Category Archives: Bad News

Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary Action

Lately, my life is like a fresh peach
at the end of a limb, slightly out of reach.
With an air of foreboding, I reach out to pluck it,
then choose not to pick or bite into or suck it,
fearing fate’s censure if I choose to buck it.

The joy of communion seems lately to dissipate.
Events come and go but I do not participate.
Whereas once I said, “Yes,” now I always say “No.”
The presence of friends is a joy I forego,
for there seem to be dangers wherever I go,

Bamboozled by nature, what choice do we have?
This seems like a wound for which there’s no salve.
Each of us suffers, apart and alone
as if there are sins for which we must atone,
our closest communion carried out via phone.

We sit at our windows viewing the parade
of all of the glories that nature has made.
We Skype and we Facebook, we tweet and we Zoom,
feigning good cheer as we contemplate doom,
all of us children sent to our room.

Will there be an end to this long isolation?
If we mend our ways, will there be consolation?
If we clean up our oceans and clean up our sky,
can we address our sins , having figured out  why
mankind has  been chosen to sicken and die?

Prompts for the day are foreboding, bamboozle, peach, dissipate and presence.

Tough Love


Tough Love

By her violent hurricanes and the ice caps’ thaw,
by the massive flooding and the hungry maw
of fires burning cruelly, devouring trees and houses,
she tries to rid the human race of habits it espouses.
Mother Nature’s angry and she’s tried to let us know,
but still we do not listen, for we are rather slow.
We’ve been such naughty children, not picking up our toys.
Perhaps we’ll get the message from new tactics she deploys.

From Wuhan to Limerick, we’re forced to stay inside,
reading the statistics of how many more have died.
She takes away our playthings: airplanes and sailing ships,
closes all our restaurants, taking away our tips.
She shuts down all the factories, cleaning up the air
so we could breathe again outside, if only we could dare.
Hunkered down inside our homes, we try to find diversions.
No NBA games, but fewer temperature inversions.

We do not flood the roadways, tossing out our trash.
We avoid bars and restaurants, hoarding all our cash.
Give up all the driving—the freeway’s frantic rush,
avoiding the container stores and the mall’s mad crush.
With Amazon delivering only vital things,
we resurrect the pleasures that tradition brings.
Monopoly, Parcheesi, Pick-up-sticks and Rook.
Brother builds a model plane. Sis picks up a book.

Mom recycles plastic and refuses to buy more.
All excessive packaging piles up in every store
until they learn that they can go back to what once was
and rid the world of garbage, doing it because
we do not own the world you see. Instead, the world owns us.
We are just the part of it creating all the fuss.
Maybe if we clean our rooms, our mom will let us play
outside again with others, one unpolluted day.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Prompt words today are clean, child, limerick, ship and owner. (photo of cyclone by NASA on unsplash. Used with permission)



Every tactless comment, every lurid lie
pollutes the world around us—the water and the sky.
Rude winds disturb the quiet with cacophonous shrieking.
From floods and fires and hurricanes, safe shelter we are seeking.
They expect our gratitude for charity provided.
Instead they should be shamed for it. Charged and then indicted.
They cause disaster every day. The world grows daily worse
as they turn the ship of state into a floating hearse.
Rivers flowing poisons—clouds of toxic gas—
unheeded in the legislation that they pass.
They make a crypt out of our world. They seal their children’s doom,
converting our whole lovely world into a giant tomb.

Prompt words today were gratitude, cacophony, quiet and tactless.

Mind Freeze

Mind Freeze

There is new news all day long, and every single minute,
radio and Internet constantly immerse us in it.
On our televisions, they repeat and repeat
every warlike action, every athletic feat.

We know before their spouses do when politicians slip,
view every starlet’s nightclub spree via a Youtube clip.
Stock market scams and Ponzi schemes and other news that scares
as big guys pick our pockets in order to line theirs.

Sans Blackwater and Monsanto, we would be better off,
but we’d still be deluged by news of Enron and Madoff!
We consult Wikipedia to see what it might say,
keep up with the Kardashians a dozen times a day.

It’s hard enough to keep abreast of those they might be bedding,
let alone to know the date of their most recent wedding.
Who has gained a pound or two or who’s the most hirsute?
This information makes our lives a Trivial Pursuit.

