Monday, August 31, 2009

Time flies.

I can't believe how fast this summer has gone. Tomorrow is September already. Even when I was purchasing my plane tickets for my upcoming trip I was thinking how those dates seemed so far away, and now it's just around the corner. My little boy doesn't have to go back to the doctor until he turns two. Wow. 

Haiku News

Prejean sues pageant,
claiming libel and that they

Justice Department
nabs three men for engaging

Librarian takes
out frustration with elbows
in roller derby.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


In a few days, I'll be leaving for a trip to see my mom across the country. I will be taking my 18-month-old son with me, alone, on the airplane. I am understandably nervous about that. I am also worried that I'll forget to do something I need to do to prepare for the trip. My son needs a haircut, my dog needs grooming, I need to set up a dog-walker so she can get potty breaks while my husband is at work, and my son has a checkup at the doctor tomorrow. Not to mention I wanted to return a long-meant-to-return library book and parking pass to my former educational institution. I guess we'll see if I can get it all done. 

Related to this, as well as in response to an encouraging comment to an earlier blog post this week, I think I'll share my poem based on the scatterbrainedness I've been exhibiting of late. This is a rough draft. I think I might pare it down and make it more of a list-y affair without the meter and/or rhyme sometime, but for right now, here's what I have.

Come on now, where is my brain?

Did I leave it in the car?

Is it dripping with the rain,

or in the mail to Zanzibar?

I try to think, where is my brain?

Is it somewhere in my room?

Did I leave it on the train,

or is it buried in Khartoum?

It’s not funny. Where is my brain?

Is it still inside my head?

Has it fallen down the drain,

or is it underneath my bed?

Seriously, where is my brain?

Is it in a viper pit?

Perhaps it’s in the Spanish main?

I’m pleading now, have you seen it?

Haiku News 

Here's the kicker, folks:
kidnap victim also worked
for her kidnapper.

Chinese-born teen finds
birth family, reunites;
memory's faded.

8 killed in Georgia
in a mobile home; police
have no suspects yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Date Night

So, our in-laws treated us to another lovely summer date night at an outdoor theater venue, so we enjoyed a picnic alfresco as well as a spectacular concert by Tony Bennett and his infinitely talented jazz quartet. The two slightly dull spots in an otherwise glowing night were that his daughter Antonia opened the show with three stunningly lackluster numbers, and we had to wait 45 minutes for our train to start moving to get home. Ugh. Anyway, Bennett is a true showman. He is still in fine voice, even at 83. He warmly greeted the multiple standing ovations, parried an "I love you!" with "So you're the one!" and even signed a few autographs for lucky fans near the front. I spent most of the night tapping my toes. Here are a few of the songs he treated us to tonight.

This first one I couldn't resist including even though it's kind of "vintage" now, taken from the Doris Day Show. Warning: the banter at the end is very cheesy.

Okay, now this one is 75% of the same band he used today (the pianist was different but equally good) and I think the same suit. :) Among my favorite jazz standards ever.

And with that, I have to bid you adieu for tonight. I will try to do more substantive work tomorrow.

Haiku News

California burns
as it does every summer.
Blazing temps don't help.

Billings couple seen
on surveillance video
just before they're killed.

While I understand
not liking abortion, how
does this help your cause?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Friday

Okay folks, apologies but due to a lovely gathering with friends tonight I have very little time before I should be in bed, so I'll have to cut this one short. I'll return tomorrow with (hopefully) a good report on my last long run before my half-marathon next week. 

Haiku News

Nutball kidnapper
ran church out of his own home,
thought he spoke with mind.

911 call helps
jury convict young woman's
killer, at the least.

Plane crash survivor
DJ AM died Friday;
Drugs done? irony?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

And on the 101st day...

...she realized that she spaced out on the vocabulary final question. Again. Seriously, where is my brain? Have you seen it? I'll make it up today, my apologies once again.

Even though I knew my husband would be working late tonight (in fact, he's still not home), I was determined to try out that broiler drawer I had no idea I had until a few months ago. I prepared a flank steak with a mustard-molasses sauce that was really excellent. I probably ate a little too much of it, but it was really good. I'm glad that's the sort of thing that reheats very well, so hopefully my husband will also enjoy it soon. I had a baked sweet potato with it. Yum.

Vocabulary Geek-out #3
What are the following and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals.
Yeah. Going to look those up now.

Trigraph: A group of three letters representing a single speech sound, such as eau in the word beau.
Subvocal: characterized by movement of the lips or other speech organs without making audible sounds. The b sound is a subvocal.
Diphthong: an indivisible, gliding speech sound identified by its beginning and ending sounds, such as the 0i-sound in toy or boil.
cognate letters: those that are produced by the same organs of speech in a similar position. I'm guessing this would mean like m and n.
Linguals: letters articulated with the tip of the tongue, as in d, n, s, or r. 

Haiku News

"Horrific" slaying
of pastor; now reward for
some information.

Eighteen years of hell:
kidnapped girl spent life in shed,
had captor's children.

