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Frittering Away Bits of Time

As I consider the direction I’d like these sporadic journeys to go, I find myself occasionally clicking on these quiz-things again.
Today, I wound up a True Cowboy.
Geeky procrastination at its fun finest. 😀

Journeys of the Clayfoot

A new confession: sometimes I indulge in blatant procrastination. Not major blocks of time, you understand. I don’t have major blocks of free time, but there are little 5-10 minute swatches when I could do something productive but just don’t want to.

I’m not sure whether to be amused or disturbed by one of the ways I fritter away bits of time: those crazy little on-line quizzes.

My choices in each quiz are honest, partly because I don’t like slanting results toward what I hope for, but mostly because I don’t always know what results are available or how they calculate results from my answers.

So…

My hippie name would be Breeze, but my birth name should’ve been Phoenix. My Native American name would be Likes to Play.

Depending on which quiz I take, I’d be a German Shepherd or a Basset Hound if I were canine. If I were equine…

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Sometimes the Blues

A little-known fact: I like blues music.

Before I was married, my musical taste ran more to international, classical, and (some) folk music. Bubble-gum rock–Ick. Just ICK! My attitude was if it all sounds like this, forget it!

Which is why I was never really acquainted with much of rock & roll’s vast repertoire. Not until later in life.

Once hooked, my husband introduced me to blues. It wasn’t long before I knew the names of greats and legends like Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Bessie Smith, Son House, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, and more. So many more.

But in the winter of 1992, one among them passed away. In the days following his death, radio stations across the state played many of the songs he’d written. DJ’s filled in time between songs performed by a myriad of artists about the influence his creativity had on musicians across the world and across genres.

A phenomenon I hadn’t heard before, it demanded a response. I wrote a poem–just a simple one, but heartfelt–memorializing both the person and the event.

Today, no mention was made of him when one of his songs came over the radio station tuned in my car.

Was any mention needed?

Maybe for others. Maybe for those just discovering the depths behind the music. Maybe for those too young to know anything about what inspires tunes they hear. Maybe for those who don’t realize music gives birth to music even as it nourishes the soul of the listeners.

I didn’t need to hear the name spoken by the DJ.

As the song played, I heard the name in memory.

 

MO Mourns a Bluesman

In Memory of Willie Dixon (1915 – 1992)

 

Radios played the requiem

from K.C. to St. Lou

for one who opened other doors

for rock and roll, for jazz and blues.

 

A blues harp mourned on Missouri’s banks,

rolled northward to the breaks,

joined the Mississippi’s moan

and the delta’s sighing ache.

 

A blues harp wailed on the riverbank

the day that Willie died

while somewhere in the Heartland

a little red rooster cried.

 

 

 

“MO Mourns a Bluesman”, excerpt from Under Every Moon by G.L. Francis, © 2013, http://www.amazon.com/Under-Every-Moon-G-Francis/dp/0615870694

 

 

 

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Sentient Appliances

Reminded of this when a light appeared on the car’s dashboard. I’m sure it has meaning intended to be intuitively understood. It looked like a musical instrument — a lyre. Is my car judging my choice in radio stations? Does it want a classical selection? Maybe a little Chopin or Bach?
I checked the car manual.
Oh.
Low tire.

Journeys of the Clayfoot

I confess a love/hate relationship with techy stuff.
When it works, fine. Lovely.
When it doesn’t, I want to drop-kick the techy item through the nearest window.

Maybe I’ve read and watched too much science fiction where the tech goes all wrong. One of my early introductions to the dark side of artificial intelligence was Colossus (later made into a 1970s movie). And then HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the gunfighter android from Westworld.

Et cetera.

Anyway, the glitchy side of tech is never far from my mind.

It doesn’t seem to matter how expensive the tech is when real glitches happen. For a few years, I operated a quarter of a million dollar machine that sometimes refused to shut off. Many attempts to troubleshoot and repair the glitch failed. Repair technicians knew it was a sticky relay, but even repeated replacement of the offending part didn’t…

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Questionably Helpful Tips for Cold Season

A few tips for the many folks coughing and sneezing their way toward spring.

My great-grandmother’s go-to cough & cold remedy was honey & whiskey. She concocted it in equal parts, but proportions may vary if you like. More whiskey than honey, and you won’t care that you’re miserable. More honey than whiskey, and you can watch the little sugar ants in your kitchen get drunk & pass out on your dosing spoon. (Eventually, they sleep it off and stagger away. Don’t know whether they have hangovers.)

If you eat too many black cherry cough drops, stay close to a restroom, privy, or outhouse. On the other hand, you might too afraid to cough. It’s all in the perspective.

Take a selfie if your nose is gushing like a fountain. Store it as inspiration for a garden sculpture.

Don’t use the floor if you have to spit icky phlegmy stuff. It creates a slipping hazard. Use a spittoon or a cuspidor (depending on your socio-economic spelling level). Paper cups work, too, but they lack class while you’re suffering.

Dispose of used tissues in a trashcan. Do not use them for papier-mâché (aka paper mache) projects. You’ll only be storing the germs for an encore performance.

If you decide to try a sinus flush for nasal congestion, a saline (salt) solution will feel like snorting a swimming pool. A solution made with a few grains of cayenne feels like snorting lighter fluid and sticking a match in your nose. Ditto a solution with ginger, but the afterburn lingers. . . and lingers. . . and lingers . . . .

 

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Sidetracks: the Metal Season

Journeys of the Clayfoot

drill-bits

The strangest items remind you of things now missing from your life. When you come across them, they carry you down byways of memory lane.

