Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"So you're busy tomorrow night?" Julie took off her earring as she pressed her cell phone to her ear. She stood up straight in her chair. She sat at their table at their coffee shop. "But you said that we were going downtown so I bought--well, yes, you said that you might have other plans and that you would check but I talked to you on Monday."
She closed her eyes and tears splashed on the table. "Joe, I thought that we were ringing in the New Year together. I just talked to you."
"Look, Julie. We've had a great time together. Didn't I spend Christmas with you and your family? Didn't we have a good time? It's just, you know, I feel like we've had fun together but it's time to start the New Year fresh. You're a great girl, Julie, but I think you want something more from me than I want to give right now. I'm sorry." Joe sounded the same as he did at her family's house. Pleasant, conversational, like nothing was wrong. "Call up Amber and Liz. Don't worry. You'll go out and forget all about me, Jule."
"Joe, I don't think you understand--" Her voice tightened as she gripped her cup of coffee. The paper cup began to collapse and spill on the counter. "My coffee--I spilled--hold on--"
"I'll let you get that. You'll be ok, Julie. Take care." He hung up.
Julie stood up with a red nose and a wet face. She clicked her phone off and swallowed a sob. The chair at their table scraped the wooden floor and fell over. Julie looked down and almost burst out when someone picked up the chair and handed her napkins. She felt herself sit down and watched someone wipe off the table. Julie whirled her head around and saw that guy that always sat by the window when she was there.
"Thanks," she said and wiped her face. She didn't bother smiling, but dialed Amber's number on her phone.
"Yeah, Amber? Thank God I got you. You'll never guess what Joe just did to me." Julie stood up, pushed her chair in and grabbed her crumpled cup. That guy put a new empty cup in front of her and she poured her coffee into it.
"Let me guess. He broke up with you." Amber's voice was caustic as ever and it felt like a warm hug to hear it.
"Yeah, Amber. That's exactly what he did. I can't believe it. He said he loved me. I thought he was the one. Wait, hold on, Amber."
Julie buttoned her coat and picked up the phone off their table. "Yeah. Can you believe it? I thought he loved me as much as I loved him. He must have planned this all along. Why can I never meet anyone nice? Oh no, my gloves. I can't find my gloves. Those were the ones my grandma gave me."
That guy appeared by the door with her gloves in his hands.
"You dropped these on the floor by your table." He handed them to her and pushed his brown hair away from his glasses.
"Thank you so much. These were given to me by my grandma--hold on, Amber. Thank you. See you around! Happy New Year's! Yeah,Amber? There's this guy at the coffee shop, he found them on the floor and just gave them to me. Yeah, I know, that was nice. So, what are you guys doing tonight?" Julie pulled open the door and the wind slapped her in the face.
"We're going to a Western bar, probably Cork and Kerry's. Nothing exciting. I always knew that guys was a complete jerk. I never told you this but I always thought that he was a big phony. What a jerk. Breaking up with you on New Year's Eve? Idiot. Well, at least you found your gloves. I know much they mean to you. Remember when you lost them in my car and you took half an hour at midnight to find them? They're from your grandma and when you wear them you remember her, right? Someone who loved you unconditionally. Just because you're you. Unlike that moron--"
"Unconditionally," Julie said outloud. She looked into the window and saw that guy looking back at her through the foggy glass. She stopped and stared back. "Amber, I'll call you right back."
Also, Western bars are Chicago souhside bars on Western Avenue.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
I'm so far behind that I think that I'm ahead. I'm currently at the library for a couple of hours so I can get a little caught up. May have to go to Panera or Corner Bakery for some quiet writing time.
We have been regularly using our pressure cooker. Made split pea soup in under an hour start to finish. I could have cooked it a little longer but it was good.
I have enough potatoes for potato soup. It's chilly here-about 33 degrees F / 3 degrees C.
Anyway, time to type. Love to all.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
For once in my life, I have planned something or am working on it.
I figured out my schedule to meet up with people. I've even printed out a blank Nov. calendar so that I can - get this - plan out the meals for the month.
I'm getting a crock pot, possibly two, from local friends. The crockpot I own has 2 Corning Ware pots that fit in it!
However, I still don't have a title and I need to name my main characters. I'll work on that when I get home tonight.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
The words echoed in the recesses of his mind, the only thing he remembered of his life. They flitted through hovering mists and shadows and bounced off the emptiness, taunting him. Had he started something? Finished it? He needed information. Detailed information. And lots of it. He looked into the mirror hanging in the unfamiliar room and ran his fingers through his unruly dark hair. But for now he'd settle for his name.
He reached in his right front pocket and found a wallet. He didn't have to search for it. He knew instinctively it would be there. The wallet was leather and it was black. On one side was plastic clip. The other side was closed by a little black velcro strap. He ripped it open and saw the blackberry was off. He turned it on and looked at the papers. A receipt for Starbucks with a credit card number of XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-2349, dated September 28th was shoved in the back. Gas Card for Marathon. Gas Card for Mobile. Grocery store card. A twenty. And no driver's license.
He started operating the Blackberry and could find no information. None of the history was saved. All the passwords were deleted. Nothing. The room appeared to be a motel room. He turned on the television and the channel was set to Animal Planet. He watched a few seconds and wondered why he would be watching this station and not another one. Children? He spun around and looked on the perfectly made beds. No suitcase. He checked the bathroom and it was pristine with clean towels, clean wash clothes, complimentary shampoo, conditioner and french milled soap.
He went to the windows and pushed back the lined curtains to see the sun. He went outside and the heavy door shut behind him. He tried the handle but it was locked. He checked his other pockets for the card key but found none. He held the blackberry and wallet in his hand like a life raft, which held him afloat in the middle of an oceanic nightmare. He spun around and realized that his credit cards and receipt were laying on the bed inside the room.
He looked around and saw red, singular mountains. Beyond the motel there were little homes and past them another mountain, red, jagged and almost flat in the distance.
"I don't know where I am."
