Monday March 31st, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: temperamental.

Apparently I fell asleep with my hand on the space bar. Let's just say it was easier to delete the original post and start again than trying to fix the formatting issues that created.

Anyway. I was able to leave work an hour early this evening in order to give Kat a little birthday surprise. They had called someone in to cover the gym while I presided over the league in the alley, and she was happy to close up for me so that I could leave as soon as things were finished down there.

Kat had no idea what I was up to until I sent her a text from our driveway - I figured it was best to give her a touch of warning, rather than just walk through the door and have her be in the bathroom or in the bedroom dealing with Max. I didn't want to give her a heart attack.

It was a beautiful, sunny day here. I'd say that's the least the weather could do for my wife's birthday.


"So, when you said the ignition in your truck was a little temperamental..."

"Boy, is she ever!"

"What you actually meant was that sometimes it starts the engine..."

"Yup. At least seven out of ten tries. Maybe even eight, if the weather is nice!"

"And sometimes it shocks you so bad that you lose all feeling in your right arm for five hours."

"Usually it's more like six. Though there was that one time it lasted for a full twenty-four hours."

"A full...?"

"So you should consider yourself lucky, if you think about it!"

Sunday March 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: boiling.

Since tomorrow is Kat's birthday, we went up this evening to her parents place to have turkey dinner. Because... that's just the sort of family I've married into.

Anyway. It was delicious, as expected. And Kat's dad made her a gluten, dairy, and soy free birthday cake that turned out to be absolutely amazing. The recipe is from this cookbook, which I happened to buy Kat for Christmas while we were in Calgary. She's been using it a lot since then and there have been far more hits than misses.

I'm glad we were able to do a little celebrating today, as Kat is helping out with an online class for most of tomorrow and I'm working an evening shift. We'll go do something, just the two of us, later this week, but that's still a sucky way for a birthday to go.


"So, Alex," Jonas said as he settled into the couch across from his guest, "why don't you tell us how you met our daughter?"

"I should check the tea kettle," Karen said with an apologetic shrug. "But you go ahead, dear. Tell my husband all about it - he can fill me in later."

"Oh, uh, sure." Alex rubbed the palms of his hands against his jeans and prayed the sweat would blend into the dark material. "So May and I have this, uh, mutual friend I guess you could say. He..."

The rest of the response was lost to Karen as she moved into the kitchen that was tucked around the corner from the living room. She was unconcerned, knowing that Jonas was an excellent judge of character. She trusted him completely.

On the stove the tea kettle rattled its way toward a high pitched whistle. The teapot and cups waited patiently in the living room, lurking on the coffee table between her husband and their daughter's would be beau. They would be drinking a fine Rooibos blend in less than five minutes.

Unless, of course, her husband gave her the signal when she returned to the room. In that case, the boiling water would not go in the teapot, but instead go directly onto Alex's lap.

Saturday March 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: cats and dogs.

It wasn't a particularly nice day here, weather wise, but we still took Max to the park to get some fresh air and exercise. We were hoping there would be other kids there for him to play with, as his week with his cousin seems to have utterly spoiled him, but we had no luck on that front.

Ah well, at least StrongStart begins again on Monday.


Throw a stick,
I'll chase it anywhere!
Throw that stick?
I suppose. If you dare.

Friday March 28th, 2014

The exercise:

You, or a character of your creation, are the recipient of an award (of your choosing). It is time to give the big acceptance speech. Except this one will not be big.

It will only last four lines.



Well, I think we can all agree that it's about bloody time.

I mean, honestly, with all the work I've done, all the sacrifices I've made, it's obvious I should have received this award years ago. What sort of inbred, backwater hillbilly would you have to be in order to not see such a simple truth?

Speaking of which... if the head of the selection committee could make his way up to the stage now, I'd love to take this Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award and shove it somewhere special.

Thursday March 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that is: sloppy.

Was back working at the gym this evening. I'm grateful it was a quiet night, as I would have been much happier resting at home. At least it's done now and I can focus on getting stuff done on the farm and around the house until I work again on Monday.

I should get this written before I fall asleep.



His shirt was white, once. In a previous life. I imagine it sitting happily on a display table in some trendy shop, all of its multi-coloured friends nearby.

I see those friends disappearing, by ones and twos. How sad that must have been. Then one day it was its turn and I picture its joy and eagerness to see its new home, to make new friends.

If only it had any idea what was in store for it.

