made it, it was fun, then we turned around and walked the nearly-2-miles home again. What's funny is that my husband was needing to lie down while I got Jamie a little bit more food, a bath, and bedtime. I'm sure I will be sore tomorrow, but at least it's my rest day. I have until the late afternoon to recover until we go to the zoo with my siblings and their families. It should be a nice day, not nearly as scorching hot as the past few have been. I am looking forward to a zoo trip that's not freezing, as one of my good friends could tell you it was when we tried to go in April. Brr!!

Haiku News

MJ's death is sad,
but is not more important
than Iran's troubles!

Boo-hoo, Ponzi man,
now the Feds took all your stuff.
Feel your victims' pain!

not deported after all,
brings awareness, though.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Placeholder post (sorry!)

Hi folks,

I will just leave you with a taste of the wonderful concert my husband and I enjoyed this evening, which is the reason for my phoning it in this evening. I should be able to return full strength tomorrow, but I need my sleep tonight between fighting off a cold and being scheduled to run 9 miles tomorrow...

Brandi Carlile (an amazing singer, new for my husband and me today). Hard to believe she is two years younger than us.

Indigo Girls are two of the most amazing songwriters, and their harmonies are just beautiful. Listen to the words--such poetry!! That's my favorite kind of music.

Sorry to leave you hanging like this, I'll try to do extra haiku tomorrow or something. If someone has an idea for penance, I'm all ears. You can challenge me to something if you want!! 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So it goes.

Today is one of those days where current events remind me of how quickly life can change. One celebrity lost a long battle for her life, while another died quite unexpectedly. Any death, celebrity or not, is a good reminder to the living not to take anything for granted. I first learned that lesson when my father died. He was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas Eve and was dead four days later. We hardly had time to adjust to him being in the hospital and having cancer before he was just gone. It's still hard to believe sometimes; I've had a recurring daydream where someday I'll have a knock at the door and when I answer it he'll be standing on the front step with a big grin and a hell of a story. It's getting less and less frequent, but it's still in the back of my mind.

I am fighting off a scratchy throat today; I hope my sister-in-law didn't leave me her cold when she left last weekend. We have a busy social schedule over the next few days: a concert at an outdoor venue tomorrow night, a barbeque with friends on Saturday afternoon, and a trip to the zoo with my siblings on Sunday. I'd like to be at full strength to keep up with said schedule. Perhaps going to bed before midnight tonight is in order. 

Haiku News

Fawcett, MJ dead;
one lit up the TV screen,
one kept 'em dancing.

On a happier note,
point jump on the Dow.

Damn right, Gov. Sanford,
you will pay S.C. right back
for Argentina!!

Monkey urinates
on Zambian President:
DIY punch line!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dispatch from the sahara, part 2

I am blogging a bit early, for a few reasons. First, my son is having a nice nap. (Shhh!) Second, my treadmill is covered with a recliner chair and the contents of an entire tall bookshelf because our carpet is still drying out from the flooding we had last week. Third, I'd like to have this done so I can spend more quality time with my darling husband tonight, as it is our 8th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, honey.

As I was looking through some blogs I follow this afternoon, I was happy to see this sestina over at Chicks Dig Poetry. How fun that she decided to write one the very week I challenged my readers to write one!

We have an early entry to the sestina party, check out Paige's lovely poem here

It looks like we might be getting one of the scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. I'm not against that, but I'd like it to do its thing and vamoose so I can get my errands done this afternoon and remain dry. We shall see, I suppose. 

As promised, I revisited the sestina this afternoon (with all my unplanned free time today!) and came up with one that I feel is more accessible than my first attempt. I rather like it. :) Here it is.

Spirit Dance

Days go whizzing by without a pause,

I try to catch one, but then watch it fly

away; no worries now, just take the leap

forward, but can’t forget to stop and think.

Life’s music plays, no choice for me but dance,

to take these days and try to make them sing.

Sometimes it seems I forget how to sing

and problems creep and mount that give me pause

but I have ones who don’t forget the dance

and help remind my feet just how to fly.

I don’t thank these enough, too tired to think

as day by hour by minute forms the leap.

Too often I regret failure to leap

when opportunities promised to sing

but regret begets regret again, I think;

I must accept what I can’t change, or pause

my life away, missing my chance to fly,

staying in my head, skipping the dance.

