Friday, February 28, 2014


Friday.  Such a lovely word.  I've had a peculiar week, slightly fraught, a bit convoluted and with one embarrassing incident that really wasn't my fault.  Honestly, it could have happened to anyone.

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Because I live on a mountain and have a septic system, I have to be careful what does down the drain. No grease, foreign objects, etc.  I was making dinner on Sunday for my sister and myself when I burned the ring finger on my right hand with a splash of grease I was trying to swoosh out of my frying pan with paper towels.  It hurt like a mother, though after copious amounts of cold water and some Aloe, I moved on.

Monday, after my sister left, I was home waiting for the dogs to get released from the vet's, and while showering, I had this sudden excruciating pain from the hot water. I hadn't been paying too much attention to the burn, what with getting the boys to the vet by 7:30, having breakfast with my sis then saying farewell to her, but wow, I was paying attention now!  My finger was swollen and bright red, burned from the bottom edge of my nail to the second knuckle with a most impressive blister. I won't go into the gory details of my first aid efforts. Needless to say--yet again--I've had to buy another extra-large box of Band-Aids.  And it still hurts...besides looking really gnarly.

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Ozzy--of the extracted tooth and the new mushy diet--has become a baby food addict. Apparently the beguiling flavors of turkey, chicken or beef from tiny little jars has convinced him I've been holding out on him all these years.  Just that little vacuum pop when I twist the lid and the seal breaks will bring him running like a crazy lunatic.  He laps up the stuff like it's Beluga caviar and he's a Russian prince.  I will be so doomed next week when he can go back to regular food.

His meds are starting to get to me.  I had to make a chart.  Seriously. He gets four pills, twice a day, though one pill, broken in half, has to be given one hour before he eats, but the pain medication is twice a day and has to be given with food; the antibiotics are once a day and only in the mornings. The other day I stood in the kitchen, looked at the whole array, and lost the plot for a minute. Hence the chart, which is working great as it doesn't require any deep thought.

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With all the rain and the unseasonably warm temps, the grass in my backyard has grown about a foot in the last few weeks.  With two wee dogs, tall grass doesn't work.  It's all about clearance for those manly bits.  So, against my better judgement, and the swamp-like condition of the lawn, I actually had to mow on Wednesday.  Mowing.  In February.

It wasn't easy, either.  I pretty much had to yank and pull, torque and rip to plow that machine through the wet soggy grass.  It might have been less violent if my mower was electric rather than a push mower.  I tried to tell myself I was getting some real exercise, though I don't usually swear and curse so much when I work out.  Still.  It looks okay and at least the boys don't disappear when they go out now.

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Grocery shopping yesterday.  I'm in the soup aisle, crouched down to see the stuff on the bottom shelf.  A woman pushes her cart toward me and says, "Hey, how's it going?"

I look up over my shoulder.  I don't know her, but I say, "Pretty good.  You?"

"How's Bob?  He get back from his trip?"

I stand up.  She's passing me now as she adds, "Are you guys still going to Florida?"

I frown, but as she goes by, I say, "Sorry, I don't know Bob.  You must have me confused--"

She turns and scowls at me like I'm some kind of stalker weirdo...and then I see the Bluetooth device peeking out from her ear.  Not too embarrassing.

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Last night, everything done, dinner and dogs and all, I get a nice glass of wine and sit down to read a book I've got on my tablet.  Huh.  The battery is low, lower than it was an hour earlier when I loaded the book.  I plug it into the charger and begin reading.  In less than five minutes I get a message that says my battery is nearly dead and I need to charge it.  WTF?  I get a different charger.  My tablet dies anyway.

I call the tech people.  They are so sorry (yeah, right) but the battery is dead.  As in permanently nuked.  And no, in case you're wondering, there aren't any repair options.  I ask if I can just buy a new battery. The guy tries not to laugh, but I can hear it in his voice when he says no.  So, bottom line?  I can buy a reconstituted/used replacement, or I can buy a new tablet.

Jury is still out on my decision.

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My photography has taken a hit the last few weeks.  I've barely touched my camera, other than the few shots I took for the Tuesday post.  This interim period in the seasons--sort of like the doldrums when I was sailing in the South Pacific--is pretty boring and listless. Some buds, some blooms, a bit of growth (like my blasted lawn), but overall not much to photograph, or post to my Shot of the Week. At this rate, maybe I should change the title to Shot of the Month.

