Friday, July 31, 2009

Frustrating Friday

Well, really only because of the continuing dryer drama. I finally got someone to come out TODAY rather than tomorrow to check my dryer, which I feared was leaking gas. When he arrived, he said "that's what I was hoping it wasn't." Uh oh. Turns out it has a defective gas gauge in it, so it wasn't shutting off the gas when not in use. Hence the gas smell. So I am getting a new one tomorrow. This doesn't leave us much time to wash all the clothes we need for our week-long trip to the beach tomorrow. Sigh...I know we'll get it done, I'm just afraid it will involve us staying up way too late and being super tired on Sunday when we fly out. 

I am meeting my high school ex-boyfriend and his boyfriend for brunch tomorrow. That should be really fun, I haven't seen him since high school and we didn't talk for at least 3 years in there, just met up again on Facebook a few months ago. I'm bringing the boy as well, he never met a pancake he didn't like. 

Oh, update on the writing: I am now on page THREE, and it doesn't all suck, so that's progress. I have gotten past the opening scene and begun to introduce a second pivotal character. Yay, hopefully this will continue. Maybe not till I get back from vacation, but still. Yay.

Haiku News

Honda corp. recalls
four hundred forty thousand
more cars; maybe mine!

Airlines use cartoons,
body painted flight crews to
grab our attention.

Techie farmer saves
two hundred thousand dollars
using poo power.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tenacious Thursday

While feeding my cranky son dinner tonight, I realized that I had resolved on this very blog at least a few weeks ago that I would try to write at least one page of my novel every day for awhile. Well, that lasted all of one night. So I am going to try again and say I'd like to try and work on it at least a few days out of every week--say, three--and try to write a page every time I looked at it. Hopefully that smaller goal will be easier to attain. We shall see, I guess. I would LOVE to be finished writing this thing (at least the first draft) before we have another child, and that is hopefully going to happen before next year is out. Hmm...

Haiku News

Jerkwad of the day:
Boston officer called Gates
"jungle monkey"--ugh.

Taliban issues
new "code of conduct," in which
fighters show restraint;

they are not to kill
innocent civilians in
suicide attacks.

Sorority sued,
members claim its leadership
spent big for wax prez!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wiggly Wednesday

I think between my grammar geek-out below and the elegy challenge, I should lighten the mood a bit by sharing one of my favorite YouTube features. If you haven't already discovered "Auto-Tune the News," you really should check it out. There are many more where this comes from, but this is my favorite so far.

We have our first two entries for the elegy challenge. It is amazing, Alicia and Paige are friends, and they managed to write very complementary poems in a very short time span. If you haven't already, check them out.

I finally made it to the children's haircut place before it closed today, and the boy was great, except that he wouldn't sit still and kept trying to stand up in the little car-chair. He was having a really enthusiastic conversation about the thing he kept trying to get to, although I couldn't see anything that interesting in his line of sight. I will really enjoy it when I actually know what he is saying. He's cute now, but sometimes I really wonder what he is trying to say. I'm just glad he didn't decide to cry. I didn't realize how much hair he actually has now until I noticed that it took the hairdresser at least 5 more minutes to cut it this time, and she pointed out how much new growth he has at the hairline. He may be like his uncle and dad and have to have it thinned out when he gets it cut when he gets older. He always looks so much older when he has a haircut. I like that it doesn't stick out funny all the time and is easier to wash, but it's hard to see how grown-up he's a trade-off.

Wednesday Grammar Geek-Out #4
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie,"  "play," and "run".

I admit, I will need to just straight look this one up, because I'm not sure what "principal parts" refers to. 

The principal parts of a verb are the four forms a verb can take. These are the present (or infinitive), the past tense, the past participle, and the present participle. Participles are forms in which the verb is combined with an auxiliary verb to form a verb phrase. The present participle combines a form of "to be" with the infinitive form of the main verb, and adds -ing to the main verb (ex: she is walking). The past participle combines a form of "has" to the main verb and adds -ed to the infinitive of the main verb (ex: He has finished his homework). Participles can also function as adjectives: "your mother is charming," "he is a devoted father."

