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TV Night (Carrot Ranch)

April 14, 2020

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

April 9, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that declares, shield your face. It can be a knight of old, a doctor, or a senior citizen. What is the circumstance? Who makes the declaration? Go where the prompt leads!

= = = = = = = =

TV Night

Derek stood up and jumped in front of the television. Blocking Fannie Flagg’s answer to a Dumb Dora question, he grabbed the collar of his t-shirt and ripped, revealing a sunken chest and a round belly fueled by pizza, soda and Big Macs.

“Whatcha gonna do,” he growled wide-eyed. “When Derekmania runs wild on you.”

Jessie nuzzled closer to her mom on the couch. “What’s wrong with dad,” she whispered?

“It’s the sheltering at home, kitten. I think it’s finally gotten to him. Don’t worry.”

“But that –”

“He’s only having fun.”

“It’s weird.”

“Just shield your face, dear.”


(Stay at home, everyone; wash your hands and be safe and healthy)


Watching paint

April 4, 2020

In 1975 I spent about eight months selling paint. Indoor and outdoor house paint, you know the stuff. It wasn’t a bad job. Mixing colors was pretty fun and putting the can on the paint shaker was a lot of fun. The worst part of the job was unloading cases filled with four gallons each of paint from the delivery truck. Paint isn’t something that a lot of people buy every day so for the most part the job was a lot of sitting around watching paint.

Watching paint dry is an idiom for something that’s boring. Like, “Hey, I’ve got an extra ticket, you wanna go see Train in concert tonight?”

“Train? Seriously? No, man, I’d rather watch paint dry.”

I’ve never watched paint dry, but sheltering/working at home I’ve discovered something equally as boring and that’s watching my beard grow. The first day working from home I woke up and started going through my regular routine. I even made my lunch. It wasn’t until I started to shave that I thought, what am I doing here? I’m not going anywhere and the only people who are going to see me for the foreseeable future are work colleagues on daily video meetings and the occasional grocery store cashier, so why shave, you know? It’s not like razors are as valuable as toilet paper or disinfecting wipes, but why waste them? And then there’s that lifelong worry I’ve always had about having an uncontrollable sneeze when shaving and accidentally slicing my neck wide open. Why take that risk when health workers are tied up with more important things than a slashed jugular vein?

So I watch my beard grow. I watch it in the morning and I watch it when I brush my teeth and pretty much any time I wash my hands. When I went to the grocery store 12 days ago I watched it in the reflection of the automatic door. And when I was out for a walk yesterday I watched it in the reflection of my mp3 player. Yes, I still use an mp3 player.

Realization: watching my beard grow is boring.

It’s also a little bit depressing because this isn’t the reddish brown beard I grew 1985 or again in 1996. This beard has a lot of white in it. What the hell?!

My beard doesn’t scream agony from clinging ice like that Aqualung guy, and it’s not rustling like Glen Campbell’s was when he sang about things that were gentle on his mind. And no, there aren’t any stars in my beard like in that T. Rex Mambo song (which for what it’s worth, is one of the best love songs out there).

No, it’s just a regular beard.

It’s nondescript.


March 27, 2020

If you would have asked me two weeks ago about my neighbors, I might have told you that I didn’t think I had any. On my block are two small condominium complexes and a couple dozen single-family townhomes, and while I’ve always seen a lot of cars, and heard a few vocal dogs, I’ve never seen any people.

But I’ve learned this last week that I have neighbors. Lots of neighbors and a good bunch of them seem to be friendly. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for a long time and I’ve never received as many smiles and waves as I have this week. Except for that one woman who has a crooked shoulder or neck, she’s not friendly at all. But I’m not sure she feels well because of her shoulder/neck so I cut her some slack. I’ll keep waving and smiling and maybe before this whole thing is over she’ll respond in kind.

There’s this one neighbor who raises a little suspicion. He has a large white van with no side windows and every morning when I’m out for my first walk I see the van backed up to his open garage with the motor running and the headlights on. I have no idea what he’s loading or unloading and I just hope it’s not bodies he’s collected overnight for heaven only knows what type of grisly experiments he’s running in his basement. During the afternoon the van is gone. Yeah, I know: hmmm…

There’s also a girl who rides a hoverboard and wears some sort of cape and pulls her black lab along with her. Sometimes she runs with the dog and he doesn’t seem to like that because she sometimes has to give him a tug. He’s an old dog with a good amount of white around his muzzle and belly.

