The Dust

I know a thing or two about dust

A Texas panhandle childhood taught me its sting on the playground

Grit-filled eyes and sandblasted legs

Days of dust

And tumbling weeds

When gray choked skies obscured and

Scouring winds grew teeth

I thought that was how the whole world worked

Nature’s castigation

For our sins.

(I do not miss those days.)

Advanced Bed Making for Dummies

My mom was a stickler for a well made bed. As the only girl child in her home I was judged by my ability to create precise hospital corners and deliver a perfectly smooth bedspread. Wrinkles were a no-no. I let her down. A lot.

As a mom, I was much more relaxed with my bed making rules; although, I did attempt to demonstrate the principles my mom tried to instill in me. Neither of my kids paid much attention to the lessons, though, and I didn’t think bedspreads were the hills I wanted to die on. Pick your battles, right?

Nowadays at Doright Manor, my bed making philosophy revolves around our psychotic younger cat, Patches. I call it “Layering. It’s not just for clothing anymore.”

Patches has developed the nervous habit of peeing on just about any surface that suits her when the anxiety strikes. We took her to the vet to see if there was an underlying medical reason for her bladder control issues, and she’s fit as a fiddle. The vet prescribed a special food, but it requires about eight weeks to kick in.

She also prescribed an anti-depressant that I have to rub on the inside of Patches’s ear every 12 to 24 hours. I’m afraid the lengths I have to go to to corral Patches and administer the drug are increasing her anxiety levels and aren’t doing much for mine either.

She thinks I have an ear fetish. I’m afraid she’s right.

So what does this have to do with making the bed? Twice now Patches has relieved herself on our bed necessitating the laundering of our heavy bedspread that takes forever to dry. Following the first time I added an additional layer of covering to our bed. After the second time, I realized one layer was simply not enough. Now the rule is to have at least three layers on the bed in addition to the bedspread.

This isn’t going to get me a mention in Better Homes and Gardens any time soon, now is it? And my mom would be so heartbroken. Sorry, Mom!

Oh, before you suggest I use deterrent sprays and/or calming sprays, trust me. We’ve been there; done that with multiple concoctions. Patches seems totally immune to their effects.

She does seem to be making a bit of progress, though. Knock on wood, but I haven’t detected any pee on the baseboards or behind Studly Doright’s chair in the past couple of weeks, and those were among her favorite areas to go. And this morning for the first time in ages I watched her play with one of her toys.

We’d appreciate good vibes for Patches, and for me. It now takes me longer to make and unmake my bed than it does me to shower in the morning. And that’s the truth.

Peace, people.

Don’t be fooled by the sweet face. She’s plotting her next attack.

The Right Word

I wonder

Is there a better word than dappled

For the way the sunlight plays through the trees, speckling the road?

Variegated is all wrong; unless one is speaking of yarn,

And motley only makes me think of clowns or crews.

Discolored doesn’t work, suggesting there’s been a mistake, and make no mistake–

Dappling is perfection; poetry in shadowy motion.

Flecked? Checkered? Parti-colored? No!

Stippled? Perhaps. I could work with stippled.

Still, dappled comes to mind first, when I crest a hill and see the canopy of trees

Filtering the light on a sun-kissed day, painting abstract patterns on the pavement

And peace in my soul.

Peace, people.

Signs of the Apocalypse?

Studly kept me busy Friday afternoon taking apart a 1976 Honda GL 1000. I’m not sure I was much help, but I had a lot of fun.

After we removed the Corbin seat, the pipes and a few other choice bits, we loaded the frame, along with a variety of other pieces and parts onto Studly Doright’s motorcycle trailer and drove over to a salvage yard in Tallahasse.

Now, Studly has a fondness for places that deal in salvage. His grandad, Benjamin Bernard Noyes (aka Papaw), owned a salvage yard in Hereford, Texas, and Studly spent hour upon hour there from the time he was a small child on into his teens. Papaw put him to work getting the copper, brass, and aluminum out of the pumps and motors that came into the yard. For his efforts Studly was paid enough to keep him in spending money. That yard was his world.

