The Rambling Blogger

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be switching to my new blog home next week. I’ve picked out a very summery looking header I hope you’ll like. I’ve also wondered how it would work to put some order into my blog-keeping. Maybe having a plan will keep the juices flowing.
So far I’m thinking:
Tuesday something historical
Wednesday I’ll post a poem
Thursday a fiction story
Saturday I’ll write about an interesting book or blog post I’ve read

To start my new habit, I’d like to tell you about a post I read yesterday over at Another Purple Planet. This blogger is turning thirty and sharing with us a list of the important truths she’s learned up until now. I told her in a comment that I’m more than thirty years older and can’t add much to her list. (So why is it that we human beings who consider ourselves so intelligent, spend years learning the same lessons over and over?)

Click here to read her article and see if you can add anything.

A heads-up for readers of this blog:
You won’t have to do anything. Subscribers will be moved as well as the domain, christinegoodnough.com. This current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

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Talents & Frustrations

Today is my dear husband’s 75th birthday. Quite a milestone! We celebrated officially last Sunday night after a church function, and are looking forward to a dinner out with the family tomorrow. Of course he blogs about it on his site, mentioning all the things that have changed since he was a boy.

What really scares me is the thought that the next twenty years will go by just as fast as the last twenty. Whatever happened to “old age, when the hours would drag by”? We find the flight of time incredible!

I can assure you that in his youth Bob was a studious lad just like the young fellow below. I don’t know if there was ever a “Willy Brown” in his school to be jealous of, though. Hope this poem gives you a smile.

FRUSTRATION

My teacher says that I’m the best
And smartest boy in school;
I’m never careless like the rest;
I never break a rule.
If visitors should come to call,
She has me speak a piece,
Or tell what makes an apple fall
Or binds the coast of Greece.
You might expect that since my brain
Holds such an awful lot,
I’d be extremely proud and vain;
But, oh–I’m not.
For Willy Brown’s a cleverer lad
Than I could hope to be;
Why, I’d give anything I had
To be as smart as he!
He can’t recite, “Hark, Hark, the Lark,”
He’s not the teacher’s pet;
He never gets a perfect mark
In ‘rithmetic — and yet,
Could I be he, I’d waste no tears
On foolish things like sums;
For Willy Brown can wag his ears
And dislocate his thumbs.

Author’s name unknown to me.

Of Empty Wallets and Washing Gifts

While I’m on the subject of haiku this morning, Mark Redfearn’s haiku about after-Christmas window-shopping gave me a chuckle.

And today I must tackle Mount Wash-more, as the FlyLady calls it, which brings to mind another after-Christmas scenario:
New year’s laundry
my red towel gift set
pinks hubby’s pjs

If you enjoy haiku, Mark consistently posts some of the best verses I’ve ever read. Another haikuist, Charlotte Digregorio, posts a collection and often showcases other writers on her blog. Who doesn’t love the rush and whistle of a train? Here’s a verse she’s posted that I really like, written by UK haiku poet Alan Summers.

I also follow poets Bill Bisgood at The Write Idea — here’s one of his verses I enjoyed and you will, too — and Ron Evans at Haiku Odyssey. Here’s one of his haiku. Ron moved this fall, so his site has been inactive for awhile. (Hope all went well with that, Ron?)

Though I haven’t written many this year, I’ve posted all my haiku at Treetop Haiku.

I think everyone should try their hand at haiku — or short verses of that kind. It takes mind-power to get a whole thought condensed into a few syllables without sounding thrill-less. Like:
I went for a walk
saw footprints in the snow
someone else has been here

Haiku is not just a line of words strung together. It takes skill to compose a verse with a twist, something that makes a reader think or imagine without giving them the answer. For example, here’s mine about a scarecrow – which in Japanese haiku symbolism represents an old man or old person.

Too telling, IMO:
this sorry scarecrow
grown stiff in autumn frosts
wishes for summer days

My final version:
this sorry scarecrow
grown stiff in autumn frosts
sighs for the tasseling corn

Which one do you prefer?

Wee Bits of Wisdom

Sunday’s daily prompt asks us how we plan to stay young at heart as we get older. I had something in mind to write on that subject because of an old Turkish proverb I read last week. Now today’s prompt asks us about a saying that’s been going through our mind this past week. Perfect! I’ll pull it up again.

