Monday, April 30, 2012

So. April Gets the Last Word...

I was hoping to slide out of April without any further ado...or crisis...or chaos...or whatever crap I usually suffer in my annual 30 days of torment, especially after my minor triumph at the start of the month with the car.  A triumph barely remembered now in the wake of the Great American Printer Toss; the bathroom DIY--curtains, wall gouging and paint; the dental issues with the werewolf fang; and let's not forget the unprecedented April heat wave.

Hopes dashed, of course.

Saturday morning, I'm opening one of the eleven 6' x 4-1/2' blinds in the great room and the wand breaks off from the header mechanism.  Well shit.  I had a nice, quiet weekend planned:  reading, walking the dogs, working on the postcard-making project.  I would truly like one frigging damn day without having to deal with this bloody house. 

Initially I just try to see if I can reattach the wand.  (Are you laughing?)  The piece that broke is metal, there's no way to fix it.  I can see where the piece fits into the header, a part that might come out to possibly be replaced.  (Laughing harder?)   I get the vise grips, twist the broken metal to open the blinds, and after walking the dogs later in the morning, I go to Lowe's as they have a better blind/shade department than Home Depot.

I try to keep a ridiculous idiotic positive attitude that I will be able to buy a $5 part, snap out the broken piece and replace it with the new.  Minimum investment of time and money, and I'm back to my original laid back plans for the weekend.  (Rolling on the floor in hysterics yet?)

They don't have a replacement part for the broken wand because this style of Levolor blind isn't made anymore.  Of course it's not.  The only recourse I have is to buy a new one.  I'm very concerned that I won't be able to match the new blind to the other ten, and I swear, I'll nuke this effing money pit house before I replace all eleven of these six-foot blinds. 

I bring the color chart home, match as best I can, do the measuring, and go back on Sunday to order the custom blind.  What?  You thought I could just buy one off the shelf?  (Maniacal laughter; dogs look worried.)

It's going to cost me over $100--a far cry from the ridiculous idiotic positive attitude I tried to hang on to of the $5 fix--and I have to install the blind myself.  I wasn't about to pay an additional $75 just for a guy to come in for five minutes to do it for me.  I might have to wait until my mother and sister come for Mother's Day weekend to help with holding and balancing things because this isn't a small or lightweight blind, but the timing is good: it will arrive about the same time they do.

In the meantime, on this last day of a bitter and cruel month, I'm staying under the radar, hoping the Great Eye of Sauron--or whatever demon rules April--has turned away from me and is focused elsewhere.  Tomorrow is May...if I had a Maypole, I would dance around it with joy, tangling the ribbons, flinging Spring flowers, laughing with joy that April is over for another year.

Friday, April 27, 2012


So.  Monday I went to the dentist to replace my missing werewolf fang.  A simple thing really.  At least that's what I was told after the tooth broke off awhile back during an earlier visit.  Unfortunately, my regular dentist has gone walkabout--never returning from his two week vacation.  No one in the office is quite sure what has happened to him, or what's going to happen to the practice.  As you can imagine, I am not feeling warm and fuzzy about this development, nor do I feel in any way confident of a positive outcome with my new tooth.

At the moment, they are rotating dentists from other towns while either headquarters is trying to hire someone new, or they are searching high and low for the missing one.  In any case, it's a revolving door of dental practitioners, delayed appointments, rescheduling nightmares, yada yada.  My fang was to be replaced last week, but was rescheduled.

Back to Monday.  I have a very harried fill-in dentist who has driven down from Portland--a three hour drive, one way, if you're very lucky.  It's 4:30pm, he wants to get home and makes quick work of shoving this bizarre apparatus into my mouth.  The fake fang is supposed to fit into the empty tooth socket, which is attached to a metal bar that curves behind my front teeth, then clips to the other (real) canine tooth.  It feels horrible, foreign and painful.  I tell him so.  He says to get used to it for a day or two, then if it's still uncomfortable, come back in.  I'm not a happy girl.  This bloody fang has cost me the equivalent of a nice trip to London and a stay at my favorite hotel.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm not.

I come home, try to eat dinner a bit later, but with this weird piece of steampunk mouth gear, I end up biting my tongue so hard it brought tears to my eyes and blood oozing.  Not a flavor I want with my meal, thank you very much.  I take out the mechanics and give up for the night.

The next day I muddle through, though actually bit my tongue twice more, making it so sore, I can hardly speak.  Which is probably okay since I neglected to mention that my tongue is struggling with the metal bar behind my front teeth, so now I lisp like Elmer Fudd.  Stop laughing.  It's so not funny.  I sound like an idiot every time I try to use an "s" or "th" combo.  Spit flies.

