Poem: Bird Gossip

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BIRD GOSSIP

I was born with an ear to hear
the laughter of trees and the stories
of old stones drunk on sunlight,

to hear spiders greet one another
in the daylillies and frogs recite
epics of their kings deep into

summer nights. I knew
most others didn’t see the faces
in the trees, like cherubs, only

at night and only in summer.
Like a flock of kind eyes, some
watching, some paying no attention.

But their quiet chatter! Like bird gossip
or the murmurs of a high country brook.
More birds than angels,

though I never saw them fly,
they watched and prattled among
billowing silver maples outside

my childhood home in Dayton, Ohio.
How was I to know
I would grow out
of that wonderland, 
never see them again.

©Pat Carrothers

Photo by Vincent Riszdorfer on Unsplash

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Poem: Rondo

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Rondo

I carried my father on my back
at least fifty years, though
I’ve never visited the underworld.

There have been doors in the leaves,
some as big as caves.
I’ve followed the rumor of streams

that disappeared underground.
The gods have saved me from death
three times, I’ve spoken

with trees, lounged with a goddess
on an island of blind men,
her voice warm as first sunlight.

My life is myth, or maybe dream,
of that I am certain. I live
among talking crows and foxes.

We make flawed choices
for the edification of someone
or something vague that watches,

that we mostly forget about, that leaves us
alone. I finally set my father down
in a cooling shade of tall trees

but I’ve forgotten where
and in a dream he told me
to stop looking, do not be afraid

for him, that he is well. It felt then
that the underworld was above me
and my father was above me.

So I live in this circle of symbols
that talk in a language I can translate,
though they laugh at times

at my interpretation. I think
I’m supposed to be quiet now.
Like a heavy stone, I am drawn

to stillness and moss covered rock.
My hair gray as an old garden wall,
I am leaning and disheveled

and feel the green earth pulling roots
out of me, my hands wanting
to burst into bloom.

© Pat Carrothers

(The Adirondack Review)

Photo by David Cornell on Unsplash

Because It’s Always May Here…

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Because It’s Always May Here

and always Sunday,
because we’re free to choose
right or left
yet walking long enough
we always come round to each other,
because it was you that rolled away
the stone,
because you think the opera
is a sing-a-long,
because sometimes time stops
for you,
because you know I can see
the crucifixions,
because your dripping candles
illuminate my darkness,
because every day you immerse me
in waters and give me a name,
because you touch me
with a summer wind,
because you always laugh
when I fall off Gloucester’s cliff,
you’re the only woman I could ever forgive.

for Nancy

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Cottonwood Snow

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With hands soft as monks’ the great cottonwoods
catch the last gold of day, each flat leaf at the top
extending
toward the setting sun. They’ve

mastered the vows of poverty and obedience
without 
question, accepting whatever rain falls
their way, chanting vespers at appointed hours —

dawn and dusk a fluid choir, thousands
of green tongues sing the graceful offices of the air.
The vow of chastity, however, eludes them.

One day each spring they simply lose it,
casting seed to the four winds for hours,
as today this soft floating snow has us scrambling

outside in late afternoon, and our hearts,
suddenly light as children on a carousel,
laughing and spinning.

Photo by ckturistando on Unsplash

 

Dieting But Not Losing Weight?

By Patrick Carrothers for the Owner of WeightWise4U.com

You May Suffer From Portion Distortion!

ID-100120579It’s terribly frustrating to be dieting and not losing weight. Here are a few strategies to help you get past this bump in the road.

Are you eating out often? It’s difficult to dine in restaurants frequently and manage your calories. Restaurants are the number one source of portion distortion! You can be making what you think are healthy menu choices, selecting salads and grilled chicken or salmon and so forth, and when your food arrives the portions are huge. You can easily consume 1000 calories more than you want.

These days many foods we buy at the grocery store are super-sized too. Baking potatoes are like something out of Jurassic Park. No one needs to eat a whole one of those, and certainly not topped with bacon and sour cream. The way to measure a healthy portion of potato is to think of a computer mouse. You remember those don’t you?

Most bananas are twice the size they used to be. Try to pick the smaller ones or cut those giant bananas in half and share.

For healthy portion control, if it’s too much and you know it, only eat half.  And keep the fundamentals of portion size in your mind and put them to good use. It’s easy. With a little practice you can take one look at a plate and know the difference between a healthy portion and one that will super-size your waist.

myplate_greenHere’s a graphic that’s easy to remember from the US Department of Agriculture. Half  your plate should be fresh fruits and vegetables, about one quarter is for meat, fish or your protein entree, and about one quarter is for a bread or rice. Dairy gets a little side dish, and that’s a good way to remember to downsize your portions of cheese, not order extra!

