Friday, August 18, 2017

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?
It's the final countdown.--Europe

Less than three days until the path of totality of Eclipse America passes over our town. I still can’t help wonder if it isn’t over-hyped fake news.

But there are big preparations for an invasion of apocalyptic magnitude here anyway. Reports from Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are that hoards are arriving and backing up traffic for miles.

Here, not so much, yet. 
No one has to stand in line for early morning donuts, made fresh daily.

Local businesses are extending hours and some which are usually closed on Sunday will open their doors to provide for the anticipated crowds of shoppers.

This probably has nothing to do with a solar eclipse but there are appearances of painted rocks in random places around town. Just a fun way to occupy those who have extra time on their hands in the summer.

The city decided months ago on an upgrade to Center Street and Main. They’ve replaced water lines, widened sidewalks and plan to put in new trees. "We are hoping the revitalization will attract more foot traffic and businesses," the mayor said. I think the plan was to have the construction crews out and the street paved by Eclipse Day.

They’re going to have to put in some overtime to make that deadline.

However, other construction and paving projects are finished and look great. Our own destroyed street is not included in that group.

The flowers which are placed on Main Street every year are at their peak.

This photo is added because I just liked the shadows cast by early morning sun.

Another non-eclipse photo. This one is of the big antique steam tractor in one of our parks. It’s a monument to the pioneer farmers who broke up the fertile ground covered with sagebrush, planted wheat and potatoes, and make this valley prosper.

These signs are everywhere.  All first responders are on high alert.

In our newest park the Vendor Village is gearing up for a weekend of business. Visitors and locals will have plenty of opportunity to shop in the perfect summer weather. Partly cloudy is the forecast for Eclipse Day. Hoping the only shadows from the sky cast on that morning will be from the moon.

Friday, August 11, 2017

PRACTICING FOR THE APOC-ECLIPSE

Our little town in Idaho is smack dab in the path of totality of the Total Solar Eclipse USA 2017.  We've been inundated with info and warnings for months.  All rooms are sold out including Air B&B's.  Did we ask for this? NO.  Although I admit it IS exciting to think of being able to view the show from the comfort of our own backyard with cold drinks available in our fridge and the aroma of barbecue in the air.  Yes, we're hosting an Eclipse Party.

In anticipation I've purchased a solar filter for my camera and have been playing around with shooting the sun.  

This one is a sample of over-exposure on a clear day before being nearly socked in by wildfire smoke.

This one is under-exposed with smoke.  Can't move the smoke any more than we can move the sun.

This one looks okay to me, even with smoke.  Hope the air clears before the big day, but even if it rains we'll be glad the air is being cleaned out and we'll just move the party inside.

Special thanks to the firefighters for all they do to save timber, wildlife and property at the risk of their own lives.


Monday, July 31, 2017

MUTTON BUSTIN'

Our town hosts an amateur rodeo on the weekend of July 4th at the County Fairgrounds just a couple of blocks from our house.

The beginning event is the Mutton Bustin’ which is kids riding sheep.  There aren’t many rules.  The main goal is to stay on the sheep as long as possible.

If you’re lucky a rodeo clown will catch you before you bite the dust.


 If you’re not so lucky…

 …the clown misses.

 Even a cowgirl with a pink helmet gives it a shot and comes out with a very high score.

 My favorite was this guy.  He had a look of grim determination and he hung on with just one hand for most of his long ride.

The sheep bucked and ran so fast the poor clown was seriously challenged to keep up.

 But he was there for the catch when the ride ended almost at the fence.

 The young man walked back past the rodeo princess with his prize money and got a big high five from the judge.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

ANTIQUE GLASS TWO - Another original by me

I've been working on more watercolor paintings of glass bottles.  I have a small collection of vintage bottles I've found in thrift shops and dusty basements which I sometimes set up for still life scenes.

This one I decided to do by switching around colors from those of the originals.  The gray color you see here is masking fluid I applied to make sure the white of the paper was preserved while I applied the background. 


Here I've started to add some pretty unconventional colors to the jars and bottles.

Then I pulled off the masking and continued to paint in the details.

The final piece I named "Antique Bottles Two"

 Because I'd already done a painting of this scene with more realistic colors.

