Sense or Not, Writing and Running Happen

I’m finding that there are times when I just need a reset; a full stop; a “whoa, slow the hell down and take it easy” day or two; not only with my writing but with my exercising as well. I’m starting to wonder if both these activities require a small lack of sense. Is it really sensible to write words and create characters and put them down on paper (read computer)? Is it really sensible to run until your muscles are sore and your lungs hurt and you feel like you can’t move?

That makes it sound like I don’t like what I’m doing, but the truth is, I love them both. They have both become serious passions in my life, and sense or not, I’m going to continue doing both. I just need to find how they work in my life so I don’t need this full-stop, recharge moments that start out as one day and sometimes turn into a whole week.

I started NaNoWriMo like a whole bunch of other people but didn’t finish. I know there are many people who do the same. The one thing it did was recharge my love for my WIP and I have more words than I did before the beginning of November. It also made me realize that so many of you writers out there who have offered advise about writing were absolutely correct. In order to get down your first draft, you have to let go of perfection and just get the words down. I was doing that, going along better than I thought when I happened to write some things that I thought were crap. At that point, I stopped and couldn’t even bring myself to look at it and then it was like all sense had left me and I went, I don’t know, three weeks without even thinking about it. Last week, I finally decided to read that last part that totally freaked me out, and you know what? It wasn’t half bad. So, I learned some lessons during NaNoWriMo that I think will help me going forward and I have more words to show for it, I just don’t have 50,000 words to show for it.

But you know what? That’s okay too. (Or at least, I need to tell myself this rather than the torrent of bad stuff I normally tell myself about not achieving a goal). Writing and even exercising are more about the journey for me, even though I have a goal I’m working towards.

I ran in our Utah Human Race on Thanksgiving Day. It was pretty amazing knowing that at least half the proceeds go to the Food Bank. I’m happy my sister-in-law signed us up as a team and even though I was the only one who ran the 5k, it recharged my love for running. It also made me wonder how much sense there is in it. Who runs in 30 degree weather with wind blowing in your face and making your eyes water and run, freezing down your face? Who enjoys  that?

Apparently I do.

Before Thursday, I hadn’t run or really exercised in about two weeks. I was feeling lazy and pretty horrible, but the weather really freaked me out. It don’t think it’s so much the weather as it is the lack of light. Running in the dark isn’t as fun as running in the full light of day (for me, at least).

I guess what this post is about is that I’m still a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Maybe I never will. Maybe I will always have days or weeks where I have to just stop and rest and then start it all up again. Maybe that’s my process and I don’t even know it?

I’m going to repeat what I said above, but that’s okay because SoCS…

Sense or not, I love writing and running and I’m going to continue struggling through and doing what I love however I can, even if that means taking some time off to recharge.

Thank you all for tuning into my late SoCS post (because I was in a recharge moment yesterday and didn’t want to force myself to write anything). Linda prompted us with the words sense/scents/cents/sent.

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Missing My Baby Girl

This is the first year that my baby girl won’t be home for some of the big holidays and Thanksgiving is one of them. We talk all the time so it’s not like I’m not a part of her life, but it just isn’t the same. I need to see her face, to give her a huge hug to… I don’t know, just feel her presence in the same room with me. I’m truly grateful she is getting this opportunity to go to the college she chose and is having a fabulous time doing it, I’m just wishing it wasn’t over 2,000 miles away.

Luckily, as she reminded me this morning, it’s only 24 more days until she will be here for Christmas!

I wrote her a poem for her birthday a little over a month ago and thought I would share it with you all today. I hope you enjoy!

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Adelle

Unplanned you were delivered
Into my arms
A gift
Curiously independent
Adoringly faithful
Willfully precocious

Instinctively you were named
Adelle…
Sweet
Kind
Tender
Noble
A cherished treasure
My lovely child

Unexpected you grew
Into a lady
Infuriatingly kind
Lovingly strong
Loudly courageous
Always my baby

The Truth About Lucky

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I’m just in time for Thain in Vain’s weekly flash fiction challenge. To be perfectly honest, I’m just happy I got something written. It’s been a rough week and I’m thinking my mood came through in my story. The prompt this week: Your narrator discovers an object (or objects) hidden in the family home.