Those glorious, crisp, clean days are long gone now. That pure, youthful visage a distant memory. Now it is decorated with spaghetti stains, blueberry handprints, and other, less identifiable markings.

It must be so embarrassed when it is worn outside. How awful it must feel when it encounters its old shelf mates on the street, still in pristine condition. Does it question its fate? Wonder what it did to deserve such a sloppy owner?

His birthday is coming 'round again and I want to buy him a new white shirt to replace this one. But that seems cruel, somehow. Both to the poor, abused shirt he owns now, and to the new one I would be condemning to the same fate.

Wednesday March 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: defiance.

Back home in Osoyoos, safe and sound. Max slept for almost the entire drive from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John, and the majority of the flight from Vancouver to Penticton. The flight to Vancouver was mostly good, but unfortunately we had to wake him up to get him off the plane in Penticton.

He complained about that for most of the drive home.

Thankfully he was happy to see all his toys again, even if he was calling for Dati (Natalie) while he rediscovered them.

Regardless, I am happy to be here again. Despite being quite ready to fall flat on my face and snore the next however many hours away.


It is true. Our enemies hold the high ground. They outnumber us. Without question, they believe the battle that will begin in the coming hours will end for them in glorious victory.

They are wrong. Their memories have failed them. They do not recall who waits to parry their swords, dodge their arrows, split their skulls. They have forgotten who we are.

We are warriors. Our brothers and sisters are warriors. Our fathers and mothers are warriors. Our family trees have roots which dig deep into the earth, eager for the furnace of the Earth's core. Their tips do not burn, do not blacken, do not die.

They are shaped and hardened, like swords in a forge at the hands of expert bladesmiths. Those roots drink deeply from the wells of violence that have formed during the long, bloody history of this planet. They infuse our bloodline with the iron will of warriors.

We do not care about odds. When we go to war we do not accept defeat as an option. We are warriors. We will grasp victory by the throat, refusing to loosen our grip until it belongs to us, body and soul. Our enemies will be vanquished, high ground and superior numbers be damned.

There is no other ending to be written to our story.

Tuesday March 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: reluctance.

Heading back to Osoyoos tomorrow. Going to miss little Natalie and her antics. And her mom and dad as well, obviously.

I suspect Max will also, once he figures out they're not coming with us.

Fingers crossed for clear roads and smooth flights, and I'll see you all again from warmer climes tomorrow night.


Child, I hate to leave,
but I have to go. So may
this parting be brief.

*     *     *

Furrows forged by feet
which dragged, a weight carried by
slim shoulders that sagged

Monday March 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the copycat.

Much better connection to the world wide web this evening. I might even get to bed before midnight!

Natalie and her mom took us for a visit to their school this afternoon - Becky teaches while Natalie attends StrongStart there. Becky needed to get some prep work done before Spring Break finishes this week, so Natalie, Kat, Max, and I played in the gym with basketballs and exercise balls and bouncy balls and... I think you get the idea.

Other than that, it was more running around the house and playing in the snow. Good times, but I think we'll be ready to go home by the time our flight leaves on Wednesday afternoon.


Having spent the vast majority of the last four days with his cousin Natalie, it's not particularly surprising that Max has picked up a few things from her. On the more endearing end of the scale is her love of running up and down the hallway, at top speed, over and over and over again. He's been going to bed at night rather easily since that began.

On the less charming side of things is her fondness for climbing up on things, like the box in her room that she uses to reach the light switch, and the exercise machine tucked into a corner of the living room. Oh, and how she enjoys getting up on the couch and crawling/jumping across to the armchair which lurks beside it.

There have been new words as well. Max knows that the smaller of the two dogs is Daze (Daisy to us) and the big one he calls Bay (that would be Bailey) - at least when he's not referring to him as woof woof.

However I think my favorite is one that he's picked up from everyone in the house. You see, the dogs are not allowed in the kitchen. So when one or, more typically, both wander in there the standard response is to point out of the room and say "Out! Out! Out!" Max has figured this out. So he has been joining in whenever the occasion calls for it (though he does tend to point at them).

Also: whenever he wants them to get away from him.

Also, also: when the cat comes into the kitchen. The cat, mind you, is absolutely allowed in there.

I think you can imagine Max's confusion and consternation when the cat utterly ignores him.

Sunday March 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the barter system.

