Footprints in the Snow

For my husband

Walking together in the chill of a winter’s eve

Bodies craving warmth are bundled into obscurity

Breath hangs like icicles

You trudge on ahead

Diamonds sparkle at the crunch of your heavy boots

I follow sure-footed the glittering path you’ve made for me

I thank you for those footprints in the snow

For the many things you do for me

To make my life a little bit easier

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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In Praise of all Things Unusual

I’d rather be weird than boring

When I was first married, living in Edmonton, I used to ride my bike to work from the spring to the fall. Every day, I would pedal by a house where the occupants decorated their garage in a unique way. From the eaves to the floor on the one side, they had nailed garish flea market finds; brightly colored bric-a-brac, things with moving parts, bells, and chimes. My friend said it was ugly, but I was drawn to it. It was so odd and chaotic, it blared like a trumpet in a sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood. What possessed these people to start such a collection and then display it in such a public way?

notnormalI’ve always been fascinated by the novel and weird. It may be because I’ve moved so often, I’ve come to crave that which is unfamiliar. I know I look normal, but I don’t feel that way inside. In my school days, I was always on the fringe of any group I was a part of. I felt awkward and not just at school, but in a larger sense, like I didn’t fit into the world and since I’ve never felt like I fit in, fitting in has never been on my agenda.

I consider myself a non-conformist. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I would rather wave at the bandwagon and walk the other way every time. I don’t adopt traditions passed on to me because they’re traditions. I evaluate them and alter them to suit me. I avoid fads and ignore the latest technology. I develop my own way of doing things and then develop another way of doing that same thing ad infinitum. Some people seem to want to live their lives in a straight line. I’m working on a decorative flourish.

I’m not a stereotypical woman. So-called women’s work, cooking, baking, housekeeping, decorating, and the like are all things I have no interest in pursuing. I’ve managed to followarrowmake a home doing the above only sporadically and some not at all. I’m amazed at women who bake and decorate cookies, churn out delicious, healthy meals for their families, shuttle their kids to sports and lessons every night, keep a clean, orderly, attractive abode, work a side job, and still manage to look pretty and fashionable all at the same time. These Supermoms inspire me with their determination and intention, but not to follow suit. I’ve stopped trying to cram myself into that mold and am concentrating on being my most authentic self. 

I’m not ambitious, productive, or successful by the world’s standards. I have dreams but to do list2they’re airy, there’s no substance to them. I set up goals and never take aim. I don’t make to do lists or accomplish much. I’m missing the motivation chip and have to push myself all the time. If I make a meal or put my laundry away or write something, I congratulate myself. As a health care aide, I spend my days spreading comfort and cheer, wiping noses and bums and I have no intention of bettering my lot. I’m content, climbing the ladder holds no temptation for me.

While I lack the industriousness of a beaver, I possess the spontaneity of a butterfly. My concept of time is very fluid. I’ve never worn a watch and make few plans for my days off beyond time with my spouse and kids or meeting friends. I flit from flower to flower, enthralled by beauty, extracting sweetness. I stop and smell the roses figuratively and literally. That’s one thing I do and do well.tung-minh-253182

I’m captivated by the little details; sprinkles, sparkles, bangles, baubles, splashes, splotches, piping, trim. Put something extra on it and I’m in. I once bought a rain coat because it had a tag on the inside pocket that said “Joy”. The jacket is long gone, the tag sparkly shoes2remains. I own a skirt with pockets on the backside. The underside of the pocket flap is striped and, after washing, often flips up. I never iron it. I want the stripes to show themselves. I wonder why they didn’t put them on the outside in the first place. I can’t throw away bows or bits of ribbon or lace that come on gifts or purchases and they usually end up on my Christmas tree. I have a pair of black, sequined pumps. I call them my party shoes and I’m always excited to put them on at Christmastime. I own two pairs of reading glasses; one sexy librarian type and one quirky pink and purple pair. The latter don’t look good on me. I bought them for the sake of silliness.

The ways people express themselves through hair, makeup, dress, piercings, and tattoos and the things people choose to purchase all say something about who they are. I admire people who wander away from the ordinary.

I find Gwen Stefani with her perpetual, experimental hair, makeup, and costume changes dizzying and delightful. When she was on The Voice, part of the reason I watched it was to look at her.

