Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Writing Hood: She Runs

Write on Edge used two fabulous photos as writing prompts for Red Writing Hood this week.  I chose this pic for Maggie to run with, literally.

If this is your first time here or you haven't stopped in on a day that I'm sharing a little fiction, Maggie is one of four friends, along with Cassie, Adrianna, and Lauren.

If you are interested in more of their story, you can read about Cassie in R.S.V.P. & Kick Ass Shoes and Maggie in Getting There & Home, and all four women in Time to Tell.

This takes place in the year before Maggie returns to her friends.

Source: via Karen on Pinterest

She Runs

Maggie perched on the edge of the bed, bent over, and laced up her running shoes.

"Margaret, come back to bed." Jack always used her whole name when he knew he was losing.

Glancing over her shoulder, her body pleaded with her to climb back in, but her mind was in control now. As intoxicating, blissfully mind-numbing as Jack's touch was, she needed air.

She made a break for it and slipped out of the room, leaving Jack chuckling to himself.

As the doorman opened the hotel's door, Maggie gasped at the cool wet air.  Zipping her vest up, she pushed off and ran into the saturated early morning.  Globes of light dotted the street and reflected on the wet concrete below.  She was thankful the night's street lamps were still on to light her way.

She didn't want to think where she was going; only wanted to push off, propel forward, and never look back.  She had been running like this for months, too many months.  This weekend, she was supposed to be meeting her friends at the beach house.

How the hell am I going to explain Jack?!

She had accepted the first assignment that came her way after Grams died.  She had taken care of Grams' immediate affairs, but everything else she left behind.  She left the house she had grown up in, while her grandmother raised her, their beloved beach house that they spent every chance they could get in, and her friends.

They would have been right there for her, if she'd asked.  When Lauren and Cassie had to go back to New York for work, Adrianna stayed on.  Adrianna would have held her up, if Maggie would have let her.

But, when the assignment came in, she snatched it up, catching the first flight to London and on to Afghanistan.  Maggie's favorite subjects to shoot were people affected by events outside of their control, whether those events were caused by man or environment.  She could see such truth through her camera's lens and what always amazed her was the spark of hope she saw in peoples' eyes.

Before Grams, she loved that spark like it was universal among humanity, showing how connected everyone is, regardless of circumstance.  After Grams, she was hoping to hold on to the spark like a lifeline to keep her moving forward.

She definitely found her lifeline; she just didn't know she would find it in another photographer, let alone an old colleague, Jack. 

In her head, she could hear Jack calling her back to the room and somewhere out in the mist, she could hear her friends calling, asking her to come home.  Not ready yet to answer either call, she ran faster, listening only to the slight splash as her feet landed on the wet ground and the squish of her shoes as she pushed off again.  This weekend would come too fast, too soon.  Maggie ran.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who will tell your story?

This post was inspired by the book Cleopatra: A Life where author, Stacy Schiff digs into the history books to share with us who the true Cleopatra was.

I'm a new contributor for the book club From Left to Write and you can read other members posts inspired by this same book on book club day, September 27 at From Left to Write.

Oprah says we all have a story.  And since you're here, living and breathing...  You are living, right?  You are breathing, right?  I haven't heard of any recent zombie attacks, so I think it's safe to assume that you are, at a minimum, living and breathing as you read this.

Back to Oprah and that story she says we all have.  What do you think?  I think we do.  Sometimes it can easily get buried under the mundane and sometimes it lives amidst fireworks blazing through the sky.  But, it's there.  Do you see it?

I didn't, for a long time.  But, I'm beginning to.  I know I have a gasping tale to tell in regards to the near fatal car accident I was in fifteen years ago.  But, that's not really my story, just a tale woven within it; one, that altered my story, but does not comprise it in its entirety.

Your story starts from the day you are born.  Each event, each simple day, every soul you encounter shapes the next curve, bump, plateau, or hill you journey through.  Mere moments effect the kind of glasses you see your world through.

This journey, this adventure, this life, your life is a story; it's your story.  Do you document it?  Do you write it down?  Do you scrapbook it?  Capture it on fabric, through the stitches of a quilt?  Color it through the pages of an art journal?  Snap both the precious and simple snippets of time with your camera?

