We have our Christmas tree up!

Word Cookies! On day 28 of 210 of no sweets

The Christmas season is the cookie season in our family. I make cookies and mail them off to my grown children and I keep the cookie jar pretty much filled at our house. I usually can’t get enough of them but this year I’m abstaining of course.


Christmas is such a sweet season and I hope to think about that when tempted to cookie it up.


I wrote a recipe for the “word cookies” I am making on my day 28. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing.

Sweet Word Cookies, a recipe

Ingredients:

A pound of thinking

A cup of kindness

A sprinkle of salt

Season with sweetness

Stir the listed ingredients from the heart.

Bake your ideas completely before speaking as half baked ideas are never ready for anyone to consume and having to take back words is an impossible task for once they are out there they can be poison.

Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

Beginning Illustrations using watery acrylic on watercolor paper for a Children’s Book I’m Writing

Painting Illustrations on Day 27 of 210 of No Sweets

Can you believe that I’m writing and illustrating a children’s book about apple pie on day 27 of my giving up sweets challenge?

It’s a picture book about an owner of an apple orchard who operates a family bakery and bakes nothing but apple pies. I just love writing that character! She shares my excitement for the amazingness of a seed. The story isn’t about apple pie baking per se but it does push the story along.


I am not in fear that this will derail my no sweets challenge, though I am going to be painting some apple pies and I looked up some photos to get started and I was thinking they looked pretty good.


And, for greater research as well as experiencing the life of my character and for some photo ops of pie making every step of the messy way I plan to try to make some. Actually I plan to make as many apple pies as possible until my eaters say something like “this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had!”

I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been successful with pie. The crusts on my Thanksgiving pies were tough even though I was careful not to overwork the dough. I will watch video instruction on my iPad and prop it up in my baking area covered in plastic wrap for protection. That’s my favorite way to cook… and hah! Apple pie and iPads kinda go together if you think about it.

The original story that I had written and illustrated, but did not publish, was for my grandson a couple of years ago. It was Where Did the Seed Come From? I do not intend to publish that book at this time, but I fully intend to publish this new book.

The seed concept is so compelling to me. First of all it is the seed of thought that needs to be germinated. Then it is “the chicken or the egg” … but for my stories it’s “the seed or the tree”. It boggles my brain to try to think on it but that it is like trying to imagine how numbers never end.

The seed is in the apple, and the tree is from the seed. But where did the seed come from?

This doesn’t answer the question, but I thought it so interesting I couldn’t bear not to share it! Where it came from, aside, that little baby seed is made by a very delicate process similar to a human baby. It is “the birds and the bees”. The trees can’t do it by themselves. They need bees to visit every flower … or… no apples. An apple is born with all of its seeds. Similarly a human girl is born with all her eggs. But then when all of that is learned… we are still left with: WHERE DID THE SEED COME FROM!

I’m not going to be any expert, but I am in greater awe and amazement at our Creator whenever I learn about the complexities of our world. So, I was attempting to show that without outrightly telling it. Seems I heard those words again and again from writing teachers. Show. Don’t tell.

With the illustrated story of the baker I hope to show that seed story.

I can’t wait to get started on learning how to make the perfect pie crust.

Lost in Comfort on day 26 of 210 of no sweets

“Christmas in Comfort” 2018. The Willow City Band solicits crowd Christmas song requests.

The loud and electric Christmas in Comfort had been packed out with lively spectators cheering on brightly lit and musically driven floats ending with Santa Claus. It was small town fun and nostalgia on a warm late November night. We sat in front of the eye catching new wavy plate glass windows of Comfort’s newest jewelry store which is slated to be open in December, 2018, The Green Bull. The lights from the parade dazzled in those windows.

We were glad we went, but then we had to navigate back to my car.

At first my daughter and I walked the wrong way (why? Because we were sure it was that way…), but as we hurried further along what we thought the right path, the sounds and lights of town grew more and more dim and we found ourselves walking through neighborhoods where no one lights their porch.

I tripped on that uneven path but caught myself from falling, glad not to have added physical injury to my woes. The town is unfamiliar to me at best by day so by night it was a mystery. Many old Texas towns like Comfort have few sidewalks and the festivities brought cars parked anywhere, lining the streets at a slant towards the ditches. And cars were beginning to flow the streets as we walked with our lawn chairs tucked under our arms as we kept pushing on in the wrong direction.

To further complicate matters, I apparently didn’t know how to use the Google maps in the walking mode on my cel phone. I thought the green arrow pointing upward on the top meant I was going the right way. Please I know the next time you get on your Google maps you will think of my post and wonder about me! I’m so embarrassed after I figured out how it all works… well, I know now! Maybe sometime I will laugh about it at myself.

Do you know that just as soon as we stopped walking on that wrong path and turned around and went the correct way I could see what I got wrong about the map.

At least I had the presence of mind when we parked to take note of what business it was in front of.

As soon as we turned around, would you know it, the green path on the map lit up with little dots telling me that now we were on the right path. What nice friendly little green dots.

Heartwarming thing was as soon as we turned around we were able to see the fireworks show as we walked, a reminder of sorts that the journey is enjoyed better on the correct path.


a “sweet” side note: If I hadn’t been on day 26 of giving up sweets I would not have had the stamina to get through that mess.


After returning to my car I was thankful to enter those clogged up roads that I well knew would take me home.

We had such a nice time that I wouldn’t miss it next year even with our self inflicted march in the dark. Next year we’ll go early for more close in parking.

This is a page from a children’s story I wrote for my grandson. The story is “Where did the Seed Come From?” It isn’t about sweets but I included it here for the nom nom nom…

No substitutions! (and a poem) on days 23 to 25 of 210 days no sweets.

When researching what others suggest might work to help ease the suffering in giving up sweets, I found what I believe is some bad advice: substituting fake sweets, those made with any kind of fake sugar or even honey. To soften the blow in this way I think keeps me from winning the battle.

What is victory without a bit of suffering?

Sweet victory I think comes from the addiction being broken. Then we will see after my 210 days of giving up sweets if adding them back in moderation can occur.

I am shying away from all sweet foods and drinks. I am even careful of dried fruits and fruit itself though I do still eat fruit but am careful to eat it with a meal so as to balance the sugars with protein.

As I am writing this I realized that I am still now and again drinking diet soda. It’s not a big thing… but I will give that up too.

My sweets addiction that led me to unhealthy consumption amounts is being broken in my “self experiment” of the eating no sweets for 210 days so I’m not substituting those other things.

Here’s my list, so far, of don’ts I am adhering to:

1. No sweets and no sweet substitutes, no sweet beverages, no diet soda.

2. No foods high in sugar though not thought of as a sweet like some canned spaghetti sauces or even ketchup.

3. Not eating too much fruit especially in smoothies. Yes fruit is high in fiber which does offset the sugar so I add some to a meal but don’t eat as a snack.

4. Speaking of snacking, I don’t. I eat 3 meals a day, no snacking.


Here’s my working hypothesis:

A sweet addiction is in the heart, mind, and body, leading to an out of balance need for, desire for and over consumption of sweets. It can be cured by abstaining for a period of time, 210 days or less, from outright sweets such as cookies cakes and candy and also things like muffins or pancakes and waffles, but also syrups, honey, jelly, and high sugar content foods and desserts made with sugar substitutes, and drinks with sugar or fruit or sugar substitutes and then by adding them back in the diet in reasonable portions.


If I am right I will have beat the sweet addiction! If I am wrong I will be right back where I was – a sugar cravingaholic stuck in my ways.

Sweet Scene

Look up to see the silvery moon

To think it’s the beach’s blanket

Tucking it in with its tide every night

Dishing out a sparkling delight

How the artist dips his brush

To collect the scene

Onto his canvas, quickly translating

Adding foam like thick whipped cream

And in the gallery window now it hangs

Rich in beauty a value it brings

A swell of heart, its waves arouse

Something sweet it lifts the brows

More than paint strokes on the canvas,

A gift of heart there’s in that scene

Just a glimpse of Creator’s perfection

Rendered by an artist, so affected.

~Julie Robinson

Thankful on day 22 of 210 of No Sweets

…Make sure to read my Thanksgiving poem at the end of this post….

I made a pumpkin pie and pecan pie for Thanksgiving. They are in my refrigerator. Will I eat any? Probably not. The farther I’ve walked away from the sweet stuff the more I realize that if I were to have something sweet it’d have to be something amazing. Quite simply the pies just don’t hold the sweet spot in my heart that is taken by chocolate cake. Good thing it isn’t a Thanksgiving dessert.

And thanksgiving is full of enough carbs from my homemade rolls and mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole and cranberry jello salad… none considered sweets but all sweet. And for me now on day 22… just thinking about it ahead of time and planning is kinda helping me sort it out emotionally.


Abundant Provision

Abundant provision!

It’s out of this world.

Measured in faith,

Forgiveness, and grace,

Causing Thanksgiving,

Flowing full to the brim,

And spilling.

Oh! Happy Thanksgiving!

~Julie Robinson

Llama Mama
I painted this llama mama inside a wooden purse for a local craft fair.

TEN THINGS to Commemorate being Ten Percent Finished on day 21 of 210 no sweets

To commemorate my 10% finish, here is my “10 List” of the surprising highlights of my giving up sweets for 21 days:

COMMEMORATIVE 10 LIST

1. I’m exercising! What????

I don’t like to exercise, but I feel like it. Who is this new person in my body? I’m now feeling like walking on my treadmill because I feel much better and therefore have felt like exercising.

