Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Redwoods

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Now it is just an abandoned church on the edge of a dark town, shadowed by overgrown, sarcastic pines that cover our roof in layers of needles. The needles are in varying shades of brown, some brittle and sharp, poking out of weathered crevices in our boards. The weight of it all - the needles, the dimness, the forgotten-ness of it all makes us want to crumble.

We miss the sounds of children playing, their squeaking shoes adding to the chaos of shrill squeals of joy as a ball made its way into the basket with a swish. Whistles blew, parents cheered, the applause thundered around our walls in acoustic delight. We even miss the quiet of church services, murmurs of prayers echoing together as feathered hats and too-tight neckties bowed in honor to their God. It was still community – many spirits coming together as one to celebrate, for a winning basketball game or answered prayers.

Now we only know silence. And the creaking of our age.

Many of us don’t remember where we came from. I do. It seems to be one of the memories that the years can’t extinguish. I remember the repose of the forest. The soundlessness there was different than here. Here, there are regrets of times lost and the fear of the future. Back “home”, we had promise. We had peace. We had the strength of who we are… who we were. The still tranquility of our own community spoke volumes in itself.

Our leaves were soft, not the spiky missiles of the aromatic needles that covered our roof. Those of us who were lucky enough to be vertical felt for our brothers and sisters who withstood the pricks of falling nature. We had light back home. We had the sun beaming through our tallest limbs with radiance and warmth. Here, there are musky shadows. The trees outside block any chance of warmth, and I can feel my surface becoming alive with mold. The beautiful chestnut coloring is quickly becoming overgrown by blackness - much like the hopes of my comrades underneath and overhead, as well as alongside me.

Until we are rediscovered, we only have our whispered memories. 

Master Class
Angela won this week's challenge, and chose Margret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, whose opening sentence is:

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Journey Continues...

Over at Just Be Enough, we have our first linky! In preparation for this year, we were asked to come up with three words to define our path over the next year. I chose Journey, Discovery, Self as my personal mantra. In this week's link-up, we share how we're doing as far as being accountable for furthering our goals.

This year has been a wild one. I'm ending one job and beginning another. The day after I ended my nursing assistant position, I came down with The Evyl Cold that has been affecting many people throughout the city. Not The Evyl Flu, just its cousin, Cold. It lasted four days. Now that I'm into my fifth day of "vacation", I have some bits of clarity to focus on how my little cobblestoned path is faring.

January 7th, I received the phone call that would change my life. "We would like you to be part of our team," is what the sweet, angelic voice on the other line said in my ear. Therefore, my Journey began anew. My Self tacked on one more bit of Happy, and I continue on.

February 3rd will be my first day on the books as a RN in the hospital system I work for. While I don't actually start on the floor until February 12th, I will no longer be "just a nursing assistant" and will move up in the ranks. (Side note: there is no such thing as "just a nursing assistant". They are a huge backbone to our units and I will always understand the hard work and effort put forth by these wonderful people.)

Throughout this next year, I will be Discovering. I will be continuously learning about my new role, and renewing my knowledge on this different aspect of patient care. Five semesters of fast, hard learning about medications and assessments will flow back, yet I am still determined to provide the hands-on, gentle, patient care that I did as an assistant. My patients will always feel as if I have all the time in the world for them, and if something happens that I don't, they will be told why. Communication is a huge aspect to successful care.

There are other aspects of my life in which I need to reboot my Journey... however, right now I am choosing to focus on being successful as a new Registered Nurse on my unit. The other parts will fit in as I become accustomed to a new schedule and crew.

It's a good year to be my Self.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scenic Sunday - Sunrise

Getting up at OMG-thirty in the morning for nursing school provided many opportunities to see the sun rise. This was one of the many beautiful beginnings to the day.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


[Note: The following is fiction.]

Morphine makes me weightless, airborne. Vicodin makes me mellow and fluffy. Meth makes me intense and focused. Even the nitrous oxide at the dentist’s office makes me feel all floaty. I dig that ringing in my ears.

Everything is hollow, hollow. My idiot boss found me with my momma’s pills in the back cooler. I got canned. I have no money. My blood feels like it’s on fire now.  I need. Need, need, need.

I need it, dammit. I don’t know what I need, but I need it.

