All posts for the month July, 2018

Spoiler: Sad

Published July 30, 2018 by Nan Mykel

ME: Now why did I write that?  No one will want to read something sad.

YOU: Still self-defeating.  What’s sad? I’m a tad curious.

ME: Something I read somewhere, but I can’t remember where, so it can’t be plagiarism, can it?

YOU: You’re asking ME?

ME: I got this metaphor in my head and can’t get rid of it unless I scoop it out on paper–er, the blog.

YOU: Well?

ME: It’s abut a tube of toothpaste.

YOU: Whooppee! I can’t wait.

ME: Well, this child was given a giant tube of toothpaste to do with as she pleased.

YOU: And what did she please?

ME: Squeezing it out.

YOU: Oh oh, won’t last too long that way.

ME: Yeah, that’s the problem. Once she squeezed it out she couldn’t get it back in.

YOU: So she was stuck, huh?

ME: Worse than that. She was EMPTY!

YOU: So she learned her lesson, huh?

ME: But what can she do with it?  Don’t you see?  She can NEVER NEVER NEVER retrieve it!

YOU: Tough tootie.

The slight, unassuming fellow

looked somehow familiar when

he first visited our poetry group.

He introduced himself as Larry,

and then it clicked. “Larry Jageman!”

I blurted. “Nan Mykel!” he replied.

In group he was confronted over and

over for his peculiar verse–all hosannas–

yet took it  on the chin, calmly. Larry’s

attendance at group notwithstandng

was faithful, dogged,  and devoted.

He puzzled those of us who could not fathom

the persistent  style of his writing.

Were I confronted so often

and directly, I would have deserted

the group, my confidence crumbling.

I took his tears for sentimentality,

his occasional dark glasses a puzzle.

Was it his last group session that he

said next time he would share a situation

he was in.  He always spoke softly, but

this time I was fortunately sitting next

to him and heard him say that he was

afraid of his wife leaving him and that

she was afraid of him leaving her.

His  appreciation of friends, neighbors

and family, penned for more than a year,

seemed juvenile and rote to me, blinded

by a misunderstanding of his need.

He did take away something from the group,

and kept coming back until the end.

He was buried today, and I was there.



Upon remembering and reflecting, the image that stays with me is of Larry and Mary rejoicing in life’s grand square dance, and a reminder that there is a higher value than  rules. It is called love.

ME: You can say that again.

YOU: Tough tootie.



How to Speak Transgender

Published July 30, 2018 by Nan Mykel

I’m really compiling this to clarify things in my head.  What’s okay? What’s not okay?  I’m trolling the huge book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves; A Resource for the Transgender Community,  edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth, as well as any other informative publication I can find in my self-educational journey (which I’m willing to share with you but given my experience with blog avoiders of unpleasantness I’m not, as they say, holding my breath.)




Gender expression

Gender presentation

gender dissonance


gender nonconforming

gender identity

gender roles

trans guy






gender binary

female assigned at birth

trans identity

gender dissonance

gender incongruence

affirmed gender

assigned sex

TGNC –  trans and gender noncnforming


trans men

female-to-male FTM/F2M)

AFAB -assigned female at birthAMAB


disorder of sex development



top surgery

bottom surgery



transexual  (TS)

sex reassignment surgery (SRS)

gender-affirming surgery (GAS)



trans experience

affirmed male

affirmed female

sexual orientation

LGBTQIA – lesbian, gay, bi=sexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allies.

cisgender –  (gender identity matches their bology

the transgender continuum


Never Pick Up a Snake by Its Tail

Published July 30, 2018 by Nan Mykel

My granddaughter graduated from high school this June and then worked several weeks as a counselor at a camp in the North Carolina mountains.  She was tending to a calf when a black snake stuck its head up out of the straw.  Seeing it was not a dangerous snake, she immediately grabbed it but got it too close to the tail and it came back at her. Then she grabbed it again closer to the head, but not close enough.  Finally she got it by the neck and in the process had received only two non-venomous bites, which she said didn’t hurt. The captured snake was kept awhile–at least until she sadly said goodbye to the camp.    We have photos to remember her bravery.  You can see one of the bite marks on her arm.

A Letter to My Son – Adoption Re-blog

Published July 26, 2018 by Nan Mykel

Just wanted to share…

My dearest boy,

This year has been one of the most difficult I’ve ever lived. Let’s speak with honesty: you created most of the mountains and valleys.

Some people say hindsight is 20/20 regarding past mistakes. This phrase means that when we look back at the past, we have a clear picture of the choices we made, as well as the ability to see how the present might be different if we’d made other choices.

I see so many mistakes in our beginnings, due in part simply to ignorance. In some cases, these mistakes were coordinated by individuals trying to cover their wrongdoing. Sometimes, our vision was clouded by the possibilities. Other times, we were just too exhausted to see the right path.

