Death of a Soldier

I wasn’t planning on doing Chuck’s challenge this week, but then Veterans day happened and I was thinking about my Grandpa because he will be at dinner on Thanksgiving Day and I ended up with this little three sentence story.

My Grandfather has seen things in his life that I can’t even imagine going through.  My sister had an opportunity to interview him on camera for her oral history class in college a few years ago and there is a moment on that video when the pain is naked and visible on his face and in his eyes.  After that interview, my Grandmother said he would no longer be talking to any family members about his experiences; it was just too painful.  The man is my hero and I love him.  This one’s for you Grandpa!

Death of a Soldier

His family gathered by his bedside to celebrate his life and to send him on his continuing journey in the next life. As he was drifting away, he let the loving sounds in the room drown out the bombs and screams he still heard when he closed his eyes. He was finally at peace.

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Payback

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This is the entry for Thain in Vain’s week 45 flash fiction challenge. This week’s promptGrab the book (or your favourite book) you’re reading, turn to page 45, close your eyes, point to a word, and write about it! Have fun!

I used the book I’m currently reading and the word my finger pointed to was silently.  This story is somewhat autobiographical and was harder to put into words than I thought it would be. I don’t think it came across as funny as it really was, but I hope you will enjoy it anyway.  It’s 506 words.

Payback

Ruby couldn’t get to her car fast enough; there was at least six inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down. Once inside, she started the car, cranked the heat and waited for it to warm up as she rubbed her hands together and blew on them wishing she had thought to grab gloves.

She wasn’t surprised her boss had let her leave early. There hadn’t been a customer in over an hour and they systematically started letting everyone go home who didn’t work the night shift. She was looking forward to a few extra hours with Jack and hoped Jamie was still awake so she could kiss him goodnight. Working nights was tough, but it was a decision she and Jack had made so they wouldn’t have to put Jamie in daycare. One of them would always be home with him.

After a few minutes, she carefully backed up and made her way through the snow-packed parking lot to the main road that wasn’t any better. Thank God home was only two miles away.

When she pulled up to the house, the garage door was still open. Jack usually left it open until he went to bed, but she was surprised he hadn’t bothered to close it on such a stormy night. She carefully parked her car and went to the door. Normally, she would have hit the button to close the garage door before entering the house, but tonight, she opened the door that led into the house first and was just about to hit the button when she noticed Jack. He was getting up from the couch to take Jamie to his crib and she was pretty sure he hadn’t heard her.

It was too perfect!

She could finally get him back for all the times he had scared her.

She left the garage door open and closed the door she was holding without a sound. Silently, she crept across the living room floor making her way to the hallway just outside Jamie’s room. She watched Jack gently place the baby in his crib and when he started to turn around, she jumped back out of view, adrenaline pumping through her veins in anticipation.

When she heard the door to Jamie’s room close, she made her move. She put her hand out to where she thought Jack would be, moved around the corner and whispered “BOO!” so as not to wake the baby.

Jack’s eyes went wide, he took a step back and punched the air with both fists one after the other. He stood there in a fighting stance ready to battle his assailant when his eyes focused on his wife and he finally realized what was going on.

“Ruby!  What the hell?  You scared the shit out of me!”

“I could tell! Your face was priceless.”

He walked up and kissed her, both of them laughing and shaking their heads in relief that she hadn’t been any closer to him when she jumped out and scared him.

I Need Some Running Motivation

I promise not to continue more of my bitch fest from Saturday. It was a rough day, and as I said in the comments section to one very nice reader/commenter, it actually helped me get out of my funk enough to write some words, 1300 to be exact, even though I’m pretty sure they are all crap. I’m too afraid to read them and find out so I spent yesterday curled up on the couch watching football and talking smack to my brother who was my opponent in fantasy football (I have no idea if that is supposed to be capitalized so I’m guessing no, although I keep changing my mind even as I’m typing this). He ended up winning, so I felt like it was a huge waste of my day except for the fact that FOOTBALL!  I know we’re all supposed to be writery nerd types here, but I do love me some football.