So, the principal parts of the listed verbs:
Lie: (to) lie; lied; (has/had/have) lied; (am/is/are) lying
Play: (to) play; played; (has/had/have) played; (am/is/are) playing
Run: (to) run; ran; (has/had/have) run; (am/is/are) running

So, "lie" and "run" both have an irregular form; I suspect this is why they were chosen.

Haiku News

Pacific Northwest
suffering from record highs
and no a/c there.

Tanning beds are found
to be carcinogenic--
why am I not shocked?

Ricky Berens has
a swimsuit malfunction, but
at least his butt's nice...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poetry Challenge #8: Elegy

Before we get started, please be sure to read the wonderful examples of ekphrasis from over the past week, including Alicia's submission from today, here.

I don't know why, but I'm feeling rather gloomy this evening, so I chose Elegy for this week's challenge. As I've shared before, my father died when I was 16 years old. While that is awhile away now, it's still hard. He missed my high school and college graduations. He never saw me sing. He never met my husband or my son. Yet sometimes I still feel him near me or think I glimpse him in a crowd. I don't talk about him much, but I think about him often. Maybe this is why I felt like writing an elegy today. Anyway.

Elegy came from an ancient Greek metrical form and was traditionally written to mourn for the death of a person or group. A traditional elegy mirrors three stages of grief: it has a lament in which the speaker expresses grief and sorrow, then praise and admiration of the idealized dead, then finally consolation and solace. 

A famous example I will provide here is Walt Whitman's tribute to Abraham Lincoln. 

O Captain! My Captain!


by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,

      the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!

      O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

      O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for

      you the bugle trills, 


         For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores


          For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

             Here Captain! dear father!

               This arm beneath your head!

                 It is some dream that on the deck,

                   You've fallen cold and dead.

          My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

          My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

          The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

          From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

               Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

                 But I with mournful tread,

                   Walk the deck my Captain lies,

                     Fallen cold and dead.

Here is my own example. I will attempt the "three stages," but may not stick to anything else so faithfully. Believe it or not, I've been wrestling with this thing for at least an hour and can't figure out how to improve it just now. I will likely mess with it more later.

For Daddy


I never got to say goodbye,

I don’t know why you’re gone.

I wish that I could see your face

and tell you what’s gone on.

It was tempting to be angry

and bitter that you left,

but I realized you’d want me to

focus on better things.

I miss you more each passing year,

it’s incredible

that nearly half my life has passed

since I saw you last.


You were the kindest man I knew,

music flowed from your soul--

two of the things that I made sure

you shared with my husband.

Your laugh (and hugs) were notable,

they spoke of all your zeal

for life and love and laughter,

and how family was first.

No matter how things were at work,

you always found the time

to come to horse shows that I loved

and cheer me on with pride.


When you died, I cried me dry.

I had no sorrow left.

I thought I’d never see or feel

the love you gave again.

But I was wrong! You’re everywhere

a joyful heart takes wing

by expressing love of life

through music or a smile.

Sometimes I see you smiling from

the corner of my eye.

Though when I look, you disappear,

your spirit lingers there.

The best has been since giving birth

in gazing at my son,

I realize you live in him

and with him you will run.

You can find a fuller explanation of the genre along with many more examples here

Hopefully this will not depress you all too much. Having experienced rather a lot of grief for one under 50, I can say while it sucks, it also puts things in perspective. I realized early that life is not something you can take for granted, and family is to be cherished. I was lucky to have a great relationship with my dad so I have no regrets for things I should have said, etc. I just wish I'd been able to have him in my life longer. Sigh. 

Totally Tuesday!

So. I actually haven't thought about the Poetry Challenge yet this week! My dryer vent was being cleaned this morning so I can now achieve clean laundry without risking a catastrophic fire. Consequently, I forgot it was Tuesday. Never fear, I will get the challenge up today, it just may take me longer than usual since I forgot to think about it earlier today. 

I was rather proud of the boy's ability to adjust to the loud noises going on outside. I turned up his white noise machine as I got him ready for his nap, but the dryer vent guy was drilling on the brick wall outside the house and making quite a racket. I just rocked the boy a little longer in the glider before laying him down for his nap, and he managed quite well, sleeping nearly three hours. 

