Category Archives: Poetry

The Gem of the 90’s

I was born in 1982 which means that probably at no time in the 1980’s was I thoughtfully considering fashion choices. This means I was never fully responsible for wearing neon. So really, I’m more like a child of the 90’s. The glorious 90’s. The renaissance of nail polish. Over-the-knee stockings with pleated skirts from Contempo. Melrose Place. Clueless. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.
Recently, I noticed something weirdly familiar in my rare sporadic shopping escapades: The 90’s are back! While not all of it is wearable for a second go-round (i.e. anything I ever owned from Contempo)…

Dark floral prints...

The dark floral prints…

The nails…Vamp? Very Vamp? Totally doable!
Teva’s also had a 90’s moment.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Fashion is generally an extracurricular pursuit in the land of Spy Garden.
I rarely pick out Baby’s outfits as she is quite capable of dressing herself. And at Forest School there’s little room for fashion. They get really, really dirty. And have to stay really, really warm in the winter months.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

(and really waterproof, bugproof, etc. in other seasons). They wear a green uniform t-shirt everyday too. So there’s not really much fashion going on there, its mostly all about utility. But they do learn to sew, make costumes for performances and so forth. And they dress up for picture day. And the dress code allows for NO characters of any sort. Which actually is a great victory for fashion when you think about it. So amid the framework of utility there is fashion, right?

And there's always church!

And there’s always church!

Hair clips are so 90's

Hair clips are so 90’s

But enough about Baby…

I am a nurse and believe nurses should look like this:

Doesn't this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

Doesn’t this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

What ever happened to those hats? And white pencil skirts, how did those go by the wayside? I mean how on earth did we go from…

To scrubs? Is there anything less fashionable than scrubs? I think not.

AGGGGHHHHH My eyes!

AGGGGHHHHH My eyes!

I think the scrub infiltration might have actually started in the 90’s now that I think about it. Fortunately I don’t have to wear scrubs in my nursing position. But I digress.
Fashion before function is great in theory. But what is great for feet are Birkenstocks. It is so hard to wear shoes other than Birkenstocks once you know how glorious they are.
In order to fully express my affection for these shoes and the excitement of rediscovering them via my consideration of 90’s fashion I have written a Shakespearean sonnet.
Enjoy…

Ode’ to Birkenstocks*

In sumptuous suede or gold burnished leather
At your stamped bronze buckle a few may baulk
But on cloud-like cork I’m light’s a feather
Dearest beloved, easy, Birkenstock
If Choo, Weitzman, Blahnik or Louboutin
Are height, narrow toes; lithe ballet for feet
Chic and hip, happiness to see, to don
But is comfort luxe? Or modest, discreet?
Bunions, blisters, heels stuck in sidewalk cracks
Are sometimes worth the pain. But must one trade
Pretty shoes for pretty feet? With socks*, slacks,
Birkenstocks, in your favor I’ll crusade.
Plush pedal succor; if a bit ugly
Down with fashion; I shall wear them smugly!

So there you have it; Birkenstocks, the Gem of the 90’s ( I do realize they’ve been around a lot longer than that, but that’s when I discovered them). What’s your pick for Gem of the 90’s (fashion or otherwise)? Leave it in the comments!

*Yes, the clogs, with socks. So sue me.
**My Birkenstocks were unable to be visually represented in this post because they are too ugly.

Hahahahhaha

Zen and the Art of Housekeeping

A friend was cleaning out (cheers for irony) her library and had a whole big pile of books she was giving away. I can rarely resist free books so I picked out a pile including this one.

Zen and the Art of Housekeeping by Lauren Brownell

Zen and the Art of Housekeeping by Lauren Brownell

It’s a wicked good book. I admit I sort of rolled my eyes at the whole zen/enlightenment/writing haiku/koan concepts. I mean come on, haikus?! Those are WAY too easy to write.

Writing a haiku

About vacuuming your home

Is a bit absurd

BUT WAIT! Spy Garden loves all things absurd. And haikus aren’t so bad. Seventeen carefully chosen syllables are better than some free form bs poem with 117 words. Plus, seventeen is the Spy’s favorite number. Plus, I love the Japanese aesthetic (we do have our very own zen garden after all). I don’t mean to discount the zen stuff, I just prefer to interpret it as it relates to Christian practice. Indeed, I found many of the concepts of Zen to be strikingly similar to the Christian concepts I try to practice. For example, when I think of “meditation” I think of it as exemplifying the biblical concept of “don’t worry/be anxious about your life” and just focus on the immediate present and the blessings surrounding you at any particular moment.

