Poetic Paper Clutter

Hello to all friendly readers near and far. I’ve mentioned this already, but for awhile now I’ve been getting daily e-mails from the FlyLady, with the idea that sometimes I may get serious about following her system. right now I’m working on the general monthly goals, and the goal this morning is to eliminate paper clutter.

She’d be delighted if she could see the big green garbage bag of papers I’ve already shredded this week — but most of that is years-old records hubby has been storing until recently. Now it’s time for me to dig into my own stash of scribbles, weed out and post various poetry and musings. Here’s one I did awhile ago about the COVID isolation:

No Customers

The merchant opens his door
to let the wind to rush in
and a masked young mom
with hurried, worried eyes.
Then a child wanting chips,
her eyes crinkling in smiles,
her mask Sleeping Beauty

She heads home to school;
he turns his sign to OPEN.
The wind flips it back.
What does it matter?
Few customers will come,
this Covid-tainted morning
where lock-down rules.

Mom’s Draconian Rules!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is DRACONIAN. I’ve concocted this tale as a response. I’ll admit that, like Tanelle, I’m still learning this lesson. 😉

Tanelle sighed into her cell phone. “I can’t go to the rink this morning, Marnie. Mom says I gotta clean up my room first.”

“Can’t you just tell her you’ll do it after you get home. I mean, she has to be reasonable. You aren’t a little kid anymore.”

“She says work has to come before play.”

“You can’t come roller blading because you have to clean up your room? That’s like…archaic! That’s a draconian rule!”

“Yeah, well, that’s where it’s at. I better go now. Talk to you later.” Tanelle clicked off her phone and went into the kitchen to grab some breakfast and maybe try one more pleading session.

“Marnie’s really choked that I can’t come this morning. She thinks, too, that I could easily clean up my room when I get back.”

“No doubt she does,” Mom replied. “Great minds think alike, right?” She grinned at Tanelle.

Tanelle grabbed a box of cereal from the cupboard. “You realize that my friends are all going to think your rules are draconian.” She poured some cereal in a bowl and got the milk from the fridge.

Mom was quiet for a minute. “Okay,” she said, “Let me ask you something. Imagine a young lady living on her own, in her own apartment, let’s say. And she has all these bills to pay: rent, electricity, maybe heating and water. Plus she has to buy groceries, maybe furniture and clothes. If she has a car she’ll need to pay for gas and licence; if not, she may have to buy bus tickets. Would you call it “draconian” that she has to pay all those expenses?”

“Of curse not. That’s just life.”

“Suppose she spends her money on fun things. She may want to pay her bills, but there are so many fun things waiting to be done and the money doesn’t last. So the bills pile up and credit card companies start calling, demanding payment. She hasn’t paid her rent, so the landlord is ready to kick her out of her apartment. She has no money for gas so she has to walk. Would she be in a big mess? Would she find her situation depressing?”

“Probably.”

“Wouldn’t it be smart for her to pay her bills first, and then use what’s left for fun things?”

Tanelle heaved a sigh. “I think we’ve had this conversation before – or something just like it.”

“So work and play need to balance, just like income and outgo. If you spend your time at play, the work piles up. Learning this lesson is part of growing up and becoming responsible for yourself, your space, your messes. You may say, ‘I’ll do the fun thing now and work later,’ but there will always be some fun thing calling to you. The work left for ‘later’ piles up and in time you don’t know where to start. Like a stack of unpaid bills, the mess will finally depress you.”

“Mom, I know all this!” Tanelle protested.

“Then why is your room in such a mess?”

Tanelle got up with a huff and carried her bowl to her room where she could eat in peace. Tossing yesterday’s clothes off her chair, she plopped down at her desk and cleared enough space for her bowl of cereal.

“Why do moms have to nag so much,” she wondered as she finished her breakfast. Looking around she admitted that, yeah, her room was a tad messy. Then she remembered she needed to find that Style magazine and take it along to show Marnie. She’d been looking at it late last night; it was probably under the bed.

The scene her mom described flashed through her mind. She pictured this really messy apartment with a stack of bills on the table and the landlord pounding on the door. Gross! Well, that wouldn’t be her. She was smarter than that.

Book: Beachworth Bakery Bears

A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-book by Frank Prem

This is a delightful and easy way to step back into childhood, when teddy bears could talk and move about. These bears are supposed to sit on shelves at the Beachworth Bakery and coffee shop, politely waiting for someone to come along and adopt them, but they’d rather be exploring and having fun — as revealed in Frank’s clever rhymes.

I bought a copy a few days ago and enjoyed it myself. Now I’d like to read this e-book to my grandchildren and hope it will be coming out in a paperback before long. The photos are excellent and it would be fun to sit down and go through the book with young children and grandchildren.

The SQUISH Heard Round the World

“Online Outrage”

That’s the phrase that jumped out at me as I read an article online this morning. An American couple made a family decision, posted the fact on social media, and now face a storm of outrage from all over the world.
Then I read something else online and my muse immediately started to spin and weave the two stories together, finally giving me the odd title for this post.

Fellow blogger Judy-Dykstra Brown posted this morning about the hornworms that live on her Virginia creeper vine, hornworms being the larva of the hummingbird moth. We had a hummingbird moth visit our flowers one summer and I thought it was cute. Judy decided to move them elsewhere rather than leaving them to eat her vine or squishing them. I trust she won’t get a lot of online outrage from objectors. People’s reactions are unpredictable.