Yesterday I spent a little time going through my favorite shots from the past year, with the idea that I would enter the Photo NW exhibit again this May.  I knew I was cutting it close because last year the application had to be in by March 1st.  So, I find eight photos with possibilities--out of the many I took this year--and this morning after walking the boys, I went to the Arts Center to pick up the form and pay my entry fee.


The Art Director has retired and a whole new crew is in place.  They've changed some things, added some things, and perhaps even improved some things.  Unfortunately for me however, in their zeal, they also altered the dates for submitting photos for the exhibit. Last Friday was the deadline.

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So, it's been a week...of charts and broken tablets, yard work and deadlines.  I'm just really glad it's Friday.  I've got an ice cold Dos Equis in the fridge, a garlic/spinach pizza calling my name, and the weekend ahead.

That works for me...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Boys and Baby Food

It seems my poor wee Ozzy is falling apart way sooner than a little dog should. First, six months ago whilst doing the pre-op exam for a routine teeth cleaning, the vet discovered a heart condition.  The cleaning had to be postponed until Ozzy's new meds could get his heart regulated enough for the anesthesia required for the procedure.  Now yesterday--because of the wait--one of his teeth had to be extracted.  With difficulty, requiring stitches.

Today, after the morning walk, I had to go to the store and buy baby food because he can't eat anything solid for a week.  (And let me just interject something here:  Over a dollar for a tiny jar of baby grub??  Holy crap.  How do people actually feed their babies? No wonder the moms I know make their own).  I'm hoping Mr Picky will eat this stuff, though if he doesn't, Max will.  There's nothing like being homeless and living rough to give a guy some perspective: any food is fine with him.

On top of the baby food, I also have to give Oz two separate meds--one for pain, the other antibiotics--besides the four he's taking every day for his heart issues. I feel like I'm running a doggy triage unit at the moment with prescription bottles and syringes and stitches and gummy food all over the kitchen.

Max, of course, just rolls with whatever happens.  No issues with his teeth cleaning, quick recovery after the anesthesia, healthy dinner and a nice long nap last night.  He's back to normal as if nothing out of the ordinary occurred yesterday.  I don't know if it's his age (only six), his life on the streets, or he was just born a totally laid-back dude. Maybe all of the above.

Whatever. I'm just thankful I only have to handle one invalid at a time...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tea and Teeth

My sister, as I've mentioned before, never arrives empty-handed. This time she brought me a great mug/strainer combo and a tin of tea. I've always loved the Asian way of drinking from a cup with no handles, though they are generally smaller in size than the average American mug. Leave it to my sister to find the perfect combo...

The mug, strainer and steeping lid...

She also brought this: 500 Mile Chai. According to the story on the back of the tin, when long-haul truck drivers in India would stop at the small dhabas (rest areas) along the highway, they always asked for really strong, sweet chai to help them drive for "another 500 miles."

I wish you could smell this blend, dear readers.  It's intoxicating, and exotic and oh so strong, just how I like my tea. Hints of cinnamon, cardamon, ginger and clove...


The brewed tea comes out the color of true chai, called the Golden Glow. It tastes wonderful and those long-haul drivers had it right: This is some seriously strong stuff.

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This morning at the crack of dawn, I had to take the boys down the mountain to the vet's for their annual teeth cleaning. After checking them in--with much whining and shivering and don't leave us here looks of anguish--my sister and I went to one of the local restaurants and had breakfast. It was a nice way to finish off the weekend as she left shortly afterward to head home.

Well. Nice for us, though I'm pretty sure the dogs wouldn't agree...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Magpie Tales 208...Stones

 Poet's Sleep, 1989, by Chang Houg Ahn

                                                               Wandering in the empty
                                                                  dark of lost thoughts
                                                               Bleached bones echo
                                                                  with demented glee

                                                               Words fall like hard
                                                                  and bitter stones
                                                               As the poet roams a labyrinth
                                                                  of discarded dreams

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Magpie Tales 208...I don't know why the prompt this week seemed so creepy to me.  Must be the skulls lurking outside the window.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sparkles and Kisses

The house was so sparkling clean by the time my sister arrived yesterday, I was nearly blinded by the light.  She brought the sun with her and the beams across my polished furniture would have made even my mother proud--and considering she's the white-gloved authority on cleanliness, all my hard work over the week was worth it.  Relatively speaking.  I still hate housework.

