That Old Thief

Good morning everyone. Cloudy, drippy day here in south-central Sask. Not rain, but the heavy mist that rolled in during the night has made everything damp. I think everyone’s wishing for a day of good steady rain, especially the farmers.

The seniors in our church decided to have a potluck supper yesterday evening and we were among the number enjoying the delicious meal. We were about 25 in all and every lady brought one large dish, so no lack of food.

Some ladies were asking me what I plan to do today to celebrate my 66th birthday. I have a specific goal — my birthday present to me: I want to work on Seasons of Gold until it’s done and ready to be published Saturday. My son-in-law has uploaded an improved cover image to KDP, so now I need to add the manuscript, then can view it all. Then let it sit a few days; there’s always some last minute, “Oh, I’d better add /change …”

Actually the whole file is put together except for maybe a few more images, and to go through and check the spacing of the lines. I don’t know what prompts Kindle Create to do what it does, but it tends to toss extra spacing in here and there. Not a whole extra line, which would be obvious, but .19 of an extra line. Enough that if you look close you can see this poem is a bit farther apart from its follower than the follower is from its follower. If you follow me. 😉

Re: images. I really like the little hand-drawn illustrations in some of my haiku books. Birds, cherry trees, all very old-Japan looking. You know the type:
Birds-abstract

However, I have often used images from Pixabay to illustrate my poems and want to use the same type for my e-book. I’m doing about one small image and three or four poems per page.

Having a sense of humor, I’d like to stick this one in, along with Bobby Burns famous words. I don’t know if I dare be this silly in a book of Japanese-style poetry, but a wry look at human nature is what senryu is all about. In fact, I suspect this picture would have given Issa a chuckle.
Eggs + RB Quote

The Ragtag daily prompt came through at 9:30 pm last night, giving me lots of time to think about a response to the prompt word THIEF. As I consider all these years that have slipped by and wondered, as so many others, “where the time has gone,” I thought of this verse, written by Scottish poet Harvey Scott:

I saw the old thief, Father Time,
Come hirpling down the road;
He had a sack upon his back,
Lost minutes were his load.
He opened it and showed to me
Not minutes, but a host
Of years, decades, a century
And more of minutes lost.
“I want to buy year,” I said,
“And I shall pay you well.”

“If this earth’s mould were finest gold,
To you I would not sell,
For I have minutes stolen from kings,
From Milton, Shakespeare, Bach.
How could you buy such precious things?
Your common gold is trash!”…
He tied his sack and said, “Farewell.
Young man, I’ve got my fee,”
For while I tried to make him sell,
He stole an hour from me!

Early Morning Haze

For some reason I woke up just before 4 am this morning. I was having a dream of some kind, though I can’t remember anything now. Maybe that woke me up or maybe it was the soreness in my back from lying too long in one position. At any rate I decided I needed to get up and move around — and it has definitely helped.

Of course our two cats wanted to go outside and see what’s happening in the yard, so I went out with them, stepping out on the small deck by our front door and enjoying the atmosphere. The moon’s just over half full right now, so was shedding a fair bit of light on our earth. The heavens above us were clear and the stars brilliant. A jet was heading somewhere, leaving a trail in the sky over by the moon. I speculated for a moment what important trip this jet and/or the people on it would be taking, to be off before 4 am.

The temp was about 0 C. It’s great to be able to stand outside and enjoy the scenery without needing a jacket! We’ve had such warm weather this past while our snow’s about all gone, and today is supposed to be another warm one with a high of 14 C / 57F.

I checked my incoming WordPress e-mails and saw that the Ragtag Daily Prompt had arrived. Today the prompt word is HAZE. It didn’t apply to my world at that moment, but by 6:00 a fog was starting to roll in and there was a haze around the moon. I checked again fifteen  minutes later and am amazed at how fast the fog has enveloped our countryside; it’s 6:30 now and our yard is surrounded by a grey fleece.

My brain is starting to feel a bit hazy, too — as if I got up three hours too soon. By now it’s time either for a nap or another cup of coffee. Before I go, here’s another haiku, this one drawn from an observation a few days ago:

the old dog watches
sparrows foraging nearby
live and let live

Blogs, Books, and Slough Water

Good morning everyone!

You will notice that my site looks different — and it’s not an improvement. This morning I sprang for the upgrade WordPress was offering … and somehow lost my ability to customize the background of my current theme — and my pale yellow background. Either that or I lost the “all across the page” choice of background. The center strip reverted to the default grey, so I changed the yellow side margins to match. At any rate, the pretty pale yellow has been replaced by plain old grey and I’m not happy.

