Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sculpture Safari, a "12 word" poem.... 

Here's a fun exercise from my college days: have someone give you 12 random words. Write a poem of 12 lines, with each line containing one of your assigned words, in the order you were given them. For an added challenge, spend no more than one minute writing each line. So it's 12 words into 12 lines in 12 minutes. Give it a try. It's both easier and more difficult than it sounds.

My friend, Pete, for nostalgia's sake gave me the following 12 words last night: cold, dog, thistle, silver, ceiling, cup, towel, taste, just, pillow, trash, stare. This is my result:

Sculpture Safari

The cold crept in like an afterthought,
Leaving us forlorn for dog days.
The wind stung as would a thistle under bare feet.
But the silver clouds could not eclipse the enticement of other metallic shapes,
Framing a thoughtful ceiling instead.
Although I had to cup my hands for warmth,
No towel was tossed.
I could taste the creative spark
Just by proximity.
When my pillow called me home,
My energy crumpled like so much trash,
But not before one last satisfying stare.

- 9/17/11

Friday, September 16, 2011

Haiku of the Day, September 16, 2011: 

Posted on Facebook yesterday about the poetry conference I attended. My friend Mike commented that the status update should have been a haiku. So my reply was the following....

Wise workshop leader -
Japanese drums beaten in
five-seven-five time.


Went to another free poetry workshop at church. Tonight's featured South Dakota's poet laureate. Whereas the one I went to in June emphasized how poetry makes you feel and showcased poets of whom I had never heard, this one was about the mechanics of poetry and used mostly familiar examples. My personal preference is to balance the emotion with the structure, but there was a writing exercise tonight that gave me a much-needed jump start.

We were instructed to compose some haiku. I hadn't done any in 25 years, back when I was in college sitting under one of those ginormous maple trees dotting the campus. We could either do traditional Japanese style, which is three lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5 usually about nature, or non-traditional variable syllable count on any subject. I went with traditional structure and varied the subject matter.

I struggled at first, but managed to come up with two during the workshop and two more after I got home. If I am smart, I will keep doing these on a regular basis to stay motivated. But I do realize how easily I get distracted, so I make no promises. At any rate, before they get buried in my ever-growing pile of unfinished projects, here are the ones I wrote tonight:

Naked branches dance
in a mournful cloudy sky -
a squirrel chuckles.

Spinning ferris wheel
alights the top of the world -
the earth is dizzy.

Hugging, comforting,
Mama bear against the wind -
My purple hoodie.

Slanted by the gale
and young limbs made old too soon -
shuffling to my car.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breathing fire is not good unless you're a dragon.... 

Got this link from one of those trusty fibromyalgia Facebook pages. I have both, but did not know they might be connected.

GERD and Fibromyalgia

Interesting how many articles are popping up lately linking fibromyalgia to other ailments. I see this as both positive and negative. Positive in that perhaps doctors might take fibromyalgia as a whole more seriously, and negative in that it might inspire the lazy ones to blame EVERY complaint on fibromyalgia without looking further to rule out something else.

Bonus Inspiration for the Day, September 13, 2011: 

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."

- Mother Teresa

Inspiration for the Day, September 13, 2011: 


Long, long, long ago;
Way before this winter's snow
First fell upon these weathered fields;
I used to sit and watch and feel
And dream of how the spring would be,
When through the winter's stormy sea
She'd raise her green and growing head,
Her warmth would resurrect the dead.

Long before this winter's snow
I dreamt of this day's sunny glow
And thought somehow my pain would pass
With winter's pain, and peace like grass
Would simply grow. (But) The pain's not gone.
It's still as cold and hard and long
As lonely pain has ever been,
It cuts so deep and fear within.

Long before this winter's snow
I ran from pain, looked high and low
For some fast way to get around
Its hurt and cold. I'd have found,
If I had looked at what was there,
That things don't follow fast or fair.
That life goes on, and times do change,
And grass does grow despite life's pains.

Long before this winter's snow
I thought that this day's sunny glow,
The smiling children and growing things
And flowers bright were brought by spring.
Now, I know the sun does shine,
That children smile, and from the dark, cold, grime
A flower comes. It groans, yet sings,
And through its pain, its peace begins.

- Mary Ann Bernard

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bonus Inspiration for the Day, September 12, 2011: 

"The message we hear from all sources of truth is clear: We are all one. That is a message the human race has largely ignored. Forgetting this truth is the only cause of hatred and war, and the way to remember is simple: Love, [in] this and every moment. If we could love even those who have attacked us, and seek to understand why they have done so, what then would be our response? Yet if we meet negativity with negativity, rage with rage, attack with attack, what will be the outcome? These are the questions that are placed before the human race today. They are questions that we have failed to answer for thousands of years. Failure to answer them now could eliminate the need to answer them at all. If we want the beauty of the world that we have co-created to be experienced by our children and our children's children, we will have to become use that to happen. We must choose to be a cause in the matter."

~Words of the Dalai Lama 9/11/01

Inspiration for the Day, September 12, 2011: 

I attended a concert for peace today featuring a choir of 50, poetry and other readings, piano, organ and an oboe solo. It was their fourth annual. It was beautiful and inspiring. I kept the program, and over the next few days, I'll share some of the contents.

Here we go:

In the Dawn

In the dawn
You walk toward me
When I am confused
You shower me in Love

In the darkness
You bestow light
When I am hesitant
You show me your Words

In my days
You grant me a mission
When I am weak
You lend me your Power

In sickness
You are by my side
When I am suffering
You offer me the Cure

In conflicts
You increase my strength
When I am in pain
You grace me with Peace

In all my life
You leave your footprints
When I am empty
You give me Your All

- Dongzia Shi

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pause and reflect.... 

