Poor Me

Melissa’s a  Failure.  (Is she EVER!)
Blue girl is too.
So does that mean that even though I may be a "Poor" 1930’s wife, I’m still superior to them?


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

tell them  I just missed being a "failure" by one point.  They don’t
need to know I may have stretched the truth just a bit when I said I
"dress for breakfast".  Considering the fact that I am usually in my birthday suit when I roll out of bed, anything I might put on is considered dressing, isn’t it?

~ Connie

Exploring the Empty Nest – on horseback!

Although I have ridden a few times since then, it’s been many years since I’ve actually taken horseback riding lessons.  (Dare I say close toConniearthur_3
20?)  One of Steve’s arguments, or should I say "incentives", for moving to Iowa is the close proximity to the countryside – and horses.  I took his argument seriously and yesterday I took the first of what I hope will be many more lessons.  Meet "Arthur".

I arrived at the stable (Wyndtree Farm) and greeted by a very young lady named Winter.  And I do mean young – as in 11 – and maybe 4′ tall.  Winter had been instructed to meet me and help me get ready for class.  "I’ll go get Arthur" she said.  The next thing I knew she was leading this HUGE horse (16+ hands) down the center aisle.  I’m not sure these photos do him justice.  Just trust me when I say "huge".  It was rather comical watching this supremely confident, tiny young lady handle this gentle giant.  Tossing the saddle pad on his back was a huge stretch for her.  I assisted with the saddle.  It was the least I could do.

I’m pleased to say the lesson was uneventful and most delightful (thank you, Denise!)  My form, it turns out, was not too bad after all these years, or so I was told. Holding it took some effort, however.  Never mind.  I look forward to working on it!

Arthur2Photo descriptions: Arthur is a dapple-gray gelding, 16+ hands.  I was told he’s part Percheron, part Thoroughbred.  In the top photo I am standing by his right shoulder, an indication as to just how big he is (I’m 5′ 2").  In the bottom left photo we see him standing alone.

Hold the Wings!

I always wanted to be one of those writers who could turn religious stories into poetry. Jacob’s Ladder; The Prodigal Son; Milton’s Satan coursing among stars…

When I write about anything having to do with religious themes three things happen almost instantly.

1. I forget something crucial about the original story. If I were to write about Jacob’s Ladder it would look like this:

Jacob looked up the ladder and saw angels proceeding ahead of him and Lo! He saw that the angels weren’t wearing any shoes. This caused Jacob to wonder if the ladder, which he found to be rather a splintery affair was just a miserable contraption designed for human kind, or whether in point of fact the angels could even feel pain—or did they no longer feel pain, in which case, should he take off his shoes?

2. As you can see, my version of the story leaves out the other half of the ladder which had the angels coming back down.

3. If you forget about the earthward angels you are likely also forgetting to look at the returning angels’ feet. This is hugely important for if the angels coming back from heaven are wearing shoes then we know that the afterlife is full of cobblers and leather tanners. That would be very comforting information for my Finnish ancestors.

Alas I am too practical and salty for religious poetry. I wish the facts were otherwise.

What for instance do the angels do about those wings while they’re going up and down the ladder? How do the upward angels keep from tangling their feathers with the downward angels? I’ve been on a ladder or two in my lifetime. In general I think its safe to say that wings are a liability when you’re climbing or descending.

Genuine religious poets know that the ladder is symbolic. They know that the wings are real. I don’t know how they know this, but they do.

This is of course the origin of all mysticism: wings, yes; ladders, no; giving Jacob the impression that both are real: easy. Show him the ladder; don’t mention the wings.


Lance Mannion and the "blind guy"

From Lance Mannion’s Fragments of an autobiography:
Tossing a football around with a blind guy Lance_and_steve_2

"But Steve’s real point, I think, is the same one he’s been making to
me since we met, which is not how blind people see the world but how to see the world.

From the start, Steve’s been telling me the same things over and
over again.  Don’t just look, observe.  Listen.  Ask questions.
Notice everything.  Notice people.  Take note of how they move, how they sound, what they say.  Pay attention to them.

Pay attention to everything."

Thank you, Lance.  We both loved your post. 

~ Connie & Steve

Photo description: Buddies from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. "Lance" is on the left. He’s blond, sporting a blond beard, wearing a yellow Oxford shirt, holding a football.  Steve is standing next to Lance, leaning on his left shoulder.  He’s got brown hair, a brown beard, round glasses and is wearing  a red t-shirt.