They are both for sale along with many others at my Etsy Site:  Watercolors by Leenie.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Thirty

Prompt:  Artist Max Ernst was one of the pioneers of the Dada and Surrealism movements.  Be inspired by some of his painting titles (use the titles directly in your poem, in  part, or just be inspired in a surreal way): the fireside angel, eye of silence, birth of a galaxy, everyone here speaks Latin, murdering airplane, the wavering woman, two children are threatened by a nightingale, dream and revolution, totem and taboo.


Eliot Phone Home
Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale

As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
Measuring out their life in wind speed and temperature
As long as old women in the room
Come and go talking about old men
I’ve had this overwhelming question.
I lift and drop the question on my plate
Like a wavering woman
Do I dare? And Do I dare
Disturb the Birth of a Galaxy?
And how should I begin?
I grow old… I grow old…
And I won’t come back from the dead
To answer...
If heat rises, then shouldn't hell be cold?
And if hell is cold
Then Mars ain’t the kind of place to send your kids
And there’s no one there to raise them if you did
Here it’s just my job eight days a week.
And now where’s their Dada?
They’re burnin’ up my shoes with aerosol.
Yes, there will be time to murder and create.
Before the taking of tea and toast.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Nine

Prompt:  Make a quick list of the following:  2 foods you ate last night for dinner, the topics of your last Facebook post or tweet, 2 foreign words or phrases, 3 adjectives you associate with “deadline,” and 1 memorable movie line.  Now use this list in a ten to fifteen line poem.


 Carefree Curves Ahead

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
How she got in my pajamas, I don't know.
She wanted me to take a photograph.
“Do you like this look?” She asked, smiling for the camera.
“It has a certain je ne sais quoi.” I answered.
“Does the plaid make me look fat?”
“Uh, mas o menos.”
She looked at the stress on the seams.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have had that burrito with salsa.”
I glanced at her with anxiety when I realized
My pajamas fit her pretty well.
“Maybe we can run a 10k together later.” I suggested.
Nah,” she chuckled.
“Who needs the hassle?” 

Friday, April 28, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Eight

Prompt:  Think about a time when you were forced to be courageous and create a poem with elements of that experience. Avoid using the words “courage,” “bravery,”  “fearless,” or “daring.”  Incorporate at least five of the following words:  wobble, puzzle, hole, pretend, factual, mirror, fiction, distant, wall, cards, weather.  End your poem with a question.


 Don't Run

It was lovely spring weather
I stepped out the door
Noticed a lady walking her dog
Noticed it was a pit bull
It was not on a leash
The pit bull saw me 
Didn’t even wobble in his stride
Didn’t even pretend to be friendly
Wanted to make a hole in my body
Hurled himself at me with frothing teeth
I was backed against a wall
So I stood my ground
I swung my handbag above my head
Yelled some loud words
The dog stopped in his tracks
The lady called the dog back
Went on her way, apologizing
What do you think I shouted at the dog

Thursday, April 27, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Seven

Prompt:  Write a poem that incorporates as many of these “ugliest sounding words in the English language” as you can:  gurgle, curd, chunky, bulbous, munch, clogged, jowls, slurp, quark, honk, crotch, juror, sap, gripe, angst, gob, funk, jukebox, crackpot, bulge, Sputnik.  Extra credit:  Work in 3 or 4 of these most pleasant sounding words: chimes, lullaby, mist, murmuring, golden, wisteria, Shenandoah.


 Phatic Chit-chat

Hello, Sputnik Sap.
How are you? You bulbous, gob of moist phlegm.
Nice to meet you, too, Buttmunch. Let's do lunch sometime.
A penny for your thoughts, Curd.
Oh, back to the misty drawing board,
You know, barking up the wrong funking tree.
Well, no use slurping over spilt milk.
Yeah, I’ll cross that angst when I come to it.
But I may have bitten off more chunks than I can chew
Unless I decide to let sleeping gripes lie.
So, let me know if there’s anything I can chime in,
But don’t quit your crackpot job.
Oh, don’t add bilge to injury.
You know you can drop by our clogged lodge any time.
Yeah, have a rotten day!
Golden has left the building.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Six

Prompt:  Write a poem in which you find a map that leads to treasure.  To find what your “treasure” is, pick up the nearest book, go to page 22, and point to the first concrete noun you see.  That noun is what you discover in the poem.  Extra credit:  Make references to books, movies, or characters that deal with treasure hunting:  Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.