The contestant on American Idol, La’Portia Renae, not only has a powerful singing voice, but the hair on that woman is “in your face” bold and glorious.

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La’Portia Hair Look-a-like

I once contemplated getting dreadlocks, but was dissuaded by a man with dreads in a mall. His hair was huge and magnificent. We were waiting in line for the ATM and I told him I liked it.

“If I could give it to you, I would,” he said woefully.

 

I adore men who aren’t afraid to wear girlie colors and who can rock a bow tie. I saw a man downtown once in the chill of snowy winter dressed in white from his suit to his pointy-toed shoes. He looked shocking, dapper, and attractive in an elvish sort of way. He truly caught my eye.funny-629675_1920 (1)2

Speaking of shoes, I remember a day when a high school friend and I agreed to dress up and wear the Chinese flats we bought together. I didn’t have an extensive wardrobe and had no idea what one wore with Chinese flats. I paired them with a crepey, blue, church dress.

I realized my transgression when overhearing some girls snickering, “How could she wear those shoes with that dress?”

I was made to feel shame over shoes. Over shoes! This world is so ridiculous sometimes. You’ll miss out on scads of fascinating folks if you insist on judging people by what they wear. I actually like those Wal-Mart photos with all those people dressed in such wacky ways. Be who you are! Wear what you like! Let them take pictures!

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My Cool Friend

I have a number of friends who fall into the distinctive style category. In high school, there was my friend with the spiked strawberry blonde hair. In the snapshot I hold of her in my mind, she’s wearing her cherry red suit and her signature pink lipstick or her layers of pearls over a pink polka dot tunic and matching pants. She was visually delicious! I have another friend who always has a flower in hair. She wears vivid colors and striking patterns and accessorizes with abandon. When I look at her I feel alive. A recent friend looks like she walked straight out of the 1950’s with her black bob and cat eye glasses. She’s the epitome of cool.

 

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My Beguiling Friend and her Girl. Photo by Warren Gamache.

I don’t think I’ll ever get one, but I find tattoos beguiling. Being someone who seeks out the new, something that permanent would be a commitment I’m not willing to undertake. Tattoos used to be edgy, worn by convicts, bikers, and soldiers, but have been conscripted by the masses, accountants, plumbers, and housewives, and have become more common. I love the artistry and the story behind them. It takes courage to allow someone other than a surgeon to take what is essentially a scalpel to your skin and inject pigment, no less. It’s significant that so many sign up to become human canvasses, walking artwork. I had a patient once who had tattoos traversing her breasts and traveling down into her hoohaw. That woman was audacious! I wonder if she or any others in the marked multitudes regret their choices as they age. I hope not.

I like people who are a little different. I’d rather have a spicy taco than a white bread sandwich. I put this up on twitter and got some interesting people following me. One had a coffin on his profile pic, another a spooky ghost girl. I like different, but, sorry,  I’m a little wary of scary.

I like people who do things they’re not good at openly and with passion. Yoko Ono can’t sing, but that doesn’t seem to stop her, which I kind of like (more than actually listening pollysinging2to her sing). I used to organize special music at a church I attended. There were individuals on the roster who weren’t perfect singers, I include myself in this, and yet, wanted to share in that way. We think God can only use our best to bless others, but he’s not so close-minded and limited. I miss the kids plunking out their first song on the piano and the old ladies playing their autoharps. Polished isn’t always prime.

I like people who are inappropriate. I’ll admit, there is inappropriate bad and inappropriate good, but proper is so static, so boring. I recall a Christmas pageant where Joseph was played by a portly boy reminiscent of Homer Simpson. Halfway through the production, the sash of his robe gave way revealing his tighty whities. Rather than quietly closing his curtains, the boy went renegade and began bouncing off the set, knocking things over. A woman scrambled onto the stage, chasing the boy which exacerbated things as it appeared the boy thought he was now involved in a game of tag. We in the crowd convulsed in uproarious laughter. Would I exchange this moment for what was supposed to happen, a relatively uneventful children’s Christmas pageant? Would you?