He walked past other rooms and saw the swimming pool lined with an iron gate. A family with children walked leisurely towards a room and decided to follow them. They held the door opened to him and said "Good morning." There was lots of people, lots of talking and food and coffee. He got a cup of coffee and went out to the sun.
"Excuse me," he said. He rang the bell in the motel lobby and a perky woman with heavy make-up smiled at him.
"Good morning. How can I help you?"
"I got locked out of my room. Um, it's the one past the pool on the end."
"Do you remember the number?"
"301. Wait. My bill. I registered. I--I need my bill, um, Donna." Cold sweat poured down his face. There had to be a receipt from the bill that would have his name. Donna, the name on her tag, held more keys than one.
"Do you need your bill first or do you need to get into your room?" Donna typed and the printer behind her was buzzing.
"My bill please." He set down the coffee cup and rubbed his face.
"Here you are, Mr. Smith. Paid in full for two more days. And here's a key for your room. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
The bill read John Smith from an address in Galesburg, IL. It did not sound familiar in any way. He ran to his room and opened the door. He picked up his gas cards and the cash and put them carefully into his wallet. The receipt was gone. He took everything out of his wallet and one of the cards fell on the floor between the two beds. He picked it up and noticed car keys in the middle of the floor. The receipt was forgotten as he held the smart key. He pushed the green button and heard a familiar chirp.
He swallowed and went through a mental checklist before leaving his room. Outside his door was a green, older model Toyota that he swore was not there half an hour before. He heard the chirp again and got in. In the lower dashboard, just above the steering wheel, tucked in by the odometer, he found an Illinois driver's license. John Smith from Galesburg, IL.
"Impossible. It can't be. I don't remember."
He left the motel and wove his way through Sedona to the highway. I-17 was not crowded. The sun was getting hot, even with the air on. He drove aimlessly and tried to remember anything that reminded him of something. And then he saw it.
Exit 244 Black Canyon City. He was meeting someone, a buyer. The guy was buying something. A rock. It was some kind of rock. He made the exit and drove what was more of a town. He passed a little house that looked familiar. The front lawn had a large bear carved out of a log; the bear wore a tall troll hat. He parked his car and walked up the gravel drive way. It was river rock.
"It makes that noise when you walk on it," he murmured. Pieces of memory began to hit his mind like shrapnel.
When he knocked on the door an old man answered and gasped. He heard a noise behind him and when he turned, he saw a woman behind him. The house spun, the yard spun, and he felt a terrible pinch in his lower back. He dropped to his knees and his eyes pulled themselves shut.
"Thanks, Manny. We got him. He'll be fine. Don't worry. We'll be around in few more days, just in case." The woman climbed into the white work van and shut the door behind her.
"I told you. We dropped him off too close." She stepped over the prostrate man and sat in the passenger's seat.
"I know, but it was cheaper. We'll have to drive him back now." The driver stared ahead and put on black sunglasses. "This sun. How do you stand it?"
"The sun's more direct here." The woman put on black sunglasses and scratched the back of her head. "He looks fine. He'll be out for a while."
"The sun's more direct here. Everyone says that. Idiot farmer." The driver rubbed the back of his head.
"Oh, he's the idiot? How about the pilot who dropped that chunk of metal off the ship." The woman looked out the window.
"The atmosphere of this planet gets extraordinarily hot on descent. We were lucky to land safely."
"618 terra miles off course." The woman turned to the driver who said nothing for the next 20 miles on an off road.
"Well?" The driver stopped the van in the middle of the desert.
"Where do we put him now?" The driver rubbed the back of his head.
"We have no choice. We have our orders not to kill or be noticed. We've already broken one rule. Manny noticed us. I don't want to hurt any more of these creatures. Hold on, I have hair in my eye." The woman moved the hair on the back of her head and her third eye opened, sparkling blue.
"That's better. It looks like a road trip to Illinois. He's got a two cards for gasoline and this other useful card called Visa. We better get moving."
The driver rubbed the back of his head and his third eye blinked open, a little bloodshot. He hadn't slept well since the landing and wouldn't until he wiped away that human's memory again, made certain they had all those receipts and deposited him back near his familiar habitat.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
It's flashback time!
"Mrs. Arnswald, Tiffany will see you in a moment. Thank you for waiting." The young secretary turned and typed on her computer. Even though she sat across the room, Nancy could see she was on Facebook.
The room was decorated in a retro avocado green on one wall with some type of largish, hanging light fixture that looked like it was bought from Ikea. Very trendy and modern. It reminded her of something her mother would have picked out when she was a girl.
The phone hadn't rang since she came at 10:30, half an hour before Nancy's appointment. There were two people ahead of her, both of them younger. Tiffany, who was conducting the interview, was cordial and polite to the first one; a black man who appeared to be in his late 30s. He looked a little overweight but seemed poised and a little grim. That interview was quick. The next interview was with a much younger girl, probably just out of college. Tiffany remarked that she had the same shoes at home; it was now 11:30pm.
The secretary turned off her computer, got her purse and walked out of the room. Nancy took out her Blackberry to check for messages, leaned her head back on the white wall and closed her eyes with a sigh.
Thirty years ago she was as young as that secretary and just out of college. She was gorgeous, with great billows of dishwater blonde hair, styled just like Jaclyn Smith. She wore a navy power dress complete with shoulder pads and large, white button earrings. Her first interview at the law offices of Beloit Haskell and Seins went quite well. She had sex with one of the junior partners who hired her on the spot.
Nancy let the affair come to its natural conclusion and the two of them got along quite well. They attended each others weddings and baptisms of children. Nancy organized soccer practices from the office; after he made partner, she stayed with him and served as a patient go between him and his first wife.
She remembered when he introduced her to his girlfriend. Nancy had seen her many times before at various events and knew that she was trouble. This girlfriend was sweet as sugar to her face but she knew her time was up. Girlfriend had been a secretary. Her boss gave her a pretty good severance package; it was guilt money. According to her office friends, new wife now sat outside her husband's office.
