Category Archives: humor

Slugfest at Midnight

As midnight approaches on the 16th day of National Blog Posting Month, I find I’m at a loss for words. I’m likely to do something wild and unpredictable.

Well, this blog is supposed to be inspired by my camera, and I do have a photo or two in my collection. Let’s see what I can come up with.

(Pause while I pull up my photo app …)

Ahh. Okay. Fortunately, I’ve found something: a portrait in vibrant purples and golds. It shimmers. It moves. It practically jumps off the page! The model reminds me of a graceful Flamenco dancer. Her dress is as soft as a petal.

Unfortunately for you, the model is a slug. A literal slug.

Introducing: Señorita Iris Maria Ariana Slug! (I.M.A. Slug, for short)!

I told you I was likely to do something wild and unpredictable. And I did!

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This is post #16 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Cover photo (clock) by JESHOOTS-com @ pixabay.com

Shameless Wordling

While working on Wordle this morning (see below for my pitiful results), I was reminded that I haven’t written a shameless plug recently. And so, without further ado, or should I say “ADIEU” …

Shameless Plug:

Wordle Poems: A Poem a Day for Wordle Nerds
(Books 1, 2, and 3)
by Lori Bonati

Now available on Amazon
and selling like hotcakes in England
because … I don’t know,
they’re written in English?

Each book contains 30 original, 8-line poems (poems that rhyme!) about the daily act of Wordling, along with diagrams that shamelessly reveal my results for all the world to see.

But: No SPOILERS!

Also: No words were harmed in the making of these books.

These one-of-a-kind, self-published poetry books would make great companions as you sip your morning coffee. (That’s when I always play Wordle.) They also go well with tea and scones. (I shamelessly mentioned tea and scones because of my fans in England.)

That reminds me of the time Homer Simpson complained about having to study English in high school. “English?” he asked. “Who needs that? I’m never going to England.” Well, maybe I’ll go to England someday. A book-signing there would be fab. Do any of you Brits own a bookstore?

The poems in these books are so short and rhyme-y that you’ll have no trouble memorizing them. That way, you can easily impress your friends with your love of poetry. Recite the verses (be sure to call them verses) at dinner parties, and place several copies on tables throughout your home.

Okay, I’m just being silly now. But seriously, even if you never read them, they just look cool because every Wordle fan will recognize them by the colors of their covers: fabulous Wordle Green, acceptable Wordle Yellow, and the less popular Wordle Gray.

AND, for a really special effect, you could purchase the compilation volume, which contains all three books in one (that’s 90 poems altogether!) and comes in a color heretofore unknown to Wordle gamers: Wordle Evergreen. This dark beauty will really pop on your bookshelf, especially when placed next to the other three books in the series.

You can use the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon to read some of my Wordle poems. I hope some of them make you smile. That’s my main objective with the book, and with my life, too, I think.

Okay, that’s it for my shameless plug. Now, here’s my shameless Wordle result for today. My average is 4/6, so this 6/6 is nothing to brag about.

Do you play Wordle? And have you ever self-published a book? Let me know in the comments below.

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This is post #8 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Does Anybody Really Know

Last night, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. reading #NanoPoblano2022 blog posts. At least, my phone said it was 1:30 a.m. But what time was it, really? Had Daylight Saving Time ended yet?

I thought about getting up to check the other clocks in my house, but I was tired, with a sore arm and a mild fever after getting my COVID booster that morning. I just rolled over and went to sleep. When I awoke this morning, my phone said it was 6:30 a.m. Was that really 6:30, or was it 7:30? Or, was it 5:30? I was so confused.

I stumbled into the kitchen. My microwave said it was 7:30. I set it back an hour, still not sure how many hours of sleep I’d actually gotten. (Not that it mattered. I was going back to bed as soon as I let the dog out.)

It was like one of those horrible math questions:

If a NanoPoblano blogger with a 99.8-degree fever stays up reading other NanoPoblano blogger posts until 1:30 a.m. on the night that Daylight Saving Time ends, and then has a dream that she'd taken a train that left the station at point A at 1:30 and arrived at point B at 6:30, and if the clock in the train station says it's 7:30, but her analog watch says it's 12:32 because she forgot to wind it, what time is it in her kitchen, and how many cups of coffee will she need before she can write a blog post of her own?

