Let us discuss: the odds.
More potting up of tomatoes today, along with some transplanting of broccoli out into the garden. Also there was some hauling ass out of said garden to hide/work in the greenhouse until a rather sudden and intense downpour passed over.
It finally happened after the fourth drink.
The evening had been heading toward the inevitable pretty much from the get-go but Tim fought it the whole way. He insisted on pointing out the obvious obstacles to success, the humiliation that awaited failure.
But we kept at him. Eddie came up with some particularly clever reassurances and confidence boosters. There was no way we were watching that opportunity pass from the sidelines. We had to send a man in to the fray.
Write about something that is: missing.
This morning Kat's dad and I began work our latest construction project - a deck for our house. During the outdoor time of year (read: the majority of the time) it's pretty much going to double our living space. Plus it'll be nice not to be on the uneven dirt to eat dinner or relax on our chairs.
Definitely a slow start to things, but this foundation stuff needs to be right. I don't mind the project taking a bit longer if it means only doing it once. Which will hopefully be the case.
Us kids always looked forward to those rare visits from Uncle James. Not that he was particularly nice, or brought good presents, or nothing like that. It was all the mystery that he carried with him, the endless speculation that sprung up at the mere mention of his name.
Probably would have been less of an event if Mom and Dad would've just told us why Uncle James was missing the middle finger of his left hand. Heck, we weren't even supposed to look at it.
Like that was going to happen.
Me and my brothers figured he'd lost it in some kind of gang initiation, proving he was tough enough to join. Never you mind that Uncle James was as quiet and gentle as a mouse. We just figured prison had scared him straight.
My sisters came up with some total nonsense stories of their own that I hardly ever paid attention to. There was one about a horse biting it off after he waved his finger in its face one too many times. Totally stupid. Uncle James never wore no cowboy boots or hats or anything like that!
We tried to trick him into telling us what happened but it seemed like he was always one step ahead of us. I bet Mom and Dad warned him we were going to try, the snitches.
A four line poem about: names.
Potted up a whole lot of tomatoes this afternoon. I suspect that in my dreams tonight, the tomatoes shall pot me up.
Thanks for all the kind words yesterday. The due date is November 9th, which leaves me plenty of time to finish freaking out about it.
No, absolutely not!
That name won't do at all!
You must pick another -
That's the name of my doll!
Four lines of prose about: the favor.
There's been quite a lot going on behind the scenes lately. I think it's about time to bring some of it on to the stage, front and center.
I'm just copying this over from Facebook, where I posted it this afternoon. It wasn't planned for it to be four lines, but since it was...
Could you do me a favor?
Go out and do something kind or generous. To a friend, a family member, or better yet a complete stranger.
The subject for today is: the program.
It was remarkably rainy here today. Well, it would have been pretty average for a spring day in Vancouver, but it's not the least bit usual to get this sort of sustained downpour in Osoyoos. Thankfully the sun is scheduled to return tomorrow.
Last year on the farm, we began selling locally through our website for the first time. We updated the produce list every week and people could order what and when they chose, no minimum requirements, no commitment necessary.
It worked fairly well, but the week to week business was pretty inconsistent. And utterly unpredictable.
This year Kat and I wanted to expand things a bit and get a more reliable source of income, so we're starting up a box program, or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
The basic idea, in case you're not familiar with this, is that customers sign up at the beginning of the growing season to get their groceries for the duration of the season. Each week they receive a selection of produce based on what we have available, with allowances for opting out of anything they really don't want.
For us it's nice because it means money up front at a time of year when cash is hard to come by, and we know that a certain portion of what we grow has a destination of eager bellies. We're accepting a limited number of customers this year to make sure we don't get completely over our heads and then moving forward we'll have a better idea of how many people we should be able to supply.
We're still offering the week to week option for those that prefer it, but we're hoping to switch at least a few of our customers from last year over to this new system. In fact, we sent out an email today to our mailing list to give them first shot at signing up (we'll be putting up posters around town next week to fill in the remaining slots).
We were both extremely pleased and surprised when less than two hours after I clicked Send we had our first signup.
Write about: harmony.