As for the detailed descriptions of the physical acts of cleaning, at first I was thinking, “COME ON! Why is this lady giving directions on how to vacuum?” Then I realized that I loved Martha Stewart and one of the things about her is that she is pretty left-brain overcore and always describes everything step by step and while it usually seems superfluous to me, I truly appreciate that this is how the left-brainers function.

To illustrate, one day I was reading Martha’s blog: the post was about her pet doves, how she cleaned the cage, fed them, and cared from them. My husband looked over my shoulder:

Smoochie, “What are those?”

Me, “Those are Martha’s pair of white doves. They live in the servery off her kitchen.”

Smoochie: (eyerolling)

Me, “Don’t get it twisted. Martha Stewart is (there may have been a profane word here-ing) awesome.”

He laughed and I explained that she takes meticulous care of her home, her animals, her plants. How could there possibly be anything wrong with that? He concurred that ok, yes, she is awesome.

So am I jealous of Martha and her extremely clean doves (and grout)? No way, because I gather that Martha is 79% left brain, while I am 79% right brain. We may have very different methods but both share an appreciation for our home. I LIKE the fact that when I create I do so spontaneously, unsystematically and untidily. Ok, “untidily” would be a euphemism, let’s call it a Creative Tornado. I make up recipes without following any recipes or directions. I dug a giant garden without measuring one square foot of it. I get ideas and just run with them and don’t bother to try and follow someone else’s definition of the “proper” way to do it. But when it comes to cleaning, there is sort of a proper way to do it. Most acts of cleaning are fairly straightforward and usually brainless, therefore the perfect time to practice being “in the present”.

I enjoy cleaning up the aftermath of the creative tornado. I value aesthetics. I like the look of a clean surface, a neat closet and white door frame wiped free of tiny fingerprints. Plus, there’s the bonus of finding the masterpieces that were created in said creative tornado.

Exhibit A (watercolor by Baby)

Exhibit A (watercolor by Baby)

“As keepers of the home, we have an incredible opportunity to make an enormous impact on the quality of the lives we live and the lived of those we love.”  (from the Intro of the book)

If chores and housework must be done, and done over and over again, shouldn’t these jobs be moments we enjoy, rather than hastily finished so we can get on to something better (i.e. writing an essay about cleaning hAHAHa)? If not “enjoyed” at least moments to practice being in the moment and quieting your thoughts and sharpening your senses: Feeling the hot laundry as you fold, noticing the shiny clean sink and the sparkling dish sponge:

BEST DISH SPONGE EVER

BEST DISH SPONGE EVER

Seriously.

Seriously.

And that brings us to the dishes. One thing I learned in the book is that some great writers thought of ideas while doing dishes. HEY! I DO THAT ALL THE TIME! We don’t have a dishwasher, I cook A LOT, ergo, I do a lot of dishes. Hating to do dishes, would be hating a significant part of my life and that wouldn’t make much sense at all. Why deign to do something (laundry, dishes, whatever) that you must do (and do often) instead of finding meaning, purpose and (ideally) a bit of joy in these acts? The book talks a lot about dishes, dusting and other aspects of cleaning as opportunities to be in the moment but also to use the mindless chores as time for some double duty productivity (i.e. thinking of sentences for essays about housekeeping while you do the dishes haha).

Anyway, it’s a great little book, a perfect read for the new year. I read pretty fast but it has taken me weeks to read the thing, because every time I pick it up I read a few pages, then get inspired to clean out the junk drawer, read a few pages, organize my closet, etc. etc. (technically, I haven’t even finished the book yet haha). It’s winter, I won’t be starting the seeds for another month, so it is a perfect time to do (and share) a little indoor “gardening”. And hope my readers will enjoy a peek indoors (as the actual garden is mostly just melting snow and mud at the moment).

Baby’s Room

Baby’s Room

A closer look.

A closer look.

Hmmm “Nobody Does it Better.” So untrue, yet so true. I spy a koan?

The Spy’s Room

The Spy’s Room

A closer look.

A closer look.

Next I will tackle the topic of cleaning and organizing with your kids. But, first I need to go shampoo the rugs.

