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Blogging with haiku


Tinker

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I have been a part of a Blogging community at another site, Writing.com in which every other month the community is given a daily prompt and blogs are posted and commented on.  Most of my blog responses are not something I would post in my Blog Spot here at PMO.   I try to reserve the Blog here as sharing something that is connected to writing and specifically poetry.    Over time I found ending with a haiku relative to the subject seemed to complete the process for me.  I thought maybe I should record them here to be included in my archive.  So please indulge me.  

I will include in this thread my blog responses as I write them.  To begin, I am playing some catch up, beginning with February 1, 2020 in a 5 day Truth or Dare Blog Challenge.

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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5 DAY TRUTH or FICTION BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Blog Prompt for Day 1



Way back in a different world, when I was young, my neighborhood had a gaggle of kids who had all grown up having so many adventures together.

There was this time when Richie, my brother's best friend, heard about a hole in the back fence of the local cemetery and our little gang of seven decided to explore. The first time we went, we just explored. The graveyard was on a hill with old stones in the front and in the back, a mausoleum under construction with empty crypts, perfect for hiding. It was spooky and exciting and we came up with a plan.

On Friday at midnight we would play hide and seek on the cemetery grounds and we spread the word. More kids, including some older boys showed up. It was so thrilling and scary ducking behind the tombstones or hiding inside the empty crypts. Just remembering, I can feel the nervous giggles inside my chest.

Well, of course, we were trespassing and had no business being out that late at night and one of the older kids had gotten the bright idea to bring laundry soap and dumped it into the front grotto's waterfall at the side of the entrance. Honestly, I was not a part of that, but I was there.

Anyway, the flicker of our flashlights, the thud of running feet, the hooping and hollering going on and the soap bubbles visible from the street, the cops came to investigate. Two cars came in with searchlights and we kids all scattered. My brother found me and we made it home sneaking in and out of the shadows. A couple of boys got caught. But our band of seven made it home safely. I don't think my parents ever knew what we did, but it would be only a matter of time if we continued, so our cemetery adventures were over.

When I am in the area, I always visit my parents and grandparents, now residing in the beautifully finished, same mausoleum and remember our neighborhood gang's midnight soiree.

#B1
in the black of night
shivers with nervous giggles
graveyard - hide and seek
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Day 2 and Day 3 did seem appropriate to include in the blog here at PMO.  You can see them here: Happy Birthday Mr Lincoln and Happy Valentine's Day

5 DAY TRUTH or FICTION BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Blog Prompt for Day 4
- Given that we've all had a ghostly encounter, convince your fellow bloggers that your ghost story is true. (even if it isn't)



I'm not a true believer in ghosts or hauntings and have never experienced what I thought might be one. But I've had moments when a wisp of "what if" has climbed my spine and fogged my brain.

One incident stands out clear and chilling in my mind. Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit Dachau, a German concentration camp, preserved as a memorial and reminder of the holocaust.

My trip to Germany was a reward from my company for insurance sales. I was traveling with my husband and colleagues and their spouses who had also earned the reward. It was a first-class, luxurious experience, all expenses paid, well most. The side trip to Dachau was on us. We had been having a great time, enjoying the sights of Munich and the surrounding area.

A group of us decided we wanted to visit Dachau which is not too far from Munich and the trip to get there was an adventure. We used the public transportation system, changing from trolly, to train, to bus, nervously hoping we were going to get where we wanted to go. We were joking and laughing and engaging the locals around us, trying out our terrible German and being shamed by responses in perfect English. Ah, the ugly American.

Anyway, there was a lot of banter and laughter and a sense of adventure in our little band until we finally arrived. When we entered the gates it all stopped, the air suddenly felt heavy and the gay mood was instantly extinguished. Each of us making our own way onto the grounds going in different directions, the camaraderie forgotten in the silence of the place. I can still hear the crunch of gravel under my feet. There were several other tourists there but it seemed to be the same for all of us. There was no tour guide. It was as if each of us had been selected to be shown something unique, taken by the arm by some invisible source to be told their story. I could almost feel a cold hand on my underarm, guiding me, teaching me.

Do I believe the spirits of those who died there, linger? Absolutely, they were tangible.

No one spoke on the somber way back to the hotel. We didn't just see photos and logs of names, watch a Nazi propaganda video, look inside one preserved barracks, step inside the gas chamber and finally walk by ovens that reduced human beings to ashes, we each in our own way, guided by our invisible host, lived it.

#B4
ghostly mist

engulfs and embraces me
with icy arms
                   ~~ jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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5 DAY TRUTH or FICTION BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Blog Prompt for Day 5
- Tell us about your earliest memory of finding romantic love or a story of how a romancing lover finds you.



Third period English, he sat one row over and two desks ahead. This day he wore a pink pullover sweater, his straight squared shoulders and athletic body transfixed me. How had I not noticed him before? I was gobsmacked.

Darlene had told me that he said he thought I was cute. Larry who? Oh, that guy.