I’ve been invited to this gorgeous dance 

where earthly angels turn, gambol, and leap 

Seeing their joy causes my heart to fly 

and joining with them helps my soul to sing 

I choose to learn from that which gives me pause; 

mistakes make us much richer, ones who think.

I’ve spent long hours in the land of think. 

While happy times that cause my mind to dance, 

sometimes the inaction appears a pause, 

when everything within prepares to leap. 

While outwardly I hardly seem to sing, 

my imagination loves to fly.

When from myself I sometimes long to fly 

this is the moment when I have to think, 

what is it that can cause my heart to sing 

and make my weary feet begin the dance, 

to aid my aching soul to make the leap? 

This is the moment when I pray and pause.

Yes, my soul sings loudly in this pause!

Faithfully, my thinking takes the leap--

my life can fly in this, the Spirit’s dance.

Haiku News

Four Iranian
footballers are now "retired"
for wearing green bands.

Jerkwad of the day:
Governor not hiking; he
cheated on his wife!

"Best Picture" Oscar
nominations to double--
hope that doesn't suck.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poetry Challenge #3: Sestina

Before we get started on the next incarnation of the Poetry Challenge, I would like to thank all of you who submitted your lovely entries for the Cinquain Challenge. If you missed any, be sure to read them here. My dear husband Bill submitted two just today, so do check those out.

Buckle your seatbelts, kids, this one might be bumpy! 

A sestina is a complex poem that uses a lot of repetition, particularly in the last word of each line. It is made up of six six-line stanzas (the poetic equivalent of a paragraph) and one three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length (and therefore any meter); the only restriction is that you keep recycling the six end words of your first stanza, so choose them well. Here is the order for how you use the end words:
7. (envoi): ECA or ACE

The envoi must also incorporate the other three repeated words that you aren't using as the end words into the lines. 

If that sounds confusing, try applying that blueprint to an example poem.
Six Words 
by Lloyd Schwartz





never . . . 


yes no 
maybe sometimes 
always never.

No guarantees mine will be that clever. You CAN use more than just the six repeated words, as well. There are several other examples of this form here.

Keep in mind that I am trying many of these forms out for the first time along with you, and this is one of those times. It took me probably close to an hour to write this, and it is likely because I chose really strange words for the repeated ones (I tried to use some of my favorite words). I apologize if this does not make sense; I think I will try to write another one later, too, but for right now my brain hurts. Here it is:

Favorites (a sestina)

They weren’t searching for the juxtaposition;

although he thought her ebullient,

they followed the same path through indigo

dusk, past the surging crowd, to a place more serene

and unexpectedly formed a connection;

some may call it serendipity.

She had prayed for serendipity,

as she had suffered an awkward juxtaposition.

she needed to reestablish her connection

with herself and her goals, to regain her ebullient

qualities, to become more serene,

and she discovered the way--through the indigo.

Yes, as she followed the boy through the indigo

she slowly discovered her serendipity

and how he could make her so serene--

a marvelous juxtaposition,

because he had thought her ebullient,

they forged their strong connection.

Since, they fostered their connection

through moods indigo

and otherwise, sometimes even ebullient,

trusting in the serendipity

of the original juxtaposition,

deeply serene.

Lately they find it harder to remain serene;

while strengthening their connection

they juggle the juxtaposition

of jobs or school making them indigo

and the serendipity

of a new being so ebullient.

The baby makes all ebullient,

while not-so-serene;

each day seems like serendipity

only deepening the connection

once found through the indigo--

a most welcome juxtaposition.

The serendipity of the connection

formed in the serene indigo:

ebullient and soulful in juxtaposition.

So, my lesson learned is, don't pick really difficult words unless you want to tie your brain in knots. Hopefully you enjoyed it somewhat anyway. I know this one sounds difficult, but I am still eager to see what you can come up with!! Try it out! I promise I won't bite.

Dispatch from the sahara, part 1

Hello folks, 
Poetry challenge will follow shortly. I am separating them from my main blogs, so here's this for now. Today was much less frustrating; the boy was generally cheerful, I was able to set my small gift idea for my impending wedding anniversary in motion, and I had a successful if short walk in 90-plus degree weather. When I peeled my son out of his stroller his entire head was wet with sweat and his skin was moist like a frog's. I took him into the A/C post haste and gave him a glass of water, and all was well. Poor thing, he doesn't remember the summer heat from last year! 