It’s coming in at 502 words.

The Truth About Lucky

It’s been a year since Lucky disappeared. One day he was sick and I was laying by him all day, praying with all my might that he would jump up and go outside and play ball with me; and the next day he was just gone.

I came home from school expecting him to jump on me and lick my face like he always did, but he wasn’t there.

“Mom, where’s Lucky?” She looked at me with watery eyes and got down on one knee like she did when she had something serious to say.

“Lucky’s in a better place now and he’s not in pain anymore.”

“Whaddya mean?” I was wringing my hands and wanted to bolt out the door but I didn’t even know why.

“Oh, honey!” Mom grabbed me and held me. I stood stiff and let her hold me, not really understanding what was going on. She didn’t say anything else and I didn’t ask. I knew in my heart that Lucky would come back. He just had to.

But I also knew that Mom was saying something else.

I started looking for him when Mom and Dad weren’t home or when they were busy. I looked everywhere. I scanned all the missing dog posters on lamp posts and thought of creating my own, but didn’t know where to start or how to do it.

I looked pretty hard for the first few months but then other things started taking up my time. It’s been a long time since I went out looking, but I think about Lucky every day.

Last night, I dreamed about him and woke up to the sound of his barks. I jumped up and was about to run outside towards the sound, but then I realized how dark it was and I got scared.

But tonight will be different. I’m prepared. I have a flashlight, my hoodie and his favorite ball. If I hear him again, I’m going to follow the sound and I’m going to find him.

**

I’m so wired, I can’t fall asleep and I jump at every sound. It starts to get pretty late and I’m just about to lay my head on my pillow and give up when I hear him. He sounds like he’s in the backyard so I grab the flashlight and quietly make my way outside. His barks are louder now so I follow the sound all the way to the corner of the yard by the back fence. He’s not anywhere to be seen but I could swear he was right in front of me.

I don’t know why but I fall down on my knees and start digging. I dig, slowly at first, but then I start hurling dirt in all directions and my hands are aching. The hole gets pretty big before my hands suddenly hit something hard and I grab the flashlight and shine it in the hole.

Lucky’s barking has stopped, but it doesn’t matter. I see the truth now.

Following in Grandma Myrtie’s Footsteps

My niece celebrated her sixteenth birthday tonight. I honestly can’t believe how time flies. I thought the shock of my own daughter turning sixteen would fade and other birthdays wouldn’t affect me as much, but it keeps happening. I guess it will continue through my life and one day I will say (if I’m lucky enough to last that long), “Will you look at that! I have a 50 year old daughter and son and another.”

When I turned sixteen, my grandmother gave me a special gift. She gave one to her daughter, my mother, when she turned sixteen as well. I’m not sure how long the tradition has been going, but at least that long. My grandmother passed away 18 years ago but this tradition was probably the last thing that was on my mind. My sister, on the other hand, was put in a unique position to meet and marry her husband whose mother met and became my Grandma Myrtie’s best friend when her sister married Grandma Myrtie’s brother. My sister’s mother-in-law decided to carry on the tradition with her grandchildren and my sister decided to do it with our kids as well.  She approached me when Adelle turned sixteen and helped me create one for her.

It is called a sweet sixteen. It is sixteen sugar cubes tied up in sixteen ribbons, all bound up together. My sister and her mother-in-law changed it a bit to personalize it a little more for each grandchild. They included charms and words written on the ribbons that served as wishes for the women as they entered their adult lives. They also started finding boxes to put them in and including the words type-written in the box. The other thing we started to include were the generational pictures we have. The last generation picture we took was a month before Grandma died when Adelle was only three. I wish I could find a picture of Adelle’s sweet sixteen, but I’m not even sure I took a picture of it. Below is the generation picture that was included in Adelle’s box.