For a little while
twenty-six Pakistani
girls could learn in peace.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This is my 100th post, and before the week is out I will have had 1,000 visitors. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you find something here worthwhile enough for you to come back again.

Sorry this monumental post isn't really so monumental. Other than the silliness of my little boy spinning around in circles and laughing at me talking to him in funny voices, I don't really have much to report. I hope that will suffice for now.

Haiku News

Ted Kennedy dies
after lifetime of service;
he helped all to vote.

announces new editors;
[approval needed.]

New teen programs help
young offenders find a life
better than banging.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetry Challenge #12: Rondeau

As always, before we get started, please enjoy the lovely lyric poems submitted this week here

Annnnd away we go!
A rondeau is an old French form of poetry, originating in the 13th century. It is characterized by the repeating of the first line, or refrain, as well as only two rhyme sounds. The poem consists of fifteen lines of eight to ten syllables each. Its rhyme scheme goes aabba aabR aabbaR (with R being the refrain). The refrain is either the entire first line or just some of its words. 

Our rondeau example today will be a famous World War I poem by John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields


by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place, and in the sky, 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high! 

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Here's my example. As a quick aside, let me say that I got the first line from a randomly posted note on an apartment building wall on the way home from a walk today, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use it. In beginning the poem, however, I realized that nothing rhymes with the last word, so look for the visual rhymes!

What would we wear were we werewolves?

Slinking, howling, lurking around the caves

at the edge of the wood, a bat

screeching his displeasure, a cat

succumbing to our imperatives.

Despite all of our resolve,

the full moon would still involve

running amok, due to the fact that

we were werewolves.

In the morning, we will devolve

into bitches, that is, ourselves

growling sotto voce at

the asshole who called us fat

behind our backs. The palliative?

We were werewolves.

You can read more about the rondeau here. There you have it, folks. The key is a good, repeatable first line, and either a willingness to use near-rhymes or sight rhymes or a good ear. Let me see what you've got!


Don't you hate it when you get about enough sleep (~8 hours) and are still tired when you wake up? Today was one of those days for me. That's tricky even if you aren't trying to chase a toddler around all day. Ah well. I will try my best to get to bed even earlier tonight, hopefully that will take care of it...I have been up too late a few nights this week.

Haiku News

Chris Brown sentenced to
five years probation, as well
as service for crime.

Apparently, you
should only use sites you trust
for Jessica Biel.

Serial bank crook
does not try to hide his face;
now he's on billboards.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Work sucks.

Things I did this evening:
  • Cooked dinner
  • Fed the boy
  • Put the boy to bed
  • Picked up toys
  • Put away leftovers
  • Carried at least 3 loads of laundry upstairs and folded it

My back hurts. Guhhhhhhh.

On a happy note, my faithful friends Paige and Alicia have submitted lovely lyric poems. You can read them here. I will be putting up a new poetry challenge tomorrow, so if you want to tackle the lyric, you have about 24 hours left. 

Haiku News 

Swine flu could infect
up to half of U.S.A.
Can I worry now?

Ignoring warnings,
man dies when gigantic waves
prove too much for him.

Despite these stories,
CNN still devotes space
to cover "cankles."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day of Rest

I enjoyed a well-earned day of rest today after my amazingly pleasant 11-mile run yesterday. I also got a rare trip to the store by myself! Pretty awesome. And tonight my darling husband and I had a date night: dinner and a lovely concert of acoustic guitar singer-songwriters.

Due to my tiredness and the extreme lateness of the hour, I will share one of my favorite songs from each of the artists we were treated to tonight.

First, new-for-us Stephen Kellogg:

And of course, Dar Williams. This song pretty much always makes me cry, but I love it.

Haiku News

Seven-year-old girl
washed off rocky cliff and killed:
lack of good judgment.

Single-engine plane
lands on California street;
no big injuries.

"Absolutely" seems
to be going much the way
of "unique" of late.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flying Feet

I was utterly surprised to open my eyes this morning at 9AM and realize that my son had not stirred yet. He is generally awake by 8:30 at the latest. After a few minutes I did actually hear him murmur from his room, which quelled any momentary fears that he'd somehow hurt himself to the point of non-communication while he slept. I wasn't complaining about the extra sleep; I didn't get to bed last night until after midnight for no good reason.

I was very glad to have that extra sleep, as I had my longest solo run ever today: 11 miles. It was only one mile more than last week, but I was so abysmally slow last Saturday that I was kind of dreading it in the back of my mind. I needn't have worried. From the start, my body felt relaxed and energized, like I had some hidden springs in my shoes. I had many times where I almost missed my walk break (I run 5 minutes and walk 1) because I was running so easily. This does not happen for me every time, so I was really enjoying it and cautiously hoping it would last the whole run. Amazingly, it nearly did. I was only really tired at the last mile. I ran the first 8 miles in 90 minutes and completed the whole run in just over two hours. Unfortunately, I still overran somewhat--I had about a mile left to walk to get back to my house--but otherwise it was just about perfect. I think the weather really helped. The last few long runs were completed on humid, hot days when the air has been sapping my energy, whereas today was in the low 70s with a good stiff breeze that was somewhat cool. PERFECT running weather. Now, if I could just get a day like that when I have my half marathon two weeks from tomorrow...

