Category Archives: On the Lighter Side

A Trip to the Park

Carol A. Hand

Skyline Drive – October 14, 2018

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We set off for a visit to Enger Park

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despite a sky growing increasingly dark

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passing by rocky cliffs

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and winding shore

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Engler Tower – October 14, 2018
My Daughter and Granddaughter at Enger Tower -, October 14, 2018

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toward Enger Tower to explore

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beneath trees adorned with autumnal glory

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A Dusting of Snow – October 15, 2018

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just before winter snow in northern territory

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Reflections on a Rainy Thursday in September

Carol A. Hand

Who would believe it?

That inspiration for grading student papers

would come from advice inside a fortune cookie?

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.”

I will just have to wait and see

if following this advice helps students

overcome at least some of their fear

about taking a course in “research”

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Rain-kissed Petunias – September 20, 2018

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An apt quote from my horoscope on an unremarkable day a while ago:

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” (Wernher von Braun, rocket scientist)

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A Walk though My Neighborhood

Carol A. Hand

Somedays there are too many tasks
demanding decisions and immediate attention

Which one’s a priority and which ones get an extension?

Rather than agonizing over choosing
I decide it may be wiser to avoid choices that are confusing
grabbing my camera and going for a walk instead
a great way to clear my heart and my head

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Looking northwest toward the ridge – it always looks so much smaller in photos
Walking east on 8th Street
Approaching Hortus Garden at the crossroads
Hortus Carden – blooming despite drought
Inside Hortus Garden

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Even when it’s cloudy now with a slight chance of rain
hoping my foolishness will tempt fate again
encouraging clouds to share precious moisture as they hover
showering on my camera lens as I hasten to find cover

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Interesting sights while heading back home
Marked for removal
Green Ash tree affected by the Emerald Ash Borer
Denfeld High School – almost home as it srpinkles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Choosing to head home not wishing to be drenched
wondering later if retreating was wise
perhaps the earth’s thirst would have been quenched
instead I watched safely through my window
disappointed by rapidly clearing skies

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Ah, who knows what life has in store

Be patient

Wait

Just one day more

Mow the lawn – postponed because it’s been too dry
concerned that cut plants would quickly fry

Then take little Pinto out for his mid-day stroll
As we’re leaving our yard thunder crackles and rolls
Sprinkles start as we walk down the street
Transforming the air – now moist and sweet
Half way home it begins to pour
Soaking us both before we reach our door
Both grateful in our own way
For the surprising storm we encountered today

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Pinto looking pensive

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Acknowledgement – A dear friend recently reminded me how important humor is in our lives, although he spells the word differently – “humour.” I had begun this silly poem and his comment inspired me to finish it. As synchronicity would have it, I had also just found an old video of Loretta LaRoche that made me laugh when I first saw it during a PBS (public television) fund-raiser. I’ve posted the video below. I hope it brings peace and healing laughter into your life, too.

Washing Dishes

Carol A. Hand

Dear Sherri
I doubt that you remember
Billings Montana in August
Air filled with smoke
from the fires burning
just beyond the ridge
But I think of you fondly
smiling
almost every time
I stand by the sink
doing dishes
I remember our laughter
in a bar after a long day
when you were among the few
to treat me like a friend
even though I carried the heavy
isolating distinction of keynote speaker
at the BIA human services conference
Others looked at us
our tears streaming as we laughed
while you recounted stories
about your nosy neighbors
who reported you for feeding deer
a nuisance to their sculpted yard
and your creativity and humor
watching their response to your latest prank
peeking with binoculars
through your kitchen window by the sink
to watch them watching you
through their binoculars
to surveil your latest visitors

 

Paper Maché Sheep – Microsoft WORD Clip Art

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Life-sized sheep
you crafted out of paper maché
and placed in your yard
as if they were “grazing”
repeatedly moving them
when you knew the neighbors
weren’t watching
to add to the illusion
The authorities finally grew weary
of your neighbors’ fallacious complaints
and left you alone
to live as you wished
feeding wildlife you loved
I am sorry I lost track of you
after so many jobs and moves
but I will always be grateful to you
for bringing kindness and laughter
into my life
and forever brightening
the mundane task of washing dishes
as it did again this sunny morning
smiling as I remembered
Smiling Sun – Microsoft WORD Clip Art

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A Touch of Humor

Carol A. Hand

Do you ever want change something that annoys you? I don’t mean people, you know. I mean something like a moldy, funky bathroom.

Ah, no,” you may tell yourself. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” So you make a few superficial changes and learn how to ignore the things that bother you. The things that you know will ultimately create problems.

Then one day you look closely. Who knows why now, but suddenly you can no longer screen out the dirty yellow daisy wallpaper on the ceiling that is sagging ever lower and peeling off. So you pull it off and discover that the glossy green paint underneath is even worse. It’s harder to ignore and you find yourself with a messy project you didn’t plan to tackle at this moment.

It would be easier to simply gut the whole bathroom and start over, but that’s not an option for many reasons. So you reflect on which steps need to be taken first and begin, learning how things are made in the process of deconstructing them, one by one, each in the proper order. You learn to laugh at your limitations and clumsiness.