I call the dental office.  And yes, I am Very Cranky. Because of the revolving door of dentists, I can't get an appointment until Thursday.  So yesterday I go in...and sit for nearly an hour.  Good thing I never leave the house without a book, or my Kindle.  Eventually I get in, and thankfully have a really nice, efficient woman dentist who agrees that the fit is terrible, the whole works will have to be redone, but until then, she fiddles and twists, uses tools that look remarkably like something from the Inquisition, but finally manages to at least get the thing to fit a bit better for the interim.

Apparently I can't get the new fang done until either the old dentist comes back, or a new dentist gets hired.  I won't rant on about how that sits with me.  Besides, if I get all worked up, I'll just spit all over you.

The Nightmare

Part Four

April 27, 2012

The sound of water hissing on hot stone broke the kiss, though Will lingered for just a moment longer, his tongue gently touching the softness of her lower lip.  Drawing his head back, he looked into her eyes, gratified to see she seemed a bit dazed, glad the kiss hadn’t just affected him.  Reluctantly, he moved around the fire, kneeling to carefully tilt the MRE away from the heat.  As he prepared the second packet, he glanced across the flames, and got a jolt that seemed to spark something in his chest when their eyes locked.

Slowly raising a hand to her lips, she murmured, her voice husky, “That was the best…apology I’ve ever had.”

Will smiled.  “It was the best…apology I’ve ever given.”  Then he bent his head to stop staring at her like an lovesick dog, leaning the second meal on the stone before carefully adding more wood to the fire.

Eva noticed how Will dealt with every task: easy and assured, calmly getting the job done.  It was clear he was very familiar with this kind of life.  She wasn’t sure what to think about him, this great kissing man, who had just knocked her right off her feet.  Cocking her head, curious, she asked, “Why are you here?”

He spared her a quick look as he poked the fire, adjusting it to keep one packet warm as the other cooked.  Quietly he said, “I guess you might say I’m on a pilgrimage, though after ten years, I may be less a pilgrim than a nomad.”   Will smiled, though it was no more than a movement of lips, and didn't warm his eyes.

“Ten years?”  She couldn’t keep the incredulity out of her voice.  “Why?  What is it you’re still looking for after all that time?”

“It’s a very long story,” he said abruptly, “and not one I particularly want to talk about.”  He frowned, then muttered, “I don’t know why I even told you that much.”

Snorting, Eva said,  “Yeah, you really overwhelmed me, spilling your guts like that.  I don’t know how I’m going to handle all that information.”

Will tried to glare, but couldn’t stop the grin as he took in the flash of irritation in her eyes, the hint of impatience with his attitude.  “I didn’t mean to piss you off.”  His voice deepened; somehow she felt the vibration across the fire, in her stomach as he said, “Guess I'll need to apologize some more.”

“We’ll be holding off on that, Donovan,” she said quickly, then scowled when he laughed out loud.

Raising his hands in surrender, Will acquiesced.  “Okay, okay.  We'll start with dinner.”  He waited a moment, then casually murmured, “We’ve got all night to work on…apologies.”

Eva drew breath to sputter, then noticed the twinkle in his eye and the effort he was making not to laugh again.  Relaxing, she smiled sweetly.  “Yes, we do,” she said softly, “a long…very long…cold night.”  When his eyes widened, and she heard a loud, gulping swallow in the sudden silence, she burst out laughing.  For a second he wasn’t sure which way to go, then the sound of her laugh, low and slightly rough, led the way for him.  Laughing with her, he prepared to dish up.


Later, Will gazed at Eva as she sorted through her things—the mountain of things she had squirreled away in her clothes.  He still couldn’t believe it.  “How did this come about?” he asked, gesturing to her possessions.  “Have you always travelled this way?”

Smiling, she shook her head.  “I was in Pokhara, getting supplies, arguing with the Tourism Board about a guide, acclimating to the altitude and I was befriended by this old woman at the hostel where I was staying.”  She paused, remembering the ancient, wrinkled face, the toothless grin.  “I was having trouble with my pack—one of the load bearing straps had gotten ripped somewhere between Australia and here.  I didn’t want to buy a new pack, but I couldn’t get the strap fixed properly.  Then this woman sort of took me under her wing.”

“You speak the language?”

“No, but her great-granddaughter could speak English.”  She laughed softly.  “I ended up being more than just their paying guest.  They just…enfolded me into their world.  The food was wonderful, the family was huge; so nice, so helpful and kind.”  Her voice had dropped to a near whisper.

“What’s wrong,” Will asked softly.

“Oh, nothing really.  They were just good people.  Poor, but rich, you know?”

He had his own memories of people with nothing, and yet with everything that truly mattered.  “Yeah, I do.”

With a little smile, Eva began arranging her things in small, organized piles.  “The old woman, Nima, showed me the amazing usefulness of a native skirt and coat.”  Her eyes sparkled in the firelight.  “There are more pockets, nooks and crannies in these clothes than you could possibly imagine.”

