200 Days of Social Distance. A rambling stream of consciousness renku poem

Too much on my mind / internal and external / all consequential

Sleep is so over-rated / Is sleep so over-rated

Six months into it / continue to fret over / every cough. COVID?

And now we go back to school / error on side of caution

First grade at our house / the safest option for us / but not the sanest.

And as a weekend respite / approaches even less rest

Weekend info dump / so much to process at once / makes it hard to care

Just within our family/ hard to grasp what’s happening.

Family history? / aortic aneurysms! / on both sides? Oh. Fuck.

New health items to worry / the already scary list

Grandpa sold his business / but didn’t tell any one? / AAP no more

Sale is final last Wednesday / told us following Friday.

Act of building / moves brain out of turmoil / my bad carpentry

Keeping myself quite busy / to keep all the thoughts at bay.

Little boxes for / the camper, little boxes / for to keep it safe.

Winterizing the camper / requires skills I don’t have.

Yet, camper ready / to face cold snowy weather / Tracy’s winter coat.

A new skill to build upon / or stand up on as it seems.

Building soap boxes / real and metaphorical / world best be ready.

Trying not to scream out loud / all the angry angsty thoughts


The thoughts in my focus / inward – what is, what could be.

Ten years in between / still shaggy with full whiteboards / just a bit more grey

How do I get myself to / a healthy mind-body space

Enact wholesale change / requires plan, time, will, help / not control or fear

Losing weight is not the same / as maintaining weight long-term

desire to be / a better version of me / shake up status quo.

Static stasis stagnant self / seeking searching solutions

Making manifest / that vital vision of self / I see reflected.

Making change moving into / the long cold season Up North.

Leaves ache with color / as heat and sun diminish / the saddest season.

But it is not all sadness / moments of joy will peaks through

Sun sets on the day / beautiful colors greet us / natural ombré

Six months into it / continue to fret over / every cough.
First grade at our house / the safest option for us / but not the sanest
Family history? / aortic aneurysms! / on both sides? Oh. Fuck
Grandpa sold his business / but didn’t tell any one? / AAP no more
Act of building / moves brain out of turmoil / my bad carpentry
Little boxes for / the camper, little boxes / for to keep it safe.
Yet, camper ready / to face cold snowy weather / Tracy’s winter coat.
Building soap boxes / real and metaphorical / world best be ready
Ten years in between / still shaggy with full whiteboards / just a bit more grey
Making manifest / that vital vision of self / I see reflected
Leaves ache with color / as heat and sun diminish / the saddest season

Sun sets on the day / beautiful colors greet us / natural ombré

Posted in catharsis, Getting Healthly, Poetry on the Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

100 Days of Social Distance

This thing
This pandemic
Accidentally devastating
To (un)american ideals
Manifest destiny,
The liberty of individuals
Over the safety of all
But unselective
For those whose
terrible ideals
Put us all in danger.
There are no target
Only transmission
And infection
Traveling the globe
One breath to the next
To the last breath

I can’t breathe
Eight minutes
Forty six seconds
That reminded the world
That injustice continues
Amid the pandemic
And that silence is
Acceptance of
An unsafe status quo
Or worse…
Silence is complicity
So I say:
And speak up and out
Learning to be an ally
My bias and privilege
I can be better
I will do better

I am safe
I am healthy
I am employed
I have food
I have shelter
I have insurance
I have transportation
I have family
I have safety.
I can social distance
I can work from home
I can reduce my risk
Is that enough?
Can it be enough?
It doesn’t feel like enough.
And some days
It is all I can do
To tread water,
Or retreat,
Give ground.