He looked back over his shoulder and smiled and I smiled back.I felt embarrassed. I had a tough time catching my breath. After class he was waiting outside the door and we walked a ways before either of us spoke, then it was at the same time and we laughed. Then he asked me if I was going to the sock hop after school on Friday, I said I had thought about it and he told me he'd see me there. Then he hollered at some kid down the hall and ran after him.

That was the beginning of my first high school crush that lasted a little over a year. He got his driver's license that year and on our first real date we went to the motor movies. I remember his donut breath. I don't remember how or why it ended.

Last year he came into my office with his wife, they were shopping insurance and someone had recommended me. He didn't know my married name and didn't expect to run into an old girlfriend from high school. I knew who he was immediately. He said I looked familiar, had we met before. I smiled and told him my maiden name and we laughed and he introduced me to his wife as the first girl he ever asked out after he could drive. They bought the insurance and he stops by every once in a while just to say hi. I have to say, he is still good looking.
 

Old Flame Flickered

Who could know we would meet now after decades traveled passed.
Old boyfriend, shopping a quote, walked right in, sat at my desk.
He said his name, fifty-nine years of change, he knew me not, but I knew.
                                                            ~~Judi Van Gorder

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 1st
It felt like an extra day, this Saturday, February 29, 2020. But it really wasn't an extra day. February is still a short month even with the "leap" day. It is not my favorite month because the shorter calendar means my paycheck is always short on March 1. This might imply I'm paid by the hour, I'm not. But I am commissioned and when one has fewer hours in the month to sell or collect premiums, you make less money. And my expenses don't go down. The office rent is the same for the 29 days of February as it is for the 31 days of March and my staff is salaried, so I pay the same even though she worked fewer hours. I am so happy to leap into March with more productive days ahead.
********************


To include a fact about the day, I went googling like probably most of you. The links found usually began with the Leaplings. Birthdays that fall on the fateful day, which made me question, what about wedding anniversaries? Who would be so stupid as to get married on a February 29? That led to this discovery:

Dating back to the 5th-century, there is an Irish legend that Saint Patrick was responsible for female empowerment through his acknowledgment of leap year proposals. According to the legend, Saint Brigid of Kildare asked Saint Patrick to allow women to propose to men. At first, Saint Patrick waffled and suggested women should only be allowed to propose every seven years. But after prodding by Saint Brigid, he agreed to the leap day tradition, allowing women to propose every four years on Leap Day. This little fact or tradition will make the upcoming St. Patrick's Day just a tiny bit richer, knowing St Paddy had women's backs.

So here I go taking the giant leap from February to March, a little concerned I may have taken on too many commitments in this month of March. From Winter into Spring energized by the beginnings of blossoms in my garden and the new rounds at 30Day Blogging and Pursue the Horizon.

#B5
February leaps

into March with extra day
to enjoy my life
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 2nd
Write about the practice of making lists. Does list-making stifle creativity, or enhance it? When working on a big project, does making a list help organize your thinking, or cause you to feel more overwhelmed? Are you a habitual list maker, and if so, what do you list?
********************


For the past 5 years I have kept a daily journal in Microsoft One Note. One Note is in a cloud so though I always begin on my desktop in the morning with my first cup of coffee, it is available to me on my iPad and my iPhone all day long. I actually now have 5 journals one for each year since 2015. In my journal I keep a section for internet receipts, a section for a budget and financial goals, and a section for each month. To the monthly section I add a journal page each day. Occasionally I miss a day but most days begin with the weather that morning, how I'm feeling, what may have happened the night before, just random thoughts and the ordinary stuff of life to get my morning started. I often will put a quote I ran across that I want to keep or sometimes a photo. But it always includes a list like:

Today I will:
         1. defrost chicken for dinner tonight
         2. do laundry,
                   +wash and dry
                   +fold and put away
         3. write a poem using onomatopoeia for Poet's Cafe
         4. write blog for 30 Day Blog Challenge
         5 find and comment on a published poem for Pursue the Horizon
         6. pull weeds in front yard
         7. send Luann a birthday card

Obviously the above is for a day when I am not scheduled to go to my office. One Note has an icon check-off square so I can check things off as I do them. I don't sweat it if I don't check everything off every day. If it doesn't get done, it just goes to the next day. But the list helps me organize my thoughts and serves as a reminder that certain things need doing. I used to include, make the bed, do dishes. Those things just naturally get done but it felt good to check them off the list when they did But my lists were getting so long that I stopped including regular everyday actions. I do the same thing at the office. My computers there are on a closed system so I cannot download my personal One Note program but I really don't need to because I have it on my iPad and phone. But a Word suite is included on my work computers separate from my personal One Note. So when I arrive at the office, I go to my calendar, note appointments then go to One Note and create an office list for the day there.

I believe my lists provide order and direction to my days which gives me freedom to create at will.