“I couldn’t have imagined if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”

“Turns out, however, there is one tiny flaw in this mode of travel.” Eva said quietly.  When he raised a brow in question, she said, “I’m so used to my pack, how it feels on my back, between my shoulders, the balance, the weight; I know how to walk with it.   I wasn’t used to having all my things in pockets and compartments, so when I got hit with that huge gust of wind, I just sailed right off the edge of the mountain like some clueless amateur.”   She looked gravely at Will.  “If you hadn’t been there…”

“But I was there.”  He paused.  “When I was getting you off that rock, what did you mean about being hurt on so many levels?”

The corner of her mouth turned up a fraction as she gave him back his own words.  “It’s a very long story and not one I want to talk about.”

“Okay, I deserve that,” he conceded, but he waited, patient in the silence.

She was quiet for so long, Will thought that was the end of it.  He built up the fire while she fiddled with her gear, making more small piles, sorting into groupings that made sense to her.  Balancing her pockets, Will thought.

Finally, “I guess you might say I’m on a pilgrimage, too.”  Taking a deep breath, her voice low and quiet, “I used to be a mountain climber.  I’ve been all over the world, climbing was all I knew, what I loved.  About six years ago, I was on an expedition in Alaska to climb Mount St. Elias.”  She shot Will a look when he softly whistled.  “That’s a legendary climb,” he murmured.

She nodded in agreement.  “I was with a group of eight.  Two of the climbers should never have been allowed to be part of the group.  Once it was clear they were too disruptive, too cocky, they should have been sent back.  They were overbearing, wouldn’t listen to the guides, insisted on doing things their way, constantly questioned every decision.  They were a real threat to the success of the climb, and a danger to the group.”

Something was tickling in the back of Will’s mind.  Why did this seem familiar, a tale he already knew?

“At the start of the second week, we were approaching our last base camp to rest up for the final push.  That night there was an bad argument between the lead guide and the two men.  Nick was adamant that the group would wait, rest, relax before attempting the summit; they wanted to climb the next morning.”

“Nick?  Wait, I know this.  Nick Barlow.  He was killed—”  He stopped, saw the stricken look on Eva’s face.  “God, you were on that expedition?”  She just stared at him over the snap and crackle of the fire.  The story was coming back to him, the details, the senseless loss. “Those two guys went out on their own, got in serious trouble, and Barlow had to rescue them, isn’t that how it went down?”

“We tried to persuade him to wait for more rescue personnel, but he was the experienced lead on the scene, and it was his company, his expedition, his responsibility.  He knew if we waited for outside help, it would be too late.”  Her voice trembled.  “Nick died saving one man, the other was already dead when Nick found them.  Later, the families of the two men sued his business partner and his estate.  In the end everything was lost: Nick, his business, everything.”

Will knew there was more, some detail he was missing, though maybe it wasn't important now, after so much time had passed.  What did matter was Eva.  He couldn’t believe she'd been on that fateful trip.  It had to have affected her, deeply.  Gently, he asked, “Why are you walking the Annapurna?  What are you looking for?”

“Truthfully?  I don’t know anymore.”

He cleared his throat, unsure what to say.  “Talk to me, Eva.  Tell me what you’re doing here, how I can help you.”

Shadows under her eyes, a weariness in her voice, Eva stood, stretched her stiff muscles, rubbed a sore spot on her thigh, no doubt bruised in her fall, then said quietly, “I need sleep, Will.  Can we do that now?  Maybe talk tomorrow?”


Nick hung upside down by a leg tangled in his climbing rope; the only thing at the moment keeping him from a thousand-foot fall.  Eva could see he was bleeding from a bad gash in his chin, the blood running in a red furrow into his eyes, dripping off his forehead.  She lay on her stomach, braced with ice screws, ropes and her ice axe, and looked into the crevasse with horror at Nick, hanging 20 feet below her with no way for her reach him.  His rope had snagged on a jagged edge of rock inside the deep cleft when the ice bridge had collapsed.  Without that accidental snag, Nick would already be gone.

“Nick!  Nick, can you hear me?”  She didn’t know how to get to him, how to pull him to safety.  She wasn't even sure he was alive.  Her heart thundered with fear.  “Nick, god damn it, answer me!”

As his body hung, swaying gently, Eva thought she heard a sigh, maybe a soft moan.  “Nick, it’s me, Eva.  Come on, talk to me if you can.  Help is coming!  You just have to hold on.”

She was half in the crevasse herself at that point, feeling the deep, eerie silence of the blue ice, hearing the slight creak of Nick’s rope as he moved in a ghostly breeze that seemed to come up from far, far below, sending chills into her soul.  How could this be happening?  My fault, my fault, my fault!

“Eva.”  The whisper seemed to waft out of the frigid air, ethereal, insubstantial. “Sorry…”

The harrowing dread was unbearable.  “Nick!  No!  Stay with me!  Nick!”