Remember the house in Edmonton with the garish garage? I’ve seen a number of other intriguing digs since then:

  • In that same neighborhood, there was a house painted gold and green, the colors of the local CFL football team. I appreciate their fanaticism, but do question how this will affect their resale value. I also appreciate that they obviously don’t care.scarydolls2
  • Another home a couple of blocks from my home in Edmonton had a doll-sized ladder running up the side facing the street. Climbing up this ladder, were weathered, crack-eyed, naked dolls with matted hair. I’m not kidding.
  • I was privileged to lay eyes on a tiny, white bungalow with a veranda near downtown Calgary with a sign over the doorstep that read “Cottage Cheese”. How cute is that!
  • A house in my current neighborhood has a fountain that looks exactly like a stone toilet. It’s on our regular route for walking and would be a convenient place to take a dump, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s visible and located on someone’s private property. I’m tempted to throw a couple of chunked up O’ Henry Bars and a handful of corn in there, but that would be terribly immature of me.
  • I regularly walk around the neighborhood at my workplace on my break and there’s one front yard where the ubiquitous garden gnome isn’t posh enough. A little business man complete with briefcase and a doctor looking like he’s just come out of surgery add an air of dignity to the landscaping.

The last home I had in Edmonton we built ourselves. The land, formerly an old brickyard, was located beneath the downtown skyline in the river valley. We were the first ones in and managed to get in cheap and eventually cash out at twice what our home was originally worth. The houses all had front porches and the developer planted trees along the boulevards. With the required landscaping, it promised to be a very    charming place to live. They kept the name, The Brickyard, but we called it The Beige- signboard-1770895_1920yard because almost every house built after ours was a bland beige or grey. My lemony yellow number looked sweet and refreshing against that dull backdrop. If you’re a conservative type, I encourage you to look inward and find that lemony yellow part of you that wants to stand out, cultivate it, and show it to the world. Open your mind to those who are different and be enriched and entertained. If you’re already an original, be gentle with those who have a hard time accepting you, but don’t ever stop being who you are. Be brave and put your full freak on. I’ll be watching for you.

Complete the experience and go listen Jordan Smith’s Stand in the Light

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

The Following is a Public Service Announcement for those Individuals who lead Incredibly Hectic Lives

I know who you are. You’re the ones who drive up behind me drinking your
overpriced, grande slew resembling coffee, with a shot of this and a shot of that, and oh, distracteddriving2yes, a  1/2 shot of that, too, please, chock full of sugar and cream, topped with sprinkles and a tiny umbrella, while clipping your toenails, and texting your BFF about the grave hangover that is at present causing you temporary blindness.

Would you mind terribly if I asked you to pass me? I know you have important things to doggietailgating2attend to; a proposal to wing, a meeting to tune out, tweets to catch up on and I empathize, I really do. The thing is, I don’t think I’ll be moving faster anytime soon. Five plus the speed limit is my top note and I prefer to relax into my day. I also know that emanating from my vehicle is an irresistible pink cloud of warmth and good cheer which you are unconsciously drawn to. Still, please refrain from snuggling up. We don’t want to cause an accident, because then you’d really be late for the stressful, boring job that you loathe and I can’t have that.

I’m convinced that you’re fully capable of making this maneuver due to the fact that even with the circus act happening in your automobile you still find a way to put the gesture-772977_960_720loser sign on your forehead (Come now, don’t be too hard on yourself. You all have bad days now and then). I’ve decided from here on in, whenever I see that gesture, to view it as a cry for help. I’ll hug the shoulder, wave and smile and allow you to sideswipe me as you whiz off into a frenzy.

I’m so glad we’ve reached this understanding. Thank you for your patience and cooperation in advance and have a cr..happy day! 😉

Complete the experience. Go read this article and watch the clip about road rage and the music that curbs it. Fascinating!

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

Ban the Bully

I was living in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’d just moved from Sterling Heights, Michigan midway through the 5th grade. Over that summer, my parents bought a house in another community and any headway I’d made in the friend department was lost as I changed schools again. I was to attend Grimsrud Elementary School just around the corner and down a long hill from our new home.

I was a short, stocky kid, already wearing a bra by this time, strawberry blonde with a gibbled mouthful of teeth and an unusual name, plenty of ammunition for kids to use desksagainst me. I was seated that year near two boys, one behind me, sweet and kind with hair and teeth similar to mine, and the other next to me, chubby, a towhead with freckles, and chock full of sarcastic wit. After our work was finished and we had free time, we formed a triangle of fun, sketching goofy cartoons and passing them back and forth, collaborating and laughing.

