Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's been quiet, huh?

I have had my first two weeks at my new job, and I love it. It's exhausting work but incredibly rewarding!

We may be moving in the next week, too, so my writing here will come to a standstill (again) until we get settled. I'll try to post some links on here to other blogs that are super brilliant, and I have promised a few people that I would introduce their writing here as well.

If the move doesn't happen, then I will be on here full-force. I will try to keep it pleasant. :)

Until the day comes where I return in a blaze of glory, here is a picture of a lizard in a sunbeam. (My camera is awesome.)

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Scenic Sunday - The Allegheny River

I had the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh, PA last year for a nursing student convention. The sunrise over the Allegheny River greeted us most mornings, however this first morning was quite beautiful.

Scenic Sunday

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Arrow - [Scriptic]

She watched herself in the mirror, the trepidation transforming her opalescent eyes into emerald jewels. She tried to relax into the back of the violet, satin-covered chair and allow the therapeutic strokes of the hairbrush to do their work. This part always took the longest, having her hair groomed by the silent servant who stood behind her. Her fine silver and white hair stretched down the back of the chair and laid silkily across the floor for four feet beyond.

Is there anything else you need, Highness? The soft, purring voice echoed in her mind, telepathically sent by the servant now standing on her right. "No, thank you. Please give me a few minutes to myself," the young woman answered quietly.

For several seconds, she stared at her reflection, excitement mixing with a rising sense that she just didn't want to be here. She doubted this moment very much - it was just not right. Nothing about this was right. How could anyone ever explain why her adored brother had vanished? She wasn't supposed to be here, he was. He was next in line, not her. He was strong and valiant and brave and confident. Not her, not her.

Her eyes changed to a deep, turbulent gray as they filled with tears, remembering as he looked back at her as he left that morning. "I left my favorite arrow back at the river," he whispered to her, grasping her small hands in his. Then he was gone. Later, as she went to meet him, she discovered that he had taken nothing with him. She felt in her heart that he had gone to Elsewhere, as he had always spoken of doing, that something in him was not ready for what faced him. A small surge of anger mixed with the sadness she felt - she wasn't ready either, how could he have done this to her?

The countryside had become chaos as the Coronation Celebration stalled. The young man had not returned from the river, and villagers were dispatched to search for him. The banners waved importantly in the warm breezes, waiting... waiting...

Still waiting...

Finally, it had to be announced late that evening that the Coronation would be canceled until further notice. There was an explosion of emotion, an uproar of fear and anxiety - could he have been taken? Would the countryside soon be under attack? Who were they to follow? Who would lead them?

Eyes settled on the petite girl clutching her brother's cape. Whispers flew between villagers and court alike, clogging the air with buzzing that grew ever louder.

"She's the only one left."
"It has to be her."
"She has it in her - she is strong and sure, yet quiet."
"She is too young."
"Her father taught her well."

A growing roar soon erupted from the colorful crowd gathered around the outer walls of the Coronation stage... "It shall be her!"

That same vocal outpouring met her now, as she made her way to the Coronation stage, accompanied by the silent servant who had been her confidante for the last several years. The servant stopped, and handed her a long, thin parcel, wrapped with beautiful gold that had been transformed into thin cloth. A quick squeeze of the hand, and the girl was alone on the edge of the stage. She gazed out at the throngs of people who she would lead, and then down at the parcel in her shaking hands. She slowly peeled back a small portion of the cloth, curious as to this odd gift and the odder timing.

It was the arrow.

Words were inscribed on the blindingly shiny silver: "I am not of this realm, but of Elsewhere. It was always meant to be you. You will always be my sister in my heart. I can only wish that you were my sister in blood."

She felt a sudden surge of exquisite love, almost painful. This love filled her with strength and a white light that shone through her skin and turned her dark eyes into a sparkling turquoise that matched the waters of the river her brother had loved so much.

She stepped forward into her new life, the arrow clasped in her hand.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Aspen gave me this prompt: In 1939, surrealist artist Salvador Dalí cancelled a press preview of his show at New York's World Fair "due to complexity of subconscious." Imagine someone has to cancel a very important event... for a very unusual reason..

I gave Ankita this prompt: You wake up one morning as a professional hockey player with a huge game that afternoon.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Scenic Sunday - The Buoy

Yes, another fishing photo. The thing floating in the water is a buoy marker so we wouldn't lose our place. This was one of my favorite moments fishing - the water was relatively calm, and the swells made the boat rock in a very meditative and relaxing way.
Scenic Sunday

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Redwoods: Part Two - [Master Class]

The boards creaked and moaned as the weight of the snow and the brittle, stabby needles seemed to push them further into the hillside. Heavy, it was all so heavy and unforgiving...

Maybe we’re going to disappear forever.

They wished they could shake off the damp much like they shook their branches freely in the misty sunshine filtering through their leaves. That was back home.

Maybe the sun doesn’t remember us.

Several planks were focused on the crumpled, browned pages of a forgotten hymnal huddled next to the base of the second pew from the back. Occasionally a page would whisper in a cold draft sneaking through the doorway.

