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