Monthly Archives: November 2016

Vigor Trigger

Version 3

Vigor Trigger

What once passed for vigor, I fear has turned into a case of fine acting. If I walk with energy, it is a forced energy expressed in spurts in situations where once I ran. I hope this can be attributed to the dignity of my age; but when I see others my age outpacing me, the jig is up and I am revealed for what I am—someone who, in spite of what I have always believed would happen, is wearing out and falling into that part of the life cycle that includes wrinkling up and slowing down. Ugh. I hate to admit it, but perhaps if I do it will be a type of therapy and in confronting it, it will go away—or at least it will lessen in its effect.

The truth is that I fear acting old more than I fear looking old. I hate it that I struggle to get up from a kneeling position and that I can in no way do it gracefully. I put both hands against the floor in front of me, raise my butt in the air and walk up to my hands—only way it seems possible without a lot of grunting and straining. In animal behavior, I would probably appear sexy as I do so, but I do not delude myself that any human being would find it so.

An additional truth to face now that I am 69 is that I am turning into my mother. Having to do more than one thing at once befuddles me and sometimes even one thing at a time is a bit confusing. Numbers don’t behave as they once did. I add and subtract and multiply and divide just fine. I grew up in a time before computers and handheld devices, so I’m used to doing functions mentally that youth finds better relegated to machines. The problem is in the interrelation of functions––just how to convert dimensions expressed in feet and tenths of feet to feet and inches, to enable me to equate it to the past when all dimensions were expressed as such. Why describe in tenths of feet which are traditionally divided into twelve parts, not ten? Why not just convert to a decimal system entirely, which I could then translate easily to inches and then to feet and inches?

The world is no longer my oyster. Devices get smaller and smaller as my eyes get worse and worse. I can’t wait for all of today’s young programmers and systems designers to get to be 60 and to try to make use of the apps they’ve designed primarily for phones so tiny that you can barely find the phone, let alone make out pages as small as playing cards. And don’t even get me started on the designers of medicine labels!!! If it isn’t bad enough that they are in size 2 font, they then make them white on yellow or gray on blue so it is impossible to read them no matter what size they are. What are they thinking? The clincher was my optometrist’s card that was primarily empty space with the writing squeezed into one corner, so small that I doubt it could be read by anyone­­–glasses or no glasses, and remember, people come to optometrists primarily because they can’t see in the first place! In addition, it was one of those cards impossible to look at because the two colors used not only made it difficult to read, but tended to affect one’s astigmatism, or at the very least one’s sense of good taste.

I must admit that I have never been an athletic person. Zumba, yoga and pool aerobics have been my most successful and enduring modes of exercise. But what I have done, I have always done with great vigor. I work hard, in the past did all my own housework and gardening and have been a bit of a workaholic. But very recently, I find myself wearing out faster, sneaking off to a hidden corner to huff and puff a bit or lie down for a ten-minute rest. I find myself getting a bit testier and less patient when things go wrong, but blessedly usually express my frustration (aloud) primarily to myself.

It occurred to me earlier this year, however, that passing neighbors can probably hear me when I shout “Idiot” to myself—or worse. Or, when I yell at the dogs to stop barking or stop jumping up. “Judy, you’re worse than the dogs!” a friend sputtered, shaking his head one day as I roared “Frida, Diego, Morrie–stop!!!” as they executed a deafening chorus of deep barks when I arrived home and opened the garage door. So I guess that is one place where my energy remains unabated. When it comes to expressing myself, I have great vocal cords. You could even say I’m still capable of a vigorous rejoinder!!!


The prompt word today is “vigor.”

Lantana Mandala: Flower of the Day, November 27, 2016


This lantana was so outrageous, I just had to make it more so.  More painting with flowers!


The original is no less outrageous.

You Have Become the Art You Lived For

You Have Become the Art You Lived For

The caustic smell of metal in your sweat
that by the end could fill the room,
as though the bronzes you had formed
had now invaded you
and filled you, blood and fiber.
Art can’t hurt you,
declared your favorite T-shirt,
colorful and now the final irony
of your life.

My dear,
art brought about your ending
as surely as it made your life,
yet you would have loved the bittersweet joke
as your kids and I
dressed you in that T-Shirt
for your final viewing.

You surround me even now—
brought two thousand miles
from Northern California
to middle Mexico.
The life you hoped to live, I live with those
who know you only through
your spiral lamp of stone and liana and paper,
Chi Wara standing feathered, bronze and tall,
the nude I posed for, on her side
with sticks for head and feet and cassowary feathers
hanging down from them,
the spirit sled of beaten copper, rawhide and willow—
all of them as exotic as you
never felt yourself to be.

They were beautiful and rare
and loved as you were.
How maddening
that you could not be
convinced of it.

That is why, when I think of you
now, so many years after,
the air grows pungent
with your memory.