If you aren't documenting your own story, who will?

Remember the childhood game of Telephone?  When the first person whispered 'something' in the ear next to them and as it was passed down the line through all the others, it became altered by each person passing it on.  And when the last person repeated that 'something' aloud, it was almost always different than what the first person had originally said.  It's the same thing with your personal tale, filled with thousands of 'somethings'.

Your tale is unique.  You have something wonderful to share, that only you can.  If others are left to tell of your journey, it can only include the Who, What, Where, and When.  Sure, it can infer the Why, but you can offer so much more to that story, to your story.

So, write it down, blog it, scrapbook it, stitch it to textiles, paint it, journal it, capture it with a click, click, click.  It's your tale to tell.

And do it soon, do it often, do it before those zombies attack!

I personally purchased Cleopatra: A Life for my library. The book links are affiliate links.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Good Geek

Kirk may have set his sights on the second star to the right with a thousand trysts along the way, but I’m on a quest to find one molecular being to journey with.

Looking for intelligence, multi-dimensional thinking, a love of puzzles, games, adventure, science, a spark for fantasy, and a crew for annual voyages to Comic-Con and Disneyland.

Do Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Farscape, Dr. Who, Whedon, Hawking, D&D, and EVE Online speak your language?  Do you skip the mall and click your way to New Egg, Think Geek, and Gamestop when holiday shopping?  I do!

If you embrace SciFi, rather than Syfy, I have new shiny game pads just waiting to be broken in.  Come find a cosmic connection, set your coordinates and byte me at:

Write on Edge has asked us to write a personal ad, looking for love this week.  None of the characters I'm working with would place such an ad, so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce you to a new one: Corie!

While I do love me a good geek and my science fiction, I'm not a full fledged one (hence, fictional character). Though I do know enough to take this further into the Land o' Geek, I didn't want to loose the non-geeks and/or pop-geeks.  But, I had fun with it!  Think Corrie can make a cosmic connection?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keep Calm and Write On

Oh no, I think I may have disappeared into that Fantasy Land that I was wishing for!  Actually, that cold my wee girl had came and visited me when it was nearly done with her.  And, of course, it took up residence in my face, nose & throat the week I was getting ready for my inlaws' visit to celebrate my kidlet's birthday.  (Yes, Murphy and I are grande friends! ;>)

So, now it's time to play catch up!  And I can't think of a better way to get started than to show you a little something I won from the uber fabulous, Mandy of In Mandyland, during her bloggiversary celebration week (yes, it was awhile ago...told you I was playing catch up!).

Keep Calm and Write On

I picked up an inexpensive frame at Michael's and currently, it stares at me from across my living room, reminding me to click clack across the keyboard.  And though I haven't blogged since that cold started squatting in my head, I have been writing.  So this Etsy print is doing its job!

When you have a moment and your favorite cuppa, click your way over to Fictional Mandyland to read some of her juicy Hidden Hollow series or read how she corrupts the blueberry or read a piece that's on my rather long list of favorite Mandy posts.

While you're getting your proper does o' Mandy, follow her on Twitter too...she's witty, funny, and the Queen of the Hashtag.  She is so Worth the Click and I'm sure you'll love your time there.  Tell her I said hello! :>

Let's BEE Friends

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fantasy Land

I let my mind wander a bit into Fantasy Land here and some of the things that could possibly change in that magical land.

~ A snooze button for time itself:  to get in more sleep, more playtime, more time to soak up kidlet cuteness, to make a beautiful day last longer.

~ An unlimited travel budget, not because I have a long list of exotic locales on my list that I want to travel to (I leave that to my brother), rather so that I can visit my peeps easily, to return with my husband to Vancouver, take him to New Orleans, and stay at the coast often.

~ And the power of Mary Poppins, to sing a song and have everything magically find it's proper home lickety split!

~ Rainbows coloring the sky at least once a week.

~ Ooo...speaking of the skies, personal weather dials would be pretty nifty.  Some could keep summer around all year.  Me?  I'd opt for crisp, sunny, Autumn!