Nancy heard the door open and sat straight. No reason to give Tiffany any more reason not to hire her. She knew she was going through the motions when she saw the two of them laugh and pause at the open door to get each other's e-mail.
The young woman did not look her in the eye as she left. Tiffany smiled, cordially and politely. Nancy stood up, smiled back grimly and entered her office.
Please click here for more creative stories.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I'm sorry if this is a mere recap from year to year.
Today is my mom and my own birthday. On Sept. 11th, 2001, My youngest was 6 mos old, my daughter was 2 1/2 and my oldest just under 5.
I happened to turn on ABC and Peter Jennings was on. That was unusual because it was so early; saw one of the twin towers on fire. I turned the t.v. on PBS so that my little ones could watch something nice and safe. That's all we did that day was watch t.v. and I don't apologize.
I remember watching the second plane crash into the other tower and thought it was a joke. Then news of the Pentagon. Then the towers fell. I remember screaming "No" and my kids got up and wanted to know what was wrong. I shuffled them back to Teletubbies or whatever was on at the time and made them lunch.
My mom was in FL and I couldn't get a hold of her. I tried all day. Became a little frantic. She was in the Keys with my aunties and was safe.
I can't forget that day because it was my birthday. But it changed the way I look at little things like birthdays.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Do you have faith in the future, faith in your friends or family, faith in your car starting, the floor being there in the morning, or in a religion or religious figure? Is there someone in your life named Faith? Do you have faith in humanity or goodness or animals or superheroes or simply that the sun will rise tomorrow morning? Is faith something we all need in some way or another? What do you think about faith?
I know what my faith is and what it is in. My faith is trust, but it's more than trust. It's a certainty, beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is a Bible verse in the old King James Version which says:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1
My faith is in Jesus.
I do not have faith in institutions, such as denominations. Nor do I place my faith and trust in leaders, such as pastors. They are men, nothing more. Some are corrupt and perverse; we hear it all the time. Some are wonderful people who devote their lives to what they believe in. But I cannot put my trust in such a person because I know that they will fail me. Seen it too many times.
I have put my faith in my family. I love my family but it would be foolish--no, insane--to put all my hopes and dreams into them. They will fail my hopes and dreams because they have their own journey and their own dreams. It would not be fair to them to do that.
I have chosen to put my faith in something and Someone far beyond my limited capabilities.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Every Sunday morning churches all over the world get together and sing praise and worship music. All different languages, different styles, different instruments, different songs, different dynamics of sounds and harmonies. Beautiful.
Except in America or so it would seem.
African Americans like different types of music than white people. Their harmonies are different too. White people like their worship more sedate or more like a rock band. African Americans love gospel and syncopation. I swear, the white church just discovered syncopation. It's awkward for us.
Sunday mornings are called the most divisive day of the week. I say it's because of the preferential style of music. I wonder if one day we will all relax and just do music. Some Spanish, some gospel, some rock and roll and some lovely hymns with all that beautiful poetry and theology.
Personally, I would love to sing a pretty African chorus in the native language. Of course, I would want to know what I'm singing--I'm not completely nuts. But I think that singing an African chorus or a Chinese chorus would help me to feel a little connected with my church around the world. I know they are there and I wish I knew them and could pray for them.
It seems like music could connect us together in the here and now. Maybe one day.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Please click here to see more creative entries
I thought we might go somewhere a bit more dangerous this week. What do you make of that?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
"Go on upstairs, take a bath and change your clothes. Dinner's almost ready and it's Lum and Abner night. Honestly, Virginia Min, I think you have more dirt on you than skin. Come on." Mother walked up our carpeted stairs and marched me into the bathroom.
Dusk in August in St. Louis in 1933. It was hot. It was sticky. I welcomed a cool bath, even if it meant soap.
"I thought you said you were playing at Ray and Walt's house. I saw their older sister and she said you left after lunch." Mother helped me unbutton my gingham dress, blue and green with thin red stripe and a white Peter-Pan collar. I liked that dress. It hid the dirt.
"I saw Gladys Pinkley and played with her this afternoon." I was in my little slip and getting nervous now. I turned and faced my mom. I didn't know what to say to her. I didn't know how she would react.
"Gladys Pinkley? You never played with her before, Min. I didn't think you even liked her, the way you spoke of her." Mother sat on the commode and stared at me suspiciously. I shuffled my feet. "Aren't you going to take your socks off?"
"I will." My heart beat so that I felt it shake the room. "Gladys ain't so bad--"
"Isn't so bad. We had fun." I bent down and slowly untied my shoes. Mother turned on the faucet to the tub. Sweat from dread poured down my cheek.
"Well," Mother said as stood. I swear she looked twenty feet taller in that little bathroom. "It's about time you found some girls to play with. You can't be a tomboy forever. You're growing up."
I looked up at her, my heart on my mouth. She would never approve. I wondered if I was going to hell for keeping this from her. I wondered if Gladys' older sister found out what we used. I wondered if Gladys was getting a thrashing as I stood in my slip in the bathroom.
"Well? What are you waiting for?" She looked as if she grew another two or three feet.
"Um." I didn't know what to do so I cross my arms in front of me. Mother's jaw dropped open and she coughed. It looked to me like she was laughing but I was too scared to be sure.
"Ok, Min. Wash your hair and you make sure you scrub." She handed me a wash rag and closed the door. I locked it behind her. Then I listened to her walk down the stairs. It was only then that I took off my shoes, my socks and my underthings.
I stepped into the tub and put the washrag under the running water with the soap, hoping to get more bubbles. I scrubbed and scrubbed that rag with soap and I got a decent lather that day.
"Min, hurry up. I have to go," said my little brother Kenny.
"I just got in here," I growled. He was ruining my special time.
I could hear him whine all the way down the stairs.
I sat back in that wonderful clawfoot tub. Today was the day that everything changed. With a deep, contented sigh, I let my feet float up and admired my painted red toenails.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
hide in the under brush
brush up against someone...
just be sure you brush it up for theme thursday!