Tomorrow promises to be another scorcher, so I will likely repeat today's short walk rather than going for my usual 2-3 miles. No big deal, it's not really needed exercise on my running days, like tomorrow is supposed to be. Although, there is still a bunch of stuff on our treadmill since the carpet is still drying out, and I can't leave while the boy is napping in the house alone, and it's going to be too hot to do a hill workout in the afternoon tomorrow with the jogging stroller. Hmm. Let me know if you all have any ideas!

The boy was pretty cute getting ready for bed tonight. He was especially chatty, which for him lately means he is babbling all kinds of gibberish with full inflections. Tonight he was particularly attached to gohpteegohpteegohptee. No idea what that could be, but it's cute. He gave me a bunch of kisses and actually said "Mommy" once. (Usually when I ask him, he thinks for a second and says "Daddydaddydaddy.") What a sweet guy.

Haiku News

Clerics in Iran
join anti-government groups;
this seems promising.

RIP, McMahon;
Johnny's sidekick, Star Search host,
all-around good guy.

went AWOL, now says he was
hiking the A.T.?!?

Parker, Broderick
welcome twin girls: Marion
and Tabitha. Hmm.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A long day...

Today seemed to be one of those days where I was feeling more stressed out than I should have. It was probably just an accumulation of little stressors that added up to me feeling frazzled. The boy took a short nap, awaking while I was still finishing my afternoon treadmill run, I was trying to get someone to come treat the basement carpet that had gotten some water seepage from a big storm last weekend, and I was dreading going on my afternoon stroller walk as I knew it was going to be really hot. 

Unfortunately, I completely forgot I had taken my debit card out of my wallet and therefore I didn't have it when I got to the grocery store checkout line today. So I had to look like a dummy who couldn't pay for my stuff and get them to dump out my bags (since I was using my own reusable bags) and slink out of the store. Then, once I got home, I had to scoop my sweaty kid out of his stroller and deposit him straight into the car seat, then the shopping cart, and get all my groceries AGAIN (this time actually HAVING my debit card). I just felt so stupid that I had to go shopping for the same stuff twice in one day. I was hoping not to see the girl who had checked me out the first time, and although I was happy not to see her as I chose a line, she ended up bagging my order. And she recognized me!! Argh!

No sooner had I returned home, but I was met by my returning husband, and a few minutes later, the guy arrived to clean our carpets. Not a moment too soon, as they were starting to smell musty down there, ew. Okay, complaining hours are over.

I will post my weekly Poetry Challenge tomorrow. Tonight or tomorrow morning is your last chance to post a cinquain for last week's challenge! Pony up, folks!!

Haiku News

Jon, Kate separate;
would this happen anyway,
or is show to blame?

Metro trains collide,
six die in twisted metal.
Cause unknown for now.

HIV babies
born 20+ years ago
now counsel others.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day, along with many other major holidays, is a time when I remember my father, who passed away nearly 15 years ago, when I was a teenager. He was an outstanding human being, and I wish I had had more time with him. I miss him very much. I am fortunate, however, to have a wonderful mother who I consider one of my best friends, and a husband who is another of my best friends, as well as an excellent father to our little boy. I thought it appropriate to compose another poem on this occasion, especially since the gift I ordered my husband hasn't arrived yet (sorry, honey). Again, this is a first draft, but I welcome comments.



I love that word

makes me feel warm inside

picturing big, strong arms holding

me close.

I miss

my dad, but I’m

so lucky I have a

terrific husband who loves our

young boy.


them together

goofing around, giggling

threatening to make me tear up;


Can’t wait

till our boy can

say what he already

feels right now: “I really love you,


Haiku News

Next generation

of supersonic jets is

on the way, they say.

New York Times writer

escapes from the Taliban--

Happy Father's Day!

Really, TSA?

carrying large sums of cash

is dangerous? How??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Late night blogging...

Okay, I have a headache so I am sorry if this is not up to my usual standards. I had a lovely evening with my husband, dinner and a Broadway caliber show...I love living in the city! It's hard to believe that this week will mark 8 years since a couple of 22-year-olds fresh out of college and with no idea what they would do for careers got married. Time flies when you're having fun. 