There are so many details that come at us day and night,
filling up our minds until our craniums feel tight.
We’re stuffed with sound bites, news clips and every TV show
until it is inevitable. Something’s got to blow!

No wonder that we can’t remember names of our best friends
or what we came out shopping for or how that movie ends.
We can’t remember song lyrics or what we meant to do.
We came in here for something. Was it scissors, paint or glue?

I am forgetting everything I always used to know.
Every mental process has just gotten kind of slow.
It’s taking me much longer now to ponder each decision—
a factor that the younger folks consider with derision.

Like-aged friends agree with me, for they all feel the same.
They all have minds stuffed just as full, and we know what to blame.
There’s too much information, and like any stuffed-full larder,
to locate things within them gets progressively harder.

If we could sort our minds out the same way that we pack—
putting unimportant stuff way at the very back
and all the more important things in front and at the top,
we wouldn’t have to search our minds and wouldn’t have to stop

to figure out the names of things or places or of folks,
and then we wouldn’t be the brunt of all their aging jokes;
but it seems that we can’t do this so perhaps the answer is
to just turn off the TV news and gossip of show biz.

The scandals and the killings—all the bad things that astound us—
we’d leave behind to concentrate on happenings around us.
We’d notice more the little things in our immediate world:
the spider in the spider web, the bud that’s tightly furled

and notice when it opens, and the dragonfly that’s on it
and take a picture of it, or perhaps construct a sonnet.
See the children who are hungry and instead of our obsessing
on matters where we’re powerless, instead bestow a blessing

on all those things around us where we have the power to act.
When we see whatever needs doing, to take action and react.
Perhaps then all the horrid facts that rise up in the mind
will settle to the bottom and then all of us will find

the keys we’ve lost, our glasses, and remember why we came
into this room and how to recall every person’s name.
And all the time we save we’ll spend on the important things
and feel the sense of purpose helping others always brings.

The world is too much with us with its bad news of all kinds,
and all this information simply freezes up our minds.
Perhaps with much less input, there would be less to astound us
and we could concentrate on what’s important close around us.


The prompt word today is athletic. This is a rewrite of a poem written three years ago.

What Lesson Have I Learned?


Five minutes after I posted my last blog (which, along with yesterday’s blog post, dealt with mortality) when I was going to see a sick friend and giving Yolanda a ride to her next job,  I ran head-on into a concrete wall and totaled my car.  The engine caught fire and my door was jammed, as was the door of my passenger.  We got one window open, finally, and then it occurred to me there was an override on the passenger door, so I clicked it and we both escaped.

Luckily my gardener was here and he drove me to my doctor’s  office.  I was afraid to move at all until someone showed me how to do so without risking damaging my spine, which was pretty excruciating by now. When after 5 minutes no one came out to help me, (It’s an emergency, Yolanda told them, and they answered that the doctor was with another patient!) I told Pasiano just to drive on to the Red Cross where with some effort and lots of pain and a back brace, I got out of the back seat of Pasiano’s car. (The front door doesn’t open.)

The X-ray tech and the on-call dr. showed me the X-rays, said there was a severe displacement of the spine and that they were calling in a neurosurgeon.  Only then did I start to panic a small bit.  “Breathe slowly,” I told myself and tried to go into a meditative state.  Meanwhile, Yolanda unbeknownst to me, had left with my purse to go try to find my friend Audrey, who lives more than a mile away and who wasn’t answering her phone. It had been clear to me that when I called both her home and cell phone with no answer that she was probably at a rehearsal and definitely not at home, but Yolanda hadn’t consulted me regarding her decision and unfortunately, my insurance info was inside my purse and I didn’t have any numbers to call to tell me which hospital to go to in Guad. and what neurosurgeon they’d recommend.

A half hour later the surgeon arrived to tell me no surgery was necessary and that all of the places that hurt were just pulled or strained muscles or organs.  He gave me two sets of little pills which I couldn’t take until I got home and had food to take them with.