Tonight I tried yet another new recipe--Chicken Puttanesca with Angel Hair Pasta. I recommend it; not only was it quick and easy, it was delicious. I was even able to make it in about a half hour (they claimed the recipe was for a 20-minute preparation). What's even better, it got the hearty approval of my darling husband. So I'll be making that one again. 

So, I'd better get to the Haiku, since I need to figure out the challenge after that...

Haiku News

Are there any words
for how stupid these guys are--
suing over Tweet?!?!

What is sadder here:
hungry people steal their kill,
or lions die out?

"An eye for an eye
makes the whole world blind." It seems
this guy disagreed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Manic Monday

One thing I need to learn is to check the hours of operation of a place before I walk over a mile to get there. Case in point: I took the boy to get a haircut, only to realize they are closed on Mondays. Ugh. I enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with him on the way back, however. He is at such a fun age, he's goofy and giggly and it is so hard to be in a bad mood with a jolly little guy like that around. I hope he stays that way for awhile!

Frequent contributor Alicia sent this amazing performance to me, and I'd like to share it with you. Enjoy!

Haiku News

Tour de France winner
bashes teammate Lance Armstrong;
what happened to grace?

Neighbor's lawyer claims
she never mentioned race
on tape, but she's wrong.

Multiple failures
of nine U.S. troops.

" honor of the
American soldier, you
quit making up things."

Uh, Sarah? The press
has the task of writing down
everything you say.

If you don't like that,
maybe you should just shut up,
or say smarter things.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Somehow Sunday...

Today went way fast. Maybe it was because I went to bed at 2AM this morning after a late night watching the Sklar brothers at a comedy club. It was fun, but I am not used to staying up that late anymore. Whew, I'm getting old. 

I was less worried about this afternoon's activities once my son decided to wake up at 7:30, and once I went in to turn on his music and give him a pacifier to buy a few minutes, he went back to sleep...sweet. Plus, then if he didn't end up napping in the car on the way to my brother's house this afternoon, I didn't think he'd have as much chance of a meltdown. Fortunately, I was right there. He was tired, but he made it. I was so happy to be able to bond some more with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, along with my sister's oldest daughter and her little girl. I also got to meet my brother's family's new puppy, Leo. What a cute little guy! He was very sweet, even with my curious toddler. Thank goodness he was not in a grabby mood today! The boy snoozed off and on in the car on the way home, ate some dinner, and went to bed without much fuss. I am so lucky, I know. I hope any future children will follow in his footsteps!

Haiku News

Wrong-way minivan
on Taconic Parkway kills
eight, four of them kids. 

may face no-confidence vote
since he counted wrong.

Governator asks
California bar to let

still Saturday to me...

As a placeholder for a proper post, here's a video of the Sklar brothers of Cheap Seats fame, doing a bit about the news helicopter from one of the local NYC news stations. It is very late so that's the best I can do for now... 

More, you say?'s a video some of you probably already saw, but I have to say if I could dance ANY better than I do I would've been tempted to do something like this for our wedding. I certainly FELT like doing this!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Free-form Friday

I am glad it's Friday; again, because my darling husband will be home for two whole days. We have tickets to see some very funny gentlemen tomorrow night, and otherwise we will just relax. We do that pretty well. 

Today was fairly nice. The weather was good, and the delivery men arrived to set up my new washer and dryer in the first hour of the two-hour window they provided yesterday. So that was unexpectedly happy. I look forward to using them, but will restrain myself until I can get the dryer vent cleaned out on Tuesday--otherwise all the crud in there will infest my nice new dryer. Because the delivery window overlapped with the boy's nap, however, it pushed my workout to this evening after I put him to bed, hence my lateness to post today. 

Paige has submitted her entry for this week's Poetry Challenge; please check out hers and the other submissions this week here.

Haiku News

"Teachable moment"
hoped for when Obama asks
Gates, Crowley over.

apparently brewing young
U.S. terrorists??

