Spring season and walkabouts

hummingbird-2139279_1920 I haven’t been too interested in the news lately. I’ve spent a lot of my time preparing for doctor’s visits, which means sitting in a tiny room, drinking a lot of water so that the phlembotomist can take blood out of my veins. And in the the TMI vein, so that they could take a urinalysis.

So I was mainly oblivious to the national walkout that was supposed to be spontaneous outrage from students who were really getting a free day out in the sunshine. If it were spontaneous then the school administrators and teachers wouldn’t have pulled fire alarms and walked with the students to “pre-assigned” plazas for “protests” and “speeches.”

I grew up in the Cold War where we were taught to climb under our desks and hide during a nuclear event. In one elementary school during a “nuclear” emergency alarm we were marched out of class and we sat along the walls of the hall until the alarm was over. Basically if we were really hit then we wouldn’t have survived.

During the Cold War, we would see images of the staged May Day marches of the Soviet Union. During those days we were proud that if such a power would land on our soil that we would fight and shoot our enemies.

It is like I have walked into a surreal landscape where a group of teenagers who would have been considered able to make adult choices (like defend their country when I was their age) are asking to be disarmed. These same students are asking that someone else take care of them because they are too delicate to make their own choices.  I am astounded that an 18 or 19 year old is now considered too young and irresponsible to handle their own defense and their own life.

I do know that I am only seeing one side on the news. I know of several young men and young women who are making their own lives. Some of them are going into the military and some of them are traveling. Others are starting businesses. We don’t see them in the news. If I didn’t know of these enterprising young ones, I would have believed that our nation was already on the skids.

I am a veteran. I served. So my view is probably different from yours.

When I turned on the TV and watched the “walkout” this week, I saw history being repeated. I turned the TV off.

A Hint of Blue eyes


From intographics | Pixabay

I wrapped my coat around me as the temperature hit 41 degrees as I opened my front door and braved the morning to see my new little niece, Victoria.

This was the day when she would be presented to the church and given a name and blessing in the tradition of her family.

The church’s doors were opened and three generations of her family on both her mother and father’s side stood in the foyer. I stood with them to see this baby, who had had a hard start in life.

On the day of her birth, Victoria and her mother were rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section. Victoria’s pulse had stopped. For five heart-wrenching minutes she didn’t breath in the doctor’s arms. As my brother told it on Christmas Eve, his heart sunk to his stomach because he thought that they had lost this little girl.

She cried and his heart began beating again.

Then it was months of feeding her and keeping her safe because she was too small to survive in this whirling cocktail of disease. I understood why her parent’s kept this little one sequestered until she was old enough and strong enough to survive this world.

Her family descended on the church, filling three long wooden pews.  They doubled the attendance in that small church. We watched her being blessed. This little girl had tons of family to support her as she grew into womanhood.

Later I held her and smelled baby and sour milk. Her skin was soft and pink. I cuddled her.

Then she opened her eyes and I saw a hint of blue.


My memories of him

otto-tune Twenty-five years ago today, Otto and I walked into a courthouse because he said that he had some business there. I was dressed in turquoise shorts with a white T-shirt that had arrows pointing to the sleeves and the neck to show where the arms and head went.

Near the hem of the T-shirt were the words, “blonde T-shirt.”

We marched into the Justice of the Peace office, and Otto asked for a marriage license. I think my heart stopped. We had known each other for a few years by then. He had been an instructor in the electronics school I attended. When I went to Japan for my first tour of service, he was retiring from the Navy.

When the clerk asked for 70 dollars, we had to search through all of our pockets, purses, and crevices for enough change to pay for it. We managed to come up with 69 dollars and 90 cents. The clerk pitched in ten cents. Thirty minutes later we were married by the JP in a little garden outside.

Oh yes, for the first time after knowing him for almost four years, I learned his legal name. Nope, it wasn’t Otto.

I had been on adventures before meeting this man. I went to South Africa for two years and was able to see Johannesburg and Cape Town. It was a dream that came true in an unexpected way. And when he went his way, and I went to Japan, I enjoyed my adventures there.

Together we traveled around Panama, seeing the canal and some of the small villages in Chiriqui province of Panama. It had beautiful sand beaches and villages cut into jungle. There was even a small zoo where a monkey got close enough to me to try to steal my hot pink ball cap.

We transferred to Germany where we hiked to crumbling castles that overlooked the river. We walked through one of the towns where famous jewelers made jewelry from stones that had been shipped from Africa and other exotic places.

He was there when I almost died in his arms.