I know it's petty, but seeing the Bruins also get knocked out in the first round (tonight, in overtime, at home no less!) makes the Canucks early exit easier to bear.
Got some more planting in the greenhouse done this morning, which is either the last of it or very near to it. Now it's time to catch up with the potting up and work on transplanting out to the garden.
After such a long, dull, trying day at work, it feels especially good to be here tonight. To let the music soothe me, allow it to slip the worries from my shoulders and take them elsewhere. Not my problems anymore, at least not right now.
And right now is all that matters.
Just a few moments more and perfection will arrive. I can be patient. I know from experience that the wait is always worth it. This cannot be rushed.
Ah, there she is. My sweet little Harmony.
Two haiku on: loneliness/solitude.
You can do one on each, two on both, or two on either one - up to you.
At ten o'clock tonight it was still twenty degrees outside. I could get used to these summer evenings in April...
fails to penetrate sadness;
* * *
leaves crowds, work, stress far behind;peaceful oasis.
Have some fun with: the strawberry kingdom.
Over the weekend our new strawberry plants that Kat's parents ordered arrived and we planted them out. All thousand of them (give or take a few - nobody could be bothered to actually count them).
They won't do much this year, other than get established, and next year they'll produce a little bit. The year after that, though, we expect to be drowning in strawberries. Thankfully Kat's dad should be retired by then, so it can be his problem.
Apologies for mine; I'm not the least bit happy with it. But that's what practice is for, right? Sometimes you gotta write crap just to get it out of your system.
Their unfettered laughs reveal bright red tongues. Strawberry Fields Forever is the only song they've ever sung. They're a close-knit bunch, from the old to the young.
Everywhere they go their arms are linked, their steps in synch. In the right light, I think their skin is reddish-pink.
Let's see what we can do with: the schedule.
On the negative side: the Canucks lost in overtime tonight, ending their playoffs far earlier than I would have liked.
On the positive side: it was over thirty degrees here today and I spent most of it working outside.
I'm doing my best to focus on the positive right now.
"We're behind schedule," Sophia stated for the fifth time that hour, pointing at her wristwatch with a long, slender finger. "Well behind, in fact."
"No we're not," I said, unlacing my left boot and letting it drop to the dirt of the trail. Digging my fingers into the aching sole of my foot, I was unable to contain the sigh of relief that slipped from lips. "Have a rest; it'll do us both a world of good."
"But then we'll be even more behind!" She looked as though an aneurysm was imminent. It was difficult not to welcome its arrival with open arms.
"Behind what?" I asked, starting to unlace my right boot.
"Behind what? Behind what, she asks!" Sophia turned to the trees surrounding us for support. I began to massage my right foot. "Behind the schedule, you simpleton!"
"That's not possible," I countered, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of my shirt pocket and plucking a smoke from its interior.
"And why, exactly, is that?"
A four line poem about, or having something to do with: homonyms.
I was transferring some of our Red Pear tomato plants from trays to pots this afternoon, labeling them as I went. Somewhere around the tenth one I wrote 'Red Pair' and kept going for two or three more plants before something in my brain claimed something was amiss.
When I did it again about six plants later, while thinking about that first mistake, I decided it was time to call it a day.
You say the words again,
Speaking so very slowly,
But it makes no difference -It all sounds the same to me.
Four lines of prose about: the mastermind.
So concludes my three day mini-story. For now.
I'm considering bringing it over to Protagonize and expanding it quite a bit, then letting people play with it. I'll toss up a link here should I actually get around to doing so.
He sits before a wall of television screens, each one displaying the interior of a village home. To his right, screens share their view of key public locations: the beach, main street, the park.
He watches the villagers as each box is opened, monitors their reactions, listens in on their hushed conversations.
Let's go with: inside.
I'll be continuing my piece from yesterday; expect the conclusion tomorrow. That's the plan, at any rate. These things do tend to take on a life of their own though.
I helped Kat's parents set up the irrigation for a new planting area this afternoon. It was good to learn how it's done, but the glue they use to connect the PVC pipes is just naaaasty. I can still smell it.
That Sunday night was a restless one for all, and sleepless for many. In the darkest hours before dawn paranoid thoughts, seeing their opposition weaken, began their invasion.
