Where the Blip am I?

My heartfelt apologies to all who love to write and visit this site.  Let me set aside excuses: life traumas, experiences of the dull mind, the attraction of pouting, and all the usual reasons for not writing.  Ugh.  It gets tiresome, and we ALL have been there.

The struggle continues.  I’m here, not at my best surely, but still kicking.  Learning does not fade.  I CAN, and I need to DO.

I hope to post more challenges for you, but only when I’m sure they are worthy of the many stellar writers you have shown up online in past.  I wish I could mention you all by name.  My imagination conjures all of you.

We shall keep going.

7 responses to “Where the Blip am I?

  1. Well, Ann, I have been wondering. Perhaps your boat broke down and you are marooned on Elephant Island in the Antarctic, considering a try to get to South Georgia in a wee life boat. Perhaps lions have you surrounded in the Maasai Mara and the safari vehicle radio is out of range so you can’t call for help, and worse, the vehicle is stuck in a Cape buffalo wallow. Perhaps you decided to free climb El Capitan and are balanced on a teensy ledge with no handholds in sight. Perhaps you went to Churchill in Manitoba and rowed across the river to see the Hudson Bay star fort and now polar bears are blocking your return.

    Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I’m glad you’re back from wherever you were.

  2. On a work imposed exile to the wilds of Wisconsin, I’ve been working on a small project I call “The Wisconsin Sketch Book.” Here is a sample, inspired by a real shopping cart placed in the middle of a frozen lake I pass on my way to work.

    From The Milwaukee Sketch Book

    All That is Lost

    To the west of the great fresh-water sea the Menominee people called “Michigan,” the tortured wind-swept land gradually merges with the Great Prairie. Not too distant from this nebulous dividing line runs the ancient trail used by the earliest inhabitants to transport their cargos of pelts, fish, and cheese curds to trade along the inland sea. It is here, astride this rough-hewn path known locally as “The trail of a million holes,” that Northridge Lake marks the intersection of the native path with that of the 76th Street motorway.

    The Northridge Lake is glacial depression which, according to some, is possessed of infinite depth. The lake is also renown for the coldness of its waters, such that in a typical year, a partial thaw may be observed by late June. However, the lake will have returned to its nearly perpetual solid state by September. It is upon the frozen waters of Northridge Lake that a spectacle of no small wonder may be observed by intrepid explorers at times when the conditions are just right. Across the frozen waste, well distant from the shoreline, can clearly be seen an object resembling a shopping cart. The locals variously describe the apparition as a shopping wagon, grocery cart, shopping carriage, poke buggy, or supermarket trolley. Some say they have seen it being pushed through a gale-force blizzard by an old woman wearing a white housedress searching hopelessly for a fresher melon. Others say it was left on the icy lake by a shopper being chased from a long-closed emporium over non-payment. Still, the oldest residents claim the object is a reminder of all that is lost, left by a Menominee maiden who, in her excitement over the introduction of fresh citrus products at Piggly-Wiggly, had forgotten where she had parked it.

    The real circumstances upon which the cart came to rest on the icy surface of Lake Northridge may never be known. Yet, it continues to fascinate the locals, who, after Packers season has ended, continue to spin fantastic yarns involving the mysterious object on the lake.

    The Dead Mall

    Immediately to the west of the abandoned shopping cart, left to rust on the frozen expanse of Northridge Lake, un-needed on Martin Luther King Day and unloved on Valentine’s day, sits the rotting hulk of the deceased Northridge Mall. The snow lies unmolested on the vast carless plain that once represented “free parting” to the harried masses picking up last minute Christmas gifts at Spencer’s, or those hoping to avoid an infection at the Piercing Pagoda.

    Only a narrow path is made from the street to the main entrance. I’m told this is done by the Milwaukee County government in hopes of easing access for fire department equipment and first responders in the event of a drug overdose or shooting. Although the mall is nominally closed, each individual store has been carefully numbered, using exterior grade brown spray paint, such that deliveries, were there ever to be any, could be made to the appropriate drop-off location. From the outside, it isn’t clear how kiosk tenants might be similarly supplied, but this has all the appearance of being a moot point. For obvious reasons, the old mall sees relatively little traffic in the winter months.

    In the summer, or late fall, it’s not uncommon to see a nearly broken-down pickup truck parked in the vast lot, which is slowly returning to green space, while several men work to disassemble a rusted water heater under the intense rays of the sun. How these industrious agents of commerce came upon the water heater, or under what circumstance, might be a matter of some conjecture. Yet, even at the seemingly dead mall, the great wheel of capitalism turns, however slowly, for those who know how to keep it oiled.