I miss all the things
Frustration Joy overlap
During pandemic
Emotional overload
The too much and not enough
My Superior
office view now abandoned
For basement windows
Work colleagues only voices
Or heads floating on my screen
The Work problems solved
In a few steps down the hall
Now fifteen emails.
collaborative process
Works adequately, maybe
Zooms and Skypes that last
Overlong because we crave
More interaction
Missing those we are not with
And those we’re sheltering with
Grow weary with months
together isolation
And frayed emotions
The constant threatening risk
Will I get it or spread it
Virus is viral
Spreading real and virtual
Fear and unknown
Smart enough to know I don’t
Fatigue abounds on all fronts
Vacations cancelled
Family I desperately can’t see
Not sure when I can
A new normal emerging
Devoid of all certainty
Wear a mask when out
Make things better where I can
Do not make things worse
What does that all even mean
As we pass one hundred days

Posted in catharsis, Creativity, Family, Poetry on the Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

a head full of haiku

Saw aquarium show / fancy tanks reignite love/ for fish-keeping fun

Fish tank Degobah / fish and Jedi are the best / maybe I’ll build one.

Our fish, Tiny Steve / grew up, now Medium Steve / soon to be Big Steve

Severum Cichlid Steve / is now recovering from / being sick with Ich

New tanks of water / rocks and stone, fish and plants await / fish nerd excitement

Kate so excited / a new betta named Baitie / who lives in her room

Brilliant red betta / proudly swims with flared out fins / He shall be called: Red

Five AM freak-out / busy night, scratch, run, wake dog / now curled-up asleep

ladies love the couch / not much happens during the day / secret nap buddies

snow day napping time / everyone gets snuggled in / how long can this last

Sometimes in your dreams / sharp, wet rocks are underfoot / so sleep in swim shoes

Setting up chore board / Katie loves to check off tasks / upset when she can’t

Got lefty scissors / went right to work on her hair / Dad right of passage

Kate cut her own bangs / done while Sara was away / didn’t do half bad

Busy writing a list / groceries we need this week / how to spell: turkey

holding a piglet / hard work as it kicks and squeals / almost got away

Holding baby chicks / is Katie’s favorite thing / so soft and peepy

helping dig us out / her kid-sized shovel in hand / how she loves the snow

Wild wind whips and whoops / push pinwheel past pivot point / burns bright in breakup

Slight orange crust on snow / Texas dust transferred up North / global particles

Spring snow still falling / peeps of green spring, now covered / maybe spring next week

Snow flies like stars / blur as we jump to light speed / fast as Ford Flex flies

snows not yet stopping / but melting as it hits ground / only to form ice

many bird feeder / sixteen species just this week / happy to feed them

dark little birds flit / flashing white bellies and tails / our own junko flock

Pottery art plant / crashed down, cracked from faulty hook / now needs repairs

Epoxy rescue / fix is solid, but messy / also describes me

 A lot of haiku / floating in my head need out / brain to pen to blog

Escaping haiku / many ideas few words / concrete the abstract


Posted in Animals, Creativity, Family, Fatherhood, Fish and fish-related, Poetry on the Blog, Rio the Dog, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Larry the Green Unicorn

A green unicorn named Larry
Had hooves that were incredibly hairy
But he didn’t care
About his foot hair
It made him unique
From his head to his feet
And mostly he was quite merry

But in a herd
Where conform was the word
There was much debate
About Larry’s foot trait
Never mind that he’s green
His feet cause the scene
They said “get your hair trim,
So you can fit in!”

Larry was sad, how could this be
Why can’t my herd just let me be me
But the herd was protection
from things that are scary
Cause often the world
Wasn’t always so merry

So Larry did what he thought he must do
And had his feet trimmed while feeling quite blue
At least, Larry thought, now I will fit in
The teasing will stop, my new time begin

So the newly shorn Larry went back to the herd
But the herd just all laughed, singing “get out of here nerd”
You coat is all shaggy, and too green don’t you think
Our coats sleek and shiny and purple and pink 🦄🦄

Larry was strong in body and mind
But his spirit was broken by words quite unkind
He needed the herd, to provide him protection
But better alone than their cruel rejection