I think this is the first week ever that no one has submitted anything for the poetry challenge so far. If I don't get someone's poem by Tuesday, what is the point of my spending an extra hour making another challenge? I am kind of sad. I really enjoy reading your poetry; I hope I haven't driven you all away. You know I don't bite--show me your great idea!

Haiku News

VA workers get
millions in bonuses while
vets await their checks.

Just because women
voted, Taliban cut off
their index fingers.

Swimsuit model's breast
implants' serial number
identifies her.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Um, yeah.

I can't think of anything witty to say today. My brain has been as cloudy as the skies outside, which managed to rain on the boy's stroller after we got home despite the weather report not predicting significant rain before 7PM. Grr.

So I'll do a little shameless self-promotion. If you are on Facebook, this blog now has its own fan page. Some of you have already become fans, and thank you. But if you haven't, there is a widget on the bottom of this page (scroll ALL the way down) to become a fan right from here. I'll update every day after I post the new blog so you don't have to check yourself. My Facebook fan page also has a message thread I started called "suggestion box." Please drop by and let me know what you'd like to see in future posts, or as future regular features, or as future poetry challenges. 

I have also (shudder) joined twitter, as @minervadamama. Feel free to become my follower there; I will also post a link to each day's blog there. So, yeah.

Haiku News

Carrier, not crew,
at fault in tarmac snafu--
six hours grounded.

school shooter from Hillsborough
gets life, no parole.

Overcrowded jails
prompt early release of some
thirty thousand cons.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A glaring oversight...

So, in my rantiness last night, I completely forgot to do another section of the vocabulary test from the eighth grade final. I will complete that shortly; my apologies.

My son has, over the past two days, developed a strange pattern in his sleep. He wakes up and screams before he is really ready to be awake, both in the morning and at naptime. I have figured out that if I go in fairly quickly and calm him, then lay him back down in his crib, he goes back to sleep. I just wish he didn't do it to start with...I have no idea what is bothering him. Sigh. 

Vocabulary Geek-Out #2
What are elementary sounds? How [are they] classified?
Again, I'll have to go straight to looking this puppy up.

There are forty-two elementary sounds in the English language. They are (to the best of my knowledge on reading their classifications) the basic sounds that letters or combinations of letters is/are capable of making in the language.

There are three classifications for elementary sounds: vocals, subvocals, and aspirates.
Vocals are sounds made with the vocal cords open, and consist of pure tone only, as man.
Subvocals are sounds obstructed by the vocal organs, in the process of articulation, as man.
Aspirates are mere emissions of breath, articulated by the lips, the teeth, the tongue, and the palate, as he. 

As educational as that was, I don't feel like going into the long list of all of the sounds, but if you want to see them, you can check out the OLD (1900) grammar book I found on Google Books here.

Haiku News

Lockerbie bomber
released on "compassionate
grounds;" none for victims.

Twelve most annoying
Facebook users list is out;
I try not to be!

Rehearsal footage
of MJ now a movie--
LA should get cut.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Pissy Missive

To my husband's employer:

You suck.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that you employ my husband. I don't even mind that he works a lot sometimes. It's just that the last two weeks he has worked so much that either he has flat out had no time to help with the everyday chores he usually will, or I feel guilty asking him to spend what little downtime he has helping me with menial tasks. 

I didn't sign up for this. I realize that attorneys will occasionally work crap hours, but this is getting ridiculous. I don't know how single moms and military wives deal with this all the time. I was not cut out to multitask this much. For instance, from 4:00 this afternoon, I walked to the grocery store, purchased dinner supplies, walked home (in the rain), and immediately started on preparing dinner, which took me until it was time to put our small son to bed. It would normally have been my husband's night to handle bedtime, but thanks to you, I did that too. That also meant that my dinner was delayed until after 8:00 to do so. After eating dinner I had a mountain of dirty dishes to clean so that they wouldn't collapse on me tomorrow. Again, that's something I like to ask my husband to help with usually, especially on nights when I knock myself out cooking something from scratch (in this case, North African meatballs with couscous and glazed carrots), but was forced to do myself in his lack of free time. As I type this he is eating a marshmallow treat and will go to bed immediately afterward. I (you guessed it) will not, as I need to finish my blog, which I would have done earlier had I not had to play scullery maid. UGH!!!!!!!!!! YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love and kisses,

Haiku News

Man who crashed his plane
trying to fake his own death
gets four years; that twit.

High voter turnout
may weaken the Taliban
in Afghanistan.

North Korea thinks
since they gave us journalists,
they're owed direct talks?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Poetry Challenge #11: Lyric Poem

OK, kids, as always, be sure to check out the terrific Tanka submitted over the past week here.

This week, I'm selfishly bending my self-imposed rules for the poetry challenge by picking a type of poem, not a form, as I have done for the first ten challenges. That means that we have a bit more leeway in what we write; there will be less rules and restrictions to follow. Interpret that as you will.