There’s an elderly couple I see occasionally and I like them because they’re quaint and they walk slowly and we’re at the point now where he and I exchange a curt little head nod and a half-smile.

And there’s the neighbor who goes to the grocery store or Target every day. Every. Day. I don’t get it and I don’t know what part of ‘stay at home‘ he doesn’t get. I bet he only washes his hands for 15 seconds, too.

If I sound like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched, I’m really not, these are just some of the people I see when I’m out walking, and people who walk, run and ride past my window.

Opening Day :(

March 26, 2020

Happy What Would Have Been Opening Day.

Yeah, after five and a half long months of hoping and wishing and dreaming, today is Opening Day for all 30 Major League Baseball teams.

Unfortunately, life had other plans, and with 7.5 billion people huddled in the shelter of their homes and admiring their 200 rolls of toilet paper, the 2020 MLB season is postponed.

Big frowny face goes here.

It’s not bad enough that we’ll have a shortened season, but this was the year that just about everyone* predicted the Minnesota Twins would win the World Series.

That’s it, that’s all I have to say. Now I’ll go for a walk and stay six feet away from everyone else going for a walk. Then I’ll return to shelter in my home and admire my 10 rolls of toilet paper.

And I’ll be grateful that the world has people like Stevie Wonder.

When your sad is bad and your bad is worst
And there’s no who to turn to first
When you’ve done everything you can
No one’s there to take your hand
I’ll be you comfort through your pain
I’ll be your shelter in the rain

* A lot^ of people
^ Some*** people
*** Pretty much me

That Time of Year (Terrible Poetry Contest)

March 26, 2020

This week’s Terrible Poetry Contest from Chelsea: The Topic is birthdays. You all don’t know this, but March and April are our second Christmas around here. Even my birthday is this time of year. So, as a birthday gift to me, write a horrible parody of the classic song you sing for someone’s birthday.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Have a cake made of frosted honeydew,
Happy Birthday to you.

Your birthday is soon,
(Is your favorite color maroon?)
Enjoy being another year older
Happy Birthday to you.

+ + + + + + + +

Hey, listen up, this is a poem.
So sit down and don’t you roam.
It might be kinda terrible.
But it’s still bearable.
And I’ve only got one.
So it’s not spareable.

So I hope you sat down because I got something to say:
The Terrible Poetry woman is having a birthday.
Is that cool?
Better than a sliced boule?
Tell me, what do you say?
Who doesn’t like birthdays?

I’m guessing that jellyfish don’t like birthdays because they don’t have brains so they wouldn’t even know what a birthday is if they even knew when their birthday was.

So the Terrible Poetry woman needs a present.
But not a pheasant.

(Ants probably don’t like birthdays either because their brains are really small)

Something more pleasant.
Like a flower.
Happy Birthday Terrible Poetry Woman (and to everyone else in the TPW’s house)Flower clip art vector

Before and After (Terrible Poetry)

February 10, 2020

The second full week of February brings us to the 58th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. This week Chelsea says:

The Topic is an awkward first poem to your awkward first crush. I don’t know how prosaic you were then, but I’ll assume the Length will be on the shorter side. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, like me, all of your poems took on the form Rose are red, Violets are blue… Rhyming? Maybe, maybe not. How poetic were you? Naturally, without trying, make it terrible. I want the younger version of you to read over your composition, sigh in romantic ecstasy, and imagine the love of your life rewarding your efforts with that elusive First Kiss. I’ll give Past You the benefit of the doubt and assume you’ll keep the Rating at PG or cleaner.

Play along or read along by going here.