When you’re dining out, that eight or 12-ounce steak will fill half of your plate, so cut it in half and save it for later.

Other ways to remember healthy portion control:

Meats

ID-10051640The standard portion recommendation is 3-4 ounces, or about the size of a pack of cards. It is nearly impossible to find a steak portion under 6-8 ounces. So what to do? Order your doggie bag early.

 

Fish

3 – 4 ounces of fish is about the size of a checkbook. You remember those don’t you?

Breads and Grains

Think one slice of bread or one small roll, and measure that foot long submarine sandwich against that! The sub may have nothing but veggies on it, but the bread alone could be four to six times a healthy portion for one meal, and it may pack about 450 calories.

With pasta, a healthy portion is like a tennis ball. You’re shaking your head right now, aren’t you? I know this sounds impossible, since restaurants always serve four to five times this amount. What’s a healthy eater to do? Doggie bag it.

Fruit Juices

Six ounces is a healthy serving of fruit juice. That’s less than a cup though, so go easy on the juice.

Snack Foods

When the urge for chips strikes, cup your hand. What you can hold in one hand is about the size of a healthy portion of potato chips or crackers.

If these dietary guidelines seem unrealistic, it’s because so many of us have been conditioned to believe that larger portions of food are more satisfying. This is a relatively recent development. When Coca-Cola introduced the first Coke bottle, it was 6.5 ounces. Now the average soda bottle is 20 ounces. When McDonald’s introduced their french fries, the adult size was equal to today’s kid’s size.

The portion distortions have become so prevalent in our culture that it seems normal and natural. But it is not. Eating less is good for us. You will adjust to smaller portions and someday you’ll feel a lot more energy because you’ve been eating less. I guarantee it.

And when you break through to a healthier lifestyle and start feeling more energy, I want you to come back here and leave me a note like, “Nancy you were right!”

 

Images by freedigitalphotos.net

5 Steps to Stay On Course with Your Weight Loss

ID-100117015Have you hit a frustrating patch? Feel you’re working hard, being disciplined, making good choices and you’re not losing weight?

At times like these you’re often CRAVING things you have chosen to avoid. Fatty, greasy foods are calling to you. Sugary carbs are singing your name and it is hard to resist. At times like these, you often say, “Why the heck did I want to lose weight anyway?”

At times like these, that is exactly the question you need to ask. Why DID you want to lose weight? This is Step 1 in my Five Step Strategy To Stay On Course. It”s hard to think straight when you’re stressed or beset with cravings. So make a playbook now with strategies you can put to use when times are tough so you don’t have to think about it when it’s hard to think.

Here’s my Five Step Strategy To Stay On Course With Your Weight Loss:

1. Revisit Your Goals and Write Them Down Now

Remember exactly why you wanted to lose weight and make a list.

  • Did you want your waist back?
  • Did you want to feel like your old self again?
  • Did you want your thighs to stop touching?
  • Feel happier with your appearance?
  • Fit into your favorite clothes?
  • Make it easier to exercise?
  • Lower your blood pressure and improve your health?

2. Write Down Substitute Activities

  • Write a list of substitute activities you can do to distract yourself from temptation:
  • Pay the bills (if that isn’t too stressful)
  • Make a meal plan for the week and a grocery list of things you need
  • Clean your car or clean the house

3. Write Down Substitute Rewards

  • Make time for a relaxing hot bath
  • Get a manicure or pedicure
  • Get a massage
  • List other things that help you feel happy

4. Write Ways To Savor Your Mealtimes

  • Plan colorful meals and enjoy their beauty
  • Set the table with a little flair every day, not just special occasions
  • Add flowers to the table, cloth napkins, add some relaxing music
  • Use the good china on a regular basis if you can (if the kids are old enough!)
  • Put your fork down between bites and savor every bite

5. Write Ways To Relax Without Food

Make a list of your favorite ways to relax, ways to fill yourself up without food:

  • Take a nice long walk
  • Make time to read a favorite author
  • Take a nap
  • Ride a bike
  • Pray for others in your life, surround them with blessings
Taking the focus off yourself works wonders. Now you have a plan to turn to when the going gets tough. Keep moving forward to your goals!
Image by freedigitalphotos.net