There was an odd tremble in the snow under her belly, small crystals of ice drifted past her face and fell in sparkling flashes toward Nick.  And then the crevasse seemed to shift, the rope holding Nick loosened, and slowly, snakelike, in a slithering nightmare of motion, it uncoiled from the rock.  As she screamed his name, over and over, Nick fell, gently, gracefully, into the depths of his frozen tomb.


“Eva!  Oh god, baby wake up.  Please wake up!”  Will was rocking her tight in his arms, close enough he could feel her heart jackhammering in her chest, her mindless screams thick with horror and grief, pain and loss.

They had gone to bed in his little tent, cozy and warm from the fire, and though it was almost agony to lay so close to her, he consoled himself that at least she didn’t object when he spooned in behind her, tucking her body into his.  Murmuring into her hair, he told her it was to keep them both from hypothermia.  Her snort made him grin.  They had fallen almost immediately to sleep.

Until the screaming.

He rolled her over, took her face in his hands and began to kiss her frantically, whispering nonsense words, kissing her eyes, tasting the tears.  Her screams became moans, the moans gasps, and finally she seemed to hear him.  “Eva?  It’s Will.  I’m here, you’re not alone.”  Her breathing was harsh, ragged, but at least she was awake now.  Still kissing her—gentle, soothing touches—he breathed into her ear, “What was it?  Tell me what happened.”  Her body began to shake in the aftermath of the nightmare so he drew her closer still, giving her all the warmth he could.

“Nick,” she moaned.

“You had a nightmare about Nick?”  Again that niggling thought, that detail of something he just couldn't grasp.

“I saw him fall.  I was there when he fell.”  She hung onto Will’s shirt, her fists tangled in the fabric as she wept.

“It was just a nightmare.  Hush now, it was a bad, bad dream.”  And just like that, he remembered.  His heart lurched, he looked at her, and he remembered.  You were Nick’s business partner.  You’re the one who was sued, lost the business, lost everything.  Oh, Eva.”

A tormented whisper. “Yes.  Me.  I lost the business, my home, everything.”  Her voice was raw from the screams.  “But I didn't care about that, none of it mattered.  How can anything matter after you've killed your husband?”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

FX and a Rose...

I'm in sort of a rush today.  I had my werewolf fang made the other day--Monday--and it's all screwed up so back I go in about 20 minutes.  I can't begin to say how sick I am of going to the dentist.  Twice a year is pushing it, but lately it seems I'm going twice a week.  Cranky today, for sure.

So.  As I've been dinking, having lunch, doing a bit of thinking about some writing, I was browsing Lynn's blog, one of my Daily Fix reads.  She always has cool stuff--mostly related to writing as she's a best-selling author--though today she had a post about special effects, from TypoEffects.

I used the rose from my Edinburgh garden (above), and a quote I love from one of my favorite books of all time, The Little Prince, to make this:

Is that totally cool, or what?  Imagine the possibilities.  You can change the colors, the fonts, the length of quote...whatever.  I love this.

By the way, the whole quote I used: 

"You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.  You are responsible for your rose."

                                                   --   The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stuff and Nonsense...

I've been more or less off the grid this past week.  I've had some issues to tackle, some work to finish, and everything was made more difficult under the debilitating weight of humidity and mind-boggling heat.

Last night, as the steamy furnace heat, building inexorably hour by hour during the day, reached unbearable, I heard the low roll of thunder off in the distance.  I went outside to see if it looked like rain might be coming, or if the thunder was just a tease, generated by the heat.  It was so miserably humid, just standing at the deck rail--doing nothing but standing there--I was sweating.  When all I saw across the Valley was heat lightning, and mean-looking black clouds, I went back inside and flopped down on the floor with the dogs.  Somehow it seemed cooler down there.  As the thunder rumbled and growled, the dogs panted and whined, I read my book.  It wasn't until well after dark that I realized I wasn't sticky anymore...and the dogs were asleep, breathing soft and quiet.  I stood at the front door and took my first cool breath of air in nearly a week.  The fever had broken.

Today, it's a bit muggy and close, but also cloudy with a tiny breeze.  And though this week has been nothing like the deep sultry heat of Miami in August, or the oppressive burn of Chicago in July, I've learned that April--at least this April--in southern Oregon came with its own sweltering intensity.


This morning I took the dogs to the County Park, about 20 minutes outside town, mainly because the park doesn't allow dogs from May 15 - Sept 15, and that leaves me just a few more weeks.  It's really a shame they have this rule because I rarely see other dogs out there in the first place, and during the hot Summer months it's a cooler place to go, with all the trees, than staying in town.  The other reason I wanted to go out that way this morning is Kruse's Farm Market opened last week and I wanted to look at their flowers and plants.

