Friday, March 1, 2024

Mar 2024


My Balcony Buddha ponders the eternal play of Lions and Lambs
Blue is merely the milieu
Not the mood.
Yesterday was definitely
A day of the Lion
Here in Toronto…
And today’s totally
Laced with a
Sunny and sweet
Demeanour, today is
Like Shari Lewis’s

So... Leap Day was a Lion
Which gave
The First of March
The opportunity
To be a Lamb.
Thank you, Science,
For bringing in our new month
Brimming with hope
And eagerness…
No matter that
Environment Canada
Says there will be
A plethora of both lions
And lambs in store
This month.
Let’s all simply
Bask in the
Time of the Lamb
While it lasts.

Pondering is optional.
If this isn't nice, what is?
              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Feb 24

Everything old is new again...

A few weeks ago, Kate and David
Joined friends in the Riviera Maya,
Just south of Cancun in Mexico…
For lots of sun, sand, tacos, tequila,
Tzereques, pisotes, iguanas,
Howler monkeys, peacocks, and
One very friendly cat.

A trip to the ruins of Tulum
The fort that the Mayans
Built as their coastal defence
Sometime before the 13th century…
And abandoned
At the end of the 16th century.
Yup she’s old,
But with the tourist development
In Cancun, Tulum is now back
On the beaten track…
Indeed she’s now her own destination.
Her splendour renewed
By all the attention, she sprawls aglow
In her own wonder.

Like Tulum, I, too, have become old…
OK less old in years, but still officially
People-y old.
And a few weeks before
My November b’day
I undertook an adventure
To renew my own splendour…
And now after lots
Of generous attention
From dentist Dr. Divya Patel
And the whole delightful staff
At Dr. Teodoro Happy Tsang’s
Main Street offices, I am
Proud to announce:
As of this past Monday
I have nine new teeth!!!
Here’s a pic.

The good news is
You can’t tell the diff…
But I certainly can.
Now I’m learning to eat again…
I’m learning to talk again, too.
I have quite a lisp
Which Dr. Patel says will
Gradually disappear.
In the meantime, remembering
Last month’s alliterative poem,
I’ve read the first stanza
Of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,
Both before and after
Installing the new teeth.
As benchmark, I’ll re-read
That same stanza each week…
Throughout each day
I have little sessions where I say
Over and over and over again
Just like an eager actor warming up
For a big show.
Yes, I’m practising sprawling aglow, too,
In my own renewed wonder.

Me and Tulum.
There’s a lot to be said for simply

As usual this month’s calendar in higher-resolution form, lives here. In the same folder there is also a version without the RED LEATHER-YELLOW LEATHER line at the bottom, in case, like me, you’d rather spend this month with just Tulum’s unadulterated beauty on your desktop. In that same folder I’ve included the animals Kate and David encountered around their hotel... a couple of them are little movies!
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course


Sunday, December 31, 2023

Jan 2024


A Hasty and Heartfelt Hosanna
     to Halliteration...

Today’s missive
Is brought to you by
The letter H...
     With appreciation
     To Craig Mod
     Via his newsletter,
     Roden: Issue 088.

Of all the lessons learned
From my Texas public school
English lexicons,
Those about alliteration
Captured my imagination
With the most immediate
And ever-lasting glue.

Just think:
Here is a form of writing
That we best observe,
And even enjoy
When we read it aloud.

Its history goes back
To Old English epic poetry
Like Beowulf
And Middle English ones
Like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
          Which Robin Sloan…
               As has often been his
               New Year’s Day wont…
          Will again read aloud to us all
          Live today at 1:00 pm ET.

Alliteration was first identified
By Giovanni Potano
In the 15th century,
The word comes from
The Latin word littera,
Which translates as
Letter of the alphabet.

The form found its foothold
In Old High German,
Old Saxon and Old Irish…
Not to mention it apparently
Had roots in classical Latin,
Greek, and Sanskrit poetry.

Today, so Wikipedia says,
Alliteration is used poetically
In many languages
Including English, Arabic, Irish,
German, Mongolian, Hungarian,
Somali, Finnish, Icelandic,
American Sign Language!!!

Just think:
A form of writing
That we best observe,
And even enjoy
When we read it aloud…
Being observed,
And even enjoyed
By people who
Cannot hear it.

I am
Awed, and even
And I do adore
And appreciate
The letter A
Therefore, I hereby Appoint
The letter A
As host of
The Advent of
A year of Alliteration.
I invite you to Activate
Your own Alleritations list.
One letter to sponsor
Each fortnight:
I suggest
At least three words:
   One noun
   Modified by
   Two adjectives
Like beautiful blue bubbles.
But you can decide which
Three words…
Just make a list of
As many words
As you want
For each letter
Starting today
And proceeding every-other
Monday throughout this year.

I’ve made a little PDF list
Just to make it easier
For us all to be
   On the same page…
   In the same position…
   With the same paddle.
At this time next year,
If you’re so inclined,
I invite you to initial your page
And scan it and send it back to me…

I promise to read your words aloud.
Today’s image is from my grandson Jackson, taken on his recent trip to Portugal. He reports: this is Lagos, early morning...  absolutely gorgeous beaches with a lovely boardwalk that takes you along the coast… crystal clear water that was perfect for floating in.

If this isn't nice, what is?