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Tonight, my sister gave my niece her sweet sixteen. It was a touching, tender moment and made me remember when I gave Adelle hers. I love that my sister is following in Grandma Myrtie’s footsteps and continuing this beautiful tradition. Below are the pictures of my niece’s sweet sixteen. The best they could do on a generation picture was to include pictures of both my grandmother and my niece’s grandmother and then they took a picture with my mom, my sister and my niece.

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I think it turned out fabulously and know my niece will always cherish it.

This was also the cosplay party and I thought I would include pictures of all of us dressed up, or at least those of us who actually decided to dress up. I hope you enjoy the pictures. (I was Annie from League of Legends; Andru was Foxy from Five Nights at Freddie’s; Jaxon was a Dallas football player from Madden (pick a year); my niece was a demon hunter from Diablo III; my sister was… to be perfectly honest, I can’t remember. Some sort of seer or something from Diablo; and my brother was a party pooper and didn’t dress up). We had a blast and I especially loved the tradition and the fact that my sister has kept it going.

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This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week, Linda prompted us with the word “in”.

Mama

Chuck Wendig put up another “Stock Photo” challenge this week. This one is close to my heart because it was the very first flash fiction challenge I entered after starting my blog. I wasn’t sure I could write a story about anything, much less a story based on a photo, but I managed to muddle my way through it and even lived to see another day!

All the photos are pretty ridiculous and it makes me wonder how I ended up with such a somber story. I suppose that’s just creativity and imagination for you.

I chose number 5, shown below. Coming in at 973 words, I give you:

This bride, posing for photos in front of a tombstone.

Mama

Mama, are you there?

I don’t know if you’re listening, or if you can even hear me. I know you raised me to believe in God and life after death, but after everything I watched you go through, I’m not sure I still believe. How could God let you escape Papa’s abuse only to let you be taken less than two years later, your body filled with cancer that spread so quickly, they didn’t know how to stop it? How could he, if he really does have infinite wisdom, think it was in my best interest to be an orphan at sixteen? I don’t have any answers about God which makes me wonder if there is an afterlife; but I’d like to believe you are still with me, watching over me and loving me. I know the bones buried in the coffin six feet beneath me aren’t you, Mama. In fact, sometimes I imagine you’re a light shining in the heavens – one of those billions of stars – and when it twinkles, it’s your way of saying hello.

I can’t say I was sorry when Papa died. I always thought one or both of us would die by his hands, but as it turned out, he met his end when he stepped in front of that train in a drunken rage. I know you grieved for him in some small way, but I never did. His end was fitting.

You didn’t deserve it, though, Mama and I miss you every day. I’ll never forget how it was just the two of us those first few years, struggling to make it; how you worked two jobs just to put food on the table and allowed me to stay in school. I know it was always hard to be on the run from Papa, but we did it and I have to say, I am so proud of us! We escaped and managed to eek out a few years of happiness, even though it was hard sometimes.

But then we found out you had cancer and there was nothing they could do. Before I knew what hit me, you were gone, leaving me all alone in this world.

I always thought you would be with me through every step in life. I imagined you were waiting on the couch for me after my first date with Robbie and you listened to my excitement as I told you about my evening. How he took me to a real fancy restaurant and I was so intimidated I didn’t really want to go in, but he saw me hesitate and stopped to ask if I was okay. I would have asked you, “Is this for real, Mama? Are there really nice men in the world?” And you would have said, “Yes, Love, there are. Just listen to your instincts. They’re real strong in you and they’ll lead you straight.”

I imagined you were waiting at home for me after the first time he kissed me. I was so dizzy, Mama! I would have asked, “Is he supposed to stick his tongue in my mouth?” And you would have laughed and said, “Yes, Love.” And we would have talked into the night about how he said all the right things and made me feel things I’d never felt before.

You would have been the first person I called when he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was like a fairy tale and I felt like the happiest person alive. Did Papa do that, Mama? I don’t think you ever told me.