E. Lynn Harris dead;
he broke ground for black gay men
to be heard in print.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

Today was the last day my mom was staying at my house for awhile. She went home with my brother this evening. The only "bad" thing about my siblings living so close is having to share my mommy when she comes to visit. She had been here since Sunday, though, so really, I had a nice long time with her already. Plus, I'm coming out to visit her in September, so we'll see each other again soon anyway. 

Just before we left the house to go play, the boy managed to lose his balance and nearly put his eye out on the edge of his new barn playset. He ended up with a nice puffy eyebrow but seemed none the worse for wear. Whew.

Our last hurrah was to attend an amazing exhibit of Harry Potter props and costumes from the movie series. I wish I could have taken pictures but of course they weren't allowed. It was amazing how extensive their collection was--everything from models of various creatures (Buckbeak the hippogriff, centaurs, an acromantula, the baby thestral, a dementor) to costumes from each of the main characters, to wands and large set pieces like Hagrid's hut (you can sit in his chair!) and Umbridge's office. Oh, and you could do target practice with Quidditch rings and some quaffles...ahh, the geekiness! 

Ekphrasis has already drawn a few poets out of the woodwork! Please check out their fine efforts here.

Haiku News

1st VP earns cleric's ire
for watching dancers?

Cambridge officer
says he won't apologize;
"what [he] did was right".

I guess now, really,
the only ones who know the
truth are him and Gates.

Not sure which is worse:
eight-year-old girl abused by
fellow immigrants,

or that her family
reacted not with support,
but that she shamed them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wild Wednesday

One plus of having my mom is around is for me to finally get the push I need to get going on a few things on my to-do list. The first one was to get someone in to look at a few of my annoying appliances. Fortune smiled on me most in the kitchen, where I had a broken-but-replaceable part in my fridge and discovered the storage drawer under my stove is actually a broiler drawer--who knew? 

My luck ended when the guy took a look at my washer and dryer. Apparently it's a miracle that my house hasn't burned down yet, since my vent and dryer were packed full of lint. If you haven't had your dryer vent cleaned lately, please do me a favor and have it cleaned!! He showed me a handful of scorched black lint from the bottom of my dryer...scary stuff. Long story short: we became the owners of a brand-new washer and dryer. At least now they'll work. Sigh.

Grammar Geek-out Wednesday #3
3. Define verse, stanza, and paragraph.

Great, a nice short one this week. I'm not sure if I'll know exactly what the 1895 definitions are but I'll just do the modern ones, OK?

Verse has a lot of definitions. Let's list a few.
1. a line of a poem
2. a poem
3. metrical writing.
4. metrical writing distinguished from poetry by its inferior quality
5. a particular type of metrical writing, such as elegiac verse.
6. the collective poetry of an author, nation, etc: Shakespearean verse; American verse
and so on.

a stanza is like the paragraph of poetry--it forms its divisions. It is usually at least four lines and has meter, a rhyme scheme, or both.

a paragraph is a portion of written matter dealing with a particular idea, signified by an indent in the text.

Haiku News

Book challenge whips up
debate over sex content;
what freedom of speech?

Judge rules the exam
to become New York's Bravest

After riding train,
dragged behind homeless's bike,
shark found in the street.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Poetry Challenge #7: Ekphrasis

Before you all panic at the weirdness of this week's poetic form's name, allow me to explain it. Ekphrasis means "vivid description of a thing," and it was first popular in Greek writing, hence the Greek name. It was mostly used to describe great works of art, either paintings, statues, or other classic art objects. Nowadays the form has come to be less about vividly describing the actual concrete art you have in mind, and more about trying to inhabit its world. Trying to describe something from within it can be challenging, but also very rewarding, as I can tell you now from experience. For this challenge, I want you to look around and find a piece of art--a painting, a statue, a photograph--that grabs you. Then think awhile about what in that piece of art speaks to you, and try to build a poem around that. There is no prescribed format for this particular type of poetry, so go with what feels right to you. I wrote a free verse.

OK, example time! One of my very favorite poets, William Carlos Williams, has a great example of ekphrasis, which I will share here:

Landscape With The Fall of Icarus 
by William Carlos Williams
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field 
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted 
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

For my example, I stumbled upon an amateur photo (which was uncredited, or else I would give the photographer his or her due) that was quite striking. The poem below came out of reflecting on that photo.