So he wondered away to face his sad fate
But before he got far a voice said “Hey wait!”
I heard what they said, their words were unkind
You can join our herd where no one will mind
If you’re green or you’re orange, with long hair or short
Or two or three horns, we love all sorts

The wonderful voice was Clarisse Pegicorn 
Whose wings clacked together since the day she was born
The herd was quite different and really diverse
All colors, all species, a new universe

Merry once more with the new herd around
Larry could feel his spirit rebound
He found a new home with acceptance and love
With support and safety,  if push came to shove

The moral, thought Larry, is simply profound
Help someone up, instead of pushing them down.
And find all the beings hurting inside
Say “I know that it hurts, I’m right by your side”
Accept everybody for the things that they are
And you’ll gather your herd to help you go far!

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Clarisse “Clacky” Pegicorn

Clarisse is a pegicorn,
about her fate she is forlorn.
She’s not like mom and not like dad,
a fact that makes her o’ so sad.
Her wings are small and not robust,
not like Mom the Pegasus.
Her fur is pink, She’s short on horn,
Not like Dad the unicorn.
Her wings they clack when she does run,
the others tease and have their fun.


Clacky Clacky Pegicorn, the biggest misfit ever born.

And so she cries and plays alone,
wishing, wishing to be all grown.
Oh Mama mama why am I this way,
why won’t the others let me play.
Her momma says we love you dear,
and of those kids have no fear.
They’re narrow minded silly twits,
you have heart, and guts, and wits.
The world is full of friends for you,
to seek them out is what to do.
Friends that love just who you are,
find those friends and you’ll go far.
So Clarisse left the foaling field,
and many friends her search did yield.
A loyal band of different kinds,
the one’s that easy friendship finds.
Bears and sloths and dogs and cows,
they greeted her with sacred vows.
Respect and love that’s what we do,
We are friends, now you are too.
The friends than ran, the friends they played,
they sought adventure day by day.
Her wings still rattle when she runs,
her friends don’t care about that none.
Just call me Clacky, I own that name,
her head held high and without shame.
And with her friend she runs about,
above the clack you hear them shout.

CLACKY, CLACKY PEGICORN, truest friend that’s ever born.

Posted in Animals, Creativity, Do Good., Family, Poetry on the Blog, Stuffy Stories, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pig and Puffin’s Jig and Muffin

A pig and a puffin

Own the Jig and Muffin

A bakery and dancing hall

The cake a delight

Two step out of sight

With lessons for one and all

Toots the pigs got the beat

Puffy puffins got sweets

The venue unique and eclectic

With hardwood and marble

The place is a marvel

The music from waltz to electric

Tarts, scones, and cuppies

Come hipsters and yuppies

We serve all who wish to enjoy

For love is love

And in practice thereof

We treat all with kindness and joy

With lessons in dancing

And baked good romancing

Our weekdays are always quite busy

On Fridays we dance

Saturday wedding romance

On Sundays we calm down the tizzy

So a pig and a puffin

Run the Jig and Muffin

And have a great time each day

Each uses their skills

To pay all the bills

And turn the hard work into play!

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Future Day

Tomorrow is future day at Katie’s new school (daycare till actual school-school starts after Labor Day). For future day kids are supposed to dress like the career they want in the future. Which is great if you want to be a chef or a firefighter. But what if you want to be an aquatic toxicologist (who mostly wears khakis and a polo shirt) or a child and family advocate (who in my experience wear primarily Lularoe). Across the great kaleidoscope of jobs, the ones with specific and recognizable uniforms are pretty few. Plus we can’t all be astronauts and cowboys. What is the computer programmers uniform? A schlubby band t-shirt and jeans – also the official uniform of more than a few scientists.

Ready to be a Lularoe spokes model!

