Posts tagged with Local Ingredients

This Is Better Than That

"Whatever gets you through your life 'salright, 'salright, Do it wrong or do it right 'salright, 'salright, "

John Lennon's lyrics to "Whatever Gets You Through the Night.", have played through my head numerous times over the years, too numerous to mention.

Most of you reading this blog have at one time or another been in extreme pain, and whether that pain was physical, mental, or spiritual, more than likely you have had many opportunities to feel the effects of how life changing and challenging pain can be.

Pain over the sudden loss of a loved one, news that someone you know and love has a terminal illness, or receiving a negative diagnose of a personal nature is indeed life changing.

Whether it is depression that is getting you down, temporary blues over the loss of a job, a physical ailment, or something more permanent, I hope you'll give the technique I"m talking about a chance to change your attitude by focusing in a more positive manner.

I didn't invent, "This is Better Than That", I don't even remember what it was called when I first heard about it, but the idea is that you begin each day with a mental list that you keep track of to compare what you have done as to being better than anything else that you experienced in the day.

Example: I wake up in excruciating pain, I turn over and the pain is slightly less. I say to myself, "This is better than that".

Next I get out of bed and I feel the cool, smooth floor underneath my feet and I ask, "Is this better than the decreased pain of my earlier movement?"

If it is then it goes to the top of my list. Next item may be something as simple (and endearing) as seeing my child's smile and noticing he/she is missing a front tooth - this immediately goes to the top of my list.

The idea is that if we concentrate on always looking for the next best thing to put on the top of our list. we tend not to focus on the negative things; they are ignored or not as noticeable since they are not what we are paying attention to for our list

.At the end of the day, as your head touches the pillow and just seconds before you drift off to sleep, spend a minute or two thinking about your list and remember as you go through all of the positive things that occurred in your day which one of them was better than all the rest.

If you have been used to thinking in a negative manner, are seriously depressed over a diagnosis, it might take awhile to retrain your thinking pattern.

You DO have control over how you LOOK at things that are happening, or have happened, in your life even though you may not have control over what actually happens or happened. Take back some of the control by how you choose to look at things and don't forget to ask, "Is this better than that"?

What techniques or tools have you utilized to help you transition through a difficult time period or loss?

We have had numerous losses within our community over the past couple of months - what advice would you give to those people who have lost a loved one to help them make it through their life?


Give Us This Day Our Daily Haiku

Go ahead, you know you want to, you know you need to, you know you can't stop yourself, you know you can't live without it.

People are uniquely different - I have a girl friend who years back would take one photograph each day that she felt best captured her feelings for that day. These days she is writing a daily haiku - what a thing to do!

Some people take a daily shower or bath, others fit in a daily routine of exercise or a walk with their doggy. Still others take the time to read their favorite daily newspaper (mine is the Lawrence Journal World), or to watch that favorite television show.

One of the things I have been most surprised about while writing blogs is how popular anything about poetry seems to be. People whom I would never have thought of having poetic minds or thoughts have surprised me with intricate, beautiful, soulful poetry.

So here goes - a living, ongoing, changing forum. Give us this day my daily haiku......please come on daily and post a haiku that best describes your emotional state, your day at work, your romantic life, an interaction with the world around you, or a snuggle with your child.


Running Naked With iPhone: Day Two - A New Beginning

Waking up to a crystal clear morning in the Rockies - it doesn't get any better. The devastation of the campsite by pine beetles seemed less foreboding than it had appeared in the cold rain of the previous evening. Although the first words out of my mouth, "I'm not leaving the tent until the sun is up and the temperature is 70 degrees. No, make that 80 degrees", the thought of campfire coffee, bacon and eggs, and a roaring fire enticed me to exit the comfort of the queen-sized bed with overlaid sleeping bags.

Once the sun came over the mountains, the cool night air warmed immediately. So much so, that we discarded layers of clothing to begin exploring the area surrounding the campsite.

We noticed many small signs of life: a new beginning that provided not only hope that in time this site would return to the beauty of the past (knowing that probably wouldn't happen in our lifetime), but also a gentle reminder of the cycle of life. The knowledge that nature has a way of regenerating and doesn't require much in the way of help from mankind.

