Saturday, 28 January 2012

Answer Me...

...doesn't this voice just make you want to melt?  And what a great song!

RWC #98


Raging deep within,

The wondrous grief of birthing
roars, blood-red, upward.

Read others here...Link

Moving Images Challenge #47


The trouble with costume parties was that secretly everyone went as the character she wished she could be, even if she chose not to acknowledge it publicly.  Ardith knew, for example, that when her mother used to go to one of those parties as Scheherazade, it was because she had harbored a secret desire to have the man of her dreams fall in love with her because she could tell such beautiful stories.  Her mother had been a romantic at heart, trapped in a mundane marriage to an ordinary Joe who sparked not a flicker in her, and those parties had been one way she found a reprieve from her situation.

So did that mean that the bridal gown and veil she had donned for the party represented her wish for a wedding?  She shuddered at the thought, but it was a shudder of desire, not fear or disgust.  She raised her toe idly and pushed the knob on the tap, letting a stream of cold water trickle into the bath.  The veil she still wore on her head tickled her neck as she stared unseeingly at the tap, the empty glass still clutched in her hand.  She knew who she wished to wed, but she didn't know how he felt.  She hadn't seen or heard from him in more than a fortnight.  Her dreams, and her thoughts, had been silent.

The bath water grew cold, and still she sat in it. shivering now, but unable, it seemed, to move, to get out of the bath and dry herself off.  She was caught, like a fly, in a web of silence and memory.  The towel was there, draped across the chair, waiting.  Just as she was waiting...

...Jonah's eyes snapped open, his body on instant alert, his heart pounding out of control.  He swallowed great gulps of air, and sent a thought out to find her...Ardith.  She was there, cold, shivering.

"Baby, get out of the bath!"

He felt her instant attention, her sudden fury...her fear.  It broke him, and he swore.

"I'll be there as soon as I can, Ardith.  I promise you!"

If you don't shed a tear...'re made of stone, or something pretty close!  These are my two most favorite "Chopped" endings in the order in which they occurred.  For those of you uninitiated ones, "Chopped" is a cooking competition on the Food Network which brings together unknown but great chefs for a fast-paced, blood-pumping competition to see who can wow the judges' palates enough to win hard cash for their efforts, and a new lease on their cooking careers. 

These two shows made it clear, for anyone who may have forgotten, or who didn't believe, that there ARE beautiful people in the world -- beautiful in spirit and in soul!

K's FIAF #73


She was as tense as he was.  The little quirk of her lips was perfect for the scene, but she held herself tightly, like a bowstring stretched to its limit...more than nerves at this first kiss in their love scene.  His cheeks creased in an almost imperceptible smile of triumph. 

Miss I'm-Not-Bothered-By-You was bothered...

Is it me...

...or do these two ladies share a similar sensuality of tone -- a richness, a roundness, a depth (across the spectrum of soprano sound), that makes listening to them sing a sexy, sensual treat?

Fiction in a Flash #73

(There are two pictures again this week, and again, please only use one (or you can do an "a" and a "b", if you can't decide).  The theme in both is the same, but the couples are different, and their facial expressions suggest different ideas to me.  See what you think before you choose.)

(These photographs were taken from the Internet.)

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Speechless with rage!

WARNING!  The following image is painfully, disturbingly graphic!  None of the words below are my title says, I'm way too angry to speak!

"Some kids placed strong firecracker in the mouth of this animal and made sure he could not open it. The world is like this. To these kids it must have been a macabre fun for a few minutes and then they continued with their life like nothing happened." ~ Jade Razorcutemokitty, from Facebook.

What friends are for...

I love you all, and appreciate your friendship.  I take being a friend very seriously, and wish those who are mine all did so too.  But I can't let what others do or don't do affect who I am, and how I treat my friends.  

I wish you all a wonderful day!  *hugs*

Monday, 23 January 2012

The sun is green!

From AFP (Agence-France Presse), via Yahoo News, UK & Ireland:

A January 19 image provided by NASA shows an M3.2 solar flare captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions, US space weather monitors said Monday."


Saturday, 21 January 2012

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I love Doc Martin! He's so "broosk" (think "brusque"), he kills me!!!

UFC #315

Shadowlight's Challenge

Use the prompt given below in green as the first or last line of a poem or short story.

Do not exceed 500 words.

In the recesses of fantasy the graces spit


In the recesses of fantasy, the graces spit, charred tongues burning, the juices of their lost desire still swelling on their tongues.  Not goddesses in the ordinary sense of the word, they were descendants of the Charites of Greek myth.  They had been named Thalia, Charis, and Grace -- the simplest names their mother could find to remind them of their heritage.  Her death had pushed them from the safe cocoon of anonymity into a harsh white light of expectations that they were each afraid they would never satisfy.

This latest disaster, brought on by their desire to take for themselves a moment of pure joy, had hurt more than them.  They looked around, as though one had spoken a command, and saw the carnage that their thoughtless actions had unleashed, and their voices soared in mournful song.  Tears streamed down their faces as they raised their arms and sang through the burning in their throats and the fire in their hearts.

Charis stopped first, lowering her eyes and arms, and waited for her sisters to follow suit.  They looked sadly at each other, knowing the ritual they were about to complete would never erase the memory of this day's events, and understanding that they had to learn from it, and never repeat the mistakes that had led to this.

"Let's prepare the circle," Thalia said, and her sisters nodded their agreement.  Breathing deeply, each woman turned slowly in a circle, moving in a predetermined pattern away from the others, turning her hands before her as she spun away from the others.  The further apart they grew, the brighter the light seemed to grow until there was a sharp point of light extending from the spot where each one stood.  They raised their arms again, their voices growing stronger as they joined their individual points together, and then they turned where they stood, watching as the lights above their heads moved with them to form a circle.

Grace spoke the ritual words of parting.

"May the spirits of these here dead be accepted into their eternal rest with joy and love.  And may those of us who remain be given the tools to keep our world free from the harm that befell these ones now gone."

The circling light descended, wrapping around the field on which they stood, and its glow intensified until the brightness was blinding.  And then it seemed to pass back into each woman, inflaming her for a brief moment in an iridescent fire. 

When the light faded, the sisters turned and walked toward the growing darkness.  The evil that had set this tragedy in motion was still out there, waiting for them.  They knew it, as they knew they had to learn how to defeat it before more lives were lost.  The next ritual they performed would bring the knowledge of their ancestors to where they needed it.  Ugliness and death reigned, and they must learn the way to return beauty and joy to their people...

(500 words)

Read others here:

Moving Images Challenge #46


Droopy eyes watching the liquid slosh into the glass, following its progress to the lips of the man next to her, she puts her finger to her lips.

"Shhh!  Don't want them to hear us, do ya?"  Wild eyes look around vacantly; she gestures for him to pour her another as well. 

"Hi...hi...hit me!" she finally manages, though unable to hold the glass steady.

"You don't need any more, young lady!"

Her head came up, eyes suddenly sharp, focused...furious.

"Don't you dare tell me when I've had enough!  I'm grown.  I don't need a damned babysitter!  I need to"

Her voice trails off, her anger dissipating as quickly as it has stirred.  She grips her glass and drains it, looking comically into it as she holds it upside down, searching for the last drop of the elixir of forgetfulness.

"Lisa, let me take you home!"

She stares blankly at the one offering her a ride, and he seems to weave in and out of her line of vision.

"Home?  Where's home, huh?  I have no home!  I HAVE NO HOME!"

Her raised voice causes a few to turn their eyes in her direction, in time to see her collapse, like a wilted flower, over the counter. 

No one sees the tears that stream down her one but him.  He picks her up, raises a hand in farewell, and walks out with her draped across his arms.  She has never been drunk before, and he wants to pound something with rage that she should be so disconsolate as to try to drown her pain in a bottle.

Her pain...his pain.  His heart broke, again...

K's FIAF #72


"This does not inspire confidence," Mona commented acerbically, surveying the scene before her.  "Since when do we send drowned rats into the field?"

"I'm not deaf, you know, or dead.  Though I'm sure you'd be happy if the latter were true."

That last muttered comment Mona acknowledged by an almost imperceptible lift of her lip.

Fiction in a Flash # 72

(This photograph was taken from the Internet.)

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Monday Music Magic: "Smile"

Some things that make me smile, in no particular order...

...babies' smiles and chuckles daughter's stories about her experiences in the community theater she works in daughter's stories about the professors and students in her college classes other daughter's laughter son calling me "Mama Chile!" sweetie calling me an endearment
...a good erotic story
...writing that gives me goosebumps
...Michael Jackson's smile

I love this smile song...

....and this one, too...

I hope these made you smile!    

Sunday, 15 January 2012

UFC #314

Sumax's Challenge

You've been given a journalistic assignment.
Write a factual feelgood piece for the feature section of a daily newspaper.
The subject matter is up to you.
1,000 to 1,500 words.


I have been an assistant principal supervising English teachers for twelve years in the same school in New York City.  The department has been in flux since the moment of my arrival, and today, only four of the people who were there in 1999 are still there.  I have had a love-hate relationship with the people in the department since day one, for a variety of reasons.  When I arrived, the people who were there had been, for the most part, unsupervised, and used to having their own way.  And they were not about to change for me, a rank outsider.  There was little help to be had from the then principal, a lovely, caring man whose goal was to please as many of the people all of the time as he could.  I was often told to be patient.  Change takes time, he would say, and people are afraid of change.

Over the years, I learned that my bosses -- as of this year, I am on my third in that school -- will only support me in the initiatives that THEY are invested in, and that otherwise I am on my own.  I have also found that I am not your typical leader.  In fact, more and more, over the years, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I should have remained a full-time teacher -- I don't have the stomach for confrontation that seems to be par for the school leader's course.  However, be that as it may, I couldn't go back, and had to face the challenges, as they came, with the best grace.  It did not help that over the years I have had to deal with the unexpected birth of a fourth child (in fact, she came along in my first year on the job, much to my secret embarrassment and chagrin!), an on-again/off-again stint as a doctoral student (it's off again, and I think, after all these years, I don't stand a chance of being accepted again into the program to take my orals and write the dissertation), and the increasing vagaries of middle age.

Through all of this, I forged a relationship with the people I supervised.  Some of them have become my friends, but all of them have touched my heart.  I am a passionate person, and there were times when I became angry with them for being stubborn, lazy, obnoxious, obstructive, confrontational.  One man loved to bait me, and I fell for it every time.  One of my young teachers said he did it because he liked me.  I rolled my eyes at her -- how elementary school of him, if that were true!  And yet, despite his making me want to rip gouges of his flesh out in Shylockian style, and despite my hurt when they did not do what I wanted, they were my teachers, and I would support and defend them as long as they were with me.

I never had the money that other more established assistant principals had so I couldn't afford to give my teachers gifts.  But I saw the value of showing them that I cared about them, and valued their contributions, however reluctant they were to give them.  And I wanted to show those who were fully cooperative that I appreciated their care for the children we were hired to serve, and their care for me.  I began an annual event -- perhaps "event" is too large and imposing a word for what I started, but it is all I can find just now.  Every Christmas, I bake for them, and take it in, so each one gets a piece of Jamaican rum cake to bring them a little cheer.  In fact, because I usually took the whole cake in, people who were not in my department sometimes managed to snag a piece as well.

Last Christmas, I decided to do one better.  I still had no money for gifts, but I wanted them to see the slice of cake I gave them as my gift to them, and not merely a piece of holiday cheer.  I hit upon the idea of wrapping each piece in plastic, and placing it in a small gift bag.  I was pretty pleased with the idea, and hoped my teachers would approve.

The  night before, on the way home from work, I stopped in the dollar store in Poughkeepsie, 25 minutes south of my home, and searched for what I needed.  I was pleased to find sets of five gift bags in bright colors -- red, green, purple, silver, gold -- at a bargain price.  I got as many as I needed and went home with a smile on my face.  Baking the cake came next, and I added extra white rum (75% overproof) to the batter, to enhance the flavor, because I knew from past experience that they loved it when the cake was not only moist but redolent of rum.

I read while I waited for the cakes to bake and cool, and then I set to work.  I tried to keep each piece the same size, and wrapped them carefully in the little fold-over plastic sandwich bags, then placed them in the gift bags.  I had thought at first to write their names on each bag, but then I figured they might prefer to choose their own colors.  I stacked the bags in two larger bags for carrying and felt happy as I went to bed.  It was late, as usual, but I didn't care.  

Next day, I told my staff that they needed to stop by my office during the last two periods of the day, or before they left for home.  When they asked why, I hedged, not wanting to give anything away.  I wanted it to be a surprise.  I was rewarded by their pleasure, when they came to my office (some feeling apprehensive that their supervisor had summoned them) and saw that I had gift-wrapped their slices of cake for them.  They were delighted to choose the color they preferred, and all seemed to find the simple addition of a gift bag a thoughtful delight.  I felt proud of myself for having had the thought, and happy that I had done something to make their day.  This time, it was more than the cake that pleased them.  It was the fact that it was gift-wrapped.  They thanked me with warm smiles and hugs, and I went home with a warm feeling in my heart.

My challenges as an assistant principal continue, some very personal, some institutional.  But I know that next Christmas, when I need to give of myself again, I will take the extra step to show my staff I care about them, and wish them well.  A few gift bags went a long way toward showing people who spend at least part of their time at odds with administration that THIS member of the administration may be trusted.  It is a precious gift, and if I can only get it at Christmastime, I'll do all I can to earn it.

(1,180 words)

Read others here...Link

Saturday, 14 January 2012

"The only difference between a man and a woman is that he's got more in his trousers than he's got in his head." ~ LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE. *chuckles*

It is 23F, and the wind is blowing hard outdoors! Brrr!!

K's FIAF #71 (b)


Jonah inhaled deeply.  Ardith was already here...he sensed her presence in the sharper light of the ice-dazzled morning.  He smiled.  

It had been a long journey to this snow-bound hideaway -- weeks of mystic telepathic discovery. The miles he had traversed seemed nothing to those intimate moments that stretched between them like a living bridge.

K's FIAF # 71 (a)


He was near, if Ardith needed him.  His view of the house was almost completely obstructed by the enormous old oak that spread its gnarled arms skyward. Nature's beauty, reflected in the triangle of water behind it, never ceased to remind him of her own.  

Tonight, in her dreams, he would tell her so, again...

Fiction in a Flash #71

There are two pictures this week...I couldn't decide.  Choose one picture only, please.  Of course, if you are inspired by both, you may do two FIAFs!  )

(These photographs were taken from the Internet.)

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Moving Images Challenge #45


She sat with her head against his shoulder, watching the waves crash ashore.  The wind was strengthening -- she could feel the storm approaching in her bones.  She swallowed the taste of fear that tainted her tongue.  He needed this.  The storms that raged in him needed the space to range free, to exist without the restraints he must place on them inside the four walls of his house.  She didn't know how else to show him that she was with him, other than to be with him when his soul raged.

His hands hung between his upraised knees, and every now and again, he clenched them into fists of fury, the knuckles white with tension.  He did not move or make a sound.  He did not shift beneath the slight weight of her head on his shoulder.  Once, earlier, she had tried to lift it up, to move away and give him room, but he had pulled her head back to its spot silently, demanding the connection she had thought he might not wish for.  She sat still, and waited.

He had made a large fire, and she was glad of its warmth as she stared out at the oncoming waves. They were still a distance off, but creeping closer, as the night grew dark as pitch, making the huge boulders morph into monsters. She wondered tremulously, as they sat looking out over the invisible giant that nudged the shore hard, what had triggered this latest episode.  They had not been in touch all week, but she had thought nothing of it, as she herself had been too busy to do more than remark on it in passing to herself.  So when he had called, two hours ago, and asked that she meet him here, the alarms had gone off inside her.  She could tell that  something was very wrong, but knew she'd have to wait till he was ready to tell it.  She sighed quietly, and watched the waves.

"I can hear you thinking, Andy!"  

His deep voice slid through her ears like liquid fire, warming her.  She heard the faintest amusement, and relaxed, though she made a show of  indignation.

"Can you blame me?" she asked with asperity.  "Your summons was more than usually dictatorial today!"

His chuckle warmed her further, and she felt the knots that had been gathering in her spine unroll themselves slowly.

"Is that what you think I do?  Summon you?"

The dark roundness of his tones washed over her, making her shiver in reaction.

"Isn't it what you do?"  she counter-questioned him. "Like a king commanding his subjects!"

Suddenly, his arm was around her shoulders, pulling her closer into him.  The move startled her.  He had never done such a thing before.  What could it mean?

"The ocean calls to me," he remarked, in a random shift of subject.  "Can you hear it?"

She remained quiet.  She knew he was not asking her a question to which he expected an answer.  He continued,

"On days like these, when storms push and pull at it, the energy burns me, like lightning crackling overhead.  I cannot resist."

He stopped speaking, but she knew he was not done. She had learned to wait with him, and had come to know the value of patience.

"I have been summoned," he said finally, after a long pause.  He chuckled again at his choice of words, and turned to face her, his arm still around her. "Will you come with me?"

She could feel the fine tension in the fingers that curled around her arm, in the hard chest that cushioned her side, in the tight thigh that sat rigid next to hers.  He spoke calmly, when he was anything but calm.

"What have I always said, hmm?  No matter what. That's what I said all those years ago.  I meant it then. I mean it now."  

She let her words sink in, and felt the tension begin to ease from him.  She smiled.  

"So, when do I have to be ready to leave?"

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday Music Magic: "Alive"

When I am feeling most low, like I was yesterday, and trying to raise my spirits by reminding myself that I have my health, a job, a roof over my head, and the love of my family, music usually soothes my savage emotional beasts. This is a song I listen to that helps ease my mood, brings back my "feisty", and makes me feel alive again...