Courtesy of the "Peace Bloggers" Facebook page and Mimi Lenox:

Rave of the Day for September 11, 2011: 

This came from Joan in 2006, but it is obviously still relevant....

The 'LITTLE' things.

As you might know, the head of a company survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an automobile accident.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone, all the little things that annoy me, I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment...

Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed,
you can't seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated; God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember that you are always in God's care.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An amazing journey.... 

My latest article for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. I am told this is not yet available as an e-book, but if you're willing to go old school, it may be in paperback by now:

Book Review: "Here If You Need Me: A True Story" by Kate Braestrup

What's next? I'm gonna watch a lot of TV. Yep, I check out the new fall prime time network season so you don't have to.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The science of silly.... 

Got this link from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the article:

Laughter Is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor

When I laugh, my pain and exhaustion don't go away, but they become much easier to put up with. Wearing a smile as much as possible improves the experience of getting along in the world. And it qualifies as a form of exercise, which is a bonus.

This is totally me in the sixth grade.... 

....minus the party, the hot guys and the hangover.

The most entertaining music video ever to feature treadmills.... 

I wonder how much practice this took?

The Muppets are BACK! 

And OK Go is pretty funny too.

Can't wait! 

Season 4 starts in two weeks!

R.I.P. Uncle Frank.... 

I will miss you!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A creative outlet... 

Got this link from one of the Peace Bloggers. Even though I couldn't get their Peace Project page to load (perhaps because my computer is a dinosaur), their job listings, blogs and message board may be of interest to anyone in the creative arts:

The Whole 9

Speaking of creative endeavors, my church is hosting another free poetry workshop this month, this time featuring a locally famous poet. I plan to attend and see if I can get myself motivated to write something new. While it's a bummer that I have so much trouble with cognitive dysfunction that I need a jump start to be able to compose a poem, the important thing is that I keep trying, right?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rave of the Day for September 4, 2011: 

Just in time for Labor Day! This oldie but funny goody is courtesy of Joan in 2006....

New Virus

There is a dangerous virus being passed electronically, orally and by hand.

This virus is called Worm-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss or anyone else via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT.

This virus will wipe out your private life completely.

If you should come into contact with WORK put your jacket on and take two good friends to the nearest bar. Purchase the antidote known as Work-Isolator-Neutralizer-Extractor (WINE) or Bothersome-Employer-Eliminator-Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should forward this warning to 5 friends. If you do not have 5 friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life.

Inspiration for the Day, September 4, 2011: 

"Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity and fear of others. Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little. Do what you can. You would be surprised at what 'little' acts have done for our world."

- Steve Maraboli

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Venus Williams has Sjogren's! 

I was most shocked to find this out. While I am sorry she has to have this too, I applaud her for making it public because the more people become aware of this ailment, the better it will be understood.

I got an official statement from the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. Here is the text:

The Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation (SSF) was saddened to hear about Venus Williams’ diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome and supports her courageous decision to step forward and share her diagnosis. Steven Taylor, CEO of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, states that “on behalf of the 4 million Americans with Sjögren’s, we applaud Venus for publicly stepping forward and shedding light on this serious autoimmune disease. Her courage gives hope to the many who live silently with Sjögren’s because of the lack of awareness around this disease.”

Although not always life-threatening, Sjögren’s can cause debilitating and life-long complications and have a profound affect on one’s quality of life. At the same time, many Sjögren’s patients fortunately live healthy and productive lives free of major complications.

Sjögren’s syndrome is the second most common autoimmune rheumatic disease and 3x more common than better known related diseases such as Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis. The disease affects the moisture-producing glands which can cause dry mouth and dry eye. In addition, fatigue, muscle pain and joint pain are prominent symptoms while serious manifestations can occur with life-threatening lung involvement, central nervous system complications and cognitive functioning.

As Venus stated, she “is thankful to finally have a diagnosis,” and the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation is glad that she now has peace in knowing what was causing her symptoms. Unfortunately, many Sjögren’s patients face the same struggle with trying to get a diagnosis that, on average, takes 6.5 years. The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation is launching a major new initiative this fall aimed at reducing the time from onset of symptoms to obtaining a diagnosis.

This October, the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation will formally announce plans to achieve a new breakthrough goal of “shortening the time from the onset of symptoms to a Sjögren’s diagnosis by 50% over the next 5 years.” The SSF will be introducing national initiatives and programs to help educate the general public and healthcare professionals. Steven Taylor, CEO of the Foundation said, “We hope Venus will consider helping us with this bold initiative, as it will take many to make this goal a reality.”

Friday, September 02, 2011

A mystery sorta solved? 

A Facebook friend directed me to a fibromyalgia page I had not yet subscribed to (I thought I had found them ALL, heh heh). On it was a link to a very interesting article:

Delayed Gastric Emptying

I've had gastroparesis for 14 years. It started a month before the fibromyalgia did but wasn't diagnosed until 2003. All this time I was told it was ideopathic (despite me having diabetes and Sjogren's with extra-glandular involvement). No one ever suggested a connection between fibromyalgia and gastroparesis. But since I have other autonomic nervous system malfunctions, it seems within the realm of possibility.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Inspiration for the Day, September 1, 2011: 

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

- Charles M. Schulz

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