Thursday October 31st, 2013

The exercise:

Write a letter that begins with: Dear _____

Fill in the blank as you see fit. Or you can be a smart ass literalist and leave it blank. Up to you.

I spent a portion of the morning pulling up the sunflowers in our back garden, which I'm happy to report I got to before the ground froze solid (unlike previous years). Then I did a bit of raking of leaves and rotting walnuts (we've harvested what we need and don't have the time or energy to deal with the rest) in the front yard.

This afternoon I took Max in to town to run a few errands and to give Kat some time to herself before we brought him over to a friend's house for a Halloween party.

All of which lead to me writing the following.

Mine:

Dear Dada,

It is, as I understand it, one week until my birthday. Now, as it is my very first one, I'll admit to not fully understanding how it works. But after the events of today, I do have a few questions.

Will people be dressed up in strange outfits for the entire week leading up to my birthday? And, if so, can I expect this to happen every year, or is this just a special situation, what with it being my first?

I'm not sure I understand what the cashier at the grocery store was thinking. She was dressed up like she works in the army but if that was really true, why was she working at the checkout line? And that camouflage paint on her face would work well in a jungle or something like that... but there? Maybe she should have gone with some bananas on one cheek and a box of cereal on the other, don't you think?

And was it just me, or were you mad at that other cashier (the one with the pointy black hat) for offering me a lollipop? Was it a yucky tasting lollipop? Why would she offer me a yucky one? Or were you just upset that she didn't offer you one? Don't worry, Dada, I totally would have shared mine with you!

That party was fun tonight, but I did not care for how you looked in that pirate wig. Please don't ever grow your hair out that long for real. It does not work for you at all. Plus we all know I'd just yank on it until you were completely bald.

Finally, my costume was all right, I guess. As long as I don't have to wear it all week. You and Mama certainly seemed to enjoy yourselves when I was wearing it.



Okay, I think that's everything. Curiously yours,

Max

Wednesday October 30th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the high road.

Oh hey, look - I finally got a fall picture to share with you:


That was taken in the apricot trees, as they tend to be. Their leaves turn first and generally are the most spectacular to boot.

Tomorrow is Max's first Halloween and we've been invited to a potluck dinner with a bunch of other families. Expect cute costume pictures to take over the blog for the next little while.

Mine:

Twisting and turning
High above the town;
It's safe to drive, just
Don't ever look down.

This town is quiet,
Just as it should be;
Visitors may come
But then they must leave.

Headlights in the night
Soaring like airplanes,
Vanish on a curve -
Our secret remains.

Tuesday October 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku around the theme of: mind versus body.

After opening with another crappy game (this one was deserved though, as I just couldn't seem to find the middle) I actually had two pretty strong games in a row to finish the night. I even broke 200 for the first time this year, which felt pretty good.

Overall my average went up seven points, so I'm at least getting back in the neighbourhood of my former scores.

Mine:

Please, just stop thinking.
I promise you, the body
knows what it's doing.

*     *     *

A willing body
can make the mind weak; beware
the seductresses.

Monday October 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something: innocuous.

My first training session at the gym went well this afternoon. I have another one on Friday, then I'm going solo for the first of my Saturday shifts.

I'd be a lot more concerned by that if I didn't have at least three people I can call if I have any questions or problems.

At the moment it's looking like I'll be in the gym on Saturdays from 9 to 5, along with a few Sunday shifts (maybe one or two a month). They're still figuring out when they'll want me in the bowling alley; hopefully that will be sorted out this week.

Until then, I've got a couple local orders to put together and quite a few rows of garlic needing to be mulched tomorrow.

Mine:

In and of itself, the bite was harmless. The tiniest of pricks on a wrist, it didn't even draw blood. The insect that inflicted the damage was long gone before its victim realized what had happened. It could have ended there.

Perhaps it should have.

But the camel's back was breaking. It had been growing weaker for days beneath the weight of too many stresses, too little relief.

And so the bite led to a flash of anger. This was followed by a rash decision, then an immovable insistence that his orders be followed. To the letter. No loopholes, no excuses. Simply do as he decreed.

Which led to... well, this. And this radioactive wasteland is a long, long way from harmless.

Sunday October 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the tiger.

Because we just finished watching Life of Pi on Netflix. Excellent film.

The wind returned to Osoyoos this morning for its first proper visit in quite a long time. I'm hoping it plans on leaving at least a few fall leaves on the trees, as I haven't taken very many pictures of them this year.