Good lord, the internet connection here is slow. I know it's never good, but it's been downright painful tonight. I just spent almost an hour (on and off) trying to get this far in the process (as in loading up my post template).

I'm just going to write mine and get started on trying to post this.


"That will be two dollars and fifty cents, sir."

"... excuse me?" Henri gave the man the evil eye but did not receive the expected response. By the time he remembered that he was wearing his sunglasses, the driver was speaking again.

"That's how much it costs to ride the bus, sir."

"I don't carry change," Henri replied, puffing cigarette smoke out the left side of his mouth. "Too noisy."

"Too...? Listen, sir, I cannot allow you to board this vehicle without payment."

"Fine. Whatever." Henri stuffed his hand into his breast pocket and pulled out a pack of smokes that contained, at a generous estimate, a quarter of its original contents. "Here you go."

"What... sir, you cannot pay your fare with cigarettes. Ignoring the fact that I do not smoke, it is entirely inappropriate. What do you think this is, prison?"

"No, of course not my simple fellow." Henri smiled sweetly, gave the man a firm pat on the cheek. "If this were prison, you'd be the one offering me cigarettes. Now get to driving - I have an important client waiting for me across town."

Saturday March 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something: prehistoric.

We went for a drive to Tumbler Ridge today to check out their dinosaur museum. Since Max recently attended a dinosaur themed birthday party at the bowling alley, he was pretty excited. Natalie seemed to enjoy it as well, though she mostly just ran around in circles.

Max did quite a bit of that as well.

Here's a shot I snapped with Max and myself in front of the coolest dinosaur skeleton in the exhibit:

It took me many, many attempts to get that picture. He was not particularly interested in sitting still.


By land, by sea, by air,
Dinosaurs all around;
We invented fire
To burn them all down.

Friday March 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: ice.

We're up in Dawson Creek, having a blast with Max and his cousin Natalie. Having said that, less than two days of being with the two of them is more than enough time for me to realize that I have no interest in having more than one child of my own.

Holy crapola. Maybe when Max is old enough to take care of his younger sibling I'll change my mind.

In other news, there is a lot of snow here. Not as cold as I was worried it would be, but I am still going to enjoy our southern return.


It's out there. I don't need to see it to know that it's waiting for me. Lurking beneath thin layers of snow, lingering under shady trees, disguising itself so that incautious eyes believe they are approaching clear pavement.

Intent on bringing me low, the ice has set many a trap for me but I shall elude them allllllllllll... oof.

Thursday March 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which has to do with: the wrong way.

Me and the family should be safe and sound in Dawson Creek by the time you read this, getting reacquainted with Kat's brother's family.

So this right here be a scheduled post. Back with the live updates tomorrow.



It's that time of year. Winter has moved in, so everyone has moved out - at least for a little while. Until Winter stops paying the rent on time and the landlord decides to give Spring another shot. Maybe, she thinks, Spring will behave itself for more than four months this time around.

Meanwhile, the rest of the town is looking southward. California, Florida, Mexico, maybe a Caribbean island. Somewhere relaxed, warm, preferably with an excess of sandy beaches and alcohol. A place they will be made welcome, where old friends join them in their yearly escape from the cold.

Not us though.

Nope, we're going the other way. Almost 1,200 kilometers in the wrong direction.

Why north? Blame Kat's brother. Blame his wife. Most of all, blame their daughter. Max's only cousin. Adorable and loveable. Her pull, even from this seemingly safe distance, is irresistible.

So what if temperatures are not expected to go above zero the entire time we're up there? So what if our suitcases are weighed down with winter gear, just as Spring was showing signs of moving back into Osoyoos?

The cousins need to spend some time together. Kat needs to see her brother and sister-in-law again. I suppose I won't mind being with them too. I guess.

Especially that precious little niece of mine.

Wednesday March 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the impersonator.

Work this evening was fine, other than being problematic in the sense that we're leaving first thing tomorrow morning and I didn't get the chance to pack before my shift. Oh well, that stuff is mostly taken care of now, with just a few last minute things to toss in our bags before we go.

I'm scheduling a post for tomorrow night and then after that I'll hope for internet access and time to write. We'll see how it goes.

Hey, I might even get caught up on comments again...


A stutter here,
Some makeup there;
A change of clothes
And hey, who knows?
They might be fooled.

I hate to go,
I feel so low.
Perhaps, my dear,
I'll reappear
Once tempers cool.