2. I’m eating less! And, I’m eating better. For instance, I ordered chicken salad today at my favorite eatery instead of the usual chicken salad sandwich on croissant because I felt like eating a little lighter. I liked very much the lighter feeling better than eating the croissant and I told myself that if I wanted the croissant next time I could get it.


A little side note: Self talk is critical! Tell yourself that you are doing something massive! You are loving it! And it is fun more than it is difficult.


3. I don’t weigh. I am not measuring my success by my weight on the scale. In fact, I have not been on the scale at all. I have an idea of my weight prior to doing this because I used to weigh every day (and then eat a bag of candy, go figure!). I have sabotaged myself on many diets by being on the scale. For the record, I am probably about three sizes, or thirty pounds, larger than I ought to be. After the challenge I plan to weigh just for fun to see how much I lost. I would like to lose. Don’t get me wrong on that.

4. I never say diet. Not to anyone. I though am vocal about not eating sweets. People think I can’t do it or they think I’m crazy. And then I think they feel I might be judging them for eating sweets. I don’t bother with any of these head games. But, I do kinda like to prove myself and everyone that it is possible.

5. FUN! I am having fun with the challenge. Since this isn’t a diet but a challenge to see if I can go 210 days without eating sweets during what I decided to call “The Season of Sweeting,” defined as Halloween through Easter, I have decided to just do that and not complicate matters by a measurement of my weight.

6. What cravings? I don’t get intense cravings. I know, I was the one ate loads of Halloween candy on the night before I started this.

7. Less hunger. The out of control hunger I had before is gone. I think it is related to my blood sugar being regulated?

8. Clearer thinking and better memory. You know those moments when someone tells you their name and just as soon as they walk away you think, Oh no! But, I surprised myself by being able to better recall names.

9.  Not sure if it’s is a good side affect, but I’m not painting at all.  I think it’s because I’ve been otherwise occupied with cleaning out and fixing things and as well, writing.  When I begin painting again it will be with a purpose.  I have written several children’s books for my grandchildren but never kept a copy of them.  So, when I was visiting recently I took a picture of one of my favorite books that I plan to rework and try to publish.

10.  Spiritually settled.  I am operating my life on faith.

Holding Captive on day 20 of 210 no sweets

………………………………

HOLDING ONTO A FROG

What does it mean to hold anything captive? Most likely as a child you’ve captured a bug or other small creature to study it more closely or to run show your mother. When my children were little I swooped up a little frog that we found on a walking trail and I carried it all the way home, wiggling all the way, in my hands. The memory is strong for I am a squeamish type but the enjoyment of being able to have the frog for a little longer trumped.

So, in some sort of artistic mathematics I think the equation could be written as:

Love>fear

…………………………………

HOLDING THOUGHTS CAPTIVE

Then there is the holding captive of a thought. If you don’t already do it, clap your hands around and carry a thought. Then, put it in a clear box so it can’t get out so you can study it from all directions. I am doing that right now with worry. I capture that worry and break it down to small components if possible and I ask questions. Usually the answer to a worry is to figure out all the things that are in my power to do. And, then make a plan to work on those things. Usually that works it all out. I think a lot of times the worry comes from my feeling things are out of my control. I am learning to acknowledge that I cannot push and do everything, so I listen to advice, I seek help, and I pray.

I’m holding captive the thought of eating sweets. It works. This is an example of the comparison of a rampant and a captive thought on eating sweets of which I’m abstaining presently.

Problem: Chocolate cake with inch high fudge icing is temptingly under the glass in the coffee shop surrounded by other similar icing drenched sweets.

~Rampant thought: I NEED that. (I’d feel a tug on my actual heart like a love pang… the feeling of puppy love, know what I mean!). Ok, just one piece and then I will be able to keep going on the no sweets challenge. Oh no! I have no self control! I might as well eat it.

(Notice the lies and the heightened emotion that goes with it. What is held captive? It is backwards! Let me tell you, the heart is the one held captive … by a piece of chocolate cake. Kinda funny, but, NOT if you are the one being held.) Now, picture that mean chocolate cake raising up and trying to take a punch at you but can’t because it’s under glass. Score: 0 for the chocolate cake. And you tell it to settle down you’ll have it on your own terms when it can be more rational.

~Captive thought: “It is possible to say no. Self control is a thing to be exercised by thinking it out. And, I made a decision to wait until after Easter to eat sweets. It is more enjoyable to me to do a long term exercise of self control in order to build it. Each time I say no it is easier for me. Goodbye thought.”

(Notice how the captive thought is telling the truth. It is a sweet victory!)

After I am done with this challenge I am planning to try to find or make the perfect chocolate cake and invite friends and family to my party.

The frog, we kept it for a day until we saw it wasn’t eating. Then, we tearfully took it to a little pond near us where it didn’t play the happy releasee by jumping into the pond. The little guy sat there un-jumping in, looking at us. One of the kids mentioned that maybe it missed it’s mother back on the trail where we found him. I assured that of course he would hear his mom calling and would hop home. We went home, shoulders low, and washed our hands.

Look up this verse on holding thoughts captive. I memorized it! 2 Corinthians 2:5


7A66E595-C967-40BF-A03E-98E1F3F1E332Ok, so I ate a muffin on the airplane!  But not all is lost, right?  I did say I’d eat no sweets – I will consider that it was just a tiny indescretion, not enough to throw me off.  You see, I am all or nothing generally and I can derail a good (anything) by not being perfect.  So I decided that the lesson for me is:

DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT!  Life is a mess, just try.  Try, try, try!!!!

Today is my day 19 of “no sweets”!  Plus one muffin, but who’s counting?

…………………………………………………………………

On Practicing Perfection

“Practice makes perfect”, the overhead lectures

Third graders’ clumsy cursive letters

And runners, knitters, dancers, bakers

Writers, poets, lovers, makers,

Perfection cannot truly be gained

Only sought.

Perfection is made, it cannot be bought

And as mere mortals, Yes! Seek it we ought!

We want it in gems and in dog breeds

Gold never tarnishing

Sparkling water from mountain streams

A mother’s love for her babies.

And in any pursuit with impurities rising,

The dross on the silver,

Or the stew pot frothing,

Life, impure, needs some refining.

But, don’t let perfection

Keep you from trying,

You run, you fall, you muffin, you sloggeth!

You human! “Practice Makes Progress!”

~Julie Robinson

My baking cabinet – I like to have everything in one spot. This holiday season I plan to bake… but not nibble!

A Baker’s Dozen on day 12 of 210 of no sweets

It’s been dozen days for me now, no sweets.

And to commemorate, here are a few things that are a dozen. First off I just want to ask a little question, how comes a baker’s dozen is 13?

  • “A baker’s dozen” assures the baker isn’t cheating anyone. The appearance of propriety is kept by the baker throwing in an additional to bring the dozen to thirteen. Historically a baker would have to pay a fine or according to my research, pay some other severe consequences for cheating people such as getting an earlobe nailed to a post. Sorry bout that but history is brutal. I am pretty sure that if they’d teach those interesting tidbits in high school kids those sometimes unreachable teens might just pay attention.

There’s a bakery near me always throws in a couple donut holes with the bag of donuts. (Of course I’m not eating any presently.)

A dozen things that are a dozen, or twelve

  • eggs,
  • cupcakes,
  • muffins
  • Cookies
  • Pack of hot dogs
  • Hours in half a day
  • Months in a year
  • Inches in a foot
  • School grades 1-12
  • Tribes of Israel
  • Days of Christmas,
  • Roses

Counting, Not by Tens

Primitive counting by duodecim

Not by the neat metric base of ten

Gives us a dozen right out of the oven

Cookies and cupcakes and muffins in tins

And when months of the year and hours of the day

Look to the moon and the sun to arrange

And the length of the foot times three is the length

From the right shoulder to the left finger, a yard, three feet,

Wonder where the dozens come from

That gets moons and planets and measurements going,

Those dozen roses, and holidays aglowing

And the creation adoration bestowing

~Julie Robinson

Above photo: my every morning: oats and coffee, a little listening, studying, planning, and a lot of writing On DAY 11 OF 210 OF NO SWEETS, YAY! It’s getting so much easier too. Right now I’ve been taking a little break from painting because the poetry and other creative writing endeavors have taken top place in my creativity.

Here’s my poem and below the poem is a number line showing my sweet progress.

SAVORED LEAF

A dust devil destroys stacks

Of carefully raked leaves,

A Skittering dustup which the wind wins.

But one bright leaf, whisked up by a kid,

Mesmerized by the skirmish,

Having kicked a rock as far as he could,

But finally losing it,

Crams the new find deep in his pocket

And later tries to pull it out

A crumbling faded memory

Better to savor but not to save,

To leave it where it lay

~Julie Robinson

210 DAYS NUMBERLINE – The progress looks so tiny below, bottom left in pink. But it serves to remind that this experiment has an end. Join me in the journey, never too late to jump on!

Spaghetti candy on Day 10 of 210 giving up sweets

A serving of jarred spaghetti sauce can be loaded with sugar. I about flipped out reading the label of my favorite brand. 12 grams*.

I think it could be renamed spaghetti candy.

I decided to compare it to actual candy.