Kat took me out to dinner at the Watermark this evening, which we greatly enjoyed. We'd originally thought we'd go last night but then realized I'd be more likely to have the energy for it on a non-market day.

I'd say that was the right call.

Mine:

There's a tiger on the boat
Along with little old me;
We're drifting in circles
In the middle of the sea.

There's a tiger on this boat,
I've got nowhere to flee;
We're stuck in this together,
Because the tiger is me.

Saturday October 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: me.

Hey, it's my birthday. Also: I almost managed to get to 2,000 days worth of prompts without asking you to write anything about me.

Also, also: I didn't say it had to be a nice four line poem.

The final market of the year has come and gone, with things ending up on a fairly successful note. I sold all of the leeks and apples I brought this morning, along with most of the carving pumpkins and a good chunk of the potatoes, onions, and ornamental gourds.

Now it's time to wrap things up in the garden and get fully settled in to this off-season.

Mine:

Too old to be young,
Too young to be old;
So I'll do what I want,
But never what I'm told.

Friday October 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the training day.

So that 'something interesting' I referenced yesterday? Yeah, the prompt might be connected to that.

Okay, it definitely is.

This will be my fourth winter in Osoyoos but it is now officially the first one in which I will have steady employment. As I have learned the hard way, this is not an easy place to find work between farm seasons. It is a tourist town, but pretty much strictly in the warmer months. Many businesses close up shop until spring comes back around again and those that stay open typically have established staff who know better than to ease their grip on their positions.

One of a few very rare exceptions? The bowling alley.

When I went in for my league night last week I stayed afterward to have a quick chat with the owner, curious to know if he was looking for some part-time help this winter. He was and he seemed interested in having me help out, promising that we'd chat again this Tuesday.

We had another brief talk before he told me he'd get his secretary to call me on Wednesday (ended up being Thursday), though to be honest I wasn't sure if the call would be to figure out an interview time or something else.

Turned out? She called to ask me to come in today to get started with my training. I've been sort of bouncing off the walls ever since.

The owner also owns the fitness center upstairs from the alley and I'll be working at both - my training for that portion of my responsibilities comes on Monday. Today I learned a bit about setting up the lanes, fixing pin tangles, and post-league play cleanup.

I didn't get back home until close to 3pm, at which point it sunk in that I had done absolutely nothing to prepare for tomorrow's market. So I spent most of the rest of the day doing that, though thankfully there wasn't all that much to do, what with everything but the leeks having been already harvested.

Plus: whatever, it's the last one of the year. And it's my birthday. I'm not going to worry too much about it.

Especially now that I'll be able to contribute to our winter income for the first time since moving here.

Mine:

The manuals were stacked in orderly piles on the desks, two pencils next to each stack. At the front of the room the instructor stood, hands clasped behind his back and an unreadable expression in his eyes. Students filed in moments before the session was scheduled to begin, most alone but there were the odd pair or two as well.

At the end of the day they were assured of one thing: they would be fully prepared to perform the duties of their new jobs... should they survive the training.

Thursday October 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the sting.

Took a family trip up to Penticton today to run some errands. Managed to get a few groceries, some t-shirts for myself, and a nice long car nap for Max on the way back home.

Something interesting is happening tomorrow. I shall talk about it, at length I imagine, in Friday's post.

Apologies for the tease; I wasn't going to mention it at all, but apparently I'm too excited to keep it entirely to myself.

Mine:

The unmarked police car lurked in the shadow of an oak tree that was in the process of slowly losing its autumn leaves. Though their superiors would not have been pleased to know it, the officers inside had rolled each of the vehicle's four windows all the way down. It may have undermined the dark tint that would have helped to conceal their presence, but it also allowed the stench to escape.

The smell of sugary donuts and grease soaked fries could almost be seen wafting out of the vehicle.

Neither officer was responsible for the unpleasant atmosphere. That honor would fall squarely on the shoulders of Myers and Louis, the officers who had preceded them on surveillance duty. They had been told to avoid their favorite snacks, in very clear terms, before the investigation had even begun.

They had been warned. Foolishly, they chose to ignore those warnings.

Because they were not only preceding the current officers' shift... Myers and Louis would also be following it.

"Think that's enough honey on the brake pedal?"

"Seems good to me... but I'm no expert. We'll just have to see what the bees think."

Wednesday October 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the compulsion.