Tuesday March 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku which are either about or take place at: the mall.

Today kind of flew by, as most days seem to be doing lately. Have I mentioned that we're going away on Thursday? Pretty sure I haven't.

So. We're making the trip up to Dawson Creek to see Kat's brother, sister-in-law, and our niece Natalie. Since Max hasn't seen his only cousin since last summer we really wanted to make the effort.

We're flying out of Penticton that morning and switching planes in Vancouver before heading up north. We'll be back next Wednesday evening.

I doubt it will surprise you to learn that so far I haven't scheduled any posts for that time period. I'm hoping to get one done for Thursday, at least, and then I'll just have to find time to get some writing done while we're away.

So if the blog goes quiet for a few days, you'll know what's up.


These stores are selling
variations on a theme;
only the names change.

*     *     *

He sits on the bench
facing the fountain and waits
to steal wishing coins

Monday March 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the scavenger.

Mine may or may not have been written shortly after the Canucks game came to an end at work this evening. I'm not sure if my brimming optimism comes through strongly enough in my piece for that to be obvious.

Made a tiny dent in the comment backlog this morning. Will try to get more done tomorrow.


Grey skies overhead, bitter winds clawing their way through streets littered with abandoned cars and shattered glass. Buildings painted with black scorch marks, caved in roofs pushing relentlessly downward.

He moves slowly, head down and hood up. His jeans are worn and dotted with holes, his sweater too thin. A faded backpack clings to one shoulder, dangerously empty.

Each car, each shop is inspected in due course. The bag gains little weight - a bent spoon here, a coat hanger there, two pens. No clothes. No food. No water.

This cannot last much longer.

He continues on.

Sunday March 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: road work.

The birthday party at the alley began at 1:30 this afternoon. Seeing as Max has recently taken to falling asleep for his daily nap at exactly 2pm, Kat and I were not expecting to stay very long.

But distraction can be a wonderful thing. A yellow balloon was particularly effective in this department (I still can't believe it remained unpopped when we left), so we were able to stay until 3pm.

Since Max was so keen on trying, I did take him up to "throw" a few balls down the lane. I am very proud to report that on his fifth ball he managed, entirely on his own, to knock over one of the three pins.

I wasn't even expecting him to be able to get a ball all the way to the pins.


Another passing thought, decorated with hope and love and the best of you. Grab hold, add it to the pile. Don't worry about tying it down - it's not going anywhere.

More words floating our way, promises emptied of truth mere moments after departing from earnest lips. We'll take them. No spare parts turned away around these parts.

Plans and daydreams, written on napkins, letterhead, grains of sand, nothing at all. Fret not, my dears. We will put them to good use.

Come, bring them to us. All shapes, all sizes. We need all of your good intentions.

This road to hell won't pave itself.

Saturday March 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the goldfish.

I am miserably behind on comments, once again. My apologies. I will try to start catching up tomorrow.

Trip to Penticton today went pretty smoothly. My cold seems to be slowly but surely dissipating, so that's a relief.

Max has been invited to a birthday party at the bowling alley tomorrow afternoon, which is pretty exciting. One of the boys from StrongStart is turning three so it should be a good time. We picked up a book for him that I'm fairly confident he'll like.

Yes, that expectation is based almost solely on the fact that I liked it. That changes nothing.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to being a participant of a party at the alley, rather than dealing with hosting it. Max has no idea what's going on, but I imagine he'll have a blast. Right up until nap time hits and then anything can happen.


One fish, two fish, three fish, four -
I keep wanting more, more, more!
Please, throw them all in my cup -
These goldfish don't fill me up!

Friday March 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose inspired by a song title. Choose yours as randomly as you like. Me? I just scrolled through my YouTube viewing history until something snagged my attention.

Feeling somewhat better tonight, which I think is mostly due to sleeping the majority of the afternoon away. We're making a trip up to Penticton tomorrow to get some groceries so it would be nice to not be feeling miserable the whole time.

Feels weird to not be working tomorrow. Pretty sure I can get used to it though.


Slow It Down by The Lumineers

Wind screams past our windows, drowning out your voice as we race down the mountain. More complaints, I imagine. There will be plenty of time for you to share those, once we return to sea level and the snarl of traffic entering the city forces us to crawl the rest of the way home.

Until then, the clouds and the birds and the trees can listen and take notes for me.

Thursday March 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: feeble.