Anyway, as I mentioned in said bitchy post, I haven’t exercised in two weeks. Ugh! And now, it’s getting easier to tell myself all the reasons why I can’t or shouldn’t or just plain won’t. It’s freaking cold outside for one (I hate the treadmill with a passion, so that will not entice me to run no matter the weather outside). But honestly, it’s not THAT cold outside. It’s actually pretty nice weather, even though I can see it is snowing or has snowed in the mountains in the past 24 hours. I even went to the store on Friday and bought some cold weather running gear in an attempt to motivate the actual run, but it didn’t happen over the weekend. I am now sitting here at work giving myself all the excuses in the world why I can’t or shouldn’t run when I get home. Another excuse would be daylight savings time and the fact that I really don’t want to run in the dark. But again, they are all just excuses.

As I was thinking about all the reasons I can’t don’t want to run tonight, I was reminded of an incident yesterday. I was taking out the trash in our townhouse community and my neighbor was out having a smoke. She has been the source of some “talk” from other neighbors, but she has always been nice to me, inviting my kids to her children’s birthday parties even though I have boys and her kids are girls and probably five or more years younger than my youngest. The only time she really bugged me was one day after a workout, she was standing in front of her door having a smoke with another neighbor. She had watched me pass by many nights after a run or a workout, but this time she asked me some questions – how much did I exercise, how far did I run. She said some snobby thing about how she hoped it was working out for me and that she would never do such a thing – all this while standing there blowing smoke into the nice fresh air and looking at me with some seriously judgemental eyes. So, yeah. That bugged me, but it wasn’t a big deal (probably because I was on a huge high from just finishing a workout; otherwise I might have said something nasty back, ’cause that’s how I roll).

Yesterday, I just happened to be wearing my lounging on the couch gear – leggings and a sweatshirt and she commented on how small I was when I passed her going back to my place.  She said it must be all that running I was doing and “you’re probably as small as me now!”  While that last part could probably be taken in a not-so-nice way, I’m going to stick with – someone noticed the work I’ve been doing and actually commented on it. That is some great motivation right there. I don’t want to lose all the hard work I put in over the summer, nor do I want to have to retrain my body to run the 5K times I’m running right now, or at least what I was doing before I took a two week hiatus. So, this is my written motivation to go out and run some miles when I get off work tonight.

Besides, my sister-in-law signed my ass up for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day and I’m not feeling the slightest bit prepared for it.

I hope you are all having more luck with your goals than I seem to be right now. But even if you’re not, let’s endeavor to be nice to ourselves and realize that life happens sometimes and it’s okay to let it go as long as it doesn’t become a permanent thing (unless, of course, that’s what you want).

A Bit Overwhelmed, But…

To say I’m a little bit overwhelmed would probably be putting it mildly.  It’s been a week, to say the least.  I have this habit of overwhelming myself with “things” and then becoming so overwhelmed I am unable to keep it up.  I did it when I announced I was going to train for a half marathon then realized about three weeks in it just wasn’t happening and continuing to beat myself up about not doing it was counter-productive.

I found out a month ago that they are closing my office down and moving it to Detroit.  We knew it was coming, but I think we all thought it would be a year or more before it actually happened.  There wasn’t a definite time-line given when it was announced a month ago, but they said we would have more information in a month.  We were given our severance package and time-line on Thursday, but it was different for everyone.  I had a good friend in the office who was told her last day was yesterday.  I, at least, have until January 31st.  But honestly, I’m not sure it’s worth the dread I feel every day I wake up and go to work.  And trying to plan a new job to start exactly February 1st is going to be a pain.

