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Monday, September 26, 2011

#210 - WHAT DOES MATH HAVE TO DO WITH POETRY?

Senior picture (1959)
When I was a senior in high school I had a terrific Calculus teacher who taught me more about math than all the math teachers I have ever had.   

Mr. Mattheis was fairly short and built himself a riser on which to stand while teachingt a lesson.  This made him seem a little strange to most students, but not to me.  When we arrived in class the lesson was already on the board and he would take a long wooden pointer to draw attention to the part of the lesson he was discussing.

Being slight of stature didn’t keep Mr. Mattheis from maintaining discipline in his class.  No, I don’t think it was because he wielded a long stick; it was because he played a game he called base ball.  He was fair, never lost his temper, or raised his voice.  He would just call out strikes whenever a student’s behavior went over the line.  On strike three the student would automatically advance to the principal’s office and be assigned detention.

I loved to talk in class (oh, lets face it, I loved to talk, period) and one day I reached the ultimate third strike.  While in detention I wrote Mr. Mattheis this poem, which he framed and kept on his wall until he retired, many years later.

Standing on your pedestal, so wise, so tall, so straight, 
          On that lovely pedestal made of an orange crate.
Standing there so wisely with a stick cluched in your hand,
          Like a stone director about to strike, up the band.


What’s this you’re looking my way and I smile a sheepish smile,
          I wasn’t talking very long, just for a little while.
You slowly turn and point an accusing finger at me,
          And calmly say with a clear sweet voice, st-r-i-k-e  three. 


I slowly rise from my usual place,
          Slowly rise with a dismal face,
I began to argue that I was not,
          Then to the office I did trot.


Oh wise and wondrous world what fate have you bestowed on me,
To be ruled (in this class) by dictatorship and not democracy.
By the way I received an A in his class.     kt 8/2011



Monday, September 19, 2011

#209 - BOARD to DEATH (just read it before you criticize my spelling).

Smiley in love with a snake
My first real encounter with a live snake
(which I shall reveal here) was a DOOZIE 
and occurred around the first of August in 1968
Though not a professional snake wrangler, I have handled snakes (itty bitty garden snakes) before.  After all, I was once a Girl Scout and a den mother for a group of 8 cub scouts.  I had been shown (several times) how to correctly handle snakes and how to tell if they were venomous.  Also, come on, over the years I have watched dozens of shows by Mutual of Omaha and the Animal Channel. 


At the time of this encounter I was living in a small farm home in the Missouri Ozarks.  My husband (soon to be ex, but that's another story) had moved us there from Palm Desert, California.  I loved the Ozarks area and the house was the home in which my husband was born, so it had meaning.

Out behind the house was a small barn and in the pasture were three horses.  One was a big, white, frightening, wild eyed, stallion.  One was a mean little Shetland runt (who loved to nip my thigh and rump).  And, one (which was ours) was a retired, circus horse who knew all kinds of tricks (if you knew how to prompt her).   Ginger was 26 years old and as smart as a whip.  She didn't like to be ridden so she would always detour under low hanging branches and close to the trunks of trees.  I got knocked/scraped off several times (but she never did that with my kids). 


Ginger, Gene, Patty and me (can't believe I had my hair up in curlers)
The horses would not go into the barn no matter what I did.  I tried leading them, luring them, cooing to them and on and on and on.  Finally, I decided it was because there were boards just laid down on the dirt floor.  When I walked on them they would wobble a bit so I can imagine how they would move when the horses stepped on them.  Plus, there was other junk stored in that barn.

So, one day, since it was getting close to fall I decided the barn needed to be cleaned out for the horses.
In I went with a rake, a shovel, a wheelbarrow, a broom and a bucket with various items in it.  I hauled all of the junk out and stacked it behind the barn to be carried off or burned.  I worked on this all morning and into the afternoon while a friend watched my kids.  Then it came time to pull out the boards.  Everything was going fine until I got to the 5th board.  As I lifted it up a hugh (and I do mean HUGH) snake darted out then back under the next board.

I had only seen the animal for a brief second but long enough to consider it one of the most beautiful snakes I have ever seen.   This snake had orange, light-brown,  even a pinkish body that was highlighted by darker chestnut brown bands that formed a whole series of hourglass shapes across its body.


See, isn't it beautiful!
Immediately I thought of my son Gene.  He would love a snake as a pet. Therefore, I set about devising a way to catch it.

