One Lovely Blog Community

lovely-blog

First and foremost, I want to thank JcCee over at Journey to a Healthy Me for nominating me.  I am both honored and delighted.  I know it’s taken me some time to actually write this post up, but I guess it’s better late than not at all.

The rules for this award are:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you for the award

2.  Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog

3.  Share 7 facts or things about yourself

4.  Nominate 15 bloggers that you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog

Seven Facts about myself

  1. I’m a redhead with all the feisty attitude that entails (It’s true, you don’t want to mess with us!).  I had someone tell me a few years ago that my hair looked more brown than red and I was SO offended.  Which is funny because when I was growing up, my red hair was my curse.  Kids made fun of me daily and I pretty much hated it until I was in high school or even after.  I’ve never dyed my hair because I was lucky enough to have the color most women were trying to achieve through chemicals, but now that it’s really starting to show the gray, I’m wondering if I should try it out.  Maybe a streak of purple right up front to really freak my boyfriend out!
  2. I started playing the piano at a young age and have always enjoyed playing.  I can’t say I know all the rules which makes playing new music difficult sometimes, but once I could read music, I could pretty much play anything you put in front of me.  The one thing I could never do was play something without the sheet music.  I’m always amazed when people can recreate what they hear or just sit down and randomly play some jazz, or something.
  3. I was stuck in a choir class in seventh grade as one of my electives and I remember not wanting to be in that class, but by the end of that year, I was hooked.  I love singing.  I sang in a choir all through high school and even won a regional competition for singing a solo my senior year.  It was something I always thought I would pursue and even ended up taking voice lessons a few years ago and really loved it, but couldn’t think of where I was going to take it, so I let it go.  You can now find me singing in the car or along with my iPod or sometimes scaring the crap out of my kids when I bust out with a song in the middle of the kitchen for no reason at all!
  4. I remember when I was pregnant with Andru and I was somewhere around 190 pounds (somehow justifying that to myself because I was pregnant) and I was thinking, at least I’m not over 200 pounds.  About two years later, I hit the 210 mark.  It was a pretty low point in my life, but not just because I was overweight.  I made a lot of really difficult changes in my life and within a year  of starting on NutriSystem (I only lost about 20 pounds on that program) I had lost over 60 pounds.  I am a much happier, healthier me today!
  5.  When I was 11, my family rented a houseboat on Lake Powell for a week or maybe even two, I can’t remember.  One rather hot, sweltering day, we all decided to go swimming.  We must have been moving locations or something because the driver of the boat had just stopped it so we could take a dip, but it was actually still moving forward slightly.  My uncles and cousins all jumped off the side of the boat, but I was so excited, I just ran and jumped off the front and before I knew it, it was over my head and I was swimming faster than I think I ever have.  I remember looking back at the propellers thinking I was going to die.  I’m not sure I really understood the gravity of the situation at that young age, but I remember it now and it freaks me out!
  6. I have a huge family – I am actually number 8 of 9.  I have two older brothers who had big families as well, so it’s hard to keep my nieces and nephews straight.  I have no idea how my parents keep all the grandkids and great grandkids straight.  I’m happy with my three. 🙂
  7. As you probably already know from my blog, I love running.  I’m not a crazy marathon runner (those people amaze and confound me!), in fact, the farthest distance I have reached to date is 5 miles.  I would like to run a half marathon with my sister next year, but I’m not sure I’m up to that level of crazy yet.  I will keep you all updated cause I know you’re dying to find out! 🙂

Below is a list of the fifteen blogs I admire.  I think I need to expand my follow list as many of these are either no longer accepting nominations or have received this award multiple times, although I have to say, I feel like I’m constantly behind in my reader as is.  I did an actual link to their blog so you can easily check them out if you haven’t already.

Pavorisms

Boring Broad Runs

Life In Progress

Odyssey of a Novice Writer

Willowdot21

Shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

Article94

Thain in Vain

Just Something I Was Thinking About

My Creative Journey

A Writer’s Path

Mari Wells

Dylan J Morgan

Fabricating Fiction

So I want to be an author…

Thanks again to all you amazing bloggers out there for making this such a lovely experience.