#B6
list of intent

serves as reminder
throughout day
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 3rd ▼
If you could be paid for doing anything you wanted full time, what would you do? When you were a child, what did you dream of doing when you grew up? Then, take some time to research “unconventional” jobs (ie. hot air balloonist, deep sea invertebrate researcher, professional table tennis master, etc) and share one that you think you would be good at or would be fun to try.
**************************

I would have loved to travel around the world and back when I was younger. Now how could I have gotten paid to do that? I wouldn't have wanted to be a boat captain or an airplane pilot. Have you seen Aeronauts? I definitely would not have wanted to go around the world in a hot air balloon. Maybe a travel writer would have been fun. But honestly, when I was younger I had no interest in writing or photography. I just wanted to hike the world. I guess you might say I would have loved to be paid for experiencing life.

Now that I am old I really love staying home and am happy to do my exploring through the internet. It arrived just in time for my old age. On my days off from the office, I resent having to leave my home even to go to the grocery store or doctor appointments. I plan such trips on workdays when I am in town anyway, so I can stay home on my days off. To clarify, my home is in a redwood forest and when I say home it includes nature walks and time spent in my garden, and maybe a 10-minute drive to the beach. No more wanderlust for me.

#B7
feet tread
a familiar path
in the moment
       ~~jvg

 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 4th ▼
Use the following words as inspiration for your entry: inquiry, curiosity, investigation, suspicion, and clandestine. (You need not use the words in your entry, but if you do, please highlight them in bold or a different color.)
************


I have a guilty pleasure. I am binge-watching Red Rock on Prime. This is a cop show that takes place in Ireland and was originally shown on the BBC. Honestly, it would benefit me if it had subtitles because at first I probably understood about 60% of the dialogue, the rest I guessed at. Now that I am in the 3rd season I am more in tune with the rhythm of the language and its colloquialisms. But there is one character who regularly appears as a street thug who has been brought in during numerous investigations and I don't think I have understood one word he has said. But I love the ensemble of characters and the complex plot that weaves through the episodes.

Initially, it piqued my curiosity because I didn't know where Red Rock was, I didn't understand the word "Garda" that appeared on the officers backs and squad cars and I didn't recognize the brogue or accented English. I first guessed it was filmed in Scotland and googled Scotland's police. Wrong. Then I googled "Garda" and my inquiry led to Garda being short for Garda Síochána, the Irish police department.

I was also fascinated by patrol cops without guns. When I told my deputy sheriff son, he said it would never work here in the US. There are too many guns on the streets. But in a country where guns are illegal and scarce, it could be doable. Apparently, their detectives do carry guns and guns are issued to the equivalent of our Swat Unit but otherwise, they just have their retractable wand.

Once I had the location down and settled into the rhythm of the language, I embarked on following a riveting, ongoing storyline. The episodes have everyday criminal activities and civil disturbances but each season there is a complicated storyline weaving in and out of the episodes that embroil the characters and twist and turn through lies and clandestine activity. I often don't know what's going to happen next. This 3rd and last season has my favorite Garda, Sharon falling in love with a young, good looking detective. But because of some questionable activity, she begins to have suspicions that he is a dirty cop. This latest development is so sad. She deserves better.

There are 80 episodes per season. I get so involved in the plot that I have to watch the next episode, then the next and the next. I stayed up until 3 in the morning one night totally emersed in this show.

#B8
3 AM
still watching TV show
from Ireland
~~jvg

 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 5th ▼

Write about a recent success. Yours or someone else’s - your choice!



At this point in my life, waking in the morning is a success! I'm kidding. But I do measure my successes by the joy that fills me with each event and most mornings I wake joyfully.

Yesterday March 4, 2020, I was inducted into a sisterhood of philanthropic women, an international woman's service organization that raises funds for and grants scholarships to women who are seeking to further their education. I also watched as a very nice check was presented to a single Mom, the sole support of 2 kids, who went back to school in her 30s to become a nurse.

Membership is by invitation. The induction was old school lovely with the same ceremony and ritual the organization has used since it began in 1869. The chapter I joined is made up of women who are either established in their careers or are retired from successful careers. These are all accomplished women who have their own success stories to tell and they have banded together to give younger women a hand up. Becoming a part of this sisterhood is an honor and I joyfully begin this new journey. Joining PEO. is my very latest success.

#B9
together sisters
work to give a hand up
to women in need
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 6th ▼

What product would you stockpile if you found out it would never be sold again? (If the product you choose is perishable, imagine, for the purposes of this question, that the product would remain useable/edible forever.)



In my pantry right now are 4 jars of Mezzetta, Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini. I keep a surplus because they can't be found in all grocery stores and in the store I most often frequent, though they carry the product, that designated spot on the shelf is often empty, sold out. I love peperoncini especially this particular brand and style, I eat them in eggs, on sandwiches and in salads. I also like them straight from the jar.

A jar of Peperoncini is perpetually on my grocery list, it would be near the top of my stockpile list.

#B10
tangy, salty heat
smacks my taste buds
with zing
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 7th ▼

What does wisdom mean to you? Give an example.



I've always been partial to the word "sage" as in wise. Actually, I also like the color, the flavor and aroma of the herb of the same name. But I digress.

Wisdom comes from experiencing, contemplating and understanding all part of life's lessons.