When I went to pick out my dress, you would have been with me, helping me choose the perfect one. “Are you sure you want that much cleavage, Love?” “You have such pretty shoulders, maybe a strapless one would be best.” I found one, Mama! Can you see it? Do you like it? The first thing I said when I found it was, “Mama would have loved this dress!” I hope I was right. I hope you can see it and love it as much as I do.

I always thought you would be there when my first baby was born. Don’t worry, Mama, I’m not pregnant yet, but Robbie and I want lots of kids. We talk about it all the time, so I don’t think it will be long before I am a Mama too. You would have been the best Grandma in the whole world! You probably wouldn’t have let the kids call you that. You would have said it made you sound old, but we would have come up with something fun for them to call you because I’m sure you would have been with us every single day, watching them grow, helping me be a Mama just like you.

In case you couldn’t tell, it’s my wedding day, Mama! Oh, how I wish you were here! I miss you so very much. But I wanted you to know that I am truly happy. Robbie is so kind and gentle and loving. He’s never raised a hand to me or even yelled at me. We talk about everything and he’s my best friend. I love him so much, Mama.

Anyway, I just wanted you to be a part of this day, so I stopped here on my way to the courthouse. I know you wouldn’t approve of that. You probably would have said, “You need to be married in a church before God,” but this is perfect for me and Robbie, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

If you could, will you please twinkle your lights tonight, brighter than all the rest? I need to know you’re with me; that you’re a part of my perfect day.

I love you, Mama. I’ll talk to you again soon.

Elements of a Costume

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to my niece’s 16th birthday party. First of all, I just can’t believe she’s 16. It’s not as jarring as when Adelle turned 16, but still… I give my sister crap all the time because she’s now going through things with her kids that I have already managed to get past. Driving, boys, letting them choose which high school they want to attend… And when I say managing to get past it, I mean it emotionally. I wrote a post a while back about how my children’s milestones have affected me far more than my own.

My niece’s birthday invite went something like this:

Video Game Birthday Party – Cosplay (dress up as favorite video game characters and scavenger hunt)

When I first read that, I think I rolled my eyes; although, I have to say it is definitely original. I actually like playing dress-up and have missed dressing up on Halloween the last few years. The people at the place I work now are all pretty straight-laced and no one bothers with it. The last place I worked actually had a contest every year even though I never did anything outrageous enough to win. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it… The last year I worked there, I dressed up as Sinead O’Connor, mainly because I had the bald head to pull it off. I also had a teenage daughter in the house and she had this metallic(ish) prom dress with black knee high converse that brought it all together. I was nominated in the contest but didn’t end up winning (I was totally robbed!).

I wasn’t necessarily planning on dressing up for my niece’s party, but the more I thought of it, the more excited I got. I mentioned yesterday that I played WoW for a few years, and that would be my favorite video game, but all those costumes are outrageous and would be hella expensive to put together. I ended up looking up cosplay on-line trying to find one that would be rather easy and inexpensive to put together. I also talked to my boys about going and what they would do.

Jaxon was the easiest. He’s been playing a lot of Madden and he has a Dallas Cowboy jersey and helmet, so he’s set. Andru had a really tough time because his choices were like mine. Just too hard or expensive to put together. (His first choice was a zealot from Starcraft)

I settled on Annie from League of Legends (something I’ve never played but I know several people who play it, so I’m counting it). Besides, she’s cute as hell and who doesn’t love a pink wig and some pink striped tights?

Andru decided to do Foxy from Five Nights at Freddie’s, although we had to wait and see what we found at the costume store because that one could get expensive too.

So, today, we went to a costume store (rather hard to find now that Halloween just ended) and picked up some things for our costumes.

The different elements for my costume include: a pink wig, pink cat ears (I was super geeked to find them at the store so I wouldn’t have to make them), pink and black striped tights (that’s all they had so I cheated a little cause I know Annie’s socks are pink and white; they aren’t even tights, but whatever). I have a purple dress, so I am good to go. It isn’t the best cosplay; I know some people really get into it and have to match everything exactly.