A package of Reece’s peanut butter cups is 8 grams

One Hershey’s kiss is 2.6 grams

*And 4 grams = 2 teaspoons

After additional research I found maybe I ought to steer clear of some salad dressings as well as most barbecue sauce.


Keeping it simple!!! WHAT I’M GIVING UP ON THIS 210 DAYS OF NO SWEETING

Sweets – which is defined as desserts (self-explanatory)

Semi – Sweets – which is pancakes, waffles, muffins

Drinks – I already drink no sugary soda or coffee

Canned or bottled Spaghetti Sauce and other dressings and sauces where the serving size sugar grams is more than 5


Sweeting Ways

Aren’t there other ways of sweeting

Better habits, ways of living

Having cake, not voraciously eating

Cookies pies and candy

One way is grateful

Ahh, enjoy a whole plateful

Of thankfulness both body and soul

For care and provision and love

Another’s a road where we carry the load

Of another, much encumbered

A sweetness together inspired

Our brother, a neighbor, a stranger, friend

Then there’s the path of suffering

It’s not to be compared

It’s defeat over worldly desire

It’s a better way, there

It’s sweet victory

And a better way of sweeting

What we all are truly needing

Look up, cause it’s not here

~Julie Robinson

Fatigue – Symptom on day 9 of 210 no sweets

Sweets as Uppers

Usually, well 10 days ago and further back… I combated afternoon sleepiness with eating sweets. Was I doing anyone a favor by doing this? It was like a drug … I was popping candy pills and living crash to crash on a sugar trip.

And, that was (sort of) effective. It allowed me, along with caffeine, past the sluggish 3:00 pm. But after time I needed more and more sweets to fill the need. I knew though that I needed to do something about it. And, the problem was greater than body fat. But, right now I’m going through withdrawal and currently am having…

Fatigue

The first few days off sweets I felt more energy. Now on day 9 I have been experiencing more fatigue than ever . I think my body must be trying anything it can to get me back on sweets. In fact, I have heard tell that it is your own body

………bacteria

which live on sugar are the ones doing the craving! Sorry but it’s true!

Funny considering that for a moment as I call a body meeting where brain and spirit take the head of the table, take charge of this body and Say NO!!! to the bacteria. That should be easy to do except when the bacteria clobber you with fatigue.

Some people ask … No, I didn’t go hog wild and do completely no carbs. I do eat a little bread and pasta. I might decide to cut those out except for whole grain in this little 210 day sugar free experiment.

I’ve been drinking afternoon coffee or tea but that doesn’t seem to lift the fatigue but it does give me something to do and it is momentarily soothing.

I was so fatigued by 9:15 pm that I couldn’t concentrate to write. I fell asleep while looking up fatigue definitions vs fatigues for my poem today.. Funny thing was my brain was just fine, wanting to create poetry but my hand/eye coordination wasn’t doing too well. Anyhow, I thought, maybe I ought to sleep. Duh, right?

That worked. I woke up early and refreshed with new calm and collected enthusiasm. (Yesterday’s poem)

Fatigued Poetry

Fatigare, To work, To tire out, a Latin word

Brings us fatigue, tired out from work

Either mental or physical

Some have it chronic

Caused by so many different things

They slog to different doctors hoping for a cure

A different use but meaning same is fatigues in the military

My dad, military, used to wear dress whites once in awhile

But most times he told mom he needed to wear his fatigues which meant hard work

I never new the difference as a kid but I remember

How she heavy starched and ironed his uniforms

Both serving their country.

Then there’s things causing fatigue

Caregiver stress, motherhood

Too much news and menopausal stew

Then there’s compassion fatigue

Which is what? Tired of caring?

So all the things you’re tired of

Just create yourself a phrase ending in the word.

~Julie Robinson

Day 8 of 210 no sweets

A Joke, a Riddle, and a Poem – day 8 of 210 no sweets

You might say that I’m writing my way out of eating sweets… Instead of munching, I’m punching… the keyboard.

A Joke

My children have all told me this clever joke. I must pass it along here. It’s clean and clever, and so appropriate for day 8 of 210 no sweets. Of course, kids hear a joke for the first time and figure mom or dad don’t know it. Sorry to my third child who with all the shiniest best of her first grade self asked me…

“Why is six afraid of seven?

And I forgot all parental protocol and answered…

“Because seven eight nine.”

Even though I knew the answer I could have pretended not to. I could have allowed her the pleasure. We could have both been happy then. And why did I follow with “You are my third child, you know,” with a wink that was all about me. We moms must forgive ourselves. Stop the mom guilt! (Please don’t get me wrong: all’s fair in… teens or adults to answer right off)

A Riddle

A little about my youngest daughter: she has baby status, yet first child status, and oldest child status. How can that be?

Ok, here’s the answer to the riddle: She is the third and last child of mine and the only child of her father’s and the other two are my children from a previous marriage and there are a dozen years between. I know, who wants to do all that math? I’m sure all of you got that riddle first off anyhow.

Now that I am an older and wiser mother, I can’t help but raise her differently. First, we are doing homeschool high school. And, she 11th grade has a year and a half to go. Second, until a month ago we were caregiving her father with advanced dementia at our home, and third, her brother and sister left home when she was about eight.

A Poem

Before I wrote this poem today I had looked up the word enthuse “to cause to become enthusiastic”. As I was thinking about that… is it possible to have contagious enthusiasm – an enthusiastic crowd, for example.

Then I was considering how I’ve maybe heard the term used more often in the negative as in “over-enthusiastic”.

And, what must happen to cause a person to be enthused in the first place is something within themselves if it is actual enthusiasm, because people can seem enthusiastic but it wanes with mood. I think we see it in American politics, but even more so in a basketball game.

Actual enthusiasm is a thing to hold on to but it is a really difficult thing to transfer, because what gets transferred is a feeling, a mood. And as I show in my poem, over-enthusiastic people can be killers of enthusiasm, really, though they don’t even know they are doing it. The worst possible dose of other people’s enthusiasm is if someone is enthusiastic FOR another to do something and keep reminding them of it and “encouraging” them. Anyhow, for me that’s the way it is…

ENTHUSED, MUCH?

Enthusiastic came, early, shining, ready

Attracting others needing extra

Feeding the fire, going steady

Hearts full, wills ready

But, over-enthusiastic burst right in

And as usual, over-doing,

Pushing, burning, maddening, stewing

Bites off more than it is chewing

And with this terrific tragedy

Of misplaced motivation,

Mood walks out

Depressed, Deflated

~Julie Robinson

Ode-ing my way through day 7 of no sweets

No sweets for a week! Not as easy at it might seem!

I had a more difficult day with temptation for eating sweets.

I’m not sure why. But, I think it was because I was feeling tired towards the afternoon. That bowl of candy sits there… because it is part of my experiment, to see if it is possible to have such accessible candy and still stay sugar free. It was only twice I felt like eating it. The first time was more difficult. Talked myself out of it, the end reward, greater than the temporary. And, the second time was a fleeting thought that fleeted, quickly fizzled.

LEARNING POETRY AT TOO YOUNG AN AGE

Now, I bring you Ode to an Ode which I write in sorrow for not having paid more attention in my life to academics. True, I have a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. But, do you know I just did it to get it done. Truly, I wasn’t interested. Or, I was interested only briefly in snippets of time where I cared about the subject, where somehow a combination of my mind/heart was engaged – I will never forget learning in Western Civilizations about the cradle of civilization being in between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. I remember that because the professor came in and drew it on the blackboard every lecture and then he clanked that chalk down into the curve of the dusty metal below, every single class, before he began his lecture where he used slides on an overhead projector. Me, the visual learner, was stimulated by that. I also remember instruction in creative and expository writing class but that was because I was able to get it. Didn’t mean to get so far into the weeds on my college education but I have to say one more thing…

A TINY MENTION OF MY COLLEGE CAREER

It was back in the day where you go sign up for your classes standing in long lines set up in a gym or student center. I had been in line for a class but it was all filled by the time it was my turn in line. So, I had to find another class that would fill that credit. By then there was only The History of Rock and Roll. I remember the guy there telling me that I could always drop the class and sit in on the one I wanted and try to add it. That seemed crazy to me. Now, some of you might think that a class on rock and roll would be an easy blow-off class. But, like classes you might think are easy and fun, this professor made it the most difficult class ever. He lectured, never about what was on the final exam, and left us to study the material and answer multiple choice questions about the nuances of rock and roll and its effect on our world.

Here I am… back on track… As the below poem alludes, I never could figure out poetry and of course evidently couldn’t figure out rock and roll – beyond the beat – at those young ages.

But, all in all, I wish I had paid better attention in school and not been as concerned with my hair or whatever boy I was excited about passing me a note… I might have actually enjoyed poetry, odes and all things learning.

Ode to an Ode

Oh, Ode, I promised you

since i oded oats

and Mondays too

I thought I’d ode an ode to you

Ah, you style unused today

Writer affected by a thing

Talking to it poetry

Highest speak to give it wings

To fly above, to set a tone,

Eloquent and thought provoking

Words and phrases higher than

The object sitting, poet poking

Most famously the poet penned

Ode on a Grecian Urn

and I too young at the time

Could never fully learn

Couldn’t they just save that class

Of poems and prose and odes

Where it can thrill the end of life

Passions burned, wisdom won

~Julie Robinson

Mondays are my favorite…on Day 6 of 210 not eating sweets

This post has nothing to do with giving up sweets … but it has everything to do with staying with it. It’s a Monday attitude sometimes the only thing that’ll get you through!