What if the boxes contained bombs, set to go off when zero hour arrived? Entire families would be obliterated. Perhaps they should just flee, while there was still time.
But not a soul left. Such curious cats they were.
As the countdown entered its final hour, households gathered in living rooms, garages, on front porches, wherever they had placed their mysterious metal box. Friendly wagers were made on what they would find inside. More than a few guessed money, several thought a new tech gadget of some sorts.
None were even close to reality: a handgun for each resident of the house, enough ammunition to supply a small army, and a typed note which read as follows.
Any villager still alive at midnight this Friday will split five hundred million dollars equally between them. The prize money will not change. There is only way to increase your take:
Reduce the number of people you will share it with.
Best of luck.
Let us see what we can do with: the box.
Just to warn you of what's coming, I unintentionally ended up with a connection between today's, tomorrow's, and Friday's prompts. What I started today just didn't want to be left alone, I guess. Consider it sort of a themed three days, if you will.
The Canucks managed to stave off elimination tonight with a big win. So they're heading back to Vancouver, down 3 games to 1, but still alive and kicking.
And the drama continues...
Over the course of three days, identical metal boxes were delivered to every home in the village. A brief note accompanied each package, informing the recipients that the box would unlock when the electronic countdown affixed to its side reached zero.
It didn't take long for the entire village to discover that zero hour was the same for everyone: Monday morning at eight o'clock.
Several homes tried to get a sneak peak, bringing hammers, drills, crowbars, and, in one case, explosives to bear. None were successful.
As the moment edged nearer, tensions and questions increased. Who had sent them? Why had their village been chosen? Was it a lottery of some sort? A contest?
Of course one was put forth most often, threatening to drown out the rest.
Two haiku about: the moon.
As promised earlier, here's a picture of the horses I'm feeding this week while we're housesitting:
If they look a little grumpy it's because I'm pretty much always later to arrive with their hay than they like. Though I'm still determined I'll win them over before all is said and done.
Hanging in the sky,
indifferent to our struggle,
it waxes and wanes.
* * *
alone in space but for afew brief visitors.
Write about: roots.
In a bit of a rush to write this up and get it scheduled for tonight, so I'll be replying to yesterday's comments tomorrow.
Somehow that sentence actually made sense...
This town doesn't ever seem to change, does it? Sure, the people die off to be replaced by newborns, and the odd shop closes down now and then, but the heartbeat remains the same. Steady and true.
The trees may inch higher as the years slip past, cracks might force their way into the roads and sidewalks, but the feeling of community is unending. These are good people here. That's why the kids always come back after they've been off to see the world and what is has to offer them.
They know this is where they belong. They've always known, but they had to make sure I guess. You can always count on the rest of this planet confirming it for them.
Yes sir, the roots go down real deep in this town.
Let's see what we can do with: no room for error.
After a very short summer last year following going to game 7 of the finals, the Canucks are now face to face with an extremely long one. With tonight's loss to the Kings, they're now down three games to none and must win the next four games if they want to make it out of the first round.
They do like a challenge, don't they?
"They are bringing the hostages out of the building." The voice in Martin's earpiece was calm, almost bored. As though he were sharing a vaguely interesting quote from a newspaper article he'd read at breakfast. "Stand by for orders."
Martin swung his gaze to the front doors of the building across the street. A few moments of nothing passed before the first civilian appeared, the top three buttons of his business shirt unbuttoned, his hair pasted to his sweating forehead, arms over his head. Another followed, this one a woman in bare feet and a torn blouse. Behind her -
"First target spotted." The voice of Martin's Captain again, totally devoid of emotion. "Third one in line. He's yours Martin."
Martin swallowed hard as he locked in on his assigned target. While he waited for the remaining three hostage takers to appear and be subsequently given to a fellow sniper, he examined his man. The dark circles around his eyes were no surprise, not after a three day standoff. The slight paunch hanging over his belt, on the other hand, gave Martin pause.
It was a humanizing trait, a reminder of his father, something he could relate to. One he could not afford.