Happy writing, reading and blogging to you all! ❤

Advertisements

Mona

 

flash-fiction-badge

It’s time for the week 43 flash fiction challenge from the ever incredible Thain in Vain.  This week’s promptLet’s write a scary story! Use this picture as your inspiration!

mona-lisa-8

I watched the movie Oculus about a month ago with my son and it scared the crap out of me!  This story was inspired by that movie and, of course, the photo.  I hope you enjoy!

Mona

I’m sitting on a cot in the sparse room, legs crossed, clutching a blanket around me.  Dr. Lindstrom sits on a chair in the middle of the room, out of place but stoic, like a queen visiting her mentally disturbed subjects, offering what she thinks is solace but what comes across as disdainful judgment.

I know what she thinks. I also know why I’m locked in a room with bars on the windows.

“Are you still having the nightmares?”  Her voice echoes off the cement walls.

“Nightmare.  Just one.  The same one every time.”

It started right after dad brought the painting home from the flea market.  He was so excited he didn’t waste any time hanging it above the desk in his office.  I didn’t get it.  I had always thought Mona Lisa was an ugly painting, namesake or not.

“I’ll look into increasing your medication.  Let’s see if we can get them to stop.”

“It won’t help.  You can’t help me.”

“I can’t help you if you won’t help yourself.”  Her words bite at me with their razor sharp condemnation.

I bow my head and give in to the tears that never seem far away anymore.

That first night, I dreamed of the woman in the painting, only she was different, changed into something else.  Her face was wrinkled and morphed, her hands claw-like with cobwebs imprisoning them against her chest.  She looked straight at me, her inky black eyes popping out of her skull, blank expression never wavering.

The nightmares continued every night and bled into the daylight hours.  I started losing time, not remembering things I’d done.  My parents were concerned, but I think they were embarrassed too because they didn’t take me to a doctor or a priest.  Maybe they were planning on it.  Everything happened so fast, it’s hard to know how they would have responded in a week or a month.

“Mona, do you remember anything else about that night?  In our last session, you told me you went into your Dad’s office after waking up from a nightmare.”

“I don’t know,” I mumble into the blankets.  I’m so tired.

My tear-filled eyes close and I’m dragged into the darkness, leaving Dr. Lindstrom behind in the cell.

I open the door to Dad’s office.  My heart is beating loudly in my ears and my breath is coming in gasps.  I don’t want to go in, but something pulls at me, forces me to walk into the mostly dark room.  The house is still around me and I don’t hear anything but the maelstrom from my body.  My eyes dart around trying to see what brought me here and finally settle on the Mona Lisa with her bizarre half smile and slightly vacant eyes. 

Slowly, the image transforms into the demented image in my nightmare and I’m screaming, trying in vain to run out of the room.   She is standing now, stepping out of the painting, walking slowly, inevitably toward me and I am helpless to stop it. 

Assimilate Now

I haven’t participated in Chuck’s challenge for a while now and I have no idea why I jumped in this week.  It is SO not my thing.  But for some reason, as soon as I read the challenge, I thought of this and it wouldn’t leave me alone. The challenge: a horror story as a spam email.  I’m not sure how horrific it is and I can’t say it came easily, but it’s finally done.  I hope it works! 🙂

Assimilate Now

To: All Humans

From: The Borg

Subject: Assimilate Now

We are the Borg. We are here to assimilate you. Make no mistake, it will happen. We are far superior to your puny humanity and you have been chosen to merge with us. The choice has already been made and we always make the correct one. No one loses.

You knew this day would come, however, it as far better than you can possibly imagine. We offer solace in one unit, one thought, one voice. No more fighting to survive in a sea of voices, wondering who you will hurt or who will hurt you. No more feeling left out of the group or feeling inadequate amongst superior humans, if there is such a thing. With the Borg, you are us and we are you, forever one, forever elevated.