~ And up in those gorgeous, crisp, sunny Autumn skies, how about some superpowers in this magical Fantasy Land o' changes?  Flying, soaring through those skies would be darn smile worthy.

~ Since we're talking superpowers here, how about magically knowing winning lottery numbers?!  I guess that would take care of the unlimited travel budget. ;>

~ Oh wait!  I've got it!  Skip that unlimited travel budget and the winning lottery numbers, if I could teleport myself anywhere, none of that would be necessary!

I think I'll end there before I escape into Fantasy Land any longer.  I don't have a way to stop time and despite my never ending search for her, I still don't know how to track down Mary Poppins to sing my house into order.

So, I'm off to clean for company later this week and take care of my wee girl, who's home sick from school.  It's an uber exciting day here, I know!

But, that's okay.  This week is bracketed by a crazy wonderful weekend and another fun one coming up!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Time to get Loud, Football is Back!

Are you ready for some Football?!?!  We are!  The 2011 football season starts today!

You'll hear me & my Princess cheering for my Boys in Blue, the Seattle Seahawks, when they take the field on Sunday.  And since we're playing against them, I'm likely to be quite vocal about those San Francisco 49ers...much to my husband's, son's, @PACJenn's, Deb's, and The Mama Monkey's dismay. ;> 

Hubs & I also play Fantasy Football with good friends.  The draft is done, waivers & trades are happening, and we're going to see how it rolls this first week.  Thankfully, we managed to end up with Aaron Rodgers for our team's quarterback!

Growing up, I wasn't much of a football fan.  I admit it.  It was on the tube most Sundays as my Dad watched and at the time, it was my little brother who was the die hard Seahawk fan.  I was in the marching band in high school and rode those cold bleacher benches wearing a red, black, and white polyester uniform, complete with flair kick pleat pants on Friday nights for every Home game.

I was around it, I could follow the bare basics of a game, and I didn't not like it.  I simply wasn't a screamin', hollerin', gotta watch fan back then.

When I started dating my now husband, I learned quite quickly that if I wanted to enjoy football season with him, I better learn to like it.  No matter how it's spun, faking interest is boring and I don't like being bored.

So, like most things that I go looking for a way to boil up some interest in, I went in search of information.  I signed up for newsletters from and and I started reading and learning and it didn't take long before I started loving the game.

And having kidlets who light up when it's football season has made being football fans a family affair.  We look forward to our time together, to watching the games together, to cooking for the games together, to cheering together, to doing The {touchdown} Dance together.  For us, football means treasured time together.  And I'm thankful for every minute of it.

Are you a football fan?  Who's your favorite team?  Or do you cheer for another sport altogether?  Or would you rather be the one out in the field or on the court, with the ball, playing?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sushi Making Makes Family Fun

Sushi!  There's a whole lotta sushi lovers in this house.  Add us up, 1 Me + 1 Husband + 1 Rockin' Awesome Boy + 1 Princess = Option 1: Enjoy Sushi Less Often or Option 2: A Wallet Busting Bill.

None of us particularly like either solution.  So, we came up with Option 3: Make Your Own Sushi Night!

Salmon & Egg Sushi

I first got out the sushi cookbooks at the beginning of the summer when the kidlets started asking for it more and more and more, hoping to inspire them for some sushi making.  But, Hubs & I had never made it before, either.

So, for our first time taking the sushi making for a spin, we decided to go with more run of the mill ingredients.  And after a quick look-see at a YouTube video on rolling technique (I'd link ya up here, but Hubs pulled up the video & closed it before I could copy & paste, but an easy peasy search on there will work), we started rolling.

Salmon Tempura & Salmon Skin Sushi

All rolls had an assortment of veggies (carrot, cucumber, red & purple bell peppers) plus a protein.  We rolled some up with egg, baked salmon, (mock, aka GFCF) tempura salmon, and salmon skin.

Sushi Veggies

I had never had purple bell peppers before, but I've been seeing them everywhere lately, so I picked up a small one for sushi night.  We were surprised to see that it's white on the inside!

Sushi Making Night was worth far more than those pennies and dollars we saved by making it rather than going out.  The kidlets helped prep the food, they practiced their chopstick skills, and when looking around the table, it was easy to see that we were all smiling.

