Wednesday April 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the sailor.

Seeded some beets and carrots in the garden this morning before marking out the rows where our leeks, onions, and shallots will be transplanted. Kat and I are planning on working on that tomorrow morning while Max hangs out with his grandma.

After we woke up from our afternoon nap I took Max into town to deposit a couple of box program payments (hurray for offering an early bird discount in order to get money sooner) and to check out the park. It was incredibly busy there, as there was a family reunion/get together of some sorts going on. Balls, babies, puppies... Max was pretty much in heaven.

Weather-wise, it felt like an early summer day. So nice.


The constant creak of timber won't let me forget where I sleep. This rocking, swaying, lurching deck will always remind me where I stand. Salted air, fish-filled meals, sweat and alcohol; my nostrils need no further evidence of this place I call home.

Captain says we should see land any day now. So my eyes search the horizon at every opportunity, as though they would spot a tree before the man in the crow's nest could. Old Lucky's eye isn't that poor. But I look anyway. I can't help it.

It's been too many days of nothing but waves and sky out there. I need to see something different. Need to know that solid ground still exists. I want to believe that women still survive, still wear exotic perfumes and pretty dresses. My tongue aches for fresh food.

I need off this blasted ship.

Tuesday April 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: laughter.

Spent most of the morning raking out areas in the garden for our carrots and beets to be seeded, as well as for our onions, leeks, and shallots to be transplanted. Should get going with one or both of those tomorrow.

Kat and I also took turns potting up our tomato seedlings. It's so nice to be only doing enough for ourselves this year, instead of the insane number we have been doing in order to sell some at the market in previous seasons.


He wanders these halls,
laughter nipping at his heels;
should have worn his pants

*     *     *

In the silence he
thinks desperately, searching for
the key to her laugh

Monday April 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the infestation.

I tried to get some work done in the garden with Max this morning but he was having none of it. Instead he was interested in wandering off in search of Kat, his grandma, the tractor... pretty much anything and everything.

So in the end I gave up and took him into town to do some grocery shopping. This guy has friends all over town now.


We seem to have an infestation of some sort in the greenhouse. The most likely culprit is cutworms, since the damage matches up with the descriptions I've read. Although at this point I can't read anything about them without getting incredibly frustrated.

They started with a tray of salad greens I'd seeded a while back, though it was hard to tell at first. Initially I just thought the germination was poor, or being slow, or something. Then I realized that there were actually tiny stems poking out of the ground... and that the growth was ending there, because their tops had been eaten.

Now, I'll be honest here: we really should have done something about them then and there. But we've never had a problem like this in the greenhouse before and we were slow to act. Plus we had lots of salad greens, so the loss of one tray, while annoying, wasn't overly problematic.

Then they discovered our pepper trays. Before I realized anything was wrong (again: poor or slow germination came oh so readily to mind) they managed to wipe out all of our pepper seedlings. All of them. Every last one.

I am having difficulty avoiding swearing right now.

So. No pepper plants in the greenhouse. Option one is to talk with our farming friends to see if anyone has any extras we can inherit. Option two is buying seedlings at the farmers market in Penticton. This is considerably less appealing, since we don't make much money off our peppers - they're mostly used in our boxes and we don't sell much otherwise.

This was really not the start to the season we were hoping for, but we should still be able to recover from it. I just wish we didn't have to, as there's more than enough other things to worry about already.

Sunday April 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Brought to you by my recent rediscovery of this album, pick a song title from Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance and use it as the inspiration for your writing today. I ended up choosing one of the covers they did, mostly because I found those the most appealing, so don't feel obligated to pick one of their original songs.

Kat and I slipped a bit of farm time into our day off, as we wanted to get the cabbage plants out in the garden. We did the savoy and purple, but didn't get to the regular green variety. It was tempting to keep going until we finished, but we managed to resist spending too much of the day working.


The Man Who Sold The World

You wouldn't have suspected a thing if you'd seen him walking down the street before it all went down. Not that you'd have been likely to see him there in the first place - he spent the vast majority of his time in his mother's basement, fixated on that fancy computer of his.

I guess that investment really paid off for him in the end, huh? I mean, that's why he was the first one to decode the messages. That's why he was the first one to figure out how to speak the language, send a reply back.

If it wasn't for that single minded determination of his, they never would have trusted him like they did. Otherwise, the offer might have been sent to someone else. Someone holed up in some secret government laboratory, I bet.

I wonder if his or her answer would have been any different?