 Treasure Quest

The Obeah women looked out of her lair.
She hissed and growled and rolled her eyes.
Her teeth were nasty and so was her hair.
“You wan’ de treasure? You pay de cruel price.”

She provided a map all covered with stains
With an ominous X marked there in red.
It wasn’t far from the Kraken’s domain
Near the graveyard of ships and the dead man’s head.

We followed the trail through a jungle of snakes.
We tiptoed passed the cannibal’s home.
We floated a raft ‘cross a fiery lake,
And wandered our way through the catacombs.

At last we arrived on the sandy plot.
We found it there on a gritty dune.
“Aha!” The treasure for which we sought!
Christopher Robin’s Blue Balloon.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Five

Prompt: Take a moment to scan a few of today’s headlines and find a story that really irks you and gets you irritated. Title the poem by using a creative variation of the headline title. Create irregular stanzas and odd line breaks, allowing your poem to have a life of its own as you write quickly—try not to edit yourself, but tap into your subconscious. Be okay with images or phrases that don’t make logical sense. Write until your irritation has been expressed and only lightly revise your poem.



We Can’t All Move to Canada

Demented, narcissist, pathological liar,
Grandiose thinking, self-absorbed fascist, autocratic hypocrite
Who appears to feel superior to everyone,
And shows total disregard for other people
Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly.
Did I mention demented?

I will build a wall 
I will make them pay for the wall
I will clean up the swamp
I will release my tax returns
I will avoid conflicts of interest
I will not be one to take time off for vacations
I will surrounded myself with the best and brightest
I will replace bad healthcare with something wonderful

But together we have the power to resist 
And the power to overcome unbelievable incompetence and a pack of idiot sycophants.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." 
Edmund Burke

Monday, April 24, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Four

Prompt:  Write a poem in the form of a spell.  Include ingredients that most likely wouldn’t be used in a traditional spell, such as: tie-tack, the color blue, a coffee thermos, a tiara, an avocado, etc.  Begin by making a quick list of these “non-spell ingredients” and then decide who or what you are bewitching.  Consider titling your poem: “Spell for_____.” 


 Spell for making you look great in a swim suit
And irresistible to the opposite sex.

One half-eaten pizza, a smashed bag of chips,
Six beer cans, (four crushed-two half full),
A dead battery from a power drill,
One greasy baseball cap,
A sweat-stained Duck Dynasty tee shirt with a hole over the navel,
Two crusty socks, one used gym towel,
A pair of jeans smeared with fish guts,
Ten hairs from a dog’s butt,
A handful of spent shotgun shells,
And the prongs of one deer antler,
Put behind the seat of a Ford F-150 pickup for 13 months.
Then remove to a black trash bag
And store in the sun for three days.
Deeply inhale the essence and repeat the magic words:
“Hell this stinks! Here, smell it!”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Three

Prompt:  Write a 14-line poem that is a variation on the sonnet.  Look up the rules for both an English and an Italian sonnet and riff off one of those forms in a creative way.  Change up the rhyme scheme or do away with it. Make a rule for how many words are allowed per line or maybe each line must start with a noun.  Keep the 14 line structure, but get inventive with the rest of the form by creating at least 3 new rules.


 Inheritance

All those stacks of greeting cards.  She sighed.
To keep? To sort? To close the eyes and dump?
Lids and plastic tubs, bags wadded in a lump.
Worn-down shoes still holding ghosts.  She cried.

Wrapping paper, rolls of yarn and ribbons tied.
Clothes still held her essence, there beside
Faded photos. Unnamed faces. Should she hunt
For names? Or give to kids? What would Mom want?

True treasures weren’t things to hold with hands.
Mornings on the back porch shelling peas,
Fears quieted by one who understands,
The happy songs, the jokes, the mended knees.

