Thursday Throwback: Brian Hyland: Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Since I’m being featured this coming Saturday on another blog, and I plan to re-blog that then, I decided to post my weekly music feature today instead of a book feature. According to my Amazon companion, today is National Bikini Day, among other things. Here’s a song to commemorate that for those who prefer minimal clothing. Enjoy, and have a great day.

***

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Piss Call

Piss Call

One morning, I was getting ready to go to my water exercise class at the YMCA and running late. I considered making a pit stop before putting on my swimsuit and clothes, but since I didn’t want my friend who was picking me up to wait for me and didn’t feel it was an urgent need, I decided against it. After I got in the pool later, I wished I’d gone, but I managed to make it through the class.

My body is like a little kid. You ask her if she needs to go to the bathroom before a long car trip, and she says she doesn’t. Then, you’re on the open road in the middle of nowhere, and she says, “Mommy, I have to go.”

When my brother and I were kids, and our family took long road trips, my dad had a solution to this problem. Whenever he needed to go, he said, “Piss call” and pulled over. He would then get out and do his business alongside the road.

My brother found this hilarious, and like his father, he wanted to do the same thing. My mother said my dad was a card. At the age of twelve, I found this fascinating. The only cards I knew about were playing cards and greeting cards. How could a person be a card?

Years later, after my mother passed away, and I was a registered music therapist working in a nursing home and with senior citizens in other facilities, Dad and I planned a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to visit my brother and his family. My father had recently suffered a stroke and occasionally found it difficult to express himself or understand what was being said to him.

After driving for about an hour and a half, we stopped in Kaycee for gas. It was around eleven o’clock. I figured we would stop in Casper for lunch. Since that was only about half an hour away, I again decided I didn’t need to use the facilities. When we reached the outskirts of Casper, Dad suggested we go on to Wheatland, another ninety miles, for lunch. By this time, I had to go and didn’t think I could wait another hour and a half.

When I asked if we could pull into a gas station so I could use the restroom, Dad thought I was hungry and suggested I get a milk shake or an order of French fries at a nearby Burger King to tide me over until we reached Wheatland. We kept going back and forth, me explaining I needed to make a pit stop and him insisting I get a snack. Finally, I said “Piss call.”

That did the trick, although to my surprise and relief, he didn’t pull over. Sometimes, you have to speak a person’s language in order to be understood. We ended up going to Burger King, and I used the facilities, then bought a milk shake for the road.

***

What do you remember about road trips you took with your family when you were growing up? What about when you were an adult? Do you still take road trips with your family? I’d love to read your responses, either on your own blog with a link to this post or in the comments field below. Happy summer, and safe travels.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

On Straightening Up and Flying Right, an Abecedarian Poem


Thanks to fellow blogger Alice Massa for inspiring me to post this again. It was published in Magnets and Ladders several years ago, and I posted it here at that time. In this recent post, Alice encourages her readers to write an abecedarian about summer. I wrote this one several years ago. It’s not exactly about summer, but it will do.

When my father died several years ago, my brother and I performed the song that inspired this poem at his celebration of life with me on piano and vocals and my brother on drums. Without my brother and his drums, I can’t re-produce that version, but here’s Nat King Cole’s rendition, which is a lot better.

Below the video, you’ll find the WordPress player application, and when you press the Play button there, you’ll hear me read the poem. The printed version is below that. This form of poetry is called an abecedarian because the first letter of each line starts with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. Needless to say, this poem is 26 lines. You’ll note that the beginning letter of each line is in bold. In my recorded reading, I emphasize the first word of each line. Enjoy!

***

***

***

On Straightening Up and Flying Right

A buzzard and a monkey wouldn’t fly together
because a monkey wouldn’t be stupid enough to
climb on a buzzard’s back, a buzzard being a
dirty bird with no morals.
Everybody knows that monkeys don’t
fly–buzzards do. I would
guess that monkeys associate with monkeys.
Heaven knows why the song was written. What an
imagination someone must have to
justify writing it—but with
knowledge of values, one would believe that there’s a
logical message here. The
monkey makes a point when telling the buzzard
not to blow his top and to do right.
Of course, not blowing your top and doing right are important.
People who are angry blow their tops, but the
question is do these people not do
right? I’ve blown my top a few times.
Still, I try to do the right thing. I
think that even the best of us,
under certain circumstances, blow our tops. It’s not
very unusual, but back to the monkey and the buzzard.
Why would a monkey allow a buzzard to take him for a ride? It doesn’t require
x-ray vision to determine that a buzzard is smaller than the average monkey.
You should realize that a monkey would be safer riding a
zebra. He wouldn’t have far to fall.

***

If you’d like to try writing an abecedarian poem, check out Alice’s guidelines linked to above. The basic idea is to write a 26-line poem with the first letter of each line starting with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. This can be tricky. Good luck. I’d love to read what you come up with, either on your own blog with a link here or in the comments field below.
***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Re-Blog: Book Review


I read this book several years ago but never reviewed it here for some reason. Like Mary, I was a MASH fan and was drawn to Alan Alda’s work, which I give a definite thumbs-up. Enjoy, and happy reading.

Book Review

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Re-blog: Back Eyes by Joe E. Pinto


This post reminds me of an incident that happened when I was in high school. I was often late to choir practice because it took me longer to get there from another building on campus. Once, I tried sneaking in when the music teacher’s back was turned, but she said, ” ah hah, I see you. I have eyes in the back of my head.” Now, I hope you enjoy this post by a blind mom who also has eyes in the back of her head.