A lyric poem is generally defined as a short poem (in poetry "short" just means less than a few pages long!) in which a speaker expresses thought and feeling. The name "lyric" comes from the early tradition of setting these works to music. Elegies, odes, sonnets, and dramatic monologues all fall under the category of lyric poetry, so if you want to try any of these forms (again?), you certainly may.

A wonderful lyric poet was Joseph Brodsky; if you are unfamiliar with him I recommend you click his name to call up his biography--he was a really interesting man. Anyway, my example for lyric poetry will be from his extensive collection.

Odysseus to Telemachus


by Joseph Brodsky

My dear Telemachus,

                   The Trojan War 

is over now; I don't recall who won it. 

The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave

so many dead so far from their own homeland. 

But still, my homeward way has proved too long. 

While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon, 

it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don't know where I am or what this place 

can be. It would appear some filthy island, 

with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs. 

A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other. 

Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son! 

To a wanderer the faces of all islands 

resemble one another. And the mind 

trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons, 

run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears. 

I can't remember how the war came out; 

even how old you are--I can't remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong. 

Only the gods know if we'll see each other 

again. You've long since ceased to be that babe 

before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks. 

Had it not been for Palamedes' trick 

we two would still be living in one household. 

But maybe he was right; away from me 

you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions, 

and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.

The reason that selecting this category of poetry is "selfish" is because I have been wanting to write what I'll be using as my example of a lyric poem since last Saturday's 10-mile run. Because I'll be co-opting the rhythm of Miles Davis' "So What," I feel lyric poetry comes the closest to the form I will be experimenting with here. 


to “So What” by Miles Davis

A hundred runners passing me.

So what.

This isn’t really competition.

Kick butt.

I’m only running to be fit.

Who cares?

So why be annoyed?

Who stares?

I never aimed to beat the pack.


No way in hell that I could catch them.

Eyes dry.

So don’t feel sorry for yourself.

Chin up.

Just keep on running.

Ten, hut!

Despite whatever they may think,

Who’s that?

I’m not too bad for a beginner.

Back pat.

Now I just need to clear my mind,

Shut up!

and concentrate on what I’m doing.

Heads up.

Now that my pity party’s done,

Go home.

I can get going on to business.


I lift my eyes to the skyline,

Nice view.

and remember this:


So, let your imaginations and feelings run wild. If you are inspired by a particular instrumental song, feel free to co-opt its rhythms or tonal colors to create your lyric poem. Otherwise, just look inside yourself. I am a firm believer that anyone can be a poet. Good poetry just takes honesty and a willingness to think and write outside the box. C'mon, show me what you've got.

Sigh of relief...

This will probably sound cliched, but this one is probably so popular because it tends to be true. Sometimes when someone I love has to go through something scary, it reminds me not to take them for granted. My mom had a rather invasive procedure done today so that they can try to get to the bottom of some abnormal blood test results. I knew there was very little chance of anything going wrong, but I still found myself worrying throughout the day. Since my father passed away, my mother and I have been extremely close, and sometimes I find myself worrying over her like she does over me. Today was one of those days. Everything went well and she is back home, thank goodness. Even better, they should have some answers for her in the next few days. For me, one of the worst things is not knowing what I'm dealing with. I hope in her case it is the least scary of the possible causes. At least, no matter what, I can rest secure in that she knows how much I care about her--we talk every day at least once while I walk with the boy. Love you, Mom!

Haiku News

Doctors and patients
like existing health co-ops;
what's the big problem?

Bad year for Disney:
third cast member dies within
two-month span; bummer.

New study contends
global warming started with
ancient farmers--whew.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sticky Marshmallow and Sesame Street

I was watching videos on YouTube with my little boy this afternoon and found a few of my favorite and one of my least favorite things in the recent history of Sesame Street. 

His personal favorite (and I find it endearing too) is Feist's Sesame Street version of her song "1 2 3 4". Even though it's pretty clear she is lip-syncing to a pre-recorded vocal, it is really cute. Enjoy!

I also really like this Ray Charles and other celebrities version of the Alphabet Song. I'm sorry to admit I don't recognize every single person. If someone could tell me who the guy in dreadlocks is, and the guy with the dark blond hair that sings wxy at the end, I'd be really happy to know.

Today I had the misfortune to stumble upon this video of Natalie Portman and Elmo doing a pretend game, which is fun enough, until the end when probably my least favorite Sesame Street character ever comes in. I think you'll see why. If I ever see this one again, it'll be too soon.

In other news, my friend made Crunch Berry Treats last weekend, and I couldn't resist trying out her recipe today. They came out so pretty I had to post a picture here. It might look a little funny because right now the crunch berries are in marine animal forms. 
Crunch Berry Treats!

Haiku News

Nearly all U.S.
bills are tainted with cocaine--
money's addictive!

Indicted suspect
already in jail for fraud
now hit with new charge.

