When the world rolls on

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s a little voice in my head that’s been saying “let me get off of this ride…now.” It’s been a wild one the last few months. I had to sit down and decide to make a list and only do “one” thing at a time. I’m still overloaded on my list and I’ve done half of one thing and then half of another. My finishing capacity has been nil.

So instead of finishing my lists, I started procrastinating by lying in bed with my Oasis kindle in my left hand, reading Hailey Edwards “Black Dog” series.

When I am reading in bed, I can forget that my stomach hurts or that I have this incipient need to pray to the toilet god. It takes my mind off of sickness, stress, or money troubles. I think I tend to “borrow trouble,” another saying from my parents, because I can see my future self struggling if certain things don’t happen. It’s a blessing and a curse to see so far into the future. This week when I wasn’t able to eat anything or drink anything but water, it wasn’t a good talent to have.

So I escape in reading.

I have wanted to go to Liberty con since I first heard about it. I have a lot of online friends who go there every year. I had promised myself that when I had enough money saved that I would show up and actually meet the people I enjoyed talking to on social media sites. Just when I think I am well enough and flush enough in the pocketbook to go, I get sick. I am reminded that I just have to walk by someone who has a virus and I can pick it up and take it home with me.

I am learning to live in the present. I am learning to feel the keys click against my fingers and my toes sink into the carpet. I listen to the noise of the TV in the living room and feel the little bursts of sun through the window. The coffee slides down my throat after touching my taste buds. I can tell how sick I am by how well I can taste.

I am still here. I am still here.

The birds know I am still here. They sing to me each morning. The ravens caw in the distance. The doves coo in the courtyard and my dog sits in my lap.

 

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Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

According To Hoyt

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Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts…

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Tis the season

otto-tuneMemorial Day is one of those hard holidays for me. I remember what I am missing, mainly my late-husband, Otto.

The one thing that sticks with me about him was his sense of humor.  The other thing was that he loved animals. Tequila, the little Chihuahua in his arms, would run up to him every evening and he would pick her up and hold her. She would sigh and he would relax.

The feral cats in the apartment complex would come and visit. The day he went into the hospital for the last time, three of the cats came to say goodbye.

He had even made friends with the Scrub Jays by supplying them with peanuts. He used to tell me that most people didn’t look up. There was so many things happening above us. Even now I remember the names of birds and their calls, just because he would point them out to me when I was so sick that I couldn’t even remember my own name.

The hurt never completely goes away.

I know I am a better person for having known him. I just wish every day that he was still here.

 

Tuesday Snippet

Since it is May, it is time to turn over a new leaf– Plus now that I am starting this month with a clear head, it’s time to write.

I’m leaving you with a snippet from one of my WIPs – Unlicensed Sorceress.

Delhaven
Rooso Derne
Rooso woke, soft silk comforter wrapped around him. He reached to his left to give Mistress Mary Rose a deep kiss. The dip in the bed where she had slept beside him was already cold. The sheer pink fabric draped across the four posts shivered as he put his feet on the cold floor.

She was not standing at the window looking down at the gardens. She was not washing her face with the water left in the basin. She rose early most days to keep her little kingdom of whores and thieves in line. He pulled on his pants and went in search of her.

“You are a charming rogue,” whispered Mistress Mary Rose as he strutted into the parlor so she could appreciate his beauty. His red auburn hair flowed down his bare back. His skin was ivory and freckled. He had the slim build of a runner with enough muscles that he would be deadly with in a fight. He knew she wanted him and he wanted her.

Her words stopped him. Did she suspect? Rooso gave her a smile with all teeth and she gave him the same smile back. His hands trembled as he poured a shot of whiskey that was on the cherry liquor cabinet. He knocked it back, then turned to face her.

“You are a spy.” The tone of her voice told him that she hadn’t believed it until then. He wanted to pour another shot, but he needed to be steady for this conversation.

“Mary Rose,” he started. “I don’t know what you are so upset about. You should be used to spies by now.” And yes, she had her own spy network in Delhaven. Whether she used that intel or passed it on, he didn’t know. He did know that his masters wanted more information on her.

It was then that he noticed her burning eyes. She wasn’t as complacent about his profession as she had sounded at first. She rustled as she picked up her skirts and got off the soft couch. She walked deliberately towards him, lifted her hand, and slapped him hard across the cheek.

“Out,” she said. Her voice froze something inside of him. Her actions this morning was opposite from the night before when she had washed him and held him.

“Please,” he could hear the shock creeping into his voice. “Please listen to me.” He wanted to tell her, but all these things he wanted to tell her were locked magically in his head. It was frustrating as he tried to force words past his lips.

“You were seen with my enemies.”

The cockiness slipped out of him. “What?”

“Manny,” she called. The butler was at the door, “Make sure that Rooso is out of here today. I don’t want to see him again.”