"All targets are up, gentlemen." The Captain spoke slowly. "We have to take them down simultaneously if we wish to avoid collateral damage. There is absolutely no room for er-"
Martin swore loudly as his earpiece erupted in loud static, forcing his hand away from the trigger to rip it off. By the time he looked through his scope again chaos had erupted in the street below.
Write a four line poem about: lasers.
Back in Osoyoos, safe and sound, after a fun couple of days in Vancouver with friends.
Note that I didn't say back home. That's because I'm not - we're up on the mountain housesitting again. Will share more pictures of the view over the course of the week, as it is still amazing.
His massive evil laser
Will cut your agents in half.
Does he expect them to talk?Do you even have to ask?
Four lines of prose about: knots.
I'm still in Vancouver - be back tomorrow.
We watched the sailor manipulate the ropes, his salt encrusted hands moving as though they belonged to our mother when she worked at her knitting. He could have done the same knot one hundred times in a row and we wouldn't have figured out how he'd done it. Maybe two hundred.
"All right boys," he growled as he moved toward us with a coiled rope in each hand, "it's time for you to hang."
Let's go with: drawing a blank.
I'm headed off to Vancouver for a quick visit and some errand running. I'll be back Saturday afternoon, so the next couple of days will be scheduled posts.
"You don't remember me, do you?" the man asks, crossing his arms and smirking slightly.
"Of course I do," I reply with a dismissive laugh. Hoping to avoid further conversation, I return to my newspaper.
"Oh yeah?" He actually reaches out and pulls the sports section from my hands. "What's my name then?"
"Give that back." It's not a request; it's a demand. I may be getting on in years but I can still command respect and instill fear when I need to.
"Sure, but it'll cost ya. The price is simply my name."
"I'll say your name," I tell this mystery man, "right after you tell me mine."
Two can play this game.
Write about: the swarm.
With the apricot trees blossoming, Kat's parents have brought in the bees to do their pollinating magic. That means the orchard between our place and the garden is buzzing, pretty much constantly. It makes me a little nervous.
The playoffs opened up tonight, with Vancouver losing 4-2. Not the start I'd wished for, but hopefully they bounce back on Friday night.
Simon and Beth sat in their car, holding hands in a silence that did not extend beyond their vehicle's interior. They tried to remain motionless in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves, but each would regularly give in to the temptation to turn around and check for successful invaders.
Outside the buzzing seemed to increase in volume, its unending vibration never quite fading to the background. The bees were much too large and menacing for that.
Every few minutes one would slam into the windshield or a side window, as though they were seeking a weak spot in the couple's fortress. Simon kept hoping they would give up and move on to easier targets, but Beth knew better. Stranded at the side of a rural road in the middle of nowhere, there was no easier prey to be found for miles in every direction.
The car had run out of gas, as they knew it eventually would - any gas stations that hadn't already been abandoned were stocked with attendants that wouldn't risk coming outside for any sum of cash.
They'd just hoped the gas tank would outlast the bees interest in them. If only they'd been so lucky.
Two haiku about: order.
The sun remained behind clouds for most of the day, but it was still quite warm. Kat and I managed to get a bit of yard work done, which was good because things were looking pretty rough after a winter of neglect.
I like my order,
declared the warrior king,
with hints of chaos.
* * *
Birth, life, death, slumber,
then back to the beginning.Seasons turn in time.
Let's go with: hovering.
Had a very enjoyable lunch with my Protagonize peeps in Penticton this afternoon, and lived to tell the tale! Unless, of course, a very slow acting poison was used.
The weather was pretty much perfect for the drive back, and once I got home it remained that way. The thermometer on our front window was reading 25 degrees at five o'clock.
Plus the apricot blossoms are prettying up the place quite nicely:
The waitress interrupted the conversation at the table with her delivery of the meals. The men nodded their thanks and attempted to resume their discussion.
"Can I get you anything else?" she asked.
"No, we're good," one of the men replied. "Thanks."
As she left a brief assessment was conducted of each dish, including the likelihood of messes being made and potential dry cleaning bills. Preparing to tuck in, talk returned to their previous topic.
"Oh, haven't had a chance to try anything yet?" the waitress asked, reappearing at their table like an overeager puppy.
"Not yet. But it looks good!"
Off she went again as the men began to eat their meal. Three bites later, she was back.