The other future day dilemma is that since we just started this school today, I did not know about future day until this afternoon. Then we (Kate, Sara, and I) forgot to discuss it. So now I have to ask Kate about in the morning. Then, once she answers, figure out how to make the right outfit or eat gaslight help her into making a choice that we already have on hand (pirate, chef, MD, Lularoe consultant). It is a tricky proposition in that in order to get her to wear it she has to be at least a little excited about it, but if she gets overly excited about something we don’t have / can’t figure out she will start the day sad and disappointed (or super villain level snarky/angry because she’s 4). I want her to aspire to do great things. But maybe tomorrow we’ll just try to focus on what we’ve got lying around.

Maybe she can be Moana. That would be a good job I think.

On a positive note, I packed my first kid lunch and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Lunch in her bento box!

The Turkey squirrels are hopefully a hit. She likes things rolled in a tortilla. We made several variants. Liverwurst squirrels, PB&J squirrels, ham squirrel. We call them squirrels as our first inside joke. One day I made them up for her and was calling them swirls, rather than wrap or roll-up, and I misspoke. I called it a braunschweiger squirrel. She giggled and said “Daaayid, I don’t eat squirrels”! And thus was born the joke. Forever in our house anything rolled up in a tortilla shall be a squirrel.

mmmmmm, Turkey squirrels!

Ok, enough for tonight. I need to rest up for tomorrow mornings challenge. But at least lunch is made.

POST SCRIPT: Kate demanded chose to wear a floral dress today. In keeping with the floral theme I suggested a botanist as a future day outfit. Kate, not really understanding what a botanist is or what botany was, was more amenable to being a gardener. To round out the outfit we picked a squash from the garden, a watering can, and gardening clogs (aka crocs). She looked adorable as always.

POST post script: upon arriving no at school, my minimalist approach to future day was validated, as all the other children seemed to have also chosen minimalist future day outfits. Theses mostly consisted of regular clothing with the occasional future directed T-shirt. Although it is very unlikely that Hulk or Lego Ninja are obtainable future careers, it is great to dream big.

Posted in Eating, Family, Fatherhood, Random | Leave a comment

More silly poems about stuffed animals

Bumble Bear – chef


Bumble Bear loves apples and pears
But any fruit will do.
Cold, warm, or hot, she eats them a lot
Her favorite is Bumble’s stew

She makes it herself from things on her shelf
And fruit she picks from the trees
Orange, lemon, limes, and peaches into the brine
All mixed up with joyful glee

She cooks for her friends, who enjoy it no end
And tell her she cooks like a pro
She gives them a wink, toss the spoon in the sink
And off to her restaurant they go!

She cooks duck confit with apples and Brie
And mango with roast honey glaze
First one course, then two, and then comes the stew
And everyone’s full and amazed

As chef de cuisine she arrives on the scene
Her restaurant is quite the sensation
With her talent for food, and her joyful good mood
The night ends with a standing ovation

Zagiree Bruin – graphic artist


Zagiree Bruin has books that she drew in
As early as memories go
And as Zag grew, her talents did too
From paper to digital flow

She draws all the day in black and in grey
And the color her mind can project
Her canvas and clay are the pixels that play
On her monitor, while she directs

Each little scene appears on her screen
For comics, for ads, and for art
Her favorites she knows she holds onto those
Because they are a part of her heart.

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Split Pea Soup

Recipe First. In a large crock pot mix:

2 lbs dried split peas

1 large onion chopped

3 large carrots (or one bag of baby carrots) peaked and choppedb

4-5 bay leaves (make sure to count so you can remove later)

10 cups liquid (6 water, 4 broth – I used chicken better than bullion)

Salt and spice. Roasted garlic powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, red curry paste (1 tsp). Add mostly a couple of shakes of spice at this point. It cooks a long time and it is ok to add spice/salt in the middle to your own taste. If you don’t like these spices don’t add them. See note later on salt.

Mix it all up in crock pot. Set to low.