Rooso was still in shock when Manny cocked his head and said, “Sir. Follow me?”

Rooso’s clothes were already in a large bag sitting near the front door. He had been blindsided.

Manny deftly took the shot glass out of his hand as he walked Rooso out the door. Manny handed him a cape to cover his half-nakedness. Manny watched him as he pulled on his boots. Then he politely opened the door and Rooso had his bag was on the front lawn.

He wanted to rage and kick the door. He wanted to march into the house and give Mistress Mary Rose his side of the story. But how could he? His lips were magically sealed. It would just be the same as before.

Instead he picked up the bag, swung it over his shoulder, and trudged down the carriage path that lead away from her. Grown men didn’t cry, but their eyes did get dusty.
He didn’t look back.

Instead of using stealth to get to the safe house in the middle of the city, he marched straight there. Mistress Mary, heck, maybe the entire city, knew he was a spy. She was hurt enough that she might send someone after him to kick his ass. He felt a burning in his throat and a roiling in his stomach. He ignored it.

His red hair shone in the early morning light and he didn’t care. Track me. Give me my deserved beating. He wished he had told her before. Now any trust that he had developed between them was gone. He hadn’t known that Mistress Mary would be the woman to force him into submission. He had laughed and left dozens of women. He didn’t want to leave her.

He gasped on the cold air. It seeped into his cloak and against his chest. He shivered. As his ears and nose numbed from the cold, he reached the wooden doorway leading to the safe house. He knocked loudly on the door. After a moment, the peephole opened.

Without a word from the guard, the door opened. Rooso marched through. A young man led him to a room filled with books and a hearty fire in a fireplace against the wall. He was left alone. A wooden chair made from oak and carved with magic symbols invited him to sit.

Rooso inspected the symbols. As he waved his hand over the carvings, he felt no power coming from them. Feeling a little relieved, he sat down. His bag plunked on the wooden floor. Mistress Mary Rose must have packed all of his weapons into the bag.

“Rooso,” said a voice that made his nerves jump. “For a spy, you fail spectacularly.”

Rooso tried to turn his head. It was then that the power in the carvings in the wooden chair took over. He was bound to the chair and couldn’t turn his head left or right. He stared straight ahead.

“Speak,” said the voice. The person stayed behind him so that Rooso didn’t see him.

Rooso bit his lips. He held his mouth tight. He felt an uncontrollable urge to speak, to explain why he had not fulfilled his mission. He resisted. He tried to move his arms and legs. Then he tried to move his fingers and toes. If he could just move a finger, then he could break the spell that held him.

He continued to fight, but when he tried to breathe his mouth opened. The magician behind him laughed. Rooso had failed to beat the spell.

“She knows.” Rooso finally said. He tried to stop babbling, but that one breath forced the rest out of him. “She has spies.”

He was going to speak anyway so he tried to divert the words coming out of his mouth. He wouldn’t talk about the dragon or Hilda. He wouldn’t skirt talk about the black magician who had made a Dragur. Nor could he reveal that he had helped seal the well at Hilda’s Inn.

If this magician suspected he wasn’t telling everything, he would use force. This type of force was the blackest of all magics. He could feel the waves of enjoyment coming from his captor.

Then Rooso’s voice changed and he went from babbling to placidity. He felt his eyes droop. He talked of other missions where he had been a sailor. He talked of waves, oceans and sails. He talked of the depths of the ocean and of drowning.

The magician tried to redirect him, but he was lost lost lost in the deep ocean. He fell into the depths of his unconscious and was gone.

 

 Monsters, Inc.

Monday, Monday

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Free from Pixabay

I haven’t dared to turn on the TV this morning because I finally have a clear brain and don’t want it cluttered with angry political rhetoric. So instead of listening to the weather attached to “news,” I am listening to my writing music as my little dog, Foxy, sits at my feet.

In my last post I talked about having low blood pressure and as I changed my meds, my brain started to come back online.  At this point I am trying to break a few of my obsessive habits that formed when my mind wasn’t clear. One of those things is to sit in my over-stuffed rocking chair, and play games on my Kindle Fire. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a break after my writing routines. But, after my walk in the morning, I try to catch my breath. My brain is still foggy so I just reach for the Kindle and then turn on the TV. Then that is the end of my day.

So today and maybe the next month, I am breaking the habit of turning on the TV first thing in the morning.

Until I was sick the first time, I saw myself as three separate parts– body, mind, and spirit. I thought of myself as my mind. Then the first time, I was on a serious chemo drug I found that when my body wasn’t well, then my mind wasn’t well. Logically I knew this, but in my heart– I was my mind. It took me many months after I was taken off that chemo and put on a gentler drug to recuperate. It was hard for me to admit that I would never be the same.

The meds that I take to keep my immune system and kidneys under control feel like a huge bear paw that holds my mind down. When low blood pressure is in the mix, I’m amazed that I remember to walk, talk and eat.