My legs aren’t attached right now. I need something in me to make my legs attached. People say “upper”, “downer”… it’s all the same. It’s all an upper when you have it. 

That kid keeps screaming over there. Even these pills don’t drown anything out. No matter how many I take, they don’t work. Momma’s gonna flip the hell out when she finds out I got fired. Again. Even these crappy jobs – I can’t keep ‘em. I only work for money to buy my next hit. Maybe I can call Grandma and ask her for my birthday money early. She’s gettin’ old. Maybe she won’t remember she just mailed me some cash.

My head itches. My knees itch. My skin is crawling. Squirming.  I want to run my body over those things in the driveways that’ll pop your tires if you run over ‘em wrong. 

I wish this would stop. I don’t even remember what the hell I did to get all needy and stuff. Oh, yeah, I went to that stupid party last year. That chick with the orange hair put something on my tongue. It was nasty, bitter and sweet all at once. It felt like I’d shoved a spoon of powdered sugar in my mouth. I don’t remember much more than that – just all the lights were brighter than normal and…

I don’t even know how long it’s been since I had more than these pills. Even the pills are gone, now.
My friend isn’t home. I know he always forgets to lock the back door, so I sneak in and go upstairs. I know his momma uses some stuff – she’s always got red eyes when I go over. I knock over a bunch of stuff on accident lookin’ through the bathroom cabinet. The smell of cheap perfume hits me in the face and I want to puke.

I don’t know what this stuff is – the pills aren’t like anything I’ve seen and I don’t know the name. They’re pills, though, and in the orange bottle, anything is possible. I take about six of them because they’re tiny.

Tiny ain’t gonna hurt me none. I pop in a couple more and chew ‘em up. The bitter goodness makes my cheeks numb. Before I even get down the stairs, I’m feelin’ good. These are gooooodddd… I say the word out loud because I feel my lips gettin’ all fat.

I almost prance outside, but my legs feel like stumps, like those big ol’ tree stumps we dug out of our yard last summer when it was eight-hundred degrees outside. Life is sweet, oh yes it is.

That car is comin’ awful fast…

Master Class
 Roxanne’s choice of opening sentence for this week’s class promises to generate some more creative and off-the-wall writing. She chose Kelle Groom’s book I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl whose opening line is: "Morphine makes me weightless, airborne."

[Disclaimer: I have no personal knowledge of heavy drug use, other than what I have seen in the medical field as well as the behaviors of friends in years past.]

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Monday, January 21, 2013


The ICU was in chaos – the Code Blue called seconds before had turned a normally placid environment into bright lights, pounding feet, shrill alarms and strained voices struggling to remain calm. Twelve people packed into one tiny, curtained room left only milliseconds to obtain a glance of what was occurring within.

Orders came fast and furious as the team performed individual duties. One nurse straddled the tiny body in the bed, sweat dripping off her brow as she tried to get the little heart beating again, while her own was breaking. Another nurse prepared the paddles, ready to administer pure electricity to the pale, cyanotic skin peeking through the generic green gown. One more was forcing oxygen into the exhausted lungs. White coats and purple gloves flapped around the room, giving the action a serpentine, writhing quality.

Yet another nurse, the nurse for this patient, tried to deliver life-saving medications through the IV in the delicate arm she was holding. The syringe wouldn’t budge; the IV was blocked. “BITCH!!!” she screamed inwardly. Her mind raced as she thought why it would be blocked – she had given the blood thinners through the line. She had flushed the line frequently. Why wasn’t it working!?

She snapped her head up to call for another IV kit… and her eyes met those of the wan, exhausted red-headed woman who was clinging to the dark-haired man next to her. Tears flowed unobstructed down the faces of the couple as they watched their child being put through the horrific agony of resuscitation.

The nurse felt renewed energy flow through her. With a heartfelt prayer, she inserted a fresh needle into the lifeless, freckled arm draped over her knee. The saline solution flushed cleanly through the new line, as did the chemicals that were made to jar the heart into a regular rhythm.

They all waited, many sets of watery eyes trained on the little being in the bed who loved pink and lace and guinea pigs.


Word Count: 330

Trifecta: Week Sixty-One

This week's word is:

BITCH (noun)

1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant
Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us. 