Five hours since the collision event, the claims adjustor is here. He has affirmed the fact that my car is probably totalled. But . . . call me lucky.  In addition to my sore neck and back, I  hurt all over, have a seat belt burn from my shoulder, down my breast and to my waist, a severely bruised abdomen and stomach and two knees that don’t bend too well,  but it will all mend.  Five days in bed, the doctor instructed, and two of those little pills morning and night for seven days.  Having taken one an hour or two ago, I am feeling floaty and I’m sure the adjustor thinks I’m flirting with him, but it is one of those little pills that is flirting with him if anyone/anything is! As the Raquet Club security arrives, and the guy with the fancy tow truck, I continue to babble on. Nothing like little magic pills to help one take such matters in stride. He seems to be enjoying it.  I speak to him in Spanish and he answers in English!

Click first photo to see captions and enlarge photos. You’ll never know why the virgin is in these pictures if  you don’t read the captions!

okcforgottenman tells me he’s had an uneasy feeling all day since reading my poem. Coupled with the one I wrote yesterday, he had a premonition that something was about to happen.  I can only say that if it had to happen, I’m so glad it happened in this particular way, where no one was hurt except my car and me.  Something like this has to reaffirm the importance of this wonderful gift of life.

What walks on two legs and is black and blue all over?  Me, until I get my rental car in up to 5 days.  Since I’m supposed to stay in bed until then, I guess it’s no loss.

The daily prompt today is adrift




I’ll slog through the mud and slog through the rain,
but I’ll never slog back to you, ever again.
If ever again I work fingers to bone,
I will be doing it here on my own—
not chasing your dreams or plowing your furrow
like a mule in a trace or a poor laden burro.
Life was a hard slog, dear, trudging with thee—
much more of a grind than just being me.
So I’ll point my gaze forward, not back where I’ve been
without pulling you with me, ever again.

As Groucho would say, “The secret woid today was ‘Slog!’

Lack of Direction


Lack of Direction

What am I doing here sitting on the street
looking like a vagrant to everyone I greet?
I know this is the day. I put it in my book.
Also on my laptop. I have another look.
9 a.m. on Saturday. I do not have it wrong.
I drove like a madman. The way it was too long.

My older dog just wouldn’t eat, my alarm didn’t work.
I rushed like crazy to be prompt. Didn’t want to be a jerk.
Yet when I got here on the dot, the salon was shut tight.
I sat down on the steps to contemplate my plight.
It’s been awhile since I have had a haircut here.
A month or two, or perhaps more. Perhaps it’s been a year!

I do not have the number to ask her what is wrong.
But wait! It’s on my laptop that I have brought along.
I prop it on my lap and open up the lid.
I rifle through my purse to find where my phone has hid.
I find my phone list and I dial, hear it ring and ring––
but just my luck my hairdresser must not hear the thing.

I leave a message but I fear I’ve made a big mistake.
Her name’s no longer even on the door, for heaven’s sake!
She hasn’t changed her phone for it worked for the appointment,
but when it comes to keeping it, I fear a disappointment.
Then from the corner of my eye, I see a woman waving.
It see her face and raise myself, slowly, from the paving.

She’s moved her shop across the street and down the block a bit.
And when she peeks outside, she sees the place I chose to sit.
She waves me in and now my hair is washed, conditioned, snipped.
I sit with toenails soaking, soon to be detipped.
So even though a big mistake started out my day,
it seems somehow that once again, good fortune found a way!

(And, best news of all, Edith’s Salon has the best wifi connection!  I got this entire blog finished while I was there.  The photo depicts what a perfect office spot this turned out to be!)




First thing you think of when you wake
are his fingers scraping like a rake
over your shoulder–sure to make
your toes curl up and fingers quake.

You rise to bake his birthday cake
and choose to pack it up to take
it to him there out on the lake–
your fear of water faced for his sake.

The weight of oars. The sun’s cruel bake
revealing two sure truths as fake.
And oh the pain and oh the ache
of what he’s chosen to forsake.

The boat you row to shore and tether,
foretelling wind and stormy weather.
Love vanished like a plucked-out feather
when you saw your friend and love––together

The one-word WordPress prompt was “Fake.”

Dare I Tell How I Excel?

                                                judy 3

                                                     Dare I Tell How I Excel?

No matter how much we might admire ourselves, there is something off-putting about revealing the fact. For some reason, by pointing out our own good points, it makes others less likely to admire them.  The one place where this fact of life is not true is in the resume,  where we can revel fully in revealing to the world how absolutely wonderful we are.