Spent some time today hauling potatoes out of the garden. Still lots left out there but hopefully we'll have them all in storage by the end of the week.

We've been pretty lucky with weather this October, with nights staying above freezing and pleasantly warm days. Don't want to count on that continuing though.

Mine:

"You've done it again... I can't believe it."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can smell it on you from here, darling. You just can't help yourself, can you?"

"No, no, no. You've got it all wrong, love. It's just on my clothes, I wasn't doing it. The boys were having a smoke after work and I hung around to chat and -"

"You honestly expect me to believe that? You couldn't have come up with something a little more plausible? You're sinking to new lows."

"Ask Roger! Ask Terence! No cigarette touched these lips, I swear it!"

"You're dragging those two down with you? What, are you buying their packs in return for them covering your sorry behind?"

"That's uncalled for. I haven't smoked in two months and have no intention of ever doing so again."

"I can only shake my head... and wonder aloud how, if that were actually true, you've managed to turn your fingernails yellow."

Tuesday October 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the headhunter.

Had a rather frustrating time at bowling this evening. I opened my first game with a spare (I think), then followed that up with four headpins in a row (I'm very, very sure about that).

By the last one I was about ready to scream.

My second game was better but my last one regressed, so overall my average actually went down a point from last week. Not terribly pleased about that.

Still working on that whole not taking things too seriously for my own good thing that I do.

Mine:

I've got headpins down,
that's key; but I'd like other
pins to fall down too.

*     *     *

He swings and misses
quite a bit, but if he lands
one it's night night time.

Monday October 21st, 2013

The exercise:

It's been a couple months since last time, so let's have another go at the random CD prompt - choose a song as randomly as you like and use its first line as your own, be it in poetry or prose. Credit where it's due, as it always is.

Tomorrow I just need to put together two local orders, as well as a restaurant order. And that's it. No 8 or 9 produce boxes, no working on Wednesday in order to supply the restaurant with what they need.

I'm rather looking forward to it.

Mine:

Don't Know Why by Norah Jones

I waited 'til I saw the sun before waking the others. They were upset with me at first, grumbling and pushing me away. But slowly they realized that their faces were being warmed by something other than a campfire. That they could see farther into the woods surrounding us than the handful of feet we had grown accustomed to.

Understanding dawned upon them like the sun upon the land.

"Is it over?" someone asked, his voice hoarse but his words scented with a blossom of hope.

I wanted to tell him that it was. That normality was returning to us. That the aftermath of the bombs could be left behind, allowing us to go back. To the city, to our jobs, to our families. But I couldn't tell him that.

For the truth was... it had only just begun.

Sunday October 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the carving.

Went for a couple of family outings today, neither of them very far though. Max waking up every two hours last night made sure energy levels were less than optimal.

It was still nice, as it was a lovely fall day. I did manage to get a couple of pictures but they're still on my camera. Which is like, way over there.

So getting them onto the computer will have to wait.

Mine:

As Halloween has approached every year since we've started attending the Penticton farmers market one of the other vendors has brought a few large pumpkins with him that he carves on site during the market. I've always been very impressed with his work but that's about as far as it had gone.

Until yesterday.

As I was finishing packing up the truck in preparation for heading home I heard someone calling me from up the street. I turned around to find it was the carving vendor.

"Hey, you want a pumpkin?"

"Uh... sure?"

He waved me over and I had a look at what he was offering. My first response was out of my mouth before the thought had finished forming in my head.

"Oh yeah, Max will love it!"

"All right, grab a side."

We lifted it up and I discovered that he'd just been working on the exterior; it was very, very definitely not hollowed out. I have no idea how much it weighed but it was a lot.

Somehow we managed to get it to the truck without dropping it and got it up on the tailgate. I got in the back to make some space for it and then we manhandled it the rest of the way in. After arriving back home I had to get Kat's dad to help me shift it from the truck to the tractor, which he then used to bring it down to our place.

While he was driving through the orchard I sent Kat a text that simply read: Bring Max to the front door in a minute.

She did. He, as expected, loved it. Here's a picture of the boys and the pumpkin as taken by Kat:


Now we just have to get the bugger hollowed out before it breaks our front porch.

Saturday October 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: an early start.

It was a pretty good market again this week, especially once the sun came out mid-morning. Before that it was a little chillier than I'd have preferred.

The fall colours are getting pretty amazing around here. Hoping to be able to go for a family drive and walk to enjoy it and get some pictures tomorrow.