Here it is, from my book Words of Wisdom, a collection of famous quotes:

A heart in love with beauty never grows old.

I suspect one may safely change that to

A heart in love with people never grows old.

Actually folks have expressed a number of wise thoughts on the subject of aging, like the poem, “Let me grow lovely, growing old…”

And the obvious:

Growing old is a lot better than not growing old.

In one sense I’m enjoying growing old, am content with my lot in that department. I don’t know if I feel very “young at heart” anymore; I don’t aspire to climb a mountain, go deep sea diving, or become another Grandma Moses. I’ll never write The Great Catsby or To Kill A Mourning Dove. But I do hope I can still appreciate beauty, talent, and courage when I see it.

My wishes for old age are low-key. I already spend enough time reading so I won’t wish for more of that. Some days I look forward to sitting in a seniors’ home, visiting with others, having meals prepared for me and spending hours doing jigsaw puzzles. I may never get there, though; we know one dear old senior who lived in her own home until she was 99. (And made a garden every summer until the last two years!)

However, I aim to do a few useful things yet. According to another sage:

A life of pleasure can be a most sorrowful life.

In the other sense I echo another old saying:

Why do we get so soon old and so late smart?

The insights I’ve finally acquired by age sixty would have come in very handy at age twenty. I’m sorry I lacked so much in basic smarts back then. So many emotional roller-coasters I wouldn’t have needed to ride!

The best remedy for discontent is to count our blessings.

Ah, well. I guess I’ll just go on from day to day and see what life brings, trying to do my part where I can, and living with the faith that whatever life brings to me will be tempered by God’s mercy. What about you?

It May Never Come to Pass

Our daily prompt this morning asks how my life would be different if I had no fear. Ah! Now here’s a question my analytical mind can really chew on.

One angle:
If I had no fear of people totally avoiding me, I could be totally selfish and rude. I could be greedy and gluttonous. But alas! If I eat whatever I want whenever I want today, I fear I’ll be a 250 lb lump rolling around in a wheel chair without a muscle — or a friend — to my name some years hence.

If I had no fear of ever having to give an account of my life I could simply ignore all my responsibilities, move into the Public Library and become their #1 bookworm, devouring novels every day. (And become a 250-lb lump rolling around in a wheelchair without a muscle to my name some years hence.)

If I had no fear of germs, or living in a despicable mess and/or dying of food poisoning, I may never bother to clean house. (Well, maybe for a few days.)

Sometimes bad things happen to people: unavoidable illness; drug side effects; accidents; whatever. My heart goes out to people who find themselves where they would never be if they had any choice. I had a good friend who was diagnoses as bi-polar and put on drugs for that; in a year she went from a size four to a size 16. (Thankfully, once balanced, she recovered her great personality.) It’s another matter if I bring these woes on myself by being careless, sloppy, heartless or self-centered. Something to fear. A healthy fear does offer motivation.

Another angle:
I’m terrified of sharks with their huge teeth. I’m not going on an ocean cruise anytime soon, just in case. If I weren’t terrified of sharks, I wouldn’t be going on an ocean cruise anyway, because I fear bankruptcy. (Which is why I also fear to blow all my money on any other luxury.)

And on a different, realistic level, I’m afraid of growing older with the attendant infirmities and restrictions. I’m afraid of dementia. I’m afraid of dying, of either of us being widowed, of being unable to support myself either physically or financially. I know these things are unavoidable; they WILL indeed be real in our lives at some point. To what extent no one can say.

I also fear the possibility that our country may be taken over and ruled by a charismatic tyrant, intolerant religious extremists, or criminal organizations. Or that lax law enforcement and corruption will give rise to vigilantes who decide on their own who needs be exterminated. It’s not impossible.

I have to look above these fears or they will petrify me. Sometimes we simply must ignore those fears buzzing around us like flies waiting to land.

Sometimes I need to grab a Divine Flyswatter:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” Isaiah 46:1-5

Another niggling fear:
I was delighted when I called up this blog and was actually able to get here! Based on my lack of success this past week — watching my browser spin and spin to no avail — I’m fearing that very soon I won’t be able to access this site again. Then what?

In that eventuality, you’ll find me blogging at Swallow in the Wind, my poetry blog.

As to fear of disaster or emotional turmoil, I’ll address that with this poem I wrote last summer: It Only Comes to Pass