What can Monday be good for? Don’t most people relish hating Monday’s? My answer’s in the Ode.

Ode to Monday

Monday comes dressed to impress

Smart and clean

after the weekend

Of t-shirts and jeans

You freshly greet us

And you don’t make a fuss

“You still sleepin’ you lazy bumpkin!”

Oh no, that’s not a Monday voice

You leave that to other days

You’re sharp yet sweet

Like a first grade teacher

It’s discipline first you know we need

You come each week

Ready, rain or shine

To do but mostly be,

Always so refined

Good thing you are a Monday

So you can never see

Me rumpled up on Friday

While you, neatly pressed, pristine.

~Julie Robinson

IPad Pro Art… Tree at the Guadalupe by Julie Robinson

Coasting on day 5 of 210 no sweets

You have most likely coasted.

..In a car, downhill.

..In a relationship, where it gets comfortable, seen in the stoppage of flowers and deep conversation

..On a skateboard, with one foot on the board and with the other you’ve pushed off to get a good speed

..In school, after working hard at the beginning and getting excellent grades and then you for some crazy reason deciding to pull back effort

So when I say I’m coasting it means I know full well I had better watch out.  Right now it is easy but after it gets less exciting, mundane, difficult, then I will have to climb the mountain (see poem below).

Here is a little secret… For 2 years…From 10/4/2006 to 10/4/2008 I did not eat sweets… for anyone who thinks I can’t do it…!

BUT ended up that I was coasting..

Until one day I was telling someone about how I don’t eat sweets and had not for two years and I was embarrassed that I was so proud of myself and also maybe I was a little bored of doing it and talking about it.

So this time I decided to give it an appropriate window of time which I want to call:

THE SEASON OF SWEETING

which begins at Halloween and ends at Easter.

Because it’s a challenge it makes not eating the sweets a game instead of giving something up.  Does that make sense?  It’s a game where I get to win:

a thinner body – I know I will lose weight and I did pack on more than a few

a stronger will – That will muscle is getting exercised and boy was it flabby!

a clearer mind – I’m thinking more clearly and excitedly than ever.

a quieter spirit – Can I just say it?  JOY!  There’s a song my daughter turned me on to and I’m sorry I don’t remember who sings it – but when I first heard it “I choose Joy” I about came out of my skin.  Cool song, really!

Ok, so I got to write a poem now that I’m all excited about the no sweets.

How Long to Make it

We’re fools if we think

we can keep self destructing

That Monday’s the day,

We’ll make a change then

But it comes and it goes

and in despair throes

We get down,

and fall in

Can’t get out of that hole?

It has one direction

There’s no place to go

but climb

Could hover in copter

and get you out faster

could throw you a rope

but you’ll pull me in

No, you dig in your toes

and climb out your pit

and dirty your mits

jaw set, teeth bit

Don’t think you can make it

without any pain

If out cause you faked it

It’s nothing you gained

~Julie Robinson

The crow wants to know “what’s in that oatmeal!”

Ode to Oatmeal on day 4 of 210 No Sweets

and

a Thank You to Morning Star Memory Care in Fredericksburg, Texas

Before I go on an oatmeal ode, let me first say…

Visiting my Husband at his Memory Care

goes better with Coloring Books…

I think part of my ability to go off sweets is that I am not under the continual distress of being a constant caregiver. The memory care, Morning Star Memory Care, is now my husband’s caregiver.  I visit him as often as I can.  Today I took along some markers and an adult Christmas coloring book I found at the dollar store.  We three, me, my husband, and our sixteen year old daughter,  sat and colored and then read the book.  It was a shortened story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  After we colored a little while we had fun doing the voice drama.  He just loved it.  We invited a new resident who was wandering around looking for her husband, to join us in the coloring.  She talked to us like she knew us and then asked if we all wanted to walk around outside with her.  So we enjoyed the beautiful Fall Fredericksburg day in the lovely back yard of the memory care.  Peaceful that whole place is, inside and out.  I highly suggest anyone who is going to visit a person in a nursing home or assisted living to bring some kind of thing to look at together.  If they can’t color, then pictures and a story are nice to share.

So thanks to Morning Star Memory Care!

A sweet place … isn’t that a cheap yet sweet segue into my …

It’s true, Sweets are Addictive, and I’m an Addict!

Now, on to how I’m doing giving up sweets.  Have you heard that it has been discovered that the link in the brain to sweets – and therefore a sweet addiction – is the same place in the brain as an addiction to cocaine.  I can believe that.  I went to bed last night with heart palpitations.  I believe it was my body reacting possibly to the few days thus far of not eating anything sweet!  If there was a place to go “dry out” from sweets, I’d go there.  I can picture it by a white sandy beach…. AHHH!

WHY DOES OATMEAL HELP?

Oatmeal with nuts and fruit and cinnamon fills me up for breakfast and it is naturally sweet.  It’s full of protein and “sticks to the ribs” well.  I think it evens out my blood sugar… but I’m no expert, just a practicing artist.

An important part of my giving up sweets is eating my morning bowl of oats.  I get the Quaker Oats original oatmeal, not steel cut, not quick cooking.  The oats cook in the microwave in 4 minutes anyhow.  I put that in and then put the coffee on so they are done about the same time.  And, I don’t add any sugar or sugar substitutes, of course.

Snacking today:  Same as yesterday, I ate a handful of salty nuts and prunes. It was helpful to keep from eating the sweets. I don’t think I mentioned before but I left the bowl of trick o treater candy by the front door right where it was on the fateful night of my “before binge” as an experiment. So far I haven’t wanted it.

Important note to reader:

(My Ode to Oats is below, but let me preface it by saying: CHOCOLATE CAKE… THE ULTIMATE, HANDS DOWN, SWEET THING I LOVE WHEN I’M NOT RAVENOUS FOR SWEETS. WHEN MY SWEET TOOTH IS CHILLED OUT AND I’M WANTING, NOT CRAVING, I GO FOR GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE.)

What happened to me in previous occasions I have given up sweets is if I ever end up wanting something it would not be junky candy which is why having a bowl of it still isn’t at all causing me trouble but if I ever do want something it would be higher up like a slice of perfect homemade chocolate cake, not store bought, not box, not even Texas sheet cake, but the kind made by the lady who brought it to Baptist church potluck when I was eight years old, moist, with fudge icing with just the right amount of chew. It was The Lord’s Work she did, that delicious cake maker lady. In April after my 210 days are up, I am going to try to recreate that cake in my kitchen. By that time I will probably only desire a tiny slice. Right now because I have lost the ravenous crazy, I can wait ’til April. Hopefully…

So, I know you’ve been waiting for it… so here’s my Ode.  I wanted to do the ode because that way I can talk to an inanimate object that I really like and people won’t think I’m nuts. I think. Oh, and when I make that chocolate cake in April I will write an ode to it. That, I will put on my calendar so so as to not forget.

ODE on Oats

By your natural tendency,

And spiked by added raisins,

You soothe me in the morning

You’re exactly what I’m cravin’

When’d it start, this love of oats,

Not omelets, burritos or cinnamon rolls,

‘Twas what my mom cooked on a cold winter morn

When we’d all whine, “Not again!”

Now how’d it happen, a little older,

Eating breakfast much more sober,

You humbly greet me at my table

Cinnamon topped, fully able

Your gentle steam and quiet content

Your pleasing ways are solid, endure

And I’ve learned not love another

 Your pleasure, sweet and somehow pure

Slow but sure,

You stay all morn

All the way to lunch or after

Keeping me from eating sweets

~ Julie Robinson

Want to join me on this quest, want to cheer me on my way, like me, leave comments, tell me what you have to say!  If you aren’t a sweet junkie, what sweet do you enjoy in that more rational way? If you are but want to give up the junk, then join me! I’m only day 4 and not eating sweets til after Easter.  Already I feel more clear headed, and got a better spring in my step.

Come, like, comment, join me?

My current unfinished oil painting yet unnamed.  I think it looks like the forest is rolling out its blue carpet.  

Not Missing Anything on Day 3 of 210 No Sweets

“THE NIGHT BEFORE BINGE” …why I think it helped.

I am writing this explanation by poem. It is mostly true…

THE NIGHT BEFORE TREATING

There were three bags of candy

For the night of trick-o-treat

Sat out in a bowl for this night

To eat

With a goal in mind, these sweets I’ll beat!

‘Twas a drooling candy feast,

two bags for them

And one for me

Now, let me warn you!  This idea’s dangerous.

Though enjoy it, perhaps, somewhat, I did

But sometime between the knocks on the door,

And shouts of trick or treat,

Death gripped tightly ‘bout my throat

That sugar ghost had me

Scared me like a horror show

Caught by my own candy

And, he said through poison teeth

“You can’t possibly give up sweets”

Then he hissed this awful melody,

I jotted it down for you to read.

“Go on, imbibe, ‘cause if not, you’ll just die,

tell me…

can you pass that slice of  pumpkin pie?

Ruinous pleasure, your final demise

Your eyes glazing over, no matter, quick, eat!

None else can compete. It’s a bargain, it’s cheap.

Come sit in my lap, ahhh now isn’t that sweet”

and giggling drastically, departed the scene

Oh that phantom he lies!  Speak any truth? He did not

About little miss addict me

So I unwrapped, unveiled its plot

To shut up my mind, make his words stop.