Despite Vick's folly,
dogfighters alive and well,
even fight in trucks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sigh :)

While I am not usually a fan of hanging around the house the entire day, stuck inside due to inclement weather, it was nice to be able to bond as a family (well, as much as possible when my husband was trying to work from home).  The boy was customarily charming, practicing all his tricks. I am not sure what is cuter: having an adorable son, or watching my husband's reactions to my son's adorableness. Hee.

There is at least one new tanka on the challenge page from the last time I linked to it; you can read them here.

Haiku News

Sprint executive
killed when boulder hit his car;
he was forty-five.

Science fiction? No--
people invest to invent

Usain Bolt betters
his own hundred-meter mark

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I did my ten-mile run this morning, after dragging myself out of bed when it was still dark outside. The sad part is, despite being up at a time where the heat was not a factor, I ran that distance 20 minutes slower than my race time from May. Yes, I forgot my fuel (I usually eat some Shot Bloks halfway through the run), and I had a little tummy ache at about mile 7.5, but I didn't think it was enough to slow me down THAT far. Sheesh. Probably the best moment of that miserable run (besides the end) was when, as 50 faster runners (I kid you not!) passed me, Miles Davis' "So What" came on my iPod. Sometime soon I plan to write a poem about that serendipitous moment. I mean, really. So what if it was super slow? I still ran 10 miles this morning. That is the furthest I've ever run outside of a race. And I made it, and feel fine now. Who cares if I beat my old time, it was just practice.

Haiku News

wins the right to starve to death;
what a way to go.

Turks and Caicos seized
by the British government;
corruption alleged.

Over one thousand
people remain trapped due to
typhoon in Taiwan.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fleeting Friday

I'll have to make this one kind of fast, since I have to get up early for a 10-mile run tomorrow. I only have 3 weeks before my half marathon, so this week's long run is 10 miles, next Saturday will be 11, then 6 to rest up before the race. Whew. At least I know I should do and feel significantly better than last year since I've been training since March. 

I know I have said this recently, but let me reiterate how much I love my son. He is just so adorable. This morning he woke up loudly chattering in his crib, and when I went in to get him dressed, he danced around and sang little songs. He is learning new dance moves by the minute lately. The other thing he did today was finally learn the last few parts of his face. He can now point to his head, hair, ears, nose, mouth, squinch his eyes shut, stick out his tongue, click his teeth together, point to his chin, cheeks, and forehead, and he can show you his hand or fingers. He learned eyes, forehead, chin, hands, and fingers today. SO cute!

Haiku News

Welfare minister
of India suggests folks have
more TV, less sex.

Thirty-four years since
"Squeaky" Fromme pointed her gun
at Ford, she's released.

Help Kenya Project
refurbishes computers in
exchange for new trees.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good Food + Good Friends

I just enjoyed a very pleasant few hours with some good friends of ours. We ordered takeout from one of our favorite local restaurants so we were all free to relax and shoot the breeze. We have managed to see each other twice in about a month, which is helping to make up for the fact that we have been neighbors for nearly two years but have only really gotten together about six times total. We're working toward amending that glaring oversight. We already have a tentative date for our next meeting. We have known them for many years across several different states, so really we shouldn't be ignoring the fates that brought us near each other again. 

One of my grad school classmates brought an intriguing website to my attention. It's called Save the Words, run by Oxford (of English Dictionary fame). They have a plethora of words that have fallen out of common usage, complete with definitions and humorous example sentences, and encourage you to "adopt" a few of them (i.e., pledge to use them frequently in your everyday conversations). I am so geekily excited about this that I can't stand it. It is very difficult to choose my favorites, except for one: Hymnicide. Hymnicide, according to Oxford, is the killing of a hymn through alterations. I happen to belong to a rather progressive Christian church which saw fit to edit its hymnal to reflect gender-neutral language whenever possible, and at times I feel that they have committed hymnicide through doing that. Particularly when they want to avoid calling Jesus a "he." Um, guys? He was a guy. Anyway, check it out, it's a fun site to learn really random vocabulary, and if you're like me, that is truly an awesome way to spend some time. I should note that in the process of re-finding "hymnicide" in the jumble of words on the site, I ended up reading a bunch more of them for at least 10 minutes. It WILL suck you in, but it's educational!

Before I forget, there are some great Tanka submitted since my poetry challenge a few days ago; check them out here.

Haiku News

"White supremacist"
actually black dude who made
death threats on Facebook???

offers Palestinian
kids new role models.

Future pastor slapped
with three hundred hours of
service, probation.

Water bottles may
not have been the best method,
but why harsh rebuke?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

My darling son spent most of this morning polishing his delivery of his first sentence: "Bye bye, Daddy!" Never mind that he didn't say it when Daddy actually left that morning. He also is just starting to shout, "Hi Daddy!" or "Hi Mommy!" So I guess he has a few sentences. But only about 10 words so far. I know, he's a boy and it's still early, and he points and understands a lot of commands and babbles, so I know it's coming. It's just hard sometimes to hear him say all of these jumbled syllables and not to be able to figure out what he's trying to say. But he is so stinking cute. Oh, and he's started practicing yoga, too: he puts his little hands on the ground and bends low enough for his head to touch the floor, leaving his little bum up in the air. Ahh!!