He opened his eyes to the little kitchen across from his bed. It took him a few moments to sit up and feel the pains in his feet, his legs, his back and his hands which gripped the wooden frame under his mattress. He took a deep breath and with a sigh, stood. The new stove turned out to be a blessing; he merely turned the nob and he heat came on for his hot water.
After he relieved himself, he shuffled over to the little hook where he kept his clothes. He winced as he lifted the clothes off the hook. He sat down to put on his pants and stood to zipper them, with mechanical grace. He happened to notice the faded wedding picture on the wall by the door. He walked over to touch it and his gnarled hand straightened the frame on the crumbling plaster. The old man pulled his shirt over his head and for an instant, he was young.
He remembered, he felt, he transformed into the artist of the people. He proudly put on his hat, picked up his brushes and ran out the door with a shout of good-bye to his young wife. The streets were alive and vibrant. The cause bubbled through his veins and his heart. He, the oldest, the artist, would be painting for the people. How his father would have to eat his words--he would be an artist but he would be serving his great country. Productive and creative. The possibilities of the future were as open as the skies above the millet fields in Zhongyuan.
The old man buttoned the shirt and turned off the water, which boiled in the little metal kettle. He let his mind wander to his father's fields, to the quiet, honest roads and families and to endless stars in the night sky. A car's horn outside his apartment window brought him back to his dingy room in the city. He had just enough time to sit down for a cup of tea and a little rice.
He picked up his brushes and examined the bristles. He kept them as clean as an old man could and handled them jealously. No one would take these precious tools. They had served him well all those years and they had written countless hanzi to encourage the worker, the farmer, the child to do better, to be better, for the good of all.
One last sip of tea. One last mouthful of rice. Dishes in the plastic dish tub in the cement sink. Keys in pocket. Brushes safe in their case. Close the door.
His street received no sun at that time of morning. In spite of the blue sky, all seemed gray and dull. He nodded to the street vendor. He nodded to the man selling the morning paper. He avoided the young men who rushed passed him with electronic phones pressed to their ears. The energy of the city had long since lost its charm and appeal. The artists were newer, younger, with new ways of painting on machines he didn't understand or desired to understand.
The old man clutched his brush case and stood a little straighter. He still considered himself an artist, a productive artist, though he now painted posters for the local butcher.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
A Room with a View
Most times I sit and type my blogs in my front room. It is a gateway to several places in the house. My bedroom, bathroom, dining room and up the stairs. From here I can listen to my children complain about homework. Or watch them post things on Facebook, since our computer is centrally located in our frontroom, thank you very much. I can watch my hard working husband crash on the couch. I can get the front door. It's a very good view of what is going on in our little home.
I am in my last semester at the local college and will need to make a decision about what to do beyond my associate's degree. I don't even know that it matters. I'm doing this so that I will have some type of paper to show that I have education to do a job--that doesn't exist anymore. I will be taking classes that will go towards the old Liberal Arts degree but they've titled it different. If I don't do this, then I will have several years of extra classes to take and I'm not sure I want to do that.
I'm older now. I am approaching 50 in a couple of years or so. The dreams I had when I was young stayed there and new ones took their place. But dreams don't pay bills or feed a family.
My view is one of transition and stability. It seems that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am a stay at home mother who is available for her children. I am guiding my children to become more independent and self reliant so that when the time comes, they will fly. Some people embrace this but I chafe at the very thing I like. Stability.
The other view is one of transition. I am getting older and it cannot be escaped. The options that were open to me in my 20s and 3os are no longer feasible. I am a dreamer from way back and I suppose I always will be. Responsibilites and age are clouding my view.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Situations come into life unplanned and how we deal with them is a story. I sat at a garage sale today and a stray dog wandered into our midst. His golden coat was dingy and dirty. He'd been around for three days. Someone probably dumped him hoping he'd find a home.
Her hip bothered her that morning. Aches and pains were part of the daily routine, but it was inconvenient that morning. She looked forward to browsing through small, cast off items at the garage sales. A cup here. A plate there. The carafe of a long gone coffee maker. As she walked up the driveway, she paused to take in the heavy, scent of homeowner's climbing roses. She turned and her leg was blocked by something warm and soft. The dog looked up at her; his tail thumped in anticipation. She smiled and caressed his broad head with a stiff hand. He was so like Charlie. She missed a dog's companionship. Something else to put aside to remembrance.
The mother was huffing and puffing and she just gotten out of the car. She told her four year old son to hold her two year old sister's hand; she carried her newborn in the carrier along with the diaper bag. The walk up the drive way seemed an eternity of watching, lifting, carrying and worrying that someone would fall. No one did. The yellow lab stretched out across her path. One more thing to worry about. She told her son to step aside of the dog as a bead of sweat poured down her cheek. All that effort and the mother saw no clothes, no toys or anything that she could use. She stopped to take a breath and heard her baby make a familiar noise. She closed her eyes and turned around. She summoned her children and took the long walk back to the car. She knew what awaited her. The smell followed her.
He got up early and rode his bike in the quiet morning sun. He loved that time of morning when the day was filled with possibilities. The day before he found a rogue cicada and the day before that a yellow caterpillar. There were lots of cars by his neighbor's house and found the garage sale. After saying hello, he looked around the tables. It looked like the same kind of stuff his mom had at home. The garage smelled the same at theirs too, musty and old. The yellow lab approached him and he took a step back. When he saw the wagging tail, he held out his hand, which was promptly licked. The boy smiled and stroked the dog's head. He went through his pockets and found a green Skittle, which he popped in his mouth. He smiled at the dog, said good-bye to his neighbor and ran home to get some money.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Dear Jesus, my loving Heavenly Father, and sweet Holy Spirit;
I have thought many times of how to thank You for awarding me not one, not two but three children.
I remember how hard it was to try to have children and wait. I remember the agony of each month, hoping and crying when that hope was dashed. I remember my co-worker asking me every Monday morning if I was pregnant and how humiliated it made me. I remember the doctor visits, the poking and prodding in places reserved for intimacy and privacy.