We will take your ineffectual human body and add to it. You will be stronger, faster, more than you have ever been. We make sure this is a relatively painless process, but what you gain is power beyond anything you have known as a small human.

You are flawed. You are weak. We are not. With us, you will find perfection.

Humans have single-handedly destroyed Earth and there is unnecessary suffering. As the Borg, these things will soon be remedied. There will be no more wars, famine, or disease. If humans remain as they are, Armageddon is at hand and the Earth will soon be destroyed.

Throughout our travels, we have come to realize that force isn’t always necessary; however, this will be your only opportunity to join us freely.

By clicking on the link at the bottom of this email, your location will immediately be transmitted to us and within minutes, we will be with you. A syringe will be used to release nanoprobes into your body and soon, you will be a part of the hive mind and we will be one.

If you choose to skip this step for whatever simple-minded reason, you will soon be assimilated in other, perhaps more painful ways. We are already among you, walking in your midsts, nameless in the crowds. We will find you.

We are the Borg. Have no doubts, resistance is and always will be futile.

Assimilate Now

Belfry Echo

Thain in Vain’s week 42 challenge was to take any story previously submitted and finish it.  I read through a lot of entries but finally settled on TiV’s story she submitted for the week 38 challenge.  I remember the first time I read it wondering how Josie was going to get her revenge, so I decided to try my hand at it.  The first part of the story is hers in purple and I pick it up in black.  I hope you enjoy.

Belfry Echo

Josie Zefher stood in front of shelves full of heads in jars, animal and human, lined up like pickle jars in grocery store. She stared at the heads, shrunken and petrified. They stared back at her through murky green water and scratched glass.

A sign to the left asked customers not to touch the jars. She thought that seemed a tad unnecessary, until a jar containing a floating cat head caught her attention. The head was facing down, and she reached to jostle it back to face her. Just as her hand gripped the jar, a stern, female voice with a clipped tone cut through the stillness, “Please, do not touch.”

Josie snapped her hand back, “Sorry,” she called into the small space.

“Not to worry, dear,” said the voice from behind her. She turned to find an old, ancient really, woman, wearing a tartan shawl wrapped around a set of frail shoulders, her pursed and wrinkled face, rivaled those in the jars, with eyes hidden by sagging lids. It was her long, full hair, a coxcomb red hair that stuck Josie. It seemed wrong on her, but Josie couldn’t quite put her finger on why.

“I love your shop,” said Josie. She watched as the old woman hobbled closer, clinging to her cane, an elaborate wooden thing that resembled a branch with knots and knobs. He red hair fell forward, concealing her face. Too youthful, thought Josie. That’s it. It was not the hair of a woman half her age. She wondered if it was a wig.

“That’s nice to hear, lovie. The Belfry Odds likes you, too. Is there anything I can help you with?” Her voice was clear and strong. And too youthful, again Josie thought.

“Honestly, I just stepped in to waste some time before meeting my husband for lunch.” She checked her watch. She was to meet John at two at the new restaurant in the Warehouse District, and he didn’t like it when she was late. She understood, as he was a busy lawyer, and had finally made partnership. Sometimes, she it seemed she didn’t see him for weeks at a time, but she again she understood he was building a life for them.

“Before you go, sweetie, let me show you my most recent acquisition. It’s exquisite.

“I really must get going,” said Josie.

“Please, dearie. Humour an old woman.”

Josie sighed, “Okay, just for a few minutes.” Josie followed the old woman as she hobbled towards a small doorway at the back of the store. Josie looked at her watch again. She would hurry this along, humour the old lady, and have a great story to tell John. The old woman pushed aside a curtain of beads, the jittery cacophony startled Josie. The hair of her neck prickled at she entered the small room. She wanted to turn and leave (run), but didn’t want to offend the sad, old woman, so she pushed past her gut feeling and entered the room.

It was dark. She heard the flick of a lighter and crackle of a wick as a candle sprung to life, illuminating the small space. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Josie looked around the space that she was in, but that seemed to occupy her. She felt as though she had been here before, in this exact moment, thinking this exact thing. A rush of chemicals flooded her body, making her feel queasy.

