Posted in Uncategorized

O is for Opening to New Possibiities: #atozchallenge Day 16

Things of Wonder

Death presents a threshold

Death ends so many things

Things we’ve grown used to

Things cherished and held dear

Dear spirit of our departed one

Dear moments that are forever gone

Gone and still a part of who I am

Gone like his voice and his smile

Smile that warms my soul still

Smile that says to take a chance

Chance on making some changes

Chance on a new way of life

Life cannot always stay the same

Life continues and life shifts

Shifts with each birth and death

Shifts with closings and openings

Openings of places that were closed

Openings of my heart and soul

Soul still aching with fresh loss

Soul thrumming with new potential

Potential now that wasn’t seen before

Potential to reach for the as-yet unknown

Unknown moments unknown opportunities

Unknown vistas lie waiting for me to explore

Explore life in ways I wouldn’t have chosen

Explore myself in this new after time

Time for learning who I am without him

Time when my being is growing and becoming

Becoming what I will be not as wife but as widow

Becoming the woman his love helped to shape

Shape of possibilities coalesce all around me

Shape of a life that is still largely unformed

Unformed days unfurl all around me

Unformed future will be written by my now

Now is the time to embrace what awaits me

Now is the time to stand tall in love’s strength

Strength of a man who once walked beside me

Strength of a love of more than two decades

Decades of growth of joy and of sorrow

Decades of living and preparing for this

This time of exploration rising around me

This future built upon a stable foundation

Foundation of all he gave to our love

Foundation for all my future days

Days of tears and days of laughter

Days of grief and days of wonder

Wonder just where these days will lead me

Wonder will lead and I will follow

Follow

Me

I’m tired tonight, and scrambling to finish before midnight.  You see, it was a day of embracing new possibilities and creating a new life built upon the foundations of the old.

I was up early to read at my second-ever meet the author event, promoting my Pushcart Prize nominated short story, “Being Colette”, and the other stories in the Dark and Bitter anthology. This one was at an assisted-living facility, with a very engaged audience who asked lots of interesting questions.

On the way there, I noticed an animal shelter. I’ve recently decided to adopt a canine companion – for myself, and for the dog Lise will be adopting soon.

So, on the way home, I stopped – and met Nadine, a young pit bull terrier with an amazing grin and a sweet personality. We hit it off as well as I had with our late pittie mix, Corki.  About an hour later, my fee was paid, and, once she’s been spayed and had a bit of time to recover, Nadine (who will be known as Magnolia, Noli for short) will be coming home with me.

Tomorrow, Jeremiah and I are setting up my new bed (I’ve had a hard time sleeping in the one Jim and I shared, and in which he died).

Life is moving on, and I am changing as I open to new possibilities.

Join us again tomorrow as we discuss preparing life and home for the terminally ill.

Open yourself to other outstanding O posts.

 

Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, Parenting, poetry, slices of life, Uncategorized, Writing Sample