In almost every case, the mistakes were not your fault. Unfortunately, those mistakes are partly responsible for your current location, in residential treatment—which doesn’t excuse your choices to…

View original post 1,516 more words

A Petru Re-blog

Published July 26, 2018 by Nan Mykel

Two (3?) birds on hand 


July 26, 2018 by petrujviljoen    for d’Verse

small bird
dying – a grim

It was my cat. I hate it when she catches birds. Lizards, mice a-plenty I don’t mind. It was still alive. Its head flopped and its legs kicked against my hand. Some fight left in it still. I took it out and put it on the steps of the outbuilding.

early morning sun
splattered steps
– a cold comfort

I go back. Sit with it. It might fall off in its struggle to get up. It closed its claw around my finger and we spent a bit of time. Me balancing my coffee and cigarette in the other hand. The bird is still, seems content even. I speak to it. Tell it I’m sorry. The cat certainly isn’t going to apologise.

The need for a second cuppa got the bird put in my woolen cap and left in the folds of the second jersey I took off. Having been offline yesterday I decide to check my email. A friend’s memorial service is being planned. Do I want to go.

Aaah! No!
an old pain kicks
against my ribcage

My study, the room with the best view, takes on a dense glimmer I can’t stand. I flee to the garden, leave the bird to its journey, check on it once in a while, while I rub the flowers off of the rosemary bush, water the spinach, the only thing still alive in the veggie patch.

the bird’s eye
view its last sunbeam

busy at the easel I hear a tap-tapping against the kitchen window. Bemused, I go to look. Another bird of another feather wanted in. Tweeted a song and flew off.

Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery

Published July 26, 2018 by Nan Mykel

It all started today when at the library’s poetry writing group someone showed a current obituary clipping from the newspaper  that said the deceased was going to be buried at Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery. No one knew where that was, so I volunteered to do some Google research.  I knew you’d want me to share some of my findings:

I LEARNED I HAD TO ADD ‘CEMETERY’ TO GOOGLE AFTER THIS:When you descend into your basement and find the camel crickets—rickety, gigantic, with limbs like robotic appendages—expect that they will leap toward your face. Expect them to try to scare you, to deter you from your drying rack with all of your evaporating clothes, from the dusty foosball table, from the home-brew kit waiting to be sterilized. Expect the insects to take ownership of all the things you’ve forgotten in darkness. (One para of many from

I ALSO LEARNED I HAD TO ADD “OHIO” TO THE SEARCH, BUT FOUND AN INTERESTING ITEM BEFORE I LEARNED: The Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery of Whitley County, Indiana (also known as Dowell Cemetery and Helms Cemetery) is located on a wooded hill, 0.25 mile west of Wolf Rd. and 0.1 mile north of the railroad, west of the former Hell’s Half Acre School. It can be found by the following legal description: S20 T31N R9E. ( Located north of State Road 205 on Wolfe Road to the Panhandle tracks, west 40 rods on tracks then 20 rods north in a filed. A knoll with 3 large trees. Between  4 1/2 to 5 miles southwest of Columbia City or 6 miles northeast of South Whitley. (Indiana)

Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery

« previous entry | next entry »
Feb. 23rd, 2007 | 10:05 pm
posted by: mystikravyn in abandonedplaces  Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery  SW of Columbia City, IN and East of South Whitley, IN in Whitley County  This I feel was the best cemetery find for me to date. This area is called Hell’s Half Acre because it was the place to go in the mid 1800’s to find trouble. In the 1914 book History of Whitley County it says, “The things that happen in Hell’s Half Acre after dark would make a 15 year old boy hide under his bed in terror.” There was a train track which led right through here that people could hop for transportation and the cities of Columbia City and South Whitley is less than 5 miles either way.

This is a cemetery dated between the 1870’s to the turn of the century which would be just after things settled down around here. The last stone reading was done for this cemetery in the early 1980’s. Being one of the few cemeteries in Whitley County I haven’t been to of course, I had to find it. After driving circles in the area where this is marked on the map the Whitley County Genealogical Society has I decided to ask some of the people living in the area which weren’t many on a country block. No one had heard of it. Then we decided to hike it. On the map it said follow the train tracks, which were now gone, for 1/8 mile then head north through a field for 1/4 mile. We found the field and saw this: (see below)

There was a teenage girl on a 4X4 in the field and we asked her if she had seen a cemetery. She said no and said we could look in that clump of trees.She looked half amused and half freaked out. You had to duck inside the grove. It was very thick brush. We found all the graves listed in the last stone reading. There are 15 people buried here. One Indian solder, 2 people over the age of 60, and the rest are kids under 15. Some of the same names are here but for the most part was a public grave site. Below are all the pictures we took at the site. We noticed one grave was either grave robbed or the casket air pocket collapsed because there was a 3X5 area that was sunken down a foot or two right in front of a stone