Still Life

It was never my intention

to call a viaduct my shelter,

to make concrete and masonry

my dwelling-place.

They say life is what happens

while you’re making other plans.

I made a wrong turn somewhere,

leading me here.

Don’t pity me.

I don’t need your patronizing.

I don’t have much,

but I still have my pride.

Let me retreat

from my harsh sur-reality

to the calming patterns

of celestial themes.

Let me meditate

on what life still offers

by studying the perfect

symmetry of flowers.

I still have my life

I still have my health

I still have beauty

I still have.

You can find more description of ekphrasis and more examples here. So, once you have found your object and tried to inhabit its world for awhile in poetic form, I would also ask that you find a picture of it on the web somewhere and post the link to it with your poem so readers can get the full experience of your writing. Have fun, I know I did!

Tip-top Tuesday

I am posting this and my weekly Poetry Challenge early today, as we are going to a concert this evening. To give you a little taste, here is some tour footage from earlier in the series:

This morning, I enjoyed the Free Pastry Day at Starbucks with my mom. When I called my husband at work later on, however, I found out that his coupon was not accepted. Apparently he visited a franchise, and they claimed that his e-mail coupon he showed them on his BlackBerry could not be honored there because they needed the paper print-out to staple to the receipt. I call foul here. I didn't see anything in the small print (which I read yesterday to figure out that I would indeed need a separate coupon for my mom and for me, and that we'd have to pay separately) that said e-mail coupons would not be accepted at the participating stores. I feel bad that my husband was looking forward to a yummy treat this morning and was left with only his much-more-expensive coffee than his normal routine at Dunkin Donuts would have provided. It's things like this that drive business AWAY, Starbucks!! Either that franchisee had no clue, or you needed to say that ahead of time so we could've printed another copy. Grr.

By the by, we discovered an amazing wine last night: Gazela Vinho Verde. When I describe it
 you may recoil a bit, but trust me, it's good. It's a Portuguese "green wine." It doesn't really look green but it is a "young" wine that is a little bit sweet and a little bit tart, with a bit of a bubble when you first pour it. It was truly refreshing, and extremely cheap. I suggest you find it if you can! (incidentally, you can get it here.)

Haiku News

Cambridge drops the charge
against Harvard professor;
stories don't agree.

Scary statistic:
seven million addicted
to prescription drugs.

Jupiter's new scar
caused by some unknown impact;
too bad, not the Pratts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mahvelous Monday

I am so happy to have my mom in town. I am not a super shopper on my own but it is fun to go shopping with her. We took the boy to Target this morning to finally get my long-desired Mother's Day/ anniversary present: a Little Green steam cleaner for my area rugs. Sadly, my dog sometimes sees fit to mark her territory on them, and they have been smelling as such for awhile, but due to the pattern on them, I can't find the specific spots, so I will be cleaning the whole darn thing to try to get the smell out. I hope this helps. 

We also got the boy a little toy tractor, as he has been repeatedly pointing to pictures of tractors in one of his books. When he got to play with it, he showed unusual dedication to his task. He probably played with it for 15-20 minutes without so much as looking up. Yes, I think that was a good toy purchase.

I will likely be posting earlier than normal tomorrow, as we have tickets to a concert that night that will prevent me from posting before very late otherwise. Fear not, dear readers; I already have my idea for what this week's Poetry Challenge will be. I think it will tickle your creative urges! On that note, if you still want to submit an abecedarian, you'd best get cracking.

Haiku News

AP journalist
witnessed nearly four hundred

Dad is out of work;
eleven-year-old sells toys
to help family.

Gum Wall, Blarney Stone,
St. Mark's Square germy places;
I'd go anyway.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sweet Sunday

I couldn't resist the temptation to continue my alliterative title streak (in case anyone had noticed). 

My 5K today went well. I didn't get the best night's sleep (just too short, really), but I got to the race in plenty of time and felt good, and the weather was pleasantly cool and overcast. I hate to brag, but I managed to shatter my personal record by a full two minutes and five seconds--new record is now 31:26! That's just over 10 minute miles, when my previous record was around 11 minute miles! I was amazed that I could push myself that much harder. Needless to say I am pleased. I was also glad that my niece could come out to run/walk with my mom so she wouldn't feel like she was holding me back. She didn't quite beat her old record, but considering the fact that she arrived via redeye flight from LA this morning, she did great. I'm proud of her. 