Insert your own fanfare sound effect here, I give you my poem based on my non-iPod 8-mile run this morning. Bear in mind, this is a rough draft.

Thoughts on 8 Miles


I wish I had

Remembered to set my

Alarm last night, now it’s too hot


Let’s see…

Can I recall

The route I set last night?

No, here’s a better trail. Now there’s

No cars.

Oh, dear.

Why does that guy

Think he can wear tiny

Exercise briefs and stretch a black


Not that

I’m trying to

Set any speed records,

But why is everyone out here


Guy with

A cute dog, which

Knows just how to keep cool:

Jumping in every puddle here.

Wet dog!

Oh, crap.

Mental math sucks;

I ran this path too far.

Now I have a mile for cool down.

Oh, well.

The song

That keeps playing

In my head (since no iPod):

Jewel's “Standing Still”. Apropos;

I’m slow.


Hurting, a mile

Left. Keep running, left, right,

Almost done, can’t give up now, al-


Haiku News

Protesters are met
by batons, water cannons;
Iran's in chaos.

Air France compensates
victims' families with just

Slightly happier news:
Pixar grants girl's dying wish
to see "Up" at home.

Dr. Isis made me do it...

I thought this meme that Dr. Isis posted on her blog was too funny, and I had to post mine now. I will attempt to come back later today to compose a poem related to my thoughts while running 8 miles sans iPod, but here's a little something to tide you over. Think of it what you will.

Friday's blog, in spirit :)

So, the time got away from me today. I have my husband's family in town and we ended up seeing a late movie. Nutshell: "Away We Go" is great. I will hopefully write a more extensive review later but I am hoping to get up early to run 8 miles tomorrow morning, so can't spend a ton of time blogging just now.

My son is such a ham. The minute Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie walked through the door, he was all big smiles and "HI!!!!" and was nonstop giggles and grins until bedtime, when he went down without a peep. Not that he's so cranky usually, but he seems extra "on" when family is visiting. He is just at the stage where he will walk fast/run to a family member and give him/her a hug. So cute!

No more cinquains since yesterday, but we have a few haiku comments on yesterday's thread. :)
Keep 'em coming, folks! I love it!! (Comments are not required to be in poem form, btw, I just enjoy it.)

Haiku News

Essex teenager
survives lightning strike because
she had an iPod.

Toll House cookie dough
recalled due to E. coli;
that's why raw is bad!!!

Great guy of the day:
ex-boyfriend of dead woman
adopts her kids. Wow.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's official.

I am probably among the lazier people on earth. I am posting later than usual tonight because I just spent quite awhile folding my clean laundry that I have been avoiding. On the plus side, I am happy to find that I own more clothes than I remembered. 

Please check out the lovely cinquains (and a few haiku) submitted since yesterday!

My in-laws will be in town this weekend, so my posts will likely be shorter than usual, but never fear, I will post nonetheless. 

Haiku News

Von Brunn's computer
also harbored child porn.
How much evil here?!

"Jon & Kate Plus 8"
will feature an "announcement"
Monday; those poor kids...

Continental flight
lands after its pilot dies;
passengers don't know.

"only meant the violent
losers were nothing."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I need a personal chef...

...and a full-time maid. OR, I need to budget my time more wisely. I think you all can figure out which one is closer to the truth, at least since I don't quite qualify to be interviewed by Robin Leach. I have been meaning to become a better housekeeper, but I haven't managed to get off my duff to do it yet, now that I actually have some shreds of free time. I also need to prep dinner sometime other than just before I cook it, or every night I cook I will end up eating near 9PM, even if I get my dear husband to put the little one to bed. Sigh.

Thank you to those who have already jumped into the fray of this week's Poetry Challenge. Please read and enjoy each other's work; that is part of the reason I am issuing these challenges. Those who remain lurkers, please come out and play! This is a non-critical environment in which to experiment.

Haiku News

Hundred-dollar home?
Nice, but still not sure I'd want
to live in Detroit.

Jerkwad of the day:
man faked that he's his dead mom,
got $100k.

separating from their wives;
anyone surprised?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poetry Challenge #2: Cinquain

Before I start on this next challenge, please check yesterday's post for several more excellent haiku entries. Thanks for all who participated. I think from now on I will respond to each with a rating system eerily similar to the improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", i.e. assign each one some points that don't mean anything. They're like any words ever said by Spencer Pratt. 
Ready, kids? 'Cause here we go!