“Over here, Joss,” a voice said from deeper in the room. It was the old woman’s voice, but it was different, deeper, and Josie detected a smirk. She was positive she heard the old woman say Joss, a name she hadn’t heard in a long time, but how could this woman know that name. She followed the flicker of the candle, deeper into the room.

“Here it is,” said the old woman as she came into view, her red hair, aflame and cascading around her face. Her cane was hanging on a shelf next to Josie’s head, and she was standing upright, holding a small, dark wooden box. Josie moved closer to the woman, and peered in the box. It contained a tiny human skeleton, nestled on a bed of purple silk. The pale, fragile skeleton was on its back, staring upwards with dark, empty sockets. Josie jerked back and turned to leave.

“This is Joss. You remember him, don’t you?” Josie felt her world shrink and implode as a cascade of memories flashed across her consciousness. She remembered how proud John was at the prospect of being a father. He had told their friends and family, decorated the baby room, and decided a name even before she had hit the first three months. He wanted to name the baby after his grandfather, Ross, but she didn’t like the name. He suggested Joss, and she feel in love with it.

She lost Joss at thirty-six weeks. She knew something was wrong. She felt the loss of the connection, but her body still needed to give birth. She hadn’t thought about it in a long time, choosing to look forward, yet the memory of dilating, pushing, and giving birth to death is ever-present, just behind the mask. Darkness spilled into her vision, as she sank to her knees.

“You don’t know this, but John sacrificed your first-born to me. He wanted to make partner. For his, for your, sacrifice, I have youth, forever. Josie saw the women grow younger before her eyes; the lines and wrinkles smoothing, green eyes growing bright, gnarled hands opening, curved spine straightening. Red hair glowed on the head of the beautiful young woman who now stood before Josie.

“Josie, I want you to have the skeleton of Joss. For your sacrifice, you will have revenge on anyone who has or will do you wrong. John did you wrong. So wrong. Get your revenge for Joss.”

Josie cried out in disbelief. Her pain palatable in the room. Her memories piecing together those last few months before losing Joss. She wanted to believe everything was okay. He barely looked at her and was not there for the birth. He was working on a critical case. Again, she understood.

But not now.

She looked at the woman and reached for the box, “I’ll take it.”

**

Leaving the artifice of the dutiful wife behind in The Belfry Odds, Josie quietly hurled accusations at John in the restaurant at lunch – cheating, lying, controlling – everything but the real reason she was vibrating with vengeance.  His phone buzzed through his shock and the mounting tension, managing to end lunch prematurely.  Without a word, she let him leave, let him think she would let it go.

She didn’t have a concrete plan until she arrived home alone, the box still clutched in her arms.  Dying was too easy.  He didn’t deserve something that simple.  He deserved a lifetime of misery to match the holes he had torn open inside her, one in her heart and one in her womb.

Sometime around midnight, she heard the lock turn in the door announcing John’s arrival and she didn’t waste any time continuing what she had started in the restaurant.

She shouted at him, threw things, and followed him in and out of rooms when he tried to disengage.  He placated her, begged her, shushed her, worried the neighbors would hear.

She was counting on it.

Finally, in a frozen silence that descended between them, Josie stood at the top of the stairs, John only a few feet away.  With a creak that echoed through the stillness of the house, Jose slowly opened the box she still held and showed him the contents.

She watched the color drain from his face and in that moment, she hated him more than she ever thought possible.

Before he could speak, she laid the box on the floor in front of him and without saying a word, hurled herself down the wooden staircase.

“Josie! Oh my God!”  She heard John scream before her head slammed against a stair and darkness swam before her eyes.  She didn’t feel her body smash against the hardwood floor at the bottom of the stairs, didn’t know how long she blacked out before coming to.

The first thing she heard was John’s voice.

“I don’t know why she did it!  Please, you have to hurry.  She’s unconscious.”