Maybe He doesn’t remember us.

The old, wizened, mold-blackened board shook off that thought. As G-dless as this place now seemed, it was once filled with a community of parishioners who seemed as one. In the silent considerations of the once-beautiful chestnut boards, the voices raised in song illuminated even dark winter days. The notes were reminiscent of songbirds flying high above the redwood grove, sweetness echoing through branches and leaves of emerald and dewdrops.

Maybe He does.

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.”  The wise Redwood suddenly emblazoned this reverie through the dimness of the dark, damp building. It had been almost engraved in his wooden whirls years ago, first spoken sweetly through the lips of a tiny, dark-haired wisp of a girl. She had eyes the color of the Pacific Northwest ocean, deep blue and mysterious with secrets. They shone on that morning with heavenly love.

Maybe we have another life to live, my friends.

The memory of the little girl murmuring those empowering words beamed light around the large room, lifting spirits and encouraging more memories to be softly spoken between ceiling, walls and floor. They were giants, after all, not diminished by the sharp saws that formed them into their current shapes. They were lulled into a very long, peaceful sleep now filled with dreams and memories.

Maybe we will know our greatness again.

The door slammed open. Two people burst through the opening in whirl of snow and laughter. The sagging boards felt themselves lifted upright, suddenly of their former glory as she of the deep blue eyes and dark hair ran her hands over them. "This is the church I grew up in. This is what I wanted to show you. I haven't been able to get this place out of my mind over the years, and it's in my heart still. Thanks to my Grandmother, it's mine now. Can you imagine this as our home, my love?"

Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

Courtesy of
This week's Master Class

This week, we are ending with the prompt instead of starting with it! Carrie chose Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes, which ends with:

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

[Bible quote from Job 14:7 (ESV)]

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Friday, February 8, 2013

"A Separate Peace" - [Trifextra: Week Fifty-Four]

“I remember I turned around and looked at you, it was like I had all the time in the world. I thought I could reach out and get hold of you.” 

I flinched…


Can I even tell you how overjoyed I was to see this Trifextra challenge? Find a book that has spoken to you, and pull 33 words that have changed everything. A Separate Peace by John Knowles is that book for me. [Quote found on page 57.] I still have my old, tattered high-school copy that has pages falling out, and is highlighted and underlined and dog-eared to within an inch of its life. I love this book so much that I named my dog after one of the main characters, Phineas.

I miss him like you wouldn't believe. And yes, that is my laundry around his neck.

"This weekend we are venturing into uncharted territories once again.  This Trifextra isn't so much a writing challenge; it's more of a reading challenge.  We want you to scour through your favorite pieces of literature and give us the best 33 words you can find.
Some quick guidelines:

  • The writing you choose should not be your own.
  • The 33 words should be lifted directly from another source (i.e. don't take 33 random words from Macbeth and shake them into a poem of your own (though that would be an awesome idea for another challenge) and don't take a sentence from the beginning of a book and another from the end--keep the original order).
  • Credit your sources.
  • You can't use the same 33 words as anyone else in the linkz. Skim through before posting your own.  You can use the same author and even the same title, just not the exact same words."

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Words carry more weight than people think.

How many times have you heard these words on television or in passing conversation:

"Oh, my God. My computer is frickin' bipolar today."


"Dude, she's like TOTALLY schizo lately."


"Stop being all retarded!"

Nothing makes me rage more than the blatant disregard to the weight that these words carry. Nothing makes my hair stand on end more than the ignorance people show when throwing these words around like they're simple vocabulary. Yes, they're descriptive terms. However, only people who have actually lived with these words in their lives on a day-to-day basis really understand how descriptive they are - and it's no laughing matter.

About a year or so ago, a newcaster on a local television news program referred to some economic downfall as "bipolar". He just slipped it casually into his statement, but that word slapped me right across the face. I doubt the newcaster has personally seen what a bipolar diagnosis has done to someone, and to their family. I doubt they have witnessed the powerful manic episodes and crushing depressions. I really doubt they have spent a single day with someone who runs through thousands of dollars in a day and then cries themselves to sleep that night. I wonder if they know what mental illness can do to a career, to a family, to personal fortitude.  Try to picture living your life right now, except you are sidelined by crippling sadness - or perhaps you haven't slept in six days. Can you function in your life at this moment without having slept for a week?

What about the folks that call everything "retarded"? Have they spent their days with family members who suffer with being different, perhaps a bit slower in thought than "normal people"? I try to put myself in their shoes - not being able to comprehend something that seems to easy to others. How frustrating! Have these people who use these words had conversations with people who are so focused on one video game that it's as if they live their life in pixels? Perhaps they do live their lives that way - who are we to know, and who are we to use those words so lightly? 

I would also like to know if these word-slingers have spent time with people who suffer from schizophrenia. I try to imagine what it's like - worrying constantly that the world is out to get you...  hearing voices that nobody else can hear, and sometimes these voices will be telling you to hurt yourself or someone else. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and seeing shadows over your bed, and then the shadows follow you around all day, never leaving you alone? I have worked with many people with schizophrenia, and my heart breaks for them. I can't imagine walking by someone, fighting your own demons, and then hearing "it's being all schizo" oozing out of someone's mouth as if it's an everyday word.