Some of us exercise our right to brag by the family wall.  Here we can display our successes as well as the successes of the families we have raised and  dynasties we have sired via photographs that show us at our most beautiful and successful periods of our lives.  Pictures with presidents or other celebrities,  awards and impressive vacations may all rub shoulders on this family wall.  By placing them in a prominent place–in entryways, offices, studies or staircases––we insure that they call attention to themselves without having to actually do so orally.  Thus we retain our humble natures while more subtly revealing to the world what superior human beings we really are.

The Christmas letter is another invention wherein we seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to toot our own horn.  The result is probably a lot of mail that, once quickly scanned if read at all, is quickly relegated to lighting the Yule Log. How much good news goes up in conflagration during the holiday season has never been calculated, but I can imagine that a good many gain a bit of satisfaction by sending these notices of how well their friends’ lives are going up in smoke.

So, when given the opportunity by WordPress to extol my own virtues, I must demur.  Luckily, in this cyber age, we need not call attention to our own virtues, for Google is always there to do it for us.  If we are lucky enough to sport an uncommon name, both the laudatory and shameful facts of our lives are there for all to see for the price of a few moment’s time and a little patience in sorting through the hundreds of thousands of bits of information available when our names are typed into the subject bar.

It is true that most of these bits of information probably do not apply to us at all, but the search for the ones that do can be as satisfying as a scavenger hunt, and the prize is, that in addition to all the good bits, we get to dig out the little bits of scandal or failures as well.  And who doesn’t like a little bad news sprinkled in with the good?  It gives a certain flavor to a life, as well as comfort that perhaps our own life–as boring, humdrum and plain as it may seem in comparison––isn’t quite so bad after all.

The Prompt: Toot Your Horn–Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.


The News is too Much with Us

 The Prompt:  Ripped from the Headlines–Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

The News is too Much with Us

After an hour and a half of perusing the news, I am both confused and depressed and have found absolutely nothing I want to write about. In her blog, my friend Martha looked at the news, found froth and looked for substance. I found depressing substance and went in search of froth, veering off from the German airbus crash to a survey of Mitzi Gaynor’s life. What is wrong with me that I can no longer stand to face the truth of the world even from a distance? I will soon be reduced to watching old romance movies, no doubt, but I can’t help but know from talking to friends and acquaintances that I’m not the only person seeking escape and perhaps nature is taking a hand as well. Perhaps there is a reason why Alzheimer’s has become an epidemic.

May I excuse myself for limiting my world view as much as possible to enable me to still have faith in this world? If I look out my window, I see beauty; and this afternoon, I’ll celebrate the marriage of a friend/employee by taking her family of 8 for dinner at our favorite Argentinian restaurant. Perhaps part of the world as we wish it to be can be preserved by the simple living out of our own lives. For me, this seems only possible if I cut myself off as much as possible from the larger world as they choose to present it in the media.

Yesterday, Mark Aldrich wrote about schadenfreude, that strange but I fear too true tendency of human nature to take pleasure from the pain of others. How else can we explain our fascination with every detail of a major disaster? On one hand, we need to be informed, but if we look realistically at our own responses to the gory details, we will admit there is a certain thrill of horror mixed with relief that this happened to someone else and not to us.

In pandering to that side of ourselves, we fall in line with the the role that slasher movies, competitive and vicious reality television and internet games play in bringing our violent sides out at an ever-increasing and alarming rate. We are desensitized to the point that the reality of rape, pillage, war, tsunami, airline crashes, murder and the victimization of entire societies becomes little more than another thrill. We are so accustomed to horror in our entertainment that real horror becomes a type of entertainment as well.

This is why I disconnected my TV dish years ago and why the daily news no longer serves as my home page. My home page (ironic that a typo caused this to read “hope page” until I caught it and changed it) is now my blog and my email—things that I can control to the point where the first thing that greets my eyes every morning is not the news. Am I an ostrich, burying my head in the sand, or simply someone taking control of her own life? In the long run, I guess it just boils down to semantics, but the nice thing about a life and a blog is that if we are lucky, we have control over it, and so long as both of these facts remain true, I’m going to exercise my right, leave the news trapped in a part of the World Wide Net where I have chosen to entwine it and get my news filtered down to what inevitably seeps through to the part of the net I frequent. Controlled. Put in perspective behind the details of my own life and the life of my friends—where it would naturally be without the glut of information devices that instead of informing us about the world seem to have become our world.