    The Shopper of the Lake


    Book V – How Arthur told Sir Belvidere to dispose of the shopping cart Excalibur.

    Alas, Arthur lay mortally wounded. The brave King occupied himself by doing what he could to contain the remainder of his intestines within his body. This sight caused Sir Belvidere, noble knight of the house of Plymouth, much pain. Although not so much pain as the King, who had clearly “taken one” for Camelot. “Sir Belvidere, my trusted servant, I command of you to take Excalibur, my magnificent grocery wagon, to Northridge lake and cast it into the waves,” Arthur said as his pancreas squirted away from his blood sodden fingers.

    “I’m on it Sire,” replied Belvidere, always the ‘yes man’ of the round table. And so, Belvidere took the cart and made his way to the edge of the lake. It was in a clearing beside the great water that he beheld the exquisite beauty of Excalibur. There was a little let-down seat that might comfortably hold a child. The handle was made of rich and colorful plastic. And, of course, Excalibur had four good wheels, two of which were castors that didn’t shake wildly or get permanently stuck in the wrong direction. “I cannot cast such a fine goods trolley into the frothing mare,” Belvidere thought as he recalled that Aldi charged twenty-five cents just to borrow carts of much lesser quality. So, with that thought plying the narrow pathways of his equally narrow mind, Belvidere of Plymouth hid the cart in the weeds.

    Upon returning to Arthur’s side, Belvidere told the King how the deed had been done. “So, what did you see when you threw it in?” Arthur queried as he tried to adjust the position of his gall bladder with his left hand while searching for his liver with his right. “Nothing special. Just a splash,” replied the knight. “Liar, liar,” said the King in a whiney petulant voice not unlike a spoiled child. “Throw it in the lake, or, so help me, as soon as I find my liver, I’ll have you drawn and quartered.”

    So, Belvidere went back to the lake, but again was unable to throw the magnificent cart in, and again Arthur chided him. Finally, Belvidere, realizing his dream of renting shopping carts for profit had no future, relented and flung the cart as far as he might into the waves.

    Before the hurtling cart could be consumed by the deep, a hand rose up from the lake and grabbed it neatly by the handle. The moonlight glinted off the polished metal frame as the Shopper-of-the-Lake drew the cart silently beneath the lapping waters. And then Belvidere saw a barge, with a flashing blue light, come and carry the wounded King away. “I’m going to Sears,” said Arthur, the once and future King, as a crew of wailing maidens rowed the barge beyond the horizon to a land where parking is always free.

    Explicit liber quartusOn a work imposed exile to the wilds of Wisconsin, I’ve been working on a small project I call “The Wisconsin Sketch Book.” Here is a sample, inspired by a real shopping cart placed in the middle of a frozen lake I pass on my way to work.

    From The Milwaukee Sketch Book

    All That is Lost

    To the west of the great fresh-water sea the Menominee people called “Michigan,” the tortured wind-swept land gradually merges with the Great Prairie. Not too distant from this nebulous dividing line runs the ancient trail used by the earliest inhabitants to transport their cargos of pelts, fish, and cheese curds to trade along the inland sea. It is here, astride this rough-hewn path known locally as “The trail of a million holes,” that Northridge Lake marks the intersection of the native path with that of the 76th Street motorway.

    The Northridge Lake is glacial depression which, according to some, is possessed of infinite depth. The lake is also renown for the coldness of its waters, such that in a typical year, a partial thaw may be observed by late June. However, the lake will have returned to its nearly perpetual solid state by September. It is upon the frozen waters of Northridge Lake that a spectacle of no small wonder may be observed by intrepid explorers at times when the conditions are just right. Across the frozen waste, well distant from the shoreline, can clearly be seen an object resembling a shopping cart. The locals variously describe the apparition as a shopping wagon, grocery cart, shopping carriage, poke buggy, or supermarket trolley. Some say they have seen it being pushed through a gale-force blizzard by an old woman wearing a white housedress searching hopelessly for a fresher melon. Others say it was left on the icy lake by a shopper being chased from a long-closed emporium over non-payment. Still, the oldest residents claim the object is a reminder of all that is lost, left by a Menominee maiden who, in her excitement over the introduction of fresh citrus products at Piggly-Wiggly, had forgotten where she had parked it.