Quickly cramming candy corn

cuppled with cups of coffee

He got to me, was almost defeat

‘Til I thought, “Hey, I brought this confectioned melody.”

Though battle scarred and walking wounded

I remembered my well crafted plan,

My upper handed feast of treats

-Even though I might’ve OD’d-

Now if that sweet comes a knockin’

Even chocolate cake for goodness sake!

Can’t open that door not even a peek. It’ll barge in,

Will rage its demands:  the heart, the head, the hand.

~Julie Robinson

Missy, my Yorkie, Ipad Pro’d. She’s sweeter than candy

How Sweet it is!

This post contains:  1.  No Sweets!, 2.  “Progress”  on my continuing application process for veteran’s benefits, and 3.  a Peanut Poem…

Day 2 of 210 – No sweets! But what I did instead is:

1.  I found a potential SOLUTION TO SWEET ADDICTION:  “SUBSTITUTION FOODS”

Roasted salted peanuts in shell the kind you get at a ball game, almonds with sea salt, prunes, bananas, strawberries, and raspberries.  My anti-sweet arsenal for when sugar is CHASING ME AROUND THE KITCHEN and PURSUING ME in THE PANTRY.

Thinking of this sweets challenge makes me happy.  I once gave up sweets for two years.  That was in about 2006 and at the time I was working more than full time.  Now, I’m home hoping to make work of my writing career.  It could happen.  Anyhow, I so like the idea and dilemma of a task that is “biting off more than I can chew”.  The sheer size of the goal right now feeds (pun intended) my determination the bigger the goal.

Two times I went for these sweet substitutions.  After lunch I ate a few prunes because I was feeling a bit frustrated with all the paperwork (see #2 below).  Did the prunes help?    They were sweetly satisfying.  And then at around 9:30 pm I ate a few Blue Diamond Gourmet Almonds garlic herb and olive oil flavored.  They were very nice.  Crunchy and flavorful.  Was glad I had done a little pre-planning.  I am not messing with anything else I’m eating.  Just no sweets.  And, that isn’t hard to figure out.  No sweet tea, sweet soda, but I can drink diet soda.  I don’t ever drink sweet anyhow.  I never drink sugar or sweeteners in my coffee.  I prefer my coffee with milk only.  And, desserts , even if they are “sugar free” I stay away from because they are possibly a gateway sweet.

2.  APPLICATION FOR VETERAN’S BENEFITS

Now, the following is a great way to spend your first full day giving up sweets.  Today I am organizing my paperwork for applying to the veterans for benefits to be able to afford my husband’s assisted living center monthly fee.  I bought two large folders and have some acetate pages that I can easily slip in all those lovely government forms.  I bought some binders to help in this process.  It will be the most lovely veteran’s benefits file you’ve ever seen.  What have a learned about Veteran’s benefits.  I’ve learned there’s a lot… to learn.

No painting for me today.  Doing the paperwork does not put me in the painting mood.

Peanuts and paperwork

Never eat those Planter’s Peanuts

Concurrently

While pushing paper, No! Please

Those shells and salt and all that grease

That makes the fingers need a licking,

and those pages dirty turning

for this reason, I am warning

Snack and study time don’t mix.

~Julie Robinson

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When I’m off sweets, this is true. When I’m on, hello cupcakes! Please o please, some balance!

Come on y’all & join me giving up sweets.  Won’t you?  Give up sweets for one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year.  I’m doing 210 days – Halloween to Easter, the sweeting season.  Let me know in the comments how goes it…

Ushering in “No Sweets November” and, ok, just one more tiny little poem.

Between projects is a difficult place to be. I only have the hope of the future projects – but not one yet underway. It makes me feel a little artistically heart fluttery nervous. Why is that?

So to solve this problem, I get to thinking, what is is that I treasure the most? So, I thought that first a bit of personal inventory might help:

During the month of October,

I placed my husband in long term memory care after he wandered out dangerously for the last time in the middle of the night climbing out of his window and walking a mile! And I’m strangely torn without him here, unused to not taking care of him all the time. It is expensive. I have faith that God will provide the needed resources to keep him there.

Also I finished the first quarter homeschooling my daughter 11th grade. She does lessons by video and I oversee and ask her to teach me what she has learned. It works well that way since relating something just learned helps greatly with interest and retention. Hey and it’s good for me too as I think I’ve forgotten all that. Actually I think at her age I was doing nothing but concentrating on some boyfriend. I paint and write while she does school. As I blog away here she’s doing violin class and I will add… a lot less squeaky than when she first began at the beginning of the school year.

I wrote a poem each day for the past 31 days. That was exhilarating. Really. I did not know that doing it would be like running a race each time. Yay for getting across the poetry finish line.

But back to answer my original question what should I do now that poetry month is over

1. I am in planning – brainstorming – looking at photo references – for a brand new oil painting project to show in my art club’s copying the master’s challenge but first I’m finishing the painting below. I’m not very happy with it right now which is lending a little to my art troubles but I wrote a poem about it so I am including it.

2. I’m sugar free (but just as sweet) and will blog about my upcoming 7 mos of eating no sweets.  And yes I can eat fruit

3  Art projects with memory care. I am excited they asked me would I bring in some projects to do with the folks at my husband’s memory care facility. I am considering bringing some tempura paints and brushes and some cheap Walmart canvases. So I will be sharing about my Art memory care experiences.

4  Poetry Monday’s:  I am thinking I ought to write poetry on a schedule of one day per week so I can keep poetry challenged.

Below is my current painting propped for picture in the window. Interesting how the lavender sky outside is all matchy matchy with my painting.

Faith

Oh! A lavender sky

Where below the cattle gather,

Heads low, munching,

Not at all watching

Any kind of weather.

~Julie Robinson

Sweet Report: Day 1 of 210 (is that 7 months?) I haven’t actually started this day yet! But, I am full of optimism, I’ve gathered all the faith I got like the cattle under the lavender sky, and unless the sky rains snicker bars, I’m ok. Check back each day for my Sweet Report. Think I can do it?

Summing up this post, goodbye October and ushering in important thing: FAITH! I went back up into the post and italicized every place I talked about it. That is the treasure I seek for November. Faith

This is the last day for the October poetry challenge, #Octpowrimo and I am glad I participated. I plan to continue writing poetry within my other posts.  Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me.

I wrote the following poem to kick off my holiday sugar free challenge.

Anyone want to join me?  Leave a comment below… I will probably blog about it in conjunction with my regular posts about dementia, homeschooling a highschooler, art and poetry.

On Holiday From Sweets

Because tomorrow’s November

Better get it in tonight

Between all those trick-o-treaters

Coming at twilight

For tomorrow, I’m not kidding

Being it’s November 1st

I won’t, and I’m not fibbing

Eat sweets, I say, lips pursed

During the season of sweeting

Which Lasts Seven months

from Thanksgiving Day to Easter

I’ll take my sugar lumps

No pumpkin spice lattes or mincemeat pies

no Christmas cookies, any kind,

or assorted chocolates on Valentines

I’ll not pop those Easter jelly beans

Or anything in between.

How long you think I’ll make it

If served cake, you think I’ll take it

About donuts, oh can I fake it

right now I’m so inclined

Sweet sober now’s my way of  thinking

While at this poem I’m busy inking

Tomorrow I’ll be busy drinking

Water, tea and coffee, winking.

~Julie Robinson

There is an old phrase

“Art imitates life”.

Art Isn’t Dying

Rescue art

When it screams

Unbecoming decaying things

Should make the conscious crawl away

How can passion for disaster

hate-filled lyric fashion

Cut up jeans to Banksy shred

Be any statement but:   “That art is dead.”

Bored of their own pleasure

Wanting, working their demise

Receiving doleful measure

A dark and deadly compromise

Of standing, agreeing

And where wisdom once was

Mistaking fleeting feelings

Raw, uncensored, not creating.

This poem has no summation

‘Cause all know a salvation

Starts deep in the art

By the Refiner of heart

~Julie Robinson

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Digital Love by Julie Robinson’s IPAD Pro Doodling.

This post is three poems in one, a pre, a Behrquain, and a post poem.  Enjoy!

I wrote this pre-poem as an introduction to the following Behrquain poem.  And, I’m not entirely sure if there exists such a thing as pre-poems, but I first wrote in paragraph form and it was just trying to pop out a poem so I just said “let it pre”.

Let it Pre

On my response

to the current lack

of civility

in human interactions:

People triggered

exploding over a word out of place

unable to put aside differences

all wounded and wounding

not listening so misconcluding

uncivil and vain

causing pain

the answer to all is in my Behrquain

Tinder Tender

In love

Do we expect

Wholehearted agreement

On everything, every problem

Settled, perfect

It is

Never seeking

Friendships, relationships

Lasting through argued discussions

But strong isn’t broken

From politics

To Christ

Too much tinder

Rubbing between people

Igniting not passion but hate

Yelling screaming fighting

What’s there so dear

Likewise

Letting the truth

Come out in the converse

Plain spoken truth without hot air

And taking the time to

More than listen

Perfect

Only humans

Are we to each other

Forgiving and enlivening

Growing close together

Tinder tender

Loving

~Julie Robinson

The DNA of the Behrquain

What! A post – poem now, an after toast to my Behrquain,

the shape, a double helix DNA,

beginning, creating, unzipping,

 and joining info written

within curvy confines,

a different way to think,

in round rhythm of words,

lacking rhyme, concentrating on structure,

 movement and meaning and time.