I need some kind of tool to pull this glued-on rubber baseboard off,” you think to yourself. “Yeah,” you answer, “like longer, stronger arms.” And you laugh and keep trying until you figure out how to work smarter not harder. You learn patience and tenacity.

You still have other work to do. You’ve lived with this mess since you moved here seven years ago. So chill out, but don’t give up.

Remember things can only be done step by step. Remember to take care of yourself and your other responsibilities as best you can for now. Remember to take pictures next time so you can see where you started not just what you know still needs to be done. Remember to have fun and laugh at yourself as you misplace tools, tip over the paint bucket, put curtains on rods backwards, and spend hours figuring out how to put on fancy bathroom fixtures that your guests can figure out how to deconstruct in an instant.

Remember messes are temporary necessities. Living with the constant mess of books, papers, and now, all the stuff related to remodeling means taking some time just to breathe and escape into fantasy now and then.

But most importantly, remember that nothing lasts forever except  –the legacy of the love, laughter, gratitude, and celebratory joy you breathe into what you do.

Note:

I apologize for being so slow replying to comments and visiting your blogs. I do want you to know how deeply I appreciate all of you and the important work you share.

This post describes some of the reasons why I have been absent from the blogosphere. Teaching, spending time with my lovely granddaughter, and of course shoveling snow, have also made it difficult to for me to stay up-to-date blogging.

Before the most recent snowstorm – February 24, 2018
Shoveling in process before breakfast – February 25, 2018

Meanwhile, the signs of spring are evident this morning.

Morning view – February 28, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snow is gradually melting given warmer days, and come May, the class I am teaching will end. Maybe my repair work will be done by then, too, just in time for yard clean up and gardening. Hopefully, I will even have time and space to return to blogging and editing/ revising my book manuscript. In the interim, I send my best wishes to all of you.

A Snowy Morning

Carol A. Hand

“Rat-a-tat—Rat-a-tat”
rings through the air
from the pileated woodpecker
perched atop the power pole
hammering
A shrill cry follows
“kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk”
“Caw-Caw-Caw” echoes in reply
from a neighboring tree
as a lone crow
adds greetings
on this snowy morning

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Snowy Morning View – February 18, 2018

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Photo by Felicia Johnson (Wikipedia)

The photo I wish I could have taken, but alas, I didn’t have my camera until after the moment passed…

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Renovation Reflections

Carol A. Hand

S–t–r–e–t–c–h
Step outside your comfort zone
Face uncertainties yet again
You’ll never know unless you try things
you’ve never done before
modest though your efforts may be
in the larger scheme of life
you’ve done your homework
and thought through all the steps
a hundred times and more
now’s the time to act
so
s——t——r——e——t——c——h

 

Apologies:

Please excuse me for belated responses to comments and visits to your blogs. These days, I am literally stretching to address long needed practical tasks. Some things I can do myself with the right tools – a higher light-weight ladder that fits into tiny spaces, caulk, spackle, a power drill, a Japanese handsaw, and paint. In the process, though, I have to live with messes again.

When I moved into my small fixer-upper house seven years ago, I had two days to clean up incredible messes before all of my stuff arrived. In that time I had to scrub, remove rotting, moldy rugs, and paint the floors and walls while I could. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much those days, nor during the cold winter months that followed. Boxes and furniture were solidly stacked to the ceiling in the little living/dining room downstairs. It took me many months to finish as best I could. Then, there was outside work to do.

I haven’t been eager to take on what still needs to be fixed. So I have simply lived with it. Until now.

You may guess that I’m a rather small woman, so I really do need to stretch. I can’t afford to pay “handymen” to do the things I can do myself. So here I am, balancing on a ladder and in life. When I’m not working on scraping and painting, or spending time with my lovely daughter and grandchildren, I’m trying to keep up with the class I co-teach.

At the moment, I’m thinly stretched. Please know that I value your friendship, thoughtful comments, and the important work you all do. I will visit and respond to comments when I can. In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has been engaging with each other in dialogue about the issue of garbage, my recent post. Chi miigwetch for your understanding and patience.

Artificial Intelligence? An Oxymoron?

Carol A. Hand

Microsoft WORD Clip Art

 

At random times almost every day
when I’m reading, watching Netflix, or typing away
without warning my computer screen turns black
Oh crap,” I mutter to myself, “Windows 10 is back
Urgent daily updates? Perhaps it’s just incompetence
exposing gaps between human and artificial intelligence?
Or perhaps it’s an intentional creative-flow-disrupting annoyance
making it quite clear I’m subject to a machine’s chaotic dominance?
At times like these
I wish I knew computerese

 

Afterword:

This poem isn’t typical for me, so it sat among the many reflections that never make it to my blog. It would have remained there, I suspect, until I discovered that the software for one of my cameras magically disappeared in a recent update. After reloading the software yesterday, my screen went blank for the second time in the day. Perhaps the software disappeared in the update, again, but I really don’t need to check. Ever curious and resilient, I discovered another way to save photos from that camera.

Ultimately, I realize that I am grateful to Windows 10 for making me rewrite things that were still in process and for providing me with puzzles to solve. I’m not sure that is the intended purpose of random intrusions, or even if there are any conscious intentions behind inconvenient disruptions other than artificial unintelligent mechanical programming.