My OTHER favorite Ren & Stimpy moment that I feel comfortable sharing with a nonspecific audience is this song. I can't find the whole thing in an embedded player, but try to enjoy it anyway :)

I have finished the Grammar part of that eighth grade final I'd been picking at over the past few weeks, so now it's on to "orthography," otherwise known as vocabulary. Here we go!
Vocabulary Geek-Out #1
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

Alphabet: the letters of a language in their customary order.
Phonetic: of or pertaining to speech sounds, their production, or their transcription in written symbols.
Orthography: The part of language study concerned with letters and spelling.
Etymology: An account of the history of a particular word (one of my favorite hobbies!).
Syllabication: To syllabify. (I hate when people ask for the definition of the wrong word!)
Syllabify: to form or divide into syllables.

Haiku News

Sixteen awarded
Prez. Medal of Freedom, in-
cluding Harvey Milk.

Steven Tyler falls
off stage during concert; now
his status unknown.

crazy enough, but this one's
through the desert--argh!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poetry Challenge #10: Tanka

As always, before we get started, check out all the wonderful limericks submitted over the past week here

The Tanka is another Japanese form of poetry, popular among the noble class. Like haiku, it was a form popular for poetry contests, but it was also popular as a way for couples to express their affection toward one another. The tanka has five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables, respectively. Most tanka have a "turn" similar to a sonnet, where an image explored in the first three lines gives way to an exploration of the personal response evoked by the image. 

I have had a very difficult time coming up with an example I like of this form, despite reading from several sources that the terrific American poet Amy Lowell wrote several of them. Perhaps a reader will kindly point me in the right direction. Until then, I guess I'll move on to my example. 

Water curls around

like fingers of lovers’ hands

caressing the beach.

Combined with my family,

I can ask for nothing more.

You can read more about tanka here. Sorry for the lack of examples, but I didn't want to give you a bad one, and it's late and I need my sleep to chase after my toddler in the morning. Have fun!

Ranty Mc Rant...

Whoo, boy. The boy was MUCH happier today so I was able to focus more on what atrocities I've been ignoring in favor of vacation. But before that, I will share some truly terrific recipes I got from the Food Network. I don't know if anyone followed this year's "The Next Food Network Star," but the winner, Melissa d'Arabian, is a wonderful mother of four little girls under 5 who has a wealth of information about cooking. Also, her recipes are delicious! I prepared her Rustic Lemon and Onion Four-Step Chicken on a bed of wilted spinach with individual potato gratins (prepared in muffin tins!). Highly recommended. Even I could get it done in about an hour. Yum!

Ok, on to ranting. I allow the boy to watch Sesame Street. He gets a kick out of the Muppet characters in particular. However, the program following it, "Word World," has one feature that really bugs me. The show features all manner of creatures made up of the letters that spell their names (Bear, Duck, Cat, Ant, Pig, etc.), but ALL of them talk except for Dog, who only barks. Apparently everyone understands him anyway, but it really bothers me that somehow EVERY other animal can speak English except the dog. Oh, and Duck is a redneck. 

And what is up with the doors on public restrooms? It seems like at least 80% of them have the door mounted where the handle is on the inside. Anyone who knows that way too many people (even the women!) don't wash their hands after using the bathroom realizes that even if you wash your hands, if you have to touch a door handle that unwashed hands have touched, you re-contaminate them. OR you use ANOTHER paper towel to keep your hand from being re-contaminated. Really, how hard is it to mount the door with the handle on the outside so you can push to get OUT??? GRR!!!

Haiku News

Peanut-free night lets
allergic kids watch baseball
game without fear. Yay!

Typhoon in Taiwan
strands two hundred villagers,
turns roads into swamps.

Woman throws a mug
at Mona Lisa, but art
protected by glass.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I think today began the boy's readjustment period to just having me around the house instead of having lots of adoring relatives at his beck and call. Either that, or teeth emerging, or both, contributed to many periods of crying and clinginess today. Whew.

On the plus side, my experiment of moving away from having the TV on for white noise all day seems to have been a concern is that the boy doesn't talk as much when there is more noise, and because he isn't saying a lot of words, I want him to practice more. He did seem to talk more when he wasn't being super clingy, so I will continue that trial. 

Haiku News

Ex-homeless woman,
Holocaust survivor gives
Hebrew U. fortune.

Skinny Jeans Workout
developed in gyms--I swear,
not making this up.

Hand model brings in
One thousand-plus per day;
no dishes for her.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Today was a very long day of traveling, trying to get stuff straightened out at home after being gone for a week, and trying to keep a tired boy up for a little longer so he hopefully won't wake up before daylight tomorrow because of the time change. Argh. 

Because of that, I decided it might be fun to share a few things with you all that I found hilarious as a child. Funny enough, I still do. Sadly, I could not find an embeddable video of the Log commercial from Ren and Stimpy, but here is a link to it. The first few times I saw it, I think I had tears running down my face. Hee.