When we drove through the gates of Leon Iron & Metal and saw the towering piles of scrap iron, I could feel his excitement. I have to admit, it got me pumped up, too. I cannot explain the beauty of the place, so I took photos.

The little scooter in the bottom right was something we added to the pile.

Mr. Claw was ready!

The little splash of yellow and the tire are what’s left of our old GL 1000.

The two photos above made me think APOCALYPSE!

We had to remove any batteries from the scrap, so they could be weighed and disposed of safely:

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign…

https://youtu.be/oeT5otk2R1g

As we left the salvage yard, savoring the hefty pile of cash we’d earned from our afternoon of hard labor (okay, it was $30), I had just one question for Studly:

“What else can we take apart?”

He just laughed, but I swear I noticed a little gleam in his eye.

Peace, and junk, people!

Shapewear Dilemma

Most women who require clothing larger than a size eight have at one time or another resorted to some form of shapewear to hold their jiggly bits together underneath their clothing. I’m not telling exactly what size I wear, but let’s just say I’ve had some interesting experiences with Spanx, their sister brand Assets, and even a few off brands. By now one would have thought I’d understand their limitations.

My daughter gave me a pretty ice blue sweater for Christmas. I wanted to wear it a couple of days ago, but realized that the loose weave of the sweater necessitated a little something underneath. My white camisole was in the laundry, so I looked through my shapewear to see what was available. Most of my shapewear stuff is meant for my rather generous hips and tummy, but I did find a beige tank top that would serve my needs.

With a great deal of wriggling and stretching, grunting and groaning, I finally got it pulled over my head and inched it down over my boobs. I pulled it taut across my tummy and tucked it into my jeans. My boobs now looked as if they’d been bound to ensure my future chastity, but when I pulled my sweater over the tank top the desired effect was achieved. I could now go safely into the world without exposing myself.

I had some errands to run in Tallahassee, but first I needed to eat. I ended up at Vale where I knew I could get a good vegan meal. While standing in line to order I felt an odd sensation. The tank top had somehow been freed from being tucked into my jeans and had begun creeping up until the bottom half of it was a 1/2″ roll snugged up beneath my bra.

I paid for my order, clutched my tray to my chest and found a table in a corner of the restaurant where I ate my lunch and read my book. After finishing I used the ladies’ room to once again secure my tank top inside my jeans.

Everything held together really well for the rest of the afternoon, but when I attempted to take the tank top off that evening I couldn’t get it to stretch over my boobs. When I tried to stretch the bodice area enough to ease the thing down over my hips, my fingers slipped and I ended up with a sprained thumb and a nicely purpling bruise on my belly. Bad words were said.

I ended up having to take a pair of scissors to the thing in order to remove it. Thank goodness it was an off brand! Have you seen the cost of Spanx?

Peace, people!

Almost an Emergency

For Christmas I got a new iPhone. It’s pretty badass with its facial recognition and fancy camera capabilities. And once I figured out all the stuff that worked differently from my old iPhone, I was definitely pleased. It did do something yesterday that totally caught me off guard, though.

I was walking across a parking lot in Tallahassee on my way to get my hair cut. No sooner had I shoved my phone into my purse than I heard an alarm similar to the sound of a car alarm. It was pretty strident, and at first I thought it was coming from one of the cars on either side of me. Then I realized the sound was emanating from my purse.

I grabbed my phone and realized that somehow I’d activated a 9-1-1 call! The screen was doing a countdown to notify my emergency contacts. Quickly I shut off the call and stopped the countdown. Whew! That could’ve been awkward.

After checking in at the front desk inside the salon I sat in the waiting area and tried to figure out what I’d done to trigger the emergency call. As I was poking about trying to make sure I didn’t inadvertently do it again my phone rang.

