Gem (Sunday Scribblings)

Peckapalooza over at The Confusing Middle runs a weekly prompt called Sunday Scribblings. Check out his post and join in the creativity!

Sunday Scribblings #107 – Paperclip

At first blush there isn’t too much to say about paperclips. I don’t use them anymore. I barely use paper anymore. Several years ago I went paperless and I’ve enjoyed the lack of clutter from the move. I’m guessing there are still some paperclips around the house. Certainly some of the bigger varieties that can double as closures for chip bags and such. The traditional “gem” version of the paperclip made by a simple bent wire is exceptionally good at holding several leafs of paper, but I’m trying to think of any other reasons to have them around now? I guess the little slot door on the SIM card holder for the iPhone still needs a paperclip to open. What was a smart design at one point due to the ubiquitous presence of paperclips has become a bit inconvenient. They are now providing special “push pins” with the SIM cards to overcome this issue, but I assume this design will be replaced soon.

Regardless of the lack of utility of the paperclip in my modern life, I can still appreciate the simple functionality of the original invention. Just a bit of bending transformed a small segment of wire into a perfect problem solver for over a century. I think of the times when I needed a paperclip and didn’t have one back when I was in school. I had to revert to folding over the corner of my papers and create a small tear tab to hold them together. It was a sad replacement of the sturdy and dependable paperclip. The last resort when handing in school papers as I was always worried my pages would be separated and I’d lose credit for work done.

I guess the major competition for the paperclip were staples. But staples required installation equipment (the stapler) and removal tools (the staple remover). Certainly the staple had the edge for a permanent binding, but how annoying was it to deal with all the staples when needing to copy documents? They even used to have staple removers attached to the paper copier machines. The paperclip was certainly a much more elegant solution and ideal for impermanent binding.

Look at that. I ended up writing a whole thesis on the paperclip. Life continues to offer up surprises.


Be well,

Monty

City of Wood (a Paint Chip Poem)

No Love For Fatties invites us to join in on her Paint Chip Poetry by creating our own poem inspired by the paint chip colors of the week. I think this is a really creative and fun idea. Check out her original post and join in too if you feel inspired.

Paint Chip Poetry


Be well,

Monty

A Miracle


Another good reminder for myself. Originally published in Thirteen Words.


Be well,

Monty


Joyful Jack

Yesterday, upon returning home. Jack was super happy and excited to see me. Without a bath or a trim in over a month he is a ball of scuff, but as cute as ever (don’t you think?). I’m pretty scruffy myself these days too – haha!


Be well,

Monty


Day 18: Going Home

For appropriate context, you will want to first read these posts: “Eleven Days Ago” , “Day 12”, and “Day 13”.

This afternoon we will be released from the hospital to go home. We just took our Covid tests for clearance. We’ll be changing the confines of a hospital for the confines of our community as the Shanghai lockdown continues, but it will be nice to have a bed again. More importantly, it means that my wife is making progress and that’s why they are comfortable to send us home.

This has been quite an ordeal and I sincerely hope that it’s a once in a lifetime experience, but it’s also come with its own gifts. This will be my focus today.


Eleven Things I’ve Learned

  • I can be calm under pressure. This was by far the most intense “emergency” situation that I’ve been in and I did pretty alright.
  • A well-placed bedpan is a lifesaver. I’ve come to appreciate the utilitarian beauty of this simple invention.
  • My wife is a warrior. Ok, I knew this already, but she upped her rank this time.
  • A reasonably good layered look can be achieved by pulling a pony tail over the head (toward the face) and then cutting straight.
  • Caregivers are heroes. From the doctors and nurses to the food servers and ayi’s they do their work in the service of others. They are not perfect (just like the rest of us) but they are full of good intentions.
  • A terribly broken leg would be a good model for a wonderfully nasty Halloween piñata. This is a million dollar idea, but I don’t have the entrepreneurial sprit to capitalize it myself so feel free to steal it.
  • Covid started off as a human tragedy in its own right, but the way governments have responded around the world have compounded the casualties. The west’s loose approach accelerated deaths early in their countries. China’s rigid zero-tolerance policy is accelerating casualties of all kinds now. I can only hope that governments around the world reflect on this experience and learn something for next time.
  • An injection in the belly (of anti-clotting medication) should be located approximately three to four finger widths away from the belly button and jabbed quickly at ninety degrees from the skin surface. It is scary but it is doable.
  • Meaningfully reflecting on the gifts we receive each day is a powerful anti-depressant.
  • Absence can make some of life’s simplest things the greatest pleasures, especially true for bowel movements.
  • A good life-partner is a blessing to never be squandered. Enjoy the time you have together, even if its sharing a hospital room. We can’t control the future but we can certainly choose to appreciate the present.