And I remember seeing the little heart beat. It was nothing but a blip; he was only 2 weeks from conception but his little heart was strong.
Two more times I was able to carry a child to full term. Through all the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the nursing, the crying and changing and wiping and demands, You brought me through it all. It was so difficult but You, God, You helped me.
But today, that's not why I am here to thank You.
You see, Lord, I thought that I had faith. And I did. I thought that I was a faithful daughter and servant. I did many things, like sing at shelters and at Spred Group. Like visit the elderly once a week. Like become a chaplain to hand out coloring sheets. I did a lot of things and You helped me grow.
But nothing prepared me for the award You were to give me.
I don't have a lovely statue or a trophy as my award. No, You have given me so much more.
Through my son's diagnosis of asperger's, you have given me compassion, patience and tolerance. You have helped me be comfortable with people and families with special needs. That was a precious gift that I didn't know I needed.
Through my children being rejected, I learned to be an encourager. There were some days I needed it so badly that I thought my heart would crack my chest open. But it was through that pain that I became even better aware of another's pain.
Through my children's music, I was able to hear with my heart and set aside imperfections.
Through my youngest's physical struggles, I am learning endurance. And strength. And courage. And perseverance. And I am learning these things not from within but from my youngest son as he faces these difficulties.
Through my marriage, I have learned that I am capable of love beyond the surface of the skin. You have taught me the humor, the sorrow and the gracious acceptance through another human and Christian. I thought that the fires of love would die and grow cold. You taught me that the embers of love can burn for a lifetime.
Therefore, most gracious Lord Jesus, my loving Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit, I thank you for my many awards that You have sought to bestow upon me.
I thought that they were trials and sorrows. They were but they were lined with gold.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
1 Husband is still home on vacation so we are doing a lot of work around the house.
2 We are catching up from all the things we neglected last year. Last year, my husband and I were worship leaders, doing way too much and just letting things go. It was what we had to do. Now that we're not the actual leaders anymore, we have time to do things like clean up our the porch, get rid of a lot of books and clothes, and fix the roof on said porch.
We are thanking God for this time.
3 We took the Wii remotes, the Gamecube remotes, our old Gameboy and the DS. I am not going to let them rule my children's summer.
4 Ronn the aspie loves his little Ipod; it's only 1G so it holds only 100 songs or so. He loves it. He tries to hog the computer every day, rearranging songs, putting new songs in it and playing his music.
Obsessed or typical 13 year old? I think it's the latter.
5 Ronn hasn't had any playdates. He seems to be handling it ok so far. He had mentioned something about wishing he could have fun with other kids.
He and his sister are in band Monday through Thursday from 9am-12pm. That's quite a bit of socialization, I think.
And he's not being harrassed.I talked to friends who have kids his age--normal kids. They have been bullied, harassed, letters to principal, board members, talked to bullies' parents and still their child is bullied.
I cannot understand why our district does nothing about it.
6 Harrey the younger is across the street or outside all day. It does my heart good. However, he took the Nintendo DS (a handheld video game) and sat in the car with it. It was a cool day, thank God.
Needless to say, said DS was taken away until further notice.
7 It is indescribably beautiful out. At the time I am writing this, it's 63 degrees F with low humidity.
8 As soon as the porch is done, I will take pictures. It is such a pleasure to be able to use it again.
9 Another reason the mess on the porch was out of control was the garage sale. Excuses, excuses. But it's being cleaned.
10 I don't know if I've said it before, but I love having my husband home. I love him being home when I wake up. I love him being around. Maybe it's corny but I so enjoy being with him, even after 18 years of marriage.
One of my Multiply friends lost her husband recently and is actively mourning his loss. She reminds me not to take anyone for granted, especially one you love.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I have tried candling in the past and believe it or not, it worked. Experts don't recommend doing it. I cautiously recommend it but you have to be so careful and you should never ever do it alone. But that's my opinion.
If I didn't tell you that I had this problem, you would not know. I don't physically speak or make videos of myself speaking. Even if I did, there would be no way for you to know that I have this problem, unless we had conversation.
Blogging is like that and I forget that. Sarcasm sometimes does not translate as sarcasm--it translates as stupidity. I should know because I've posted sarcasm unsuccessfully.
It's a little like my ear problem. If I never posted it, you would not know. And mere words may not convey a certain tone of voice, unless you are thoughtful and careful.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I know we don't very often go fantasy here at Sunday Scribblings, and this doesn't have to be if you don't want to go there. It is inspired by this J.R.R. Tolkien quote: "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
by C. Deanne
Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved
Pragmatism, child. I have taught you since you played as a hatchling in the trees.
Yet another harvest, my daughter. And still, you do not listen. You will see for yourself if I am right in so teaching you.
This stone shelf is warm. The sun loves it here, high on the mountain, above the trees. Your bones and flesh will warm on this smooth stone well into autumn. Keep it clean, my child. It does not belong to us, really. Lord Arawn has not come here in many good long years but he will one day. They always do and out of politeness and regard for their courtesy, you must keep the shelf clean. He and his people have never once hunted you or your brother. For that matter, they have never bothered me, your father or any of your sires; that means something. Do not forget. This is their holy place.
There are many things that I will miss. I have many memories here, most of them are good. Just the few bad ones from my youngest days. I befriended a little girl at the root of one of the mountains. Her hair was gold, like armor on your chest and she was sweet as ripened berries in summer. Many a fine talk we had when she was a little one and I a dragonling. We walked the tree line. We hid, or we thought we hid, from her mother. Her mother said nothing, bowing her head towards me; she never said a word to me. And the little girl—what was her name, it's been so long? She used to run to me, her curls bouncing in the summer fields when the wildflowers were in bloom. So pretty she looked, so pretty that I forget how sick I would get from the flower dust.