K is for Kids and Kitchen: #atoozchallenge Day 11

Life from Sustenance

There is nothing more non-negotiable than death

There are other things non-negotiable in life

Life comes with needs that death absolves

Life requires food, water, air, and shelter

Shelter in the embrace of mother’s arms

Shelter in the embrace of the kitchen

Kitchen the place where I tend to needs

Kitchen the place where I nourish our souls

Souls grieving and hungry for sustenance

Souls healing as bodies are fed

Fed food that is created with love

Fed by my efforts to learn something new

New skills practiced as I prepare each dish

New repertoire growing as I learn

Learn to accept the challenges

Learn to consider everyone’s tastes

Tastes and nutrition blending together

Tastes changing as teens grow

Grow into acceptance of what we’ve lost

Grow into new ways of doing and being

Being more helpful than they once were

Being patient with my mistakes

Mistakes are part of the trial and error

Mistakes can be a path to wisdom

Wisdom gained with each meal served

Wisdom seasoned with reality

Reality that I’m their only parent

Reality that it’s now all up to me

Me the mother who married a chef

Me the one who hadn’t cooked

Cooked only begrudgingly

Cooked things no one wanted to try

Try now to overcome the aversion

Try to create culinary excitement

Excitement at every success

Excitement at my new competence

Competence breeds confidence

Competence becomes independence

Independence is a kind of balm

Independence is another kind of food

Food for bodies and food for souls

Food that sustains me as I become

Become the mistress of the kitchen

Become comfortable in this new life

Life goes on even after his death

Life goes on and needs sustenance

Sustenance for our bodies and souls

Sustenance and delight nourished

Nourished

Souls

It’s been three months today since Jim died, and I became the sole provider for my children Cooking wasn’t something I did; Jim was a talented professional chef even when we met, and, though I had enjoyed cooking when I was single, I knew when I was outclassed.
From early ages, the kids knew it too. As an eight-year-old, Jeremiah once joked, “Mom, if I want you to make me scrambled eggs, I’ll ask you for an omelette.”

So, while Jim was alive, he did the bulk of the shopping and cooking.

Obviously, that’s changed.

I bought an Instant Pot shortly after his diagnosis, it’s been my salvation. I don’t enjoy “babysitting” food while it cooks, and I’m not especially good at it. I tend to get busy with writing or cleaning or reading or being with the kids or breathing….and things go wrong. With the Instant Pot, things take far less time, and, because it’s programmable, I can do other things while it cooks, like raking the yard, taking a shower, or writing blog posts.

I’ve used it for things I might not have made otherwise: steel cut oatmeal, sweet potato and butternut squash soup, whole roast chickens – and even bone broth!

It’s given me a new sense of competence, and, because it is so versatile, I’m buying ingredients rather than the prepackaged meal options I might otherwise have resorted to. That’s better for the budget, and our health…and every new dish (even the disappointingly oversteamed asparagus) builds my knowledge base and my certainty that I can indeed feed us.

That’s it for me…later on, I’ll be making soup from my own stock, and roasting yet another chicken.  Yum!

Come on back tomorrow, where we’ll be laughing our way to death…and beyond.

Get the whole kit and caboodle of K posts!

Posted in #atozchallenge, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, Parenting, poetry, slices of life, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Sample

Cancer Consumes: #atozchallenge Day 3

 

Consumes Save Joy

Cancer robs us of so much

Cancer devours and consumes

Consumes the strength and body

Consumes the spark of life

Life sapped away to feed it

Life given to insane growth

Growth uncontrolled and relentless

Growth that ends in its own death

Death can be a release sometimes

Death can bring an end to pain

Pain that grows and swells and builds

Pain the tumors bring as they press

Press down all will to move and do

Press outward from the organs they destroy

Destroy the life we lived before they grew

Destroy the hope of a long life with my love

Love is a thing no cancer can digest

Love is immune to the greedy chewing cells

Cells can kill a body but never our love

Cells can end a life but never a soul

Soul is beyond the reach of disease

Soul omnipresent and immutable

Immutable as the history of our lives

Immutable as the magic of our love

Love so improbable right from the start

Love that bound us heart to heart

Heart from the east coast met

Heart from the west in the space

Space between here and there

Space that once separated now bound

Two hearts flying beyond reality

Two souls out on the stony unknown edge

Edge of the Grand Canyon where we sat

Edge of infinity faced as tumors ravaged

Ravaged body wasting into death’s release

Ravaged hopes and dreams for the future

Future erased by the conquering disease

Future ended but the past is mine to hold

Hold as he held my hand on red stone

Hold as he held me in turquoise water

Water not nearly as warm as his embrace

Water where he proposed

Proposed that we join our lives forever

Proposed that we two become one

One love one life going forth together

One score of years of sorrow and joy

Joy that we had so much love and wonder

Joy bests cancer and joy I will live

Live

Wonder

While it’s true that a swift and aggressive cancer killed my husband on January 12th, there were things it couldn’t consume.

Twenty years of marriage, plus several months, and the months of friendship and learning each other – almost twenty-one years, all told – are indelible. They gave us two living children, and one who lived only twelve days, but long enough to donate his heart valves and improve another child’s life. They wove into the fabric of everything I am, and changed me in ways that can’t be undone.