I glanced around and quickly came up with a plan which involved the bucket, a broom and a small piece of wood for a lid to the bucket.  Armed with this snake snaring paraphernalia I proceeded to raise and toss the 6th board.  The snake tried to pull the same maneuver and slip under board #7.  But, ha..ha..I was too quick for him/her.  After flinging the plank I grabbed the bucket and broom.  Then I beat the tarnation out of the snake with the broom and steered him into the bucket.  Whack, whack, whack, turned up the bucket, then slapped the make shift lid on the top.  Now, I could have reached down and grabbed it by the neck at the back of it's head, but since I hadn't gotten a real good look at it I decided not to take the chance.

Satisfied with my smart move and my prize I picket up the bucket, put it in the back seat of my car (with a rock on the lid) and headed for my father-in-laws country store, just down the road.  I wanted to know just what kind of snake I had caught (this was the olden days before internet).

When I arrived several men from the area had congregated around the inside of the store.  As usual they were drinking beer, sharing stories, and laughing.  I came in the door and they greeted me with a few nods and a "Hey, gal."

I put my bucket down, removed the lid tilted it towards the men and said, "Do any of you guys know what kind of snake this is?"  Before I could finish my sentence ALL of the men jumped up falling all over each other and fled the store.  Some were running, (one jumped through the open screen-less window),  all were cussing and yelling all sorts of unpleasant comments.  I put the lid back on the bucket and looked out the door.

My husband yelled from the parking lot,  "Karen, you've done a lot of hair-brained things but this one takes the cake."  Get that darned bucket out here (only he didn't exactly say darned)."
When I returned to the door with the bucket in hand I could see all of the men lined up with shotguns in their arms.  Now, this was the Ozarks, my friends, and since my husband and I hadn't been getting along lately I thought that this might be what is referred to as a QUICKY DIVORCE, Ozark style.

My husband asked me to gently put the bucket down in front of the men, and back up.  Ok, like a good wife, I did what I was told and then there was a deafening sound as all seven men fired at the bucket.  The bucket was blown to smithereens as was that beautiful snake.  DEATH was brutal and swift.

In not too kind of a tone or gentle language (and with one hand on his hip and the other hand pointing a finger at me), my husband told me that I had managed to capture an unusually large Copperhead whose venom could have killed me before anyone could have gotten me to the hospital.  He went on to add that this was the blind season for Copperheads making it an extremely dangerous time to mess with them. 

What did I say in response?"Oh, and it was so pretty."  To which my husband threw up his hands and stomped off.
I tried like crazy to find a yellow smiley face snake.  This will have to do.
By the way, do you NOW get my little pun of a title? 
 (Ok, ok, a little cheesy but it is all I could come up with)    kt 8/2011
PS:  WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT 43 YEARS TO THE MONTH I CAUGHT A YOUNG COPPERHEAD!  On September 8th I was leaving the hospital after visiting my dad and a kid ran to the nurses station and said, "There's a snake in the waiting room.  My dad thinks it's a copper head."  Without missing a beat I said, "I'll take care of it."

When I got there a young snake about 12 inches long was laying up against the base board under a chair.  Four other people were standing about six feet from the critter.  Although small, I knew immediately that it was a young Copperhead.  A young woman entered the room with a broom and a bucket.  I started to laugh as I remembered the above story.  I just told her to stay where she was.  I took a trash can, tipped it over, stepped on the very end of the snakes tail and it quickly slithered into the dark bucket.  I tipped the bucket up and then tied a knot in the plastic baggie.  Handing the trash can with baggie and snake to the girl with the broom I said, "There you go."

The next morning when I returned to see Dad I asked his nurse if she had heard about the snake in the waiting room.  She said yes, and then I asked her what she had heard.  Her words exactly were, "I heard that there was a Copperhead snake in the waiting room and some crazy lady caught it and gave it to an aide."  Then her eyes got big and she said, "Were you that crazy lady?" All I could do was laugh.



Monday, September 12, 2011

#208 - ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR?

Ok, I received an award and really don't know what it's for.


I checked the online dictionary and no surprise; there is no such word.  So, I broke down the word in order to ascertain it's meaning.  My first attempt gave me the answer.   Lie bs ter.  Ahhhhh, I get it.  

"er"= a person who...
lie = telling something that is not true
bs = bull Sh*!   (guess I could have said poo).
So, does the heart mean it's given with love? Haven't a clue.

(A week attempt at poetry and notice the nice pyramid it makes.)
(And for you who have compulsive/obsessive issues....Yes, I know I left the "T" out)

In reality, this award is actually a reward for fabricating.  Hummmmm,  this means that possibly there are those who may not believe my blog contains stories that are NOT completely true.  I'm shocked!
You mean that no one believes that I accidentally s stapled my glove to my hand (see What A Maroon), glued my foot to the floor (see A Sticky Situation), or burned a hole in my night gown (see #Recipe For Disaster)?  Oh, mannnnn, this HURTS as they are ALL true ;{
So spread the love!


Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog-and follow them!
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!



That's it?  No embarrassing questions to answer.  Nothing personal to reveal?  Nothing humiliating?  I don't have to share with the world the unusual shape of the birth mark on my butt?


So, should I thank the giver?  What the HECK!  Thanks, Donna at Weaving A Tale or Two.

1,3,and 5 are taken care of. Number 4 is a given because all of my followers spread the love daily. Where I have problems is number 2.   I have to pick 5 out of the dozens of contenders for the award.  And there in the problem.  Most of the bloggers I read do not accept awards.  I end up giving them to the same bloggers over and over which really isn't fair to them.  These things take a lot of time (I have been working on this for over 6 hours...No lie....6 hours).

"Rules are for sissies!"
And here is what everyone reading this is waiting for....  How in the heck is she going to change this one?  The minute the phrase, "Here are the rules:" popped up, my mind froze and the sound of screeching tires echoed inside my head.  I swear I could smell the smoke.  Well, some rules are good ones to follow; like to be polite.  But, how can I be polite and accuse choose five BS-ing liars?  

So, I searched through the blogs I follow to see who could possible fit in this category.  And I only found two.  Incidentally they are both men.  I wonder if that means anything????????

Lazarus at The LG Report (Female Like Mewas the first one that came to mind (sorry LG but, I did read your Thursday, July 28th post.  It definitely falls into the BS category).  However, LG does not accept awards.  Probably because he wouldn't have enough space on his blog page to post them...he is that good!  He is ONE OF A KIND.

Nick at Along These Lines (A Tourist’s Guide to Libya) would absolutely fit into the BS category.  His blog is often outrageous and always hilarious.  However, Nick is recovering from surgery and it wouldn't be polite to expect him to respond.  His blog is A VERITABLE SMORGASBORD OF HUMOR.

Ok....I've got one...APRIL, at Confessions of a Terrible Mom (a total misnomer)! Comcast-the cable mafia comes to mind.  I am sure that some of her posts are a blend of truth and lies exaggerations.  A person can't be as funny as April  without STRETCHING the truth a little.  Ok, I am sending this award to her.  Nope, can't, April is cutting back on her blog time since school started (she home schools her kids).  SO APRIL, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ACCEPT THIS AWARD.

Next, I thought of Melynda at Crazy World boxing with boys 
and her buddy Elisa at The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom Miss Priss and “The Wave”.
I mean,  mannnnn, these two gals are absolutely NUTS (which is something I can identify with).  One might think that there is some fabricating or truth stretching going in there somewhere, but after reading them for a while I am beginning that this is actually their wild and crazy life.  When someone com
es up with an "ABSOLUTELY BONKERS" award THEY are getting it (so is fishducky if and when she starts to blog).

It breaks my heart but, I could only find one person to send this to, and she won't have time to accept.  The rest of the bolggers I follow are too sweet and innocent to fall in this category.  Therefore I must forfeit the $1,000,000.00 that came with this award.  And, unfortunately no one else will get it either (Ohhhhhhhhh, so sorry! As Jim Fay would say...Jim Fay’s Love and Logic).


But, I do have a tip for all of you out there... ... ... 
DON'T SEND KT AN AWARD BECAUSE SHE WILL ALWAYS            
SCREW WITH IT!
kt 8/11/2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

#207 - A TAYLORed POISONING

Lying on the floor of the small, cold, room, she was sure that she was about to draw her last breath.  How could her life have come down to this?  Just yesterday she was happily going about her daily routine unaware of the impending attempt on her life.  Wracked with pain she raised her head to peer into the darkened room beyond the door.  Can she drag her weak body to the phone?  Can she get help?  Or, has the poison advanced too far into her system to allow her to move.                     


Again and again the spasms came.  She wretched for what seemed like an eternity and then her bowels began to empty.  How could Marie have done this to her?  It must have been some kind of bizarre accident.   She passed out for a while only to be awakened by the howl of her faithful dog in the next room.  He knew she was in trouble, but he could not extricate himself from his night-time crate. 

Knowing it would soon be too late, she managed to slowly inch herself across the floor.  With her last bit of energy she pulled herself up to the counter and called for help.  Help arrived within a few minutes and she was whisked off to the hospital where it was confirmed that she had been poisoned.   Poisoned by Marie Callendar with one of her famous CafĂ© Steamers.

Ok, so I'm NOT a novel worthy writer, but that was the situation I found myself in at one AM on Tuesday, July 11.   I finally made it to the ER room around six AM.  It was a tad more fun than the gastronomical events occurring on the bathroom floor.   There was nothing left to pump from my stomach as I had purged everything but my appendix and the three toenails that had yet to be sucked from my feet.  So they hooked me up with fluids to rehydrate me (since I was starting to look like a Tim Burton character from one of his  bizarre films).