The winter was particularly harsh that year and their days from the Flood were young. Their hovels were dirty and drafty and a fair one could become sick. Quickly. Like a sudden wind from the North, blowing the leaves away. No more bouncing curls. No more little walks. Her mother's vacant stare. She wouldn't look at me. Even when she was bent with age.
And now listen to me, daughter. You are your father's daughter. I try to spare you such pain. It has never left me, after all these long years. The hot summer sun should comfort my old bones, the fields swelling with grass and I still catch myself thinking about a mother's loss when I was a dragonling.
I have cleaned the ancestral home as best as I could. I put all the dried bones in the privy. The tunnels are smooth from many sires. You would do well to keep them tidy. The tunnels are smooth from many sires; will you remember them? They had all gone before and many of them had left by the time you hatched. Now there are the three of us and now, there will be only two of you.
I have tried to reason with your brother but he is lusty with greed. Balor has promised him the Jewels of Arawn and he listens. Perhaps he will listen to you. Understand me. He will die if he holds to this promise and maintains the covenant. For what has Balor to offer him that he does not have already and more? His hoard is ten times what Balor offers. Greed. It has been the bane of many of my cousins. Many more left and crossed the great sea; more moved to other mountains and other kingdom. The spring wind blows from the waters but I feel their presence no more.
Balor will cause you trouble, but not the way that you think. He will not dare to defy you or gather your blood. He may be blind, but he is cunning like a snake. Like us, I suppose. He offers jewels and riches that he does not have. He seeks to regain glory; glory that he never had. He claims that the land belongs to him and his people. Bah! His people were starving to death before the outsiders. He taxed the outsiders, bullied the peasants, and gave them earls that couldn't grow a clover in the middle of a field. Who didn't know the land. Who forced those poor people to grow wheat crops in hardened clay. Stupidity. And the lowlands, where the water remained, they left untouched. Better they had raised cattle and sheep instead of scratching weeds. Better for us, aye? Ha. Yes, of course, better for us.
Balor will cause division. I have seen him go back to the henges. I have heard rumors for the jackdaws. He has started the sacrifices again, but he is smart. He uses the children of his enemies because he says they are pure and will be raised by the goddess. Did he even ask her if this is her will? He asks the fickle moon; she changes her mind at every turn. Foolishness.
The outsiders bring the cult, as they call it. The New religion. Mother and Father, Lord Arawn, we worship the same Chreawdwr and have for time forgotten. His Lordship comes to this very spot to summon our God; if I remember correctly, God will answer him right here. You might remember the last time. It was just before Balor wiped out the Nemedians. Arawn asked for guidance, if he should be involved. Fool. He asked too late and could not, would not wait. Bloodshed everywhere and our kindred flew in from all parts to feast. Balor killed many of them, dear friends, draining their blood and storing it away. My brother, your uncle wouldn't listen; he fell and I felt his loss deep in my heart. The Nemedians are gone and those that survived sailed the Western Shores. They weren't all bad. No. But they are all alike, my daughter, all of them; they are like the cornflower and speedwells blooming in the summer and perishing in the new moon of fall. You must protect your golden heart from them or it will be broken.
These past months I flew the length of the Range and back. I glided the turgid currents until I thought my wings would fold in the air. I built up my strength, daughter, for my long journey.
We knew this parting would come for it is part of who we are. We may linger for an age and there comes a time inside us to leave and forsake. To push the memories and the past behind and soar to the new. I am going to your father and his people. I feel his presence yet, strong and vital. They have strange ideas, being from the west. He had a keen interest in relationships with men and women, particularly with children. He enjoys helping them and serving them. I always admired that their brevity never scarred him as it has me. Perhaps admired isn't the right word. Respected. Yes. I respected your father's pragmatism.
The winds between summer and autumn will go with me so I must leave now. You may visit anytime you wish. You will not, of course, but you are always welcome to fellowship with me. I will feel your presence during this time of year; you have only to send your thoughts to the wind and I will hear them as you will hear me in the early spring.
Ah, daughter. You are beautiful and strong, wise and kind. How proud I am of who you have become. How proud your grandsires would be. In my heart, I feel they are proud of you even now.
One more thing. The jackdaws are our friends; they will bring you news from all over the realm and from Dyfydd and Rheged. Their constant chattering can be irritating but they are good company and loyal. Do not forsake them in their time of need.
Your father told me when you were a dragonling that his home was so different. He lives in the water and makes his home in caves beneath them. He once told me, though, that caves such as ours dot their mountains. Still, he told me his land is harsh, with taller mountains and few meadows. As beautiful as they are and as many painful and pleasant memories they bring, I will not miss them. Every spring, every year I become sick.
I haven't forgotten anything. I thought I would. Only heed my words. You are a dragon and you are long lived. Pragmatism will keep you alive; do not trust your heart to men. They do not live long and each time you love one of them, your heart will be crushed. The Chreawdwr blessed us and punished us with long life and strong memory. Take heed.
How proud I am of you, my beautiful child with the golden heart.
Monday, May 17, 2010
With all of the foodie blogs out there, sometimes I get full just looking at the internet. With deliciousness in mind this week, I thought I'd suggest something a little different. The prompt is: recipe. Do with it what you will!
My Scattered Mind
(results and ingredients will vary. This is a good, basic recipe)
For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients.
1 - redheaded boy with a social skill problem
1 - 11 year old girl with braces, zits, hormones and low blood sugar
1 - 9 year old boy with the attention span of a fly
1 - tired husband, who is no longer afforded the luxury of overtime, unless authorized
3 - churches: one for the family; one for the daughter; one for the boys
5 - personalities
1 1/2 bible studies: one you could only attend in the fall; one you can attend regularly
2 - semesters of college; more if needed
5 gallons/yards/gross of music, homework and chores
a dash of dreams
a pinch of crabbiness, PTA, anxiety
Preheat the summer air in Chicago to 90 to 100 degrees F. Add moisture, if the atmosphere is not saturated already.
Add first four ingredients and let them go. Either tread carefully around them or step out of their way.