I need more coffee to figure that one out. Meanwhile, here’s a reblog of a post I wrote way back on Nov. 4, 2017 for NanoPoblano. It’s about Daylight Saving Time. (I think you have to click “Continue” in order to read the entire post … the technical aspects of blogging are also something requiring more coffee.)

Are you affected by Daylight Saving Time? If so, what do you think of it? Should we do away with it?

This is post #6 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

featured photo: mohamed_hassan at pixabay.com

Songwriting Club

My sister Lisa recently suggested I join her songwriting club. The group is given a prompt and then meets once a month to perform their new songs for each other (followed by polite applause and short critiques). Even though I get nervous performing in public, I decided to give it a whirl.

What’s the worst that can happen, I asked myself. I’ll be on Zoom, and if I can tell by their faces that my song really sucks, I’ll just mute myself and blame it on my computer!

This month’s prompt is Home. That’s a pretty broad topic. Maybe a little too broad, I thought. And for an entire day or two, I wracked my brain trying to come up with a clever idea. I even made this list of phrases using the word “home,” hoping it would lead me somewhere:

But that list just led me in circles. In desperation, I sat down at my piano keyboard. Now, mind you, my piano skills are somewhere between beginner and advanced beginner. But sometimes my fingers accidentally land on notes that lead me to a song idea. This time, it worked.

I played a couple of simple chords, and – lo and behold – some words popped into my head. I hate to admit it, though: they were pretty dumb words. The words were:

“Since my baby left me.”

Yeah, I know, that’s been done before (in the song “Heartbreak Hotel”). But what good is a good song lyric if you can’t steal it, I asked myself.

Just so I wouldn’t be sued by the estate of Thomas Durden, who wrote Heartbreak Hotel, I decided to give my song a more positive twist. Somehow, I’d turn heartbreak into happiness.

Writing a song about heartbreak turned on its head was difficult. The struggle was real, as these pictures will demonstrate:

In the end, I DID manage to come up with something positive, and, I think, positively funny. Here’s what I’ve got so far for my new song, “Home Alone”:

So now you know a few of my songwriting secrets, and also what happened “since my baby left me.”

P.S. The song above is a work of FICTION. My baby didn’t leave me, and I don’t like being home alone!

This is post #3 in this year’s #NaBloPoMo challenge, a.k.a. #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, just click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

Thanks!

Two’s Day/Cave Conversation

Today’s date, according to the Gregorian (western) calendar, is 2/22/22. And it happens to fall on a Tuesday! How cool is that?

Even cooler is the fact that TWO people pointed out the date to me today.

A date like that happens only TWICE every century! It took me a while to come to this conclusion. I had to write it out, like this:

            21st century:  1/11/2011 and 2/22/2022

            20th century:  1/11/1911 and 2/22/1922

            19th century: 1/11/1811 and 2/22/1822

        etc.

No sooner had I written this, than I began to wonder how far back the pattern would go. When was our calendar invented, I asked myself. And so, of course, I traveled down the proverbial rabbit hole and discovered that the history of the calendar is (a) fascinating, and (b) confusing!

What I can tell you, though, is that it has to do with the cycles of the sun and the moon that ancient peoples observed. You probably already knew that, but what might be news to you is the actual very first conversations by cave people in the process of inventing the calendar, which I’ve reconstructed here for the first time:

Cave Woman to Cave Man: Hey! Come here! Stop hunt! Look at sky! Light! Dark! Light again! Dark again! I make mark on cave wall each time! Okay, you make mark, I hold baby. Let us call marks “days.” … Just do it! Me no know why! Me just like sound.

Later, Cave Man to Cave Woman: Hey! Stop cook! Look up! Yesterday moon little! Now moon bigger! Other day moon very big! Me make more marks on cave wall! Oh, okay, I hold baby, you make moon marks. You make pretty marks. You pretty. You … okay, me go sleep now.

Much later, Cave Baby to Cave Parents: Mom, Dad! Look! Moon get big every time we have this many marks on cave wall! (Holds up both hands and flashes all ten fingers three times.) Let us call this many marks “month!” … Me no know why! Me just like sound.

Much, much later, Cave Grandkid to other Cave Grandkids: Hey! Come to my cave! We have many cool marks on my cave walls! (Flashes all ten fingers 30 times.) Marks in color! Come see marks, then play games!