Share the love.  There’s joy to dwell upon.
Hand down her wonder, smile and carry on.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-two

Prompt:  Write a ten-line poem in which each line has ten syllables.  Try to include words or images that have to do with math, money, dates, or anything that includes numbers (telephone numbers, addresses, zip codes, etc.)  If you need an opening line, begin the poem with one of the following, “On a scale of one to ten…” or “Because the numbers say…” or “It doesn’t add up…”


Numbers Game

One person sat all alone in a room.
Two pencils and blank pieces of paper.
Three voices spoke to the one that was there.
Four others told her, “Give up, Basket Case.”
Five wads of paper lay in the trash can.
Six hours; a long time to stare at the walls.
Seven pages written, maybe this time.
Eight times she’d tried to share the story.
Nine times fall down.  Yes, but you can stand up
Ten.

Friday, April 21, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty One

Prompt:  Write a poem that initially gives the impression that it is going to be a joke, that something funny is going to take place.  A twist, allow the poem to travel into a sad or dark place so that the reader is surprised where the poem ends up.


Revision

There’s something strange
Coming out of Uranus.
Looks like a cloud of gas.
Great balls of fire!
It’s an incoming asteroid!

The Third Rock disappeared
In a cloud of steam.

“Start over,” He said.
“Those naked apes were worse
Than the dinosaurs.
If I hadn’t stopped them
They would have trashed the place
The way they did Mars.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty

Prompt:  Write a poem in which you incorporate two outlandish lies.  These “lies” can be untruths about you (the poet) or they can be historical or contemporary.  For example:  “The South won the Civil War.”



—But Maybe

The squirrels we see in park and yard
Seem hardly worth remote regard.
Fuzzy, cute and scatterbrained
They keep a canine entertained.

But in the trees they’ve hatched a plot
To vanquish us without a shot.
And so beware the evil squirrels
Because they plan to rule the world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Nineteen

Prompt:  Write a poem in the form of a letter to someone who has died.  Maybe the individual is a friend or relative, maybe someone famous you have never met. Use the poem as a device to connect present with the past using images to share what you are feeling.  End the poem with something you wish the person would have known when s/he was alive.


Dear John

I last saw you on the Blue Line to Logan.
You would have been fifty-six in 2016
if you hadn’t flown that Piper into the night.
You had every gift but the length of years.
Your family mourned.
The nation mourned.
You could have changed history.

Bigly.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Eighteen

Prompt:  For the title of your poem complete the following:  “what if?” and structure your poem so that it contains three stanzas of any length in which you explore your “what if.”  In the first stanza, mention a famous poet and a type of flower or plant.  In the second stanza, mention the title of a book and a word that starts with “z.” In the final stanza, reference a musical instrument and use a simile:  ____ is like a _____.”


What if Lewis Carroll's Rabbit Took Lucy on a Date?

She wore kaleidoscope diamonds and cellophane flowers
He wore velvet and waistcoat of finest brocade
She came in a newspaper taxi to meet him
“You’re late.” Then he smiled, “Let us join the parade.”

Down the tunnel they tumbled in a dream sort of way
Past bookshelves and marmalade colored like sky
They blundered like zombies on into The Shining
To a party where wild things danced on a pie.

Bald guys with big eyes played didgeridoos
“Do you like it?” said Rabbit as he took her hand.
“Oh yes,” replied Lucy with stars in her eyes,
“Like a wonderful nightmare and Custer’s Last Stand.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Seventeen

Prompt:  Grab the nearest book or magazine and write down 14 random words.  Now write a 14 line poem in which one world is used in each line until you have used all the words.  Maybe write in the form of a sonnet.  Extra credit:  have your title subtly refer to the name of the book or magazine.


SYLVAN

Trees weave toes together
Sharing food, sharing fear
Associate to persevere
In death give life forever.
Drink the rain, feed on deer
Make energy from atmosphere
Recycling the weather.
Long arms bend whenever
Wind whispers, wind screams
Branches sweep, branches swing.
Jade leaves, gold and evergreen
Linked location where birds sing.
Leaves hiss with sibilance
Connected in a common dance.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Sixteen

Prompt:  Write a twelve line poem about a relationship (friend, romantic, family) using some or all of these words that deal with “reversing:” about face, u-turn, 180, flip-flop, turnaround, withdraw, reel in, back pedal, second thoughts, cold feet, null and void, unsay, call off.