Stir in churches, personalities. Simmer gently. Carefully add Bible studies and then college. If you reverse the order, the husband will fly off the handle and you will have a mess on your hands.
Transfer into the music. Stir often so that practicing, chores and homework do not get mushy or stick together.
Add the dreams, along with the crabbiness, PTA and anxiety. Be careful that you don't add too much PTA because it can overwhelm the recipe.
Sprinkle with guilt liberally; in this recipe, there is never enough.
It is easy to walk away from this recipe because it takes a long time until it is done. In fact, it takes a lifetime. While you are stirring, add imagination, love, hope and faith; without them, the stirring is useless and your results will be ruined.
Best served on a cold November day with hot chocolate, blankets and the Three Stooges on Saturday night.
For more creative entries, please go to Sunday Scribblings
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I made him wear a helmet. I don't care; there will be no skull fracture if I can help it.
We bought him one of those push bicycles but he wouldn't pedal. We tried everything. He liked tricycles at other people's homes but outgrew them before we could purchase one.
We bought him a bike with training wheels. He outgrew it.
We bought him a larger bike with training wheels, but when we took the training wheels off, he still couldn't do it.
It all has to do with upper body weakness and low muscle tone. I read that's part of my son's diagnosis. What that has to do with autism or asperger's syndrome, I'll never know.
We gave up on it or rather, we let it go. My husband and I had tried our best and if he couldn't ride a bike, so be it. There are so many more worse things in life than that.
But that sunny afternoon, my husband called me from our side door and let the screen slam shut. I hate that noise and so does he, so I ran out; my husband does not let a screen door slam for nothing.
I walked to our front sidewalk and there he was. In fifth grade, yes, but riding without training wheels and beaming.
How many prayers had gone up for that small childhood milestone. My husband and I watched him pedal past us and felt a couple of fears lift off our shoulders and vanish.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I had so many goals and dreams about writing a novel. Now I'm not sure I ever will. It's pretty sad when your goal is not to write a great novel; your goal is to finish, to complete.
I thought about doing a frame novel, like in "The Martian Chronicles," where the novel is almost a compilation of short stories that centers around the colonization of Mars.
I thought of using the snowflake method to outline a good plot and then write it from there.
In the end, I'm back where I started from--the beginning.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Ebb and Flow
The water negotiates
an endless rhythm
Heedless of random days
Little hands grow,
Small hands grow
they've slipped out of your grip.
But it must.
Wax and Wane
Ebb and Flow.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
She read the last lines of her Elizabeth Gaskell novel:
Miss Barker hovering about us with offers of help, which, if she had not
remembered her former occupation, and wished us to forget it, would have been
much more pressing.
The pages of the paperback pressed into her thumb and left a small red mark. She placed a cross stitch book mark to keep her place and put the book on her bedside table, next to her alarm clock. The sheets were clean and crisp because it was Sunday, when she changed her sheets. It was like a fresh start to the new week. Normally she would turn off her light and snuggle into the white eyelet pillowcase, but not tonight.
Tonight Amy wished she had a television in her bedroom to keep her company. The silence in her condominium seemed a judgmental. She turned her light off and lay on her back. She had to straighten out her cotton nightgown against the cotton sheets, flip her hair out her face and smooth the blanked over her. Her eyes were stubborn that night and she could not get them to shut, even after reasoning with herself.
The top of her ceiling gave no sympathy and pressed down from the heights in a shadowy gray and black. The shadow from the fan looked like a spider ready to silk down on top of her. She turned the other way and had to adjust her gown again, which made her turn the other way and of course, she had get up, fix her gown and go back into the bed.
Amy turned on the light with a sigh and picked up her book.
Tears filled her eyes. Soon it would be midnight and she would miss her deadline. She smacked the book on her bed and covered her face with her hands.
She had gone to Carson's because they had a sale on black Aerosoles. When the sales clerk had gone in the back to find her size, she looked down on the floor and there it was. A perfect, white baby bootie. Just one, which told her that the baby had the other one on her foot. It was a her because she would never dream of putting a lovely thing like that on a boy. She picked it up. It was hand done, she was sure, and it was so soft, with a dainty satin ribbon to close it around a little ankle.
She asked the clerk if she remembered the mother. Maybe she was still in the store and she could give it to her. Surely she would miss it. But the clerk didn't know. So, Amy kept it and did not take it to lost and found like she said she would. She turned her head.
Amy broke into long, gasping sobs. Her deadline would pass and she would not be pregnant. The long, lonely decade of thirty something had begun.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
...so as to not waste a perfectly good image, let's think outside the box and have BOX be the theme for april 8th! hope we don't make you feel boxed in with our request!
James Blanton adjusted his Brooks Brother's jacket. It impressed him that in spite of the humid St. Louis July afternoon, the lines of his suit were crisp and clean. He straightened his blue satin tie and ran his finger between his Adam's apple and collar. He popped a small Altoid's under his tongue and turned to face Ms. Wilma Whitman's secretary.
His shoes tread through the plush carpet while he walked to the man's desk. The older man was typing on his keyboard and looked at him in a sort of wide-eyed wonder.
"My name is James Blanton. I'm here to see Ms. Whitman. She is expecting me at 4:30."
The man swiveled his chair and faced him. His eyes looked sad and his lips moved, as if he were searching for the right words. "Yes, James, I know. I'll go in and tell her you're here."
"Is--has she said something to you?" James asked him.
"Oh, yes. Yes." The man's smile appeared sad and sympathetic. Ms. Whitman's secretary walked to the large double doors, opened them and disappeared behind them.
The carpet muted the sound of everything in the room. The tall doors climbed all the way to the cathedral ceiling. James sighed and walked to the windows. Like the doors they went to the ceiling and overlooked downtown St. Louis, but not the arch or river. That view belonged to the chosen; the well-do-to; the lucky of the world. The two black leather chairs and little glass table looked a like an after thought. James wondered in his mind if anyone had ever used them. He turned to the elevator. The walls were painted black as was the elevator; no numbers at the top. All floors were down from here and straight to the garage; he had to leave his desk and go to the garage in order to get to her office.
