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Suddenly, a rosebush.

Move to sofa.
Put big cushion on lap for cat to sit on when one of them inevitably comes to help you meditate.
Place laptop nearby so you can check the time so you don’t meditate too long as your phone is still in the kitchen charging.
Close eyes.
Don’t think of anything.
Om.
(Or whatever)
The woodstove makes this… rushing sound. I guess that is the hot air rising up to the chimney? And crackles a little.
Most of the house is dark.
A cat purrs on the cushion on your lap already.
Another cat sleeps on the sofa.
Dong, the woodstove makes this bell-like sound as it heats up, calling you back to the moment like some kind of meditation bell.
Dong.
Therapist last night asked, what do you like about yourself?
Couldn’t think of anything.
Cat purrs like a little meditation helper calling you back to the moment.
Dong, goes the woodstove.
I, hmm, uh.
You are interested in a *lot* of different things, said the therapist, trying to be helpful.
Yes, but without any expertise.
Does that matter? asked the therapist.
Well, I was thinking recently, after reading something along those lines somewhere, what would your 15-year old self say if they met you now? and I thought, they would think I was cool, I have achieved all of their dreams, mostly, I have not only been to Europe, I have moved here permanently; I have a beautiful wife, I have 2 awesome kids, I live in a nice house, I have kissed a girl. Car of my own.
But would I want to hang out with myself? Isn’t that why I am in therapy, to get better at hanging out with myself?
Dong.
Why is the stove donging so much? Is it malfunctioning?
The cat purrs, calling me back to the present moment.
Is the stove leaking carbon monoxide?
That’s what it always says in the newspaper article, malfunctioning woodstove.
Dong. Like a meditation bell. Or a really short alarm bell announcing a carbon monoxide leak.
The cat purrs.
At least the cat is on my lap, with its nose lower than mine, so if it goes limp I’ll still have time to hurry to safety before the CO rises to my nose.
And can, like, try to revive the cat.
How do you resuscitate a cat?
Mouth to snout resuscitation?
Imaginary boss asks, wow, what happened to your face? You try to resuscitate a cat?
I have a tortoise, you would say.
A tortoise did that?
No, it was going to get too cold to leave the tortoise outside at night so I had to bring it in and when I bent over to pick it up, in the twilight, suddenly a rosebush.
Rosebush, imaginary boss says. Wow, be careful. Did you disinfect that? It looks like you tried to resuscitate a cat.
No, you say, ha ha.
Dong.
The fire crackles.
The hot air rushes up the chimney.
Om.

Sitting worms

Some of you are thinking, What? Worms don’t sit. Well you’d be wrong. They sit under leaves and other bio-trash in drawers in a friend’s apartment, okay, to us it looks like they are wriggling when you push back the compost and check on them because you can no longer stand the Schrödinger’s Worm situation, the uncertainty, am I even really caretaking anything actually alive etc etc.
But in another way you’d also be right, because this here is about me sitting worms. A friend went out of town and I stayed at her place for about 10 days watering plants and looking after her compost worms. It was kind of cool, I got lots of thinking done and whenever a plant died i could just feed it to the worms and no one was the wiser. The worst part was when a guy facetimed someone outside the window in the middle of the night and kept me up for a hour.
But then she had a falling out with her alpha worm sitter, who had minded the worms before I took over and was supposed to take back over when he returned from visiting her out of town, and I was promoted to emergency worm sitter.
What is an emergency worm, you ask? I don’t know. That’s not what this is about. Either a worm you use in an emergency, like you are suddenly inundated with stuff to compost, or it is a worm having an emergency. But this is about me sitting worms, now longer than planned, due to a small emergency. Mostly, though, it is about me exercising more, eating less junk, successfully reflecting about my own role in my misery and coming out of the whole thing slightly but generally improved.
The worms survived, the plants flourished, even the orchids after I figured out how to water them, the plant that did die died before I started my tour of duty and I am on the fast track to a house sitting career.
There isn’t really a punchline. I lost two kg. I didn’t burn the house down. My wife was still there when I got home, as were the cats and the tortoise. Saw the kids a couple times.