Kruse's is a long-time, family-owned operation down in the Valley.  They have many acres, grow all their own produce, and provide most of the town and surrounding area with flowers and fresh vegetables.  It's an eagerly awaited event in the Spring when Kruse's opens for the season.

We had a good walk, then I drove to the Farm and had a great time wandering in their four giant greenhouses, looking at plants and veggies. 

I got some zucchini sprouts that I'm going to grow down the slope this year instead of the pumpkins--though those pumpkins were so cool, I was tempted to do it again.

(Photo from last Fall)

Kruse's also has a bakery/gift shop.  They make all their own pies, dried fruits, honey, soup mixes...lots of good stuff.  I was very tempted to buy a pie but I resisted.  I'm only one person after all and I truly don't need to eat an entire pie by myself.  Though I could.  And I wanted to. 

I did however buy this.  Know what's in that bag?

When I was a kid, and my mother would make a pie, she would dust the leftover scraps of crust with cinnamon and sugar, bake them, then let me and the three sibs devour those wonderful, crispy treats.  I loved those misshapen, delicious bites of heaven almost more than her pies.  (Same with pizza crust but that's another story).

So.  Last year I'm in the bakery, wandering around, buying some stuff and OMG is that what I think it is?  Yes.  A bag of cinnamon/sugar bits from their leftover pie crusts.  And even better than bringing back a childhood memory, they taste exactly the same as my mom's.  How cool is that?

Besides the bag of yummy and the zucchini, I also bought some flowers today.  I have a plan to hang a couple of baskets off my back deck to cover this gaping hole underneath.  No one seems to notice, or mind this, though to me, it's just weird.  I mean, really.  You can see all the way under the deck, and no, I don't want to put in that lattice stuff.  My plan is to hang baskets under the deck which should cover some of the open space.  Wait.  That isn't very clear.  I don't mean I'm hanging them under the deck, more along the outer frame--

Oh here, just let me show you...

See what I mean?  The Black Hole of Calcutta.  If I hang the baskets from that 4 x 6 outer beam, they should fill out over the Summer, cascade down, and help to cover that space.  In theory.  I'm going to try it, in any case.  I bought trailing flowers and have two large hanging basket pots.  The trick will be to screw the hangers into the pressure-treated wood (hard as rock), then lift the baskets to the hooks.  Uh huh.

(Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Ozzy was sick in the night and I had to crawl under the deck to find him?   This is that place.   He was way under there, in the back part.  Imagine this in the pitch dark, mud and dirt, in pajamas. Ah, the good times.)


I got two more postcards this week.  That makes nine, so far.  It's really fun to open the mail box and find a card, and a message, from someone across the world.  So far I have received cards from Ireland, the Netherlands (2), Belarus, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand and British Columbia.  I'm reminded however that I have to work on making my own postcards, now that I have the new printer.


Well, it's been nice to catch up, but I have to go.  I need to find the drill, screw the bolts into the beam, plant and hang the baskets, caulk around the bathtub, tighten the faucets, put the second coat of varnish on the front door threshold, consider building a raised bed on the slope for the zucchini, work on the next chapter in the Imaginary Tale story, make some postcards...

I need a nap.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm Melting......

I just might be buying into the theory that Hell is really here on Earth. 

Since Friday, most of the Northwest has been in an almost unprecedented heat wave.  Really.  A blazing heat wave, in frigging April.  Today--right now at 5:30pm--it's 87 degrees outside, and 84 where I'm sitting at my laptop, sweat running down my temples into the cold cloth around my neck, as I try to offset the effects from 279% humidity.

have clarified some things for myself during this experience however:  I don't like to sweat unless it's for a darned good reason, one usually requiring a partner.  Second, being born in Alaska, spending many years in Seattle, and many more in Scotland, I realize I not only can't take this kind of heat, I don't want to.  I need the cool, the refreshing, possibly even the chilly.  That's not to say I don't like a sunny day...I do, I just don't want to suffer from heat stroke to enjoy one.

The other night I saw an advert on television about vacationing in Colorado, one of the few states I haven't spent any time in.  I sent for the Guide, which arrived on Friday, the day the NW caught fire.  It's a beautiful magazine.  I'm now dreaming of those 14ers, those cold mountain streams, the rushing rivers, and wishing for a clear, fresh breath of air. 

I may have shifted my focus--once I get the house sold--to Colorado, Montana, perhaps even back to the beginning, to Alaska.   Or hey, how about the Russian Steppes? The North Pole?  Frigging Iceland? 

I don't know yet. The heat has made me slightly delirious and I'll have to think things through when this Scorched Earth phase is over--sometime around Thursday, I hear. 