I love my daughter-in-law who couldn't be more different from me. When she first came on the scene, I, in my infinite "wisdom" tried to "guide" her. and for some inexplicable reason we kept bumping heads. Obviously, I had some things to learn myself, but I am a quick study and speedily figured it out.

She is the choice of my son, she makes him laugh. That is all I should care about, the rest of it would fall into place at the right time and it has. My mantra became, I am the older and the wiser so zip it. When she wants advice she'll ask for it and she has.

Twenty years and 4 grandchildren later I can happily say that my mantra stayed the course. Over the years she has sought my advice, support and help numerous times. She calls me almost every day, we are best friends. We are still very different and I still have to zip it every once in a while, but now our differences complement one another, work in harmony.

So I offer this sagery, listen, learn, acknowledge worth and zip it until asked.

#B11
words of wisdom
sound off key when
trumpeted
          ~~jvg
 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 8th ▼

For most of the world, today is “Spring Forward,” when clocks are set an hour ahead. In your entry today, write about time and how you make the most of it. What is worthy of spending your time on? What is not? In your opinion, what do people spend too much time on these days?



I forgot, I woke with the sun as I usually do and my clock said 6:03 am. I rose, played with and fed the cat, brewed myself a cup of coffee, went to the computer and began my journal entry with my plan for the day and then went to catch up on commitments to WDC, wrote a couple of reviews, glanced down at the bottom right of my screen and it said, 8:56 am! No way had I been up almost 3 hours. Where did the morning go? I had so much to accomplish today. Ah, Spring forward! Whew!

My Mom used to tell me when you wish away your time, you are wishing away life, yours and mine. Now that I am old I think about this a lot. I have too much to get done before I die but dying is inevitable and my life expectancy gets shorter and shorter each day I get older and older.

So I try to organize my time. Balance is the key. I schedule time each day for cleaning and the other mundane chores that when completed provide the freedom to pursue the things I love with efficiency and without guilt. That is one of my reasons for a "Today I will:" list that I shared earlier in the month. I schedule my day to include a balance of chores, fun, people, writing, and exercise. I even try to schedule time for meditation.

I'm flexible, I'm not compulsive in my execution of the schedule. If it doesn't get done, there is always tomorrow (I hope!) But I do try and stick to balance, I try not to let any one goal dominate and bump all other goals from completion.

It is not my business to tell others how to spend their time, except when I am caring for my grandchildren. (Then I will limit time on the Xbox or create a schedule of 5 laps around the property for a half-hour of Xbox. Stuff like that, they just roll their eyes but they run their laps or do the chores I dictate.)

Time is a precious commodity of which we have no control but we can attempt to control what we do with it.

#B12
a moment
once passed
is done
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 9th ▼

What is your first memory of being really excited?



Honestly, it is hard to remember really being excited. Not that I haven't been excited. But my first memory of excitement? My mind travels back to being present at the birth of my first granddaughter, that was very exciting. Then a bit further back at the birth of my own son.

I had been married 9 years and had 2 failed pregnancies before I finally was having a baby. I had always wanted a little girl, a mini me. A little girl to dress up and teach to cook and encourage to break barriers. Then after seven hours of labor, I pushed one last time, they swooped that baby up and he let out a bellow and I could see very obviously, I had given birth to a boy. The thrill coursed through my body. Just what I wanted! I couldn't have been more excited to have this healthy, lusty, noisy baby boy. I sobbed. Ecstacy!

#B2
baby boy
kicking, crying, and angry
at being set free
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 10th ▼

How many languages do you speak? If you could instantly learn any language and be able to speak it fluently, what language would you pick? How would you use it and where would you go?

 

Leo y escribo español mejor de lo que entiendo o hablo. I read and write Spanish better than I understand or speak it. I have translated poems from Spanish to English and I recently helped another poet translate his poem from English to Spanish. I had 4 years of high school Spanish and 1 year of college Spanish but I really can't speak the language.

If I could instantly speak another language fluently, I would choose Spanish because of the number of people I encounter who are Spanish speakers. I live in California where there are many Spanish speakers. I always have to say " mas despacio por favor" slower please. Spanish speakers speak so fast and run words together making it difficult to understand and I don't speak the language enough to feel comfortable responding, especially in business.

Trying to explain insurance to English speakers is hard enough, try and explain insurance to Spanish speakers when your Spanish is limited. For some unknown reason, I have a fairly large clientele of Spanish speakers. There are Spanish speaking insurance agencies, mine isn't one of them. But most of my Spanish speaking clients came to me through word of mouth, they trust me, and are loyal to me, they have been with me for decades. I have one client who is a Mariachi singer who serenades me when visiting the office. I'd love to be able to banter in the language.

#B13
el corazón
habla con palabras
vacilantes
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 11th ▼

Do you consider yourself a patient person? How easy or difficult is it for you to wait for something? Does a delayed reward feel more or less satisfying than an immediate reward?


Patience is not one of my assets.

When I set on a path, I go for it. I do not have the patience to wait on others in the process. I look for ways around them instead.