Exit, whistling

Man, Woman: (load catfood, dog treats and flea/tick ointment onto conveyor belt)
Cashier: (Rings up purchases)
Cashier: (Hands woman two envelopes of dog treats) We’re giving out these free samples today.
Woman: (Examines treats, hands them back) No, thank you. We don’t have dogs.
Cashier: (Glances at large bag of dog treats they just bought, looks puzzled)
Man: Oh, those are for crows.
Cashier: (Does that half-nod thing where your chin goes up but not back down again, remaining in up position while the wheels turn)
Man, Woman: (exit, whistling)

Cognitive dissonance

On the one hand, the current state of things is a convincing argument that old, white men should just STFU for the next couple of millennia.

On the other hand, I am an old, white man who likes to write, if not talk, although I do that sometimes, just not on the telephone, if I can avoid it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So.

I have been told amplifying non-old, white, man-type people is good. Unfortunately, my megaphone is tiny, but I will do what I can.

I have also been told, for example by my therapist, and other women I respect, to just fucking relax, so I will also be working on that.

When I was younger I read only books (and consumed only art and other cultural output) by heterosexual CIS-males, because it was more relatable for me.

Now that I try to broaden my cultural consumption, that old stuff often feels really shallow when I return to it. Maybe that is just a function of getting older, though.

There was a tweet (? i think?) where an old dude said his hardware was old, white, CIS-male dude, and he was stuck with that, but his software had been updated multiple times.

I guess that’s one thing you can do, get your head out of the seventies, or whatever.

I was talking to someone about the acceleration of time as a function of age, and how to ameliorate it. All I could come up with was mindfulness, paying attention, remaining curious, which I guess you accomplish through meditation and related practices, or doing scary things beyond your fear threshold, or things you love, or things that fascinate you, whatever gets you in the flow. (My only relative who lived to be over 100 was a curious, friendly, artistic type all her life… and an early feminist…)

Concentrate on things you love. What else?

This is good news for me, bc as a person governed by anxiety for most of my life, there are plenty of options beyond my fear threshold. Maybe this world, the old known world that just speeds by, is my safe little lobster trap, while that world, the scary, interesting one, with sharks and mermaids and things with teeth and things that glitter, where time slows or stops entirely, is unknown but has so far not killed me, either.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I mean, both get you eventually.

Maybe I’ll try to talk my wife into skydiving. If it works for her I can try it.

Have you tried something beyond your threshold of fear? What was it? How did it turn out for you?

On fermentation

I bought a set of 2 one-liter fermentation jars last time I was at the mill shop.
They look more or less like Mason jars, slightly cheaper-looking, with 2 sets of lids – 1 normal, 1 with little rubber valves. I guess they are fermentation jars due to the valve lids and the glass weights you get to keep everything underwater.
Gamma likes the fermented Korean specialty known as 김치. Those partial to the Latin alphabet spell it kimchi, kimchee or gimchi, so to avoid confusion we will use the Korean spelling 김치.
I had been wanting to try fermentation and pickling (2 different processes, I gather) for a long time, since old-timey pre-lockdown times.
I did an Internet search, picked the easiest-looking recipe that still came from an Asian person and we went to work on our 김치.
Chopped up what is known here in Austria as Chinese cabbage, soaked it in a salt brine for a while, added chopped spring peppers and matchstick sized daikon only we didn’t have any daikon so we used Bierrettich which looks the same but is said to be spicier, but this wasn’t very spicy so we’re ok. Made a sauce out of Korean chili pepper flakes, soy sauce, ginger, miso paste, soy paste (I assume the same thing, just marketing? slightly different taste), I might be forgetting something, not sure. Garlic. Maybe something else. Didn’t use carrots due to some people in our target audience being allergic, mixed it all up (after draining the cabbage), put it in the (sterilized) jars, topped it off with brine, put the weights on top, and stashed it downstairs in the basement.
I am not a huge 김치 eater, and a novice fermenter, so it was not clear to me what my cellar would smell like when my project got going.
Nothing happened during the first two days, but when I went down there this morning the jars were standing in a puddle of brine that had leaked out the valves. And my basement smells like a 김치 factory.
Anyway, tonight I switch out the lids, to limit leakage, hopefully, and stick the jars into the downstairs utility fridge, which is used for beer, sourdough starter, photographic film, vegetable overflow, etc. And, now, 김치.

The Ratman Cometh

Yeah, so, ding-dong, someone was ringing the doorbell with some urgency. It was the Ratman. Guy in reflective outfit, says he is here on behalf of the municipality to check on the rat poison trap. Not wearing a mask, so I stay 2 meters away from him at all time and assume kind of a negative frame of mind towards him, vibe-wise, because it doesn’t occur to me later than I could just say, for example, put on a mask, you realize, don’t you, that you are killing rats in the year 2021 bc they spread a deadly disease in Europe in 1720.