Well, that's better than eternity, I suppose.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Done and Dusted...Yeah, Sure

I finished the half-day DIY bathroom project yesterday.  On the eighth day.  Course, part of that time was taken with other massive procrastination, ennui, denial, and total lack of enthusiasm, to name a few.  By the time I reached Day Five, I was so over the whole project and could barely get myself to go into the bathroom at all--so, good thing I have a spare then.  I took some time away from it, and let things chill for a bit.

Yesterday I realized that in the chilling, I had lost three days.  Holy crap, I've got stuff to do!

The first thing on the agenda was to spray all the plant life in my front garden with coyote pee deer deterrent, which--so far--is actually working, although I have to do it every week instead of the monthly recommendation.  I fell for that "once a month" thing last year and lost every single plant, shrub and bloom.

Once that chore was done, I stripped off all my outerwear and immediately threw everything in the washing machine.  The reeking smell of this deer spray can stick with you like the Bog of Eternal Stench** so clothes, hands and tools have to be cleaned post haste or you'll be really will anyone downwind of you.

Next, it was on to mowing the lawn.  The grass has grown wildly, almost overnight, and gotten so tall my two wee boys look like they're tramping through elephant grass in an African savanna.  Goes without saying it's not really conducive for a manly pee.  

Or when using a push mower.  

I should have just gone to Home Depot and bought a scythe to hack it down rather than try to mow (though isn't a scythe just about the scariest tool ever??).  Still, I got it done.  The dogs are happy now, able to see what they're doing, and I'm glad I didn't wait any longer.  Triffids came to mind as I struggled and cursed, pushed and pulled.

After dragging my butt inside, changing clothes yet again--due to the tee shirt sweat-molded to my body, and grass clippings stuck like confetti all over my jeans--I pause to have lunch, feed the boys, and briefly contemplate leaving the bathroom for another day.  But no.  I can only stand to have stuff hanging over my head for so long before it drives me nuts, so onward and upward woman.

As much as I would relish sharing the experience of the next four hours--the painstaking measuring of hems, the ripping out of same, twice; the dawning realization there would be no way to accurately hem curtains in an uneven, recessed opening; the shriek of horrified dismay when I accidentally ironed my plastic-coated tape measure (which was around my neck for ease in measuring) to the first finished curtain panel, melting it in a spectacular blend of red and white swirls on my neutral colored linen curtains--this posting would be too long and no one would believe me anyway.

Long story short:  I finally finished those effing curtains around 7:00 last night.  And though in my mind they are far, far from perfect, they really don't look half bad, all things considered.  And I managed to blend two paint color samples in a pretty near match to cover the putty knife gouge/spackling job.  I'm really pleased, thankful, and so very glad this blasted DIY project is finally over.


This morning, whilst brushing my teeth, the cold water faucet started dripping.  No, really.  Out of the blue.  There have been no problems at all before this.  Usually, without a thought, I just turn the handle, and the frigging bugger bloody damn water shuts off.  

So, okay then, let's review, shall we?  I was done with the bathroom DIY for...what?  Maybe 13 hours?


**Anyone know what movie??

Monday, April 16, 2012

100 Words...April - June 2012

June 30, 2012

Standing at the threshold, he studied the intent look on her face as she worked. Quietly, he asked, “What are you doing?”

She spared him a quick glance, then bent again to her task. Surrounded by a plethora of womanly bottles and mysterious potions, he felt like he’d stumbled into an alchemist’s den.

“Serious research.” She straightened, finished with her project, critically assessing her handiwork.

Sitting beside her, he laughed, enchanted, when she raised her feet to the edge of the coffee table.

Each toenail was a different color, a kaleidoscope of gleaming beauty. She smiled, pleased at his appreciation.


 June 9, 2012


Muffled cursing drew him to the kitchen. Her head and shoulders were beneath the sink, his vision filled with a perfect view of her jeans-clad backside.

“What are you doing under there?”

“Trying to fix this dripping faucet.”

Crouching, he settled his hand on the warm curve of her exposed lower back. “Very nice view.”

Scowling over her shoulder. “Seriously?”

Grinning.“Oh yeah.”

“Could you make yourself useful and hand me that wrench?”

“Want some help?”

Silence. Then she stood, smiling, and gestured toward the sink.

Once underneath, he laughed when she murmured, “You’re right. It is a nice view.”


No Lost Moments
May 17, 2012

Camera steady, focused on the leaves overhead.

“What do you see?” The low, gravel-voiced question startled her just as she pressed the shutter, ruining the shot. Lowering the camera, she turned her head.

An old man leaned on a cane beside her, staring up into the trees before gazing at her, a curious look in his faded blue eyes.

“Light filtering through leaves,” she replied.

They both looked up.

“Huh,”he muttered, walking away.

Frustrated, the moment lost for her shot, she watched the old man shamble off. Then, smiling, she raised her camera. Not a moment lost after all.



April 16, 2012

“I call shotgun.”

“You can’t call shotgun two hours before we get in the car!”

