Monthly Archives: October 2014

Hello Autumn

The cloak of autumn dressed our heads with swiftly moving deep gray clouds, the kind skimming the skies so close to us that it was tempting to reach up and see if they would stream through the fingers like water. From time to time they would congregate and spit out a little water, just enough to make a driver turn on the windshield wipers for a couple swipes before the blades started squealing across dry glass. 

Then the wind shifted.

The clouds collected themselves together then, banging into one another, blending together, joining forces. It was tempting to pick out a movie for later and I could smell the popcorn, but there was one more stop to make (while gas is still ridiculously cheap; who knows how long that will last) and I truly wanted to be home before the waterworks started in earnest.

The acacia trees have started to change into fall finery; feathery grey-green leaves are tinged along the edges with hints of scarlet and pumpkin and ripple in the wind, then dance on a gust. I barely had time to notice, but I did.

Soon I was settled in my worn recliner, kicked back and relaxed when the epicenter of light and noise burst overhead. Fat raindrops beat against the window, sheets of water blew down the street, chasing the water gushing along the curbs. 

The storms came in waves. Strobes, noise, downpours then silence. My hubby brought me tea, and I started reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate Dicamillo and for the afternoon all the new horrors of the world outside my door melted down the street with the torrents.

Tomorrow they will find me again, but I will have new, well-watered strength.

Coming Attractions? Photo by Kim Falk in Maine

 

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I Dare You

“So which do you believe? The damsel-in-distress story or the ugly ogre story.”

“One would think you would have outgrown this sort of nonsense by now. I don’t believe either.”

“What do you believe then?”

“I believe it is an ugly unused old tower that used to be part of something grand. Now it is…nothing. Nothing, really.”

“And yet you ride with me as night falls so that we can slip up on it under cloak of darkness.”

“We could turn about and journey in the daylight, which would make more sense.”

“So you’re scared.”

“Would I be out here with you now if I were scared?”

“Yes. Yes you would.  You would be riding beside me all calm and collected trying to figure out how to make it my idea that we don’t do this tonight.”

“You don’t say.”

“Honestly, Robert, you drive me bats. Why do I even have a friend like you?”

“Why? We ask ourselves that same question repeatedly. If it’s the only thing we have in common…maybe that’s why. Anyway, what do you expect to find at the tower?”

“Something. Not nothing.”

“Very deep.”

“Courage. An education.”

“Education? What sort of education might that be, pray tell?”

“Think of the possibilities. Slipping up on the fortess in deep darkness, not even a twig snapping underfoot….”

“Oh, I didn’t know that was the plan. I was just going to run up to it and yell, ‘Anyone here?’ And see what happens.”

“I see. Such an adventurous soul. I hope the damsel in distress drops an anvil on your head from the window and squishes you flatter than a crepe.”

 —————————

I didn’t get it exactly right, but this was the prompt…

 

Ack!!

So many things to create! So little time! Deadlines everywhere.

And I signed up to take a class and FORGOT!!  I watched two days worth of video and then completely dropped the ball. Completely. ACK!

But people first, right? My son and daughter-in-law leave soon for a 5-year anniversary trip to Italy. Wow! I think for my 5-year anniversary I probably tripped over my own two feet. I am thrilled for them, but I am so going to miss them.

I have other friends leaving this week for Australia. I have been making everyone Bon Voyage gifts.  Thankfully I managed to keep those projects in that sieve that is my brain.

I am simply going crazy.

Still have one more thing on the list, besides catch up on class, and then I will be back on journal prompts and NaNo prep.

If not feel free to remind me.

Photo by Christa Sawyer

 

Blech

Don’t have much more to add today.  Everything I touched went wrong.  All I really wanted to do was play games. And distractions gobbled up way too much precious time, even if I wouldn’t have gotten a whole lot done with it.

Why do I hear thunder????

I didn’t watch the news all day long.  Rather enjoyed that except for the fact that I don’t know why there is thunder!!!

Photo by Manu Mohan

Gonna go check the weather.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Statement as of 11:22 PM CDT on October 05, 2014

…A Severe Thunderstorm Warning remains in effect until 1145 PM CDT for northwestern McClain…southwestern Oklahoma…northeastern Grady…northwestern Cleveland and southeastern Canadian counties…

At 1122 PM CDT…severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from near Oklahoma City to 3 miles south of Bethany to 3 miles north of Mustang…moving southeast at 45 mph.

Hazard…70 mph wind gusts and nickel size hail.

Source…trained weather spotters.

