Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Altruistic Scrabble

My mother was competitive.  She'd come behind on the golf course and win. I know she would have been furious that her third husband, Alec dear, outlived her by eight years and was days from 101.  Monday would have been her 98th birthday. Happy Birthday Mom.

When I was a girl she despaired I would ever get ahead.  She dragged me by the arm to compete in the annual Westmoreland County Club swim races where she always said I came in 4th, thus barely missing a ribbon.  When I discovered yoga in college it was the idea of being okay where I was, and the non-competitive nature of the endeavor that amazed me.

So here I am, Sunday night, playing Scrabble at my neighbor Julie's house.  Julie and I and a houseguest from London are drinking tea or Proseco and playing. Months before I had realized that sometimes I like to open up the board as a goal for a move, or sometimes even open up the desired red Triple Word score.
I dubbed this Altruistic Scrabble.

On Sunday, by the end of the game and the bottle of Proseco,  Maggie from London but actually Irish, was leaning over, taking my letters and getting me much better scores.  She said she liked me.  I asked what she did for a living and she had been an economist with a definite Marxist leaning.  Thus Marxist Scrabble was born.

Why stop there?  When deciding between moves what if one chose the beautiful word over the mundane. Our Scrabble board boasted "ARIA" and "ZEN." Aesthetic Scrabble.  They let me get away with "YID" which was neither lovely nor legal in the game nor politically correct, but that came under the Marxist Scrabble rule.   Or like Pity sex, I was trailing and maybe the oldest in the room.  Or maybe I was playing the PL card again.  A Poet Laureate gets away with a lot.  But I have made two poetry emergency house-calls to this house, so maybe I earned it.

I'm sure Erotic Scrabble has been played. And there could be other leanings, but I want to just put this out to my strict and competitive Scrabble friends, you know who you are, I have changed the rules internally and upped the ante. Just like playing Boggle with my grandson, cooperatively since he is eight and I am old, there can be satisfaction in a variety of ways.

The weather has changed so get out your boards and lean towards beauty, truth, and rooting for the joy of others when you play. Mudhita Scrabble, pleasure and joy in the success of others, a Buddhist term.  I'm just saying.  Maybe I can apply these rules to my ticking PL life, five months in but who's counting?

Altruistic Scrabble

My mother was competitive.  She'd come behind on the golf course and win. I know she would have been furious that her third husband, Alec dear, outlived her by eight years and was days from 101.  Monday would have been her 98th birthday. Happy Birthday Mom.

When I was a girl she despaired I would ever get ahead.  She dragged me by the arm to compete in the annual Westmoreland County Club swim races where she always said I came in 4th, thus barely missing a ribbon.  When I discovered yoga in college it was the idea of being okay where I was, and the non-competitive nature of the endeavor that amazed me.

So here I am, Sunday night, playing Scrabble at my neighbor Julie's house.  Julie and I and a houseguest from London are drinking tea or Proseco and playing. Months before I had realized that sometimes I like to open up the board as a goal for a move, or sometimes even open up the desired red Triple Word score.
I dubbed this Altruistic Scrabble.

On Sunday, by the end of the game and the bottle of Proseco,  Maggie from London but actually Irish, was leaning over, taking my letters and getting me much better scores.  She said she liked me.  I asked what she did for a living and she had been an economist with a definite Marxist leaning.  Thus Marxist Scrabble was born.

Why stop there?  When deciding between moves what if one chose the beautiful word over the mundane. Our Scrabble board boasted "ARIA" and "ZEN." Aesthetic Scrabble.  They let me get away with "YID" which was neither lovely nor legal in the game nor politically correct, but that came under the Marxist Scrabble rule.   Or like Pity sex, I was trailing and maybe the oldest in the room.  Or maybe I was playing the PL card again.  A Poet Laureate gets away with a lot.  But I have made two poetry emergency house-calls to this house, so maybe I earned it.

