Books And More Books!

I should have been
born in a library
to spend my life
a voracious bookworm
digesting its contents
munching my way through
musty old history
pondering poetry
puzzling out mysteries
smiling at rom-coms
sniffling over
heartbreaking memoirs
orbiting the sci-fi.
Horror gives me heartburn!

And, oh, those cookbooks
a feast for the eyes!
Though, sad to say,
bookworms seldom find time
to cook, dust
bulging buckling bookshelves
or sweep Home & Garden.
Yes, I should have been
born in a library.

I probably shouldn’t, but I do, subscribe to Book Cave and Book Bub. So I get ads about new releases and sales on e-books already in print. Which lead to the composition of the above poem. Looking over the ones offered today, I d like to read most of them!

As Frank Zappa once said, “So many books, so little time!” Here are some that non-fiction offerings that have piqued my interest; maybe they’ll pique yours, too?

H Is for Hawk: Helen Macdonald writes about adopting a temperamental hawk in the wake of her father’s death. I like animal stories, as long as the animal has a good long life. 😉

Webster’s New World: American Idioms Handbook. “The origins and meanings of American idioms.” Wouldn’t that be a fascinating read!

Too Much Tuscan Sun: Tour guide Dario Castagno “recounts unforgettable stories of his clients and their outrageous misadventures.” Human as I am, I enjoy hearing about other people’s misadventures, especially in foreign lands.

The Men We Became. A memoir by Robert Littell, who was JFK Jr’s best friend and writes about their growing up years. “Conveys the lasting love that can exist between boys who grow into men together.” (USA Today) Obviously this’d be more interesting to American readers, so I’ve included it here.

WW2 : A Layman’s Guide, by Scott Addington. “Concise read offers a thorough overview–without getting bogged down by minutiae.” I think this would be invaluable for writers setting their stories in that era.

The Roman Barbarian Wars by Ludwig Heinrich Dyck. As I said in my poem, I like ancient history. Gives me an idea of what’s gone on in our world heretofore.

Now a question for older readers: I’m reading a book that includes a flashback to Alabama, 1957. The young man is telling his parents, “I’m eighteen, legally an adult, and I can do what I want.” (In this case, marry her if I want to.)

And I thought, “Oh, no, you’re not! Back in 1957 you weren’t legally an adult until you were 21.” I recall some hot words in the 60s about being old enough for the draft, but for voting. What do you readers say? Is he right or am I. (Bearing in mind that US laws will have varied from state to state.)

Feathery Neighbours

Image: marliesplatvoet — Pixabay
I clean out the mess
of sticks and misc debris
the tenants left behind.
Antisocial creatures these
wrens, making their point
clear: they tolerate no
nosy nearby neighbours.

If you know about wrens, you’ll know they have a bad habit of stuffing every potential dwelling in the vicinity full of twigs so no other birds can nest near them. I try to get my wren houses all cleaned out before they return in spring so they’ll have a choice of housing. Some boxes are made to open, but if they don’t it can be quite a job to pull a bunch of debris from the small holes.

Our yard seems to be full of wrens now – probably half a dozen pairs – singing their little hearts out while their eggs incubate. Trouble is, we hear them loud and clear but we rarely see them. Once the chicks burst out of their shells, the parent birds will be run ragged trying to keep up with little appetites.

I hear constant starving wail now because some birds have discovered our bathroom fan vent. Some years back the cover on the outside of this vent pipe fell off. Half a dozen years back a tree swallow pair discovered the 2″ pipe and cavity inside. They liked the spot with its handy “entry” and raised two batches of chicks. It was interesting hearing them raise their families, but in fall we got up on a ladder and plugged the hole.

After some years of peace and no swallows coming anymore, I took the tinfoil out. Big mistake. Blackbirds (or starlings?) found the opening this spring and cheeped, “Hey! Wouldn’t this make a good nest?”

I tried to discourage them when I heard scrabbling in the vent area coming from the wall beside the built-in vanity. I got up and stuffed a tinfoil ball – shaped like a 2 x 4-inch “potato”– into the pipe. To be double sure they’d stay out, I stuffed a tinfoil sheet inside the wall, on top of this ball.