My reward is usually in the doing so patience for a delayed "reward" is a non-issue. An example, I wrote a poem for a contest, I posted it and promptly forgot about it. I got an email regarding the health of the judge and a delay in the judging. I had to look up what poem I had entered. I had completely forgotten all about it. I sent my best wishes to the judge. I do hope she is well soon. But as far as the judging, I've done what I can do, now its up to someone else and I don't care how long it takes. I've moved on.

OMG, here is where my patience wears really thin, I'm impatient with myself, writing this blog and I'm rambling because I really have nothing to say on this subject and I want to be done with it so I will end here.

#B 14
random words
reluctantly document
disjointed response
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 12th ▼

Other than music, what sounds do you love?

Symphony

Sounds
of children's laughter,
crash of waves on the rocks,
coo of quail in the pasture,
babble of leaves in a breeze,
glory of a cathedral choir
and kitty squeaks Molly makes to get my attention
all are heard with my heart.
                                            ~~Judi Van Gorder

 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 13th ▼

Are you responsible with your money? Is managing your finances easy for you, or challenging? Do you ever splurge and buy something you can’t afford?
******************************************

“The trick is to stop thinking of it as ‘your’ money.” – IRS auditor

Didn't someone once say "Never talk about politics, religion or money."? So here we are at an impasse. To speak or not to speak. I will just address one category or money, taxes.

I want to pay my fair share of my government's expenditures. I'm not always on board with how it spends money but that is another subject. April 15, the dreaded IRS deadline, is looming barely a month away. Taxes are the most stressful time of my existence. Being self-employed, keeping track of expenditures is complicated even with help. People always have their hand out and I have a tendency to give my money away to causes I can't write off. No matter how well I plan, I always owe the IRS more. The whole process shuts me down and puts me in a funk.

#B 15
my work paid
in dollars for others
to spend
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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PROMPT March 14th ▼

What is your favorite childhood memory? Does anything make you feel nostalgic?
*********************************



I know my childhood had wonderful flights of fantasy and adventure. It also had trauma and cringe-worthy events. Sometimes a memory will pop to the surface and I feel touched by the love or the thrill of a childhood moment but on cue, it is hard to pull one up. I mostly remember the lessons, those Ah-ha moments, when my brain clicked into another gear. As for nostalgia:

I remember the anticipation on Christmas Eve seeing all of the presents tumbling from Nonnie and Boppa's (maternal grandparents) fireplace.

I remember the fun of "stink bomb" (clumps of dirt at the end of tall grass) wars with all of the neighborhood kids in the open field next door.

I remember the romance of Mom and Dad spooning on the couch to watch our new TV.

I remember the joy when seeing Bonnie (my best friend when I was 5) for the first time after we had moved away from the old neighborhood.

I remember the love of sitting next to Mom (my paternal grandmother) while she told us kids her stories. She was the greatest storyteller ever.

I remember the touch of love from Auntie Helen when she gave me her blue dime store ring that she always wore, just before her wedding to my Uncle Jimmy. (My mother's sister married my father's brother when I was 9 years old.)

#B 16
just a dime store ring
she slipped it from her finger
and put it on mine
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Prompt March 15
What are some of the ways you reduce stress?  

 

I play one form or another of Solitaire almost every day. Especially if it has been a stressful day. I play until I win, which can range from one game up to four or five games. The computer says I win 53% of the games played, interesting the useless information the computer just offers up. Playing helps me wind down and take my brain out of gear. It is a great stress reliever and puts everything in order.

Moving right along from the serene to the sublime, I'm a huge Laker fan. I love NBA basketball. I never miss a game on TV and have attended more than a few games in southern California and when the Lakers have visited up here in the north. My son takes me, my husband has no interest. (Note: my son is a football fan, Steelers in particular but he goes to Laker games for his Mom.)

In this time of social isolation, I still have Solitaire even though Basketball has been shut down. I also love long walks in nature but going hand in hand with this pandemic is cold wet weather, which, wuss that I am, is keeping me indoors. I guess I should count my blessings, I still have Solitaire and I read the virus prefers warm weather so maybe the cold will help suppress it.

I have practiced meditation for years, a great stress reliever. And weirdly, I have found the simple task of washing my hands in hot soapy water has a calming effect. Beside being one of the number one preventative actions to ward off the virus, washing my hands has become a meditation of sorts.

I have to admit, I've always felt I am most productive in stressful moments, I work well under stress. So when I seek to relieve stress, I don't seek to eliminate it, just keep it in balance. I try to stay mindful and in tune with body, soul, environment, and community.

#B17
breathe in, breathe out
slow the heart, clear the mind
be one with all
                            ~~jvg
 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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  • 4 weeks later...

PROMPT March 16th :

OMG, I would love to give Survivor at try. What an adventure that would be! Now that they have eliminated eating all of that gross stuff, I might have a chance to make it a little while. I'm 79 next month so I may have missed my window of opportunity. The only other game show I know is Project Runway and though I designed fashion on paper dolls when I was a kid, I don't have the talent to design and make Haute couture. Besides that is more of a skills show than a game.