Impact…expect considerable tree damage. Damage is likely to Mobile homes…roofs and outbuildings.

Locations impacted include… Oklahoma City…western Norman…Moore…Midwest City…del City… Newcastle…Yukon…Bethany…Mustang…Warr Acres…the Village… Tuttle…Nichols Hills…Valley Brook…Tinker Air Force Base… Forest Park…Woodlawn Park and Smith Village.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Lat…Lon 3539 9735 3528 9751 3524 9772 3551 9780 3560 9755 time…Mot…loc 0422z 335deg 37kt 3551 9753 3546 9764 3544 9772

Hail…0.88in wind…70mph

Kurtz

I just discovered I am way too close to a window. Bye!

Day 4 – Past & Future

Today’s Journaling Prompt

from Shannon Hernandez

Carolyn,
Choose a photo from your childhood and study it closely. What is going on in the foreground? The background? Who is in the picture and how are they related and interacting? Describe the setting and the furnishings. Make the picture come alive with your words!

—————–

Okay so it is now 11:35 PM and who am I kidding. I will not find a pic before the clock strikes midnight, much less be able to study and describe it.  So I am here saving the prompt for a future post because I really would like to do it.  I just let the day get away from me.

Along those lines I would like to recommend a book I have been reading. 

I have especially enjoyed the chapter on Taming Your Tools. Subtitle could be: How to Not Let Email and Social Media Gobble Up Your Life.  Lots of good tips and ideas as well as a summary of key points at the end of each chapter. Easy read and well worth it.

 

 

Day 3 – Attention-Giving

Today’s Journaling Prompt:

from Michael Pearlman

Carolyn,

According to Law of Attraction, we attract to our lives whatever we give our attention to, whether wanted and/or unwanted. Describe in one sentence something that is uncomfortable and unwanted for you. Then give 5 minutes to writing about how you would like things to be.

—————————–

Photo by Amy Burton

I first have to clarify that I know nothing about the Law of Attraction and I am not sure I would agree with it.  Our attention must be followed with action. And without focus, it is easy to lose sight of what we need to be doing. 

Ack! Not the topic! Focus! 

The clutter in my house makes me uncomfortable and is unwanted.

I would love for each and every room in my house to contain only what should be there in limited quantity enough for everything to have a home. That’s what I have wanted for years and years and years. The living room is that way since we put in new carpet and had to clear EVERYTHING out of the room to have it done.

I am an intelligent woman. I have made these sort of changes before. There was a time when my car looked like it was where I lived. Because is spent more time in it than I did my apartment. Books, clothes, papers, magazines, etc.,etc., etc. If I was going to fill my car with passengers, I had to spend way too much time emptying it out and cleaning first. Not to mention the time I spent looking for things under the seats and in the trunk.

One day I decided I didn’t want to do that any more. I cleaned out my car and kept it that way. Still do. For the most part.

Even before that, when I was a kid, probably a teenager or close to it, I found it easier to drape clothes carefully at the foot of my bed than hang them up or fold them and put them in a dresser. Then one day I would realize that my footboard was a mountain of clothes and almost everything I owned needed ironing. Not washing, mind you. The dirty clothes went to the laundry hamper and Mom washed them and hanged them on hangers.

Well one day I decided that if I changed clothes in the closet it was easier to hang them up rather than drape them on the bed.

The days of my clothing mountain footboard were over.

So how do I translate that into an entire house?

  • recognize the issue
  • remind myself of the goal until it is accomplished
  • make the changes necessary
  • maintain it

That’s what I did before. Time to make it happen again. And again. And again.

Tell Me Your Story

So today’s journal prompt was an interview with my body. For real?  My body had nothing to say.  Or at least was shy about talking if it were to an unspecified number of people (as in other than me) so I am doing something else here today.

Some characters came to visit me in two previous posts, Friends and Rendezvous.

Fiona and Arthur wanted to talk today, even though I tried to persuade them to wait until November when the word count would be legal. Whether or not these passages even make it into the story remains to be seen, as it is still evolving. But it never hurts to get to know them.

To “get” the opening, it will help to read the previous posts.

——————————————-

Arthur meticulously cleaned the gravy off of his plate with the last piece of dinner roll.  It made Fiona want to scream.  She had exercised just about every bit of patience she possessed. Yet  if she rushed him, she would likely get nothing.

After he carefully arranged his utensils on the clean plate, he began without preamble:

“Pearl loved plums and red and the violin. She laughed a lot. But she never reminded me of her mother, though I longed for her to do so. She simply existed on the earth as one-of-a-kind, a unique Pearl.” He paused.