My conclusion is that there is no separation of mind, body, and spirit. If any of these components are sick, then the whole becomes sick.

The scary thing is– if I could see when my body was sick enough to affect my mind, then I could stop it. But being the one in the middle of it, I cannot. I knew something was wrong because I couldn’t remember words. They slipped away from me into the void. I started to become disconnected.

It was so subtle.

I am grateful for a doctor that saw something not quite right. My kidneys cannot operate well if my blood pressure is too low. In my experience, if my kidneys are not working properly, then I lose my ability to reason and think.

I am grateful that she brought it to my attention so that I could fix it.

Lethargy and slothfulness

img_0345 The last few weeks I have been in the middle of a few doctor experiments. I was pretty stable until my endocrinologist introduced me to Zetia.

Normally when you have high cholesterol, you are offered a Statin drug. About fifteen years ago, I was put on a Statin and my liver proteins went high in 30 days. Since I also have kidney problems, the doctor backed off on “how good” a Statin would be for my health.

So I am in the 1 percent of the population that can’t use Statins. The Zetia was supposed to help. It did drop my cholesterol quickly, but it also caused some digestive problems– i.e. diarrhea with constant severe stomach pain. It appears I am also in the 1 percent when it comes to Zetia.

I think– and can’t prove– but losing that much cholesterol so quickly, my blood pressure dropped. I was on two blood pressure medications that had been keeping me stable. With this change in my body structure I dropped low enough that my nephrologist, kidney doctor, was concerned. She asked if I was dizzy. I don’t get dizzy normally– but I do get headaches and brain fog.

With the low blood pressure, I was thirsty, hurt, and cramped a lot in my legs and feet. Also I was losing interesting in everything including my writing. I just couldn’t concentrate on the screen without needing to lie down.

I knew there was something wrong with my attention span. I thought it was because I was bored and wanted to do something different.

Today, I learned an important lesson. When I am losing my interest in writing or reading, then there is something very wrong with my health. In this case, I am in the process with my doctors in adjusting my blood pressure medication.

My blood pressure was still too low when I woke up this morning. However it was higher than it has been in a few days. My dog and I took our morning walk and I was singing just a little.

A Tuesday Snippet

My muse called today. She said I hadn’t done a story in the “Green Knight Terraforming Company” for a long time. I really did my best to remind her that I had three projects that I have been procrastinating with and I didn’t need a fourth.

In a calm voice with precise inflection, I was made aware that if I didn’t write on the GKTC story that I would be in that nomad’s land of no writing for quite awhile. Dammit. I hate it when I am blackmailed like that.

And just to get me into the proper mood of writing in this world, here is a snippet from the first story that started my space traveling terraforming human tech as a troubleshooter from hell.

The Green Knight Terraforming Company

The super-white flying van with the green logo, The Green Knight Terraforming Company, zipped over the tree and landed on pavement in front of a large warehouse. I stepped out of the van, wearing my company clothes—khaki trousers, white polo shirt with a green knight logo on the pocket.

A short, dwarfish wrinkled humanoid waited for me to reach the warehouse. As soon as I reached smelling distance, a strong cheese-like smell, wafted from the humanoid. I pressed a button to turn off my smeller. At the same time the brie taste disappeared from my mouth. I coughed and little and strode toward the humanoid.

“Zrkaffv, thsst prrrtt,” the humanoid started speaking. I assumed it was male although it was fully clothed because of the low voice. Once again I adjusted a knob next to my ear so that my translator worm would work. At the end of the knob, a small hammer knocked the worm into the right dialect.

The humanoid began speaking again and I almost wished I couldn’t understand it. “You’re terraforming didn’t work,” he whined.

“What do you mean it didn’t work?” I looked around at the trees around the parking lot and warehouse. The trees were earth-like. Roses twined around trellises attached to the building, and birds were chirping in the distance. Our motto “You travel the stars; we make you feel at home” seemed to be working in this case. I checked a line on my checklist.

Just to make sure that I was right and the customer, in this case a brie-smelly humanoid was wrong, I glanced at the grass, the flowers, the trees, and the rest of the terraformed area. It looked right, it sounded right, and when my nose was on, it even smelled right so what was the problem?

“Touch the grass,” said the humanoid.

From his expression of dissatisfaction, I assumed the worst. Even so I reached down to touch the blue-green grass. Two grasses grew long, grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the ground. I tried to break away, but the grasses began to grow around my legs, my chest, and my arms. It felt like steel bands holding me there.

“That’s what’s wrong.” I wished I could shut down the humanoid’s voice. He continued, “I lost a lot of workers to that cannibal grass when they tried to trim it.” I could almost hear him smirk.

You can find the rest of this story here: The Green Knight Terraforming Company (GKTC tales)

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