This display of friendship got me noticed. There was a group of girls, all slim and pretty and fashionably dressed already, who decided I was a challenge. This awkward, plump, plain girl was horning in on their territory, though the two boys I was fraternizing with were hardly popular girl prey.

It began with the name calling. The only one I can remember is “slut”. I was being called a “slut” for talking and laughing in a classroom with a couple of 6th grade boys. There’s no logic to it, which makes sense now that I know the brain doesn’t fully develop until after the age of 18. Soon enough, they were threatening to beat me up on the way home. I felt confused, alone, hurt, and afraid.

I don’t know how long it took me to do something about it. I didn’t tell my parents and I didn’t have any close friends at school yet, but I had a good teacher. His name was Rick scan0001Buresh and it says something about him that I can remember his name almost 40 years later. He was a gentle, kind man and I obviously trusted him. It was a hard thing to do, standing in front of his desk in the portable after the rest of the students had gone, head hung in undeserved shame, sobbing my way through that silly, sad story.

He never questioned the truthfulness of my tale. He asked for a list of names. The bullying stopped the next day. I never heard another mean word from those gals. One of them even apologized to me a year later bullyfreezoneafter becoming my friend. I’m grateful to Mr. Buresh and the parents of those girls for sending a clear message that what they were doing wasn’t okay and needed to stop. I’m grateful that the girls themselves accepted discipline and didn’t lash out at me for reporting them.

This was not the last time I was bullied. I had the same issue in junior high after we moved to Canada. The second time around I was brave enough to ask one of my tormentors what the problem was and she said, “It’s because I don’t like you.”

I also had a brief episode four years ago in one of my first jobs as a health care aide. It’s as if I have “lacking confidence” tattoed on my forehead and a permanent sticky note on my back that says, “Bully me.” Even as an adult, I couldn’t confront the bully, but took it, went home and cried, and then avoided taking shifts on that wing thereafter. Truly, I fear the added embarrassment of looking like a blubbering fool because, if I stood up for myself, I might dissolve into a puddle of tears.

I shared my sorry history with a friend, how I seemed to be a target for bullies, and she made me laugh out loud.

Fairy_in_the_Window—_New_Orleans,_USA“That’s like being mean to a fairy,” she said.

It appears I need a good talking to, a Polly pep talk. I need to speak with both the timid girl and the weak-willed adult. I know that talking to yourself is considered to be a sign of mental illness, but living in this crazy world is enough to make all of us a little bonkers, so I include you who are reading and anyone who has ever been harassed.

Here we go:

  • It’s not about you, it’s about the bully. The bully is broken, suffering, and terribly insecure, feeling small and she’s angry about it. She’s body building, following the program prescribed by her personal trainers, those who have disrespected and abused her. Her meanness seems to come out of nowhere. You think, “What just happened here? What did I do to deserve this?” You did nothing. It’s coming from her pitiable life. It points to a lack of love and if anything, she desperately needs our compassion. It’s her dysfunction, don’t own it.
  • Don’t listen to anything she has to say and certainly don’t believe it. Her words are spiteful fiction. She’s poisonous. Get away from her as soon as possible. Give your banbullyphone number out to only those you trust implicitly and whatever you do, stay off of social media. You aren’t what people think or say about you. Don’t fill your mind with that garbage.
  • Don’t take it. Do what you have to do to get free of it. Gather friends around you who will support you, tell your siblings and parents, tell the teacher, the guidance counselor, the principal, the school superintendent, whoever will listen and do something about it. If your efforts come to naught and the bullying continues, don’t stay in that toxic environment. Ask if you can change schools or if home schooling or online education is a possibility. Find a place where you feel safe.
  • Don’t allow the harassment to steal your peace or plunge you into depression. Don’t even think of taking your life. Seek medical attention. Talk to a counselor. Treat your battered soul with tenderness. This is a blip on the screen of your existence. It will fade and pass away. Don’t cower in the shame of it. Get it out in the open. Expose the perpetrator. Stepping on people makes a bully feel powerful. When you stay down she wins. Stand up. Don’t ever stop fighting back!
  • I’ll speak directly to those of you who think you’ve brought it on yourself. You’ve made some bad choices and you’re suffering the consequences. We all do and say choice-2692575__480things we wish we wouldn’t have, me included. No, unfortunately, you can’t take that picture back or undo that impetuous act, but you can love and respect yourself enough to stop degrading yourself. You can allow a mistake to define you or you can learn from it and let it go. When my mind insists on rehearsing some regrettable behavior, I tell it as many times as I have to that I don’t wish to think on that anymore. Do what you can to remedy the situation, but move on with hope and resolve to walk in dignity.