I've really never had any interest in watching other kinds of game shows, those things with wheels and car prizes. My husband watches something with Steve Harvey but I manage to find something else to do when he turns it on. I don't have the patience to sit through it. He never did either until his heart surgery 4 years ago. He has slowed down quite a bit since then and he is 85. So for the last few years, he has been watching more TV, especially sitcoms and a Steve Harvey game. Or I should say, he sleeps through them. I'd rather do dishes.

Winning money would be a nice thing and I would first pay off any outstanding bills, and put the rest into an educational fund for my grandkids. I think the prize on Survivor is $1 million. After taxes and with 4 grandkids, that would pretty much use it all up.

#B18
free dollars
have wings to fly
from my fist
~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 17:
 

I disagree with the article's contention that where, when, who we are is a matter of luck. I believe the where, when and who are a matter of choices of our ancestors going back to the beginning of time.
 

Success = the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose
Luck = results by chance rather than through one's own actions

By those definitions, determination, hard work, planning, timing, luck and choice may or may not be factors of a result but none guarantee success.

Success is a state of mind. What I deem a success, you may not.

B19

long ago, choices
shaped my circumstance, I choose
what to do with it
                   ~~jvg

 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 18:



For decades I have been in a position of authority. The buck stops here. I have found that because of my position and now because of my age, I am mostly trusted and listened to. Communicating directly and honestly works best for me. Sometimes that can come across as harsh and I, therefore, do my best to temper my speech with empathy.

B# 20

truth
without understanding
will not be heard
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 19:



This is a very weird and busy time. Monday I put a sign on my office door,

WE ARE WORKING FOR YOU,
however in compliance with the shelter in place guidelines
we will be avoiding face to face contact
and helping you only by phone or email.

Until this afternoon I have been working in my locked office fielding questions and helping my clients. As of 4:00 pm, I have remote capacity and will continue to work from home until the shelter in place is lifted. Arranging this switch has not been smooth. My company's computers are a closed system so I can't access client accounts from my personal computer at home. I do have a laptop which is now programmed which I will connect to my wi-fi tomorrow morning that will access accounts. The phones are through the computer system so when clients call, it will go to voice mail and their message will show up in email on my laptop, then I can call them back and help them. It seems clunky to me but I would rather work from home than my locked office because people have read my sign then knocked on the door. I'm tired. I'll be working alone for the rest of the week and people are anxious and are full of questions and for some reason think their insurance agent has the answers. *Confused*

My husband is in Mexico on our boat and we agreed he shouldn't try to fly back right now. He can stay fairly isolated on the boat and he shouldn't be in the mess in the airports. My granddaughter went home to her parents at Christmas so I'm alone here with my cat Molly.

It is after midnight and a tree crew has been working on taking down a huge redwood tree from my neighbor's property on my fence line. It split last October and the portion that fell took out 20 ft of my front fence and my double pasture gate, plus took down power lines. They finally came out sometime today while I was at the office, and started working on it to take the rest of the tree down. They just dropped the top half of the tree into my pasture and it shook the house. They have a chipper and are chipping the brush but asked if they could leave the trunk in my pasture until they could arrange removal. They offered me the chips for my garden and of course, I said yes. I have a mountain of chips and they are going to add another mountain probably within the hour. I love it. It does mean I have a lot of spreading to do but, its easily about $600 worth of mulch that I was going to have to buy soon and now I don't. (My front yard is a half-acre of landscaping that is in dire need of new mulch.) Anyway, there is so much noise going on from the tree chipping I could never sleep. I'm in the country so I don't have many neighbors to be disturbed but anyone within a mile will hear the noise. This is a job ordered by the utility company and one of the workers told me that they were instructed to work until they finished.

I think I may be sleeping in tomorrow morning. Molly is very upset that I haven't gone to bed yet. But this is the craziness of my life right now. I have so much to do, just writing the blog is a push. I'm pretty self-contained and I can Facetime my family so I will probably be just fine through this strange time. My grandson Facetimed me this evening to show me a trick he taught his dog. I did have a flight booked to go down and stay with them next week but I cancelled my flight. I hope to stay well and I hope you all will be busy and well too.

B21
giant redwood

split by lightning
felled by man
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 20:


It is a good thing this challenge is 2/3 done, my brain reads these prompts and my mind goes blank. I don't know if it is the stress of the shelter in place existence or I'm just tired or I have lived such a boring life, I am out of stories. Maybe I'm not easily surprised. Here goes:

September 11, 2001 watching a plane fly into the World Trade Center on TV. I was in the bathroom blow drying my hair, getting ready to go to work and a friend burst through my door calling my name and saying turn on the TV. He had been driving to a job site on my road when he heard a news flash on his truck radio. Mine was the closest house and he stopped to see the news. He didn't even knock, just called out my name and went straight to my TV and turned it on. I joined him as he said a plane had crashed into a building in New York. Then we watched together as a second plane flew into a tower. We knew instantly the first crash had not been an accident and our country was under attack. I had no words, just total shock.