***

Back Eyes by Joe E. Pinto

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Let’s Talk about Food


Thanks to Aman Khan for this tag. I couldn’t have seen this at a better time, since I was running out of ideas for my regular Tuesday posts. Here are my answers to twenty-five questions about food.

***

Q1. What’s your favorite breakfast?

A. I don’t have a favorite breakfast. From day to day, I alternate between oatmeal, bagels and cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes with either sausage or a ham and cheese omelet. Most of the food I eat comes from Schwan.

Q2. How do you drink your coffee?

A. I don’t. I’ve never liked the taste. It’s funny, though, because I like coffee-flavored ice cream once in a while.

Q3. What’s in your favorite sandwich?

A. I like a sandwich with lettuce, onions, mayonnaise, cheese, and either lunchmeat or tuna or chicken salad. Once in a while, I’ll eat a hamburger.

Q4. Soup or salad?

A. I like them both. In a restaurant, I often order soup with a sandwich unless they have macaroni, potato, or pasta salad. When I order an entree, I usually ask for a salad. Most restaurants serve huge portions, and soup, I think, is too much, in that case.

Q5. No more sweets or no more savories?

A. I like both sweet and savory foods, although they may not be as healthful.

Q6. What’s your favorite cuisine?

A. Again, I don’t have a favorite. I like American, Mexican, Italian, and even Chinese.

Q7. What’s your favorite food movie?

A. I don’t have a favorite movie with food in it.

Q8. What’s your most guilty pleasure?

A. Chocolate.

Q9. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was?

A. I’ve eaten a lot of good food in my life, but I don’t remember the tastiest.

Q10. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. I don’t have one because I don’t cook much anymore. Even when my late husband was alive, the recipes I used came either from him or from friends. You can read more about that in My Ideal Partner.

Q11. What’s your greatest inspiration source?

A. Now that my late husband is gone, I’m not inspired to cook as often. Most of my meals come ready-made from Schwan.

Q12. Cooking at home or going out?

A. I eat most of my meals at home, but once in a while, I’ll go out to eat with friends.

Q13. High end or low profile?

A. I like major restaurant chains and local establishments.

Q14. What’s your favorite restaurant?

A. I don’t have a favorite, but there are some I don’t like. I’m not very particular, though.

Q15. I do my grocery shopping at?

A. I rarely go to the store myself. With my limited vision, this can be tricky, even with someone to help me find what I need. Instead, groceries are delivered to my home once a week from Albertson’s and once every other week from Schwan.

Q16. Coffee with Leonardo Dicaprio or Gordon Ramsey?

A. I don’t know any of these people, and I don’t drink coffee, but I wouldn’t mind having a Dr. Pepper with Alan Alda.

Q17. What should not be missing in your kitchen?

A. The refrigerator, the microwave, and the stove.

Q18. What is your favorite snack?

A. I don’t usually snack between meals, but occasionally, I’ll eat a slice or two of just plain cheese.

Q19. What’s on your pizza?

A. Everything except jalapenos, anchovies, and guacamole.

Q20. What foods do you really dislike?

A. Peanut butter and liver and onions.

Q21. What’s the one food you refuse to share?

A. Although I won’t eat anything if someone else’s mouth has been on it, I don’t refuse to share any food.

Q22. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A. Kale.

Q23. What’s on your food bucket list?

A. I don’t have a food bucket list.

Q24. I couldn’t live without eating?

A. Anything.

Q25. If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

A. Chocolate ice cream.

***

Now it’s your turn. On your own blog or in the comments field below, answer any or all the above questions. Also, if you have additional questions about my eating habits, please feel free to leave them

below, and I’ll answer them. I look forward to hearing from you about food.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Thursday Book Feature: Celebrating All Seasons


The books I’m reviewing today contain poems, song lyrics, and prose for all seasons. Some of you may remember my review of Chasing the Green Sun back in 2012. This book is worth a second look, so be sure to scroll down and read my review.

***

Julie Andrews Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year
Compiled by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Copyright 2012.

The poems and song lyrics in this collection are divided into sections by month and season. At the end, there’s a section on other celebrations such as birthdays and welcoming newborns. Besides Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, other poets featured here include Emily Dickinson and John Updike, to name only a couple. The book includes illustrations and an index.

I enjoyed reading the poems in this collection. I knew most of the songs and ended up singing along, as I was reading the lyrics. I especially liked the Christmas section, which contains, among other things, Christina Rosetti’s poem that was the basis for “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” a song I’ve sung a few times. I wish they’d included “Twas the Night before Christmas.” This book is fun for all ages, so if you have kids, I suggest reading them the poems and singing the songs with them, especially during the time of year for which the poems and songs are written.

***

Chasing the Green Sun
By Marilyn Brandt Smith
Copyright 2012

This is a collection of stories, poems, and essays written mostly by Marilyn. She collaborated on a few of them with her husband and other authors. The book is divided into twelve sections, each corresponding consecutively with the months of the year. Some of the pieces are seasonal. Others were originally published in the Behind Our Eyes anthologies and Magnets and Ladders. The title comes from an essay in which Marilyn describes how her son, born blind, perceived the moon when he was a child.

I met Marilyn years ago when I joined Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities, of which she is now president. It was fun losing myself in her writing. I wondered what would become of a woman in a hospital on New Year’s Eve, a victim of domestic violence. I laughed when a blind man told a policeman why he couldn’t move his van. I found her stories about her volunteer work in the Peace Corps fascinating. This is another book that can be read over and over again the whole year through.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***