Thursday, May 21, 2020

Introducing Wee Word Wee-Sources


I am so excited to share a new focus here on Wee Words for Wee Ones:
Wee-Sources!







Every week I will share a Wee Word Wee-Source with you, my dear weaders READers.

The Wee-Source will be:
  • a poetry (or otherwise) submission opportunity
  • a writing/teaching event that might interest you
  • a poetry infused language learning tip or tidbit
  • a book WEE-view
  • a writing/poetry prompt 
  • any Wee-source YOU want to share*
  • Smidgey's Identity Crisis Poetry Series videos:












*email me direct: bridget@bridgetmagee.com

Here is today's Wee-Source:

Call for submissions: 42-Word Stories Anthology

An anthology of 42 categories of 42 selected works of 42-word microfiction stories, and 42 art pieces, one per chapter. 

That's potentially 1,764 authors in one book. 

Deadline: Until categories are filled.

Release date: TBA

I'm happy to say that I have a story in the Poetic Prose category that has been accepted into this anthology. Click on the link to check out the categories and see if you can write a 42 word story to fit. Take a chance and jump at this opportunity.

And here is today's Wee Words Poem:

one stop shop
for your wee word needs
no mask required
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Hosting all the poetry goodness can be found is 
Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

Friday, May 1, 2020

Full Inbox, Full Heart, Full Pocket

To celebrate today, I am celebrating yesterday!

Thursday, 30 April, 2020 was Poem in your Pocket Day!

But before I empty my pockets, I want to give you an update on my Pandemic Poetry Take Away Ecard Extravaganza. Over 30 Take Away 'order's were placed for FREE ecards and I donated $300 to NoKidHungry.org as a result. Thank you one and all who participated, especially Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference, for featuring my project on her blog.

It's not too late, if you'd still like to 'order'. The best part of an ecard is that it never spoils, it is likely to make the recipient smile, and it costs you nothing! (I've been known to take special orders...)
If you'd still like to join the fun, just email me: bridget@bridgetmagee.com and I will get your ecard(s) sent off to you lickity-split!












Back to my pocket...and the poem that is there. Actually this poem is from my archives:


A poem in my pocket
is trying to get out -
pushing against my seam,
it wants to shout:

"I'm here,
hear me rhyme,
free me from 
this linty grime!"

I take out my poem
and share it with you.
Check your pocket,
maybe you have one too?

©2012, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



 But for this year, I decided to write a Golden Shovel poem 
to go in my pocket:

I chose the poem, Pigeon by Nikki Grimes from her 2001 poetry collection A POCKETFUL OF POEMS as the poem I admire. Apropos book to choose from, no?
 
PIGEON 
by Nikki Grimes


Ouch! This word pecks at my pocket

like some wild thing, anxious to go free.

PIGEON

Its speckled sister paces along

the windowsill, staring at me.

Pigeons masquerade

as wildlife. They can’t fool me.

We’re all city folk.

 I rearranged the line in bold to be the end words of my new poem. It turned out like this:


At first, I treated staying home like

a vacation. Time to write some

poems or binge watch that wild

show, “Tiger King” on Netflix. The thing

is though, this is a pandemic. I am anxious.

People are dying. I want to

help people, see my family back home, go

to the movies. Will life ever again truly be free?

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Today all the Poetry Friday goodness can be
 found at Elizabeth Steinglass's blog! Come check it out!


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Take Away

I've always had the strong desire to have a take away from life events - a life lesson or wisdom gleaned from having had whatever the experience.

Like my take away that Barbie doll hair doesn't grow back after you cut it to the scalp nubbins. Duly noted by the fact that my mother never bought me another Barbie after my "salon" incident.

Or my take away that Smidgey can go on a multiple day hunger strike protesting her perfectly good kibble after stealing inadvertently eating a large chunk of cheese and then having tummy issues. Duly noted that cheese can be used as a treat/motivator for Smidgey, but should not be a staple of her day-to-day diet. (Much to her chagrin.)
Look what Smidgey can do when cheese is a possibility.



















My most recent take away: after 6 weeks of homemade meals, day after day, morning/noon/night, we have a hankering for a meal not cooked by us. In the olden' days(pre-Covid) we only went out to eat at restaurants about once a month as restaurants here are outrageously expensive: ~90CHF for Thai food for 3 (no alcohol)! But desperate times call for a splurge once in a while.

Now Maureen, being the teenager that she is, wanted Burger King. Of course, BK has been open for take away since the social distancing rules went into effect, but there isn't one in our village. In fact, there is only one in our Canton (state), in a neighboring city - about a 20 minute train ride from our house. And going on public transport for Burger King (an obvious non-essential food) is not only bad form, but is dangerous during a pandemic. (Note: BK is dangerous for my cardiovascular health anytime.) So we looked into delivery. O.M.G! A Whopper meal (burger, fries, and a drink) x 3 people is 55.80CHF. With delivery, an extra 17CHF. The grand total would be 72.80CHF! Needless to say, we didn't order BK take away. (As of this writing 1USD = .97CHF)













My take away from this BK-nearly-bankrupting-us-cardiac arrest-experience is we don't want take away THAT bad.

This brings me to the realities of this ongoing pandemic we all find ourselves in. What's my take away so far? People are fundamentally good, some governments, not so much.

Since the pandemic began I've had a strong desire to help beyond doing my part to Stay At Home. Living here in Switzerland, with only rudimentary German, I have been hard pressed to find ways to make a difference locally. And the Swiss government's response to widespread unemployment/furloughed employees has been much more humane, so the need here is not as acute as it is in my home country, the US. (Though the Swiss government's plan for reopening is scary, but that is a post for another day...)







Throughout our home confinement we have had a need to connect with family and friends locally and abroad. At the start of March, before Switzerland shut down, we sent out 3 packages to 3 different family members:
1 package made it to my Mom just after her 20 March birthday.
1 package is still AWOL somewhere between Switzerland and California, completely missing my daughter's 5 April birthday.
And 1 package went from Switzerland to Abu Dhabi and back to Switzerland again in a month. Apparently, after we sent it, the Abu Dhabi postal system shut down. Instead of holding it in that country until the restrictions lifted, they sent it back to Switzerland. At least parcels are getting a vacation.

Round trip for only 30CHF! Ugh.











The take away from these postal experiences? Email is a much better way to keep in touch with loved ones in this new world. So to keep in touch with family and friends, Maureen and I have been doing a drawing-a-day together using the YouTube drawing tutorial sites (most were DrawSoCute videos) and then emailing them to family and friends. They have been well received and having your teenage daughter want to draw beside you day after day of self isolation is a pandemic win!

Then inspiration struck! What if I combine my desire for take away, my desire to help, the desire to share Maureen and my pictures, my love of poetry and the efficiency of email into one big project?

Ta-da! I present to you my Pandemic Poetry Take Away Ecard Extravaganza!

Here is the Take Away Menu (picture + poem = ecard love):

Swiss Chocolate
a
milk
white or dark 
chocolate piece
melts slowly over my 
tongue as I thank the Swiss
kindred spirits whose love for
chocolate is as mountainous as mine
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.






Swiss Cheese
all cheese
in the land of Swiss
is Swiss cheese
dairy bliss
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.





PB&J family
we eat PB&J
scoop, spread, chew
mnest mnandwich memer
mouth stuck like glue
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.
A dab of avocado...see what I did there?
A dab of...

A 'good' fat
Vitamins C, E, K, and B-6
Oil for cooking and cosmetics
Creamy texture
Actually a fruit
Delicious
Omega-3
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.




tacos - ole!
fresh fillings
spicy taste
twin tacos
shelled embrace
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.






bunny 💓's pancakes
dry ingredients
combined with wet
mix thoroughly
forget the baguette

hot griddle
flip each side
golden syrup
home plate slide
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.




cat calculating pi/pie

 Pi or pie
calculated
delight
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.










A: ǝʞɐɔ ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ɐ

I wear a halo of fiery light,
while being a sweet delight.

You eat me on your special day,
to celebrate your aging - hooray!