"How's everything tasting?"
They could only nod in reply as, of course, she had aimed her question so that it would land while their mouths were full. She turned away once more, but not before a pleased smile lit up her face.
Two bites later she manifested beside them again, as though she had transformed from her bat form.
"All done?" she asked, reaching for the nearest man's plate. "Can I take that away for you?"
"No, still working on it. Thanks."
Disappointment weighed her down as she moved away, but it couldn't keep her down for long. She was back before the next bite could be swallowed.
"I'll just grab that from y-"
"I'm not finished yet," the man managed around a mouthful of burger, swatting her fingers aside.
Away and back, away and back. It seemed to the men like they were in a World War 2 bunker, fending off waves of German soldiers.
"This," one man said with a sigh after the most recent attempt at his meal, "is a bit much."
* * *
This was, in fact, inspired by our waitress at lunch today. I'd say the start was fairly accurate... and then I got a little carried away.
On this 1,400th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice, it seems appropriate to write about: routine.
Tomorrow I'm meeting up with Nickb and Jackerbie from Protagonize for lunch in Penticton. I've met Nick once before, so if I go missing under mysterious circumstances you know it's all Jack's doing.
I considered making today's prompt dedication, or maybe persistence, but in the end felt like neither of those painted an accurate picture of how I view this blog. Because, honestly, there's not a lot of either of those things involved.
At some point every day, usually in the evening, I sit down at the laptop, bring up this site, and figure out what word or phrase or exercise I'm going to write about on that day. And then I write.
Simple as that.
It's no more of an effort than eating breakfast or taking a shower or checking my email. It's just something I do, day after day, and that number up top there just keeps getting bigger.
Okay, there are some days where it's a whole lot harder than any of those things.
But mostly? It's just part of my daily routine.
A four line poem about: the top dog.
This afternoon the Rangers lost their game, opening the door for the Canucks to take home tops in the NHL this regular season. Then while Vancouver's was playing tonight St. Louis won their game, so the Canucks needed at least a point to secure both the Western Conference's top seed and first overall.
They did one better, coming away with two points from a 3-0 victory.
Playoffs begin either Wednesday or Thursday night in Vancouver, with the Los Angeles Kings coming to town for a best of seven opening round series. Let's get this party started.
First place is quite the feat,
Standing atop this unstable mound;
But now everybodyIs shooting to drag you back down.
Four lines of prose about: flight.
So with New York, Vancouver, and St. Louis all losing last night and tonight, here's where things stand with one game remaining in the regular season for each team: if Vancouver wins tomorrow night they're guaranteed top spot in the west and force New York to win in order for the Rangers to claim first overall. Otherwise the Canucks go into the playoffs on top for the second straight year.
If the Canucks lose tomorrow night they have no shot at first overall, but they could still claim tops in the west if St. Louis also loses their final game.
What's that? Why yes, there will be a lot of hockey talk for the next little while. Sorry. But there will always be prompts, so feel free to ignore everything that comes after the writing topic of the day if all this is terribly uninteresting to you.
He wanted to ask if it was safe but he'd already strung those words together several times and he was beginning to understand that no answer could bring sufficient comfort. Instead he took a final look around in an attempt to make sure he hadn't forgotten something important.
"It's time to go, Dad," his son said, his fingers reaching for the safety of his grasp.
He nodded, took hold of the proffered hand, and together they left their home, their old lives, the known, and a single dead body behind.
It's been a while and I'm struggling for inspiration, so I'm busting out: the random CD prompt.
Find a song at random, use its first line as your own, or at least as part of your opening line (credit where yadda yadda yadda), and then go wherever your creative little minds take you.
Normally I tend to flick around until I find an opening line that inspires me, but this time I'm being firm with myself. I went to a Vancouver radio station's online site and decided to use either the current song or the one that came on next.
I felt like a challenge. I'd say I got one, as I definitely would have kept looking if I'd allowed myself the choice.
When she sleeps there is a fever dream that takes hold, embracing her body with burning claws, nuzzling her neck with earthy breaths. She struggles, tossing and turning until the bed sheets entwine her arms and legs, allowing no escape.