Next up is the wonderful Muppet song, "Mahna Mahna." It's older than me, I think, but it's still awesome. I loved that it was used for a Diet Dr. Pepper commercial a few years ago as well. Enjoy.

Mkay, now I want to know what gave you a giggle when you were a little kid. Please share with me!

Haiku News

Typhoon hits China,
displaces one million, kills,
injures dozens more.

Debate rages on
over health care reform; town
hall meetings are wild.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Slacker Saturday

This morning, my husband's grandfather, the benefactor of this trip, woke up sick. Upon examination, he was admitted to the hospital overnight due to pneumonia. It sounds like they'll likely let him return home tomorrow, but that was a big bummer for our last full day at the beach. 

We have reached the point where everyone begins to miss home more than they are enjoying being away. I wish that involved less complaining, but I understand and somewhat echo the general sentiment. 

We have a very early flight and a long day of travel ahead of us to return home, so I am going to end this here for today. I will post SOMETHING tomorrow, and be back to full force on Monday.

Haiku News

Embassy workers
among the one hundred tried
en masse in Iran.

Kenyan man offers
forty goats and twenty cows
for Chelsea Clinton.

Nine people feared killed
when small plane collides with a
chopper o'er Hudson.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Freewheeling Friday

Happily, although my boy woke up kind of early, it was sort of close to 7AM and he took a 2 1/2 hour nap, so it wasn't as bad as sometimes. Plus, Grandma graciously took him for an hour so I could catch a little extra shuteye this morning. 

The beach wasn't as oppressively hot today, either. I love when it's warm but not BOILING hot and with a bit of a breeze that helps to cool off a bit. The boy happily walked along the sand for awhile and merrily called "Hi!" to all the strange people he passed. Oh, to be 18 months old again. :) 

Haiku News

Autopsy reveals
cocaine played a part in Mays'
early death last June.

OMG! Thursday
saw Twitter and Facebook down.
How did we survive?!?

Slow news day alert:
CNN reports Sherri
Shepherd loves her boobs.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Terse Thursday

Due to the lateness of the hour, the fact that the boy has woken up before 7AM three days in a row, and the limited amount of stuff I have to say, I am going to keep this one very short. 

Please check out the wonderful limericks submitted here. Keep 'em coming!

I am still itchy but I hope it will be better tomorrow. At least the storm we had today is supposed to be the last one for the time we will be here. Also, I do not recommend running for nearly an hour when the dew point is 75. My husband's weatherman cousin says anything over 65 is pretty bad. 

Haiku News

"Bueller"'s John Hughes dead;
noted for teen comedies,
defined 80s teens.

Husband of driver
killed in crash driving wrong way
claims police were wrong.

No one saw her drink,
they can't explain booze in car,
but she had a stroke.

Never mind that he
has no evidence to back
up this brand-new claim.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wiped Wednesday

I was eaten alive by several million mosquitoes yesterday, and the extremely hot weather today produced a slightly-baked feeling that has lingered on into the evening, so I will try my best to keep this kind of short. At least I managed to avoid burning all but a very small patch on my chest. 

I was happy to see two early entries in the Limerick Challenge. Check them out here.

In a tribute to my love of description, I will share my favorite of a popular genre on YouTube called "literal music video." In this, someone replaces the words of a song with a description of what's going on in the video. Enjoy!

Grammar Geek-Out #5
5. Define case. Illustrate each case.

I have no idea what that term means, so I'm going to have to look this one up from the get-go. 

For nouns and pronouns, case is the description of their function within a sentence. Nouns and pronouns can be subjective or nominative, where they act as the subject of a sentence or clause; possessive, where they show possession of something else; and objective, where they function as the recipient of an action or are the object of a preposition.

Except for possessive forms, nouns do not change in English (this is something that is easier than in other languages!). The possessive usually just involves adding an s and an apostrophe. Pronouns do change, however. 

Examples: (for the word "tree")
Subjective: tree grew in our front yard.
Possessive: The tree's leaves were broad and shiny.
Objective: A big storm broke a few branches off of the tree.

(for singular pronouns)
Subjective: I want to make a phone call.
You have to go home now.
He will be in trouble if he misses curfew again.
Possessive: My phone is almost dead.
Your luck may be running out.
She can call her dad to pick us up.
Objective: That phone belongs to me.
      I can't believe you thought it was yours.
      He sees his mom's car coming.

I love the rest of my source material here, there is a lot on how to use I vs. Me, etc, but it's getting late and I'm afraid the boy will be up early for the third morning in a row, particularly because Dad is going golfing again at oh-dark-thirty. Sigh. So if you want to see more, click here.

Haiku News

Gunman in the gym
targeted women because
they rejected him.

Teller stops robber,
but because he disobeyed
policies, is fired.