I Decide to SQUISH

Let’s say I decide to plant a garden and post the story of my efforts, essentially inviting the whole world to oversee my my project. Some people think I should put my garden in the east corner of my yard, near the trees to gain the benefit of their shade; some think I should put it in the other corner where there are no trees to rob the plants of moisture.

People in Timbuktu may have their ideas about what kind of fertilizer I should use. Gnu dung works best, or maybe antelope. People in Australia think I should lay in pipes for irrigation while Ontario gardeners tell me I should put in lots of drainage because in Ontario it rains so much a garden would be flooded unless it’s well drained. (Well, not quite, but you get my point. This isn’t Timbuktu, Australia or Ontario.)

So I grow my garden, posting online pictures of the resulting lush veggies. One day I find this caterpillar and do a video of it climbing on my pepper plant. Then I SQUISH it. Will I be subjected to online outrage by environmentalists? Will save-the-planet types vilify me on Facebook? Prairie bloggers may give me the thumbs-up and say, “Good for you. I hate those things!”

Because I’ve involved them, people in far-flung lands who know zilch about prairie pests or our ecology will still feel they have an investment in my decision. My followers in Timbuktu, Ontario, Brazil and Australia may denounce me online because I squished a worm. After all, am I not guilty of decimating the number of creatures on the planet and depriving some bird of its rightful diet? Facebook pages may decry my foolish decision.

Yes, this is a silly comparison, but when we invite people all over the globe to peek into our lives, we face consequences. People all over the world have two things in common: they have opinions and they like to give advice. It’s universal.

Social Media as International Opinion Poll

When we put our lives “out there” on television, Facebook, You-tube, and invite the whole world interact, it’s like inviting the global community to be our parents and older siblings. If they spend time following us, they will want to help us along. If we have difficult decisions to make, some of our followers will understand and support our choice, while others will disapprove – maybe even be insulted that we didn’t ask their advice. Get enough people involved and you may get a storm of online outrage.

The article I read tells how, through a foreign adoption agency, a couple adopted a toddler. Three years later, after dealing with various health and behavioral issues that have overwhelmed them and their other children, they’ve made the painful decision to surrender their child over to foster care. And a lot of readers think that’s terrible. “If it were me, I would never do that.”

While this isn’t an unheard of situation and other adoptive parents have faced the same dilemma – I heard of one case here in our province where the baby’s health issues proved more than the new parents could cope with – since this couple put their whole story on YouTube, they now have thousands of people criticizing their motives and their decision.

But my heart does go out to the couple, especially when I read that they’ve actually received death threats, even vicious threats to harm their other children, because of this decision. Seeing that, I had to shake my head. How can people get so involved in the life of complete strangers that they’ll go so far as the threaten the lives of people they’ve never met?

Peace of Mind Versus Media-Generated Outrage

Years back when Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of France, married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer and former supermodel, my French penpal wrote, “I hate him. I hate both of them.” I asked her, “Have you ever met them? “No, but I hate them.” Her feelings were 100% fueled by the media.

I understand how the media works and why. Competing with an audience steep in television dramas, they need sensational news. They need to – and want to – provoke strong emotions. Getting people emotionally involved in a story is what sells news and channels public opinion in the direction they want it to go. From what I can tell, the emotion the media does best is outrage. Journalists and reporters have proven very able to orchestrate news that will stir up public outrage.

But if I allow the media – or anyone else — to influence me to hate someone, I’d better not criticize the Germans who allowed Hitler to inflame them against the Jews. We all hate the havoc this one man wreaked, but cool common sense has to guide our feelings and actions, or we’ll be ripe for another type of Hitler to come along and use our hatred as his tool.

For myself, I don’t want to hate anybody. Not Trump…or Trudeau…or whoever. I may guess, but I can’t possibly know how they think, feel, react, or what their motives are. Also my own peace of mind is precious to me. Hate and outrage are draining. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but refuse to let my peace be shattered and emotions shredded by the actions of politicians. I may be concerned about different things our Prime Minister says and does, but I don’t hate him.

I’m saddened that a couple with initial good intentions have had to go through this devastating experience, but I can offer neither support nor censure, seeing I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

Block-Ed + Poetry–A Trial Run

I won't let Block-Ed frustrate me
I'll practice 'til I'm proficient
So here's a bit of poetry
to see if I've learned sufficient...

I see that Sheryl at Your Daily Word Prompt 
is having her trials switching to the new Block editor,
too. Her word for today is FRUSTRATE.
A CHOICE
by Edgar Guest

Sure, they get stubborn at times;
they worry and fret us a lot,
but I'd rather be crossed by a glad little boy
and frequently worried than not.
There are hours when they get on my nerves
and set my poor brain all a-whirl, 
but I'd rather be troubled that way than to be
the man who has no little girl.

There are time's they're a nuisance, that's true
with all of their racket and noise,
but I'd rather my personal pleasures be lost
than to give up my girls and my boys.
Not always they're perfectly good;
there are times when they're wilfully bad
but I'd rather be worried by youngsters of mine
than lonely and childless and sad.

So I try to be patient and calm
whenever they're having their fling,
for the sum of their laughter and love
is more than the worry they bring.
And each night when sweet peace settles down
and I see them asleep in their cot,
I chuckle and say: "They upset me today,
but I'd rather be that way than not."

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Conclusions:
Selecting the Verse block and writing poetry works better with this editor, since single line spacing is automatic; I don’t have to hit Shift + Enter to get that, like I would otherwise. On the other hand, I now have to count Categories & Tags to be sure I don’t exceed the WordPress limit of fifteen. And poetry is automatically italicized.

PS: Now that this is posted I see I’m not so proficient after all! 😦
Now, how to fix it!