She slowly assessed her body, checking to feel how much damage she had done.  She assumed she had a concussion and her right side was throbbing, all the way from her leg to her shoulder.  She decided it was best not to move and continued to lay on the floor, eyes closed, slowly breathing in and out, waiting.

It didn’t take long before she heard the sirens stop in front of their house; heard John run to the door to let them in.  She heard them kneel next to her with their equipment, so many voices and noises swirling around her.

“Josie, can you hear me?”

She slowly opened her eyes.

“You’re awake.  That’s good.  Can you tell me where you’re hurt?”

Her soft voice barely made it past her lips. “Right side.”

She cringed when they put a brace on her neck and heard them lay a stretcher next to her.

“Josie, we’re going to lift you up onto the stretcher.  We’ll be as gentle as we can.”

She cried out when they lifted her, the pain intensifying.  Once she was on the stretcher, she opened her eyes and managed to find John.  He was standing a few feet away, speaking to a police officer.

“You’re saying she just threw herself down the stairs?”  She saw him nod and knew this was the moment.

Gathering what little reserve she had left, Josie screamed, “No!” as tears pooled in her eyes and escaped out the corners.

“It was John.  He pushed me.”

The Shape of Autumn

This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where this week we were prompted to write about shape.

The Shape of Autumn

October is one of those months that is both my favorite and least favorite month all at the same time.  October is really the depths of Autumn where the trees are changing colors so rapidly you could almost see it happening if you stopped and watched; the air is crisp and either cold enough to see your breath or the sun is so hot it’s almost hotter than the hottest day in summer; there is also the smell of burnt leaves, that familiar smell that announces Autumn better than any other smell.  Put all together, it is a shape I love – the shape of Autumn.

There is also something that is rather difficult.  I realized today it’s almost like my body can feel the sun falling further away and I know it’s only a few short weeks before the sun shines less and less.  It’s not so much the cold or the snow; it’s really the lack of sun.  It’s almost like I start fighting every day for specks of happiness, which strikes me as crazy since I love Autumn.  Of all the seasons, it has the most depth.

Since I started running a few years ago, it seemed to be something I did in Spring and Summer and I had always stopped or stagnated by the time Autumn came around.  I was running Monday evening and realized this was the perfect weather to run in.  My running times have reflected my love, although I’m not sure if that can all be attributed to the season, but I think some of it can.  There is something so lovely about running through leaves crunching under my feet and the feel of cool wind in my hair.  I’m also loving running just about the time the sun falls behind the Mountains in the west.  It also freaks me out because the time I run every day will soon be shrouded in darkness and I might have to start thinking of long sleeves and lights or reflective gear… the thought of running on the treadmill makes me cringe even more than the thought of running in the cold darkness of early evening.

This is truly a stream of consciousness post because I feel like I have so much to say and yet I feel like I’ve said what I wanted to…

The shape of Autumn is truly beautiful to me, but it is also hard to feel depression setting in; I have to fight harder and harder every day for clarity and light.  But the feel, sounds and smells of Autumn all make up for it in so many ways.  If I can just hold on to those moments, spend time in those feelings that Autumn gives me, I can stay above the darkness hovering just on the horizon.  Most days I win.

I hope you are all having a lovely Autumn day, wherever you may be!

The Storm

flash-fiction-badge

This was written in response to Thain in Vain’s weekly flash fiction challenge where this week the prompt was: Two convenience store employees are stuck at work during a blizzard. 

I’m a little over at 517 words, but I hope you enjoy.

The Storm

Rand was at the counter when the door flew open and Gyllian stumbled in along with a flurry of snow that coated the floor a few feet past the door. The storm was getting worse.

“Gyllian! I’m surprised you’re here. That drive must have been brutal!”

She was slowly taking off her gloves and scarf, shaking off the lingering snow that had piled on her head and shoulders during the short sprint from her car.

“It was horrible. But honestly, I’d rather be here than home.” Her eyes looked pinched around the edges, haunted.

“Everything okay?” Rand didn’t want to pry, but there had been other days, other things he’d noticed in the six months they’d worked together.