I also get frustrated with hearing people throw the word "depression" around so casually. As someone who lived with depression for years, I know how heartrending and exhausting it is to have to wake up every day. While I am overjoyed that it's not such a stigma anymore, I still urge people to realize what they're saying out loud.

Perhaps we all need to take stock in our vocabularies, and especially in those times that we are speaking in public. There are plenty of words to use that aren't hurtful for those who might be suffering from these illnesses or afflictions. 

Maybe that person is finally having a good day, free of that weight for a few minutes - imagine what hearing those casual, unfeeling words could do.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

There's a Dorito on my carpet...

No, I don't know how it got there. I do know The Man was eating Doritos yesterday, but he's usually very good about making sure they either get in his tummy or in the trash. I think one of the cats has a secret Doritos fetish. Maybe Bubba got hungry late last night and brought out his secret stash - then he got distracted by one of the billions of cat toys they have, and voila... Dorito surprise.

He is guilty. GUILTY. (This doesn't even show half the toys.)
I write this with "Tom & Jerry" blasting in the background. A cold mug of coffee is on my right. Usually I wouldn't let my coffee get cold, but I forgot that I had sweetened the coffee, so I ended up sweetening it again, and while I love Splenda, a double-dose of Splenda is not loveable. [Side note: evidently "loveable" and "lovable" are both acceptable.]

I am also momentarily distracted by alerts from "Words With Friends" coming through thanks to my Twitter-plea asking people to play with me. I'm addicted, I admit it. I have something like 15 games going at the moment, and always get excited to see what words this game lets me get away with. I think I scored like 97 points for "JEES" one day, which left my chin on the floor and my opponent all, "WTF, woman!?" She did get me back with a word that made no sense at all, and scored about seven-thousand points in total, so I'll shut up now.

How come you always get so tired on days that you don't do a single thing? I was on the couch all day long yesterday. I was exhausted at the end of the night. That doesn't make sense. Then again, how can pillows and blankets be a bad thing?

Can you see how this blog is a "variety blog" now?

Did you guys go wish Kirsten a Happy Birthday yet over at her blog The Kir Corner? She asked us to share what our best birthday gifts were, and I won't ruin it for you here - she included it in her blog entry.

Also, have you met Tara's new furbaby, Asta? Read all about her at Thin Spiral Notebook.

If you still have some time, and need to know all about slutty pumpkins, The Sarcasm Goddess has you covered. Not literally, because that would involve more than leather and whips. Just read it.

LA should be a nurse. If only because she eats fast. Read her story about turning purple

And because I totally understand how cats can take over the entire universe, The Bloggess shares exactly how it is that she gets nothing done.

So, my friends, what happened this week or over the weekend that made you go, "HUH???"

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013


“Are you KIDDING me?”

“I don’t know how it happened. We used everything.”

“I don’t want it.”

“I thought you’d be happy.”

“I don’t want it. What part of that don’t you understand?”

Trifextra Week Fifty-Three: Write 33 words of a dialogue

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Friday, February 1, 2013

How do you stay sane? Healthy? Positive?

Yesterday, I had the best massage of my life. This morning, I woke up feeling like my muscles had been through a contortionist's first lesson. I guess that's a good thing?

The feeling of limberness and relaxation had me thinking - there is a lot of stress in our lives, and people have various ways of dealing with it. I took to Facebook and Twitter in order to find out how people stay sane, healthy and positive. The answers, while not overly surprising, were inspirational in themselves due to the passion hidden within simple words.

Callea, who is walking the Camino in Spain this May, and writing about it here, says, "I never think of myself as anything but sane, healthy and positive. The Law of Attraction does the rest. :)"

Two friends attribute their well-being to the support of the special men in their lives, while several more thank their family and friends for being a steadfast support system. Faith is brought into the equation as being particularly important to many. Self-realization is identified, with one contributor telling us it's okay to make mistakes - learning is growing.

Exercise and meditation are common themes, with hiking and yoga being favorites. On the opposite side, "bad foods" are a comfort for some (I can personally attest to chocolate being a not-so-secret gratification.) Coffee whilst venting to friends also comes into play as being a pleasant release of stress, as well as the indulgence in a glass of wine.

The importance of going out and leaving the stress behind is enormous, as well as realizing that we all need to forget ourselves for a moment. It's a huge task, sometimes, to figure in time for ourselves, but a quiet minute or two underneath foamy bubbles or surrounded by the heavy beat of loud music can afford us the chance to step outside the stress and find our Self in the midst of it all. Comic relief and laughter can soften the sharp edges of stressful lives and envelop us in pillow-soft joy.

We are also encouraged to forgive ourselves and others, to be curious about life and all it has to bring - to learn from everything. Love yourself as all you are, and don't be anything different.

Then there's my Dad, who says that a biscotti fixes everything. I tend to agree, Dad.

Of course, only homemade biscotti need apply.

I'd love to hear from you! What do you find helps you stay sane/healthy/positive?

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