My poetry “writing” process.

First,  Believe

I am a poet.

I’ve enjoyed finding out that I am a poet during this #Octpowrimo month.  I remember how at the beginning I felt excited and then halfway through it was, “What have I gotten myself into!”

Second, Find a spark

The spark is usually something that oddly occurs to me like the memory of riding the commuter train into Philly. I have never been a writer who just sits and writes all kind of thoughts free flow.  No, I like to mull over my thoughts while I am driving or cleaning… or, today, cleaning out the garage. My poem below was sparked during my great garage clean out.  The job is mostly completed and good thing:  I am actually able to pull my car in.

Third, Write it down

I begin typing it out and it usually flows.  But then I change it to make it make sense more artistically and fix words.  I look to see if there is an interesting flow or did I lose the concept somewhere along the way.  Also important to me is rhythm and rhyme although I don’t really try to obey any rhyming rules.  I think that the poetry writing is somewhat like painting.  There is a concept and a flow the eyes follow, a point, a main idea and supporting cast.

And then, I use the WordPress save draft or publish feature.  I like to publish it to post on a certain day and time.  For the poems it is around 5:30 am.  Then I put it away until later in the day or in the middle of the night.

Last, I reread later and once in a great while I give up on it and rewrite completely.  If I can’t sleep sometimes I will open up my poem on my iPhone in bed and am glad I do because I catch blatant looking errors that I wonder how I could possibly have missed.

Cleaning out

Allowed to take hold

Things are a task master

and if small’s what we afford

Small piles a disaster

The wealthy watch out for

Those shiny collections

Protecting and keeping

Their lovely perfections

From anyone holding

Or touching them.  Please!

Their temperature must be

Seventy degrees

So whether rich or the middle

Your heart its treasure most mightily tugs

It pulls you down to raise itself

Above the ones you want to love.

But if there is something you have to collect

Pick people and family and friends

Not old stuff in boxes closets garages

Attic and basement or under the bed

..

For life test it’s over,

When we’ve all walked away

those things we collected

They all have to stay

~Julie Robinson

Michael’s Morning Star

Old tunes played on a keyboard with singing

By a man who knows how to do it, bringing

Clapping and smiles under hill country trees

Serving hope love and kidding

A big family are these.

Tired from activity

And the big Texas lunch

Of brats beans and burgers

Swigging beer with no liquor ‘cause happy is quicker

And joy found in more ways than munch

It’s now nap time so staff

Spring to usual day to day tasks

Of wheeling and walking and tending to those

Whose minds may have faltered but not their hearts,

Peace there’s found in these here parts.

All back home the pictures we share

With far away family feeling part of it there

‘Cause seeing the smiles, happy we look

Can’t argue with a good photo took

At Michael’s Morning Star Memory Care

~Julie Robinson

The poem below is the twenty year old me living on the high speed line and working in center city Philadelphia.  For a little while I was taking courses at an eye institute in the north of the city and working in the center city while residing on the main train line in Pennsylvania several stops out.  So, to get to work, school, and home took me a very long time.  I walked to the train station near my apartment, took the commuter train to a bus and a subway to work, to class, to work, and back home again.  It was an interesting commute and I had a lot of strange experiences like breaking my nose in a train wreck or like the time I was flashed (those are for a whole different posts).  Mostly I remember watching people and wondering about where they were going. There was a mental hospital that had closed down, I think, and they were sleeping in cardboard boxes, some screaming strange scary stuff, sitting atop the steamy grates.  I can still conjure the sour smell mixed with the smell of pretzels baking in places.  The smell memory is a core brain area!  But, one of the strongest memories was feeling cold.

This is my first attempt at a Behrquain poem, it is not to rhyme, it has a 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2… style.  I hope I got it right. Not rhyming was difficult for me!

Tomorrow, a Coat

Sweater

Wrecking her mood

Pulled o’er her head, static

Lipstick smearing, flyaway strands

Held tight down by hairspray

Taste in the air

Chilly

Fall all around

Gladly wearing it now.

Exhale is warming the fibers

Fogging, frosting glasses

Shirttail wiping.

Making

The subway full

Standing, no seat in sight

Holding handle through jerk and bump

The stop is made, all off

At subway’s end.

Her job

No sweaters there

Chilly but faking warm

And on her break she sipped hot tea

And dreamed of warmer things,

A summer’s play

Darkened

The sky grim gloom

A northern snowstorm dumped

Sweater weather turned winter freeze

Steadfast strode, subway fast

To her warm home

Heartened.

~Julie Robinson

Oh! #Octpowrimo, 25 days into the month of poetry.

Oh! The creative push to write a daily poem for Octpowrimo month has helped me write descriptive scenes in my fiction writing giving it better rhythm but not rhyme goodness me but that is a current problem! Anyone else?

Between fiction writing and oil painting and cleaning out my garage, I find myself “painting” poetic scenes in my mind.

And like a painting I have here still on my easel even before I add additional brushstrokes, I have done them in my mind first, same with the written work that needs additional keystrokes.

So, if that wasn’t enough stroking for one post… here is my poem for day 25: Strokes

Daily Strokes

Stroking a kitten’s like stoking a fire

Petting revs her purr motor higher

Arched high she springs to action

her claws get some friction, her fur some rough lickin’

Pouncing off she finds work of all kinds of hard play

And then there’s window sentry light sleeping where she’s keeping

A watch for her stroker, her purrfect re-stoker

To lay lap curled contently consumed by the fire of the day.

~Julie Robinson

Exquisitely Yours is the name of a hair styling salon in my town. I wonder, in light of the fashion of our time being at a loss for exquisiteness, how a person would pick that name for their salon. I wondered how they would think of hair as exquisite since in this day hairstyle for a woman that is too coiffed is considered out of fashion. Perhaps they are attempting to bring back exquisite. More power to them! Bravo!

But, most likely perhaps they are advertising that they provide exquisite service. That should never go out of style and I would not be surprised if a business in my town, a Texas town that may look a little rough around the edges offers, of course, exquisite service with a dash of southern hospitality.

I love words like a sports fanatic. In thinking about the word, exquisite, I was attempting to conjure up exquisite things and I was wondering if truly we may have lost touch with the concept of exquisite: We live in our cookie cutter homes, purchase modern art, wear unmatched clothing and decorate in farmhouse style, wear relaxed blue jeans and our idea of dressing up is wearing a darker color jean with a pretty top and extra makeup; and to top all that off, easy manageable hair.

And that brings me back to that “exquisite” hair salon. Hair has its fashions and our time is not a fashion of exquisite hair. (My poem, below, is where I had a bit of fun with the fashion of hair.)

Has it been in these past seventy or so years, since blue jeans came into vogue, that most everything has had its exquisiteness washed out in the tide of style involving every kind of fashion. The opposite of exquisite is preferred today.

Of course, being a word sleuth, I looked it up.

Exquisite – of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry. From Dictionary.com

I was surprised that “coloring” was part of the definition of exquisite. So, I put exquisite coloring as a search term in google and only found exquisite adult coloring books which was surprising since the dictionary evidently believed that there was something exquisite about coloring. What could they have meant by including it? The color of skin, or of fabric or of paint on a canvas?

There is exquisite detail in Michelangelo’s paintings and in architecture belonging especially to the high renaissance and Victorian times and in clothing as it used to be made with fancy buttons and finely woven materials, and velvets, brocade, and top stitching.

If you have a great grandma, go to their house and look around. She probably has some furniture that were exquisitely crafted but you would have to check out an old Sears Roebuck catalog to find an exquisite appliance because they possibly aren’t able to run on today’s electrical current. But, cars. There are car shows in my little town around the courthouse where people gawk at the exquisiteness inside and out of old automobiles.

I know where exquisiteness went: the way of cheap manufacturing. How’d they make us buy into it? Well, I think it was an advertising campaign based on streamlined everything. The new modern look.

Perhaps the short list which is left for exquisite is a person with an exquisite nose or fine jewelry and, especially, flowers – heaven made and never ever going out of exquisite style.

Here’s my poem based upon the Exquisitely Yours Hair Salon.

Fairly Exquisite

A covering, in bible speak

And once exquistely styled,

Is not the style any more

Unless the lady’s eighty-four

Remember power fros, wide picks hanging

And awful Mohawk punk rock wearings

Dread locks worn to partial shavings

Striped or bleached with black roots raising

Tow heads and blue heads, red heads and blondes

Black and brunettes, and my hair, all white

And it’s fashionable now: the young are wearing gray!

Or blue and pink they dye today

Farrah Faucet, Princess Di

Mary Jo Retton or the Rachel, all fly

Or that bowl cut wearing guy

Memories of iconic times

Wings, the shag, bowl cut, pixie

Pin curls, ponytail, curly, wavy,

Mall bangs, side bangs, feather, fringe

Losing, receding, crew cut, balayage

We crown ourselves with stylish hair

And make a glorious statement there

Each decade has its own display

But exquisite’s not the style today

~Julie Robinson

After today, October 23, I have just 7 poems left to write in the #Octpowrimo poetry challenge which spans the month of October. This challenge has required of my brain and heart and soul a rendering of my life transcribed into daily poetry. There are moments I have captured a poem idea but I’m in the middle of something… homeschooling or cooking, caregiving, or doing the list of chores my right brain requires. Those people who love me know I have a left brain that tries to drive both sides.