Mine:

Driving to the market
By the light of the moon;
Keep the faith, keep the faith,
There will be sunshine soon.

Friday October 18th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: running amok.

Heading to the market on my own tomorrow morning, as Max's cold is still lingering and we don't want any relapses. Not expecting it to be super busy, as tourist season is nearly over, but I'm getting a bit of help anyway - mostly so I can do some shopping of my own, and maybe even get a bathroom break.

After this, just one remains. Maybe.

Hey, it's on my birthday. If the forecast calls for rain on that one? I'm staying home.

Mine:

"Pardon me?"

"I said that boy is running twomok."

"Yes, I heard the words you said, but I don't understand what they mean... okay, mostly just that last one."

"Well, when you're as wild as he is amok just won't do."

Thursday October 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the chasm.

Now that Max has nearly outgrown his 12 month old sleepers we had to order the next size up, which is 18 months. I picked them up from across the border (since the company we ordered from doesn't deliver to Canada) this afternoon and... well, he'll grow into them eventually.

Tomorrow is market harvest day. Not that there's much left in the garden to pick - carrots, beets, potatoes, leeks, and celeriac will be the only additions to what we've already collected.

Looking forward to the second last market of the year this Saturday, though I'm not totally sure where the rest of this week went in such a hurry.

Mine:

"It's one of a kind, surely! Don't you think so, Francis?"

That's great. Such splendid news. Exactly what I wanted to hear.

"I've never seen anything like it Timothy... and trust me, I have seen a lot of chasms in my time."

Fantastic. I am just so pleased for you. Let's get a plaque made up, shall we?

"And it's so deep! I can't even see the bottom from here."

Well, jump in then!

"Simply marvelous, truly. Perhaps we should send the new kid down to have a look about?"

I have a better idea: why don't you all go down there together. I'll stay up here and start shoveling dirt in after you.

"What do you think, good sir? It is exceptional, don't you agree?"

Me? I don't care about any of this nonsense... I just wish it hadn't opened up in the middle of my bedroom.

Wednesday October 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: awareness.

Okay, now the box program is officially done for the year. Rather anticlimactically too - I was changing Max's diaper when our final customer arrived to collect her family's produce.

This morning I harvested (well, mostly I just collected things that had already been harvested) for restaurant, bakery, and coffee shop orders, then delivered them after lunch. If we don't have much in the way of locals ordering next week I might actually be able to get everything done on Tuesday.

That would be a nice change.

Mine:

He was oblivious for so long
That his work was very wrong.
He would squander every day
With nothing genuine to say,
A slave to greed's siren song.

We never expected him to change,
With no reason to rearrange
His behaviours or how he thought,
But then one day he was caught
Doing something very strange.

There he was, fashionable and tanned,
The richest man in all the land,
With a new outlook on his life
After the loss of his dear wife,
Now determined to lend a hand.

Tuesday October 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: tantalizing.

I'd really, really love to say that our box program is finished for the year. But, since two customers forgot to come get their produce this afternoon, I can't.

Hopefully we'll get that all sorted out tomorrow. And then the celebrating can begin in earnest.

Went to my first bowling league night this evening. Games one and two were reasonable but I wasn't terribly impressed with my last one. At least it should be fairly easy to increase my average next week.

Mine:

The end is in sight,
just a little further... who
moved the finish line?

*     *     *

From across the room
her dress pulls me in. Too bad
she'll be married soon.

Monday October 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Our writing prompt today is: telling tales.

All the guests have once again departed, which is always a bit sad. But I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again at Christmas... and that's not all that far away already.

Now that Max has left his third cold behind, he has decided to go right into his fourth. Making up for lost time or something.

And, so far at least, it is much worse than the one he just got over.

Mine:

The tree has watched over this plantation for generations. Lurking in the rarely disturbed north-east corner of the property, it is the tallest and widest oak of the five in its grove. You can see the top of it from the main house, if you care to climb onto the roof.

Its bark has heard many stories, and many more secrets. Over the decades it has absorbed complaints, victories, defeats, and even a handful of prayers.

For, you see, the daughters of this place have gone to it with their burdens in order to lighten their loads. They have used that tree as a sort of living diary, I suppose. Spoken words whispered into the leaves instead of written messages scrawled across hidden pages.