Such a fun evening, one that we will definitely do again!  Do you like sushi?  What's your favorite?  Have you made it at home or a party before?

* The only adjustments we had to make to keep the meal gluten & casein free was to make our own 'tempura' batter & use a gluten free Tamari Soy Sauce, which we keep on hand for Asian cooking.

Tickled Pink at 504 Main Tidy Mom
MomTrends, stop by and see some photos from her summer vacation at Lake Como in Italy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Walk on the Wild Side

"You're wiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllddddddddddddd!" she calls out, throwing her head back, her eyes smiling even brighter than the one on her face.

Oh wait. Whoops falling into an '80s movie memory. It's such an easy slope to slip 'n slide. Wild animals. That's why we're here.

@NorthWestMommy from The Good Life has us listing up all things wild and animal like.  And I'm listing along!

Sometimes the animal just needs a tasty treat.

Sometimes they just need a cuddle.

Sometimes it's about location, location, location.

Sometimes you give a hand some paint & the wild develops on the page.

Sometimes the wild animal and the wild child meet, greet, and merge.

Sometimes that wild owl turns on the charm and tops the cake.

Sometimes even owls fall from grace, get all angry bird, and meet the snack platter, looking all tasty.

Sometimes the wild migrates to the classroom and lands its victims in detention.  Don't you forget about me, don't don't don't don't.... Whoops, on that '80s movie slip 'n slide again!  I've got it under control now, I swear.

Sometimes the wild world reminds us it's all about the love.

Source: via Karen on Pinterest

Sometimes the animal world, wild or domesticated, reminds us it really is okay to trust.

Sometimes a walk on the wild side can bring you right back home.

It's Labor Day here in the States and all of us are home today, from school, from work, from shuttling kidlets back and forth.

We began our day with some cuddles and a whole lotta giggles.  Hubs whipped up breakfast for all of us and we've enjoyed a nice leisurely morning.  It's been a fantastic three day weekend here.  What have you been up to?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Time to Tell

Grabbing four plates from the vintage hodgepodge collection in the worn wooden cupboards, Maggie drifted through dreamlike memories of treasure hunting at yard sales with Grams while she set the table.

Lauren brought over the food she’d been creating; hot steam with enticing aromas wafted up, filling the room.  Speeding to the other end of the beach house, Cassie almost ran Adrianna over; along with the drinks she was making for all of them.

Looking in the mirror, Cassie was near tears.  The morning sickness had decreased dramatically over the last week.  But, one deep breath swirling in what would normally be delicious scents as she rose from the couch she had been resting on and she couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough.

Telling these women that she was pregnant wasn’t something she was quite ready to do.  Cassie felt the squeeze of her reality changing.  She knew they would support her; of that, she had absolutely no doubt.  Unfortunately, knowing that didn’t make the confession any easier.

Facing that reality, she cleaned up and joined her friends at the table, just as Adrianna set a martini down in front of her.

“What’s up, Cass?” Adrianna asked, but all six of their eyes were layered with questions.

“My stomach’s off a bit.”

Lauren was next, “Hmm…you don’t look sick. But, you don’t exactly look right either.  I thought you were just tired, but…”

“Cassandra.  Tell us.”  Adrianna wavered between concerned and annoyed.  Their friendship had been through the grinder this last year.  Maggie had all but disappeared and Cassie had been quieter than usual for the last few months.

She momentarily closed her eyes, resolving herself not to cry.  Opening them, she blurted it out.

“I’m pregnant.”

Stunned silence fell on the table.  Cassie counted her heartbeats.  When her eyes began to gloss over, she knew either she spilled it or she would loose the fingertip grip on her resolve.

“It’s his.  Don’t.  Please, don’t.  I know.  I didn’t know then. I loved him.  At least I loved the man I thought he was.  For eight months, I couldn’t get enough of him.  It was like I was drunk on him.  Turns out I was stupid drunk…”

Maggie was quick to defend Cassie.  “You’re not stupid.  So your emotions carried you away.  It happens.”