Well, they weren’t giving up. The next afternoon I saw the tinfoil sheet, relatively intact, lying on the ground not far from the vent opening. Looking around more, I found that the birds had somehow worked that ball of tinfoil out of the pipe and carried it clear across the yard to the barb-wire fence. Was one of the birds still inside when I stuffed in the tinfoil, or however did they manage to pull it out?

Anyway, rather than risk a dead bird or a nest of rotting eggs perfuming our bathroom, we’ve left them. Now we have this chorus of cheeps whenever mom or dad returns with some lunch. But come fall…

Haiku in Dialogue

Good morning everyone.

I shall leave complex issues, such as I wrote about yesterday, and rather write about some quick glimpses of life. I’m happy to see one of my haiku was chosen for inclusion amongst the many others at Haiku Dialogue this week — and also last week. This week’s topic was : a simple dwelling place. Last week’s topic was a simple daily task. If haiku interests you, you should check out these posts. It’s amazing how clever some folks are at putting these concepts into haiku verses.

My last week’s verse was:
another pill
the old clock

This week’s verse, a monoku:
fixing up the old house laughs again

The latest issue of Heron’s Nest just came out. I stand in awe of poets who can come up with modern haiku that twists, or entwines, two ideas together so ingeniously. To give you an idea, I’m restating the concept from one verse. The original was much better but I dare not violate copyrights. 🙂
my multicultural
dinner plate

Sometimes my mind has to work to make the leap and get the connection. 🙂 Here’s one of mine that stems from reading the news a few months back:

purging fires
burning banned books
warms a nation

Grandma Did Saving

Grandma wasn’t a socialist.

“Remember,” she instructed little sister Rose in the biffy one day, “Use only one square for #1; two squares for #2.”

You may smile at such extreme frugality, but Grandma was widowed in the fall of 1924 and went into the Great Depression with six children to feed and clothe. She had to pinch pennies every way she could; she knew the government wasn’t going to pay her bills.

She likely got some relief – many people did – but she knew their survival boiled down to how much of each thing they consumed. She didn’t expect the govt to feed them, or fix the stock market crash that threw so many people out of work. Thankfully the govt has enacted some checks to try and prevent a recurrence of that disastrous week in October 1929.

Grandma didn’t look to the government to fix the climate. It was what it was; folks knew only an act of God could bring the rains again. Since then mortals have tried meddling with the clouds, often to their hurt. People have since wised up some about land management and farming methods are much improved.

The thoughts I’m sharing here were inspired by Martha Kennedy’s blog post: “Save the World 1965.” I’m not considering global climate change, which is more-or-less a political movement. I’m simply considering pollution, irresponsible land and air management. I believe consumer choices–our choices–do impact pollution.

Reading the accounts Martha has posted, I’m amazed at how much has changed in my own lifetime. Recycling never existed–except for liquor and pop bottles. My siblings and I collected them from roadsides and sold them to the town café. Those nickels were precious back in the day! Plastics, just appearing, were welcomed as the saviour of perishable stored food. Since then we’ve counted the cost; now we’re back to paper or reusable grocery bags, wooden spoons and paper drinking straws.

Rivers, once floating sewers and chemical cocktails, have been cleaned up. There’s less paper production, so no more mercury poisoning. I’ve heard the Thames is much improved and London no longer has its pea soup fog. Chemical companies are much more accountable–at least in our country.

Internationally not so much, sadly. And where most of our goods are coming from? Can we have our cake and eat it, too? No pollution here but tons of cheap goods from third-world countries? And we need lots of fuel for travel–or heating and air conditioning for huge buildings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. You didn’t see those a century ago. The govt could ration fuel, limit air travel, order all those fuel-gobbling cruise ships docked. (COVID did a lot of this for us, remember?) But travelers would complain, employees would lament lost jobs. In any legal restriction there are hidden costs. Rationing tends to create black markets.

One of Martha’s articles mentions population. There are too many of us! Or we consume too much? However, family size has dropped drastically since I was young. My Dad was one of ten; my parents had six. Abortions are terminating millions of possible citizens–sad to say. Speaking of hidden costs, China tried limiting their population by law and it appears their plan had some, though a lot of foreign couples have adopted girls from China, spreading some of their numbers around the globe.