The strange thing of it, though, is that they all found the tree on their own. As best I can tell no girl told another about what they used that old oak for... yet they all ended up there sooner or later. All of them - from serving girls right up to the master's own daughter. Generation after generation, without fail.

It makes me sad, you know. Being aware of all that but still having a duty to carry out such as this. The axe feels unnaturally heavy in my hands as I make my way across this field with the sun at my back, but I can't ignore the instructions I've been given.

I have to continue on. That funny old tree has to come down.

Because, you see, that tree has started telling tales...

Sunday October 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the fortress.

We had our annual "Oh hey, we have lots of guests right now - to the garden with them!" fall harvest this morning. So many pumpkins surrounding Kat's parents house right now, along with ornamental, butternut, spaghetti, delicata, and festival squashes.

I shall have to get pictures before they're all sold or put away for winter.

Time for another iPhone picture. Here's Max at this weekend's market:


He got bored with being on either one of us at the stall pretty quickly, so we let him crawl around. It did not take him very long to find the mulch and leaves edging the park behind us.

Mine:

Hidden away behind towering walls and thick gates, he eats well during the day and sleeps peacefully at night. Servants do his bidding on frantic feet, knowing their lives hang in the balance after every order that lands on their frail shoulders.

Enemies have muddied the fields beyond his fortress but their boots have yet to sully so much as his courtyard. Well trained and well paid guards in towers and in gatehouses have made sure of that since the day he took the throne.

He has given no man with any strength or renown to his credit even the slightest reason to betray him. His friends are few, chosen with exceptional care after a lengthy vetting process - and still their movements and company are tracked daily.

Worry is foreign to him, as is fear. For he believes that he is safe. No, I think he knows that he is safe.

We intend to prove him wrong.

Saturday October 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the turkey.

It was a pretty good market today, as we didn't bring too much back home. We didn't bring a huge amount of produce to begin with, but at least we sold most of what we did have. Only two markets left to go!

We had our turkey dinner at Kat's parents this evening, as her aunt and uncle are leaving tomorrow afternoon. My sister and her husband are with us for another night though, so Max will still have lots of extra attention around here.

Mine:

He's strolling through the lush meadow,
Thinking security is pretty lax;
Then he sees the farmer coming,
And asks himself: Why's he got that axe?

Friday October 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: the lobster.

Tomorrow's market is the third to last of the year - that alone is enough to make me look forward to it. But it's also Thanksgiving weekend, so there should be a better than average turnout, which hopefully will make for good business for us.

Also: my sister and brother-in-law from Calgary will be meeting us there before joining us for turkey dinner tomorrow night.

Oh, and the weather isn't meant to be total crap either, so there's that too.

Mine:

The house is brimming with the magical sounds of memories being made. Laughter fills the living room, drowning out the stereo and the world outside. Words flow down the hallways, languages blending together to form some new form of communication.

And from the kitchen a sudden crash on the floor, then a steady tick tick tick across the counter, lets everyone know that the lobster has escaped the pot again.

Thursday October 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the grandmother.

Kat's parents returned home this afternoon from their visit up north with Kat's brother and his family. Sounds like it was a good, if tiring, trip.

I was working on getting next year's garlic planted out this morning but didn't manage to finish it, as I'd been hoping to. Looks like that will have to wait until early next week, as I'll be busy with market stuff and visiting relatives between now and then.

Max and I both seem to be basically over our colds, which is good news. I'm still feeling pretty low energy though.

Mine:

Warm cookies on every plate,
Arms open wide when we come through the door.
Dinner is in the oven
Who could ever ask for anything more?

A kiss for each of our cheeks,
Time for one last hug before we must go.
She knows we'll be back next month,
We couldn't be stopped by rain, wind, or snow.

Wednesday October 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: The Make Believe Machine Repair Shop.

It's a long story, and I'm not sure if it's worth telling. I'll just say that my take on the prompt was inspired by something I read online earlier today. Or last night. Whenever it was.

Harvested for restaurant and bakery orders today, as both places are gearing up for Thanksgiving this weekend. Speaking of which, it will be a family affair here on the farm as Kat's aunt and uncle from Calgary are coming on Friday and my sister and her husband are arriving on Saturday (also from Calgary, as it happens).

In other news: all of my bowling muscles are sore. Also? The last time I was in a bowling league was 97/98, not 98/99. I somehow managed to screw up the math in my head yesterday going strictly off the fact that I knew I was in second year university.

Either way, it has been a long time.

Mine:

"And what can I do for you today?"