The lure of wildflowers, a mountain stream, and the instinctual use of our senses enabled us to first 'trip' across a mother moose with her calf, enabling us to see sights to which I previously would have been oblivious.

Once we spotted the moose, we began circling around her to position ourselves closer, but with an awareness not to come between her and her calf.

As we circled, we became aware of what would have been signs, or clues, if we had known what to watch for. These included fresh moose and/or elk scat (poo by any other name), and an area of grass that had been a recent nesting place for a mother and her calf.

Eventually, with much trepidation, we made our way close enough to the female to get these two pictures. The awareness of her odor, her closeness, her sheer size, brought an excitement and understanding of why people hunt - whether that be with camera or weapon. I felt more alive than I had in a long time, scarcely noticing how soaked we were from lightly falling rain, and the dampness of the tall grasses as we made our way through them and back to the bleakness of the campsite.

Within less than a 24-hour period, we had witnessed what many people go their whole lives without seeing. And, we had adapted to our climate enough to have steaks on our plates in time to retreat into the warmth of our vehicle as evening rain fell once more.

(Stay tuned for: "Running Naked With iPhone: Day Three - Letting the Cosmos Decide"


Loku: New Form Of Poetry With Lawrence Roots Sweeps Literary World

Lawrence, Kansas is a melting pot of people and creative ideas erupting with artists, singers, song writers, performers, and entertainers of all varieties.

From this epic center of creativity explodes a new form of poetry referred to as Loku (pronounced low koo), based on the ancient Japanese form known as Haiku.

People the world over are familiar with this simplistic, yet profound, structure of 17 onji, or syllable count, structure of 5-7-5

.Other poetic forms that use a similar structure are the Katuata, Choka, Tanka, Mondo, and Sekoka.

The Katuata uses 19 sound units (onji), or syllable count, with a structure of 5-7-7.

The Mondo form is written by two poets with one person asking the question and the second supplying the answer. An example of the Mondo is as follows:

Why is there no rain

the land cries our for water

but cannot shed tears?

There will be no rain

because you wept time before

when there was some rain.

and is in the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count.

Choka is the most intricate of Japanese poems with a choice of form using either 5-7-7-5-7-7 or 5-7-5-5-7-5.

Enjoy the following example:

The Moth

there is no freedom

escaping from my cocoon

I must seek you once again

I am drawn to you

like a moth to a candle

circling nearer and nearer

the deadly flame calls

now my wings are scorched

why must my nature be so?


The new form of poetry created in Lawrence, Kansas, known as the Loku, is a simple three word, three syllable format

.Example:"two words, three"

One interpretation of the above poem is simply, I love you, or I love thee, since love is the core value of all poetry and a universal language.

It is more difficult to write a Loku poem than it may appear.

Please spend time following the Loku format and share Loku poems of your own creation along with the meaning of your poem.


Reminder to submit science fiction September - excerpt, “The Poet - That Madman”

"Lattw Niwamh moved smoothly and confidently to the front of the packed auditorium. The poetess had given readings of her poetry so many times previously that it caused as much excitement as her morning cup of caffeine free tea. She didn't begin to realize until hours later, having removed her dramatic bright red lipstick, sheer foundation and deep magenta eye liner with matching mascara, as she climbed into bed that evening, that the poetry she had read that day was not her own.

At the exact same instant, another poet, Lyiem Kensocdin, crossed and uncrossed his legs impatiently. He was old fashioned. He was as computer savvy as any of the upcoming poets of the day, but he preferred to sit with his bottle of scotch on the balcony overlooking the courtyard where women and girls in multicolored skirts and peasant tops sashayed far below. Sometimes he could catch the faint odor of their perfumes as they mingled together and made their way to where he sat.

He felt frustrated; he'd been trying to write a poem that he couldn't seem to push out of his mind all day. It wasn't until he closed his eyes for a brief moment that it became clear what he was going to write. He was delighted with the final product - it had flowed out of him as a vessel; the way poetry is supposed to come. It was good, really good and he was excited to share it with his mistress of the past six months - Lyiem went through women like most men consume wine or cigars.