1 ham steak (usually about 10-12″ diameter 1/2″ thick) cut into quarters. Add to soup

With crock at low, cook for 6-8 hours (until peas break down), stirring occasionally to ensure bottom doesn’t burn.

Check salt and spice level mid cook and salt to taste at end. Remove bay leaves.

Remove ham. Cut into bites size chucks (remove fat and rind).

Serve with sprinkle of shredded cheese or small dollop of sour cream.

Now the text part filled with anecdotes and personal connections that everyone hates or skips in recipe books. 🤮🍵. But if you read through to the end there are a number of helpful hints and suggestions.

Split pea soup is nostalgia in a bowl. Love it or hate it, it likely reminds you of home or your grandma or somebody who used to cook it. My Grandma used to make a big kettle of it with a bi old ham bone in it. I love split pea soup and have made it several times in the past. Those times previous were in a large soup kettle and on a stove top. One time it was awesome. The next time the ham trapped peas on the bottom causing them to burn. The burnt peas then added a not great smoked flavor to the soup. As a single man, I still ate it – what was I going to do throw away 4 gallons of soup???! But lesson learned. In addition, taking with Sara about the idea of pea soup with its big fatty hambone made her gag a bit. So I looked for alternative approaches. I went to the crock pot for better temperature control and less likelihood of burning. It also meant I could be a lazy cook, stirring every once in a while. I used ham steak because it had less bone (less volume) and less fat, but still had good flavor to add. It also wouldn’t interfere with stirring and mixing from the bottom up (what led to previous burnt soups). In the end, I’ve made this several time. Each time was good. They progressively got easier. Below are some tips.

#1 – don’t over salt. Chicken broth and ham are already salty. Don’t add salt at the start. Wait till about half way through the cook, then add salt to taste. Taste again at the end. Add some more as needed. Use less salt than you think you need. It is hard to unsalt soup.

#2 – it is ok to add more water or broth. Think as pea soup is an actual thing. My first back when it cooled could stand up a spoon. Add a cup of hot water (or more) to thin out the whole batch. Or a couple of tablespoons to a cold bowl upon reheating.

#3 – add spices you like. I love spice (#penzey). I add dashes of various spices to liven up the taste. Never enough to overwhelm it. Just a sprinkle or a dash or two. Think shakes not spoons. Also, if you don’t like a spice don’t add it. Hate spicy, don’t add spicy shit. Love spicy add some siracha when serving.

#4 – the peas don’t break down till the very end, don’t panic. Don’t go to the stock blender too early. Let time and temperature do their work. You can always blend it more at the end. Nobody wants hard bits of peas. Just let it cook.

#5 – do the first batch on a weekend where you are home. It isn’t a set and forget soup. It needs some stirring. Just a bit. But enough that the first time out you shouldn’t start it at 8, leave for work and expect miracles at 530 (#mississippipotroast, #kaluapork).

#6 – for added texture add frozen peas near the end of cooking. Just enough time for the peas to warm up not turn to mush. You can also add additional chopped carrots near the end for a bit of more bite. Again don’t add them too early or they don’t add anything new to the party.

#7 – don’t fret if you mess it up. This is a cheap soup to make and it makes a lot. If it tastes bad toss it and order a pizza. Nobody wants two gallons of terrible soup (unless you live near a large number of young single people with questionable taste palates and a willingness to eat anything as long as it is free). If you fuck up, don’t worry. This soup is pretty forgiving. It can take some spice. So if it isn’t to your liking at first hit it with hot sauce or garlic or curry. If that doesn’t work toss it.

Posted in Cooking and Recipes, Eating, Eating Healthy, Family, nostalgia | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Monday?

Is it Monday?

Warm spring evening

As the sun sets

Small warblers flit in the big tree

Eating gnats

Gathering strength

For north woods summer nests

Small fire pit glows

Pops quietly as birds sing

Evening songs

In my backyard

In the city

On a Monday.

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