The words greeted me before I had even fully entered the shop, afternoon sunlight still trying to piggyback its way indoors as though I was on its side. Couldn't it see that my skin was too pale to be its ally?

I closed the door behind me with enough force to rattle and jingle the contents of nearby shelves, leaving that blasted light outside where it belonged.

"It still doesn't work," I said, dumping the contraption on the counter between me and Angus. I hated dealing with Angus. He always had this almost laugh infused into his words, as though he didn't fully believe what he was saying or the work that he did. "I need it fixed before the end of the week."

"And remind me again," he said as he tilted his head to the right, "what exactly it's supposed to do when it's working?"

That damned almost laugh again, lurking around the edges of every syllable. Infuriating.

"I was here two days ago." I took a deep breath, focused on my need to have the machine working again. "You know damned well what it's meant to do."

"Remind me, dear boy... won't you?" It was like he was mocking me.

"This," I replied through gritted teeth, "is my Sarcasm Converter. When fully operational it allows stupid people," a brief pause while I silently thought like yourself, "to understand when sarcasm is being used on them and translates the message into more obvious language."

Tuesday October 8th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: bowling.

I got a call a couple days ago asking if I was interested in joining an adult bowling league this winter. It was rather unexpected, since the last time I'd been at the alley was to ask about being a spare... about a year ago.

Apparently, though, there wasn't enough interest last year to run the league - which explains why I never got called to come out and bowl.

They're trying again this year and it all started tonight. There were enough people to form four teams, which I guess is good enough. So we bowled three games and got to know each other a bit, and the league will officially commence next Tuesday night.

As I was driving home afterward I realized that the last time I was part of a bowling league would have been the winter of 1998-99. I'm curious to see where my average ends up this go 'round.

Oh, and also: our penultimate box day has come and gone without a hitch. The end is in sight now!

Mine:

Strike, gutterball, spare.
If consistency is the
game, then I'm losing.

*     *     *

Using old muscles
while giving them no warning;
tomorrow will hurt.

Monday October 7th, 2013

The exercise:

It just occurred to me that it has been a very long time since I made use of the continuation prompt. So today each of us gets to continue the story from wherever the previous writer left it. As usual, try to end your section at an interesting point for the next person to carry on from.

In other news, I seem to be having a worse time with this cold than Max (who turned 11 months old today). Which, I suppose, would be my preference.

But I'm about ready to be done with it, thanks.

Mine:

A missed opportunity.

That's what the others wanted to label it. Stick it in a box, wrap a nice bow around it, stuff it somewhere none of us will ever look, and move on. Dust our hands of the matter and turn our collective gaze toward the next project.

I don't see things that way though. I can't. That's not how I operate.

That neatly labelled box? I know exactly where it is. Our mistakes haunt me. They call to me in the middle of the night, begging me to go back and fix them. Set things right. Get the whole group back on track, get us closer to that end goal.

Sleep is impossible for me. Moving on is equally inconceivable. There is an itch between my shoulder blades that lurks just beyond my fingertips while the others just carry on about our business, as though nothing is wrong. It pushes me to the limits of my sanity... and sometimes beyond them.

So I'm doing the only thing I can do: I'm going back to change the ending to this story.

And it all begins with her.

Sunday October 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the swing.

The weather was beautiful today because of course it was. We took Max for a walk by the lake this morning, ending up at his favorite park for a ride on the swing there (oh, hello prompt idea!).

This afternoon we got a few things done around the house while the vineyard next door prepared for their grape harvest tomorrow, then Kat cooked up a delicious borscht for dinner. Super tasty and just the most gorgeous red colour I've ever seen in a soup pot.

Mine:

Hanging from a tree
On thick yellow rope,
It's a time machine
To days filled with hope.

Summers spent outside,
Soaring through the air;
Singing silly songs,
No worries, no cares.

Finding shapes in clouds,
Wishing on a star.
Now I wonder how
Those days got so far.

Saturday October 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the breakdown.

So it would seem that the forecasters forgot to mention that it would be windy in Penticton this morning. Oh, and that the sun would also remain behind clouds for the entire day. And those highs of 19 degrees? Yeah, more in the 12 to 15 range.

Business wasn't too bad, but a little warmth certainly would have brought a few more bodies out to the market.

Max enjoyed himself despite the cold (and his cold as well) but if there is any chance the weather is like that again next weekend he'll be staying home with Kat.

