Monthly Archives: December 2014

No Pain, No Rain

The Prompt: When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

No Pain, No Rain

I am always the first to cry
when loved ones move away or die.
I sob when I read tragic books
‘til those around me give strange looks.
Sad movies also create gushers
as all around me, folks turn hushers,
then call out management or ushers
to warn me that I’ll have to go.
so others can enjoy the show!

I shed tears of hot remorse
at friends’ breakups and divorce.
Western music? Love gone wrong?
I sob at every single song.
In my times of great frustration,
restraint just takes a short vacation
as I shed tears of consternation.
Yes, anger makes me spring a leak.
I mop my eyes; I blow my beak.

When I lose my glasses or my keys,
bump my elbow, skin my knees—
yes, I cuss and then I cry.
It’s just the way that I get by—
relieve the tensions, curtail pain.
To stem my tears I try in vain,
knowing it’s a bit inane
for folks my age to use their tears
to express anger, sadness, fears.

It’s not appropriate to sob
when I burn the soup or botch a job.
Yet tear my favorite blouse or pants
and remain tearless? What’s the chance?
There’s just one time that I get by
and do not feel the urge to cry—
when I need not dab at nose or eye
with handkerchief or sleeve or nappie.
I do not cry when I am happy!


Vero, age 3, lives at La Ola girls’ home in Jocotepec, Jalisco, Mexico, and the only time I’ve ever seen her unhappy was once when she was taken up for a nap. She was asleep the minute her head hit the pillow, so the tears didn’t last long.


Collaborative Poem (in process)

SHARE: Collaborative Poem  (This poem will go unnamed until the end, when I’ll ask contributors and readers to suggest the perfect name.)

The Poem—so far (each stanza written by a different poet.)

In the space between the words
I write are all the words
I couldn’t write.

They are words of inner space,
carrying all its power.

(This poem will grow, hopefully, every day.) If you want to be part of the process, please say so in a comment. Here is The Prompt, from Poets & Writers posted 12.16.14:

As the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter in more northern climes, it may be a nice time to gather some friends and write together. This week, try writing a renga, or “linked poem.”

The first poet (Laura from purpletoothedgrin) begins by writing a stanza that is three lines long and contains seventeen syllables.

The next poet (Judy from adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line.

The third stanza (hopefully, John Flanaghan) repeats the structure of the first,

and the fourth mimics the second,

and so on, until the poem comes to an end.

To make sure the poem has a narrative arc, each poet writes his or her new stanza by referring to the stanza immediately preceding it.

Laura from purpletoothedgrin has consented to be the first person to answer this prompt.  Laura, I’d like to ask you to begin the poem and send it to me as a comment on this blog posting. I will then add the next stanza and print them both below, in the body of the blog. If you send me the blog address or email (if they don’t have a blog) of the person you’d like to invite to write the segment after mine, I’ll send an invitation to them along with instructions asking them to add theirs as a comment as well and to send a link to this page to the next person they would like to invite to contribute. As I receive the new stanzas, I’ll add them to the poem below to simplify the reading for each new person.  If I don’t hear from a new person  within 2 days, I will invite someone else to continue the poem.  Hopefully, it will be obvious when the poem has come to an end.  I hope everyone enjoys this process. A nice way to start the New Year!  Thanks, Judy

Nearly Midnight, and a New Task from Cee!!!

Well, here is a new question prompt from Cee (Just received.  Does this lady ever sleep?) and if you’d like to play along, please post your answers to these questions both on my blog and here.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? I have paid my snow dues and now prefer iceless windows, skidless walks and un-frost-nipped nose. The beach for me in winter, please.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house? I know exactly where my umbrellas are but I will probably not take them with me, but instead will make a mad dash for the car, trying to avoid jumping dogs and raised stones on the terrace. The fact that one is handle-less, one is missing connection to two of the spines and another is too big to fit through any door without going sideways, which sort of defeats its purpose, is coincidental. All of my good umbrellas that I can actually use now reside in undisclosed restaurants, movie theaters and other places where I have left them.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together? I like it mixed together. A little bit of each in each bite.

What is set as the background on your computer? Predictably, a scene of gentle ocean over white sand.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for the talents of my writing group and being able to hear their varied and interesting works and to have them appreciatively listen to my work, as well. I am thankful for a two-hour swim in the perfectly clear waters of Tenacatita Beach and the company of two fascinating women, both of whom have had lives filled with adventure and who are both wonderful story-tellers. If one of those tales caused me to increase the salt content of the ocean surrounding me, well, so is life. The sad tales make the happier ones all the happier by contrast. In the week coming up, I look forward to beach bonfires and fireworks on the beach New Year’s Eve, more talks and walks and swims with new friends, another trip to Tenacatita before I return home on January 15 and hopes that I’ll meet last year’s resolution to get my book formatted this year, before I return home. Happy New Year to all.

If I Were Water and You Were Air

The Prompt: For this week’s writing challenge, take on the theme of H2O. What does it mean to be the same thing, in different forms?

If I Were Water and You Were Air

I used to be restless water—
only the froth and currents
of a moving life.

Now I am still water,
sinking down to where
I can be found
by anyone willing to stand quietly
and look.

Is it true that moving water never freezes?
Is it true that still waters run deep?
Is it true that we are wed in steam?

“What if, caught by air,
it never lets me go?” I ask.

“But even water
turned to air
must fall at last,” you say.

