Week Off

This last week was extra crazy because of my darling youngest's wisdom tooth surgery (well, teeth actual, all 4 wisdom teeth + one molar) and general holiday tomfoolery. I'll be doing BAwR again next week. For now I'll be sleeping off the turkey coma.


Evolution of a Chajin: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 44

Water touches tea
releasing its sweet fragrance.
Today I receive
instead of serve. I find joy
in others’ first tastes of art.

This poem is linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose

Liner Notes For This Groove: I remember when I first started tea lessons. There were so many terms to learn, so many small details of movement and positioning to keep straight. I may have responded in Spanish a few times when I was supposed to answer in Japanese. I may have mangled my Japanese so I told my guests to finish cleaning up for me. But the older more experienced students were there to give me tips on how to remember things, tricks for polishing my techniques, and just be generally helpful.

So recently I had a lesson where I was the most senior student. I did advance clean up to make the lessons flow more smoothly, just the way I remember some of the older students did for me. I lent out some of my tea things so the newer students could practice with them.

Now I’ve been studying long enough to know I’ve made decent progress in my personal practice. But being able to help really made me feel like I was part of the tea school in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I was part of the process of helping others learn, and that felt really cool. Sen Rikyu (the founder of the Urasenke Tea School) wrote many famous poems regarding the art of tea. In his 98th poem he wrote, “Mastery in chanoyu is a matter of empathy, versatility, and experience. When these three are present and in balance, the person is capable of true understanding. I make no claims to mastery but I’m happy in knowing I’ve made enough advances in all three to feel a new sense of place in a larger tradition.

Yummy tea treats. One of the new students was helpful
in finding the best angle to take the picture.

So dear Groovers, what traditions are close to your heart? Talk to me about them in the comments section and do drop a link to your cyberhome if you want to take the conversation to a deeper place.

Sportsball Wizard: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 43

quick blink—
              and I’m the smallest one
              on an enormous field,   
              praying to the wind
              to keep that ball away
              while trying not to notice
              pitying looks
  and disdainful laughter.

quick blink—
              I’m still the smallest one
              but now I’m the wind
              heading for that ball
              grinning while friendly 
              cheers accompany me
              straight into the goal.

This poem was created in response to the prompt at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Time Travel -Flashbacks with Bjorn.

Liner Notes for this Groove: As I've mentioned before on this blog, I've become a big fan of playing sportsball (i.e. team sports activities) at my work place. What might be even more surprising to me is (that as long as I remember to diligently warm up) I've become not a half bad player. I'm actually pretty decent to the point people want me on their team. I even earned myself a nickname, "the Wizard" (I always work out in nerd themed gym clothes, including Harry Potter ones).

If Tee Turtle ever carries this t-shirt design back in stock again
I am sooooo getting one. Because reasons.

 My company is moving locations in the near future, so that means there will likely be an interruption to my sportsball time as things settle down. I'll still exercise at home, but it won't be the same. I'm going to miss my sportsball. This reminds a little of a quote by Anne Lamott, who said that figuring the act of writing was its own reward, was "like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony." I went along with sportsball, because it was just a form of exercise. But since then, I've discovered I really need the game itself.

Speaking of moving, I'm moving my main posting day. Starting  Nov 24th, I'll be doing Blogging Around with Rommy on Sundays. Thanks for sticking with me through all the shifting around. So what has you moving these days, Groovers? Talk to me about it in the comments and drop a link to your cyberhome if you feel moved to continue the conversation there.

Song Choice: Do I hear La Copa De La Vida by Ricky Martin in my head sometimes when I'm running on the field? Yep. When I score critical or game winning goals might I hear Pinball Wizard in my head, replacing "pinball" with "sportsball"? Perhaps. 😂

Sky Full of Amethysts: Blogging Around With Rommy Week 42

I came through,
under the crust of possibility filled earth,
not quite right
for what I was expected to be.

I’ve had eons to learn
to fake a laugh
and joke loud enough
to distract from my flawed shaping.

I was told I was fated to lose 
because I'm a dull excuse for an amethyst.
I was secretly afraid
that was the reason I was left behind the others
without a chance to know the homeworld.

It’s true.  There’s a lot I don’t know.
But I’m burnished bright by my strange
and when the dross falls away, I see

I’m just as real an amethyst
as any of the others in this sky.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Just One Word: Burnish. It is also linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose.

So this soon after Nerdtino (a Latinx nerd convention), I had to go with something super nerdy. This piece is about one of my favorite characters in the cartoon Steven Universe, Amethyst. Though Amethyst hatched on earth, she’s part of an alien species known as Gems. There are several other Gems on earth, but she is the only Amethyst. This piece was meant to take place just as she was meeting other Amethysts for the first time. She was very nervous about it, but according to the official podcast of the series, meeting and getting to know other Amethysts (whom she now collectively refers to as "the Famethyst") “has allowed Amethyst to define herself with more clarity, leading her flexibility to become a choice rather than a reaction.”