80. Progress Report VIII

I’m writing 100 posts in 100 days, 300-1000 words each. To my regular readers: that’s the second to last time you’ll hear that! WoO! Instead of writing how another ten days of writing has changed my thoughts on the creative process, what I’ve learned about blog world, etc. I’m going to use this time of reflection to add to existing posts. In writing a post everyday I often forget to include various details or images in each essay. So here they are, the forgotten points and pictures…

When I quoted The Poetics by Aristotle I forgot to make a joke and link to my How to Write A Sonnet post. But then I put the link in my Mark Twain post so I guess it’s been covered. But I could’ve linked to my limerick too (A limerick accompanying some of the Spy’s great art!)

I also forgot to say something nice about our military on Veterans day (November 11th) or about my husband or the Spy’s late grandfather on the Marine Corps Birthday (November 10th).

1992

1992

1953

1953

In my Pare Down: A Style Story post I didn’t include this little gem:

The contents of Baby’s purse.

The contents of Baby’s purse.

And I forgot to make some sort of bad joke like: shake off your accessories, as the trees drop their leaves. Pare down. Get it???

These pictures were taken back in early August, when I was busy grieving over our late golden retriever and were never posted:

Cicada

Cicada

This bug was there the whole time while my husband engraved her headstone.

This bug was there the whole time while my husband engraved her headstone.

On my Fooding post and my slight rant against foodies and my “ITS JUST FOOD, PEOPLE!”: First of all, jeez, Self, there’s no need to shout! And even though I do find real versions of my “Inspired Lunch” menu to be annoying, sometimes I make up the same sort of recipes myself. I obviously do think food is important.  I think eating a lot of vegetables is very important. Making food pretty and interesting is fun and worthwhile. So poking fun at a “pretentious” menu was meant to be a silly joke. And the fact that such menus often lack self-awareness is what my beef is. Not literal beef. Literary beef. AHHAHAhaha Anyways, some food blogs just seem so very serious. I have no problem making something beautiful and photogenic and intricate and complicated with food. But without a dash of irony or a pinch of humor added, it’s all a bit bland. (A bad pun will do to spice things up if irony or humor are in short supply.)

Quinoa and peas

Quinoa and peas

So obviously I DO post recipes and again half my yard is a garden of edibles so I don’t mean to insult fogs because sometimes they have wicked good ideas. And even the people with a bottomless pit of creative ideas can still garner MORE great ideas from other cooks, chefs and bakers.

 VERY simple, but nutritious and delicious!

VERY simple, but nutritious and delicious!

I just love Baby’s high chair. I got it from someone who knew the original owner, who sat in it as a baby in 1903! So it is minimum 100 years old. Love it. I have posted about it before (Strawberry Snack and Some Indoor Inspirations) but can never say enough great things about this high chair!

Big tree!

Big tree!

This huge tree is not in our yard, but only a couple dozen yards from our property. I’ve walked by it a hundred times but never noticed how big it was before. I think this observation really sums up a lot of what Spy Garden website is about. It’s the same garden. The same little mudlets (Spy and baby) frolicking around the house and yard. But there are always new things to notice and the perspective always changes.

A few weeks ago I posted this story by the Spy:

    A Birthday Story, by the Spy, age eight

    One day there was a boy who was walking in the woods. That boy had his birthday coming up. His parents promised that boy he would get a bb gun for his birthday. At that moment, the boy heard a “grgrgrgr.” He turned around and saw a zombie. He sprinted to his house. When he got to his house he told his parents what happened. When he was done the house was surrounded. He asked his parents if he could open his presents. They said yes. He opened his presents. It was a bb gun. He ran outside like a wild man. He shot every zombie. He stopped and stared. He was smiling. He sprinted to the road and stopped at a 1971 Dodge Charger.

And I forgot to say that at least part of his story came true (back on his actual birthday):

You’ll shoot your eye out kid!

You’ll shoot your eye out kid!

Yesterday, a blustery day. I took other pictures that had nothing to do with the wind so I didn’t post them:

Furniture by Smoochie (my husband):

Fireside Loveseat

Fireside Loveseat

Stump Table

Stump Table

Kid Seat

Kid Seat

And sculpture:

Wood Pile

Wood Pile

ONWARD! 20 posts to go!

ONWARD! 20 posts to go!