The one thing that I will always remember about my dear one was his sense of humor. He loved to stir things up. When he first met me and discovered that I was sensitive to blonde jokes, he told me one blonde joke every time he saw me. I learned to laugh at it.

He told me something important when my moods were so extreme because I was on prednisone and other harsh drugs. I had to take them to live. It didn’t make living easy though. He said, “Everything has a negative and a positive. You can switch how you feel about it.”

Today I want to remember that irrepressible smile that warmed me. I wanted to get closer to him.

I only hope that I will see him again, hold him in my arms, and smell his scent. That he will whisper one of his tasteless jokes in my ear so that I laugh.

Today I’ll wear his favorite color– red.

Reading as a writer


From Pixabay

Before I turned my hand to stories, I was a reader. The first writers that grabbed my imagination and took me to other worlds were in the sci-fi and fantasy field. I think then they may have called it speculative fiction. Don’t mind me– my mind comes up with odd facts and sometimes it is right.

I was that nerdy girl that would carry a book bag that always had at least one fiction book. I would have gone into withdrawal if I didn’t read something. I was that girl who read on the bus to school and home. I was that girl who read in the bathroom. I do remember hiding in the bathroom with a Witch World novel by Andre Norton. By the time I finished reading, my bare butt was cold from sitting on the toilet so long. I think there may have even been a red ring around my butt. So I am that girl.

When I started writing, my goal was to write entertaining stories that I would like to read. I wanted to be able to write such an interesting story that some one some where would have to admit that they were caught in the bathroom with their pants down, reading my stories. An odd goal for an odd girl.

So now I am older and hopefully not wiser. This last writing class gave me some good ideas and tips about dragging you guys– yes, you!!!– down into the depths of my character and my stories. So be warned.

Here be dragons.

My mind is roiling

river-2876579_640 My mind is in writer brain mode where all possibilities and none are whirling in my head. It feels like there is something underneath, trying to push up and flop on the mud above.

When I am like this, my world narrows to what is in my head and what is one the page. Sometimes what is in my head is not satisfied with the my scratchings.

I have to be satisfied that when the water and thoughts recede, it will leave rich moist soil for planting. Today I learned some skills that would help me excavate the dirt and mud in my mind. Previously I used a shovel and threw the dirt every which way, sometimes killing the story with a blow.

I now have a fine brush to use. It is still a little awkward in my hand. I don’t always know how to use it. But I now have a small instruction manual that came with the fine brush. Soon I’ll be in my element. For now, I am filled with possibilities.

I’m halfway here and halfway somewhere else.

Shira: Hero of Corsindor (revised and updated)


She glanced nervously at the lead-glass windows as the rain hit them in staccato bursts. The rain struck with such force that it drowned out the clanking of armed guards, roaming the hallways. The grayness and cold crept into her heart and chilled her bones.
In the midst of this war of elements, a newborn baby wrapped in white swaddling lay in a cradle. She gently rocked the cradle, whispering to the baby.

“You, poor sweet thing,” she said. His mother had not survived the birth. It was a miracle that this one was breathing. “She said she was in danger.” The nurse hummed and rocked. The baby smiled. It broke her heart. This child wouldn’t be allowed to live. He was born of the wrong woman.

Everyone knew that the woman who had married the king was not the king’s first love. This marriage had been arranged. The king had kept his mistress in the castle so that he could visit her during her pregnancy. It had been an embarrassment to the new queen.

The kitchen gossip ran through the nurse’s mind.

The cook had sworn that she had seen the queen in the kitchen in the early hours, brewing up a potion. Then the mistress went into labor. The cook had connected the potion with the death of the mistress. The baby was supposed to die as well.

It was the baby’s smile that changed her mind. Instead of announcing the baby’s birth, she wrapped the baby tightly in the new blanket. Hoping that the baby would stay quiet and wouldn’t suffocate, she tucked the blanket into a basket.

A silent prayer was on her lips as she walked firmly and confidently down the hall with the basket pressing against her arm. She nodded to a guard and walked past him. She reached the kitchen without being stopped. The warmth of the kitchen was a huge contrast to the coldness of the rest of the castle.

She set the basket down and warmed her hands on the flame.

“Has the baby been born yet?” asked the cook. She was bustling around the kitchen, beating dough with her hands. Two of the cook’s thralls were carting pots out to the courtyard so they could scrub them and clean the pots for the next meal.

“No,” the nurse said. “I’m going to the apothecary to get more herbs to ease her pain.”

The cook just nodded and went back to her work.