Haiku News

Six-foot jellyfish
terrorize Japan's anglers;
this is no movie.

Mehdi Karrubi
blasts Iran for "thoughtless lies:"
protests not attacked??

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Slapdash Saturday

So, my mom will be here very early tomorrow morning, and my niece is going to sleep here tonight, and I still need to finish cleaning up around here, so I'd better make this quick. I'm sorry for the post-and-run, but you know how it goes sometimes.

A few awesome things I discovered today: Eric Whitacre, the writer and creator of the "Sleep Project" I showed you last week, is doing another one with his piece, Lux Aurumque. It is a beautiful song which I had the pleasure of performing with a choir I was in a few years ago, and you can bet I will be submitting a video to participate this time around! I recommend you do the same if you are a singer inspired by that first video he put together. You can find out the details here.

Mr. Whitacre also shared these two videos that I found extremely enjoyable as well, so here they are for your viewing enjoyment. 
First, a cute little girl turned into an electronic music project.

Next, a music video (I'm guessing it's Japanese, but I'm not sure...), in which there is amazing choreography using webcams. It doesn't matter if you have no idea what the words say.

With that, think of me getting up very early tomorrow morning and running my little heart out for 3.1 miles, then (hopefully) waiting for my mom and niece to finish. Should be a nice day, it isn't predicted to be very hot, and cool-ish is ideal for running. 

Haiku News

World's oldest man dies
at one hundred thirteen; vet
active till the end.

Homeless paid to hold
spots in Capitol Hill lines
for lobbyists? Hmm.

Motorcycle cop
kills woman at 14th stage
of Tour de France...oops.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally Friday!

I titled this post more because my husband has been running ragged the last few days than because I was actually feeling like the week was so bad. While he stayed up till ungodly hours doing horrible legal drudgery, I was going to bed before 11:30 and sleeping peacefully. I am glad to have him (fairly work-unencumbered, even!) for the weekend. So is our boy, who has missed him mightily.

I am assigned to run 11 miles (!) least the temperatures look to be delightfully mild for running all weekend, even at noon, so I don't even have to get up early to enjoy a non-sweat-drenched run. Ahh. Then, on Sunday, my mom is coming in to town to visit, and she is going to participate in a local 5K race with me and my niece. That will be so much fun!

Before I forget, make sure to check out Paige's abecedarian here. She manages to maintain her poetic voice regardless of the format her poetry takes, an admirable trait.

Haiku News

RIP, Cronkite,
you made news elegant...'and
that's the way it is.'

Jerkwad of the day:
on-duty cop admits he
assaulted woman.

Really, CNN?
if your hair catches on fire,
you need doctors' care?!?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My aching back!

I think I was on my feet too long today. Between the Wii Fit (which announced I was 20 years old today, huzzah!), cleaning up for the Merry Maids to be able to dust and vacuum, walking to and from the grocery store, and then preparing dinner for way too long, I think my back went on strike. It feels better now that I've been off my feet for the better part of an hour, though. I have learned my lesson: the next time I prepare Stone Fruit Salad, I will cut up all of the stone fruit beforehand. Today I got it at the store in the afternoon, and although I immediately started cutting it up, I still didn't finish in time to get that salad done before I had to feed the boy and put him to bed. least it (and the Summer Squash Soup I made with it) was delicious. :)

Haiku News

County attorney
shows pics of girl's sex assault
to warn teens' parents?!?

Potter fans care, form
Harry Potter Alliance
for social causes.

likely to become the first
Latina justice.

How's this for death grip:
toddler floats seven miles down
river on toy truck.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


He had already tried to climb on the wagon that holds his wooden blocks and various books and small toys, but today the boy stepped up on this oversized musical block to try and climb on a grown-up chair. He really enjoyed it when I picked him up and sat him in the chair. In fact, he didn't want to come out! What a silly little guy.