The upshot of this is that I’m going to be trying out new themes and customization until I get the look I like.

I’m fussy about appearances, I guess. I’ve spent a week trying to get just the right title and the right cover image for my upcoming book of haiku. I finally settled on one Monday and it has been approved by friends & family. But then I was checking haiku books online last night and began to wonder if I was being too high-flying in my choice.

I came across a book titled The River Does Stink haiku and senryu. Intriguing, right? Quite down to earth — no birds and flowers.

My grand-daughters liked the idea of me using something prairie-ish, so how about a title like, Scum on our Slough? Our sloughs can look and smell pretty bad in late spring unless they’re replenished by fresh rain water.

Actually, Stars in the Slough could be a nice prairie-touch haiku book. What do you think? Mind you, after all I’ve bothered my family and friends for their opinion on titles and pics and we’re now all on the same page, they might be ready to toss me in the slough if I change my title again. As soon as I’ve applied for my copyright, I’ll post the cover design.

Our weather is improving every day. Last weekend we had a -34 morning and several days of bitter wind all day. Yesterday was milder, got up to -12. It was -24 this morning — and wind — but the sun has power now and warms us up in the daytime. Our cats take advantage of the sunshine and want in-out-in-out-in-out all day.

Hope you’re having a great week. I’m happy to report that, after the second antibiotic did its work, my skin infection has cleared up. Now I’m off to cook for the seniors at the Villa this morning. 🙂

The Doctor Says

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been dealing with a minor but annoying skin infection this week, but am determined to start off this new month with regular posts on my blog. Thankfully my problem isn’t as serious as this haiku suggests but I’ve been here once upon a time, too, and penned this in memory:

“the doctor says”
words like a scalpel
slice through our lives

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These last few days I’ve been occupied with gathering my best-liked haiku & senryu. I’ve chosen a few dozen — and may add a few other short verses to the mix. What do you advise? A collection of only haiku, senryu, + some tanka — or a collection of mini all-sorts? I find that choosing a title and sub-title for this collection is also a challenge!

Our weather is staying cold, with frosty nights in the minus 20-something range and frigid winds, but the sun has some power these days. We can start to believe that spring is on the way.

The Garden in Winter

Hello Everyone!

I’ve been away most of this month on an exciting — read: frustrating, glitch-riddled, nail-gnawing, hair-tearing — adventure of putting together a manuscript for publication. The result being that — ta da! — the allegory HARI & RUDI IN THE LAND OF FRUIT is now a published work, available on Amazon in both print and e-book format. Saturday evening, with the author’s go-ahead, I hit the PUBLISH button and by Sunday evening both formats were LIVE. (See cover and details at the bottom of this post.)

There is so much to learn in this “amazingly simple process.” (Much thanks to son-in-law Ken for all the fiddling needed to produce super front & back cover graphics!) However, we plowed through and are rewarded with a listing on Amazon. Which brings up another issue: how to get reviews for the book. Amazon is clamping down on what they call “solicited reviews” — you can’t get all your friends to post five-star reviews — and the company now only accepts reviews from people who have spent $50 on Amazon in the last year. As I said, so much to learn!

I won’t go on about this…maybe someday I’ll share more about the process, the lessons I’ve learned and glitches that came up. Right now I’m turning my thoughts homeward — and my home needs some thought by now! Plus, it’s high time to do another blog post.

I see that The Ragtag Community Daily prompt word is GARDEN and I’m going to respond with a couple of haiku scribbled in haste. Maybe not the greatest verses but they definitely reflect what we’re seeing outside these days. February has been extremely cold and during the past week a lot of snow has fallen over our yards and gardens. Not to complain; we prairie folk will always take more snow.

Snowed under

banks of snow blanket
a garden there once was
sweet dreams, gardener

the garden of my mind
blooms with many floral scenes
growing mound of notes

Border circles (3)

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Feb 13 19 ebook cover -1

Hari and Rudi, two teens in Lancashire, England, skip school one morning and happen upon a houseboat that’s been docked while the owners go shopping. They decide to explore the boat and have far more adventure than they want when the craft comes loose from its moorings and carries them down the river and into a whirlpool. The boat breaks up and the boys are about to be sucked down to a watery death when they are miraculously rescued and facing an adventure of a far different kind.

Waking up in a strange country, they meet the first of many beings representing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They begin their allegorical journey through this curious land; they see Jesus and witness his death on Calvary; then, with the help of Joy, Peace, Love, Patience, Goodness and other fruit of the Holy Spirit, they learn important lessons in Christian life.