Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Battle of the Blinds

It's national poetry month...though I haven't done very much to celebrate it. Several friends have been celebrating it by posting favorite poems, or poems they made up, on their blogs. I don't know my poetry all that well, and I have the writing skills of a three-legged mongoose, so I've held off on doing too much. But, as the month comes to an end, I feel like I should do something. So I decided I would make up a poem for this blog entry. But to save myself the embarrassment of not being a great poetry writer, I also decided I would claim this poem was written by me in the third grade. Understand, though, that this poem, that I wrote while in the third grade, is about recent events in my life.

Though turned, these blinds aren't open. See how the room is enveloped in darkness? Can you feel it wear at you to the very soul? Thus begins the Battle of the Blinds.

The Battle of the Blinds (allegedly written some many years ago)
Have you ever suffered such,
that pain and loneliness were nothing new;
And death's destroying touch
Carelessly hovered, hanging over you?
I once did, and here's the tale told,
Of a fight fought with a heart bitter cold.
Spring, season when hearts are light,
When winter's grey at last begins to flee,
Windows and blinds, once shut tight,
Thrown open wide, in hopes the sun to see.
But for me, the blinds opened not,
Tangled tight, stubbornly they fought.
Cried my heart, heavy with wrath,
Begone blinds that bind me and hold back
The noonday sun to light my path,
And the air with freshness my room does lack!
Fear not, I tugged till tired and sore,
I battled with the blinds, I won the war.

Open at last, after hours of desperate struggling, nigh past the time when fervent hopes of the heart fell lost into the dark bleakness of misery. Hurray for perseverance, the winner of wars!

Monday, April 20, 2009

You don't always win when you gamble.

During the two weeks since I last wrote, having missed writing on Easter, I actually came up with several ideas that I could write about. That's no good, since that means I have to choose between them. So I stopped thinking about them for a few days, until I could only remember one, and that's what I'm writing about. The idea that stuck with me, though, is the one I wish I could forget. It is about events that adversely affected me this last week. Adversely affected me in a very strong and horrible manner. We're talking hope crushing, dream destroying, life changing (for the worse), soul gnashing (sounded good...may or may not actually mean something) events. You could say I gambled...and lost horribly.

I used to feel invincible, like nothing could touch me, I could do whatever I wanted...until I lost horribly. My seat on top of the world was taken out from under me, and all my delusions smashed to fine grained dust, sifting through my hands and out of my grasp. Then I was faced with my own mortality, my human frailties, my now obvious vulnerability to hardship and failure.

It wasn't money that I gambled away though, you can recover from that. I basically gambled away my right to happiness, my ability to feel joy, and any opportunity I had for good fortune. And all to try something different and save a little money. In retrospect, I don't think it was worth it. There I was, blissfully moving through the week, picking up some food to help me get through it. One of my roommates got me hooked on oreos a while ago, so I thought I'd pick some up. After all, it makes me drink more milk, which is good for me. As I went to get them though, I suddenly didn't feel like normal oreos. I thought I'd be adventurous, explore some new area of oreo flavor. I saw mint oreos, chocolate covered oreos, white oreos, white oreos with chocolate filling. But what did I end up getting? Peanut butter oreos. Peanut butter and chocolate go well together, right? A good change up I thought. If I have ever been so foolish before in my life, I don't remember that time. Peanut butter oreos aren't bad...but they aren't the type of oreo goodness that I had come to expect. Oh the disappointment I experienced when I got home and tried them. The heart wrenching realization of what I had done! The misery and depression that followed almost proved too much for me...especially with this next gamble I would make.

Where were you, Cadbury Creme Eggs, during the post-Easter sales? I searched the store for hours. I checked the top shelf, I check behind the peeps, I rummaged through other people's shopping carts when they weren't looking. eggs were to be found.

Easter, a time for religious celebration, a time for family and friends, laughter and games. A time for special Easter candies, like robin eggs, chocolate bunnies, and of course, creme filled Cadbury eggs-the undisputed king of Easter candy (I put undisputed, so don't bother trying to dispute it now). Being the smart shopper though, I decided to wait until after Easter to buy my fill of delicious, heavenly Cadbury eggs. Folly! Foolishness! How could I possibly believe that any of this creme filled goodness had even a remote chance of lasting beyond Easter? The shopping trip the day after Easter held only further depression, despair, and several boxes of peeps for me. I thought I could wait, I thought I could save some money. I gambled. I lost.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Canned joy

I was going to add more to the logo, but I thought I'd keep this one simple and tasteful, rather than action-packed and tasteful, or awesomely cool and tasteful like some of the other logos have been.

I hate to revisit a topic that I so recently blogged about, but I had a pretty successful day foraging at Kroger's recently. So successful, that I'm pretty excited to share it with everyone. So it started out like any other shopping trip...I'd been out of food for about a week, and shear desperation forced me to drive the 1.3 minutes to Kroger's to restock on food. And, as is tradition, I went with no plan, or even a vague idea, of what I was going to buy. I got there, and the foraging commenced.

So there I was, out in the middle of Kroger, foraging for much needed sustenance. I had nothing but my wits to keep me alive and guide me through this expedition. It was long and grueling, fraught with danger, peril, and a hazard or two. But in the end, it was totally worth it.

As part of the traditional shopping trip, I headed to the canned fruit section where I'd normally grab a thing of pears, peaches, and apricots. I don't want you to get confused and think I buy this stuff for health reasons. I usually make sure to get the fruit soaked in heavy syrup, and just to make sure I get enough sugar intake, I drink like half the syrup after eating the fruit. Anyways, so there I was, looking at the cans of fruit, when suddenly a flash of light caught my eye from the top shelf. I glance up and immediately my eyes fell onto something new. Something exciting. Something you might even call exotic. New types of canned fruit that I had never seen before. Fruits that I would never have thought to can. As I looked at them, the can of purple plums seemed to tilt, as if nodding to me, and I thought I heard a voice in the wind whisper "Yes Mike, we are here for you. No we don't cost much more than normal fruit cans. Try us. Add us to your cart. We will never abandon you." Afterwards, lightning struck and two cans, glowing with power and sheer amazingness, fell into my cart. It was quite the experience.

A picture of my cabinet after the addition of the can of Red Tart Cherries (pitted), and the whole purple plums (not pitted it turns out). How do they fit so much goodness into a can? I suspect they take an entire fruit tree and put it in the can, and then remove the less good stuff like roots, bark, branches, trunk, etc.

I hadn't had a shopping trip experience like this since the one time I went to Meier's and found a can of mangos. My hobby used to be to try new types of fruit whenever I saw them at the store. As of now, my new hobby is to try new types of canned fruit. I'm excited to have my eyes opened to the wondrous and exotic world of strange fruits, stored in small, metal cans.