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My awkward first crush with someone my age was to a girl who never knew I had a crush on her. Her name was Lisa. She was very pretty. She had light brown hair and wore it in pigtails and I let her know that I had a crush on her by sliding my copy of Tommy James and the Shondell’s 45 (A “45” was a record back then, not a gun) “I Think We’re Alone Now” under the door of her school locker. How I knew which locker was hers doesn’t take much guesswork. It’s not like I was a stalker or anything, I just knew because I had happened to notice it. I didn’t attach a note or write anything – like my name – on the 45’s paper sleeve, so that gives you an idea of how clueless I was as a kid. For what it’s worth, time hasn’t changed me too much in that regard.

My first awkward crust on someone not my age came about four years earlier.

Before and After

Dear Miss Peterson,
I love you. You are pretty and you are nice.
I like when you smile at me when I say something in class.
I don’t like when we get homework in school
but I don’t get mad when you give us homework because you are cool.
Thank you for being my teacher and for being pretty and for smiling a lot.
I hope you have a nice Christmas vacation.

Dear Mrs. Kinney,
I wasn’t really sure what it meant when you said you got married
or why your name was changed so when I got home from school
yesterday I asked my mom. She told me all about it and I don’t think
you are very nice. I wouldn’t do that to someone. I don’t love you
anymore and please do not give us kids any more homework.

= = = =

Just in case Lisa reads WordPress blogs.


And for that deceitful heartbreaker, Miss Peterson –

What’s For Dinner?

February 6, 2020

I was reading Chelsea’s blog this morning and I want to share a post she wrote titled The Diet: It Sucks But It Works. Please take a couple of minutes and go over there and read it because it’s quite good. Chelsea asks, What have been your experiences with dieting? What worked? Whom did you murder during the first week? I started to leave a comment, but my comment kept getting longer and longer until I realized that hey, I’ve been inspired to write something so here I am writing something.

My experiences with dieting have been lifelong and varied and more often than not, unsuccessful. To sum it up in a sentence, I’ll just say that as a kid my clothes came from the boy’s husky’ department and nothing changed as I grew older other than I got adult clothes.

It was depressing.

So, what worked for me? Not much. Personally, I believe diets are doomed to fail. They’re either a fad (think Atkins or “I lost 24 pounds in the first month!”) or they rely on the dieter’s personal self-control (think willpower, which, if we had any to begin with, we might not be dieting). Or they don’t address the pitfalls of dieting (think living in a world surrounded by Hostess Cupcakes, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Big Macs). Or they don’t approach the issue holistically by looking at how both the mind and the body relates with food. Diets focus on denial and not on healing. A diet expects us to punish ourselves by avoiding things that we like to eat. And not only like to eat, but things we need if we want to continue living. True, we don’t need pizzas and Hershey candy bars and buttered popcorn to live, but we need to eat to live and I think many people who struggle with weight control also struggle with certain other things in life like shame, stress, impulse control, etc., that can make decision-making difficult. And what is dieting but the ultimate exercise in decision making? Three meals a day, maybe one or two snacks a day – that adds up to 1,825 decisions a year. Add in the occasional office potluck, some parties and holidays and round that number up to a whopping 2,000 food decisions in a single year that get added to other important/stressful life decisions like going to work and paying bills and cleaning the house and putting gas in the car and doing laundry and developing and/or maintaining relationships and living life. Who has time for 2,000 more decisions in an already decision-filled life?

The only thing that worked for me was not giving up foods I liked, but switching to different foods, and not focusing on what I was giving up, but on what I was gaining. Instead of mourning the loss of a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese or White Castle hamburgers or crunchy Cheetos, I celebrated a gradual gaining of health and wellness as well as a sense that I was doing something good. Something good for my health, for the health of animals and for the health of the planet.

I started small by giving up dairy. Then I gave up eggs and red meat. Then fish and chicken. Then added sugar and salt. All the while I spent time reading about diet (not the kind we go on, but the kind we follow) and I read about animals (the ones that don’t cuddle up with us on the living room couch). I read about the health risks of certain food choices and the health benefits of others. I lowered carbs. I found alternatives for cheese and meat. I found plant-based sources of protein. I exercised. It worked. And five years later it still works. Sadly, the only thing that didn’t work is that inside I still feel like that ‘husky’ kid trying on clothes in the weeks leading up to the start of school, but I guess that’s a topic for later. Maybe.

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