There are so many great moments in this show
but Amethyst meeting the other Amethysts is one of my favorites.

Speaking of Nerdtino, I had an amazing time there. It was the first time I had ever been to that convention, and the first time I vended anywhere. I was so nervous, I forgot to have tea before I drove over. Fortunately, nerves work up a fair bit of adrenaline in the system. That and the really great atmosphere provided by getting together with other creative folks who are passionate about their art kept my energy high the whole day. Despite having trouble with my card reader for my cell phone, I sold out of all twenty-five of the books I brought with me.

Yes, I crashed as soon as I got home, settling myself on the couch the rest of the night and a-better-late-than-never cup of green tea. As Khaled Hosseini wrote in A Thousand Splendid Suns, “it's better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.” But I am so happy I went even if I did have my first cup of tea at 7 p.m.

So let me hear from you dear Groovers…have you done anything that made you a little nervous at first, but ended up being pretty freaking wonderful? Talk to me about it in the comments section and as always, if you want to take the conversation up on your page drop a link to your cyberhome in the notes.

Song Choices: DJ Awesomus Prime kept the convention dancing to so many great songs that day, but I have to go with the two that really got me and the people around me moving. Suavemente by Elvis Crespo and Make My Story by Lenny Code Fiction (the second theme for season three of My Hero Academia).

Hunger Pains

There was no questionhis mews were less robust than his brothers’ and sisters’ from the moment he was born. And now they had gotten even fainter. None of the litter had opened their eyes yet but Mayra knew that one would not get the chance, even if she didn't intervene. She looked down at the pitifully undersized creature.

 A patched tabby strutted into the alley where Mayra and her brood lay. Lyla gave her a contemptuous look as she got closer.

“You haven’t done away with it yet?” Lyla scoffed.

Mayra didn’t look up. She continued to look at the small kitten, wishing things had been different, wishing he was as strong as the others.

Small white paws…dark fur…white patch on the throat…dark nose…Mayra tried to fix in her mind every detail about him she could.

“Oh move out of the way. I’ll do it if you won’t. It’s a shame to waste food, even if he won’t make much of a meal.”

Mayra hissed at Lyla. “I’ll do it.”

I don’t know if I can care for the others, or myself for that matter, Mayra thought. She had a hard time finding much to eat lately, even with Helia’s help, and worried if she could make enough milk for all the kittens. She had hoped for a miracle. Sometimes she’d daydream about one of the two-leggeds taking her and her children into a warm home. But she had found nothing more comforting from them than glass bottles thrown her way.

There was going to be no miracle. Nothing would help the small one now. She knew that this would give her food she desperately needed and buy the rest of her children just a bit more time. But her heart still ached. It would be crueler to let him linger like this.

Mayra opened her mouth and in a few seconds it was done.

“There now. It wasn’t that hard. You first time brood carriers, always so dramatic. You actually have tears right now! I’ve eaten at least 4 of my own kittens and it never bothered me once. They were actually quite tasty. If it wasn’t such a strain to bear the little beasts, I might have another litter, just for the chance to taste one again.”

Mayra hissed and spat again. Lyla raised her paw to strike.

“All right over there, Mayra?”

A scarred pit bull loped over to the two cats. She barred her teeth at Lyla. “You wouldn’t be thinking of hurting a new mother, would you, Lyla?”

Lyla turned tail and fled. Helia gave a snort in her direction. “I never did like Lyla all that much. She bothers you again, I won’t feel bad about taking a nice big bite out of her backside. Oh, I almost forgot. I got something for you.” Helia ran to the front of the alley and came back again, bearing a large mouse. She wagged her tail excitedly, dropping it at Mayra’s paws. “This is nothing. There’s a whole warehouse full of ‘em. When you and your babies can move, I’ll take you to it. The two-leggeds would probably love having some good mousers. Maybe they’ll need a guard dog too. I already had plenty. This one is for you.”

Mayra ate, grateful for the extra food. She tried not to think that this was the first time her belly felt full in a while. “Thank you Helia. I don’t know why you’re so kind to me.”

“Already told you. You look like the cat from the place I was before. She was the only good thing about that place and the only reason I made it out.” Helia noticed there was one less kitten curling up to Mayra to nurse. She licked the cat tenderly, deciding not to bring it up unless Mayra did. “It’s been a busy day. I don’t know about you, but I could use a bit of rest.” Helia placed herself in front of Mayra, and lay down.

Mayra picked her head up drowsily. There was something in the sound of the wind that woke her. She sniffed the air. Beside her, several kittens shifted restlessly in their sleep, squirming more closely against each other. A faint whine came from Helia, but she still slept. Blinking, she looked more closely at the shadows near a stack of slowly rotting cardboard boxes. 