What is it like to be here? To hold the future of all these people in your hands? What is it like to have so much power? To make decisions that will have lasting effect in a global economy, if it is only toys.
Two narrow and tall glass windows flanked the other corner of the elevator wall, competing with dark, oak panels behind pictures of the former Chief Executive Officers starting from the first owner. There were only three pictures. Founder and owner Jack Hanlon 1880-1920, Jocelyn Umberge 1920-1960 and Ms. Whitman 1960-present. They all looked grim, which seemed ironic considering their product.
They made high end children's toys. Lately it had been a tough market, but the toys were easy to sell, once children played with them. They were old fashioned, well made, expensive and utterly irresistible. James owned several pieces from childhood and they still worked, so when he graduated, he couldn't believe his luck getting a job at Hanlon's.
"She will see you now, James."
James Blanton whirled around and saw the great doors opened and the male secretary standing on the threshold. He cleared his throat and walked inside the large room.
"Good night, Miss Whitman. Thank you. Good night, James." The man closed the door behind him and the sound echoed in the room.
"Come in, James. Please." Miss Whitman was seated about sixty feet from him but the acoustics were so perfect, that her voice was quiet. The room was stark, the walls wooden and dark brown and the floor was some type of black slate, as far as he could tell.
The sound of his shoes bounced off these walls and floors only to bounce back from the wall of windows behind Miss Whitman's desk. She seems small, dwarfed by the magnificent view of the sun setting on the arch and the river. His hands were sweating and he let them brush along the side of his jacket to wipe them off. A bead of perspiration ran down his temple but he dared not wipe it off.
"Please, James, sit." Miss Whitman looked older than he thought and gaunt, in spite of her weight. "James, do you know why you are here?"
"No, ma'am. I don't." James sat in very comfortable leather chair, but sat up rigid straight. She handed him a pink phone message sheet. He blanched.
"I see from the expression on your face that you remember this note. It was put in the suggestion box."
"Yes. Ma'am. I didn't think anyone looked in that suggestion box. I thought it would get thrown away. No one in my part of the office ever heard back from their suggestions so I thought it would get--it was a Friday night and it had been a long week."
"Read it out loud, James. Please." Miss Whitman seemed to be holding her breath.
"I suggest that I run this company because I don't think--please, Miss Whitman, accept my apology--"
"Just...read it aloud, James. Please." Miss Whitman leaned forward and something like fear was in her eyes.
"I, um, suggest that I run this company because I don't think, I know that I could do a better job." James crumpled it in his hands. Miss Whitman leaped from her seat and grabbed the piece of paper from him.
"No. You mustn't do that. No." Miss Whitman smoothed out the crumples, her breath shallow. "James, I've been waiting for this note for many years. And I am delighted that it comes now, while I still have time. Did you notice the pictures of the CEO's on the walls outside this office?"
"Yes, ma'm." James watched her continue to smooth the pink piece of paper.
"James, what did you notice?" Her brown fingers smoothed the edges with great care.
"I noticed that each officer served for forty years, ma'am."
"That's right. I have served for forty years and I believe that my time is done. Right now." Miss Whitman smiled in triumph and continued to look at the paper. James could not understand why she would not look him in the eye. "You see, James, forty years ago, I sent a paper in Hanson's suggestion box. Do you know what it said? I can show you."
She pulled away from her desk and opened a drawer. Her smile was a hungry, animal smile. James sat back and gripped the sides of his chair. She put out a small, white piece of paper, which had been crumpled but was flattened and yellowing on the edges.
"I wrote, ,'I can do a better job running this company and I know you think I can't, just because I'm a black woman.' There's another one, from 1920." She laid a small piece of paper, fragile and folded in half. "It says, 'You all think you're so smart but I know that I can run the company better than old Hanlon.' So you see, James, why I wanted to see you."
"Some say it was Mr. Umberge's fault. But it wasn't. It was Hanlon himself. So you see, James. It's you. You are my replacement. The board of directors knows all about Hanson's crazy stipulations." Tears filled her eyes. "My husband was diagnosed with cancer but it's in remission, thank God. I wanted to leave but I couldn't. I had to wait. All these long years, but now. Your suggestion. I will have a pension and my family...will be protected." Miss Whitman took her purse from her desk.
"Married? But your name--"
"You can't marry unless you consult the board. You can only have three children; if you want more, you must consult the board. It's all there, James; Mr. Hanlon saw to it. You can't retire any toys. ANY of them. You can't introduce new toys unless you retire a toy. You cannot go with market trends. You must design new toys and they must be hand made by the staff from our northern office. You cannot travel more than half an hour away from this office or... You will thank God on your hands and knees for the invention of jet plane. You can't--"
"I don't understand. Why so many stipulations?"
"The money is legally tied to them, James. You can do nothing without consulting them first and believe me, the board knows every dot and every i of that document."
"But how can the company grow and move on? How can I introduce new ideas?" James jumped to his feet. "What if I don't want to do it?"
"They know where you live, James. They are very powerful. Do not cross them. Ever." Tears spilled on her cheeks.
"Miss Whitman, is that a threat?" James leaned on the table and into her face. She did not back away.
"You cannot leave until you receive a note, just like the one you sent me. And you cannot tell anyone or they will take everything, James; they will find a way. I have warned you as much as I can."
James paced back and forth in front of the desk. "So I get the limosine, the driver, a secretary, all this?"
Miss Whitman stood up. "You are the new CEO, James. There will be a reception for you when you leave this room. Good bye, James. I know that it was an angry suggestion, but it is now my freedom." She walked away.
"No, Miss Whitman. Not before you take your place by my side." He held out his arm and stood ram-rod straight. The older woman wiped her face. She adjusted her suit coat and wiped her hands on her skirt.
"I will not stay long," she said and took his arm.
"Yes, ma'am." James Blanton walked down the endless floor with Miss Whitman at his side and fought to keep a smirk off his face.