Thursday, February 28, 2013

Haiku, Take Two

The welcoming cat:
"Come in, sit down, have a drink,
Fat feathered friends."

Issa, an 18th century Japanese Buddhist priest and haiku master, tinkered with his haikus all the time, so I feel free to do the same. There's something I didn't quite like about "plump patio pals", which was yesterday's revision of "fat patio birds." "Feathered friends" is a cliche, but I'm done here.  The photo shows my inspiration, Georgina the cat, taking a time-out from being inspirational. She was caught napping in our new garden window prior to the installation of the shelf and plants.

Issa, by the way, is no relation to Darrell Issa, Republican congressman from California. Issa, the poet, wrote with humor about everyday life--cherry trees, plum blossoms, rain, snow, cats, crickets, fireflies, frogs and fleas. If you want to read Issa's haiku (in translation), visit You can also hear selected haiku read in Japanese.

P.S. to "Changing Our Tuner."  The new piano tuner came yesterday and left without tuning the piano. He said that it didn't need tuning! This is amazing, since it's been nearly two years since the last tuning. He said we could call him this summer. While it's wonderful to encounter such honesty, I just hope the small dog poop we discovered today by the front door had nothing to do with his early departure. I suspected its presence yesterday, but couldn't find it. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


The welcoming cat:
"Come in, sit down, have a drink,
Plump patio birds."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Changing Our Tuner

It's sad. I just called to make an appointment with the man who has tuned our piano for over 40 years. He told me about his chronic pain, tiredness, mobility problems and depression, difficulties he said were unrelated to his bout with cancer some years ago. He would really have liked nothing better than to tune our piano, but he had no choice but to refer me to a colleague. I've already left the new guy a voice-mail message, but I hope our friend can return to work one day.

I'll never forget the day when "Marty" opened his kit and spread his tools out on the floor. Wilbur, our pug, rocketed into the room to sniff at the tools. Marty looked both alarmed and annoyed. He started to say something, but then he remembered that the pesky pug was the customer's "baby."

"That dog is certainly --" he began, testily. He paused and searched for a kinder, gentler word.

"Curious," he finally said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grand Mart

Saturday we had lunch at Olive Garden. One of the men that hunts deer on our land in Ohio always sends us restaurant gift cards as a thank you. On the way home, we stopped at Grand Mart, Laurel's answer to Wegman's. Well, not really. It's a Korean-Hispanic partnership, with strange signs throughout the store and outlandish fruits and vegetables you've never heard of.  Phil, who can be very outgoing, often asks ladies from India or El Salvador, "What is this?" and "How do you cook it?"  Often the only reply he gets is "not speak English," but sometimes he's rewarded with advice and a recipe. 

Examples of signs/products:

At the fish counter:  Attn customer! After clean-up of fish, no return, no exchange.

Aisle-designating signs:

Person Hygiene
Toilt Tissue
Asian Noodel
Asian Power  (After visiting the aisle, I have no idea what this refers to.)

Products I haven't tried yet:

Corn Silk Tea
Vermont Curry Mix  "with apple and honey touch"