Not at all inspired by my attempts to get through work this evening while suffering beneath the cruel thumb of a tyrannical cold.

Okay, maybe a little bit.

Regardless, I survived. And now I'm off work until Monday night, which hopefully gives me enough time to recover. 

Fingers crossed.


I wasn't always this way, you know. So incapable, so frail, so... weak. This wrinkled, faded old thing you see before you now used to be young and strong and vibrant.

When I would go to the beach as a young man, women would look at me. With lust in their eyes, not the pity they would grace me with today. I could have had my pick of those bikini broads, believe you me.

The men would stare too, try as they might to deny it. Envy oozed out of their every pore. Some of them would even pack up their things and go to another beach. I bet you a few of them even went straight home, they were so demoralized.

Now? Now, if I were to get some helper to wheel my tired old body to the beach, the young studs would only look away. At best. At worst they would laugh. So blind to their own futures it would be a wonder they could find the water from where they lay glowing in the sun.

Maybe I should do that. Make a nice day out of it. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Warm my sagging skin, maybe burn my balding head.

Let those little lion cubs see what awaits them in old age.

Wednesday March 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: getting the monkey off your back.

Inspired by Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks scoring his first two goals of the season tonight. After leading the team in goals last year it's been a very rough year for him, between a foot injury on opening night, having a puck break his jaw in December, and just seeming to have no luck around the net when he has been healthy.

So I'm happy for him, and happier for his team which managed to pull out the win this evening. They needed it, rather desperately.


Outside rain falls, marking the passage of time with pitters and patters as we march toward dawn.

I would sleep if I could. This maelstrom of thoughts inside my head won't let me. They are all demanding to be heard and considered, fairly and at great length. My timely arrival at work come morning is no concern of theirs. Nor, I believe it's fair to say at this point, is my peace of mind.

She must be aware of all this suffering she causes me. It must be written on my face every time we meet, echoing after every word I speak to her. If it is not as plain as day by now then I am an exponentially greater actor than I could have ever imagined.

Asking her out is my only exit. Of course it is. So why haven't I? Does some remote corner of my brain actually want this madness to continue? Surely I am not so self-destructive as that.

Outside the sky begins to lighten while the rain does not.

It is the fear that keeps me silent. It always is. The terror lurking within the what ifs. What if she says no. What if she laughs while saying no. What if she tells everyone in the office about it.

What if she says yes?

This cannot last much longer. There are only two ways for this to end. Either I quit, find work somewhere else. Far away, preferably. Or I ask her out.

Enough with the delays. Enough with the sleepless nights. I pick up the phone and consider the numbers staring up at me. It is time to dial.

The only question which remains is this: will the number I punch in belong to the office... or her?

Tuesday March 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the internet.

Eh, why not?

I seem to be sick. This... is not the greatest news.


Click. Read. Click. Watch. Click.
I appear to be stuck in
an unending loop...

*     *     *

Easy access to
this vault of information -
but how much is true?

Monday March 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the operation.

Long day. Me sleep now.

No? Write first, then sleep?



The patient is asleep
(Isn't he?),
All eyes in the room
Are on me.
It's time, let us begin,
No delay -
He will awake like new
(Let us pray).

I approach the table,
Knife in hand,
(Wait, how did that get there?)
As we planned.
First cut here, second there
(Breathe, you fool!).
Blood begins to fountain,
Play it cool.

The nurse starts panicking
(She's crying?!),
I soothe her with a touch.
(He's dying,
Surely this poor man's dead)
"Relax, friends!
I have done this before!"
(Dream, please end).

Sunday March 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something: inappropriate.

But, like, not too inappropriate. You know what? I trust you guys. Just use your best judgment.

Spent part of the morning with Max at the park, because the weather was absolutely beautiful. There were lots of other kids there and, best of all, two ducks that didn't have the good sense to fly away when Max started chasing them.

They just kept walking, looking back over their shoulders, and walking some more. I could not stop laughing.


There was a birthday party for a nine year old boy and his friends at the alley yesterday afternoon. The only parents present were his but they did a pretty good job keeping the seven kids under control and they even helped clean up afterward.

Sometimes, that's better than a tip.

Anyway. The CD player in the alley is broken but we have a jack people can plug their phones into if they want to play music over the speakers. Dad had his iPhone with him so I got them sorted out and the tunes began to play.