ONE-EIGHTY

This is the part where we jump out of the airplane.
 I’m having second thoughts.
You’re getting cold feet?  This will be fun.
If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.
Aw, you’re never too old to learn something stupid.
Pilot! U-turn this bird. I’m calling it off.

You can’t back out now.
I’ll just go home and zoom in on Google Earth real fast.
Nope.  Your anxiety is null and void.
I officially withdraw from this challenge.
Well then, just stand here and hold this ripcord.
Stop pushing!  Hey…..
l
< 
^
l
> 
^
Y
!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Fifteen

Prompt:  Write a poem about someone or something you are longing for.  Maybe it’s a new life, a new relationship or a new president.  Maybe it’s a submarine sandwich, or a person you have a secret crush on.  Consider playing with the word “desire”—maybe repeat this word in every other line, or maybe use words that rhyme with “desire” throughout your poem.


Desire

Clean air
Clean water
Cures for disease
Enough good food
Opportunity to thrive
Possibility to succeed
Better unrestricted education
Teachers paid what they’re worth

See…
Under all our garb
We want the same things.

“Friendship is born at that moment
When one man says to another: 
‘What! You too? 
I thought that no one but myself . . .’”
C.S. Lewis

“Because in spite of everything 
I still believe that people 
Are really good at heart.” 
Anne Frank

Friday, April 14, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Fourteen

Prompt:  Write an eight line poem that uses the date of your birthday to determine how many words per line.  For instance 11/28/1972 translates to line 1 having one word, line 2 having 1 word, line 3 having 2 words, etc.  Zeros are wild cards, you choose the number of words.  Extra credit:  Reference an event that happened the year of your birth.


Poetic Justice

Anna Christina was hung in
MoMA
Scorned
In her pink dress she conquered limits
Still
Lost in her endless emptiness, she is now an
Icon of American art
Her mystery and reality upset the abstract judges

Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Thirteen

Prompt:  Write a poem about a frightening experience you had as a child.  Write from an observational point of view using the third person (she/he) rather than first person.

Recourse

Waiting at the church
‘Cause Mom and Dad forgot her
Went home with Allen

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twelve

Prompt:  Write a poem that uses weather terminology, but whose theme is not weather related.  Use some of the following weather terms: pressure, storm, fog, muggy, rain, gust, chill, slight chance, etc.  Extra credit:  write your poem in the form of a letter to someone who’s angered you.


Maybe Not Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow

When you stormed through
The haze of smoke
To stop the song,
All the love I tried to chill
Revived.

When the spotlight reached
Through the foggy night
To show the way
To escape the dread,
I cried.

I know I asked you
To think for me.
You said I’d regret it
For the rest of my life
If I stayed.

You must remember this,
Wherever you find yourself,
In my heart I’ll never leave you.
We’ll always have
Paris.

Ilsa

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Eleven

Prompt:  Write a poem inspired by this line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby:  “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”  Extra credit, use at least five of these words from the novel—ravenous, melancholy, dissolve, resentment, ceaseless, menagerie, nebulous, scorn, sport, fool, parties, tender.


How Did Your Day Go?

The sky is blue, the sea is calm,
The beach ahead is smooth and gray.
A time to shake off melancholy,
Escaping the menagerie.

I ease around the rugged point.
I scorn the slow incoming tide,
Ignore the ceaseless hiss of stones,
Putting common sense aside.

I stroll along the narrowing sand.
I relish blissful time alone.
Then, ravenous, reverse my course,
Resentment and all outrage gone.

An exclamation breaks my lips.
The sea has swiped my exit out.
Steep crags on left, high surf on right,
A fool I am without a doubt.

The loneliest moment in one’s life
Is when they watch their world dissolve.
I don’t stare blankly at my fate
But strive to climb the cliffs above.

My tender fingers split and bleed.
Three times I tumble, nearly fall.
I fight my way through briar and brush
And finally scale the rugged wall.

It’s dark but I can see the glow
Of headlights on the road to town.
Yet no one gives a ride to tramps.
Sad and wise I trudge back home.