Reply | from: mystikravyn

date: Feb. 24th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)

I did talk to some people about it. it is in the middle of private property. The land it is on is about 20 acres and has 2 brand new $200,000+ homes near the road. It is possible to get it labeled as a “pioneer cemetery” which would help at least keep it in the state it is in. I dont know if it is legal in Indiana but I have seen homeowners do whatever they want with cemeteries on their property. There was 3-4 cemeteries in this county we went to find and they are no longer there and new houses are there in its place. Some people find it as a blessing to have a piece of history and others just throw the stones to the ditch and plow over the graves.

Now that the homeowners know there is a cemetery there they will probably not allow anyone else to come on their property. The last stone reading on it was done in the early 1980’s and there was another mass reading done on many of the counties cemeteries in the 90’s and again recently but this cemetery missed both of those.

These pics are truly a treasure to me (and many others) because I haven’t seen any others in existence and who knows, the property owner may have already removed the stones. Reply |


FOR deleted paragraph on story of John Lynn, go to source at bottom

[IN KENTUCKY] When Civil War soldiers came through the area, they set up residence at John Lynn’s house. The area around the house had already earned a bad reputation and local law enforcement refused to go near the land. It was a logical and desirable place for the guerillas, who were in no hurry to meet up with the law.

No one is sure exactly how long the guerillas stayed there, but the reputation of the half acre got even worse over the course of several years. It was notorious for gambling, drinking and wildness of the worst sort.

In the late 1800s a ball diamond was built on the land, as well as a race track. Most likely, both were for betting purposes.

There were tales of axe fights in the stands at the ball games, questionable women roaming the area and brawls galore. Drunkenness and debauchery were rampant and self-respecting, decent folk wouldn’t have been caught dead there.

Some years after the area had become more calm, a man called Nut Knox lived in a cave near the half acre. Nut carried an axe everywhere he went, local residents’ food disappeared mysteriously when he was around. Nut had a habit of lying on graves in the cemetery and frightening the already skittish gypsies that used to travel the countryside.

There are also stories that a great deal of gold and other valuable goods, obtained by the guerillas on their raids of houses, were buried under the house that originally stood on the land, but those excavating in hopes of finding the fortune have found nothing.

Some say that a man was also buried under the house, although there is no evidence to support this either.  Throughout the years many stories have been told about the land that came to be known as Hell’s Half Acre. Nearly a hundred years later it is difficult to distinguish between those that are fact and those that are fiction. With its bad reputation, the half acre and the land surrounding it became fertile ground for pranksters and many a strange and mysterious tale.

Once, a man riding his wagon through the area claimed that a small, white dog appeared out of nowhere and began to trot alongside the wagon wheels. When the man would crack the whip at the dog it would disappear, only to reappear on the other side. Rumor has it that the man nearly whipped his horses to death trying to get out of the area.

Another story tells of a redbird that perched on the sill of John Lynn’s window as he lie on his deathbed. The bird supposedly made the sound of the whippoorwill and flew away. When Lynn died, his casket was being transported to the cemetery on the property and the redbird landed on the casket and chirped like a whippoorwill all the way to the grave.

Amid the countless tales of strange sights and sounds are those of headless horsemen and odd feelings of doom by those who don’t even know the history of the place. More recent tales from the half acre include one about a group of deer hunters. Several men had traveled to the area early one morning. Looking to get a head start on the day, they found themselves in Hell’s Half Acre while it was still dark. Suddenly, the entourage heard something running through the nearby woods. It ran out of the woods, onto the top of their vehicle, then off the other side. All in the group say they saw nothing and claim there were strange tracks on the roof of the vehicle….

All traces of the civilization that once was Hell’s Half Acre are gone except for a few stones that mark where the old tobacco factory once stood and the graveyard that gets an occasional cleaning by relative of those buried there.

What vividly remains however, are the stories, fanciful, yet immensely entertaining, of a place that was once the shame of the county. Today the wildflowers bloom and the birds sing and it’s hard to picture the place the way it once was, even knowing that some of the stories are true. (This feature story originally appeared in the The Messenger in the small towns section of their “Changing Face of Hopkins County” on September 6, 1996 and was written by Slone Hutchison, a summer intern from Murray State University working with The Messenger to gain practical news papering skills during her summer vacation.  Hopkins County, Kentucky KyGenWeb page).  Return to Hopkins County

Apr 14, 2015 – The carnage as described by J. Morgan Smith of the Thirty-second Alabama Infantry prompted soldiers to name the field Hell’s Half Acre.