I give you great pleasure,
and memories to treasure,
who am I?
 ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



No yolk,
after this is over
let's do breakfast.
We're meant to be together.
 ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



As an added bonus, most pictures have a cute little Smidgey (drawn by Maureen) to share our puppy love:












These calorie-free delicacies are perfect for the family and friends in YOUR life. Email your Pandemic Poetry Take Away order to bridget@bridgetmagee.com and I will send you as many JPEG picture/poems as you would like to send on to the special people in your life.

And for every drawing + poem you "order", I will donate to No Kid Hungry.org.

You pay NOTHING. (I am donating anyway, but this is much more fun, don't you think?)

I get the chance to share my pandemic picture/poetry creations to spread love across the world while simultaneously getting to make a tangible difference for the most vulnerable in my home country. The take away for this extravaganza? Win-win-win!

To join in on the Poetry Friday fun, visit Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ticked Off!

I'm not angry at any one person per se,  just angry at an insect. A parasitic insect. A tick.

This week something unexpected came up, or I should say, burrowed in, that required some creative problem solving. Our poor Smidgey got a tick in her neck.
Mr.Tick was right under her harness.














When we discovered it, we had a moment of panic. Does this warrant a trip to the vet? Is the vet even open during the current Covid-19 shutdown?

Luckily, Joe's boss' wife (how's that for twice removed?) is a vet so we called her.












From the pictures we texted her, BossWife saw immediately that Smidgey indeed had a tick and it needed to be removed, but not by a vet. She recommended going to the Apotheke (pharmacy) and asking for a Zeckenzange. After a beat, and a quick scan through our limited German vocabulary which came up empty, we asked, a what? Apparently a Zeckenzange is a tick tweezer. And they sell them in Swiss pharmacies. At that point it was pretty late in the afternoon and the thought of getting on public transport to go to our local Apotheke did not appeal to us for obvious reasons.

So Joe did a quick search of Swiss online sources for a Zeckenzange. He found an affordable source, but it would take 10 days (if we were lucky) to be delivered. Not an option.














After seeing a Zeckenzange online, Joe realized he has a solution sitting in our guest room: our 3D printer. Another quick online search yielded a Thingiverse 3D CAD model.**
Joe opened the CAD model in a 3D printer program (Slicer Software):

The Slicer program.


And then he printed a Zeckenzange on our 3D printer:
Being printed.
All finished.

An hour and half later we had a tool ready to use on Smidgey.

Success! With a slide, a twist, and a pull, Smidgey got Ticked Off!

The nasty culprit.
This tick trouble is exhausting.
From the first discovery of the tick, to it being removed was about 2 hours!

And Smidgey is feeling fine...but now we have to worry about social distancing from her because now they say animals are at risk for the Coronavirus. Ugh.

**Thingiverse is a website dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files. Providing primarily free, open source hardware designs licensed under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses, users choose the type of user license they wish to attach to the designs they share. Wikipedia

Today's poem chronicles yet another adventure with our furry girl :

tall grass
uninvited guest
burrowed in
my dog's chest

action needed
pandemic on
Thingiverse tool
tick is gone
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Join me! I am proud to announce that I will be hosting a Poetry Webinar: Poetic License: Road Tested Methods for Adding Poetry to Your Writing sponsored by SCBWI-Switzerland on April 16 from 8:15 pm - 9:30 pm CET. If the time doesn't work for you, it will be recorded, and available for viewing for two weeks following the completion of the live presentation. At just 15CHF for SCBWI Members and 20CHF for Non-Members it is a fun way to spend a little time...talking poetry. :)
(Current exchange rate is 1 CHF = 1.03 USD.)
All the Details and Registration Can Be Found Here!

Today, Poetry Friday is being hosted by the amazing Children's Author and Writing Teacher, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Not sure what Poetry Friday is? A great explanation can be found HERE. Join us for all the poetry goodness!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

On the Bright Side

Or in our household, on the light side!









One positive side effect in this current age of social distancing/quarantine (and I'm making a deliberate effort to see that there are many) is that our laundry loads have become lighter.

I've blogged here about the differences of doing laundry in Switzerland compared to back in the US, but today I'm not airing our dirty laundry...because we don't have much!