I'm going to keep this short today, since I have a few regular sections to keep up on here, as well as a plethora of household chores to complete, preferably before midnight, since the boy was up at 6:30 this morning.

Wednesday Grammar Geek-Out #2
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw this one; I am hopeful that it will be shorter than last week. The first half, naming the parts of speech, I can (nearly!) do by heart. It is the second half that I will need some research to decipher. 

The parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb, conjunction, pronoun, preposition, and interjection. In looking around to make sure I remembered them all, I stumbled upon an old poem by David B. Tower and Benjamin F. Tweed that used to be memorized in schools to remember all the parts of speech. I will copy it below for your enjoyment. 

Three little words you often see
are ARTICLES: a, an, and the.

A NOUN's the name of anything,
as: school or garden, toy or swing.

ADJECTIVES tell the kind of noun,
as: great, small, pretty, white or brown.

VERBS tell of something being done:
to read, write, count, sing, jump, or run.

How things are done the ADVERBS tell,
as: slowly, quickly, badly, well.

CONJUNCTIONS join the words together,
as: men and women, wind or weather.

The PREPOSITION stands before
a noun as: in or through a door.

The INTERJECTION shows surprise,
as Oh, how pretty! Ah! How wise!

The whole are called the PARTS OF SPEECH,
which reading, writing, speaking teach.

The same site I found that poem on comments on the fact that the writers left out pronouns, and suggest the following to add to the poem: "A PRONOUN replaces any noun, / he, she, it, and you are found."

OK, WikiAnswers says that the parts of speech that "have no modifications," i.e. don't change form or spelling depending on the amount or types of surrounding words, are prepositions and conjunctions. 

So, I need to define these terms.

A preposition is a word used in front of a noun or pronoun to form phrases that normally express a spatial or temporal relationship, such as in, on, by, to, before, or since.

A conjunction functions as a connector between words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. Examples of these are and, because, but, however. Phrases that function this way are also considered conjunctions, such as in any case

Haiku News

Rights activist killed
was openly critical
of Chechnya's prez.

List of people charged
in Billings home invasion
now has swelled to eight.

Unsuspecting folks
hit with an ungodly charge
from programming glitch.

New "Potter" debuts,
sets new record for midnight.
Take that, "Transformers."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poetry Challenge #6: Abecedarian

Before we get going, please do check out the lovely sonnets presented over the past week. Nice job to all of my poets!

OK, here's another new one. I thought after the brain-bending we all underwent to wrestle a sonnet to the ground, a nice, flexible medium would be a good one to do next. The abecedarian is a poem with origins in religious devotion. Its only rule is that it is guided by alphabetical order. That could mean that every stanza starts with a new letter of the alphabet, or that every line does. Rhyme and meter are entirely up to you. A cousin of this form is the acrostic, that probably many of you created with the letters of your name at some point in your elementary school career.

For examples, I will first borrow an aptly baseball-themed poem (in honor of today's All-Star Game) from Ogden Nash:

Line-Up for Yesterday

A is for Alex 
The great Alexander; 
More goose eggs he pitched 
Than a popular gander.

B is for Bresnahan 
Back of the plate; 
The Cubs were his love, 
and McGraw his hate.

C is for Cobb, 
Who grew spikes and not corn, 
And made all the basemen 
Wish they weren't born.

D is for Dean, 
The grammatical Diz, 
When they asked, Who's the tops? 
Said correctly, I is.

E is for Evers, 
His jaw in advance; 
Never afraid 
To tinker with chance.

F is for Fordham 
And Frankie and Frisch; 
I wish he were back 
With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig, 
The Pride of the Stadium; 
His record pure gold, 
His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby; 
When pitching to Rog, 
The pitcher would pitch, 
Then the pitcher would dodge.

I is for Me, 
Not a hard-hitting man, 
But an outstanding all-time 
Incurable fan.

J is for Johnson 
The Big Train in his prime 
Was so fast he could throw 
Three strikes at a time.

K is for Keeler, 
As fresh as green paint, 
The fastest and mostest 
To hit where they ain't.

L is for Lajoie 
Whom Clevelanders love, 
Napolean himself, 
With glue in his glove.