He rang Lattw on his iPhone. No sooner did he begin to recite his poem when she joined in, completing word for word everything he had just written.

What they didn't know, but were about to find out, was that every poet in the world had just written the same poem. There would be many more to come, but where were they coming from. Were they a message from God delivered through the poet to the masses in order to save humanity, or were they something more sinister? Perhaps, they were simply another sign of the poet - that madman."

The previous paragraphs are from my science fiction piece, "The Poet - That Madman"

Rules for the contest:

Submit your original science fiction short by August 1st to (or via ljworld at random)

Your submission must not be longer than 999 words, but it can be shorter.

There will be a panel of five judges from varied backgrounds. Please submit one story only.

Prizes include gift certificate to Borders (supplied by our Fiction 500 winner Roe), and a $50.00 gift certificate to your favorite restaurant.

Top winning stories, along with names of the author, will be published online during the month of September.

Have fun - make it 'unreal'!


Mother’s Day in Lawrence - little hands to big hearts

With children of all ages strategizing the perfect gift for mom for Mother's day, Sunday, May 9th, take a tip from a dear old mom herself and relax, stop sweating the small stuff.

While we may wish and expect something big, like a trip around the world or the world's largest ruby, from the person responsible for making us a mother, our children can generally do, or give, no wrong - just don't dare forget us!

Favorite gift items for Mother's Day years past: home made, heartfelt and anything made from their hands.

Plaster hand print molds, puff paint hand prints on an apron, flowers made from traced hands (cut out, roll inward starting with the thumb, tape at the bottom, then bend each finger backwards so they look like flower petals), or a last minute card, a child and their hands can't go wrong.

Know thine Mother and to her passions be true.

If your mom loves fiction, consider local author Jean Grant's novel, "The Burning Veil," at Raven Bookstore.

More of a poetry buff? You can't go wrong with a book by Mary Oliver.

Art enthusiastic?

How about a Tim Forcade photograph or a Stan Herd painting?

Too pricey - then a trip to The Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - free admission) might be a perfect way to make mom feel special.

If your mom is more of a creative writing mom, with avant-garde thinking and experiences, then tickets at Liberty Hall for Burroughs' documentary Sunday evening at 8, (tickets are $8 a pop and go on sale at noon) may be your winning way into Mom's heart!

Give Mom a hand around the house, lend a hand with making her a special meal, or just extend a hand to hold.

Little hands grow larger but they're always loved by mom.


Do It For Ralph - Do It For You

I'm like most people in that I thought diabetes had very specific warning signs - and lots of them. After hearing about my friend Ralph's horrific experience this morning via email, I realized I had much more to learn about diabetes and maybe you do as well.

Ralph is in his mid fifties, a black male, friendly, intelligent, outgoing. He's the type of person who would appear at your side upon news that your father had been killed in a homicide; a time when everyone else didn't know what to say, he did know and he stood beside me, he stepped up to the plate. I've never forgotten what a terrific friend he became at that time in my life and, although I'd lost contact with him over the years, it didn't hit any less hard when I received news this morning about the horrific effects of a silent killer.

Ralph woke up Tuesday morning blind. He was subsequently taken to a hospital and complained Wednesday morning that he had no sensation in his legs - he was rushed into surgery where it was discovered he had multiple blood clots throughout his legs and pelvic area. His blood sugar was close to 800 when he arrived at the hospital. Ralph didn't have any warning signs of type two diabetes, which isn't uncommon. He had not been tested for it. Now he is fighting for his legs as well as his life.

I couldn't think of anything else to do for Ralph (I am sending thoughts and prayers his direction), but I knew he wouldn't mind that I told you about him and ask you to take the time to be tested for diabetes. It takes just a few minutes out of your day, but it can save your life.