Now that we're home all the time, the balance of our wardrobe is shifting. Of course, it has everything to do with not having to dress up to go to work, but I can assure you, we are all wearing pants and we change them daily.

Yes, this needs to be clarified because apparently that is not the case in all households during the current situation. In fact, I read an article that the sales of tops are up, but not bottoms. It actually makes sense since your colleagues on a video conference calls can only see you from your top up. And believe me, your dog doesn't care if you are wearing dress pants or sweat pants. Wear whatever you want as long as you share your cheese.

Smidgey hiding out until someone shares their cheese. :)














Oh, and another reason things are on the bright side over here is it is staying light later! Last Sunday, 29 March, Switzerland started our daylight saving time by springing forward. Unfortunately, we now have a 9 hour time difference with California, where most of our family is, but alas, we have more daylight to go out and enjoy sit home and self isolate. Oh well...

Today's poem is proof that the little things make a big difference:

our laundry still multiplies
but the rate at which slows
we're all business on top
cause on camera that shows

look at the bright side
while you hang out at home
time spent not doing laundry
could lead to a poem
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome Poetry Friday Friends! Today's amazing 
poetry host is Heidi at my juicy little universe.
Check out the National Poetry Month goodness.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Virtually Together

Worldwide humanity is in isolation...together.

I'm glad to be holed up here in Switzerland with my husband, Joe and younger daughter, Maureen. But unfortunately part of my family, my older daughter, Colleen, is many miles and time zones away in San Diego, CA.








Colleen and her best bud, Loki.













Since we can't physically be together, technology has become our bridge during this challenging time.

Thank goodness for WhatsApp for daily texts, calls and shared memes. And thank goodness to Zoom for a long distance Game Night!

What it looked like on her side...
...to what it looked like on ours.
It was like having Colleen 'sitting' on the couch with us!

We played AKA: Also Known As, the only game where my weird brain feature of remembering things a little adjacent to what they are comes in handy! I was actually good at this game and we had a lot of laughs playing.

It is awful that we are all living in this new reality. But at the same time, super cool that there is technology to help us ease the pain of being apart from our loved ones.

Another side effect of this new reality is the distancing of friendships. Maureen and her friends had a novel solution for throwing a birthday party for one of their friends...doing it on the platform, Discord. The guests all dressed up and came together on the internet.

Doesn't she look gorgeous?
Waiting for the party to begin...
...and Mom, you can leave now.









The technology was a little persnickety, but briefly some teens in Switzerland were able to get dressed up and hang out celebrating a friend's birthday...virtually together.

I'm not thrilled with this current reality, but I am thankful for the internet and the many ways humans are adapting to connect the near with the far.

Speaking of current reality, as of this writing "Switzerland has a higher infection rate than Italy" according to the local newspaper, 20 Minuten. That is some scary news. We are all OK, but we take great care when we leave the house to grocery shop or walk the dog or when Joe has to go into the office a few days a week.

Today's poem is my vision for how society is weathering our new reality:

weaving the new 
fabric of society
interwebs 
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome Poetry Friday community! 
is hosting the poetry round up. Thank you, Tabatha!



Thursday, March 19, 2020

Cramping My Style

Dear Wee Words Readers,

Smidgey here. 








I've got a problem. Actually make that three problems: Mom, Dad, and Maureen.
Here they are...doing stuff without me.










 They are majorly cramping my style. Suddenly they are home. All. The. Time. I used to get sad when they did stuff without me. I'm not ashamed to admit that I used to wait by the door sometimes.
The good old days?




















 But now? Now I can't get a moment's rest. OK, let's be real, I can sleep anytime and anywhere, but now during my naps all I hear is blah, blah, blah. They are constantly talking to each other, they are having 'meetings' with strangers on their phones, and they are playing music non-stop! (Mom's Spotify playlist is not as great as she thinks it is. Depeche Mode alongside Lizzo? Really? How about some Three Dog Night people?)

Today I had to muscle out Mom just to get a chance to use this laptop.



















 For the last few days that woman has been sitting at the computer non-stop. Well, actually she does stop because we go for walks, but it feels like she is always there. She keeps saying she has "work" to do. What the heck? Then go to work, woman! And while you're at it, make Dad go to work, too! And make Maureen go to school! (Well, maybe leave Maureen home. She likes to cuddle with me during the day and I do like that.)