Anyhow thank you, you poets who came up with this artistic month long stretch and making us all work our creative muscle and lift some heavy word weight!

Poetry Month

October is the perfect stretch

For mind and soul and heart to fetch

New thoughts, old ideas

Holding them warm until they hatch

Solutions are babies

And feelings, the crazies

Then there’s things we all ought to know

So we try some on and wear them out

Til they, independent, grow

To mull and to ponder

And chase em o’er yonder

Across the mind field of near almost defeat,

Tackling, ramshackle-ing

Holding up by their feet

But then those thoughts that slide sideways

Down through the heart’s pathways

And wriggle all cozied up under your skin

Are the ones best divided

And held tightly captive

Fine tuned, put to rhyme

With a beat and some time

A laugh and a tear

Or a hug

And a sigh

~Julie Robinson

Oak Tree with a Cloverleaf

You might remember a tree

Loved in days more worry free

Where climbing was a little work

To sit on branch of scratchy bark

Or lean for hours in summer shade

Writing your first one act play

Of branching arms and trunk alive

Leaves fluttering against the sky

My family’s land, it had a tree

Til freeway cut the property

Estranging that oak

Like a castle’s moat

Now, middle of a cloverleaf

It stately stands, holding memories

Not the drivers by, but the girl in me

Who left my heart up in that tree

~Julie Robinson

Good they didn’t cut it down. My dad tells the story again and again of the property his parents owned. If I’m ever out riding with him I let him repeat the story of the tree. I’m glad for #Octpowrimo because I look around each day for a poem. Today we went out to bring home cheeseburgers and drove around that cloverleaf and I just knew I wanted to encapsulate the feeling.

Melancholy Glee

Lavender spike oil filled the room

better smelling than turpentine

The painter, tired, in a mood

How painting day was now the night

Across the room, with distance to see

That drama of the raging sea

Rough and vast and painterly

But her cat would change it, yes, would he

Who jumping to chase

Snagged his claw on the drapes

And clanging knocked over

Red buds in a vase

So frightened he shrieked

And wherein did leap

His bushy tail becoming a brush, he did sweep

Across the wet painting wide and deep

Oil painter was he

The artist doubled fitfully

Then signed the painting happily:

Melancholy Glee

~Julie Robinson

I went yesterday to visit my husband at his assisted living, Morning Star Memory Care. The story is in the poem below.

With a little Google sleuthing, Heather, the young caregiving attendant found that Adeline died two years ago.

Here’s the picture of the book and what fell out of it….

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A Book of Prayer by Helen Steiner Rice, a book found at Morning Star Memory Care, Fredericksburg, Texas

For the Giver of Books

A Book of Prayer

By Helen Steiner Rice

Was found on the bookshelf

By a visiting wife

Trying to find him

Some relief

Her husband’s dementia

was causing her grief

But opening it up

Its stiff spine told its story

This book never read

Was like a book with no glory

Like a doll never played with,

Dressed fancy on shelf,

Collectible car fifty years still in blister

Or a heart never loved

This written word, its pages not turned,

And heartbeat never heard.

Oh Miss Helen, your book!

She’d now take a look

Then out of the middle

Tumbled postcard, old photo

Of a lady who’d received it

As a gift long ago

Quickly flipped back to the title page

Where the giver had inscribed

“To Adeline, in Memory of Paul, 1995”

The penmanship fancy, quite alive

She’d wonder, pausing the read

To study that photo, who was she

This Adeline whose gift

Has finally now been received

Leaving the book but thanking the Giver

Of life and hope and happenings

This book on prayer, that God is there

Found timely just like everything

~Julie Robinson

Mysterious Scene, oil on canvas 11×14

I’ve been working on writing my fiction book instead of painting. I’m 7 chapters in, engrossed in my own story. I think all the creating poetry has done something interesting for my writing. Only problem is I keep trying to rhyme. But today I decided to finish one of my river paintings. I’m working to finish, sign, frame and show my paintings.

I hope you enjoy today’s poem…it’s loosely based in truth. That’s kinda funny. Loose truth. Oxymoron?

Fall’s Fault

It was blazing hot today

But fashion forced me to

Wear my new boots anyway

Oh! My feet the debt did pay

Changing to sandals for dinner

Seemed smart

So my feet I freed

And all ten toes they sighed relief

But walking home seems winter now

October fashion fail tis true

Cause now my toes are all froze

And my lips are all blue

So it’s Fall but it’s Summer

Feels Winter in Fall

But my poor feet plead

“Please come quick, Spring!”

~Julie Robinson

He Stood You Up?

Against the station pole she’s leaning

Heart palpating, heady, dreaming

As only a heart in love can hope

He’s coming

But he doesn’t… three long hours

Her eyes the crowd filled station scours

And upturned face has thence turned dour

Examining her wilted flower

Is he married, was he lying

Perhaps now he’s inside dying

But she’s not crying, she’s applying

That thin veneer to keep her trying

To be stood up

Thus is a doozy

Suddenly it made her woozy

Careful what you dream, be choosy

What a man! He said he’d meet her

Online chat he seemed so eager

But was she almost off to danger

Narrowly to join a stranger

That email man she’ll never meet

She’ll leave him in that virtual dream

Smiles perfect in her memory

But does he think of her, does he?

~Julie Robinson

I wrote this poem in response to another blogger’s story of being stiffed by an online love when she had her “You’ve Got Mail” un-encounter that scene where the fellow Shop Around the Corner workers say “He Stood You Up?” I have my own story where I met a man online – how much of it did that movie cause??? He didn’t stand me up but he was very strange and I was glad it was only a coffee date. I was able to sip it fast and zip out with no harm done.

Gilded

There it sits

The golden frame

Setting the painting

O’er fireplace hangs

Stormy seas bringing

A ship on the green

Waves swelling, telling

High venture at sea

Ornamental,

Brilliance beaming

Oil captured, artist dreaming

Come, move in closer now to see

What is happening

In that moment

Stormy day atop the wave

Rocking, rolling, treasure toting

Tell me, ship, you coming, going

Got time for a visit pay

Better, navigate my wall untamed

In the artist’s gilded frame

~Julie Robinson

Sometimes I like to imagine that something I have created on canvas is real. I have painted many ocean and beach scenes but this is my first attempt at a sailing vessel. I have the painting sitting on the floor trying to figure out a grouping with some other paintings. It’s actually an acrylic painting though it worked better in the poem to have it be an oil. And I have no fireplace, but I am considering building myself a faux fireplace with candles just so that I can hang it above the mantel.

My good friend Caroline Dechert so sweetly framed it in that beautiful frame and put it in a local art show for me during a time when it was difficult to get out and do things due to caregiving.

That frame is as fancy as friendship. Caroline called me and checked up on me and came to my house to paint with me. She has been one of my biggest art supporters. Friendship is golden.

I think this painting should be named: “Gilded”.

The Dark

Children afraid of the dark need some lighting

For in closets and basements and under beds hiding

Mysterious creatures are sometimes abiding

And mere shadows become some imagined surprisings

Chased out by the day but not by the nighting

By day they’re all gone, you suddenly see

They’ve climbed high up in a tree

Now you’re under your bed for hide and seek

Closets are open without a big stink

In dark they’re at home but by light they’re made weak

So the dangled bedside foot bedside you stick

Don’t give it a worry, not a bit

But you’ll give the monster a chance to lick

If you watch that scary bedtime flick

Needs give the lightswitch the upward tick

~Julie Robinson

Halfway through the month of October’s poetry challenge I thought I’d write a poem to commemorate getting halfway through Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, The Calamitous Fourteenth Century.

Learning From The Dark Ages

An ice age kicked off the dark 14th century

Froze up the water

Famine a looming

War with England, France’s undoing

Earthquake struck

They thought it God’s dooming

A hundred year war, and rodents were toting

A plague that killed droves

But the Church, forgiveness controlling

And divisions took toll on instead of the grace

Some lost their hope ever so slowly

Turned many away from the joy of the faith

High style the shoe was ever so pointy

Held by chain right to the knee

The king captured, knights unchivalrous bolted

Blaming, the peasants, how they revolted,

Starving and frozen no bread in their oven

The vests that they wore, the jacquerie

Now in our T-shirts and scruffy blue jeans

Dependent to shop for everything

Don’t know to sew to make us some clothes

Bake our own bread, we grub hub by phone

Do we read books or binge watch YouTube’s

Kittens and puppies hedgehogs and squirrels

What are we teaching our boys and our girls

Between soccer karate and parent board meetings

To work and to play at all a fast pace

iPhones glowing our proud selfie face

Did we vote in the last governors’ race

Beware the lights dimming for another dark age

~Julie Robinson

Was it Serendipity?

Sometimes I’m thinking

A word has a meaning

But the thought that it captures

Is another way leaning

What did I learn

Googling Serendipity

That it’s a made up word

With no etymology

From an old fairytale

In a city, Serendip

With sagacity and chance

Some princes saved their skins

First, let’s minus chance,

For isn’t it just circumstance

Mixed with possibility?

What’s left for those princes: sagacity

It’s wisdom and thinking

And learning, discerning

Schooling not luck

Nor magic happenings

I like to know words

…Serendipity toured…

For words are our thoughts

Truth treasure unfurled

So what do you call

A chance good event

Where does it come from

It’s a blessing heav’n sent

~Julie Robinson

My iPad keyboard reveals which keys I use the most. Smudgy traces of my fingers linger on the

asdfhjkletiocnm

and delete.