Outside of cave, Grandkids playing rock, rock, rock (paper and scissors not invented yet): Winner make up funny word for 300 marks on cave wall! Okay, how about … “year?” (Howls of laughter)

And now for a photo I took last summer in the Adirondacks, in honor of Two’s Day:

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If you haven’t already done so, please check out my brand new book, “Wordle Poems: A Poem a Day for Wordle Nerds,” on Amazon. It contains 30 original poems inspired by the daily act of Wordling. No spoilers! Reviews are greatly appreciated!

For more of my writing, visit my author page over at Bardsy, as well as my book, “Standing in the Surf,” on Amazon. It’s a photo journal about the Pacific Northwest area known as the Salish Sea, which includes Whidbey Island, Vancouver Island, Stanley Park, Butchart Gardens, and more.

New Latitude, Episode 2: Do’s and Don’ts

Previously, on New Latitude:

After having moved from upstate New York to Tucson, Arizona seventeen years ago in search of a decent climate and better job, I’d come to a realization. I’d had my fill of blue skies. I was sick of sunsets that bathed the mountains in rosy hues each night. I hated wearing sandals in January. Authentic tacos were the worst. And all those darned hummingbirds! I longed for upstate New York, where the winters are brutal, the summers are humid and mosquito-filled, and there’s only one hummingbird – the ruby-throated – to identify, if it ever shows up at all.

Ruby-throated hummingbird. Image by Susan Killian @ Pixabay

No wait … none of that’s true, except for the first sentence. Rewind!

What I really meant to say was this: I’ve loved living in Tucson, but the pandemic had called a sudden halt to my regular flights back home to New York State to see my family. Who knew when I could travel there again? Call me loco, but I decided to relocate – to Rochester, where I’d be within a day’s drive of my entire immediate family. Sure, winters would be less than wonderful, but I could at least gaze upon my family’s frozen faces in person, instead of on a computer screen. Besides, the lease on my apartment was coming up for renewal. It was time for a new direction, so I took my first baby step: “Zillow-surfing.” 

And now for Episode 2: Do’s and Don’ts (of buying a house)

Zillow-surfing brought me up close and personal with hundreds of houses, without ever having to set foot in them. I got to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and in some cases, the dirty laundry. Through Zillow-surfing, I made some major decisions, like:

rent vs. buy

1 bath vs. 2

¼ acre vs. 10 acres and a barn

fenced yard backing up to private woods vs. unrestricted view of the auto body shop next door.

Image by Harald Dona @ Pixabay.

Once I’d narrowed my choices down, I started to get excited. But the more excited I became, the more impulsively I acted. I guess I got carried away and ignored common sense.

If you, too, are considering buying a home, here’s some unsolicited advice:

  1. DON’T rule out renting an apartment before buying a house you’ve seen only on the internet. Photoshop can give houses an instant makeover that’s even more amazing than the ones you’ve seen on Fixer Upper.
  2. DON’T cancel your Disney Channel and Hulu Plus subscriptions in the hopes these sacrifices will enable you to afford a house above your means. You’ll soon come to regret your decision, especially if you haven’t seen enough of “Cuomo Prime Time” or “Hamilton” yet.
  3. DON’T fool yourself into believing you’re a skilled negotiator. You’ll just be disappointed in yourself.
  4. DON’T buy a house in a “hot market” city, especially if it happens to be during a “seller’s market.”
  5. DON’T waive an engineering inspection.
  6. DON’T commit to making up the difference between the purchase price and the bank appraisal.
  7. DON’T mail a sizable deposit to the seller without confirming you’ve written the check on the correct bank account — the one with sufficient funds — and not the other one, the one with only $33 in it.
  8. DON’T buy a house in the winter and plan on leaving the house vacant until spring. Pipes in vacant homes have been known to freeze and burst.
  9. DON’T buy a house during a pandemic without knowing when a vaccine will be available. You’ll want protection while driving cross-country, and I’m not talking about a bodyguard (although that would be nice).
  10. DON’T buy an 8-foot couch and two recliners immediately before deciding to move.

By the way, I’m guilty of all of the above.

Image by Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay.

Oh, and DON’T hire a moving van without shopping around. Luckily, I HAVE been shopping around, and the estimates differ wildly — as in a low of $2,800, and a high of — don’t laugh — $14,000. That’s not a typo! “Two Men and a Truck” wanted to charge $12,000 to $14,000 to move a two-bedroom apartment. That must be some classy moving truck they have. And speaking of trucks, did they think I just fell off a turnip truck?