“I just did.”

“Well, you can’t.  There are shotgun rules.”


“As the oldest, I get first dibs.”

“You so don’t!  I’m telling.”

“Snitch.”  Matching scowls.  “First rule:  you can’t call shotgun until we're just ready to leave.  Second rule:  whoever calls it first, gets it, no debate.”


Two hours later, racing toward the car, simultaneously shouting, “Shotgun!”

Husbands shake their heads.  One man got behind the wheel, the other held the door open to the back seat.  “Sorry ladies.  I called it first.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I took a day off work yesterday.  I needed a break from that bathroom.  Course, the boys don't understand the concept of sleeping in, or lounging about in the mornings.

At 7:15, apparently the doggy version of High Noon, Max--on one side--began his usual wake up call by snorting, rolling, and digging his nose into my back.  This spurred Ozzy--on my other side--to stretch, yawn, and slap me in the face with a paw.  Cripes.  For a brief moment I contemplated the likelihood of ever again having a man in my bed with these two around.  Another poke in the back, slap in the chin, followed by a wild tumble of "good mornings," belly rubs and the pure joy a dog finds in a new day...and I guess that works just fine for me.

Later, after walks and lunch, I decided to dink with my printer.  I might be sending out wedding invitations soon.  I love this machine.

I've had these two 8 x 10 frames for awhile, not sure what I wanted them for, but they were just too cool to pass up.  I thought I would put them in the bathroom.  No, not the bathroom-only-a-California-mother-could-love...the other one.  The normal one.  The colors in this room have evolved into shades of green; these frames are green too, though worn and faded, like old barn wood.

Yesterday I wanted to experiment, see what the new printer was capable of doing with my photos.  This is what I ended up with:  the hummingbird, and a spider web on the back fence covered in frost.  Each photo has some green (hummingbird body, pines behind the web) and turned out just right, for the frames and the bathroom.

Closer view, but still not as good as in person.  There aren't any windows in this room.  I have very bright lights, but it's not natural lighting so these shots are sort of darkish.

The printer did the most amazing job.  It shouldn't be any trouble to print out those invitations...


After framing and hanging the pictures, I got inspired--by necessity--to make some banana bread.  I really don't like bananas, except in a peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich, or banana bread.  I bought three bananas the other day then forgot about them.  Until yesterday afternoon.  You could find a ripe banana in the dark with a hundred other odors up your nose.  So, waste not, want not...I made the bread.

And it was/is delicious, especially toasted.  Oh yum.


Then I sat down and wrote Soul Deep.  The story had been niggling and itching in my mind all day.  Many times over the years I've wondered about soul mates: do they really exist; how do you find yours; what if you miss each other; are you supposed to be together in every incarnation?  There have been many movies and books on this theme, of course.  And no concrete answers.

The plot came out different than I thought.  As my stories often do.  I felt sorry for the woman, finding her man but unable to have him.  But that's just me.  Once she got over the shock and heartbreak, she seemed resigned to the hand fate had dealt, her spirit eased by his happiness.  Is that the ultimate sacrifice in true love?  Or was she able to do it because she knew someday they would be together again?


After the story was finally out of my head, I made a small pizza, popped the cap on an ice-cold Dos Equis, and sat down to watch this amazingly wonderful little piece of animation called The Illusionist.  It was a joint venture between France and Scotland in 2010, and won many awards.

Basically it's about a magician who has to move from town to town, country to country, finding places to perform.  In our modern, callous world, he is competing against rock stars; times are changing, people no longer care about illusion.  He goes to Scotland, befriends a young woman who thinks what he does is true magic, and they end up in Edinburgh.  The animation was so outstanding, I could name the streets--have walked those streets--the artwork was that good.

It was a poignant story, with barely a word of dialogue.  A visual film to just watch, enjoy, and feel sad for a man who's craft no longer matters to anyone but himself.  It was a brilliant little movie...and not just because most of it took place in my favorite city in the world.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Soul Deep

It was him.  She felt it, recognized it, deep inside where there were no lies, no secrets, just truth and awareness.  Lifting a trembling hand to her pounding heart, she focused on the man.  Across a short span of grass from where she stood frozen on the path that circled the lake,  he was pushing a small child in a swing, the happy sounds of the little girl’s laughter made him grin broadly.  The sight nearly took her down.

Moving off the path, she dropped abruptly onto a park bench, her mouth suddenly parched, as dry and dusty as lost hope.  He still wore his hair long; with each push of the swing, the dark waves moved gently around his shoulders, brushing against his jaws.  She watched him tuck a long tendril behind an ear, wondered if his eyes were still hazel with flecks of brown oak and golden amber.  Her dream memories.  Closing her eyes, blocking out the sight of him, she tried to breathe through the pain, though the urge to curl into herself and moan in anguish was nearly overwhelming.