I’ve had a few interviews in the past few weeks, which is a process that I can only tell you is stressful and can be demoralizing at times.  I don’t think anyone likes looking for a job and I am here to tell you that I, personally, hate it!  Just finding out you didn’t get that job you really wanted simply because the other person was an internal referral (I guess that’s more information than most people get, but still…) is disheartening.  It’s also depressing to submit five applications/resumes and not hear back on a single one!

I’ve been battling something this last week, health-wise as well, but I honestly think that is entirely stress-related because it keeps changing.  Wednesday, I felt like I had a full-blown cold, but today my stomach hurts and I’m weak and dizzy.  All the not feeling well has led to no exercise, yes I’m admitting it, absolutely no exercise for going on two weeks now.  I knew exercising was helping my state of mind, but I’m not sure I really appreciated everything it was doing for me.  Now, I just look out the window and dream of running but know if I tried in my state it wouldn’t go over so well.

I headed up to bed last night at 9pm.  I don’t remember the last time I went to bed that early.  I had my doubts that I would actually sleep, but I passed out and slept until 8 this morning.  Whenever I sleep like that, I know I’m battling something.  I just feel like I’m getting hit on multiple levels right now and it’s hard for me to just take it in stride and be at peace.   Not only am I not exercising, I’m in the middle of looking for a new job, but this girl decided that would also be the best time to write a book.  I actually did better than I thought I would the first part of the week and I have more words than I ever have before, but I’m not sure I’m doing myself a favor forcing myself to write like this.  But there is also that other part of my brain that says I’m just making excuses and, of course I should write no matter what because no words means no book means… well, I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve told yourself the same things as well and not only is it counter-productive, it actually hurts.  (Yes, I manage to hurt my own feelings sometimes)

I really didn’t mean to use this post to bitch about my life and the sad state of affairs of my emotional state.  I really am just a bit overwhelmed and just a bit depressed, but I believe everything is okay… or at least, that’s my way of trying to make myself feel better.  Everything is okay just the way it is.  Just accept what is and let it be.  If only that was as easy as it sounds.

Here’s hoping you are all having a lovely Saturday and I appreciate you tuning in even though this is a bitch-fest of a post.  I’m thinking it helped to get it all out and it feels good to watch my fingers fly across the keys, but I’m sure it wasn’t a fun read.  This is what you get with SoCS… just random ramblings about whatever is happening right now.  Which isn’t always interesting to the reader but is kind-of making me laugh so I guess it served a useful purpose today.  I needed to laugh.

This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill.  This week we were prompted with: bat, bet, bit, bot, but.

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Sammy’s Bad Day

It’s time for Thain in Vain’s weekly flash fiction challenge.  This week’s prompt: “You smell terrible. What happened?”  As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to write about Sammy.  Besides, she’s fun and the last few stories have been dark and/or scary.  Below are the links to her first two stories if you missed them.  I’m over on my word count, but I can’t help it.  She’s too much fun to write and the words just flow!

Sammy’s First Hike

Gruff the Rat

Sammy’s Bad Day

The humans have left for the day and, as usual, Gruff and I are left outside to play. I don’t mind, though, because it’s getting colder and there are leaves everywhere. I especially love it when the smaller humans put them in huge piles. I wait until they’re finished, then I run and jump in them, rolling around and biting the leaves. They yell at me to stop, but I usually ignore them. After all, why make piles of leaves if not to jump and play in?

Gruff is playing in a pile and I make my way in his direction thinking I’m going to play too but I lose sight of him. I bark, wondering what happened. Did the leaves swallow him? Is he gone forever? I make it to the pile and stick my muzzle in, sniffing and pawing. I hear a yip and Gruff bounds out of the leaves and takes off. I lift my head up, swatting my tail and flicking my ears. That little guy gets me every time.