Mine:

Pack up all your bags
And break down the tent -
This camping trip is done,
That's enough torment.

Friday October 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the request.

We had some patchy frost in the garden overnight, which was enough to likely signal the end of our tomatoes for this year. We'll see how they look in a couple days, but we didn't want to risk harvesting them today only to have them turn to mush before we even get to Penticton tomorrow morning.

In better news, the forecast is actually calling for a pretty pleasant market day. Also: Max seems to be getting over his cold pretty quickly, so hopefully it wasn't a very serious one.

Because I seem to have it now.

Mine:

Listen to me very, very carefully my dear. I wish to be perfectly clear on this one, simple point: I am doing you a favour by requesting your silence while the police search the house. I could just kill you instead - that would certainly make my life significantly easier.

So I strongly suggest that you remain absolutely, utterly, completely... SILENT!

Thursday October 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the opening.

The Canucks opened their 2013-14 season tonight in San Jose with a 4-1 loss. Not an especially encouraging start to things.

But they've got a new head coach for the first time in seven years, as well as a few new faces in the lineup. We shall see if this version of the team ends up doing any better than the previous ones have.

I harvested a bunch of ornamental gourds this afternoon, in the hopes that people are getting ready to decorate for Thanksgiving or fall or even Halloween. Here's one of the crates I plan to bring to this weekend's market:
 


Mine:

"You want me to do what?" Olivia gave her husband of less than four hours a hard stare, wondering what exactly she had gotten herself into.

"Come on, baby!" Bruce offered her his best grin and two upturned palms. "I thought you were open to exploring new things and having exciting new adventures with me!"

"Sure, with you. Not with you and my maid of honour!"

"I don't think you're looking at this from the right perspective, sugar. You've got to -"

And then Bruce was cut short by an opening of a different sort: his wife's open hand meeting the side of his face with enough force to rattle a few teeth loose.

Wednesday October 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

For the tenth time this year, we return to Mejaran.

Only two more visits to this fascinating little village of ours remain after this one. I'm quite curious to see how everything ends up.

If, indeed, things do manage to end in December...

Mine:

In a quiet corner of Mejaran, a home sat just slightly further away from its neighbours than might be expected. Not so far as to appear unfriendly, but there was enough distance to create a little more privacy, a touch of extra secrecy.

A fence surrounded the property which, while not unheard of in the village, was certainly uncommon. It was tall, but not excessively so. Those who lived nearby considered the place rather unwelcoming, though its occupant was generally well liked.

Night had fallen, suddenly as it often did in that place. The curtains of the home had been drawn tight, sheltering the figures within from any unwanted watchers. At least, so they hoped and believed.

"Everything continues to move according to plan?"

"Of course it does. You sound concerned... is this the reason behind your unexpected visit? You should have more faith in me by now."

"I have heard rumors of suspicion arising amongst some of the villagers."

"Have you now?" A voice that had previously been warm grew suddenly icy. "I was unaware that you had other agents working in the village."

"Don't be a fool. This is far too important to entrust with just one man, however capable he may seem. You should know by now that no plan of mine is without its alternatives and safeguards."

"And yet I am still left feeling... what was that?" The whisper of a blade slipping free from its sheath, the soft padding of feet toward the rear of the house. A curtain pulled back just enough. "Hmm. How strange."

"Do tell."

"It was just an owl on the back fence. They are not usually around at this time of year." A lengthy pause. "Perhaps the storm has confused the local wildlife."

"Perhaps." Another extended silence. "Where I come from there are old tales of people being able to speak to birds, use them as spies. Mostly crows, but more than a few stories feature owls. They are old tales but they linger still."

"Utter nonsense. Let us waste no more time with such talk."

"As you wish. So these potential trouble makers in the village...?"

"You have nothing to worry about on that front. They will be dealt with shortly - I will take care of the matter myself."

Tuesday October 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Welcome to October, aka Marc's birthday month. Write two haiku about: turning.

Another box program day in the books, leaving two remaining this season. I'd be a little more excited about that if there weren't weather reports threatening frost the next two nights, but we'll see how that goes.

Max had a surprisingly good sleep last night, considering how clogged his nostrils were before bed. I'm not expecting that to continue, but it was certainly a relief the night before a big harvest day.

Mine:

The nights grow colder,
causing the trees to believe
it's time to change leaves.

*     *     *

Past the bend, black smoke
reaches for the sky; a wheel
not turned hard enough.