You’re beautiful and intelligent, the only you, gifted in unique ways to contribute to the beautification and betterment of this world. Don’t let some small-minded acquaintance you-are-beautifulruin your life or even your day. I’m with you and I’m not the only one! Victims, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, co-workers, managers, bosses, we all must work together to obliterate abuse of any kind wherever we are. Victims and bullies alike must be heard, helped, and healed. Kindness should never be random and it’s not optional. It’s required of every human being to create a healthy society and we must hold each other accountable.

Complete the experience. Listen to Hunter Hayes’ Invisible.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

My Mother’s Dog

One of my pet peeves is people who don’t pick up after their pets. A walk in the spring is like tiptoeing through the pooch shit.

I had a dog once. The only reason we had a dog was because one of my mother’s clients offered it to us. It was a toy poodle. It was cute, especially when the groomers didn’t turn it into a topiary tree.
Continue reading “My Mother’s Dog”

My Children Have Me

For my children

I have children and my children have me

They have my body

They took from me to form

The bricks and mortar of their frames

All mine

They grew inside

And forced their way into the world

And took me with them

 

They have my time

My resources are theirs

Their sustenance and shelter

Come at my expense

My help, consistent and intense

They flourish in the wake of all my tenderness

I carry and support them

 

They have my mind

My thoughts are oft of them

Their lives, their health and happiness

My meditation

Now become my true vocation

They learn and try, excel and make mistakes

And I applaud them

 

They have my heart

They had it from the first

My love for the them far from a wispy, passing notion

More like a sure devotion

No matter where or who they are

I cannot help but love them

 

They have my cells, my time, my care, my mind, my money, and my love

My listening ear

My best advice

My fervent prayers

My biggest hugs

There’s not a day that passes by

That I don’t thank the Lord above

That I have children and my children have me

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Amy Sky’s I Will Take Care of You.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

 

Thanks or No Thanks?

As I write this, I’m thinking of some of you slumped into your couches, warm and dozy, bellies full and rounded, resting in the company of your loved ones. Canada, did you have a happy Thanksgiving?
Continue reading “Thanks or No Thanks?”

Gag Me with a Dessert Spoon

I touched an open bag of celery the other day, but quickly withdrew my hand. Yikes, that was close.

When I was child, I was a picky eater. I had an over-developed gag reflex which I honed to perfection. No green thing could touch my lips and my food was not allowed to appetite-1238251_19202congregate. I pretty much subsisted on dry cereal, cheese, corn, and buns. Many a night, I sat at the table vacantly staring at the cold, bacteria-laden dinner I refused to eat. My parents had to warn me before going to someone’s house that I was to sit by my mother and she would give me what I liked. Under no circumstances was I to utter the “Y” word (yucky). My parents were never in the habit of cursing anyone, but Oscar the Grouch was an exception.
Continue reading “Gag Me with a Dessert Spoon”

Coming and Going

A piece of my heart has wandered far from me.

I’ve had a number of firsts recently. I’ve never been on an all girl road trip. I’ve never traveled so many miles without a parent or my husband at the steering wheel. I’ve never had a child move out of my home. Until now.
Continue reading “Coming and Going”

Here’s to Fall

When the summer gasps its last vestiges of warmthyellow leaf
When the leaves go chameleon and give up their green
This is my new year
My time to ponder change
Not in the frigidness of winter
Cloaked in the frozen shawl of ice and snow
But in the fluidness of fall
Where trees put on a fashion show
And conjure up the color still within them
Before they bare it all
Fall is where I’m primed to see what color still resides in meredleaf
What gold or burnished red I can effuse
And so affect my world for good
Fall spurs me on to change
To let the dead and ugly fall away
Fall tells me it’s okay to rest
To wonder, wait, and pray
For a rebirth
Here’s to Fall!

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

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