She had been waiting her whole life—born waiting—for him.   The sacred place in her soul, his place, had remained unclaimed.  As she grew into adulthood, she realized in this time, this life, they might not find each other; perhaps there was other knowledge to explore, instead of each other.  So she had married, raised children, become a widow; for the most part, a good life.  Deep in the dark of night, she had still hoped, but he hadn’t come.  All she had were dream memories, of times gone, lives past.

And now, here he was, a man somewhere in his thirties.  A generation removed from hers.  Tears glittered as she opened her eyes.  The little girl looked enough like him to clearly be his daughter, then an attractive young woman, ice cream dripping off cones and over her fingers, came across the grass toward them.  “Help!” she laughed.  He pulled his daughter off the swing in a wild acrobatic move and they went to lend a hand.

Gripping the bench until her knuckles went white, the sound of the child’s delighted giggles pierced her heart like shards of glass.   What was the reason for this?  Why was she supposed to see this, when it was too late?  Reaching for calm, breathing deeply, she eventually was able to just watch the couple, feel their contentment, almost smile when the little girl turned, ice cream smeared all over her face.

Thoughtfully, she considered that maybe this wasn’t about her.  Maybe this was his time to learn, to understand, to do something--separate from their long and enduring past.  That possibility made her feel slightly better.  She gave herself a moment or two to savor, to yearn...for his arms tight around her, the hunger of his lips, the smoke of his voice whispering love into her ear.   

When they finished their ice creams and the little family began to walk away, she sighed, a deep and heartfelt sound, and slowly got to her feet.  Their time would come again.  Not in this life, but in another.  She walked toward home, each step making her feel lighter, easier.  After all the years of her life, she had finally found him.  And it was enough that he was happy.

The man abruptly stopped, pressed a hand to his chest, his heart racing.  “What’s wrong, honey?” his wife asked, concerned.  He turned, confused, looked behind him.  All he saw was an older woman, tall and fit, briskly walking away from them with sure and confident strides.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I just felt, for a second, that I was…”

“You were…what?”

“Lost."  He paused.  "Or forgetting something, missing something important.” 

As his wife frowned, trying to understand, he spared a last, quick look down the path, but the woman was gone.  Shaking his head, he lifted his daughter into his arms, and took his wife’s hand.  Smiling, he said, “Brain freeze from too much ice cream.   Let’s head home.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012


After last week's Great American Printer Toss of 2012, I jumped out of bed, eager to start the day.  I've been waiting for the new sales at Costco--beginning today--because they had a really cool printer at a super price and I'm obviously in the market.

The weather was really nice this morning, warm and sunny, so the boys and I had a great walk along the river, then it was off to Costco, fingers crossed the printer was as good in person as it looked on paper.  Hooray, it was!!  And I couldn't believe at what a bargain.

Though I wanted to dash home immediately and set it up, I had to first stop at Home Depot for some little pots of white paint to test the color on the gouged bathroom wall, plus I had an idea for fixing the sagging pole and/or replacing it with something that might work better.  The possible solution came to me out of a cloud of Lambrusco last night--and thank you, clever Italian wine makers, for befuddling my brain and allowing the surviving little gray cells to get creative.

I got a bit sidetracked at HD because they had the most glorious supply of new plants and I just couldn't resist getting a few.  Okay, more than a few, but whatever.  Once I finish the bathroom--hopefully this year--I can do some planting and digging, connecting with the earth, calming my soul, reveling in beauty and blossom.

Here's a photo of one, called Silene.  I'm not familiar with this plant, but it captivated me from across the parking lot, along with several other people, who like me, went straight to the display to see what it was.  I really like what it's called, too.  Can't you picture a woman with that name?  Silene.  In my mind though she isn't all pink and dainty like this...

When my day started, the weather was Spring at its best:  warm, with fluffy clouds, blue skies...

Two hours later, when we got home, Spring at its worst was rolling across the Valley in a series of thunderstorms, high winds, lashing rain.  Guess it's a good thing that my immediate chores are indoors today...

So, I unload the car, put all the plants outside in the back, then haul the printer up the stairs and begin to unpack.  I'm only vaguely nervous that my expectations will be dashed, and that's based on some research I did over the weekend on this particular model.  There were 98% five-star ratings, and 2% hate-it-with-a-passion ratings.  I pretty much figured that after the POS I joyfully destroyed, the new printer would have to be the worst thing ever made to even come close.

In under an hour, I had it hooked up, wireless going strong, printing like a dream, paper and photos.  What a's quiet, efficient and cool.  I can't wait to get back to the make-my-own postcards plan--after the bathroom is finished, of course.

And speaking of that.  I need to get to work; it's now Day Six of my one day project.  Though at least now I can dream of other things while I work: digging, planting, flowers; printing, postcards, a solid piece of equipment.  Nice...