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After dinner last night, we sat down with a good bottle of Lambrusco and did the sister thing: talk, talk, talk.  You would think we didn't chat on the phone every week or so.  Ah's a girl thing.

My sister was a nanny to two little girls, both from birth until recently.  She still does things with them and often has them overnight, but her duties (so to speak) are over now they're both in school.  The oldest is 13 and in 8th grade.  She had her first kiss last week and couldn't wait to tell my sister.  It was a quick peck in the stairwell at school because obviously they're too young to actually date.

When my sister finished the story, we compared notes about our own first kisses and lo and behold, we were also in 8th grade.  She was at summer camp and I was at my 8th grade graduation event.  Which brought back a ton of memories...

My first true crush was on a boy named Tommy Keller.  He was so shy, we never spoke a word to each other the whole school year, though we wrote notes nearly every day.  Tommy had a paper route that covered my neighborhood.  I used to sit on the front porch reading, though really, I just waited to catch a glimpse of him.  One day as he drove by on his bike, he tossed this little tin box in my direction.  I didn't know what to think, but I jumped off the porch and scooped it up.  Inside was a piece of paper.  With instructions.  I would write a note, then leave it and the tin under a certain rock in the garden across the street.  He would pick it up whilst on his route, write his own note and leave it for me the next day.

It was the most thrilling, exciting thing ever.  We shared our secrets and dreams and troubles and wishes.  And we did it for the entire school year...without speaking a word.  By the time graduation was approaching, we had made a pact to meet behind the gym during the dance after the ceremony.  I was a nervous wreck for weeks...I could hardly breathe just thinking about it.

We made eye contact during the dance then he left the gym and went out the back door.  My cue.  I could barely hear the music over my pounding heart.  I pushed on the bar, the door opened, and I stepped out into the gloaming of an early June evening.  Tommy stared at me, I stared at him.  Neither of us knew quite what to do.  Then he stepped toward me, put his hands on my shoulders, and leaned in. 

Holy crap, just remembering that exquisite, torturous anticipation makes my heart race.

His lips were surprisingly soft, the kiss tentative, unsure...and over in the blink of an eye.  We looked at each other for a long moment, then he smiled.  I can still see that sweet-boy smile in my mind as I write this.  Before we could figure out what to do next, one of the teachers came out the door for a smoke and chased us back inside.

We kept up our tin box correspondence for awhile, but by mid-Summer Tommy's family moved away, somewhere back East.  In his last note to me he promised to write.  I'm still waiting.

I think a first kiss is monumental and forever carved in a young girl's heart.  In my case, perhaps doubly so: I shared a rite of passage with a boy without speaking a single word and yet he knew me like no one else with every tiny piece of paper, folded into a little tin box.

And though you've no doubt kissed many women in your life, Tommy Keller...I was the first.  I wonder if you ever think of that night...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weather and Work

I'm not sure how it got to be Tuesday.  I'm beginning to wonder if I live in a parallel universe where time has no meaning...

On Saturday I spent part of the day contemplating a safe place to hide when either the roof blew off or one of the birch trees in my front yard ended up in the living room. It's been storm after storm, with the added thrill of very high winds.  I spent an hour or so in the early evening without electricity, but since I grew up reading far into the night under the covers with a flashlight, it was no big deal to light some candles and dig out the high beam Eveready.  And actually, it was pretty cozy though I had a moment or two when the wind gusts actually shook the house where I thought about maybe moving myself and the dogs to the bathtub.

Sunday morning I had a great walk with the dogs, the air fresh and clean.  It turned out to be just a lull in the endless procession of storms however and we barely made it home before the deluge returned.  So far there's been over 6" of rain, the rivers are cresting their banks, highways are flooded, people have been evacuated...and it just keeps coming down.  Except for the human factor, I really don't mind.  I like the turbulence and the chaos of nature, the dark gloom of the clouds, the rain pounding on the roof.