The Book of Ringo

Back in the sixties if you had to make a decision about anything (from whether to have children or sell your bicycle) chances are good that you consulted the I Ching. Some people still do this of course and I wouldn’t want to dissuade them from utilizing an age old book of wisdom.

But I’m announcing on this blog that I’m now putting together a new spiritual almanac that I’m calling “The Book of Ringo”.

Why? Because I believe that the wisest words of the last generation are those of the overlooked Beatle, Richard Starkey.

This is always the way of things when it comes to holy men or women. They’re right here in our midst but we don’t see them.

Everybody remembers the topsy-turvy lingo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney or the sage pronouncements of Maharishi—but we can now see that wise as these people may have been or might still be, they are, as the poet Emily Dickinson once said, “playing at paste” as opposed to Ringo who has the real gems.    

Who among you remembers that the first question asked of The Beatles as they stood on American soil for the first time at Idlewild was posed by a hostile reporter who snarled at Ringo: “What do you think of Beethoven?”

Ringo said: “I love Beethoven, especially the poems.”

I would love to top that, but I’m not wise enough. Not by a country mile in the company of my long winded grandmother am I that smart.

Like the I Ching you can sort Ringo’s lyrics and pronouncements in any shape and they will answer your questions.

Example: “Why is life so hard?”


“I’d ask my friends to come and see/an Octopus’s garden with me.”

But of course like all holy men, Ringo is fast.

At this year’s Grammy Awards Ringo overheard Natalie Cole complaining about Amy Winehouse’s multiple awards and he said:

"Man, those are some grapes!

Need more proof Ringo is a guru?

Press: “What do you think of topless bathing suits?”

Ringo:  “We’ve been wearing them for years.”

Upon seeing America for the first time:

“So this is America. They must be out of their minds.”

Of course the secret of all spiritual figures is that they invariably come from humble roots. Ringo once said that Gene Autrey was his first musical influence.

I rest my case.

The process of cross-indexing the Book of Ringo could take several years. And obviously there’s some theosophical research that has to be done. What for instance does this mean exactly?

Reporter: “Why do you always wear six rings?”

Ringo: “because six is too heavy.”

Man, I’m sorry! That’s better than the Dhammapada!


Celebrity Endorsement

News Flash: Poet and essayist Stephen Kuusisto has been endorsed this morning by Mr. Green Jeans, the longtime straight man to Captain Kangaroo.

Mr. Jeans, who is deceased, but who remains remarkably spry, says by way of the Ouija Board that Kuusisto, who is unknown outside a narrow range of mostly well meaning literary readers, “has the good sense to smile in public, even when there’s excrement  on his shoes.”

Kuusisto, who was on a book tour to Begonia, Idaho, said by means of a ham radio that he was flattered to be backed by any of the Kangaroo cast, but he’s a little worried that Mr. Moose hasn’t endorsed the endorsement from Mr. Green Jeans and added: “It’s clear that there are divisions among dead Kangaroo-istas about the virtues of continuing to grin when you have dung on your loafers. This is a divisive issue among dead children’s television stars.”

The coveted endorsement of an American writer by Captain Kangaroo has not been forthcoming.

“He’s of two minds about poop,” Kuusisto said. “He knows it’s a real issue, but he’s afraid to acknowledge it because he might then be confused with Soupy Sales.”

Captain Kangaroo cannot be reached via Ouija Board.



As written by Simi Linton:

Definitions of the word “blind” found in my computer’s Thesaurus
support the idea that blindness limits . The terms ignorant,
imperceptive, insensitive, irrational, oblivious, obtuse, random, rash,
stagger, unaware, unconscious, uncontrolled, unknowing, unplanned and
violent came up on my screen. My Roget’s Thesaurus also provided
inattentive and purposeless. These meanings lurk under the surface when
the word “blind” is used whether on its own, or in pairings, in such
phrases as “blind passion”, “blind rage”, “blind justice”, “blind
drunk” and “blind faith”.

How can the culture get away with attaching such an absurd
proliferations of meanings to a condition that affects, simply, visual
acuity? Of all the impairments, blindness seems to call up the most
fantastical of responses. These are used, uncritically and without
apparent irony by many and often.

Read Simi’s post in its entirety:  Blind Blind People and Other Spurious Tales

Longshot Takes Presidential Campaign to New Hampshire

You’ve probably never heard of him, but this man’s views on issues that concern us all are worth listening to. 

Catch up to him in New Hampshire – New Hampshire, Ohio that is – and listen to his latest "stump" speech.  It’s very brief but there is little doubt you’ll appreciate his fresh perspective.

(If nothing else, you’ll probably chuckle.  That could be a good thing! )

~ Connie