My Dad, somewhat of a cynic, said, “The world has a way of regulating population. When there are too many people, another war or plague will come along.” Well, most of us pray there will never be another international conflict! And when COVID came to threaten us, we fought it tooth and nail. Or mask and sanitizers. And we’re doing better (too well?) at keeping people alive. People like me, who would have died without the amazing modern medical treatments. Seems we’re not very keen to die to make more room on the planet.

Yes, more land and air cleanup can be done. I do wonder, though: has our society become too socialist-minded? As in expecting the govt to fix the problems for us? Would our world be better off if each person/family felt more responsible for their own consumption? Our leaders may make speeches and promises, but they know they have no control over what happens in other lands. Consumer dollars actually do.

Quick Trip

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: DRIVEN

If all goes as planned, today I will be driven to Moose Jaw by my chauffeur-ish husband — in fact we expect to leave in fifteen minutes, so this will be a quick post. And a quick trip, as we expect to leave there after supper and get home this evening. This is a 2 1/2 hour trip one way and we pass through the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley — one of Saskatchewan’s scenic beauties on the otherwise very flat prairie highway.

I’ve uploaded three boxes of jigsaw puzzles to take along and offload on a family member, who is saving some for me. Hopefully I won’t overload her — but like most puzzlers, she has friends and relatives who’ll gladly accept used ones. She and I do a puzzle exchange about once a year.

Our cat seems driven at this moment to go outside and check if there are enemies lurking. He’s yowling around my feet here, wondering why I’m ignoring him. However, leaving him outside to scrap with all comers might well be a disaster.

An interesting word I’ve come across recently in an old British novel, is the verb HAVER. According to Lexico, means to equivocate, vacillate (waver) and “Havers!” means “Nonsense, poppycock!” I don’t know if this expression is still in current use over there, but new to me. Are you familiar with this word?

May Journal Page

Hello everyone! Yes, I’m still alive and well, though I haven’t been near the computer very much lately.

Spring – or summer? – is finally here. After our last snow the thermometer rose steadily and we’ve needed our air conditioner. Smoke from northern fires has made the air hazy for a week. The birds have returned; the trees around us are noisy from morn til night. No rain for weeks, just a bit last night, so I’ve been filling water basins on the lawn for the birds again. Chokecherries and lilacs are blooming and I should be doing something about my planters and flowerbeds.

My courage has been low these last two weeks. So much to do — it feels like I’ve five mountains that should be moved right shortly and have only a trowel to work with. Where to start? (Is this a sign of OCD?) Sewing projects waiting, flowerbeds to work, writing & editing needing done plus a heap of housework. Then I’d like to paint & draw again.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is INDEFATIGABLE –and I’m not. 🙂

I can’t blame it on my health woes because the medication I’m taking has done wonders in bringing my blood counts back toward normal. Something to be very thankful for. I’d like to be upbeat but think of all the work that need doing and wish I had more energy to tackle it. Sometimes I do have good days; it’s not all bad.

At least I’m getting lots of fresh air these days, having become the peace-keeping force in our yard. A stray cat has wandered in – or someone has left it off. Anyone who thinks they can drop an unwanted cat off at some town or farm and it will cheerfully blend in with the locals needs a sharp lesson on cat behavior. Predators grab the weaker ones. The stronger ones have to fight for every bit of food and shelter they find.

Our Angus likes being outside, and he’s very territorial. He won’t tolerate this stray in our yard – and the stray won’t run from a fight. He isn’t going to let Angus boss him around. When the two meet, it’s claws and flying fur. So I’ve been keeping an eye on Angus when he’s outside and bringing him in the house should the other appear. Or I swoop in at the first sign of aggression, sometimes having to separate the two combatants. Not an easy task!

I have accomplished a few goals. Over the past two months I did get a new dress pattern worked out, a prototype for every day and then a Sunday dress made. I dug up part of my flowerbed yesterday. Saturday I did some decluttering.

I’m a hoarder – may as well confess. In the course of looking for our finch feeder I found a box containing old greeting cards and other paper keepsakes. Get-well cards from 1980 when I had my cancer surgery; cards from my 40th birthday party, from friends back in Ontario. My grands can deal with them someday. 🙂

Are you sentimental? Do you have old cards and diaries like these squirreled away? Or are you a minimalist?