“And what if I fall farther from you?”
I say. “Or what if I never again find banks
that open to contain me?”

I used to be swift flowing water.
Now I am a pool that sinks me deeper every year.
So deep, so deep I sink
that on its way to find me,
even air may lose its way.


This is an old poem I found in the bowels of my external hard drive. Reading it stirred up the squelched emotions of eight years ago; and although they are no longer felt so keenly, if at all, they still felt authentic. So here it is, rewritten and exposed to the eyes of the world for the first time:


Clinging to the wall
like an old wallpaper scrap
are the words
I want you, I want you, I want you, I want you.

Their refrain slides up and down
the musical scale—
an old country tune,
plaintive and clear.

Why do I want you?

The first time I met you,
there was something about the curl of your hair.
Your eyes, so familiar­—puzzled, as though
you, too, were trying to remember.

After that, it was
the set of your shoulders—
the arm stretched between your seat and mine
with your hand on the back of my seat.

All of your restraint an aphrodesiac.

The truth is
that I pined
for two days after I left,
then went on with my life.

Still, that scrap
of wanting
comes up early in the morning
as I waken

and my mind walks,
looking for someone to pin it to,
and every time
it stops at you.

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge


I think it is obvious why this picture naturally fell into the oddball category. I didn’t crop, wanting you to know I had the good sense not to be in the same room with this cranky old codger, who was 1500 miles away as he serenaded me.


I don’t know why I find this picture oddball. Perhaps it is the “Mickey Mouse ears” on the little girl that are really the heads of two boys in the water, or the contrast of all the bobbing heads with the one boy stretched as far out of the water trying to catch the ball that was thrown by whom? Perhaps it just happened to be flying by like the pelicans that are above and out of view.

Post Christmas: Falling to Hell in a Hand Basket by Kim Scaravelli (Reblog)

 I found this blog post so hilarious I just had to reblog it.  I’ve put a link to Kim’s blog at the bottom.  I recommend you read her past posts and then hit the “follow” button so you don’t miss out on any of her future posts.

2014-12-28 15.18.17To quote my sweet little old granny, I have “fallen to hell in a hand basket” since December 25th. I have been wearing my Roots sweatpants for three consecutive days.  I no longer even entertain the pretense that I might eat a non-candied fruit or a vegetable NOT deep-fried and/or dipped in ranch dressing. There are candy wrappers on my bedside night stand and I’m dropping Baileys in my morning coffee (don’t judge me!). December 18th was the last day I walked further than the distance from my front door to my car. My belly button now looks up at me when I sit and my muffin top has morphed into a full-sized Bundt cake. The cellulite dimples on my ass resemble a dot-to-dot activity page from a kid’s colouring book and I’m pretty sure that if I could reach them with a pen, they could be joined into the image of Santa’s village, complete with sleigh and reindeer.

During the past few days, I have read nothing but Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and a slew of trashy magazines pulled from Christmas stockings. As a result, my vocabulary has expanded to include over a dozen new ways to say ‘vagina’ and I have a newfound understanding of the mating rituals of boy-band members, Family Channel stars, and the Kardashians. Sadly, I no longer know what’s going on in Syria (although who really does?), why oil prices are dropping, or what my voting inclinations might be in the next federal election. Oh well…

It’s Post-Christmas; a surreal netherland vaguely linking the manic shopping and visiting and partying madness of December 1-25 with the disciplined repenting of January. Come New Year I will strap myself to a stair climber and press pause only to eat carrot sticks and dry quinoa. While scaling those endless steps to lean perfection, I will make a plan to pay off my VISA and my line of credit and catch up on 20+ years of unused RRSP contribution limits. 2015 will be the year when I finally clean out the basement rec room… and my bedroom closet… and the backyard shed! I will be better, faster, stronger than ever before!!! But that’s still a few days from now…

Perhaps I should start with baby steps; tiny progressive movements towards adult behaviour and appropriate hygiene.  I will focus on an attainable goal that doesn’t require too much mental or physical exertion… I will shave my legs!  Yes.  This seems like a very good idea.  After all, there are still sort-of-social things happening.  While I cannot imagine ever again donning pantyhose, history tells me that such things sometimes occur on New Year’s Eve.  I should make a pre-emptive move and mow down the kneecap-to-ankle forest before it becomes a situation requiring input from professionals!  I will begin with a soak in the tub…

Nothing like soaking in the tub with a nice glass of wine… and another selection from the trashy magazine mountain under the Christmas tree.   I think I will skip the whole leg-shaving thing in favour of a bit more wine (educational note to readers: always bring the bottle into the bathroom!).  After all, I’m putting on my Christmas jammies when I get out of the tub, so what’s the point really?

Blank Page

The Prompt: All Grown Up—When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?


Blank Page

It stretches forever in front of me.
There, no future happens until I create it.
And that is the power of words
that rub like pieces of gravel in my shoe.
I become less of a child in bearing them,
grow to adolescence as I pry them from my shoe.
In storing them on the page, I become my own creator—
writing a new world with each decision of word.
On the page, I can, if I so choose,
grow up again and again.
Each page filled or every edit of the last
becomes another part of me
that tells the same story:
that growing enough to fill the space inside of me
never happens.


Good News

Just received this news that photos I submitted were chosen to be featured in Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.  There is a link below:

Hi Judy,
Congratulations! I have selected this post to be featured on Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.
I hope you have a great week.