His question was met with silence as she disappeared into the back room to deposit her layers in what was strangely called the employee lounge. It was a small, stark room filled with dirty linoleum, a table with a few broken chairs and a counter with an odd assortment of kitchen appliances, stains and garbage.

She returned quickly, knowing she was late for her shift.

“You can go, Rand. I’m sure it will be dead in here tonight.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, right! No way in hell I’m driving in that shit.”

Her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes as she busied herself tidying counters that didn’t need it. “Well, I hope you brought a good book. It’s going to be a long night.”

He watched her work, wondering what was so bad at home that she would venture out into the storm. He could only imagine how bad it must be, but he wasn’t sure how he could possibly help. He’d been attracted to her from day one. With her long blonde hair, soft green eyes and killer smile, it was hard not to be, and the attraction had only intensified after working with her. Her kindness and generosity touched everything and everyone around her.

He wasn’t sure if she felt it too, the electricity sizzling between them whenever they were close, but it didn’t matter. She had someone at home and he wasn’t a home-wrecker.

The trouble was, he knew she wasn’t happy. He also suspected it might be more. Makeup hid a lot, but it didn’t hide everything, and today was no exception. He hadn’t ever crossed the line into personal territory, but for some reason, the whiteout had started a tempest inside him and he boldly left the counter and walked over to her.

“Gyll?” He stopped only a few feet away from her and waited for her to turn. “I don’t want to pry, but I couldn’t help but notice…” His voice trailed off as his hand lifted and traced the slight discoloring underneath her eye.

She flinched as tears welled in her eyes.

She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. They both knew the truth, but it was too raw. Too real.

They spent the long cold night in the deserted convenience store, the storm raging outside not half so violent as the storm he started when he decided to cross the line.

Fly Away

I celebrated a birthday last week and it was a fabulous day, despite having to work.  I’m not one for birthdays, necessarily, but since it was my birthday, I decided to just let it be whatever it was and enjoy it.  My very first call of the day was from Adelle.  She called to tell me that she had planned on sending me flowers but she had been out shopping the day before and found something that was perfect for me.  Since she had just picked it up, it was going to arrive late, but she told me Happy Birthday and said she would mail it out the next day.

She ended up sending it to her Dad’s house; probably because she remembered that address and didn’t have mine handy?  I don’t really know and it doesn’t really matter.  He was nice enough to bring it to Jaxon’s football game yesterday morning where I opened it.

I found this little gem inside a box wrapped in tissue paper.

2014-10-12 17.50.11

It’s a beautiful stone bird that fits in the palm of my hand.  It’s truly lovely, but I honestly couldn’t figure out why she had thought of me when she bought it.  I’m not necessarily a bird person – I don’t collect them and they don’t hold any significance for me, so I didn’t really know why it was a must buy for me.  I still loved it though, so I sent her a text thanking her and letting her know I loved it.

She had told me on my birthday that there was an email that went with it that she was going to send, but I couldn’t read the email until I got the package.  She never ended up sending the email, so I had totally forgotten about it.  When I texted her, she immediately replied “I have to send you the email.”

This is what I read:

A bird
Not just any bird
A bird to remind you that no matter how hard or how difficult your life may seem,
you are always able to fly away
You are not held down by your struggles
You hold those struggles in the palm of your hand and if need be,
you may drop them and soar

I love you mama,

Love,
Adelle

P.S. Soar your heart out today

2014-10-12 17.50.25

Needless to say, I cried.

I’ve been through a lot in my life and Adelle was with me through quite a bit of it.  I’m not sure I have the words to express how much I love her; how proud I am of who she has grown into and how loving and kind she is.

I’m sure this message will mean different things to different people, but I wanted to share it.  I hope we can all remember that no matter what life throws at us, we all have the ability to fly beyond it.

I also wanted to share one of my favorite pictures of my daughter.  When I think of soaring above struggles, I think of the unfettered joy shining from her face as she’s laughing.  This is truly what life is all about!

2014-10-12 17.54.38