When I met “Big Jim” Burton, I was twenty-seven, and scarred in ways I didn’t even understand. On the night he died, I was forty-eight, and, though the scars will never be erased completely, I have, with his love and support, come a very long way toward healing. I’m a more loving, understanding, kind parent because of him. I’m free of toxic family-of-origin connections, because he showed me what a healthy relationship could be.

I’m a better human being, because I loved him. I’d like to think he was a better human being when he died because he loved me. For sure, our children will grow to adulthood far less scarred than their parents, and it was the nature of our love and partnership that made this possible.

And, though my Accomplice is no longer in this physical plane, he is a part of me, and our children, in every breath. In that sense, he’s still here, and will be as long as we are, and maybe beyond.

Come back to The Alphabet of Grief tomorrow, when we’ll explore Death’s Doorways.

Remember, you can read more C posts here.


Posted in Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, Just for Fun!, Uncategorized, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Sample

A Little Higher  for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.


Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…but don’t leave popcorn in the center seat!

Two weeks in a row – yay, me!

I feel like things are starting to settle into something like a rhythm…not quite a routine, which is fine, because I’m not the kind of person who enjoys having each day play out the same. But we are getting to a point where there’s a normalcy about being a family of three and not four; where Jim’s absence, though still acute, isn’t quite as raw. I’m not feeling as though I’m fumbling and stumbling along nearly as often…and, once or twice, I’ve even felt as though I’ve got something that approaches a handle on things.

Which doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a tremendous amount to learn and do…only that I’m starting to feel like, eventually, I’ll crest that mountain and be able to scan the horizons that await us…

On to the WIPpeting!

It’s time for another installment of my TnT fan fiction story, adapted from Humanity’s Enterprise. It’s a patchwork of sorts, written in different styles, at different times, and for different projects. I’m slowly figuring out how to pull them all together into a coherent whole that explores just how and why T’Pol was the one Vulcan chosen to accompany Enterprise NX-01 on her maiden voyage.

I’ve decided to use this story, once revision gets to a point I’m comfortable with, as my initiation into Wattpad. So please don’t hesitate to let me know if something’s not working for you – it will make a better story in the long run!

Recap: 

Trip Tucker has something he needs to say to Enterprise’s brand-new Vulcan Science Officer, but she’s not exactly making it easy when she says she doesn’t expect any better of a human.  We pick up immediately after my last TnT post, A Vulcan Question Mark,

Here’s the standard disclaimer. I don’t own them; I don’t make money from them; I just love them, and I tell the stories they give me as well as I can.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is March 21, 2018. I added the two digits of the date to offer 3 short paragraphs.

 “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

The words burst out before he could catch them. Her eyebrow slanted up a little higher, and she regarded him coolly. There wasn’t any need at all for her to say even a single syllable in response.

Trip could see it in her eyes. He’d just proven her point.

What point did Trip prove?

Can he recover from this?

Will T’Pol accept Trip’s apology?

Any guesses?

If you enjoyed this snippet, and want something more before next Wednesday, you can pop over to my fanfiction.net page.

And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Kaiidth for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.


Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…but don’t leave popcorn in the center seat!


It’s been a big week here. Yesterday, my son earned his learner’s permit; in six months, if he’s met the requirements, he can take his road test.

We also got a new refrigerator to replace our 18 year old model.

New things about – new ideas, too, and new growth.

But now it’s time for another installment of my TnT fan fiction story, adapted from Humanity’s Enterprise. It’s a patchwork of stories, written in different styles, at different times, and for different projects. I’m slowly figuring out how to pull them all together into a coherent whole that explores just how and why T’Pol was the one Vulcan chosen to accompany Enterprise NX-01 on her maiden voyage.

I’ve decided to use this story, once revision gets to a point I’m comfortable with, as my intiation into Wattpad. So please don’t hesitate to let me know if something’s not working for you – it will make a better story in the long run!