(click on first photo to enlarge all)



To see more of Bob’s art and read another poem about him, go HERE.


The prompt today is “pungent.”

Correcting a Wrong

I made a misstatement in my last “Odd Ball” post for Cee’s prompt.  I mistakenly said it was a photo I’d altered with my photo editing program (Photos, by Apple) when in fact it was a detail from a collage I did while at forgottenman’s house in Missouri a few years ago.

In response to the photo I posted, I got this query from anglogermantranslations:

I just made out ‘party politics’ in the newspaper clipping. Is it something political then? Do we see Trump’s hair ruffled by the wind in the left bottom corner? And feathers of a big bird? Is it a rebus? Are we looking for a particular word?
Which sent me on a quest for a photo of the entire piece.  An hour or so later, I have discovered this photo in my archives, along with a few other detail shots of the collage:


And yes, anglogermantranslations, it is a political piece, although Mr. Trump had not yet come upon the scene in a political sense when I created it. He is a product of the theme, however, that dealt with the vanished innocence of our society and how the natural order of things has been taken over by big business and the profit motive. Was I right or was I right?

“Plain” Geometry: Cee’s B&W Challenge, 11/26/16

“Plain” Geometry

(Click on first photo to enlarge all.)

Out on a Liminal

Out on a Liminal

img_9671The jolly crew over lunch yesterday. Happiest when the jefe is not in sight. He probably knows this and this is why the two older men eat in front of the house, the younger men on my patio in the back.

Liminal—I admit that I looked the word up, and I’m glad I did.  I have always thought that since subliminal meant below the threshold of conscious thought, that liminal must refer to conscious thought. Wrong.

Liminal: of or relating to a sensory threshold. 2 : barely perceptible. 3 : of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional

So, is my house in a liminal state between completion and constant repair and construction?  If so, what is the state after liminal?  Perhaps subliminal is the ultimate state rather than the one under liminal. Perhaps it is that state in which everything just goes along smoothly without having to think about it. Water flows, floors stay crack and salitre-free, lightbulbs stay perpetually lit.

Perhaps I’d better look up subliminal as well:

Subliminal: (of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.

One out of two. It means exactly what I thought it did.

Today is the fourth day of construction at my house and the last day of the work week.  Thankfully, only six men showed up instead of the usual nine, because that is how many beers I have in the fridge and I didn’t want to have to leave to buy more to treat them at the end of this short work day.  The jefe and his assistant seem to have stayed home to leave the other younger men to complete tiling the kitchen and hammer-and-chiseling out the built-in large bathtub to transform it into a shower and construct a small wall to serve in lieu of shower curtain.

At first I was worried that the jefe hadn’t shown up because last night as I surveyed the day’s work, I noticed two problems.  One was that the tiles on the front porch were not centered.  I can understand that he was lining up the main tile with the tile in the inside of the house, but in fact the porch is more often viewed with the door shut, so as nice a it would have been if they’d taken this into account at the beginning, they didn’t, and so having the line under the door misaligned seems a smaller problem than having the entire porch off-center.


The second problem was that the bottom step in the hall leading down to my bedroom was 1/2 inch deeper on one side than the other.  Now, these are the steps that have tripped me up three times in the past year, twice sending me careening headfirst into an edge where two walls meet and rendering me unconscious for a few seconds. So, I don’t need a further contributing factor to my own clumsiness.  I do not need one slightly diagonal stair leading up to a square one!


At any rate, I was dreading pointing this out to the grumpy foreman, but the young man I reported it to was very pleasant and equally helpful when I tripped over one of their damn line up wires for positioning the tiles (heavy fishing line strung between two nails pounded into the cracks between the tiles.)  This is about the fifth time I’ve tripped over the dangerous things, but this one was tangled but still connected to the two nails even though the tile had long been set, so it would not release, and sent me careening down the front stairs, head-first down onto the terrace.

In all, I probably traveled seven feet horizontally and about a foot from house floor level down to terrace level.  If it had been an Olympic event, I might have placed, but as is I just said a few very vile swear words–in English, not Spanish, so perhaps they didn’t have the same effect on listening ears.  At any rate, the nice young man who had heard earlier complaints came running to take my camera out of my hands, (Yes, I was going to photograph the misaligned porch tiles.)  to help me up and then to remove that damn fishing line that should have been removed two days ago.

So, all in all, I’d say my day so far has been anything but subliminal.  But although my entire state for the past week as we moved everything out of the house and then dealt with four days of noise, dust and constant activity has certainly been transitional, it is certainly not been barely perceptible. And in spite of the fact that my stumble and fall over my literal threshold was totally sensory, still, taking the full definition of both terms into account, I seem to be in a state neither liminal nor subliminal.

I’m just lucky that after that nasty spill that my state isn’t terminal!!!! And I can safely say, I think, that my bone density is excellent.

The prompt today was “Liminal.”