I'm sure Erotic Scrabble has been played. And there could be other leanings, but I want to just put this out to my strict and competitive Scrabble friends, you know who you are, I have changed the rules internally and upped the ante. Just like playing Boggle with my grandson, cooperatively since he is eight and I am old, there can be satisfaction in a variety of ways.

The weather has changed so get out your boards and lean towards beauty, truth, and rooting for the joy of others when you play. Mudhita Scrabble, pleasure and joy in the success of others, a Buddhist term.  I'm just saying.  Maybe I can apply these rules to my ticking PL life, five months in but who's counting?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Milagro on Day of the Dead

Santa Fe Poet Laureate in Denver during snowstorm
I made it through Halloween to Day of the Dead.  I wore a necklace of seven teabags sewn on a blue silk thread.  They were, left to right: Lipton, Stash moroccan mint green tea, Yogi Tea ginger, Tulsi lemon ginger, Eater's Digest by Traditional Medicinal, Bigelow's Mind Medley, and lastly, Himalayan Apple Spice by Yogi Tea.  The tea's represented going as my own private tea party.  It is sort of a genteel ladies event, or gay men dressed in white would be welcome, where we are civil and speak in low tones, and chuckle a bit.  We pour for the other first. Cecile, of course would be there. And I would be especially gracious pouring tea as the Poet Laureate that I so deeply am these days.  Have I mentioned?

In full regalia of seven tea bags, I I sat for about two hours and watched the Trick or Treaters at Chase's house, my son out-law and father of Galen.  By then Galen was not wearing the jukebox his parents ingeniously created out of silver bubble insulation.  They had to redirect him from wanting to be a slot machine to juke box, and fashioned one complete with lights, speakers, and an ipod that played music when you put in coins.  At his house there was a fog machine, massive spider webs, and seven pumpkins at least.  I lit the tea lights.  Tea lights, and me dressed in tea, for tea, of the tea.

Anyhow, I am home today and recovering. It is election day and I already voted. For calming and peace I was standing outside  and watching the chickens, the one Hungarian Chukker that survived, and the four turkeys, one destined for dinner this month.  Four is too many turkeys.  Milagro waddled up to eat the scraps I had offered.  Milagro belongs to my other daughter and her fiancée.  We have told her story many times, but I have never written it down.  She is named Milago because she survived three near death experiences.

The first was when she fell into a vat of manure tea (tea again) and was drowning.  They came home and found her little beak above the water and manure mix, rescued her, her head gangling to the side and limp.  They gave her CPR turkey style, and wrapped her in a towel, and fed her water with a medicine dropper, and after an all night vigil, saved her life.

The second time her fellow turkey was killed by the dogs of La Mesilla and she was wounded.  Again they ministered unto her and she lived.  Then there was the holiday of turkey death and they had promised her they would not eat her that year.  Her brother did not fare so well and is no more.
Then there was one (of the three bought at Farmer's Market for grasshopper control). That doesn't count as a near death experience, more of a brush with basting.

Later that year, we were taking care of her as Hope and Leland were visiting his folks.
She stopped eating, couldn't move, and I thought she was dying.  She didn't move for weeks and I thought we should put her down.  It was very cold and she just sat there, her legs seemed too weak for her large body.  Turned out we were giving her mortal hen scratch and she needed game bird mix.
After all, this was Milagro we were dealing with.  We got her her food and she accepted it.  She does a little dance when you feed her properly.  So here she is two years later and feeling fine.

There is a white turkey, a wild turkey, a brown turkey, and Milagro.  Day of the Dead and she is very much alive, having survived three near death experiences, and one holiday close call.  Standing by the poultry is a perfect remedy for election day jitters.  Now I must nap in time for tea, the 4:00 sinking hour.
I have done eight of my nine events as PL this fall.  I need to inhale, relax, and do a little appreciative dance like my fine feathered miraculous friend.