    The real circumstances upon which the cart came to rest on the icy surface of Lake Northridge may never be known. Yet, it continues to fascinate the locals, who, after Packers season has ended, continue to spin fantastic yarns involving the mysterious object on the lake.

    The Dead Mall

    Immediately to the west of the abandoned shopping cart, left to rust on the frozen expanse of Northridge Lake, un-needed on Martin Luther King Day and unloved on Valentine’s day, sits the rotting hulk of the deceased Northridge Mall. The snow lies unmolested on the vast carless plain that once represented “free parting” to the harried masses picking up last minute Christmas gifts at Spencer’s, or those hoping to avoid an infection at the Piercing Pagoda.

    Only a narrow path is made from the street to the main entrance. I’m told this is done by the Milwaukee County government in hopes of easing access for fire department equipment and first responders in the event of a drug overdose or shooting. Although the mall is nominally closed, each individual store has been carefully numbered, using exterior grade brown spray paint, such that deliveries, were there ever to be any, could be made to the appropriate drop-off location. From the outside, it isn’t clear how kiosk tenants might be similarly supplied, but this has all the appearance of being a moot point. For obvious reasons, the old mall sees relatively little traffic in the winter months.

    In the summer, or late fall, it’s not uncommon to see a nearly broken-down pickup truck parked in the vast lot, which is slowly returning to green space, while several men work to disassemble a rusted water heater under the intense rays of the sun. How these industrious agents of commerce came upon the water heater, or under what circumstance, might be a matter of some conjecture. Yet, even at the seemingly dead mall, the great wheel of capitalism turns, however slowly, for those who know how to keep it oiled.

    The Shopper of the Lake


    Book V – How Arthur told Sir Belvidere to dispose of the shopping cart Excalibur.

    Alas, Arthur lay mortally wounded. The brave King occupied himself by doing what he could to contain the remainder of his intestines within his body. This sight caused Sir Belvidere, noble knight of the house of Plymouth, much pain. Although not so much pain as the King, who had clearly “taken one” for Camelot. “Sir Belvidere, my trusted servant, I command of you to take Excalibur, my magnificent grocery wagon, to Northridge lake and cast it into the waves,” Arthur said as his pancreas squirted away from his blood sodden fingers.

    “I’m on it Sire,” replied Belvidere, always the ‘yes man’ of the round table. And so, Belvidere took the cart and made his way to the edge of the lake. It was in a clearing beside the great water that he beheld the exquisite beauty of Excalibur. There was a little let-down seat that might comfortably hold a child. The handle was made of rich and colorful plastic. And, of course, Excalibur had four good wheels, two of which were castors that didn’t shake wildly or get permanently stuck in the wrong direction. “I cannot cast such a fine goods trolley into the frothing mare,” Belvidere thought as he recalled that Aldi charged twenty-five cents just to borrow carts of much lesser quality. So, with that thought plying the narrow pathways of his equally narrow mind, Belvidere of Plymouth hid the cart in the weeds.

    Upon returning to Arthur’s side, Belvidere told the King how the deed had been done. “So, what did you see when you threw it in?” Arthur queried as he tried to adjust the position of his gall bladder with his left hand while searching for his liver with his right. “Nothing special. Just a splash,” replied the knight. “Liar, liar,” said the King in a whiney petulant voice not unlike a spoiled child. “Throw it in the lake, or, so help me, as soon as I find my liver, I’ll have you drawn and quartered.”

    So, Belvidere went back to the lake, but again was unable to throw the magnificent cart in, and again Arthur chided him. Finally, Belvidere, realizing his dream of renting shopping carts for profit had no future, relented and flung the cart as far as he might into the waves.

    Before the hurtling cart could be consumed by the deep, a hand rose up from the lake and grabbed it neatly by the handle. The moonlight glinted off the polished metal frame as the Shopper-of-the-Lake drew the cart silently beneath the lapping waters. And then Belvidere saw a barge, with a flashing blue light, come and carry the wounded King away. “I’m going to Sears,” said Arthur, the once and future King, as a crew of wailing maidens rowed the barge beyond the horizon to a land where parking is always free.

    Explicit liber quartus

  3. What’s invisible and smells like carrots?
    Missed ya!
    L

  4. Perhaps Ann has been staking out the bus stop in wait for the interaction between John and Martha. I know I have spent many an hour there myself.

  5. I left a detailed comment a couple days ago but…

  6. Sending hugs and positive energy, Ann.

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