“Mags, I was stupid.  You all warned me, so many times.  If I had looked closer, I might have seen what was apparently writing on the wall.  Scratch that, it was freakin’ written in the sky!  I ignored it all.  I…he….”

“So, you’re not still with him?”  Lauren wanted answers.  “What about the baby?”

“I’m not sure yet.  I’m almost through my first trimester now.  And no, we’re not together anymore.  He…”  She choked on the words.  It was so humiliating.

Lauren wasn’t letting go.  Cassie couldn’t blame her.  “So, does he know?  Is he going to help?  He has a responsibility.”

“No.  He doesn’t know.  I haven’t spoken to him since…  He doesn’t know.  I’m pretty sure he won’t want to participate at all.”

“Why not?”  Maggie was puzzled.

“Her.  They’re getting married.”

All three of them began firing questions, wanting to know the dirty details she had been leaving out for the last half a year.  Her eyes started swimming again.

Adrianna came to her rescue.  “Since you can’t have this, I’m stealing it.”  With a wink, Adrianna began sipping on Cassie’s martini.

Lauren’s narrowed eyes kept firing silent questions at Cassie.

Maggie sighed, “We have all weekend.  I’m sure there’s a lot for all of us to catch up on.”

While she suspected Maggie had her own confessions to share, she was thankful for the temporary reprieve. 

 Write on Edge (formerly The Red Dress Club) has us focusing on transitions for Red Writing Hood this time.  They've prompted us to:  "write about a season of change for your character or you. It can be literal or metaphorical."

If you are interested in more of their story, you can read about Cassie in R.S.V.P. & Kick Ass Shoes and Maggie in Getting There & Home.  This piece takes place right after Home.

And today, all four of the gals are here:  Adrianna, Lauren, Maggie & Cassie.  I thought this was the perfect time to come back to Cassie's pregnancy and her Time to Tell!  Hope you enjoyed it! :>

Thursday, September 1, 2011

For the love of bound paper...

Monday, I shared this as one of the places I love:

7)  Bookstores  Have to admit, I was quite bummed when Borders began closing their doors.  There's still Barnes & Noble and a local chain of book stores to fill the need.  Yes, need.  Not only do I love getting lost in a story, but I love books themselves.  I love the paper, the binding, the dust jackets, the typeface.  All of it makes me smile.  (All of it, except figuring out where else to put them in my house...I ran out of room a Long time ago!)

And yesterday, I came face to face with Borders' demise.  Having run out for a frame for a little something I won a bit ago from Mandy, I was at Michael's.  I ran to the store next door for some glucosamine & chondroitin treats for my cat (yes, my cat....she's old and life is a whole lot more fun if you can actually move!).  And staring at me from across the large parking lot was Borders.

It was still open, I thought for sure it would be gone by now.  I've kind of avoided it since it first started liquidating their stock;  all of those wonderful books.  But, the yellow & red signs blazed the now 50-70% off everything is being sold at during this location's final days.

I tentatively entered the glass doors.

And you know what?  It was really sad.  I thought at 50-70% off I would get all excited, do a Happy Dance, stock up on presents.  But, all I thought as I walked through the now half empty store is how sad it is to see a bookstore closing.

Do you know how sad it was?  So sad that I wandered the whole store for an hour, a whole hour, before I picked up a single book to purchase.  Quite a few times I thought I would just walk out with nothing.  But, eventually, the prices wore me down.  And I walked out with several books bought at unbelievably low prices.

But, it was still sad.

Sad to see a favorite place being washed away.  Sad to wonder if there will be book stores that we can walk into, wander the aisles, pull out books, look, see, touch, all while deciding what characters we want to bring into our homes or where we might travel to in the words on the pages or the new knowledge we might learn.

Yes, there are still some bookstores left that we can walk into.  Yes, there are libraries, which I love too.  Yes, there are still lots of places online to get our book fix in.

Yes, I have an appreciation for e-readers and am even interested in one.

But, I'll always have a love for books with paper pages and saying good-bye to one of my favorite escapes was still sad.

And so that we don't have to say good-bye to anymore bookstores in our near future, go visit one near you.  Books make rockin' awesome gifts.  At least I think so! :>

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