I talked to the BFF as usual, then watched the Olympics, read my book, and forgot to blog. Another day slipped from my grasp, though I had the great good fortune to read not one, but two most excellent books between the raging storms and the threat of imminent catastrophe over the long weekend.

Yesterday, I began the Great Housecleaning Extravaganza because my sister is coming on Friday. I hate house work.  So, so much.  Today I talked to my sister and practically the first thing she said was: "And don't clean the house! Just leave things as they are."  I laughed.  Hard.  Then I told her she was my excuse to actually do the cleaning.  I keep things neat and tidy, but I don't fret or freak out if there's a cobweb in the corner or a speck of lint on the carpet.

So, I had to make a list.  A very long list, as it turned out--and just what I deserve for being a housekeeping procrastinator. I've divided the loathsome wretched chores into daily tasks. Yesterday it was the bathrooms, washing the dog blankets/beds, and watering/feeding the 14 plants.  Today it was vacuuming the whole bloody house including two flights of stairs and the laundry room, sweeping the garage, cleaning the oven, and washing the kitchen floor. It makes me tired to think of Wednesday and Thursday, though really, the hardest parts are done now...mostly.

And honestly, once everything is sparkling clean, I will feel really good.  I will tell myself that I need to get a regime going where I do these chores weekly.  And I will mean it...until next week when I find something--anything--infinitely more exciting, rewarding, stimulating, meaningful than housework.

Maybe I should just have my sister come more often...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Love Day !!

Wishing you all a day filled with love.  And if, like me, you're flying solo this Valentine's Day...well, at least we get to eat every chocolate in the box.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Birds and Ballrooms

Off the grid for the past couple of days because I'm still enamored with the Olympics. Though, with the conclusion of figure skating and a few other favorite sports, my unwavering focus is pretty much over for another four years.

Yesterday, whilst the rain lashed, the wind howled and I watched the competitions, I finished the first of 25 origami strands for the 1000 Cranes.  This is such a soothing project, I'm really enjoying the exercise.

I've divided things up into three work sections.  One day I'll do the initial folding, then another day I'll finish them.  Surprisingly, the hardest part is stringing these little buggers birds onto the silk thread. They don't want to stack up in perfect symmetry like I expected--or as I've seen in photos. Although that could have something to do with the person making them: no two are exactly alike.

The initial folds...then the finished birds...and finally, the first strand.  Now, only 24 to go!

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Last night I watched the Russian skaters, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, do their stunning short program (today they did the long and got the gold).  I was totally mesmerized by their dance, and yes, I mean dance.  I forgot I was watching ice skating. All I could see was the glide, the synchronicity of movement, the stunning way two people could waltz together.  It made me think of days long gone, and the beauty of old Russia. This performance was swoon-worthy.  Absolutely romantically fabulously swoon-worthy, and they got the highest score ever in Pairs Skating.

[The YouTube video I really wanted wouldn't upload, though here's another one
 that might work instead.  I think there's no question why they won.]

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Do you ever wonder if you've been born in the wrong time and place?  Every now and then, I do.  I sometimes think industry and technology have just plain ruined things.  How cool to ride in a carriage rather than a car; have respect and manners still be part of normal life; recognize that the simple things in life are what truly matter.

Course, there really is no such thing as the "good old days" you know.  There's an exhibit in York (England) called the Jorvik Viking Centre that illustrates that perfectly.  This particular exhibit takes you on a journey through 2,000 years of British history...the smells, the people, the general sense of life as it was once lived.  And believe me when I say, I will never, ever forget the stench of the 14th century, or the eye-watering burn of the Industrial Age.

How they could recreate the smells of animals and refuse and sweat and smoke was just amazing...and gagging.  You rode through the 2,000 year timeline in a car-like contraption, each century unfolding to your ears and nose and sight.  It's a great exhibit, as is the medieval town of York, one of my favorite places in Britain.

So, not all was sunshine and roses in our past.

But, oh, how much would I love to waltz across a ballroom with a handsome, dashing man...just once.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fever and Flow

I've been swept away with Olympic fever the past few days.  It started with the opening ceremonies on Friday night and hasn't let up.

I love the Winter Olympics...the figure skating, snowboarding, hockey, skiing...just all of it.  I laughed at the totally casual and laid-back attitude of Sage Kotsenburg when he won the first gold in snowboarding; the elegance of Charlie White as he skated so beautifully with his partner Meryl Davis; the speed and skill of the American hockey women; the brutal strength it took for Switzerland's Dario Cologna to win the Men's Skiathlon.