Images flash by, one after another, an unending parade of impossible creatures in foreign landscapes. A bear-like creature stands and roars before a statue of an unknown king. Two white wolves, black wings on their shoulders, snarl through bloodied fangs on a plain that belongs to the moon. Ravens, seemingly on fire, perch on gravestones, their engravings in a language unrecognizable.
She calls out but there is no one coming to her rescue.
In her dreams a man in a grey robe stands in a forest facing away from her, chanting softly and rocking forward and back. She knows she should flee but her body will not respond to her commands. Instead she moves closer, feet stepping silently upon the mossy ground. An urge to hear his words drives her onward until she is within arm's reach.
Unbidden her arm rises, stretches toward his shoulder. The chanting stops as her fingers brush the rough fabric of his robe. She is aware of a deep silence, as though the woods is holding its breath. Slowly, like a reluctant second hand, he turns to face her.
She wakes, screaming, to find her alarm clock welcoming her to another rainy interlude between fever dreams.
Let's see what we can do with: the butterfly.
Went to my local writing group this morning, then took a trip up to Penticton this afternoon to run some errands. This evening I caught the tail end of St. Louis losing in overtime, which leaves Vancouver 2 points up in the west with two games to go.
Top seed gets home ice advantage until the finals, or however far the team makes it. First overall in the league gets home ice right through the finals and that's still in reach too, but New York has the edge for that right now.
It's going down to the wire, but the Canucks are definitely moving in the right direction with the playoffs looming around the corner. Can't wait for them to start!
The butterfly in the mason jar is dead. When I went to bed last night it seemed perfectly healthy. Who killed my beautiful pet?
I live alone. The doors and windows were locked. I've never spotted anything that might suggest I sleepwalk. No cats, no dogs.
I don't understand.
Maybe it was something it ate before I caught it. Some weird, slow-acting poison. It couldn't have been anything in the jar - I'd sterilized it by the book, and there are no openings through which any sort of predator could have made its way inside, no matter how small...
So who killed my magnificent butterfly?
Two haiku about: fast food.
I was searching the blog to see if I'd used that one before and came across a poem I wrote back in 2008 that happened to include both of those words. And... yeah. I wouldn't say it was bad. But I might suggest that I've improved a lot since then.
Maybe it's not food,
but it certainly is fast -
as least they're half right.
* * *
Give me a large fries,
two cheeseburgers, a muffin...and a Diet Coke.
Your writing topic for today is: the space station.
Today just kind of slipped by without me taking much notice of it. Sneaky bugger.
I wake to weightlessness.
Floating halfway between my bed and the ceiling, my chest tight and my fingers clenching my sheet, I wonder if I'll ever get used to this. Probably not.
Then again, if things continue as they have been I may not have much longer to adapt.
The gravitational systems had been the first to fail, convulsing to a halt three weeks ago. It had been fun at first, during my waking hours. The kids would have loved it, had any of them survived the attack.
Next to go were the lights, blowing out in spectacular, heart-stopping fashion last week. The never-ending night had been terrifying for a day or two, but then my eyes grew accustomed to the weak starlight stumbling through the exterior windows.
The unexplainable noises have increased since then. I guess the ghosts are more content in the dark.
I suppose I'll know for sure soon enough: the oxygen systems will collapse and then I'll join their ranks at last.
Let's start off the fourth month of the year with scribblings that have something to do with: fourth.
Started a bunch of tomato seeds in the greenhouse this morning, then spent some time in the afternoon cleaning out and pruning our raspberry and blackberry bushes. Wasn't particularly warm, but that should come along shortly.
Lionel watched the medal ceremony from the shade of the grandstands, his uniform balled up in his fist. After a lifetime of training and sacrifices, it had come down to a tenth of a second.
What a vile, heartbreaking word. It meant no medal, no recognition. Just disappointment.
As the first place finisher's national anthem began to play, only one thought brought Lionel the tiniest shred of comfort.
It's still better than finishing second - you can't pass off silver as anything else. A bronze, on the other hand, can look like gold in the right light.
But that just reminded him he'd missed out on convincing college girls in poorly lit bars that he'd won Olympic gold. By a measly tenth of a second.