~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Dec 2023

In memory of a dear friend...

Teresita Patricia Gonzalez Magnon
Was born in Mexico City.
An Aries, about six years after
My own Sag birth in Seattle.
We both went to high school
And university in San Antonio, Texas.
But we didn’t meet until
We both worked for EQAO,
In Toronto 1997.
She was director of assessments
And I was a temp typist…
Actually working as a graphic designer
And copyeditor.
We bonded over the work…
And the love of Mexican Food.

We both moved on,
Me to actually learn digital design
And she to work with UNICEF
With consulting educational assignments
All over the world,
Including Nairobi, Moldova, and two years in Vanuatu!
We always kept in touch
And when she moved back to Canada
She lived just a few blocks from me.

Continuing her advocacy
For children everywhere,
I was privileged to copyedit
Teresa’s UNICEF reports.
I learned so much about
Truly important issues about education
In places like Montenegro, Turkmenistan, and Albania.

We regularly met for brunch at our local diner
Or for our fave Mexican street food
At Broadview’s own El Charro—
Now moved to a bigger spot
On the Danforth.
A few years ago, Teresa went on
A long-dreamed-of African safari.
The pix, which I’ve shared here,
Were amazing… and I loved
Hearing of all of her adventures.
This past year she made a big trip
To visit with her family in Mexico
And she travelled to many of her favourite
Parts of her home country.
Teresa passed before she could tell me all,
But she did send some pix.
This month’s calendar is one of my faves.
I miss her… but I’m happy with
All the delightful memories
Of my friend Teresa.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, October 30, 2023

Nov 2023


Tis the season of cottages and black cats...

A couple of weeks ago,
Peter came up and
We drove to London together
To see Lucas’s doc,
Homelessness in London,
At the Forest City Film Festival.

We got to have a delish lunch
With the filmmaker himself…
Then to see his film
Along with five other films
That addressed issues
Involving mental health.
We were touched and
Sooooo proud,
Even posing for
A red carpet pic together.

Twas a wonderful—even if overcast—day.
Bonus was seeing
All the autumnal colours,
Particularly as we
Started out heading north
Along the Don Valley Parkway.
I didn’t try to take any pix
From our moving car,
But Marje sent me this one
From her family cottage,
On this remarkable little lake
North of Toronto.
Like in my Nov 2018 precedent,
I’ve hidden some black cats here…
Five of them for you to find.
Here’s a black cat for you
In case you’d like
To add one—or more—to your own







November marks the time
To write your own story.
Why not get started on yours?


Have a great Mo/November
Be sure to remember
While you're remembering
On the eleventh:
Et al.
His birthday
And pleas
For humanity.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Oct 2023

A time for choices...

Once upon a time
Peter’s dad and I
Discovered that we
Shared a long-time yen…
It wasn’t a prolonged discussion…
Just a random admission
That we each had always
Harboured the yen
To live in Australia.

The planning did take
A long time.
First were the formal applications
And the waiting for approvals…
Then the divesting
Of all our Texas stuff.

Then the decision to travel
To Sydney via six months
In Mexico…
Because... maybe we’d
Never be able to return
To see stuff we’d always
Saved for “next time.”

Oz presented us with
Choices of the
Starting-over variety…
The chance to
Reinvent ourselves
Each with our own tools
From our pasts.

Many more choices
Most with the awareness
That timing within
My lifespan can
Give breadth to
New hopes and aspirations...
To expand my options
For my future self
To relish.

Of course, some choices
Grabbed me by the nape
Of my neck and
Forced me to reconsider.

Decisions are like that, eh?
Neither good nor bad…
Just creating a fork in the road
That can change everything.
At the budding starts
Of their careers,
Lucas and Lauren have chosen
The magic of Halifax
To be their first home together.
This month's offering is another pic
Showing us yet another reason
For their choice:
Sunrise from Point Pleasant Park.

Early last month
Peter and Lisl visited them
And saw for themselves…
The nature and the food and the culture.

and the food

and the culture.

From the Maud Lewis exhibit
At the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
To the rooftop reading room

At the glorious Halifax Central Library
All just short hops
From their delightful new digs.
I applaud.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Sept 2023

Sunrise...  Moonset... 
One season following another...

Thursday morn greets both
Rise and set…
And my westward view 
Is multiplied
In heaven’s splendour.

As you know by now,
I always see the sunrise
Reflected back to me
On the buildings
Across the Don River
From my 18th-floor aerie.
But Thursday's sunrise
Underlines this moon's

This moon is 
Both blue and super.
With my continuing obsession 
With the colour blue,
I’d like it to be actually blue, 
But, alas, a blue moon
Is not at all blue… 
In hue.
You know the expression,
“Once in a blue moon?”
This is simply the olde timey
Designation for 
Any second full moon
Within any given month.

But this blue moon
Is also super.
That part refers to
The distance of the moon
From the earth.
Because the moon’s orbit
Is an oval, which means that
The earth-to-moon distance varies
And because of that the moon
Appears to us as changing size
We simply see the moon
As hugely bigger.

Scientists apparently
Don’t all agree
On what the distance
Must be to qualify as super,
But this blue moon qualifies
To everybody.

The next time the moon
Will be this close to the earth
Will be on 5 Nov 2025…
And this will be the last
Super blue moon until 2037.

I can hardly wait!

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course