By that afternoon I was back home and laying in my recliner, sipping 7Up.
I felt awful, but I was on the mend.  At seven PM I started to get up to fix my father his dinner. That is when the REST OF THE STORY developed.

I couldn’t get out of my recliner!  I mean, no matter what I did I could not pull my behind up out of the chair.  I have never experienced anything like this before.  First, I started a bouncy-bouncy routine hoping that one of the bounces would get me high enough to get my feet under me.  Nope!  Didn’t work.  Next, I started a rocking motion to try and propel my body out of the chair… … No luck there either (however, I almost turned the chair over backwards).  After trying several other ideas I finally got myself turned around backwards in the chair and pushed away with my arms.  To my relief that worked and I was up on my sock covered feet (key phrase).

Slowly, I walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and extracted what I would need for Dad’s meal.  You know the phrase weak as a kitten; well I understand that phrase now.  Like a sloth moving through the forest I made my way to across the kitchen floor when (not so sloth like) one foot slid one way, and one foot slid the other.  Onto a step stool I fell.  I was in a semi splits pose (down on my left knee and up on my right heel)  and clinging for dear life onto that darned step stool.  No matter how hard I tried I could not push myself up off of the step stool.  The only thing I could do was to allow myself to fall to the side.  As I leaned away from the small ladder I remember saying aloud,, “Oh, Mannnnn, this is going to hurt!”  And it did!

This put me on the floor and then that damned darned (oh, to hell with it) damned TV add flashed through my brain,  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.   I started to laugh (yes, really).  I lay there laughing when my dad clomped (no, he doesn't let his walker roll smoothly he goes step- step-step and then picks it up and plants it further away = he clomps) into the kitchen to see what was going on. 

“Can I help you up?” he said.   This made me laugh all the more.  I could just see the both of us lying on the floor until the cows came home.

“No, Dad, just get me a phone,” I replied.  To this Dad clomped off in search of a phone.  Now, understand this, I have a phone in EVERY room, but Dad couldn’t find one (you see he is hard of hearing and hasn’t used a phone since the old cradle type).

In Dad clomps again.  “I can’t find a phone.”

“It’s by the microwave,” I croak.

“Where’s the microwave?”  he asks (while standing about one foot from it).

I tell him to go sit down in his chair and then I started to crawl through the kitchen floor. 
Actually, it wasn’t a crawl it was more like a scoot and I could only manage a few inches at a time.  While communing so closely with the floor I noticed that it needed a good scrubbing and I started laughing again (I mean what a time to start thinking about scrubbing the floor).  It took me forty-five minutes to make my way across the floor to where I could see the table, and there I spotted a phone.

I hollered (screamed really loud) for Dad and he eventually retrieved the phone from the table for me.  I called 911, then told Dad to unlock the front door.  I laid there on my not so clean kitchen floor waiting for my total humiliation to begin.

(FIRST, LET ME APOLOGUISE FOR A WORD USED IN THE 
SECOND SCENE OF THIS VIDEO):








In just a few minutes two police officers walk through the front door and into the kitchen.  Remembering the routine my dad had to go through when we called for someone to help him off the bathroom floor; I rattled off my name, where I was, what day and month it was, and what happened.  They smiled, looked at each other, and the male said, “I see you do this often.”  They helped me up and planted me in Dad’s wheel chair (at my request).  They then suggested I get one of those little buttons that would summon help if this ever happened again (why would I do that when it is obviously much more fun!)

I wheeled around the kitchen, got Dad’s dinner (2 hours late), and stayed in that darned wheel chair until bedtime.  Since it would not go through my bedroom door I got out, and walked (thinking that I had a nice, clean, well padded rug on my floor and I could sleep there if I fell again.)  while holding onto everything possible.   I eventually made it to my bed, and collapsed.  Suddenly it hit me, "Hey, they send an ambulance when Dad falls, but they send cops when I fall!  What's up with that?"  Then I started laughing again. 

The following morning the weakness was gone.  I found out later that this is one of the side effects of food poisoning.  Much to my chigrin, I have 6 more of these dinners in my freezer.  Well, what's the chance that this could happen again?  I'm so cheap that I guess I will find out........ someday.

kt 7/2011


NEXT MONDAY, I ACCEPT AN INTERESTING AWARD.  
AS PROMISED, I FAILED TO FOLLOW THE RULES (AGAIN).  
SO, BE THERE OR BE SQUARE (Oh, that is soooooooo lame).