For a long time.

He wanted to stop.  Fiona knew before he said, “Are you sure you just want to sit there and listen to me ramble. I mean, it seems hardly fair for me to go on and on about my family and know nothing about yours.”

“What do you want to know?” she asked, leaning back in her chair.  It seemed wise to lull him into comfort. At least this felt like progress. It wasn’t mind-numbing waiting.

“Where are you from? What do your parents do?” Arthur asked.

“I was born in Connecticut. But I have lived in Florida, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Maine and now here in Checotah, Oklahoma.”

“For goodness sake! What are your parents? Gypsies? Oh, that’s not politically correct these days.  I’m sorry.  Have you ever lived in one place for more than a couple years? How old are you anyway?”

“I am fourteen. And barely, to answer the other question. My parents are chemical engineers specializing in water quality and water quality protection. They go where there are issues to consult with locals and come up with solutions. Or prevention strategies.”

“Having trouble with Grand Lake, are we?”

“I wouldn’t know. They don’t discuss their work with me. Or much else, for that matter.”

“Ah, now you sound more like a teenager. There’s the anger.”

“Anger? I guess if facts are the same as anger, you are spot on. I know and accept the facts. I think it makes me a realistic, not necessarily angry.”

“I suppose that’s a good point. You seem to have a level head and an older soul. Older than fourteen.”

“Interesting. What kind of soul do you have?”

“Oh. Well. Turn-about is fair play, is it?” Arthur paused to think, slowly stirring sugar into the coffee that Bea had just refilled. “Pie? I recommend the lemon.”

“Sure.”

Photo by Marina Garcia

Photo by Marina Garcia

He motioned Bea back and ordered an additional piece of pie. They waited in silence–again!–for the two-minute forever it took Bea to deliver two plates.  He dug in immediately. Probably because the lemon was pungent, and the meringue a mile high and so very light, perfectly browned.

Fiona expected that he would “forget” her question. She picked at her pie and waited. Again.

“Tired,” he said, finally. “I have a tired soul.”

“Is that from age? Or events?”

“Both. And I think my soul is feeling a little bit of panic as well.”

“Because of me?”

“Because of you. Because of exhuming old bones.  I may need to ease into this Pearl thing, Fiona. I haven’t talked about her with anyone remotely compassionate since she died.”

Shock silenced her for a few moments.

“She died? When? How?”

Fiona watched him swallow hard, and his hands trembled as they balled up one edge of his napkin.

“Give me time. Please. I would rather you hear it from me than from the gossip you will surely hear sooner or later. Make it later.”

The urgency in his voice stirred her heart and her curiosity.

“I promise I will hear your story first.” She wanted to reach out and put her hand on his by way of reassurance, but thought better of it.

They finished their pie in silence.

She had blocked them out earlier, but now Fiona’s attention was drawn to the table of her classmates behind Arthur. They would look up until she met someone’s gaze, then lean in together and whisper, pretending to be occupied with their business until it was safe to stare again.  Someone would make some comment. No doubt snide. Everyone would laugh. The football captain caught her eye once and gave her a bold stare until she decided to concentrate on her oh-so-flaky pie crust. All of a sudden she felt self-conscious and a little bit scared.

“Do we have to meet here?” she finally asked Arthur.

“I can feel their stares with my back turned,” he replied. “Are you having second thoughts?”

“No. No, I said I wanted to hear you out and I do. I just think it would be easier for us both if we didn’t have an audience.”

“I always have an audience,” he said. He wiped his mouth and folded his napkin and placed it beside his empty pie plate. “I could eat, then meet you at the library, I suppose.”

“Not at your house?”

“Are you insane, Fiona? Don’t you know what kind of world you live in? You barely know me. How could that possibly be a safe thing to do? Don’t your parents–” He pulled himself up short, and pressed his lips together to block the flow of words.

“Would you would hurt me?”

“Of course I wouldn’t, but the fact is that I could say that and still be a serial killer. No. We will meet at the library after I have my meal.”

“Fine.” She felt oddly hurt that he would take such a tone with her. If barely knowing him prohibited her from going to his home, then surely barely knowing her should prohibit him from chastising her like a parent. Or a grandparent.

Fiona gathered her notebook and stuffed it in her backpack. She pulled a five from the side pocket and tossed it on the table. “See you tomorrow,” she said, as she stood, feeling uneasy about being rude to him and at the same time feeling he’d earned it.

“Tomorrow,” he said.

He sounded tired.