In response to my “hello?”, the guy on the other end said, “We received a 9-1-1 call that was cancelled from this number. Is everything okay?”

I apologized, told him I was fine and that it was a total accident. I thanked him for checking on me.

Even though I screwed up it’s kind of nice to know that somebody out there’s looking out for me. I still need to figure out what precipitated the call, though. Any ideas?

Peace, people!

Plan A, B, or C

In light of our foolhardy and reckless potus doing his bumbling best to start a war with Iran, I felt compelled to tell Studly Doright what I would do if I found myself away from Doright Manor in a worst case situation.

“I’m getting home. Even if I’m miles from the house, and my car no longer runs. I’ll come home.”

“Okay,” he said.

“You’d come home, too. Right?”

“Of course. As soon as I could.”

That’s about the extent of our plan.

So, I jokingly/not jokingly asked my Facebook friends:

Even though none of them are “preppers” most had non-joking answers. One cans food and has a stockpile. Another has already thought ahead to getting enough propane to allow for hot meals. One has several cases of wine (if I can’t get home, guess where I’ll head).

A friend who lives in Taos, New Mexico, says he’ll journey out to the Taos Pueblo which has withstood the ravages of “civilization” for centuries. Still another said he’d just sit back and watch how it unfolds.

The thing about my plan is that if Studly is here with me that’s all that matters. We’ll be okay. And if we’re not okay, we’ll at least be together.

Seriously, let’s keep hoping that someone in authority practices common sense in these fractured days.

Peace, people.

The Write Stuff

Almost every day for more than four years I’ve written something and posted it on WordPress. In the beginning, just pressing the “publish” button was enough to make my blood pressure rise and my palms perspire. Would my words be good enough? Did I have the “write” stuff? What if someone publicly laughed at my incompetence, told me to go back to knitting potholders?*

I used to worry about stats. There were awful days in the beginning when only two or three people, mostly relatives, took the time to read my blog. Then, slowly I gained a few followers, and I began reading others’ blogs and becoming part of a community of writers, until finally I forgot about the nerves and the stats and just wrote. Nowadays I’m liable to hit publish before I’m even finished with a piece. Yeah, I’m laidback like that.

Over the holidays, I took a big step (for me) and submitted a few poems to be considered for inclusion in an anthology about vultures. Yes. Vultures. When I saw the theme I laughed out loud and commented to a blogging friend that I practically live in Vulture Land.

“Then you should write that!” he replied.

I felt as nervous submitting those vulture poems as I did my first few days of blogging. I’m terrible at following instructions–and wasn’t sure I was doing everything as prescribed. Had I successfully removed all identifying information? Were my margins correct? Would my cover letter be too angst-ridden or needy sounding? After walking the floor for a good half hour, I finally clicked the send button.

And now I wait.

*In the first month of blogging a reader told me to cut the bullshit and stop being so cute. In reply I said, I’m sorry, but this is my bullshit, and I can’t help being cute.

Peace, people.

Hung Out to Dry

Yesterday I posted a link to my friend, Julie’s blog post that featured her photo (below). Just in case my readers didn’t click on the link, here’s the poem I wrote to accompany the photo.

“Hung Out to Dry”

Passion had its way with her

Swept her up

Cast her about

Until she was

Strung out,

Wrung out,

Hung out to dry,

Swinging from tenterhooks

For all the world to see.

A lesser woman might’ve

Given up,

Shriveled up,

Dried on the vine,

Not she, no for

She claimed her place,

Staked her bets and

Stood on her own two feet.

Unbound.

Inspiration and Collaboration

The work of my photographer friend, Julie Powell, whose blog can be found at juliepowell2014@wordpress.com, inspires me. Her work is often playful, sometimes edgy, and always beautiful.

Occasionally my mind runs along similar paths as Julie’s, and I’m moved to write a piece in response to her art.

I hope you’ll click on the link to Julie’s post and my poem.

https://juliepowell2014.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/hung-out-to-dry-by-leslie-noyes/