The elements for Andru’s costume that we found include: fox ears and a tail, a hook and a patch. He’s going to wear some tan pants and… I don’t think he’s figured out the shirt yet. He was looking at pictures and realized most of his top is mechanical, so he isn’t sure what to do. I told him we should get spray paint and paint him all up and he can go shirtless. I don’t think he liked that idea so well.

So, there you have it, our mini-foray into cosplay. I’m excited to get all dressed up for my niece’s birthday party next weekend. It also made for some super fun shopping with my son and my boyfriend looking on shaking his head and laughing at our silliness. The next step is to convince him he needs to dress up too.  So far, he’s not so into it.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday where Linda prompted us to write about element.

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Reserved Seating

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Thain in Vain’s week 46 flash fiction prompt was: Study a stranger the next time you are in a coffee shop, on a bus or subway, in a queue. Write a story involving this stranger. You can make it a tragedy, comedy, horror, Sci-fi, mystery — whatever suits your style. Go!

This one was easy since I witnessed this very thing on the train about two weeks ago. I’m still rather in shock about it… I thought I would lighten it up with a little WoW speak, mostly because I miss playing it and have seriously debated restarting my account in the last two months. I don’t think I will, but it was fun for a while and it always makes me smile to think about all the good times I had when it was an overwhelmingly large part of my life.

This is a little over at 522 words. Enjoy!

Reserved Seating

Jared was waiting for the train when he saw Ben calmly strolling in his direction, a backpack slung over one shoulder and his hand haphazardly stuck in his pants pocket. Unlike most people, Ben had walked right up to Jared at this very stop over two years ago and started talking to him. It didn’t take long for their friendship to blossom.

“We totally pwned that dungeon last night!” Ben said as he sat on the bench next to Jared.

“Epic on every level. And that bow you looted? I wish I’d been playing my warrior. I would’ve rolled you for it.” Jared grinned, remembering the dungeon sweep that had taken half the time it normally did. “That tank really knew what he was doing. Wish our randoms were always like that.”

“No shit. I’m thinking we should create our own group.”

“Hard to do when you’re starting with two melees. Maybe I should level my warrior as a tank. Do you have a healer?”

“Yeah, but she’s not as much fun to play as my hunter.”

“I hear you, but you could always…” The train arrived, drowning out Jared’s words. He reached down to roll himself toward the train, but Ben was already behind him, pushing him to the ramp that had lowered so he could easily push the chair in. It hadn’t taken very long for Ben to naturally start helping and Jared always appreciated the friendly gesture.

Once on the train, Ben guided him to the area with a sign designation: “This area reserved for seniors and people with disabilities.” There were almost always people standing there, but they usually moved out of the way without a fuss.

This time, however, they ran into a problem.

The man standing in the open area looked average enough in his khakis and leather jacket, but when Ben politely asked, “Do you mind moving?” he responded in a way that made Jared sick.

“Yeah, actually, I do mind.” The harsh tone echoed through the normally quiet train and other passengers looked up from their phones to see what was happening.

Jared was completely baffled, but Ben responded in what he thought was a reasonable tone. “There’s a sign clearly posted.”

“I can read. I’m not an idiot!”

Jared wasn’t sure if the guy was going to move or not and he was dreading further confrontation.

“Look, I’m just trying to help my friend. Is there a problem here?” Jared could hear the mounting tension in Ben’s voice.

“I’m moving! I just don’t like you or your friend there coming on the train with your condescending attitude expecting everyone to get out of your way.”  His eyes flashed, anger resonating in every word. He slowly took a step to the right, allowing Ben just enough room to roll Jared into place.

Jared could feel the guy glaring at him as he set his break, but he did his best to ignore him. Thankfully, he exited at the next stop and the two friends continued their conversation in peace.

Later, Jared found himself wondering why some people reacted to him with such overt hostility.