I'm not 100% sure why they are staying home. They said something about Social Distancing and the Coronavirus or some other blah, blah, blah stuff. I know all about social distancing, I've been doing it for years. I scream bark and all other dogs and humans keep their distance. Works for me. But now the humans are doing it and it is cramping my style. But what's a dog to do?

Wait, is someone eating cheese in the kitchen? Gotta go. Crumbs might be happening. Maybe having them stay home all day isn't that bad, they do make food in the kitchen all day long...

Do you have cheese?



















 Woof,
xo,
Smidgey

P.S. Today I wrote my poem as a direct request to my family.

if you must stay home
keep it quiet
and add extra cheese
to my diet
🐾
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Also, welcome Poetry Friday community. Michelle Kogan is hosting and all the poetry goodness can be found at her blog here.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Wash Your Palms and Quarantine On

(Wash the rest of your hands, too! Especially between your fingers, the backs of your hands and your thumbs...they tend to get forgotten.)

As with the rest of the world, we are social distancing. None of us are sick. I repeat, we are all fine! But like everyone else, we are following the expert advice to stay put until things get better.

As of this writing, Switzerland has 2,200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. This number is reflective of the fact that they haven't been testing everyone with symptoms for several weeks now so I fear the number of actual infections is far higher. We know of one family where one member tested positive, but they didn't test the rest of the family despite all living under the same roof from time of exposure, onset of symptoms, and then the positive test result. The family had gone about their daily lives until the positive test result of the one member. They have now been in self isolation for just over a week.

Switzerland is in the top 10 of countries most affected with Covid-19 along with the US, Germany, and many other bigger European countries. Given the size of Switzerland and our proximity to Italy, this feels very real for us. For the latest info from the Swiss government: swissinfo.ch

On Friday, 13 March, the government finally announced that schools would be closing until 4 April. That date is the beginning of our spring break, so Maureen and I won't be returning to our brick and mortar school until 20 April. In the meantime, we are enjoying distance/online learning/teaching.

Joe on the other hand, works to maintain machines that produce life saving products. While most of Roche are telecommuting, Joe and a few of his colleagues will be rotating shifts on-site, with no two knowledgeable colleagues there at the same time to minimize cross contamination that would leave production without its vital support. So he works from home today, at the facility tomorrow.

Home work time.
















We normally go grocery shopping on Friday nights as it is not too crowded, the stores are open a little later, and it is usually well stocked as the store readies for the throngs who shop on Saturdays.

Not our normal scene last Friday right after the school closure announcement:

Fresh produce department....
Want 3 rotty limes?




...creepily empty.
Even the fresh, refrigerated meat section was empty:

 The canned and dry goods were still readily available. The whole scene was weird. 

And of course, there was no toilet paper at any store we've visited in the last 48 hours. We actually are running low...

Picture taken today, still not a roll in sight.

But know that there were tools in the store if this turns into a zombie apocalypse:

Joe will be ready!
UPDATE 17 March: The Swiss Authorities have implemented new restriction with the closure of all "shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment and leisure facilities". It is interesting to note that along with grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks remaining open in Switzerland so are BAKERIES! I love this about the Swiss, they've got their priorities right - baked goods!

BOLD PREDICTION: So, knowing what I know about humans and previous historical events where people had to stay home, I predict in 9 to 10 months there will be a bump in the population worldwide. And I predict some of these new babies will be named Corona or Covid. AND, when these kids are in the 13 to 19 age range, we can call them 'quarantines'. See what I did there?

Today's poem is my best attempt to capture my anxious heart as we deal with our new reality:

the mood locally,
nationally,
and internationally
feels heavy,
foreboding,
and uncertain

humanity is both
untethered and
unnerved as
we wade through
the uncharted territory
that is our
new normal:
isolation

we humans are
brought together
and kept apart
by a virulent pathogen 
reminding us that
we are all mortal 
therefore we have
a responsibility 
to keep one another
safe
regardless of age
or medical history

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.