And it's just early days!  Woo hoo...

I'm also slightly dazed from lack of sleep.  With the time difference between the West Coast and Sochi, Russia, I find myself watching some competitions at 3:00 in the morning instead of sleeping.  Ah well, it's only once every four years after all and I often have insomnia anyway.

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The Pacific NW has taken a severe weather hit since Thursday.  In a scary, global warming way, right now in my part of the world, it's 72* and I'm barefoot, wearing a light tee shirt, and my doors and windows are open like a Summer's day, but eight miles north, as if a line has been drawn in the sand, the storm system rages through two states and into Canada.

My sister lives in Washington.  While I'm sweating in unprecedented heat, this is what it looked like at her place...

After my brother-in-law emailed me this shot, the snow continued to pile up.  Whole sections of I-5, the major conduit that runs north/south from Canada to Mexico, was closed.  Then the ice came.  Portland was cloaked in a silver thaw--which is a peculiar term because, hey, it's not thawing, it's encasing.  Go figure.

It's very strange to have such a clear divide between hot and cold, frost and sunburn.  If I climbed on my roof and got out a telescope, I could probably see across the sun-filled valley to the edge of the snow drifts. Because it's not gradual, it's a weather wall.  Which is really interesting on one hand, though also worrying on the other.  Our poor beleaguered planet.

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Well, dear readers, since solving the world's problems is beyond my abilities, I'm heading back to Russia.  At least for a little while I can cheer for the indomitable spirit of the athletes, rather than dwell on doom and gloom...

Thursday, February 6, 2014


It's storming right now with rain and snow and ice and fog.  I am in heaven with the dark and gloom of an extreme weather day.  And though I'm sure there's some personality quirk in there to explain my preference for this kind of awesomely crap day, I don't even care to delve.

All I know?  This is the first day in nearly a month that I don't have somewhere to go, something to do, someone to be.  It means I'm make a cup of tea, eat a cookie or two, and sit down in the world's best reading chair, a dog on each side snoring the afternoon away while I read.

To me, there's nothing better than being warm and toasty inside while storms rage around the house outside.  Especially with the perfect special effects to accompany my book about eerie, creepy, foggy London in 1887...

So, tea is done steeping now, the dogs are ready to cuddle, and I have a murder mystery to solve. Sigh. A perfect moment in time...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


It's not often I feel vulnerable, or have that edgy-scared sensation that most women have felt at some point. That's not to say guys can't be scared or feel defenseless, because really, anyone can. It's just a more common feeling with those of the female persuasion.

By the time you reach a certain stage/level/age in life, bad stuff has happened, you've been tested, and if you're fortunate enough to still be standing, then you can pretty much handle things you never thought possible when younger and untried.


Yesterday I had a confrontation with one of the asswipes further along the road from my house.  He and his banjo-twanging tribe of misfits moved into the neighborhood a few years back and have been the scourge of the mountain ever since.  I won't go into the myriad problems they have caused, or the many ways they have dented the joys of living in this mountain community.  Apparently it's too hard for them to understand the concept of civilization.  These are the kind of folks who think the rules--any rules--don't apply to them.

So, this saga begins on Sunday afternoon, when the quiet is shattered by a gang of kids that come tearing down the road on scooters, bikes, hot wheel contraptions and skateboards. None of those items are allowed on the tiny, winding mountain road, and for good reason: Come around one of the hairpin curves...and've just mowed down a kid.

[I should mention at this point that there are no children up here except at the tribe house. There's no place to play with steep drop-offs on both sides of the road and most folks have enough sense to want their children to have a safe environment, not one that is life-threateningly dangerous.]

Next to my property is a green belt, then a small lot owned by a couple who live in Arizona and want to preserve the pristine wilderness by not disturbing it with construction or razing the old-growth white oaks.  The kids--like a plague of locusts--descend on this lot, start tearing the bark off the trees, breaking the branches off the junipers, knocking over the bench that overlooks the view...and all at the high-pitched wail of several banshees released from Hell.