Wikipedia:“Hell’s Half-Acre”, a battlefield during the 1863 Civil War Battle of Stones River, Tennessee  /”Hell’s Half-Acre”, a corner of Chinatown, Honolulu, Hawaii /“Hell’s Half-Acre”, a notorious section of Nashville, Tennessee in the late 1800s/Hell’s Half Acre (Fort Worth), a former saloon district in the early days of Fort Worth, Texas/“Hell’s Half Acre”, or “Devil’s half acre”, an area of slave trading and jails in the 1800s, including Lumpkin’s jail, Richmond, Virginia/Omaha, Nebraska’s redlight district in the late 1800’s

OKAY, I learned my lesson. Needed to go to Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery Ohio –  There’s one in Beulah, Ohio and  Sodom Cemetery in Miami County.  There’s also a Hell Cemetery.

Notice, buried above is the Hell’s Half Acre Cemetery in Lebanon Township, Ohio [Meigs County, Ohio] (Per Ms. Carrick).  It’s difficult, however, to determine which of the 27 cemeteries in Lebanon Township changed its name recently.  No question as to why, really.

P.S.  Nov 3, 2016 – Hell’s Half Acre was located close to downtown, at the corner of … as being one of “the finest brothels in Ohio Valley” (Fairhurst Essays, pg. 369) .. 

Suggested Pertinent Reading

Published July 23, 2018 by Nan Mykel

From 3 Quarks Daily from The Guardian:

Why Identity Politics Benefits The Right More Than The Left

Sheri Berman in The Guardian:

Over a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, commentators are still trying to understand the election and the explosion of intolerance following it. One common view is that Trump’s victory was a consequence of pervasive racism in American society.

Studies make clear, however, that racism has been decreasing over time, among Republicans and Democrats. (Views of immigration have also grown more favorable.) Moreover, since racism is deep-seated and longstanding, reference to it alone makes it difficult to understand the election of Barack Obama and Trump, the differences between Trump and the two previous Republican nominees on race and immigration, and the dramatic breakdown of social norms and civility following the elections. (Social scientists call this the “constant can’t explain a variable” problem.)

This does not mean racism is irrelevant; it matters, but social science suggests it does in more complicated ways than much commentary suggests.

Perhaps because straightforward bigotry has declined precipitously while more subtle, complex resentments remain, understanding how intolerance shapes politics requires examining not just beliefs, but also the relationship between beliefs and the environments people find themselves in. This distinction has important implications for how we interpret and address contemporary social and political problems.

More here.

Cinderella Dressed in Yellow–remember?

Published July 23, 2018 by Nan Mykel

I accidentally came across the following while doing a Wikipedia search:

Explorers reported seeing aborigines jumping with vines in the 16th century. European boys started jumping rope in the early 17th century. The activity was considered indecent for girls because they might show their ankles. There were no associated chants. This changed in the early 18th century. Girls began to jump rope.[1] They added the chants, owned the rope, controlled the game, and decided who participated.[2]

Another source suggests that, prior to 1833, the invention of pantaloons, enabled girls to jump rope without displaying ankles.[3]

These chants are unusual inasmuch as they were transmitted from child to child usually without an underlying reason, as opposed to nursery rhymes which were transmitted from adult to child and often contained a moral


Published July 22, 2018 by Nan Mykel


Aye, that’s the rub

Should the slings and arrows

Of outrageous fellows

Line my tub

With dumb marshmellows?


Take all your contumely fardels

And also shining hills and dells–

And quietus! Quietus I say,

Let come out whatever may.


But that’s the impetus for verse–

Could written words be much worse?

If just plain saying it is too dumb

Try tic-tac-toe and chewing gum.


Mock Paper Scissors

The Internet's Band of Incorrigible Spitballers® and Cult Failure Since 2006

Pacific Paratrooper

This site is Pacific War era information

Edge of Humanity Magazine

An Independent Non-Discriminatory Platform With No Religious, Political, Financial, or Social Affiliations

K E Garland

Inspirational kwotes, stories and images

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

Art and Literature Beyond Borders

Thar She Blows!

"So many people are crying in their latte!" ~ Sparks

Darcy Hitchcock

Envision a sustainable future

Barbara Crane Navarro

Rainforest Art Project - Pas de Cartier !

Kate Lunsford

Reflective Writing

Rosamond Press

A Newspaper for the Arts

Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

Second Look Behind the Headlines - News you can use...

Aging Capriciously

Divergent Thoughts on Life, Love and Death

Some View on the World

With previous posting of "Our World" on Blogger

Filosofa's Word

Cogito Ergo Sum

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Catxman's Cradle

Catxman dances, Catxman spins around, leaps ....... // I sing a song, a song of hope, a song of looove -- a song of burning roses. / Synthesizer notes. // (c) 2021-22

Mapping uncertainty

When nothing is certain anything is possible

%d bloggers like this: