Sunday, 29 July 2012

K's FIAF #99


On the little landing, her feet dangling in the water, she'd watched the dock across the way.  They lived in the house hidden from view above their pier. Sometimes she'd see them skim across the lake in their speedboat, happily ignoring her watching them.

Today was her last time here.  Tomorrow, she'd be over there...

Saturday, 28 July 2012


...idiom fun!  See if you can figure out what these mean without looking them up online.  And then, if you can, share some you like from your culture.  I'd love to read them!

1.  Enough is as good as a feast.

2.  A change is as good as a rest.

3.  You can't see the wood for the trees.

4.  You're as much use as a wet fart in a thunderstorm. 

5.  Better untaught than ill taught.

6.  That's a horse of a different color.

7.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

8.  He can't cut the mustard.

9.  That was a flash in the pan.

10. We're all going to hell in a handbasket.

Idioms are more than just words, aren't they?  Reminds me of this song, which I love so much...

Next week I will host the final Fiction in a Flash. It'll be #100, and I plan to make it a "Best Of FIAF" event. I think 100 is a nice round number, don't you?

Fiction in a Flash # 99

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.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

The Ostrich Syndrome

BEFORE YOU READ:  Don't feel you have to comment, particularly if you have nothing constructive to say, or can't take constructive opposition to your views, or get hot under the collar and forget this is not your page!  I'll delete, without notice, any comment which I find to be offensive to me, and that can run the gamut from trying to belittle me or my opinions to doing the same to anyone who chooses to respond here.  Take the chip OFF your shoulder before you begin to read, please, or else give this one a pass!  Thank you!

You know, every now and again, people make my blood really boil, especially when they spout prejudice while pretending to themselves and others that they are being entirely reasonable and objective. My impulse is to argue with them, to pick apart their "reasonableness", but in the final analysis, what's the point?  Some people choose a side and stick to it no matter what, and I've discovered that the older we get, the less tolerant and the more bigoted we become.  We have just learned how to mask it better and pretend better that we are listening to others and entertaining their point of view. It's a sham, believe me.  None of us older ones is really listening to anyone else, and the only ones who are probably even HALF listening are the young people, whose extremism is NEVER hidden, but who swing more easily from one extreme to another.

Maybe it's the human condition to be that way, eh? We begin life as "out of the closet" bigots/extremists, and evolve into closet ones, to further our agendas, whatever they may be.  I find myself as intolerant of these people's views as they are of mine and others'.  I am more than a little bit tired of them and of their negative energy.  They're a drag, man!  Seriously!

This isn't a rant about racism, per se (though what I've said here may be related to it), but this song is as good as any other for exposing an ugly truth about us human beings.  And there's no plausible deniability ... just a terrible fear in some of us to be exposed as bigots.  To quote from the song, "It's a touchy subject! Bigotry has never been exclusively white!"

Sunday, 22 July 2012

K's FIAF #98


When would she learn?  This latest humiliation had been subtle...he was getting better at hurting her now. And she kept letting him!  Fool!  She ran through the drenching rain, oblivious to the storm, willing herself to stop shaking as she made her escape, fury and bitterness heating her wet cheeks and blurring her vision.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

"The hanged man dies once. The hangman dies every time." ~ Mr. Pleasant, career hangman, "Murdoch Mysteries".

Fiction in a Flash # 98

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.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Monday, 16 July 2012

K's FIAF #97


"Holy Mother of God!" 

While he raved about the color against my skin, and my long, elegant lines, and rhapsodized over how my pendulous, curvaceous breasts were making him hungry, I could almost see him swallowing his tongue.

I winced.  Because the truth was the only thing of me in that painting was the blindfold...

Monday Music Magic: "Unknown"

You know how some people believe in a before life? You know...that we were all here as something else before we came here as we are now?  As with the theory of evolution, which postulates some pretty incredible ideas about how human beings came to be -- think primordial slime -- and with the theology of creation, which postulates the existence and essential power of an extraordinary and supernatural being to create and maintain all life, including human life, there is no "knowing".  That feeling of déjà vu that some say is your "before this life" persona sending you messages, may be a psychic footprint brought to the fore of your consciousness, or it may be nothing at all.  No matter what the scientists tell you, and no matter what the pastors tell you, we can NEVER KNOW ANY of the things we accept as truth based on "facts" or faith. 

What's left is The Vast Unknown.  And we human beings do not like The Unknown, because at heart, we fear it.  The Unknown wrests power and control away from us, and gives it to other entities, or to chance. Neither sits well with us.  I think every act of violence and of hate stems from our basic fear of The Unknown. We try to control events and decide outcomes based on that fear of the Unknown.

But there's also a positive response to that fear.  It's love.  In the Bible, one Scripture says "Perfect love casteth out all fear", including the fear of The Unknown.  But loving another requires trust...belief that what lies in the heart of another will reach for and embrace what lies in our hearts.  And none of us knows for sure what lies in the hearts of others.  We seldom even know all that lies in our own hearts.

What do I know for sure?  I know that, as Bob Marley says in his song, "Everything's gonna be all right", because "there is nothing new under the sun", so every problem has a solution, and every cloud a silver lining. And I know that I mustn't let fear of The Unknown stop me from living as fully as I can, or loving as deeply as I should.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Fiction in a Flash # 97

(Sorry this is late, guys!)
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.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Late For Your Life

Mary Chapin Carpenter...a new friend has turned me on to her music!  This one is profound!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Feisty, Funny, Fabulous...

...and just what the doctor ordered.

Meet Joan...old lady #3!  Were we fated to meet?  Did God have a hand in it?  Whatever the explanation, I guess I needed to hear it from a flesh-and-blood older woman for it to sink in.  I was in the little mall where the CVS pharmacy is this morning, going to make some photocopies at the Minuteman Press store.  As I was waiting to have my copies made, an older lady walked in, and the gentleman working there approached her to discuss the work he had been doing for her.  

Being the (sometimes) gregarious creature I can be, I smiled and said hello, and spoke to her regarding some general comment she had made to him.  This began a conversation between her, the woman serving me, and me, in which Joan (I asked her to give me her name and phone number, and she did!) told me her age -- she's 65, surely not as old as the two I saw yesterday, and certainly in much better shape than they were -- and her physical condition -- a smoker who eats whatever she wants, doesn't exercise, and yet has normal blood pressure and is only, according to her doctor, 15 lbs. overweight.

When she told us that her doctor said she was carrying around an extra fifteen pounds, both the woman behind the counter and I looked Joan up and down and said, in unison, "Where?" She laughed merrily and said, "Ladies, you've made my day!  I'll love you all forever!" We all laughed at that, and Joan went on to give me some advice, when I told her how I had figured out that women of a certain age (retired women) were discarded by society.

"Retirement is not easy," she said, "and you have to be ready for it.  Many retired women start their own businesses (I immediately remembered Kurt's suggestions -- than you, Kurt!). Once you retire, everyone will want you to do things for them.  You'll have to learn to say 'No!' But you must get out there and make new friends.  Your work friends will have moved on six months after you leave, so you'll need to find new people to share your life with.  Volunteer in one place -- don't do more."  

She paused, as she wrote her name and phone number (which she had to think hard to remember, chuckling as she did!), and then added, "Oh, and one more thing. Every week, put an X through one day -- doesn't matter which day.  That's the day that is only for YOU!  Do anything you want to do, or do nothing.  It's YOUR day to just please yourself, and no one else!"

I smiled and thanked her, and she asked me my name again.  "It's Karen," I told her, "but when I call, I'll remind you of who I am by reminding you of the woman you talked with in Minuteman!"

"Good plan!" she answered, smiling, and I took my leave.

Why did this make me feel better, after yesterday's 
meltdown, you ask?  It's a different day...perhaps it's as simple as that.  Or maybe it's because today is my 29th wedding anniversary, and I have other things on my mind, like how I managed to stay married to one person for so long.  Or maybe it's because Joan showed me that there IS life after retirement, and that I might just be okay as I am, and that I will be okay then, too. Whatever the reason, I was enormously cheered by this encounter.  

I think I wanna be like Joan when I grow up!  I said as much to her after she told me how healthy she was, despite her bad health behaviors, like the smoking.  I didn't feel like a loser.   Thank you, Joan!  

Sunday, 8 July 2012

K's FIAF #96


What she wouldn't give to escape...hide, even, from the pain that never seemed to stop, that dogged her heels like a snapping cur, ready to maul and devour.  Maybe she could slip back to Shalott, disappear in the tower.  If she never looked out, no one would find her, and the wounds would heal...

Two Old Ladies...

...both white haired, one in a black car, one in a red,
 gave me pause again today.

Mrs. Black Car (sorry, I was too busy watching what all was happening with her to notice make and model!) was leaving CVS (a pharmacy, FYI for non-Americans), wielding her cane like a spiffy third leg.  Mrs. Red Car (same excuse re: make and model) was arriving, unloading her snappy red walker with the handy wheels, on her way into CVS.

Mrs. BC trembled.  Heck, let me be totally frank -- Mrs. BC shook and bobbled from the neck up.  I watched her key open her car door, hands steady as a rock, while her head bobbled furiously.  I watched her get in, start the car, back it out of its spot, and bobble away, her thin, speckled arms steady on the steering wheel.

Mrs. RC did not bobble.  Dressed for the warm weather in a peasant skirt and top, she fetched her walker from the boot of her hatchback, and before pushing her extra legs ahead of her into the store, she drank daintily from a covered bottle of water (I presume -- it'd be a pretty scary thing if she were swigging liquor, don't you think?)

Tears sprang to my eyes.  I wiped them away surreptitiously (Mini Me was in the back seat, and I don't cry for anyone to see), but my fingers were chased by more tears.  I scrabbled for a pen so I could try to give words to all that I was feeling.  Because this non-incident, this little episode out of time, a drop in the bucket of my Sunday, had burst open the floodgates that I had been valiantly holding closed, fingers in the dyke, trying to keep my emotions contained, since Friday morning.

I began to chronicle the moment, and then we left, and I was too busy sniffling quietly, so as not to draw attention to myself, and swallowing the rest of the flood of tears, making sure they did not spill.  By the time I got home, I was under control again.  I emptied the dishwasher, then repacked it with the dirty dishes in the sink, talked to my friend for almost an hour, and tried to keep HER spirits up (she's the one who was not only rated unsatisfactory, but also discontinued).  I had wanted to wait till after her meeting with the union tomorrow to tell her my bad news -- no use in depressing her more, eh? -- but she asked, and I had no choice.

Conversation over, I came upstairs, changed into comfy "yard" clothes (a Jamaican expression for clothes you wear at home), and sat down to transcribe the notes I had begun to make.  Why would the sight of two old ladies make me cry, you ask?  To answer that, you'll need to come back with me to yesterday.  I am on my way to the supermarket to buy breakfast fixings -- eggs, bacon (two kinds) milk, orange juice -- and it occurs to me that in two more years, I will be a "free agent".  

Retirement is supposed to free one to move on to the next task in this new phase of life.  But it brings new questions, such as, how do I live in the manner to which I have become accustomed if no one will hire me because I'm older?  I asked myself that question as I drove out of the supermarket parking lot.  Nobody hires 56-year-old ex-assistant principals (that's how old I'll be when I leave the DOE).  Heck, no one wants to hire me NOW, for crying out loud -- witness Friday morning's cold rejection! Which makes me ask another question -- am I a has-been?  Is menopause NOT, after all, the worst thing that can happen to an older woman?  

I've never had to think about being unemployed before. When I was young, fresh out of university, I knew I would get a job.  And when I left one, another one always opened for me.  I took it all for granted, as my right, almost, for being an upstanding citizen, a dedicated, hard-working person, a valuable contributor to society.  I was strong, I was invincible...I was young.

Being rejected for a position I KNOW I could have handled has made me question myself, and wonder if I am really everything I thought I was.  I wonder why I was rejected, and all the answers make me feel a combination of anger, frustration, and fear. Overwhelming fear.  What if I can't contribute to the family coffers when I leave the DOE?  We will lose the house, and have to move...again.  What ELSE will we lose because of me?  Because I'm older, washed up, useless in a society that only values youth, that sees me and thinks "has been", "over", "past it"?

I cannot get past the vision of me, thirty years from now, head bobbling as I lean on my walker on my way out of the pharmacy.  Will THAT be my claim to fame -- that I can drive myself to the pharmacy and back without killing anyone or myself?  Will that be all my life will be worth?  What can I do to avoid such a pitiful end?  I've spent my public life defining myself in terms of my vocation. Without it, what am I?  Who am I?

I know this sounds like a self-pitying blog, a whining, boo-hooing blog, but that isn't my intention at all.  I'm just scared, for the first time since I was a wet-behind-the-ears BA beginning her first job at Manchester High School in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies.  Any and all suggestions, advice, whatever, will be more than welcome.  I'm sinking fast into a pit that not even housework is pulling me from completely...

Maybe this Kenny Chesney song will do the trick, eh?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Fiction in a Flash # 96

(Sorry this is not in great spirits, as you know.)

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.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Friday, 6 July 2012

It May Not Always Be So

it may not always be so; and i say

that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch

another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch

his heart, as mine in time not far away;

if on another’s face your sweet hair lay

in such silence as i know, or such

great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,

stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be—

you of my heart, send me a little word;

that i may go unto him, and take his hands,

saying, Accept all happiness from me.

Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird

sing terribly afar in the lost lands

~ e. e. cummings

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Moving Images Challenge #57/CRC #86



"Jenny?  Is that you?  Jeez, girl, you sound terrible!"

"Thanks for waking me up to compliment me, Tansie!"

"Oh pooh, don't go all sarcastic on me, please!  And what do you mean by wake you up?  It's after noon!"

"So?  Is there some rule that says I have to get out of bed before noon?"

"Jenny," (patiently) "I know you're on leave, but this is ridiculous!  You can't spend the rest of your holiday holed up in your room!"

"Why not?  Besides, it's raining, so I can't go out."

A sigh.  "Look, Jenny, why don't I come over and we can make a gourmet meal together like old times, and after we eat, we can go for a drive.  The weatherman says the rain will stop soon."

"Thanks, Tansie, but I'm fine.  I don't feel like cooking."

"Jennifer Thomas, you 'haven't felt like' doing a whole lot of stuff since Jim passed.  It's time to let someone in to be with you and help you go through this!"

"I'm fine, Tansie!  Tell Mom I'm fine, she doesn't have to worry!"

A pause.  "You want me to tell our 86-year-old mother, whom you haven't spoken to in over a month, that you're okay?  And you expect her to believe me porque why?  Don't forget, she knows about the job you didn't get, before Jim died.  Two major losses, Jenny, one after the other.  Mom's beside herself with worry, and you want ME to tell her you're fine? Well you can forget it!  If you want Mom to know you're fine, YOU tell her yourself!"

A shrug.  "Sure, Tansie, I'll tell her soon."  Swiping at a tear.  "Thanks for calling me, anyway."

"Oh no, you're not!  You're NOT brushing me off this time!  When are you gonna call Mom?  She's home now."

"I don't know.  Maybe when I get out of bed."

"When will that be?"

"In a minute, Tansie!  If you'd get off the bloody phone I would, for goodness sake!"

Another pause.  "When was the last time you ate?"


"Jenny?  Jenny!  Don't tell me you haven't eaten!" Low cursing.  "Jesus!  I'm coming over there right now, and you're gonna eat if I have to drench you like a horse getting his meds!  You hear me?"


Sniffling, then broken singing.  "Rain, rain, go away! Come again some other day!  Maybe I'll come out to play..."

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

"ITSBUKAY" ~ More Vanity! :P

These I took over the last two days, before I exhausted the battery in the camera, on my daily commute last week. I love the spoof on Hyacinth Bucket of "Keeping Up Appearances" -- you know me, I'm an Anglophile who loves the Britcoms, so "ITSBUKAY" is a favorite now! LOL! Enjoy!

It's Your Birthday, America!

So, it's the 4th of July, and I figure I'd do birthday music, instead of pontificating about weighty subjects such as independence, patriotism, US politics, and the like.  I'd keep things light, fresh, crisp...entertaining. 

Of course, there will always be the folk who will dig into even the best things to find the one discordant note.  If you are one such person, GO AWAY, NOW!  I won't tolerate any disharmonious notes on this blog today.  I don't care WHO you are -- this is MY page, MY blog, MY rules!  Keep your misery to yourself today!  Any comment I deem to be not in the spirit of lighthearted entertainment, or conducive to maintaining that joyful lightness of spirit, I WILL DELETE, with NO EXPLANATIONS or APOLOGIES beforehand (which is what I usually do)! This is NOT a political blog!

For the rest of us, enjoy the selections, and a happy 4th!  

Don't the Marines sound wonderful?  Next up, a soulful rendition of one of my favorite American patriotic songs...

This next song is a favorite of many in this country, and I hear it most often on the country radio station I wake up to every morning -- WRWD 107.3 FM.  I like its grandeur, and the lyrics...and the pictures chosen to go along with this video are pretty neat, too, don't you think?

This next prayer, simple but profound, is one that many outside of the United States pray daily, despite its not being their "home, sweet home"!  And Celine Dion gives me goosebumps in this rendition!

Finally, "The Star-Spangled Banner", done three ways...and Goosebump City every time!  First, Faith Hill...

Then, Whitney Houston...

Oh man!  *sigh*  God, I love good music!  Finally, an orchestral rendition, to round out this blog, which began with musicians playing.

Happy birthday, America!

Meet Twoey

Remember two years ago I introduced you to a stray cat that adopted us, the calico we named Copper? Remember that poor Copper died in late winter, earlier this year?

Well, yesterday, another stray arrived, almost two years to the day. I've named her Twoey (aka Copper #2), and yeah I think it may be a she-cat. I'll have to see if she will let me have a look. :)

Now, can any other of my cat-loving friends, or maybe my vet friends, tell me what sort of cat Twoey is? She is no ordinary least it doesn't look ordinary to me. Aside from her extreme skinniness -- the poor thing is literally skin and bones -- she is a very long cat, and were she at her proper weight, she'd be BIG! I think she's old, too -- there's a line of grey fur down her bony spine.

My hubby has told our youngest not to feed Twoey. Fortunately for the cat, I'm NOT my youngest child! 'Nuff said, I think!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

K's FIAF #95


"It's not what you think."

"And what's that?"

"What's what?"

"What do I think it is?"

"You think it's wine."

"Are you saying it's not?"


Silence.  Then, "Aren't you going to ask me what it is, then?"

Shrug.  "No."

"Aren't you even a bit curious?"

"What I am is bored.  Next!"

The image vanished.