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"Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe..."

Without sounding like I'm a representative for Green Peace (not that there's anything wrong with that), I'm worried about the future of this world and our environment. When we had our last major power outage, it panicked people - no ice! no electricity! no iPhones! It was pure chaos for hours and hours.

I know I'm not amazing with certain things; I drive a 1996 Ford Explorer that gets about 17 miles to the gallon if I'm lucky. Most of my food is not organic. I run the heat and air-conditioning more than I should. I hose off the back patio on a regular basis so my cat can have clean concrete to roll around on.

However, we do recycle everything we can. It doesn't matter if we get the redemption value or not, if it can be recycled, I bring it in. I try to take shorter showers. When I'm out in nature, I respect the land I'm on and refuse to leave trash behind, or leave any trace I was there.

I hear about these shows about logging and pointless hunting and overpopulation, and it makes my skin crawl. When is it going to be enough? (Please understand when I say "pointless hunting" I mean people who go out and shoot things for the hell of it, not for consumption or use, but just to kill.)

My main concern is that there is so much consumption of everything. It doesn't magically regenerate. We have such a beautiful Earth.

[Prompt by NaBloPoMo for January]

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Party - [Master Class]

Today I'm five. There are a lot of other kids running around the family room, and they look like they're having fun. I hide behind my mother's long, blue dress and peep around the cloth bunched in my fist. The thumb of my other hand is firmly lodged in my mouth.



My mother turns to go into the kitchen. She gently pushes me towards my classmates, encouraging me to be a part of the crowd. I am not like them. I want to go hide in my room, tucked into the wooden cube, reading. I don't like running and screaming. I like to be quiet, alone with my thoughts, or with the characters in the books I read. I feel old. I don't feel five.

I wish I could have the bouncing, blonde pigtails. I wish I could laugh and play so easily with others.

I don't know why I'm different.

My mother walks slowly out of the kitchen, candles burning brightly on the cake she's carrying. She sings, and the other children sing. I am uncomfortable. I am the center of attention, and I hurriedly blow out the candles. Within seconds, eyes are focused on colorful frosting and melting ice cream, and I am soon left within my imagination again.

Not even minutes pass, it seems, before the house is filled with big people and little people, and the combined energy makes me want to hide underneath the piano cover. I am seated in a big circle, and all the eyes are looking at me again as I open the prettily wrapped gifts. I try to go as fast as I can, and I try to remember to put on a sweet smile as I thank everyone for their books and toys and sweater sets. I want so much to please everyone.

I am not myself at these times.

I try to become the bouncing, blonde girl on the inside. This makes it easier.

At last, the big people take the little people and leave. The house is quiet again. The energy slowly dissipates, and I feel calmer. I help my mother clean up the piles of shiny wrapping paper and big bows. I sneak another taste of the sugary frosting before she turns around. I will later stick my tongue out in the mirror and giggle at the blueness that I see.

I am alone again.

I am me again.

Master Class
Marian from Runaway Sentence chose this week's prompt. Emma Donoghue's "Room" .

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Scenic Sunday - Fishing Time

One of my very favorite things to do is to go fishing with my Dad. This was taken in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Tuppy Chronicles - Part One

A couple of years ago, The Man told me that his coworker had lost a food storage container to a work thief. Inspired, I immediately assembled Mr. Tuppy B. Ware. Thanks to a particularly giggly session between The Man, his sister and me, Tuppy soon had many adventures. Sadly, Tuppy has been shelved since then, but his glistening green eyes have let me know that the time has come to see more of the world.

I would like to introduce you to Tuppy, and will continue his story... in pictures.

I woke up here... I was in a very nice dish rack in a warm room, and suddenly it went black. I keep hearing someone referring to a "Mr. Finger" but am not sure of what that means.
I don't know what day this is. At least they let me out of the cage and are feeding me well. I'm a little startled by the position of the fork, though. Why did they stab the salad like that?
I have weird captors. They took me on a tour of the Whaley House, which is super haunted. Like I'm not already scared enough? Plus the whole fork thing???
I guess they felt kind of bad after the ghostie stuff, because we went to the candy store afterwards. I don't know how I'm supposed to eat caramel with no teeth.
This is something they call a mar-gar-ita. It's a fun word to say after you've had a couple of these.
Seriously? That's just mean. I have zero balance right now after that mar-gar-ita.
After they picked me up off the ground, we went to a store. I guess this is their way of showing me where Tuppies come from. I'm pretty sure the birds and bees would suffocate in there!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where's my cape!?