Welcome to the 2021 International Metamorphosism Limerick Contest

Thank you for visiting the 2021 metamorphosism.com International St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest. Entries are now closed! I am leaving comments open for a while for congratulations and well-wishes to the contestants.

Not for the first time, the winner this year is dark-horse entrant Perry Iles. Congratulations, Perry!
It was a close decision, this year, between Perry Iles and runner-up KayO. I wanted to give it to KayO because she not only squeezed a sea shanty into limerick form, she also did it to Mary Oliver, which I had assumed to be impossible. HOWEVER, Perry’s entries are simply overwhelming once again this year, and the prize is sourdough starter, and Perry lives closer, so there’s a chance it might still be alive when he gets it. I did you a favor, KayO! (Perry, if you don’t want the prize let me know…)
Thanks to everyone who entered, and everyone who visited.
See you next year!

Welcome to the 2021 metamorphosism.com International St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest.
Remember when we used to look forward to 2021? And now it already feels strangely like 2016-2020 in a trenchcoat?
Anyway:
As every year, please leave your entries in the comments to this post.
Enter as often as you like.
You may notice that I have no image for the contest this time up there at the top. That is because I am in home office and unable to make one on my little laptop, also I am baking and knitting all the time. If anyone else wants to make one, hey knock yourself out.
This year’s themes:
(Also check further down the rules for newer and/or more specific prompts/themes)
Sex
Love
Stupid uprisings
Obscure ceremonies
Virology and epidemiology
Cute animals
,
plus bonus themes to be added as the contest progresses
All participants are required to consult the combined FAQ/rules below BECAUSE THEY CHANGE WHILE THE CONTEST IS GOING ON.
Like every year.

FAQ/Rules

  • Does it have to be a limerick? YES. This is strictly enforced, and non-limericks will not be accepted. Google correct limerick form if you are not sure.
  • How do I enter? POST YOUR ENTRY OR ENTRIES in the comments to this post. Click on comment, or whatever is down there, and add a new comment.
  • When is the deadline? THE DEADLINE is 14 February 2021
  • Do you mean 12 midnight on the night of the 13th or midnight on the night of the 14th? And which time zone shall have seisin of jurisdiction? We have had considerably confusion in the past! NINE AM (CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME) 14 February 2021.
  • Is there a prize? Maybe. I don’t know yet.
  • Is there a limit to how often I can enter? NO. Enter as often as you like. The more often you enter, the better your chances.
  • HOWEVER ONLY ORIGINAL ENTRIES ARE ACCEPTED. PLAGIARISM RESULTS IN DISQUALIFICATION. No exceptions.
  • Can entries be bawdy? YES, absolutely. These are limericks, they can be bawdy, gross, you name it. It’s not required, but it is in the nature of the genre. ALSO: this is for St. Valentine’s Day so points awarded for love/romance/sex-related poetry. However, entries offensive to the contest operator will be deleted at his discretion, for offenses including but not limited to racism, and misogyny, and politics to which I object.
  • Complaints and other negative trolling will be deleted. There is no avenue of appeal. Decisions of the judges are final. Be nice, and have fun, and don’t take this too seriously.
  • Is there anything else I can do to be deleted? Yes. Besides complaints, anything else that is not a limerick will also be deleted, especially anything remotely similar to trolling, nastiness or disagreeing with me. That will get you deleted, and whatever else our technicians here can think up. This is meant to be a fun and light-hearted.

Let’s see, what else? Oh yes.

  • Bonus points are awarded for any of the following (No limit to how many themes you may include, the more the better):
  • Feel free to write me and suggest some!
    Limericks that are sea shanties (with or without the word “wellerman”).
    Conversion of Mary Oliver poems into limerick form.
    More will be added as the month progresses

    (More themes to come, watch this space.)

By entering you grant metamorphosism.com permission to publish your entry electronically on metamorphosism.com, in social media (including but not limited to twitter.com, facebook.com and anything else) as well as in book form, although the latter is REALLY unlikely, and has never happened yet, without compensation (this is a non-profit venture, and any possible, although unlikely, book would be, you know, for charity most likely). I have never published them anywhere but here, but who knows?
AS ALWAYS, RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CONSTANT CHANGE DURING THE CONTEST, SO CHECK BACK OFTEN.