Sunday, November 02, 2014

Not NaNoWriMo, Not NaBloPoMo

Ah, November. Chris Baty has ruined you for me. After one NaNoWriMo, then another, and another, and another, I've come to believe that November is THE time for slightly crazy personal challenges.

I'm not alone. Go do a Goggle Image search for "November challenge" or "30 day challenge". You'll find plenty of ideas. Blog posting every day in November has been around for awhile, as has the thankfulness challenge. You can post a photo every day, or increase the number of squats you can do.

This year, for reasons I can't pin down, I felt the urge to do NaNoWriMo. Fortunately, I only took me 123 words to remember why I quit doing it a few years. ago.

Then, a Facebook conversation about "what I'm doing instead of NaNo" pointed me to the 2014 November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. Oh, yes, I thought, this is something I can do.

There is no registration to speak of, so I e-mailed a few on-the-fence friends and announced my intentions.And after two days of poetry writing, I'm announcing it here.

I thought about adding the blog posting and/or thankfulness challenges, but let's not get carried away. I also thought about learning how to use another well-known blogging platform (rhymes with Nerd Chess), about which, ditto.

As you can see, though, I did post to my blog. I'll even throw in something I am thankful for, today and every day:

I have everything I need, and a few of the things I want.

Life is good.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Here's another of our gifts from Israel. K, my co-worker, brought a bag full of salt crystal chunks from the Dead Sea, and invited anyone who passed through the office to take some. A day later, when most folks had already had their chance, she told me, "Take more. Take as much as you want." So I did. I even searched through the bag to find the nice pieces.

The crystals are fascinating to look at, with their jagged edges and indentations and the occasional grain of sand stowing away. (If you look carefully, you can see some sand embedded in the piece on the left.) They are also fragile. Every time I pick one up, I feel little crystals flaking off in my hand. K said they actually put a large slab of salt in the bag, but intercontinental travel took care of making it more share-able.

True confessions: My first instinct when I held this was to lick it. I mean, Salt, right? Then my second instinct quickly countered with, "You don't drink lake water, and you darn sure don't lick lake water from halfway around the world." Eventually, I did a little Googling, and found that Dead Sea salt is low in sodium and high in other minerals, making it largely not tasty. Whew! Flavor disappointment averted. Thanks, second instinct.

So the Key Points so far are, Don't put things in your mouth unless you are sure they are okay, and Google To the Rescue. On to Item 2...

I have spent years and years pestering readers and writers, trying to track down a short story I read in junior high. I think it was eighth grade, and I'm sure the story was in our lit textbook. It took place in the old West, or a frontier town, and a major plot point had to do with the difference between wood alcohol and grain alcohol. I don't want to spoil the plot too much, but suffice it to say that this story took away a lot of the allure of feel-good substances for this thirteen-year-old.

It was only today that it occurred to me that I could consult the Great and Powerful Goog for help. Frankly, I'm embarrassed that it took me this long to think of it. Anyway, I typed in "short story wood alcohol" and BAM! Wikipedia told me all about A. B. Guthrie, Jr., and just enough about his short story, Bargain. A second search for "bargain a b guthrie" hit pay dirt - a pdf document of the story, annotated and reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Item 3... There is no Item 3. It's finally spring! I'm going to see how long I can wear my sandals outdoors without craving socks. Later!

Monday, March 10, 2014


One of my co-workers once lived in Israel for a couple of years. She recently made a return visit. Because she knew T was interested in Judaism and Israel, she asked me if she could bring him a little something from the trip. "Sure!" I said. "Anything at all!"

When she came back last week, she handed me a bag of goodies. There were tourist brochures and maps, a couple of coins ("Don't get too excited," she said, "because they aren't worth much."), and a few other doodads. The next day, she brought another bag full of memorabilia.

One of the gifts was this little oil lamp. I believe she said it is from Nazareth Village. It's tiny, only about three inches across. She said cheap olive oil is perfectly fine to burn in it. (T calls it the slutty oil, as opposed to the extra-virgin.) Traditionally, the first pressing of the olives is for God, the second is for cooking, and the third is for lamps.

I have olive oil, and it won't take too much to fill up this little guy. As soon as I figure out where to buy, or how to make, wicks, we're going to have us a working lamp.

When one has a lamp, of course, one must keep it trimmed and burning.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Sorry about this, chief

I found a Flickr photo and said, Share It via Blogger. Then I wrote a nice thoughtful post to go with it.

And then Flickr said, "Your credentials are invalid" and ate the post.

Grrr. You would think I would have learned to work offline, but no.

And now it is too late to start over. You get no picture, and you get no sensitive story from Ash Wednesday service.

All you have is my sputtering attempt to get something posted, thus fulfilling my "What was I thinking?" declaration to Sand that I would blog more during Lent.

And just for the record, I started this blog nine years ago today. Huzzah. It's also too late to find another picture of my brother to post for his birthday, so just go look at the one I posted then.