For the first, I don't know, hour or so it was totally fine. Then songs of a... less appropriate nature started playing. In my opinion, at least. I don't know. Personally, I won't be busting out Best I Ever Had (uh, lyric warning for those of you not paying enough attention) at Max's... well, at any of his birthday parties.

So I was feeling a little uncomfortable but also figured it wasn't my place to say anything. They were the only group in the bowling alley so I let it go. I was keeping an eye on the kids though, curious to see if they were listening or just too busy having fun. As best I could tell they were too focused on bowling.

A bit later Mom came up to the counter and started surfing through the playlist. Then her son joined her, and I could tell by the way he approached that he had a song request. I was expecting something more age appropriate.

"Mom, can you play Balls In Your Mouth?"

... never mind, then.

Saturday March 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: deterioration.

There's so much going on recently that if I talked about all of it every day I'd never get to the writing prompt. So stuff gets left unsaid, usually without me noticing it. Until I go to mention it one day and realize I've not actually said anything about it before.

One of those things? The Vancouver Canucks recent free fall from being an elite hockey team to one that is looking unlikely to make this year's playoffs. It could still happen, in fact they managed to win a game tonight, but they are not looking good right now.

Anyway, that's what inspired the prompt today.

Work went basically fine. I'm pleased to say that was likely my last Saturday shift at the gym and alley, as I'll be adding another weeknight in its place starting next week. Which means I'll get to spend the entire weekend with my family, rather than getting one day each week like I have been since... oh, the start of market season last May.


A once brilliant dynasty
Has begun to slowly fade.
Today is too much for me,
So I dream of yesterday.

Friday March 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: solar powered.

Max turned 16 months today. That's a year and a third. What.

To celebrate, spring decided to arrive in full force. Sunshine, blue skies, highs of 14 degrees (pretty sure it was warmer than that on the farm), the whole deal.

This afternoon I drove up to Oliver to pick up some potting soil so that we can finally get started in the greenhouse on Sunday. We're already behind, but not excessively so. Onions, leeks, and shallots will be seeded this weekend for sure, and we might get into our 'second' round of plants if there is time, with cabbage and broccoli and the like.

It's time to get a move on and shift at least some of our focus back to the farm.


Surely there had been a typo in the design document. One that had been overlooked by everyone on the approval committee, everyone at the permit offices. By everyone but the construction manager, who didn't have the good sense to question it.

I mean, honestly... a solar powered windmill?

Thursday March 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Let us make our third visit to Vancouver Irrealis.

Don't want to say too much up top, as my entries into the yearlong prompts always go long. So I shall just share a picture I took of Max this morning:

He was playing peek-a-boo with the kitchen curtains. He can be heart-achingly cute sometimes.


Though the approaching sounds made him want to run or at least hide, Tristam forced himself to hold his ground. One of the few things he knew for certain was that he was safe in that grassy clearing by the pond, and that was more than what could be said about anywhere he might end up if he allowed panic to take over.

It's hard to say what he was expecting to emerge from the treeline. If he was feeling optimistic, perhaps someone to show him the way back home. Pessimistic, armed law enforcement officers. If he was wise, anything at all.

As it turned out, it was a boy.

"Oh, hello there," the child said as he drew to a halt, one strangely-fingered hand resting against a glowing tree trunk. It was a wary greeting but still a relatively friendly one.

"Hello." Tristam opened his mouth to say more before snapping it shut again. When you were utterly out of your depth it's rarely a bad idea to let someone else take the lead. He'd learned that the hard way at his last job.

"My name is Ertrob," the boy offered, rising up on his toes before settling down again. He couldn't be more than eight or nine years old, Tristam realized.

"Nice to meet you. I'm Mattris." A puzzled look appeared on Tristam's face and he tried again. "No, I meant to say Mattris."

"It's okay," Ertrob said. "You'll get used to that, Mattris."

"That... that's not my name!"

"Maybe not where we came from, but it is here."

"You're... you don't belong here either?" Tristam asked, a wave of relief flooding over him. He had found someone like him. Or rather, someone like him had found him. Whichever.

It didn't matter. He was not alone.

"Belong? Maybe, maybe not." The boy's face, lit by the blue of the trees on either side of him, looked thoughtful. "I'm beginning to think that maybe I didn't belong back there. The longer I stay in this place, the more it feels like home."

"No thanks. I want to go back, right now." Tristam looked around the grove and was unable to suppress a shudder. A question occurred to him then but he found himself reluctant to ask it. "Wait... just how long have you been here anyway?"