A cinquain (pronounced sin-cane) is a five-line, unrhymed poem. The syllable pattern goes 2-4-6-8-2. The subject matter is completely up to you, as is whether to title your work or not. It was inspired by the haiku and another Japanese poem, the tanka, which we may explore later. Here are a few examples:

The oak
in my backyard
holds twisted rope and wood 
and knows the name of every child
that swings.

(by Jeanne Cassler)

Grey shells
on walk, fresh spread
for summer's tourist surge,
await, as for a million years,
my tread.

(by Alan Reynolds)

Poets often string several cinquains together to form the stanzas of longer poems as well. 
Examples of this technique as well as the shorter form can be found here

Here is my first-ever attempt at a cinquain:

In the Moment
The future gleams,
But I can't forget now--
Babyhood is so fleeting; he's

See, we're learning together! I can't wait to see what you all come up with this week. Now, get writing!

On Fitness and Cabin Fever

On my off-days from running, I often use the strength training and yoga features on my Wii Fit, my big present from my recent 30th birthday. I very much enjoy this, and I believe it has done me a lot of good in my training, as well as providing some much-needed definition, particularly in my legs and abdomen.

My one complaint about Wii Fit is the Body Test. The test itself can be useful--it motivates me to do it more than a few times a week--but it contradicts itself. See, when you do a Body Test, the balance board "weighs" you as well as measuring your center of balance, etc. While at some point, the Wii Fit program assures you that it is normal for your weight to fluctuate by 2 pounds in either direction over the course of a day, if you weigh more than 1 pound more than you did the last time you did a Body Test, it makes you "think about the causes of your weight gain." It actually forces you to choose a pre-set reason for it, such as "eating too much," "not exercising," and "eating too late." This is infuriating, both because the program already tells you it's normal to fluctuate that much, and because if you are on a diet and are following it faithfully (like I have been since February), none of their "reasons" describe the reason for it. Thank goodness that hasn't happened all that often, but when it does, I usually just choose "I don't know." Ugh!!!

It seems like I've had one day of decently-warm, nice weather in the past month, surrounded by unseasonably-cold or rainy days. This is horrible when I'm home all day with my son. I enjoy getting out on a long walk after his nap, and when I can't get out, I feel somewhat trapped. I like to be able to get out in the fresh air and stretch my legs, and I tend to call my mom or my husband and have some nice adult conversation that isn't quite as possible while watching my little one lay waste to the interior of my home. I just hope the weather will take an extended positive turn sometime soon, or our walls may soon feature claw marks from my frustration at being trapped inside.

I don't have a good way to segue to this, so I'll just throw it out there. My wonderful husband has a delightful mostly-baseball blog here, and I wrote a guest post for him last weekend, outlining my picks for the hottest baseball players. You can read that here if you want. I was rather pleased with how it turned out.

Haiku News

Rottweiler adopts
abandoned wolf cub--oh, my...
cuteness overload.

VA clinics failed
colonoscopy inquest;
maybe gave vets AIDS?!

RIP, Bogle;
where would the world be without
"Hawaii Five-O"?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Climb...

Today, I discovered that my 16-month-old son can climb stairs. He had never attempted it before, but today I suddenly realized he was not just at the foot of the staircase, but four or five stairs up it. He is not merely crawling up the stairs; he will lean against one a few steps higher, step up, then stand there for a second before repeating the process. This is at once amazing and terrifying. I am glad he has figured it out--it is a wonderful physical milestone--but I am afraid one day he will do it when I am not right behind him and fall down the stairs. That's when the bottom-of-the-stair gate will come out, I suppose. 

What can I learn from this? First of all, I need to sharpen my maternal instinct of noticing when it's too quiet in my house. Second, I can remember what gusto and bravery my son mustered up with which to undertake the seemingly-insurmountable staircase. He must have been thinking about conquering it for days, even weeks, in order to best that mountain. Yet he waited, biding his time, for the perfect opportunity to strike. And succeed he did, without any apparent fear. He has a lot to teach me, I can see it already.

Don't be shy, lurkers, you may post your haiku anonymously if you wish. I want to read what's been dancing in your head for the last week. I will post the new Challenge tomorrow.

Haiku News

Teenager accused
of mutilating pet cats;
was it worth it, punk?