We play around a while longer then make our way to the sleeping hovel. He manages to wake me up from a perfectly good nap by pawing me right in the eye. I blink and lift up my head. He’s whimpering and kicking his paws. I lick him and push him with my paws until he settles back down. I lay my head back down and my eyes are just starting to droop closed when I hear something in the bushes. I lift my head back up, my ears standing at attention. I hear the sound again and jump to my feet, sniffing the air. Something is out there. I run out of the hovel and towards the sound, growling and barking. I stop right in front of it and hunker down, getting eye to eye so whatever it is knows I mean business. I can see it looking right at me and I’m just about to jump on it when it turns around and sprays me in the face.

I let out a howl and take off running in the opposite direction like a complete idiot. I’d feel worse about it, but the stench sticking to my tongue is vile and I do everything I can to get it off. I finally come to my senses and turn back towards the creature, but it’s gone. I bark in a random direction and pee on the spot it vacated. I pace the fence for a while, but it doesn’t return, so I make my way back to the hovel. I’m suddenly feeling the affects of an interrupted nap.

I flop down next to Gruff and bury my muzzle in his fur, trying to smell something different. He whines and moves and eventually gets up and leaves. I lift my head and watch him lay back down in the sun outside. So much for that. I put my head back down and wait for the humans to get home. Hopefully they won’t find out that I failed miserably at defending our territory.

**

I hear Mom’s car pull into the driveway and I’m waiting at the door anxiously when she opens it to let us in. I jump up and lick her face as she pets me.

“Hi Sammy. How was your day?” She leans in to kiss me but stops short. “God, Sammy, you smell terrible. What happened?”

I lick her face trying to get more attention, but she lifts up and grabs my collar. “You need a bath.” I follow her, not really sure what’s happening and she leads me straight to the place with the water. I stop in my tracks and hunker down. “Sammy, come! I know you don’t want to, but you stink!”

Somehow, she must know that animal got the better of me and this is my punishment. I bow my head in shame, but even though I know I deserve it, I also know she isn’t getting me in there without a fight. I sure hope she’s prepared.

Jumping on the NaNoWriMo Train

The last few months, I’ve been wondering about my novel.  I started this blog to help me with it, but then I actually got caught up in flash fiction and posting and doing the blog thing and it pretty much fell by the way-side.  I think it really started to intimidate me, this whole idea of writing a novel.  I know what happens in the process of flash fiction, and just the thought of doing that for fifty to ninety thousand words really scared the hell out of me.  Not only that, I kept telling myself I needed more time, more experience, more something before I could jump in.  As we all know, those are all just excuses.

I kept hearing about NaNoWriMo, but I wasn’t necessarily interested.  I had a conversation with my boyfriend about a week ago and he told me, as he’s continued to tell me through the past months, that I just need to do it.  I’m there, I’m ready and I just need to sit down and write it.  I just smiled and said thank you and told myself that he might think I’m ready, but he didn’t really understand.

On Wednesday, he forwarded me an article about NaNoWriMo and I made the decision on the spot to participate.  After all, what the hell am I waiting for?  There isn’t some magical formula for Now I’m Ready To Write a Novel.  At least, I’m pretty sure there isn’t.  You either just jump in and do it, or you continue to be that person who has an idea and wait for an ideal opportunity that will never come.

So far, I have surprised myself, but I’m more worried about the weekdays when life actually happens – work and trying to fit in running and yoga and time with the kids and the boyfriend and managing to write over 1,600 words a day.

I’m also worried that I’m not entirely sure I know the direction of the story or how to write all the spaces in between the major points I know (and when I say I know, I don’t actually because it keeps changing, like the more I think about it, the more the ideas flow and right now I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed).  But, I’m going to keep at it because as I’ve heard so many times from so many different sources, if it isn’t written down, it isn’t actually anything.

I have no idea if I’m making any sense.  I didn’t sleep a whole lot last night and my mind feels foggy and my eyes are gritty.

Anyway, my whole point of this post was to put it out there, officially declare that I’m doing it!  I’m writing a novel, at least, I’m writing words every day.  Whether or not it will be anything at the end remains to be seen.  My official word count for the first two days is 3,616.  I don’t think that’s too shabby at all!

Happy writing everyone!