B# 22

eighteen years old

TV image repeats
in my mind
still
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 21:

I'm beginning to get into the groove of "shelter at home" and have worked 2 full days via remote access. Not much in the scheme of things, but I can report that in this horrible pandemic that has us all scrambling to protect ourselves and protect those around us, I've enjoyed working from home.

Admittedly, it is has provided me with some technical problems that after much frustration I worked out. But after the initial rush of phone calls that began the beginning of the week, the calls have slowed considerably. The system doesn't allow me to answer the phone directly. Clients are instructed in my greeting message to leave a message and I will call back. Consequently, I've been able to devote all of my attention to each caller without interruption and in the downtimes, I can go outside, work in the garden a little then come back in and take another caller. All of my clients were taken care of in a timely manner, I got a load of laundry done and spread some mulch in my garden. Quite a productive day and I didn't feel the fatigue I often feel after a day in the office.

B# 23

hunkered at home
helping others
happily
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 22:

Hey Jude,

I'll make this short, don't wait until tomorrow, believe in yourself now.

Love you,

~~Judi
B #24
doubt wastes
precious moments
believe in yourself
                   ~~jvg

 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Prompt March 23:

I can't think of anything more inviting to me on a dreary rainy afternoon than sitting near my hearth with an open fire, a throw across my legs, a hot cup of tea next to me and a really good book in hand. A cliché portrait but it is cliché for a reason. It is simply the best-case scenario. I like the sound of rain and a crackling fire, they seem to complement each other.

I have to admit that the current situation of "shelter at home" could make that whole idea feel confining after a while. There have been a few raining afternoons but luckily this edict is occurring in Spring when there will also be sunny warm days that will allow us to also go outside, take a walk and somewhat escape this imposed isolation.

B#25

wood on the fire
rain pelting the windowpane
sing a winter song
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Prompt March 24:

Start your blog with these words: “Five years from now...”

Five years from now I hope to be alive and well.

B#26

time races toward
an unpredictable but
inevitable end
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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PROMPT March 25th


 

Ideas for War Chest Prompts

1. I know you will have a few but, choose one of your all-time favorite poets or writers and tell us how their writing has influenced yours.

2. Take a walk today and share in a blog what you experienced.

3. Yesterday my grandkids watched as 5 kittens came into this world. Share an experience of new life that you have experienced in some way.

*PenG**PenB**PenP**PenY**PenR**PenV*




"Gross!" was my 16 year old granddaughter's response. The littlest one kept saying "she's crying" and his Mom's reply "Yes Camden, having a baby friggin hurts." The excitement just went on and on as one kitten after another just "shot out of the mother" according to the oldest of the 4 kids watching. I had the privilege of listening on the phone during the birth of 5 kittens while my grandkids were present for the moment. Then photos came over my text showing me a shot of a furry cat with 5 little newbies snuggled in. I could barely discern where mother ended and kitten started, the photo was just a blur of fur, but the moment was shared.

Because of the "shelter at home" mandate, all 4 of my grandchildren are sequestered at home instead of attending school. Consequently, timing couldn't have been more perfect. When the stray cat they adopted, not knowing she was pregnant, decided it was time to give birth, all of my grandchildren got to watch. My 10-year old grandson didn't stick around long, and only watched one born, he couldn't take the crying. But all 3 girls stayed their distance and saw birth first hand. My daughter-in-law's comment to me was, this cat was a pro. She popped them out, cleaned them up and tolerated the audience.

Birth is a miracle of life, an overwhelming moment of joy, pain, and gratitude.


B# 27

brand new black kitten

snuggles into the warmth of
exhausted mother
         ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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PROMPT March 26th



I hate politics. A threat is facing all nations and the people of this earth need to be told the facts as they are learned so that we can protect ourselves and our neighbors. I think people spend too much time blaming others when they could be taking responsibility to do what they can do to make the situation better.

There is so much hype and misinformation out there and depending on which camp, you are in, more time is spent blaming the other side than taking action to each do our part to help our neighbor. Turning on the news these days is hazardous to one's health. We need facts, not slanted or tainted by political interests or for sensationalism.

I am not saying this very well. I am so tired of both sides of the political spectrum using the lives of the people as their pawns. I don't care who or why, I don't care about the actions of days or weeks ago, I only care about now and moving forward to a solution. Hmmm, this must be the isolation talking.

Stay safe out there.

B# 28

blame and shame

have no place in positive
forward action
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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PROMPT March 27th ▼
Someone shared the poem “The Trough” by Judy Brown with me today and I want to pass it on to you. I found it incredibly comforting during this time of global crisis. In your entry today, write about how the poem makes you feel, or write a poem of your own.
The Trough by Judy Brown 

There is a trough in waves,
a low spot where horizon
disappears and only sky
and water are our company.
And there we lose our way
unless we rest,
knowing the wave
will bring us to its crest again.
There we may drown
if we let fear hold us
in its grip and shake us
side to side,
and leave us flailing,
torn, disoriented.
But if we rest there
in the trough, in silence,
being in the low part
of the wave, keeping our energy
and noticing the shape
of things, the flow,
then time alone will bring us
to another place
where we can see horizon,
see land again,
regain our sense of where we are,
and where we need to swim.
****************

Yes, in this era of social distancing, it sometimes feels like I'm in a trough unable to look forward or backward. Held in the calm, but anticipating the rush, the what-if, how long, how far? I work at gathering energy to spring forward when the crescendo arrives. In the meantime I battle the malaise in the trough.