Recap:

T’Pol is having difficulty adjusting to duty on a human ship – and to the Chief Engineer.

Here’s the standard disclaimer. I don’t own them; I don’t make money from them; I just love them, and I tell the stories they give me as well as I can.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is September 6, 2017.
  • I have 3 paragraphs for you today – for the digit of the day, subtracted from the month.

Kaiidth

T’Pol moved to the console he indicated, and sat on the chair anchored to it. It was unsettling to do so; most Vulcan duty stations were designed for standing use. Kaiidth. It was as it was. She would adjust to it, and to the unspecified discomfort of the furnishing, which had been designed for a human occupant. Neither of these facts were of any significance to this mission. She would be aboard for only eight days; it would be inefficient and illogical to expect the station to be altered for her benefit.

She’d expected to be given a debriefing prior to reporting to the Bridge, but that hadn’t happened, and Captain Archer had given no indication when or if it would. She would therefore begin learning the console while she awaited further instruction.

Behind her, Commander Tucker spoke loudly, “Attention, all hands.” The activity ceased immediately; perhaps there was a degree of discipline here that hadn’t evidenced itself until now. “We’re all supposed to show our Vulcan chaperone here, Sub-Commander -” he paused, then added, “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”

Did Trip actually forget T’Pol’s name?

Will she adjust to sitting in an uncomfortable chair?

What’s next?

Any guesses?

If you enjoyed this snippet, and want something more before next Wednesday, you can pop over to my fanfiction.net page, or go directly to my brand-new story-in-progress, “Highly Classified Mission.” new chapters posting about once a week.

And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!

Posted in Uncategorized

I’ll Admit It…#SoCS and StoryFest for June 10, 2017


Okay, I’ll admit it. I really don’t have any idea what I’m going to write. It’s a full moon, and it’s been nearly a week since I’ve had a regular night’s sleep.

Things are a bit off-kilter this week, and, despite trimming back my monthly goals significantly. I’m feeling like I’m going in way too many directions at the same time, and the result is that I’m feeling a bit mired and at a standstill.

Also, my Accomplice isn’t feeling well. He hurt his back at work earlier in the week, while doing some heavy lifting, then he mowed the lawn. The pollen count was quite high, and he’s a transplanted West Coaster with no native immunity to our allergens. He’s also dealing with an upset stomach, and chills….

So there’s just an “up in the air” feeling here. Even my phone apparently agrees – my health app doesn’t show my 3.07 mile walk with my daughter, despite running the entire program and giving me the proper end-of-run cues. So it’s telling me that I missed a scheduled workout, despite logging the time spent in the activity.

I’ll admit it. That’s frustrating. I was working toward a perfect record, but I’d have to do five miles tomorrow to finish the week with my schedule full- and I don’t think I quite have the fortitude for that…even if I felt I could spare the time.

You see, the homeschool reports are due in five days, and I’ve barely started them. That means there must be time devoted to that legal requirement during the next few days. I’ll admit that I’m not exactly looking forward to that dull, dry, largely lifeless writing…but it’s the law, and the price of our getting to live a live that fulfills each of us.

I’ve finally, after what seems like a huge amount of learning, frustration, experimentation, and more failure than I was hoping for, managed to create a label prototype my Accomplice loves. There are still a couple of minor changed to make, but I’ve topped the wall on that one, and now I have a template we can adapt for all of his sauce flavors….

I’ve also managed to get my story revised for the #StoryADay May StoryFest, which is this weekend. I polished up my Kifo Island story, “Broken” after submitting it to the mini-critique group, where I garnered good suggestions, great insights, and some favorable response.

If you’d like to read my story, and/or other short stories, head over to the StoryADay site. The StoryFest posts will be on the front page all weekend – read one, read all, read somewhere in between. It’s up to you – but writers love feedback, and to know people are reading our words. Won’t you make a writer happy this weekend?

I’ll admit it – that was a rather shameless plug.

On that note, I’m going to admit defeat. I never really found a cohesive thread in this post – but I did add another 500 words to my #JuNoWriMo word count, so there’s that.