Yeah, those are pumpkins, not turnips. Good eye!
Image by Sweethearts82 @ Pixabay.

On the plus side, interest rates are low right now, so I took the plunge. I bid on a house, and my offer was accepted. And don’t worry, I think I got a sweet deal, an engineer looked at the house before I bid on it, the bank waived their appraisal, the check eventually cleared, and I’m hoping the vaccine will become available soon … for everyone’s sake.

Yes, moving is going to be a pain, and yet I feel good about my decision. Sometimes you just have to take a chance and DO some of the DON’Ts.

Tune in again next time for the next exciting episode of New Latitude, in which I’ll reveal the outcome of my mortgage application! (It’s still a mystery to me.)

My First Pandemic Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday – the first one (and hopefully the last) that I’ll have spent during a worldwide pandemic. And to honor the occasion (and also, to stop myself from obsessively checking Facebook for Happy Birthday greetings), I wrote a poem about how my day was going.

But first, I just have to show you some adorable monkeys.

corona-5032904_1920

Okay, now the poem:

My First Pandemic Birthday

It’s my first pandemic birthday
And it’s really no big deal
I’m thankful for the greetings
I’m feeling all the feels
Most people did remember
And if you forgot, that’s okay
But at least you didn’t send me
That cremation offer I got today.

Yes, I walked out to the mailbox
Expecting a card or two
Instead I got an election flyer
And junk mail out the wazoo.
But that offer for cremation
Was the icing on the cake
So I threw it in the garbage.
It was just too much to take.

When I returned from that errand,
I discovered I had a gift —
My new doggie who’d been hiding
Had left me something that I whiffed.
But she’s been the perfect canine
Well, up until today
I won’t hold one mistake against her
But I hope there aren’t more on the way.

Now it’s time to plan my evening.
I think I’ll make a special meal.
Cooking can be good therapy
For emotions I’m trying to heal.
I’m making my mother’s recipe
For Uncle Frank’s spaghetti sauce
And for dessert, I’ll eat a scone or two
Then we’ll see who’s boss.

Me or the corona virus?
Just which one will it be?
I think I can beat that bugger
Cuz I’ve got a mask or three.
And soon I will be Zooming
With some Tucson friends of mine —
I’m already getting ready.
I’ve opened a bottle of wine.

Photo credits: Chairs by ParentRap; Monkeys by Chiplanay (both on Pixabay).

 

 

Zooming and Blooming

Today’s post is about Zooming (video conferencing with my kids) and Blooming (photos I took about a month ago).

I haven’t been outside with my camera for several weeks, for fear of encountering someone on the trail who might sneeze on me. That actually happened to a friend of mine. Maybe my next batch of photos will be of the still life variety, taken indoors.

Let’s see … I could artfully arrange that pile of work folders that’s sitting on a stool in my living room. I might create a colorful collage from the pile of fabric rectangles stacked up next to my sewing machine. Or perhaps the world is ready for a sculpture I’ve created out of my pile of dirty laundry — the laundry I’m hesitant to do in the community laundry room. Then there’s my dwindling pile of toilet paper rolls … I really had better photograph it before it’s gone.

I’m doing okay, though. I just had a fun three-way video chat with my daughters. Tomorrow is the older one’s 40th birthday, so we celebrated by using Zoom. After the initially unsuccessful attempt at connecting, there we all finally were on the screen, looking like a pared-down version of the Brady Bunch (without the makeup, weird hairdos, or fake smiles). Well, in my case, I had put on a touch of makeup. They may have, too, but I couldn’t tell because they always look beautiful to me.

It wasn’t exactly the birthday party my daughter would have wanted, but it definitely made my day. I got to see with my own eyes how they’ve been coping during the pandemic, and it was reassuring. They even hilariously modeled their new masks, which they’ve made by cutting up the many pairs of leggings that they own, and making holes in them to place over their ears. It’s genius!

As always, they made me laugh, demonstrating how the stretchiness of the masks enables the wearer to quickly change them into long earrings, headbands, or a clever way to hide a double chin.