A tradesman knocked on the door. A kitchen maid opened the door and accepted the dinner meat. The nurse slipped past them and into the courtyard. A side gate that lead to a narrow path down the hill into the city was open.

It was slippery, but the nurse kept her footing. The rain had turned into a soft mist and she slid into the shadows. She looked back at the castle. It looked menacing in this light. She shivered just a little and adjusted the basket. Her shoulder ached from carrying the baby.

She thanked every god in the pantheon that the baby hadn’t cried or screamed. She pulled back the blanket so that she could see his face. He was breathing. She let out a sigh of relief and hurried to a cobblestone road with two story buildings dwarfing her.

She slipped into a small alleyway that led to the market square. Then she hurried through the square. It was unusually quiet. The hard rain must have sent the merchants home early. It only made her shiver more and she thought that someone was following her.

Finally after going through a few more alleys, she found the one she was looking for. The shopkeeper sold beads and brocade from far away. Plus she knew him. He was her cousin’s husband.

“Welcome,” he said when she sat the basket on the counter.

He took a long look at the baby. The baby had soft dark hair and light skin. The baby’s eyes opened and they were a dark blue.

“Well,” said the shopkeeper. “It’s come to this.”

The nurse nodded her head.

He pointed to the curtain at the back of the shop. She followed behind him into the darkness.

An hour later the nurse left the shop with herbs in her basket. She headed toward the castle.

A certain way of thinking

pexels-photo-235986.jpegThe tentative sunbeam slips through the blinds and entices me outside to watch  violet buds tremble on bare trees. At the very least, I should open the sliding window and sniff the cool air that had been filtered by yesterday’s breeze.

I resist the urge to flee and settle my every-enlarging behind into my office chair. It supports my back when it is adjusted just right. I lean back and feel it snap into my lower back. Another thing to distract me from the white page and gray lettering.

In a moment I will get up and check the dryer as another excuse to quit writing. If I stop for just a moment, like getting another cup of coffee, I might sit on my more comfortable rocker-recliner. I would sink into the faux brown leather with my dog cuddled on my lap. I would flip through the channels and would settle on a crime show or a judge show. It would be another excuse to stop.

My coffee is cold, but I still take another sip. It sits on my tongue and slides down my throat. If I let it sit too much longer in the cup, the brown sludge will be too thick for drinking. I look inside the white coffee mug. It’s almost gone.

The beam of light has moved to lie across the little black dog with oversized ears. She warbles in dog, telling me that she is tired of being curled up in her soft bed. She is waiting for me to quit writing so that we can stretch our legs and and she can sniff the other dogs’ wet messages in the grass.

If she were really impatient, she would sit at my feet and rub her white muzzle on my swinging bare foot.

Bang. Bang. Bang. The little black dog leaps from her bed. She braces all four of her legs and as loud as she can she tells the world there is some stranger at the door. She sounds much larger than her twelve pounds.

I jump from my seat, and open the front door.

A small cardboard box wrapped in brown tape sits innocuously there.


I’m practicing openings. 🙂  This time I used myself as a character. But I will be doing this more often.

The past is always behind us

P1000318 At 38, I thought that I was preparing for a new life where I taught writing, particularly creative writing and that my late-hubby would retire and play.

My entire life changed at 41. I ended up in a German hospital for almost five weeks, which I almost didn’t survive.

All of my dreams were ripped apart. His, too.

It took me two years to finally train my brain enough to write again.

I had worked my entire life since I was sixteen and the thought of staying out of the workforce was a foreign concept to me.

I did try to work when I started to feel better at the end of that second year. Because I was in close quarters with other people, I got sick again and was told that if I worked in that environment I wouldn’t survive very long.

This is my past.  Why I mention these experiences is that I recently talked to my nephrologist about having more energy. She is just over five feet with a name like Dr. Fang. You’d be right in thinking she is Asian. I am respectful of her because she has kept my kidneys function these last three years. That is no mean feat.

So when I asked about more energy, she laughed. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have more energy now than most. It just gets worse from here.”

I started to think of all the things I have been able to do and what I have done since my illness. If I keep up this pace, I will do more than I did as a young woman. Oh yes, I traveled to South Africa, Japan, Panama, and Germany. I lived in Florida for a short while. I met some great people and some not so great people. It was the usual. In those days while I was having adventures, ironically I wanted to write stories.

So the past has come and gone. But it is the past that reminds me that every moment I write and every moment I breathe is precious.

I have less guarantees for a healthy life than most. It doesn’t mean I should curl up and die. I won’t.