I’m tired, and I’m thinking about admitting myself to dream-land.

This post is a part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “admit,” used any way we want. Find the rules of engagement here, and take a dip in the stream here.

Want to join the conversation? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences. When have you felt mired? Do you have strategies to move through and past it? Your ideas just might be what someone else needs to get out of a stuck place, so feel free to share!

Posted in #atozchalllenge 2017, A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, April CampNaNoWrimo 2017, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, CampNaNoWriMo, CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round Two 2017, Uncategorized, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Sowing Seeds: April 5, 2017

Hey there!

Okay, we’re two days into this new round, and I’m getting to know my April goals, and Tim, Drea, and Rebekkah – the three POV characters in my CampNaNoWriMo project, The Last House – a Kifo Island prequel. Clicking the link will take you to my current progress on that front.

It’s been an eventful two days, in quiet family ways. I’m a bit behind my projected count right now, because of all the eventfulness, but I’m on track for my Blogging from A-Z and other blogging goals, so I expect to be caught up by the end of the day, and maybe even pad things just a bit over the rest of the week, since Monday is the Welcome to Night Vale live show I’ll be attending with my daughter, and I may not do much writing that day.

I’m going through my seed collection (literally and figuratively), and deciding what to sow first…

Do you have showers of April goals,too?

Are you hoping they bloom into beautiful fruition before May comes?

=

Writing:

  • Trueborn: Complete draft of Foul Deeds Will Rise (Trueborn #2). Target: 3,333 words/week; add words every day I reach my Camp quota, above, Finish by April 30. Secondary goal. 1,186/3,333 new words for the week.

Plotting:

Social Media:

  • #atozchallenge: Confirm scheduling, and add link and branding to each day’s post.  Respond to comments daily, and visit 3 other participants at least 6 times/week. Primary goal. B and C posts up and linked; D prepped with links and scheduled; visits made 3/6 days this week.

  • Blogging Features: Continue biweekly Skywatch Friday posts, as well as weekly #SoCS, #8sunday, Mindful Monday, WIPpet Wednesday, and Weekend Coffee share posts. Pre-producewhere possible (aim for 1 hour each Tuesday/Thursday). Tertiary goal. Mindful (#AtoZChallenge B post) complete; WIPpet scheduled Tuesday night, and will be live by the time this posts publishes.

Hometending:

  • Resets/reorganizations: study, family room, bedroom, living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Complete two 27 thing flings each room, each week. One 27 thing fling on porch and in yard (10/27) each week. At least five General Hometending rounds per day, 5 times/week. Secondary goal. Hometending rounds; 3/5 for the week. Living room: 3/2; porch 1/1.

Lifetending:

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Continue planning/ attending outings (personal and family) as desired. Primary goal. Flirting; conversation; cuddling; career planning; ice cream; credit union; grocery shopping.

  • CampNaNo: Interact with cabin mates 5/week: attend write-ins and visit forums once weekly. Secondary goal. Posted to cabin 3/5 days. Attended write-in.

  • Career Furtherance: Complete Patreon profile and launch site. Draft CV/cover letter and revise. Help my Accomplice launch his cottage industry. Tertiary goal. Talked with Accomplice about his labeling and branding; priorities; my plans; etc.

Selftending:

  • Journal and meditate five mornings and three evenings each week. Primary goal. 2/5 complete.

  • Get a cumulative total of at least 99 minutes moderate physical activity 5 days weekly; 111 minutes (1 hour, 51 minutes) twice weekly, and 7 hours of more strenuous activities (tai chi, swimming, hiking, cardio, weights, etc.). Secondary goal. 99: 2/5; 111: 1/2.

  • Books: Listen to Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (abridged/; with Miah). Read: Mom, Star Trek, and Las Vegas, by D.W. Hirsch; and Starting Out as an Indie Author, by Ruth Nestvold by the end of the month. Tertiary goal. Plans made to listen to BNW sometime later in the week. MSTandLV: completed, and enjoyed. SOAAIA: 40%, and very informative so far, without being in the least intimidating.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80  –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

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