I forgot I’d kept a few melted & broken tips of drill bits I used to repair — chop off the bad, regrind new tips. Even after so many years, the damaged tips fascinate me. Speed and feed are terms anyone who works with machines knows, and these tips show one of the things happens when speed and/or feed is badly wrong. With the possible exception of destruct testing, this doesn’t occur without operator error, be it inattentiveness, inexperience, altered consciousness, bad math, or…

Yet there’s an eerie and violent beauty in the textures and color changes. Even today, the force and heat required to cause such metallic distortions still amaze me.

They marked the ending of a defining life season. Though I still enjoy…

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The low-maintenance lifestyle

A priceless look at ” the low-maintenance lifestyle” perspectives.
As I re-read this, I think of my own perspectives to add later. 🙂

The New Authors Fellowship

On Facebook, a colleague asked for an explanation of this Buzzfeed article: “29 Freeing Truths Of Being A Low-Maintenance Girl.” She just didn’t get it. I figured she can’t be alone, so let me explain.  The low-maintenance lifestyle is based on saving time and money by eliminating nonessentials. Of course, we all have different definitions of “essential.” But here’s how I break it down.

1. All your pajamas are a bunch of raggedy, giant, freebie T-shirts.

This is probably more true of young single people, but honestly, if no one else is going to see them, why bother with anything else? The key word here is “freebie.”

2. Your toiletries consist of no more than three drugstore products.

I can’t endorse this one, because this would limit you to soap, toothpaste, and shampoo. Folks with short hair can get away with that two-in-one shampoo conditioner combo. But those of us…

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Sidetracks: the Metal Season

drill-bits

The strangest items remind you of things now missing from your life. When you come across them, they carry you down byways of memory lane.

I forgot I’d kept a few melted & broken tips of drill bits I used to repair — chop off the bad, regrind new tips. Even after so many years, the damaged tips fascinate me. Speed and feed are terms anyone who works with machines knows, and these tips show one of the things happens when speed and/or feed is badly wrong. With the possible exception of destruct testing, this doesn’t occur without operator error, be it inattentiveness, inexperience, altered consciousness, bad math, or…

Yet there’s an eerie and violent beauty in the textures and color changes. Even today, the force and heat required to cause such metallic distortions still amaze me.

They marked the ending of a defining life season. Though I still enjoy machining as a hobby, it’s not quite the same. The machine shops where these came from passed into history, but the effect they had on me remains.

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Pen & Pencil Junky

Revisiting old posts as the rush of life slows down a bit and grants me more time for writing and artwork — for creating. New posts to come, but older posts help me back in the blogging mindset.

Journeys of the Clayfoot

Confession: I am a pen-aholic and sometimes (often) a pen klepto. I haven’t found a local chapter of Pens Anonymous, but I’m not so sure I’d go anyway. I love pens. I don’t want to give them up.
They aren’t high tech, but using them is satisfying in a way a computer keyboard or touchpad isn’t. A few of my favorites have been with me for over 30 years and refilled repeatedly. And the dip pens – all I need is ink (purchased or homemade) and a suitable container, although the bamboo ones benefit from an occasional touch-up with fine abrasive.

But pens aren’t my only weakness. There’s something enthralling about the humble pencil, too.
The wood settles into the permanent concavity on the side of my middle finger as I poise the point above paper. The graphite encased in the wood varies in hardness and darkness, from the very…

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Warning: Not for the Squeamish

Oooops! happen to everyone.

Sometimes, you don’t see the actual beginning of an event chain. You stumble into a chain-in-progress, and the outcome depends on what you do in your portion of the links.

I took the dogs outside to potty. The girls got down to business immediately, but the boy made a beeline for the truck.  He kept circling it, sniffing, but his huge nose was stuck up in the air rather than scenting at ground level.

Huh. Time to investigate.

A dead rabbit sprawled on the windshield. I’m an attentive driver. I’m pretty sure I would’ve noticed a rabbit splatting the driver’s side windshield like an oversized bug. A pair of disposable gloves later, I solved the mystery. (I’m not squeamish, but this did make me a bit queasy.)

A small feather stuck to partially identifiable viscera. An owl had used the hood of the truck as a dining room and the windshield as the table.

With nowhere to bury it, the sad little corpse was wrapped in a plastic bag, slid into a funeral urn (one of many empty coffee cans), and double-bagged to go in the trash. Somehow (gosh, how did that happen?), it went directly into the bin without making it into a larger trash bag. It fell to the bottom.  It wedged in the interior molding for the trash truck lift arms. It remained there after the disposal company made its rounds.

Over the next week, it ripened in the humid heat of a Midwest summer.

R.I.P.E.N.E.D!

(Maybe leaving the lid off the dogs’ poop scoop bucket would’ve sweetened the localized miasma. Maybe not.)

My hubby (my knight in shining armor whose nose is actually more sensitive than mine) spared me the pry-it-loose-and-bag-it detail.

We come to each other’s rescue from our Oooops! moments.

Our standard We won’t do that again! doesn’t apply to creative, new Oooops!

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A Little Life, A Little Mystery

Hard to believe she’s been gone a year. I still miss this precious fur-girl.
Every. Single. Day.

Journeys of the Clayfoot

This isn’t a eulogy–not really–although it’s about a fur-friend who’s gone now. It’s ruminations and memories about a cat who shared her life with me and my husband for over 17 years.

I love cats but I was never a cat person. I always had more dogs than cats in my life, so it never occurred to me they might not be teachable. To me, cats were a bit like odd, special-needs dogs who simply required extra patience.

Folks at the pound thought the kitten was 7 weeks old, but when I brought her home, she didn’t know how to eat well. The vet guessed closer to 5 weeks. My husband was…not really afraid of cats but wary of them. All those claws as well as teeth. From the beginning, though, Phoebe was incredibly gentle with him. She’d walk across my lap–this is Mom, I pin-dance with joy, with…

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