They're "not breaking glass,
they are breaking tyranny."
Wear green tomorrow.

Hunch.com will help
if you're stumped on which movie
to see next weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Have you ever had a problem re-materialize that you thought had gone away? I am having that experience this evening. I am not going to air dirty laundry on this blog (I have other, more private outlets for that), but I think I can vent some of my frustration here anyway. It's just tough when you have known someone for so long, love them so fiercely, and have had some tough conversations with them about a mistake made in the past which you felt had resolved the problem long-term, only to have it rear its ugly head again. We are too old to be doing this yet again. It's time to grow up and start thinking before it's too late and something terrible and un-fixable happens. Don't you think?

In other news, I got to share my fun birth story with a new person today. I always enjoy telling people I had my 9lb. 5oz. baby boy in less than 12 hours and avoided a c-section, despite him being sunny-side-up at the beginning of labor. My doc turned him as I started pushing. He was charming the pants off all the girls at the party tonight, flirting mercilessly and doing all his little tricks: waving, winking, saying "hi!", running to and fro...no wonder he went down to sleep tonight so easily. Just as well when Mommy was in a state of mental turmoil.

In case my readers have missed them, there are now two more entries in this week's Poetry Challenge. You can read them here. I will be putting forth a new Challenge on Tuesday, so you'd best get cracking if you don't want to fall behind on assignments.

Haiku News

Lakers beat Magic,
their 15th championship...
sorry, I don't care.

Iran challenger
in election not promised
safety? Bad idea.

are these guys so popular?
I think they suck hard.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pissiness and the Long-Distance Runner

Two of my ideas for my blog entry occurred to me during my 7-mile training run this afternoon. First, as I ran by a quaint eatery, I noticed a sandwich board by the sidewalk advertising their "Chicken Leg's Dinner." I spent the next several minutes wondering what a chicken leg would have for dinner, if indeed it were possible for a chicken leg to eat. I am no expert in chicken anatomy, but I don't think chicken legs have mouths or digestive systems. Seriously, folks, you don't need an apostrophe when you make something plural.

Next, I was passing by a bar within a few blocks of Wrigley Field in the midst of the Cubs' game against the Twins today, and two guys were standing outside the bar smoking. One of them comments (I'm not sure if this was actually meant for me to hear or if he was trying to joke to his friend): "You're not really running with Gatorade, are you?" I had already passed him when he managed to slur this gem out, so I turned my head to yell that I was running 7 miles, so yes, I was running with Gatorade. Stupid drunk asshole. I may not look like I run really far (I am not perfectly stick thin), but even though I am pretty slow I get the miles in. At least I am trying to take care of myself, not smoking and getting drunk at 1PM on a Saturday. So shut up. Ugh.

So there's my rant for the day.

Haiku News

Six Flags is bankrupt,
but claims guests won't notice it.
Let's hope they are right.

claims to have won in Iran.
Opponents: he's wrong.

Bye-bye analog:
Somehow 300k called
because unprepared?!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Graduation Day

Today I earned my fourth diploma, and my second Master's degree. Yet, I still forgot which direction to put on my mortar board, despite it having a label clearly indicating "FRONT OF CAP." Nice.

As I was waiting to process into the quad with the rest of the degree candidates, I attempted to fix the memory of the moment in my mind. The breeze was blowing lightly, the sun shining brightly but not too intensely, and the cheery sounds of the bagpipes and drum corps were floating across the distance from my location to the stage. It was not until just then that the gravity of the achievement I had accomplished truly hit me. I have earned a degree from a prestigious graduate institution, despite having had a child after one quarter of course work. I attended the rest of the program part-time after taking one quarter off. I did take two of my classes pass-fail as allowed under my program's requirements, but in the classes I took for grades I got very respectable marks. I wrote a 35-page thesis mostly at night after my baby went to bed for the night. Before that, I read great works of literature while breastfeeding. While it was not my first advanced degree, I feel that I have worked the hardest and therefore am most proud of this one. I can only feel immense gratitude to God and my family for supporting me and seeing me through my struggles and doubts to complete what I had started.

Haiku News

Obama's grandma
tries to meet fans in Kenya--
one busy lady!

Tetris's birthday--
Puzzle game turns 25.
But Olympic? No.