It was also a chance for me to visit with my grandsons. The 4-year-old (who tells his parents every day that he’s “so sick of the coronavirus”) said “I love you” (unprompted) and the almost 1-year-old smiled and waved and blew me an almost-kiss, touching his open palm to his mouth and holding it there for about 20 seconds. I have to say, it might have been one of the longest kisses I’ve ever received. It was definitely one of the best, anyway.

I hope you enjoy these photos of budding life and the promise of spring.

Bud 1Bud 2Bud 3Bud 5Bud 6

 

 

 

A Jumble of Emotions

Dear friends,

HUGS.

cartoon-1296501_1280

I hope you are well.

To say I’m going through some weird feelings at the moment because of the pandemic is an understatement. It feels dystopian. Unreal.  It’s a little like the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some days, I experience all five. This post is going to be a jumble of emotions. So be it.

Two days ago, I think depression was winning. But I’ve been trying to cope by reading, writing, watching TV, going for walks, and taking photos. Here’s a cute black-tailed gnatcatcher I saw the other day :

Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher-2

I admire his optimism. I hope some of it rubs off on me.

I’m worried, especially when I think about those of you in parts of the world, and in my own country, who are struggling the most. Italy, New York City, nursing homes, hospitals. The unemployed, parents who need childcare, people in prisons, the homeless, the sick, the elders … it’s mind-boggling and I know we’re in for a long ride. I never imagined being here. None of us did.

And I’m sad because my family lives 2,000 miles away. I’ve even fantasized about driving there, sleeping in my car along the way so as to avoid hotel germs, and arriving on their doorsteps with sanitizer in hand (which I don’t actually have because the stores were out of it) … but I’d just be a possible carrier, adding to their problems, so it’s best if I stay away. (Which reminds me: Have you seen Mel Brooks’ video where he tells his son to “go home”?)

I guess I’ll have to rely on texting, calling, and even dreaming to stay in touch with family. I literally dreamed about my two young grandsons last night. They will each have a birthday that I will miss this year.

My city, Tucson, just closed all restaurants and bars today. I think take-out is still an option, but sadly, I’m sure that doesn’t apply to bars. Glad I stocked up on wine, but three bottles doesn’t seem like nearly enough now.

On the bright side, scientists, medical professionals, some political leaders, small businesses, ordinary people are actually pulling together and making sacrifices for the sake of the greater good.

And I’m actually pretty impressed with how many of us humans are acting humanely, and are even finding and spreading humor on the internet. Is there a reason that the words “human” and “humor” are so similar?

By the way, here’s what made me laugh today:

90357626_10156672820196326_781163901562650624_n

In the days to come, I hope to continue with my emotional outpourings. In the meantime, please let me know how you’re doing. Are you coping? Do you need a virtual shoulder to cry on? If so, I’m your person. Comment away.

 

 

 

 

Oh My Gluten (Free)

My sister is flying across the country tomorrow to visit me. She’ll be staying with me for five whole days. YAY! I love family visits. I don’t get them very often, so I hope to make the most of it, with the usual food, fun, and frivolity.

She’s gluten-free (and I’m not), so that just adds to the fun of preparing for her stay. I’m not being sarcastic. I actually enjoyed my gluten-free scavenger hunt at Trader Joe’s tonight. I googled “Trader Joe’s gluten free” and found a list that included these yummy items. (I can’t wait to try that almond cashew macadamia drink.)

d2

For dessert, we can snack on Lara Bars. I love the cashew/date ones. I hope she leaves those for me. Actually, they’re the only ones I’ve tried. That lemon bar looks good right now. Hope I can wait till she gets here.

d6

I also bought some fruits and veggies, and made a centerpiece to welcome her into my home. Luckily, my sister gets my sense of humor.

d1

Is wine gluten-free? Oops. I just might have to consume these all by myself.

d4

I KNOW these aren’t gluten free. Impulse purchase!

d3

Tucson is an International City of Gastronomy, which means we’ll definitely be going out to sample some gluten-free tacos, tamales, burritos, salads, baked goods, and Margaritas while she’s in town. I’ve got my Best of Tucson issue on the coffee table so we can find all the best places.

d5

Needless to say, I might not be posting anything for the next five days. But after that, I just might have some food photos to share!

nanopoblano2019 Badge

This is post #5 (but who’s counting?) of NanoPoblano2019. Don’t know what NanoPoblano2019 is? Just click the link! It’s gluten-free, too!