I try to ignore things, try to find my train of thought in the story I'm writing, try desperately not to have a brain meltdown as I grit my teeth and wonder if it's too early in the day for whiskey.  I end up putting on my headphones whilst I ponder if I should be doing something about these hellions as they destroy private property.  They finally go away when it gets dark.  At no time did I see or hear an adult in the hours these wretched children rampaged.

Yesterday. I've been busy most of the day, but managed to finish my story and am just getting ready to post it, when--frigging hell and damnation--here they come again.  Along with everything else, it appears going to school isn't something the tribe family is interested in doing either.

I let the chaos ensue for an hour or so, then I just got fed up.  I went out on the front deck and told them they were on private property and they needed to go home and play in their own yard.  They stared, and grumbled, and a couple of them wanted to argue though I just went back in the house and hoped they would go away. I felt better having said something, as opposed to letting them continue running amok.

And amazingly, they actually left!  I was thrilled.  Peace and quiet settled over my little part of the mountain.  I took a nice deep breath and began to proof my short story before posting.

Clomp, clomp, clomp. Ozzy starts barking, I look out the front windows.  The tribe father is at my door.  Insanely, my first thought was that he'd come to apologize for the kids and their unruly and disruptive behavior.  Yeah, I know...what planet do I live on...????

I open the door and this bloody bastard demands to know why I've yelled at his kids--who, according to him, can be on anybody's property that they feel like because, hey, they're just kids and can do what they please.  When he's done railing, I tell him what they've done over on the lot, how they've been unsupervised for hours at a time, how two of them were nearly killed by cars and/or falling over the embankment, and it is private property, not a theme park.

Now, here's the thing, which becomes apparent within two minutes of talking to this moron.  This is a guy who thinks no matter what, he's in the right.  But worse, he's never going to be told off by a...wait for it...woman.  Even with a case of beer balanced on my head, he's not going to listen to a word I say.

We're talking through my screen door at this point.  I've just told him anything could be happening to his kids and he wouldn't even know it, that he has a responsibility to keep them safe.  He leans into the screen and sneers, "Don't you ever tell my kids what to do again."  I look at him in total disbelief. Seriously?  He's threatening me?  On my own porch?

"You've got to be kidding me," I say, staring into his mean, beady little eyes.

Then he reached for the handle on the screen door.  Which fortunately is locked, but suddenly, I get that edgy-scared feeling, a sensation I totally, completely hate. Vulnerability washes over me. I'm alone in my house, on a frigging mountain, with a lunatic hillbilly hissing through a thin sheet of mesh, all manly threats and intimidation.

When he realizes the screen door is locked, he repeats the sentence, this time with an "or else" implied on the end of his threat.  I stare at him for a second, my stomach twisting, then I say, "Get off my porch," and slammed the door in his face.  He stood there for a minute, tried the door handle again, then stomped off the porch.

I called Bunny, one of my neighbors, just to let someone know that if murder was in my future, someone should know who was culpable.  Then I stewed.  Thought of 42 different things I could have/should have said.  I reviewed my options, thought about the police, tried to meditate to calm my mind, fought tears of frustration at being bullied.

After long hours tossing and turning in the night, and some lengthy arguments with myself whilst walking the boys this morning, I've regained most of my equilibrium.  Life goes on, and in the whole scheme of things, this was just a disagreeable moment in my journey.

Though if I suddenly vanish, dear readers, you'll know where to look.  Just follow the sound of banjo picking...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bits and Bobs...

Just the other day--Friday's post actually--I mentioned that I hadn't seen a sunset in a very long time.  How cool then that last night the clouds finally broke apart, the fog and mist lifted, and I saw this...

It was beautiful and filled the sky with much-needed splendor.  I was so very glad to see it.

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Walking across the living room this morning, I glanced out the see this perfect little sliver of green in all the wintery bareness of the valley.  The color was bright and lush and just captivated me.  I decided to post it on the photo blog.

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And on the writerly front, I posted the latest short story over at Scribbles.  A short, to my mind, leaves much to the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks for themselves.  No more so than this little tale of luck gone awry.  The ending came to me first and I wrote the rest around it.  Funny how that works it backwards thinking, or forward?

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That's about it.  Busy day, now it's time for wine and dinner and a good book.

Oh...and just one more thing:  GO SEAHAWKS!!