Speaking of birthdays,
Bush 41 parachutes
and turns 85.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Words I Hate, Vol. 1

When rummaging through my brain for an apt title for today's blog, I remembered how much I hate it when people title things "Misc.". I wouldn't even mind as much if they bothered to look up how to spell "miscellaneous," especially since I rather enjoy long words. I just dislike how often it is used because people can't be bothered to spell out a long word or to better sort their collection of stuff, whether photos or items in a box. Anyway.

I was happy to see a blog by my friend Paige identifying herself as a "runner." I realized that I now have a new title as well: motivator. I never expected when I began my fitness journey over two years ago that I would be inspiring my friends to begin their own. I was simply trying to get in better shape and lose some extra pounds. At that time, they were just leftovers from college and several happy married years, and now it's the leftovers from gaining a bit too much in my pregnancy. Either way, it's a pain to get those pounds off and extremely slow if one simply diets, so I am coupling that with an exercise regime. I have found I work better under some sort of pressure, so I will find a race for which to sign up (along with a small, nonrefundable fee) to motivate myself to keep training. For me, this summer, I have already trained for and completed a 10 mile race, and this September I will run my second half marathon. This summer I have also discovered the benefits of working with actual trainers to develop a higher level of fitness, as well as being able to ask questions on nutrition, stretching, and what to do on non-running days (I am a BIG fan of the Wii Fit). I have become a sort of quasi-trainer (at least, an advisor) to several friends new to running and exercising, and while I repeatedly remind them I am NOT an expert, I feel good helping them to reach for their next goals. 

I am pleased to report that the first foray into this week's poetry challenge has been posted; you can read Paige's lovely haiku here. Please, join in the fun! 

Haiku News

Most popular car
Of '08 not Honda, Ford:
Little Tykes Coupe rules!

Chastity Bono
Now wants to live as a man.
More power to her him!

Obama writes note
to excuse girl from school--wow.
What a great keepsake!

Money-filled mattress
Accidentally thrown out;
Mother proves stoic.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Come on now...

Dear readers,

I tried to assure you that I am neither grading nor ranking submissions for the Poetry Challenge; it is just for fun...perhaps that is not your idea of fun? I'm going to look silly if I am issuing weekly challenges in which no one participates...

I am going to keep this short because my lovely mother is in town for a brief visit. I'd appreciate positive thoughts for my son, who is definitely not feeling himself for the last 24 hours...not sure if it's teething or something else right now. 

Haiku News

Prejean gets the boot.
What the heck took Trump so long?
I know! Her big...brain.

shoots up Holocaust Museum,
only proves he's wrong.

"Web 2.0" is
Wish it was cooler.

Heidi, somehow sick?
My concern is drowned out by
tiny violins.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On a roll?

Dear readers,

I am humbled by your support. On your advice, Paige (see my followed blogs), I will undertake to challenge you with a poem type per week, should you choose to accept it. Feel free to read and not take up the gauntlet as well. Hopefully those sessions will prove enlightening for all involved. I will not pick a "winner," we are writing purely for enjoyment here.

I am struggling to move past a small roadblock encountered at the end of my MA program. I received the lowest grade of the entire program on my thesis, which I feel is unfair since I did not receive any feedback from my advisor between the penultimate and final drafts. However, it will not prevent me from graduating or even lower my GPA significantly; it's just the principle of the thing. I put an email to him tonight, we shall see if he actually answers it this time. Sigh...

Anyway, on to my first Poetry Challenge!
Really, what else would I start with?
Haiku had its origins in Japan. It is traditionally a three-line, seventeen-syllable poem, able to be recited in one breath. It generally depicts images from nature, and because of its brevity, it emphasizes simplicity and intensity. Haiku was traditionally written in the present tense and valued the associations between images. 
Ezra Pound was famously inspired by the haiku form, writing his poem "In a Station of the Metro" in nearly-haiku form:
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough. 
You can see many example-haiku here and here

Here is an attempt from me.

Thunder rolling, wind
sweeps through tree branches outside.
Summer crackles, live.

What've you got? I want to read it!

Haiku News

13 years later,
Unabomber fights auction.
Victims deserve cash.

Adam Lambert's gay.
In other news, the sky is 
blue, and we breathe air.

Awesome, that show makes me laugh
more than "Simpsons" does.

Fallon tries to stage
"Saved By the Bell" reunion;
Screech the holdout--why???