Following lists include symptoms of diabetes - please remember some people (particularly with type two) either experience no symptoms or they are slight enough to be ignored.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

* Frequent urination
* Excessive thirst
* Extreme hunger
* Unusual weight loss
* Increased fatigue
* Irritability
* Blurry vision

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

* Blurry vision
* Cuts or sores that are slow to heal
* Itchy skin, yeast infections
* Increased thirst
* Dry mouth
* Need to urinate often
* Leg pain

When was the last time you were tested for diabetes? If you are a diabetic, how well do you manage your condition?


Go Ahead: Position Me - One Last Time

What's trending now? Okay, so it may not exactly be trending, but I've always wanted to be on the cutting edge of a trend - in this case, the posing edge. I read recently about a guy who was making waves in the funeral circuit by choosing to be posed riding his motorcycle at his final viewing. I guess riding his motorcycle was his big love in life and it was appropriate for people to see him for the last time as he rode off into the life hereafter.

That news item gave me pause to consider not only my biggest loves in my life, but what I would choose to leave as a final viewing impact on those I love. I asked one friend how she'd like to be posed at her viewing and, without pause or hesitation, she said, "Eating a chocolate bar." Now that's really knowing oneself!

I have many loves and interests, so which one would I narrow it down to? I could be posed at a computer desk; ready to blog about what I see when I go through that final doorway and into the beyond. I could be posed as the contortionist I've always admired. Imagine a loved ones reaction as they walked through the doorway and found me standing there to greet them with my body twisted pretzel-like and my face, with a huge grin on it, positioned between my legs! But, after much deliberation, I believe the position most suited for me at this stage in my life would be posed "Running Naked With iPhone"

How about you? How would you like to be positioned that one last time?


Is That a Poem in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

Thursday, April 29th, is 'Poem in Your Pocket" day

It's a day to share your favorite poetry with co-workers, fellow students, a store clerk, a roomate or a new acquaintance.

Spend a few minutes this evening running off copies of your favorite poems and then stuff your pockets or purse with them. Do you have a specific poem for your mechanic, a poetic message for your boss, or will you take this opportunity to spread the joys of the written word by handing out spiritual poetry or funny limericks?

Do you have children? If so, how have you shared your love of poetry with them? What poems would you suggest they share with a teacher, a friend, their grandmother.

Do you think poetry is taught and appreciated as much in present times as it was when you were in school, or when your grandparents where?

Please share the poem in your pocket with us and any you may receive.

Happy poem in your pocket day!


Smoking Your Way Free From Addiction the ‘E’asy Way!

They're the best thing since sliced bread, the invention of the wheel, the combination of the horse and carriage.

I'm talking about the new E cigarettes. You don't have to find a match or a lighter, no need to worry about burning your house down, no tell tale smells of tobacco on your fingers and clothes, no ugly stains or stinking ashtrays. Disgusting smoker's breath first thing in the morning? Nada!

I had an opportunity to try a couple of the differing flavor choices over the weekend and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice they were. Too name a few flavors: cherry, mint and chocolate. I'm a cherry fan from way back and I probably preferred it over the chocolate. Something I didn't enjoy as a previous smoker, I've been clean for 18 years now, was menthol cigarettes, but I actually enjoyed the E- butt menthol version because I could feel it all the way into my lungs. That alive sensation that had always given me so much satisfaction.

Will I take up smoking again? Maybe, on occasion. They're sleek and elegant (you can choose blue or red tipped flames). Another great feature is you control the amount of nicotine - or opt to smoke with none.

I'm hoping the smoking masses (I know you're out there - I see you smoking like fiends in your cars) will make the switch. I'm also hoping they'll figure out a way to give medications (think asthma, THC, or vitamins) through them. Just leave out the calories, please - I seem to find plenty of those.

Imagine once again being able to smoke during your stay in a hospital, after sex, during a long flight, in bed late at night, at your office, after dinner or in a bar, sitting beside someone who can't stand the smell. No second hand smoke - no lung or oral cancers. Vaporize your worries away!

Have you tried the new smokeless E- cigarette? Are you planning to use it to stop smoking or as a healthier substitute for your present addiction?

Money no longer spent going up in smoke. Go green. Get down with vapor.

(Disclaimer: this blog in no way suggests smoking is a healthy choice - it is dangerous, it can kill you and others)