"Jungle monkey" cop
sues Boston 'cause civil rights
were violated?!?!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Poetry Challenge #9: Limerick

As always, be sure to read last week's entries for the elegy challenge here

As you may already know, a limerick is generally comical, and often nonsensical or even lewd. I will ask that the examples you post here be PG, partly because my mom reads this blog. :) Also, I believe they can be funny without being dirty.

A limerick follows the following syllable/stress pattern, with unstressed syllables symbolized by - and stressed by /:

- / - - / - - /
- / - - / - - /
- / - - /
- / - - /
- / - - / - - /

They tend to have the rhyme scheme of AABBA. 

A great example comes from Edward Lear:

There was an old man with a beard
who said, "It is just as I feared!"
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"

I shall make my slightly-impaired attempt here. Apologies for its crappiness, I will try to fix it later if possible.

There was a young man from Nags Head
Who had just that day been misled.
He had to admit
his fuse had been lit,
but beat up his pillow instead.

You can read more about limericks along with more examples here
Have fun, and remember, keep it clean kids! I don't want to explain any of them to my mother. :)

Tipsy Tuesday

So, today was good. I was pleasantly surprised that the weather held up to be very pleasant today. Unfortunately, the boy woke up shortly after his father left this morning to go golfing, but other than that he had a nice day--generally sweet and smiley, and said "bye-bye" for the first time today. I just wish he hadn't been quite so clingy today--he generally wouldn't go with anyone except me today and most of the time he insisted that he hold him. Very tiring!! He is not too little anymore. I'm just glad he doesn't have more of those days lately.

Sorry if this doesn't make a lot of sense. In a spirit of cousin bonding, I went down to the beach tonight after putting the boy to bed, and ended up being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I wish I wasn't so allergic to them. Sigh. There was some beer involved, so if I have some weird sounding phrases, you know why. 

Haiku News

President Clinton
goes to North Korea and
frees two journalists.

Wrong-way driver found
to be drunk as well as high
on marijuana.

Naomi Sims dead;
the first black supermodel,
she broke color lines. 

Monday, August 3, 2009

Maritime Monday

My first prayer of the vacation was answered last night, as the boy slept pretty solidly through the night--he woke up and cried for a little over a minute at 3AM but then went back to sleep until nearly 8:30 this morning. Ahh, I hope that continues (the sleeping well, not the waking)!

I discovered today that the boy LOVES the ocean. He toddled all over the sand today, digging with his little plastic shovel, exploring, and finally discovered the water. Though it was freezing cold (and the air wasn't super warm today due to clouds), he kept coming over to the water. Even when some waves made him lose his balance and sit down, even when he actually fell forward once and got a face full of salt water, he kept walking back to the water. I am so happy he likes it since we'll be here for a week, he'll have plenty to do when the weather is good enough outside. We were only probably out there for an hour and a half today because of some passing thunderstorms, but hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

That said, I managed a good run this afternoon. It was humid but I still felt good. The only annoying thing was mosquitoes. Yes, they even bit me WHILE I was running! I have had at least a good 8 mosquito bites since we got here yesterday and we have only been here about 26 hours. Ugh...I wish I wasn't so allergic to them. I always get huge welts. Ah well. Other than that, it's going great...the boy is getting along with all his similar-aged second cousins and it's fun to catch up with all of my husband's relatives. 

Haiku News

Recent college grad
sues her alma mater 'cause
she can't find a job?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Aussies foil a plot
by Somalian terrorists
to attack soldiers.

Turkish building was
slated for demolition;
instead rolls away!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scattered Sunday

So, we made it to our beachy destination today. The boy even traveled fairly well. He mostly laughed and was cute through the two hour flight, and then only whined sporadically through the hourlong drive. He even went down to sleep pretty well. I hope that bodes well for his sleep through the night tonight. I have a clear memory of how terribly he slept at the beach last year, although at the time he had never really slept away from home and he was still nursing. So there's that. I just hope I can get more sleep on this trip than last year!

Also, I hope it doesn't rain the whole time we're here; it rained pretty steadily for the whole drive over. It's only a "chance" thus far, but the chance remains the entire week. Ugh. 

Haiku News

Moussavi, others
criticize protestors' trials,
claim confessions forced.

Treasury big cheese
says economy won't break,
but fix deficit.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sickly Saturday

Ughh. I got the worst stomachache after having the best mac n' cheese in the world. I guess just because I have been eating healthfully, now I can't seem to eat anything NOT healthy without my stomach going nuts. Sigh. 

On the plus side, I managed my 9 mile run today as well as a lovely brunch with my high school boyfriend and his boyfriend. I hope the boy's unusual crankiness today will be gone tomorrow since we have a flight right at his naptime tomorrow. The last thing we need is for him to get sick for our vacation! 

So, as a pre-emptive apology, I will be bringing my computer but I am not going to promise that I will be able to blog every day. I'm not sure what the internet situation is over there, and I don't know how much time I'll have. So I'll do my best. 

Haiku News

Gates sends his neighbor
who made the 911 call
roses at her work.

Sources now claim that
Billings murders were a hit,
at least for leaders.

Ninety-year-old man,
Holocaust survivor, found
murdered in his home.