M is for Matty, 
Who carried a charm 
In the form of an extra 
brain in his arm.

N is for Newsom, 
Bobo's favorite kin. 
You ask how he's here, 
He talked himself in.

O is for Ott 
Of the restless right foot. 
When he leaned on the pellet, 
The pellet stayed put.

P is for Plank, 
The arm of the A's; 
When he tangled with Matty 
Games lasted for days.

Q is for Don Quixote 
Cornelius Mack; 
Neither Yankees nor years 
Can halt his attack.

R is for Ruth. 
To tell you the truth, 
There's just no more to be said, 
Just R is for Ruth.

S is for Speaker, 
Swift center-field tender, 
When the ball saw him coming, 
It yelled, "I surrender."

T is for Terry 
The Giant from Memphis 
Whose .400 average 
You can't overemphis.

U would be 'Ubell 
If Carl were a cockney; 
We say Hubbell and baseball 
Like football and Rockne.

V is for Vance 
The Dodger's very own Dazzy; 
None of his rivals 
Could throw as fast as he.

W is for Wagner, 
The bowlegged beauty; 
Short was closed to all traffic 
With Honus on duty.

X is the first 
of two x's in Foxx 
Who was right behind Ruth 
with his powerful soxx.

Y is for Young 
The magnificent Cy; 
People battled against him, 
But I never knew why.

Z is for Zenith 
The summit of fame. 
These men are up there. 
These men are the game.

Please also check out my husband Bill's excellent modern take on Nash's poem on his blog, here.
You can read the full story of the abecedarian here, along with many more examples.
For my own example today, I thought I'd stick with the main theme of this here blog and do an abecedarian of poets. This poem took me quite a while (I had to do a little research), but I wanted to post it before midnight my time, so here's my rough draft. I may have to pick at it as the week goes on.

Abecedarian of Poets

A is for the great Maya Angelou;

her words are so sinuous,

her readers must chew.

B is for Blake, ahead of his time,

His tyger roared

and made some want to rhyme.

C is for Carroll, creator of chaos,

his nonsense creations

with laughter could slay us.

D is for Dickinson, quiet and shy,

she shut up her poetry, 

but now it can fly.

E is for ee (cummings of course)

his ignoring of “rules”

became an influential force

F is for Frost, Robert by name,

his simplification

changed poetry’s game.

G is for Ginsberg, a man of the beat,

his “Howl” ensured

he rejected the neat.

H is for Heaney, the Nobel Prize winner,

a great voice of Ireland--

he’s no beginner.

I is for Iqbal, Muhammad Allama,

his prayerful writing

is given by Allah.

J is for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,

the heart of Germany,

his words didn’t hurt her.

K is for Kahlil Gibran, whose words are a vision,

his striking imagery

caused no derision.

L is for Larkin, a gloomy gus,

but he saw clearly

the failings in us.

M is for Edna St. Vincent Millay,

a lyrical mistress,

her words dance and play.

N is for Neruda, Pablo for friends,

his poems often speak 

of love that never ends.

O is for Octavio, Paz by birth,

Even in English,

his poems have worth.

P is for Pound, that Ezra was sharp.

“In a Station of the Metro”

has made its mark.

Q is for Quinn, Peter S.,

as no other Qs came up,

this choice was made under duress.

R is for Rilke, Rainier Maria,

your words have married

with many an aria.

S is for Shel, and Silverstein too,

try reading him aloud,

he’ll youthify you.

T is for Thomas, Dylan from Wales,

“Child’s Christmas” was his,

and “Good Night” as well.

U is for unsilenced Joseph Brodsky, a titan,

Russia tried to imprison him,

but he wouldn’t stop writing.

V is for Van Dyke, not Dick but Henry,

a friend of Twain’s, his words are quaint,

but still worth some envy.

W is for Williams, a doctor by trade,

his un-fussy poetry

earned him high praise.

X is for X.J. Kennedy (some call him Joe),

though he’s writing now,

the past his poems owe.

Y is for Yeats, an Irish classic,

his poems went realist

from initially lyric.

Z is for Adam Zagajewski, my mentor,

he opens up poetry

for students to enter.