21 May 2015

The Apostrophe Question

I always wonder where the apostrophe should go: inside the word or next to it.

Inside implies one mother.
Perhaps it means “motherhood’s day”
(but that didn't fit as nicely on the sign).
Maybe it means a more personal mother:
the day to remember and honor your specific mother.

But, everyone has more than one mother.
On a biological note, all mothers have mothers;
it’s mothers all the way down.

Then there are the surrogates:
teachers, friends, spiritual leaders, aunts.
Anyone that helps a person grow.

Outside makes it plural possessive.
The day of many mothers,
the day of any and all mothers,
the day of celebrating nurturing itself,
and Mother Nature itself
(another mother we all have).

These days, I wonder where I should go: inside the group or next to it.

I am between maiden and mother spiritually.
I am fairly old or still quite young,
depending on culture, time, and personal opinion.

I did not yet feel motherly or mom-like
(more like a still-developing proto-mom)
when I experienced miscarriage.

I don’t much feel like I lost a child,
more like a particular vision of the future --
a (now alternate) reality to which I’d become accustomed,
and of which I was growing quite fond.

But I wanted it,
I was preparing for it,
and I had (nearly) accepted it as part of my identity.

I’m caught between alternate versions of being.

The apostrophe and me - in or out?

The answer feels ambiguous at best.




Because I wonder about this every time I type Mother's Day, I have researched it. Officially, the apostrophe goes before the s. Here’s the brief wikipedia explanation.

23 September 2014

Haiku

Amid night's silence
I see no moonlight, and yet,
I feel her presence.

The green grasshopper
bounces endlessly against
the wall, so confused.

Lizards hide in cracks
between dirt, stone, and branches,
hoping for a meal.

Bumble bee pauses
on the vine's flowering tips,
tasting pure yellow.

As a result of living next to Busch Gardens, this is also part of my daily nature experiences:
Magnetic brakes screech,
timed ever so carefully
with humans screaming.

Happy Equinox

26 August 2014

Learning

I have been taking a class called Learning How To Learn." It's about different techniques that can make learning easier, including ways to avoid procrastination and tricks for memorizing things. It was offered by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski from the UC San Diego through Coursera. I have enjoyed the video lectures, short quizzes, and discussion forums. For the large assignment in the course, we are teaching others about what we learned. So I present to you three poems about learning.


The Focused and the Diffuse Modes of Learning

Learning needs focused thoughts:
intensity of new concepts.
Read and practice the problem.

Learning needs diffuse thoughts:
relaxed, creative solutions.
Put it to the back of your mind.

Learning needs both:
conscious and unconscious
working together,
making connections,
back and forth
to find the best results.

If you try too hard, you fail.
If you never concentrate, you fail.
If you can do both, you can be great.


Chunking

A chunk is a brick in a wall.
As you set each brick
and let the mortar dry,
you can stack up more.

A chunk is a link in a chain.
You can learn each concept,
link them together,
and make something to hold onto.

Sometimes, you learn the physical.
Foot here,
hand there,
eyes forward,
move feet,
learn into the turn.
Eventually, you ride the bike without thinking...too much.
You've linked the chain.

Sometimes, you learn the mental.
F is for force.
M is for mass.
A is for acceleration.
Newton is for physics.
f=ma
Eventually, you use the equation without thinking...too much.
You've built the wall.

With enough walls, you can make a building.
With enough chain links, you can make armor.
With enough equations, you can master physics.


Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates,
to make the negative feelings go away.
"That can wait another day;
for now I'd rather play."

But that only makes it worse,
with bigger problems
and bigger headaches.

Focus on the process.
Work on small parts,
just a little a day.

Focus for 25 minutes.
Work with a timer,
then five minutes of play.

Find a good place to work.
Limit the distractions,
best in a quiet place.

Cue, routine, reward, and belief.
Procrastination is all of these.
It's a habit that anyone can beat
with a little dedicated training.

Find the cue.
A text message perhaps?
Silence the thing.

Don't answer the phone;
just let it be.
Form a new routine.

The reward was the break.
It can wait
for the time relief.

To get the best results
with your new habits,
you must believe.

So don't procrastinate;
this habit can be beat.
You can find a better way
and have fewer worries.


Another MOOC learner has created a Hall Of Fame for in which to collect these final projects. If you're at all interested in Learning How To Learn or want to know more about various learning concepts, definitely go check it out here.

01 August 2014

Overheard

He was hot... H.A.W.T.
     You're almost as tall as him.
That is not allowed,
I'm married.
I don't think we should be going to a bar.
     I tell you what,
     Go in for a practice round.
...
     No, you don't have to stop.
     That's the last thing you want to do.
Meet you on the other side.

I recorded a few lines while waiting in the airport security line, then rearranged them into a story. This is what I got.

28 July 2014

Secrets of Perseus

Indirectly searching
for the unobservable.
The majority is the abnormal,
viewable only from the side,
noticeable only from the pull.

Did you see it too?
Maybe it's really there.


Inspired by a recent news story about astronomical mysteries.

27 July 2014

Unexpectedly Alone

For a few moments,
I was post-apocalyptic.
In a place of many,
it was just me.

No one in the train.
No one in the hall.
No internet.
No cell phone.

Unexpectedly alone.

26 July 2014

Not Quite Right

The meter is just not right.
The rhymes are just not right.
And now I've rhymed
the same word twice.

Either too simple,
or too contrived.

The poem never feels quite right.