However the

qwrypzxvb

keys are still new looking. Yes, after I noticed the smudginess I gently scrubbed it with a soft sudsy cloth but not before I made a sorta scientific study which consisted of jotting down the smudge/nonsmudge keys and then considering what words I must be leaving out.

At first I thought I might make up words of those underused letters but then I noticed there was no vowel. Then I conjured all those weird words my English teachers used to get so fascinated about clutching their heart enraptured over some old writing that I couldn’t get adolescently stirred up for.

Anyhow that thought trail led me to write this poem for day 13 of this oh so exhilarating challenge.

Word Cake

Word cake, they served it in high school and college

Layered up stories and high minded sonnets

Condensed or flambéed to stir us to think

But drug us all close to the edge of the brink

Longingly lumbering flowery knowy

Old language of poets heavy and doughy

We studied a mouthful, but we were too slowly

Chewing on words a little bit showy

Or so light they puffed up

Now what did they say

Fancy tiered laying flat

Their complicated meaning take

We learned we know nothing

With cream they were stuffing

Our frosted dreams and airy things

Grown fat on old something

~Julie Robinson

I returned today to paint with my Thursday art friends after a very long break. Like many things I’m easing back into life, breathing a little and feeling free. I brought a canvas prepped with a green ground and I painted… clouds

Painting Clouds

Crowning steepled snowy mountains

Gathering rivers lakes and seas

Sailing billowed oceans roaring

Building walls of energy

Oh you droplets misty makings

Cumulative rainbows end

Heavy bottomed gray and brooding

Artist painted, poet penned

Twisting snowing hailing blowing

Drifts and puddle splashes stowing

Cool drink poured for all that’s growing

Owing to our heaven Friend

~Julie Robinson

Tall crepe myrtle grow in the front of my house. They glow especially brilliant in the sun at the time of day called…

The Golden Hour

Evening gilds the pink crepe myrtle

Glorifying every bloom

branches stretch and ivy creep to

Golden hour treasure boons

How we wonder at the Canvas

Painted while we work and play

No excuse we see the story

Written for this time of day

Stroking, revealing, highlighting, detailing,

The Artist touches everything

Giving hope of life eternal

renewing faith, reviving dreams

Though ’tis brief and often weary

Life its golden curtain draws

Thoughts to warm your heart sincerely

At the end, a brilliant dawn

~Julie Robinson

I put my husband in memory care last week and I left there feeling a little sad for him because of who I know he used to be. I saw a spark of his old personality and that made me consider the past 6 years I have been taking care of him in relation also to how long I’ve been raising children and it all made me feel grateful for the chance to take care of and love the people I have in my life.

They No Longer Living Here

It takes a lifetime raising children

Infant babe to driving teens

All the feeding, and the bleeding

Knees and hearts and hopes and dreams

It takes a lifeline helping old ones

through stages in senility

Never sure just how to do it

Stumbling through the years it seems

Raising caring loving praying

Over those you know are growing

Difficulties they are knowing

On them all your heart bestowing

The lives you touch when helping those

Who need a lift to help them through

Doesn’t matter young or old

It only matters that you do

But in the end you’re left a room

At the table, empty chair

The nest swept clean; so what’s it mean

That they’re no longer living there

~Julie Robinson

Fussing is an old fashioned word which basically means to make too much of something.

What’s the Fuss

When thoughts are to words

And words are to us

Selfishness sparks

The language of fuss

For fussing’s the thing

That fumemakers know

When kindred are kindled

It starts the whole row

What if we cared more

Than fueling our fued

And scorching the earth

While in it we stew

~Julie Robinson

I refinished an old desk bought at a local antique store and now have it in my living room. I had to use the furniture stripper twice on the top because I could still see the water rings then stained it to match the original color and put a brilliant polyurethane gloss on the top.

As I worked hard in the garage in the Texas heat in August refinishing this desk I was wondering its story. If desks could talk…

Here’s my day 8 poem:

Generational Thinking

The desk so mid-century

Sat solid and stately

But now it is lately

Neglected and old

With glass rings are lifting

the finish, I’m thinking

The one who did use it

Was busy I’m sure

Who sat and pushed paper

Or solved a crime caper

Or wrote a big novel

The New York Times list

Where was it a sitting

In small or tall building

And now what’s it doing

Retired and poor

Can’t we just shine it

Millenially find it

A place for an iPad

To sit and to think

To blog and to journal

And twitter a kernel

But give it a coaster

For under our drink.

~Julie Robinson

Wow it’s a week into the month. Each day That I write a new poem for this October poetry challenge, Octpowrimo, I find it a struggle at the beginning to get the poem started but then the flow goes. Getting the initial spark is not difficult because there is poetry everywhere when you begin to look for it.

Today’s poem…

Blue

How peaceful a color

But also the blues

Pinnochio’s fairy

Elvis’s shoes

Is sky or it’s velvet

And crying in the rain

It’s peaceful and tranquil

And bruises and pain

How cool in the spectrum

As chill as it goes

But difficult temper

In the bayou throes

Oh rescue this color!

Come yellow and red

To majesty and growing things

No! Get Titanium instead

It’ll lighten its load

And let its light shine

Like the rarified diamond

That few ever find.

~Julie Robinson

My husband who has dementia, was placed in memory care just yesterday. Today was his birthday so we brought cupcakes and I wrote this poem for the occasion.

Morning Star Birthday

He blew out his candle

Balloons to the ceiling

The birthday song sung

by all with such feeling

Enjoying the cupcakes

For some was a feat

Cause at their old age

Their fingers can’t reach

Some have help

With each bite that they take

But then still wear most

Of the chocolate cake

How gentle the persons

The handling care

To sit each bottom

In the dining room chair

Worn out from the eating

They go to the seating

Roun’ TV they’re keeping

A watch without care

At the doorstep of heaven

A place there is given

And nothing is hidden

Watched over by Him.

~Julie Robinson

I wrote this poem on 10/4/2018… and it is true that I did give up all sweets 12 years ago on 10/4/2006. I remember the date because it was 10/4 in CB radio language…“over and out” on sweets because I had been eating sweets like a crazy person.  It is also true I didn’t eat sweets for 2 years and that I’m now back to sweets/crazy status.  So 10/4/2018 I gave up eating sweets for as long as I can.

I gave up eating sweets

I gave up eating sweets

A dozen years ago

For two years, absolutely none

Completely, nil, zero

Then how did it happen

Over the course

I’m back heavy on it

I need a divorce

One where I’m keeping

The pots and the pans

But it gets the mixer

And the cupcake stand

I hope I can leave it

Forever this time

I really don’t love its

Consuming my mind

It taunts and it teases

And whines its “oh pleases”

Through binge worthy

Cringe worthy mountains of eat

It’s all or it’s nuthin

Not even a muffin

Not even just one little bite

I bid thee my sweetie a “final” goodbye.

~Julie Robinson

The Moment of Know

Twas the moment of know

The curtains they blow

The window pushed high

The caregiver low

Out of his mind

He went real slow

Now he wants to go “home”

It’s ringing, the phone

Can you come get your husband,

Did you know he’s not there,

No, I’ve been asleep,

I sleepily stare.

Dark is the town

Out driving am I

At a time that I never

Out of my mind.

~Julie Robinson

This is a true story except I’m not, I hope, out of my mind. Couldn’t get this in the poem but I hardly ever go anywhere at night and it was very mysterious indeed.

I made it to day three! Only 28 to go.

Mockingbirds and Cardinals

Lady cardinals with pink peaked heads

Are waiting atop a tree

Listening to the male, a suitor

Sing bright his suite melody.

How he gets them all undone

Twittering lovely all a flutter,

They all want to be the one, that is

Until the pushy mockingbirds come.

What a show, mocking, seizing

Their places high up in the tree

A plan, a program, in the genes

From the very first to this late scene.

Not quite the same in humankind

Who defend our top tree spots,

It’s fight…not flight, the enemy,

Against the swooping lot.

~Julie Robinson

If you take a peek at yesterday’s post you will see where the roots of the idea for this poem grew.

The Princess of Pee

Don’t mock the cardinals

I stood outside while my 10 year old Yorkie was doing her little business. I say little cause she’s only 9 pounds. She has had a little problem which has given her the nickname “The Princess of Pee” because she doesn’t want to “go” outside when it’s raining and it’s been raining a lot.

Enough is enough. So I figured I’d better stand outside with her to be sure.

And boy did the birds put on a show.

High on top my neighbors tree were three female cardinals. And in my tree, a beautiful male sang loud a courting song which is what got my attention. But then some mockingbirds, the Texas state bird, swooped in and took those high positions.

There are rules in birddom, I’m sure, rules dictating who gets the top of the tree. Sure seems the mockingbird ranks over the female cardinal.

Coming in from the animal show in my backyard, I can’t help but consider in this so far quiet early morning hour as I scoop coffee grounds and put the oatmeal in the microwave… I can’t help but compare our lives to the birds: When my husband got his dementia I had to swoop in and take his place kinda like the mockingbird.

And I wanted to … And I had to…

when I needed to … be at the top where I am the one in charge where I am caregiver to my husband and part encourager part enforcer to our daughter who homeschools.

Gotta be the mockingbird.

I really ought to write a mockingbird poem during this poetry writing month. Right?!