Wednesday March 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the bouncer.

I just got home from my shift about half an hour ago, so I'm feeling pretty wiped. It was a good group in the alley this evening - an owner of one of the local pubs was having a birthday party for his wife and they were very nice and surprisingly calm. Probably helped that it was the middle of the week and that the boss was there with most of his staff, but I was still very glad to have help called in to tend bar while I took care of the bowling side of things.

Plus, you know, keeping an eye on the gym until nine o'clock.

Anyway. Other than the late hour, it's been a good night. Max apparently was on his best behaviour for Kat, so I didn't feel guilty being at work well past when I usually finish.


He is, one might say, built like a brick wall. Not much more mobile than one, I would expect. I will, however, allow someone else to test out that theory. Should he prove capable of reaching land speeds greater than that of an ambling cow, I would prefer not to have been the cause of it.

He seems nice enough. If one is able to surmount the intimidation of his appearance I am sure a friendly conversation would follow. Again, I will allow someone else to verify this claim.

The ladies certainly seem to enjoy his company. I wonder if it is genuine, however, or if they simply want to get inside the club a little faster. Especially on rainy or cold or windy evenings.

Worst of all, he must be haunted by the same doubts. Every single night.

Tuesday March 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: monsters.

With Kat appearing to be getting sick again I took Max to StrongStart in her place this morning, hoping that some extra rest will nip this one in the bud. Plus I'm covering a shift tomorrow night and I'd hate to have to leave her to watch Max on her own for the evening while she's feeling ill.

Spring is doing its best to take over around these parts but Winter is being stubborn. I woke to snow falling from grey clouds this morning, but by the afternoon it was warm enough to melt most of what had already been on the ground.

Come on, Spring. You can do it.


My dating troubles
seem trite while I'm standing in
Godzilla's footprint

*     *     *

Beneath my bed lurk
ferocious beasts gnawing on
my self-confidence

Monday March 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: panic.

Mondays are so long. I need to get this written before I fall asleep on the couch yet again.


Air too thick to breathe, blood cells too loud and too heavy for the veins struggling to contain them. An invisible hand around my throat, gradually tightening. No escape, no end in sight. I am drowning on my living room floor with not a drop of water to be found.

It's not real. None of this is real. This fear cannot kill me. I have to remember that. Cling to that thought. Do not let go, no matter what.

Another wave, this one more suffocating than the last. Rational thoughts twist and tumble, collide like seeds trapped inside a maraca. Panic takes hold once more. Run. Doesn't matter where, just run. Whatever direction I'm facing, run.

No. Calm down. Calm is the mortal enemy of panic. Breathe. Don't give up. Fight like your life is on the line.

Because it is.

Hold on, here it comes again...

Sunday March 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the ladies man.

Our friends who run the local bakery came over with their son this evening for dinner. Their little man is only about three months older than Max, so it was pretty fun seeing them together. Plus the adults managed to enjoy a few moments of good conversation.

Before that, however...


I took Max to our favorite coffee shop late this morning so that Kat could have some space to make dessert for our dinner guests. There are three or four women who work there who, I can say with some confidence, think Max is the greatest. This is why, whenever I'm trying to get Max into his jacket and out the door to go there, I always tell him we have to go say hello to his coffee shop ladies.

Today, however, he was greeted at the door by a new little lady. One who will be turning the ripe old age of two years old next month.

Max was curious about her at first, but wasn't quite sure what to make of her. Then she climbed down from her chair and gave him a very gentle hug before returning to her table. While Max still wasn't certain about her, he did seem reasonably pleased.

Ten minutes and three hugs later he'd made up his mind.

At one point he was doing his usual run from our table to the washrooms and back. I didn't actually see what was happening behind me, but from the sounds of her mother the little girl was hot on our heels. Not long after that they were checking out the display cases together.

By the time it was time to go she was running around her table and Max was chasing after her. It should not surprise you to learn that he was not very interested in leaving, despite lunchtime's rapid approach.

All I can say, I think, is that the boy is starting young.

Saturday March 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: coming to an end.

Mine, I will freely admit, is a little on the optimistic side.

Had a couple of small bookings in the alley this afternoon, which helped the second half of the day to fly by. The morning was less swift, but that was okay. It's not like I was fully awake for it anyway.


His bags are packed,
He's ready to go.
Winter will rest
Until next year's snow.