Today will be a five-fer on the NaBloPoMo January challenge. Why? Because everything I want to say about all five questions is all mashed together and to try to separate them would be like untangling the Christmas lights if they got put into a giant hamster ball and rolled throughout the Grand Canyon.

[Side note: my cat just plopped herself down in a sunbeam and is looking at me like I’m her slave. Which, of course, I am.]

The theme for this particular day is – go ahead and laugh – me as a superhero.

I suppose every superhero has one or more hidden powers. I was watching “X-Men” last night, and thought it would be cool to be able to morph into any person I choose, like Mystique does. Being able to read minds is a breach of privacy, I think, but so is fooling someone into thinking you’re someone else. They tell you all their secrets, then you reveal yourself as someone else, then the crap hits the fan, and it's a huge big mess.

Flying like Superman would also be neat, except you might have those people who are late for work and always asking you for a ride. And flying wouldn’t really be hidden. Not many people are seen zooming over Interstate 5. And Spiderman has to deal with sticky spiderwebs all the time. I am not a graceful person and would probably get fired from my job because I trapped myself on the ceiling or something.

I loved Storm, who could whip up tornadoes and lightning bolts, and had gorgeous white hair and glowing eyes. I guess I would pick her powers, because you could rage as much as you had to, and it also could give me the chance to help out people who are struck by drought. Bring on the rain, yo. Also, it’s perfect, because I stormchase. Not like these people on television, but I have been known to go find thunderstorms just because I like them. I also made my way to the beach when I saw the line-up of waterspouts we had out here in 2007. (Yes. I was crazy. However, it was right after my grandmother had died and I was an emotional mess.)

If I had to choose between extreme strength or extreme speed, I would choose extreme speed. Why is this? Because I have never been able to run faster than a turtle who has gotten into the peyote. When playing softball, I would have to hit a triple to make it to first base. If vampires or zombies attack, you all are fine, because I’m going to be a tasty meal.

So because this whole month is about energy, of course a superhero needs a form of kryptonite. Rude neighbors are my kryptonite. If noise and chaos intrudes on my personal, private, awesome space, I get cranky. Cranky superheroes aren’t so super. I could always use my superior storm powers to fill the walls with storm-whipped sea foam and maybe it would hush it up a bit.

That leads us to what else I would do to save the world when I wake up tomorrow morning with these fabulous powers. I think our country has seen enough storms and flooding. Perfectly placed wind could help dry out those places, and other places could get rain. Lightning could start small fires for those who are in the middle of nowhere with no heat. Also, people could nestle down in the covers and read and have hot chocolate, and that makes the world calmer. Calm = less fighting = awesome.

So now I have to come up with a name for myself. “Storm” is taken. “Elektra” is taken. “Volt” is a staffing agency.

I just went into and did a search for “electricity”:

Main Entry:
electricity [ih-lek-tris-i-tee, ee-lek-] Show IPA/ɪ lɛkˈtrɪs ɪ ti, ˌi lɛk-/ Show Spelled
Part of Speech:
energized matter, power
AC, DC, current, electromagneticism, electron, galvanism, heat, hot stuff, ignition, juice*, light, magneticism, service, spark, tension, utilities, voltage

Um, sure.

I know none of you were expecting a decapitated hippie nun in a kimono with tentacles and flippers. Also, playing with construction paper and gluesticks is awesome.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Scenic Sunday - Panama City

This ghostly, ethereal picture taken in Panama City, Panama is one of my favorites from my trip there last year. Some of my fellow travelers and I thought it fit perfectly into the scenes from The Hunger Games, which everyone was reading on the trip.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Two Special Words - [Trifextra 50]

The heaviness vanished
That had taken over
Leaving her dampened and diminished

The darkness dissipated
In a split second

Light filled her eyes
The room
Her heart

With two beautiful words
“You’re hired.”

"This weekend we're asking for 33 words about a new beginning."

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