This is a beautifully written poem that captures the disorientation, the isolation that many of us are experiencing.

B# 29

one with the sea

the energy is beneath
and around me
                   jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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.

You'd think these days of "shelter in place" would result in my house being super clean with all of the time on my hands to get things done. NOT!

I have regular cleaning routines and I am relatively clutter-free. But as the days of isolation drone on, I find myself in a kind of malaise with no need to rush to get anything done, or why does it have to get done? Yet still I make my "Today I will" list each morning. In my normal routine, I've never sweated getting everything done as long as something got done and I would celebrate the somethings. But getting "something done" is just ho-hum these days with no celebrations.

Several years ago I discovered online, "15 Minute Daily Decluttering Mission at Home Storage Solutions 101." Following it was amazing, I got rid of so much stuff, I became more organized and I created a cleaning and decluttering routine that has worked for me ever since. (You should know, for years I had a cleaning lady. So my home has always been relatively clean. But when I reduced my hours at the office I felt I had no excuse not to do my own cleaning and this program helped me get on track and sustain it. I also learned that cleaning ladies don't declutter, nor do they deep clean, they just keep the surface looking clean.) Anyway, that experience led me to Marie Kondo and then to "Year to Clear". YTC deals with emotions and getting rid of the clutter inside that prevents us from getting rid of the clutter in our home. I'm glad I discovered YTC last because I think I had long since dealt with the psychological stuff, I often thought it was bit of fluff. But, this program, like Marie Kondo enhanced what I had accomplished initially. It had catchy phrases like "move one paper clip at a time" (that flips through my head all of the time). It also provided great quotes like:

"Small, easily achievable goals - such as picking up and storing just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk - let you tiptoe right past the amygdala, keeping it asleep and unable to set off alarm bells. As your small steps continue and your cortex starts working, the brain begins to create "software" for your desired change, actually laying down new nerve pathways and building new habits."-Dr. Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life

"Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled - to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing - that the light is everything - that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do."                                         -Mary Oliver, House of Light

and "The only thing that is real - and really juicy - is happening right this second." ~~Stephanie Vogt Year to Clear

So in my malaise, I have turned back to Year to Clear and I'm rereading my journal of 5 years ago, picking through my notes. Today the message was "Take one minute, look around you and put away one thing that appears out of place or belongs elsewhere." My one minute lasted 15 minutes which led to my messy desk being straightened and free of stuff that never belonged there, a sweater put away in the bedroom closet, my bed made, and the dishwasher emptied. Such small insignificant actions that in such a short time made my environment more comfortable. It got my morning started in a productive manner and I now feel unburdened by the mundane to move forward with my day. The malaise seems distant, I know it will be back but in the meantime, I will stay positive and celebrate moving that one paperclip.

B# 30

one small paperclip

picked up and put away,
cause to celebrate
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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Haha, of course I blog like I talk! How else can I communicate other than by being me? If my blogs didn't read as I spoke, they would be worthless. What would be the point?

I share my observations, my sunny personality (well sometimes), my dark side (hopefully not too often), and my perspective of the things life throws at me. I am always striving to learn more, be more and hopefully that translates through my writing.

B# 31

me in words

my tears, my laughter, my screams
and through it all, joy
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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We've come to the end, and I won't lie, blogging daily for 30 days this time around was hard and some days reading other's blogs was even harder. I think the events of the month weighed heavily on all of us and I for one was distracted. My mind went blank when faced with some of the prompts, not because of the prompts themselves but because of the malaise that had engulfed me.

My favorite prompt was "Re: PROMPT March 28th"  nw.gif because writing a response contributed to pulling me out of my funk.

The best part of the month-long experience was sharing it with the participants in the challenge. The personalities and generosity of the other bloggers here were a super bonus and I plan on going back to read those blogs I missed earlier because each post held some inspiration, a sharing of self. Though I am relieved this month's commitment is at an end, I will miss it. Thank you all for being a part of this journey.

B# 32

time spent

tapping into others
is time rewarded
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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I turn 79 years old today. Just another day, no celebration, no surprise party, no presents, no cake. I am still trying to lose weight after all and this last month has been particularly difficult in that regard. I've gained 4 lbs without the cake. In the scheme of things, I have lived a long life and since I am in relatively good health, I have expectations of living even longer. I've always looked to tomorrow as a new opportunity, another challenge.

In the midst of a world pandemic, with death numbers rising each day, I will not take tomorrow for granted ever again. The new opportunity, the new challenge is now and I must make the most of it now. Today I celebrate each moment from the walk in my garden, the stroke of my Molly's fur, the celery I crunch instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the Facetime call I just received with my grandkids lined up behind a homemade sign saying
 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA


B#33

the smile on my face
is reflected from my heart
out to you
                   ~~jvg

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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