Mayra never had trouble distinguishing objects in shadow before, but instead of the broken glass, mildewed rags and other assorted city trash she was used to seeing, all she could make out was an inky haze pooling around the boxes. As she watched, all of the shadows seemed to take on the same velvety darkness. Mayra shook her head as if that might clear her vision, but the shadows started to congeal into shapes with no relation to their surroundings. 

A legion of small, fragile figures could be made out, some of which occasionally shifted back to the formlessness of the larger shadow before coalescing into a tiny feline form again.

“Mama” came a tiny mew and dozens of equally high pitched mews of “Mama” followed after.

Mayra hung her head, “I am sorry, little one. You should have been born to a mother on a comfortable farm somewhere, with kind, big two-leggeds to bottle-feed you and kind, small two-leggeds to adore you. I am sorry I wasn't enough to save you.”

“We know,” answered dozens of tiny mews. “You cried Mama. Only Mamas cry. Not everyone cries for us.” The words repeated again and again like ripples across a pond.

Mayra blinked, “We? Us? There was only one kitten I…” She turned to look at the rest of her babies. They were all still there, still asleep and moving fitfully. “Who are you?”

“Ones who could not survive. Lost and found ones. We have each other. But we still need a Mama.”


“Feed us Mama. We are so hungry. Please feed us.” The small echoing mews filled the alley.

“I don’t know how. I wish I did. You’d still be alive if I knew how.”

“Feed us Mama! Feed us!” came the insistent mews, rising ever higher in pitch and volume. “We’re so hungry!”

“I don’t know how!” Mayra screamed.

“Whoa, Mayra. Hun, you alright?” Mayra felt a large wet tongue on her side. She opened her eyes and saw Helia’s worried face. One of her kittens started to mew and she flinched. It was a perfectly normal and healthy mew of a hungry kitten. She trembled and gave it a tentative lick. The kitten was warm and solid. Mayra moved to start to nurse her and the others started to move closer.

She looked at Helia. “Just a nightmare. I guess I knew the little ones needed to eat now.”

When Mayra was finished nursing her children Helia got up to leave. “I’ll be right back. I’m just going to go to warehouse and get us some food. It’s going to be all right Mayra. Just a couple of days and we’ll all go together.”

Not too long after Helia left, Lyla came into the alley, followed by two cats Mayra didn’t know. “I know Helia’s gone. She won’t be back for a while.”

The fur bristled on Mayra’ back. “What do you want Lyla?”


The three cats started towards Mayra. She hissed at them. All I need to do is hold out until Helia comes back, she thought. I can do that.

But even if she had been well-fed and not weak from giving birth three days ago, Mayra was small and young. The two cats with Lyla were strong and well used to scuffling with bigger opponents. After the first few blows, Mayra was dizzy. The world started blur in front of her. As she fell, she could hear the kittens crying behind her.

I can’t feed you, she thought. And as soon as I’m gone they will eat you.

“We’re hungry Mama,” came dozens of little mews.

“Little ones, I wish you could eat them,” she whispered.

Immediately the shadows from the alley gathered and a sea of small, indistinct shadows crashed over Lyla and her friends. Myra heard their pained yowls but couldn’t see anything besides the forms in shadows pouncing over and over again. Eventually the yowls stopped and even the mass of shadows stopped moving. One small figure came away from the larger body of shadows, and dropped a bit of meat in front of Mayra.

“For you Mama.”

“Thank you sweetheart,” Mayra answered. 

Photo by Ricardo Tamayo on Unsplash

Song Choice: Baby Mine from the movie Dumbo

Liner Notes for this Groove: This is a slightly updated version of a story I wrote awhile ago. It just felt right bringing it out again this time of year. It also feels cool revisiting some of my older work after the amazing time I had at the Nerdtino Expo. (More about that later, I promise!)

Autumn's Breath: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 41

Autumn Breath
Jason Limberg
Used with Permission

Autumn’s breath should be crisper
than the first bite of an apple.

It should carry the musk
hidden in the heart of leaf piles.

It should whip past you
with the snap of a newly bared branch.

But when it is smothered too long
in a zombie summer’s dregs,

even the animals’ whispers will carry
across the sullen air.

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' Art Flash prompt. It is also linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose.

Liner Notes for This Groove: I can remember being disappointed by freezing Halloweens in my youth - ones so cold that you had to wear a big jacket and no one could tell what you were dressed as. As much of a bummer as those were, I have to say that this recent one's unseasonable warmth bothered me more. I was able to run around in a short sleeve dress without needing a light sweater. I did however have a cup of tea with me as I was giving out the candy. As Thea Devine wrote, "Tea was the great leveler. It brought calm, quiet, contentment, warmth. And it was something to do." At least I could depend on my evening cuppa to be exactly what I expected.

Song Choice: Fall on Me by R.E.M.