Be well,

Monty


Thirteen Spice


I picked up a snack at the hospital lobby cafe. It’s a Thirteen Spice crawfish flavored pretzel stick (pic below). I’m a big fan of Thirteen Spice but I realized I didn’t even know what the actual spices are. So here is my idea for the day. I’m going to research the ingredients that make up the Thirteen Spice mix and then they will be my inspiration for…something. We’ll have to see what that something is.

Thirteen Spice Mix:

  • Orange Peel, Cinnamon, Cumin, Ginger, Angelica, Sichuan Peppercorn, Star Anise, Nutmeg, Galangal, White Pepper, Cloves, Licorice, Cardamom.

All In

Entice me with your aromatics, complex yet bold
Your smooth and savory tones suggest you might be an Angel(ica),
But there is a touch of Sichuan pepper heat that warns of the devil,
Peel back my inhibitions,
Pepper me with your cinnamon, cumin, cloves and cardamum
Bathe me in nutmeg, ginger and galangal
Tease me with your black licorice edge and orange zest
Loosing count of the (Anise) Stars,
Whether heaven or hell, I’m all in.


You can be the judge of the resulting poetry, but I can attest that the snack was delicious. I’m glad I only had one small pack to limit my indulgence as I’m not sure I would have stopped.

Be well,

Monty


Found Poetry x Wordle


So I have an idea that combines two of my favorite things and creates what I hope might be a new favorite thing. I love poetic forms that pull from other poems and or content (if you’ve seen my Golden Shovels or Silver Linings poetry you’ll have a sense of that). I’m also an. avid Wordleler (my mom and I exchange our results every day). So why not create a short poem or very short story including each of my Wordle guesses of the day? If multiple people were to play along we’d all share the answer word (assuming we succeeded in solving the puzzle) but the guesses would be a variable from person to person.

For this first attempt, I’m going to try to keep the words in order from my first guess to final answer. Here goes!



Seeking Words

Wordle 336 4/6

What can I do when I’ve nothing on my mind to write about?
When I reach for words and grasp nothing?
Do I use the prompt of the day and craft a story?
What if the word is pitas? Do I imagine up some humus?
Or perhaps I should scrap the whole idea?


Ok, ok. Not exactly inspired, but I’m not going to give up on this concept just yet. How about you? Want to give it a try? Just make sure to post after the Wordle day is fully over around the world to not be a spoiler).

Be well,

Monty


Vanilla (Sunday Scribblings)

Peckapalooza over at The Confusing Middle runs a weekly prompt called Sunday Scribblings. Check out his post and join in the creativity!

Sunday Scribblings #106 — Vanilla

I once received a ‘fresh’ vanilla bean (not exactly sure how fresh it was but it was a whole vanilla bean provided to me directly from a flavor house before processing so it was much fresher than the extracts I was used to in the kitchen). It was from Madagascar and super expensive (I was told). It’s aroma and later it’s flavor when baking totally transformed my understanding of what vanilla really is. The highly processed extracts are made to uniform taste specifications, but the real bean is dynamic with complex notes of flavor. One could easily become a student of the vanilla bean much the same way some are of cocoa and coffee beans. I liken it to the difference between a supermarket tomato versus one fresh from the garden. They are distant relatives of each other sharing a name but little else. The supermarket tomato is tasteless and slightly moist at best. The garden tomato is a burst of flavor and dripping with juices. I grew up with the garden variety and have gotten to the point where I avoid the supermarket variety at all costs unless it’s to be cooked down into a red pasta sauce or something.

Sex. “Vanilla sex” to be specific. What? Too abrupt of a change in gears for you? Do you prefer a more subtle and smooth transition from the introduction into the main event. Sorry, I should have asked first.

Have you been accused (or perhaps labeled yourself) as a “vanilla sex” type of person? Well consider this. When kept fresh, vanilla can be a very rich experience. It’s only when it’s processed and becomes uniform does it become monotonous and boring. So don’t be shy to introduce some fresh vanilla into your life. If your not into all the other types of beans available there is absolutely nothing lacking in vanilla. If you pay attention to each of nuances and notice all of the complexities, every vanilla bean is unique and beautifully delicious.

Of course, if you enjoy cocoa, coffee, or any other beans, they are wonderful as well.


Be well,

Monty

Escape to Red (a Paint Chip Poem)

No Love For Fatties invites us to join in on her Paint Chip Poetry by creating our own poem inspired by the paint chip colors of the week. I think this is a really creative and fun idea. Check out her original post and join in too if you feel inspired.

Paint Chip Poetry


Be well,

Monty

Life is a Detour


A good reminder to myself today. Originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts.


Be well,

Monty