Probably not. Perhaps the final number would have been slightly different, maybe a few billion dollars in either direction.

Heck, I know I would have sold the world for that kind of money. Though I'd like to think that I would have insisted on a few more people being spared when they arrived to take the reins...

Saturday April 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem that has something to do with: smothering.

Kat and I brought Max into town this morning for another attempt at getting a haircut. We took him to a different hairstylist this time and she was really great with him. It also probably helped that we were both there with him.

And the end result was an actual, honest to goodness, complete haircut. He hasn't had one of those in far too long, and it's so nice to see him with a tidy do once more. And with very minimal fussing to boot.


She stood accused of murder,
Her method: smothering.
Proclaiming her innocence,
She called it mothering.

Friday April 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the hybrid.

Kat and I spent a good chunk of the morning transplanting our broccoli plants into the garden. We were hoping to get to the cabbages as well, but they'll have to wait for another day.

I am very tired and very ready for this weekend.


"Professor, I've been going over your notes for the upcoming experiments and -"

"Flawless, aren't they?"

"Well, actually, I had some questions about how you were planning on achieving some of the hybrid animals you outlined in pages fifty through ninety-one, especially some of the more... uh, unusual pairings."

"Then I am happy to assure you that the answer is the same for all of them: candles and some soft music to set the mood."

Thursday April 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the final shift.

Because hurray, no more nights at the gym!

As a final parting gift, members were kind enough to clear out of the gym by 8:45 tonight. Normally people are working out until I shut off the music a couple minutes before 9, so it was nice to actually get out of there at a reasonable time for once.


Earth is always moving. It constantly rotates on its axis while revolving around the sun, pirouetting silently through space. The waters filling its oceans are never still. Tectonic plates are colliding, brushing against each other, ever shuffling and shifting.

So far these shifts have been, relatively speaking, quite minor. Certainly many lives have been lost, massive cities have been decimated, but the scale has remained small. This cannot continue forever, we know this.

There will come a time for the great, final shift. A deafening thunder will rush across the planet's surface, the ground beneath our feet will convulse violently. Great fissures will open their jaws, swallowing us whole even as the demons of Hell slip from their dark cages and cavort in the streets of our crumbling cities.

Thick, black, choking smoke will block out the sun. Our cool, watery rivers will be replaced by rushing flows of searing magma. Life, as we know it today, will be no more.

But that day, that horrendous final shift is still far away. There is no need to panic; we have time.

At least, we think we do...

Wednesday April 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write something about the intricacies of: language.

Blame Greg.

Or me, I suppose. If, you know, you want to be all accurate and stuff.

Got some more work done in the garden today. Still totally behind. Forecast of rain tomorrow morning and my last shift at the gym tomorrow night are not helping matters.


The English language is cluttered with words and phrases that mean utterly different things to different people. Some of the confusion comes from location, some from culture. More than a few definitions are only known among a small circle of friends.

I'm well aware of this. But there are times that I forget.

Case in point: yesterday's post, wherein I said in reference to a hockey team that I hoped "... the rest will do them some good and the rust won't be too bad when they eventually get back on the ice for their next meaningful game."

The key word here is rust. Now, the idea of athletes suffering the ill effects of an extended layoff between games is something that's been in my general awareness for years. It didn't even occur to me that someone would consider it an odd phrase, yet there Greg was in the comments wondering what I'd been smoking.

Anyway, the basic idea is this: some rest between games is good. Too much can cause issues, as athletes have trouble getting back up to game speed after days of low intensity practices and general lack of serious competition. Especially when their next opponent has had no such lull between contests.

I hope that clears things up, and I shall try to be more aware of my words in the future.

Although to be honest, I'm not sure that I really want to. Because the idea of rusty hockey players, the image that puts in my head, just cries out for a corresponding story...

Tuesday April 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: numbers.

My new team has swept its way into the second round of the playoffs, where Montreal shall await the winner of the Boston vs Detroit series. Hopefully the rest will do them some good and the rust won't be too bad when they eventually get back on the ice for their next meaningful game.

I finally managed to make time to file our taxes this morning. And by that I mean that it was raining pretty heavily for the first time in weeks, so I wasn't going to be doing any outside work anyway.

Regardless, it's good to have that one off my to-do list.


One plus one is two.
Two plus two is four. Wait, more?
But that's all I know...

*     *     *

A jumbled mess is
all I see; time to put on
a pot of coffee

Monday April 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which has to do with: the shoe.

It is very, very windy outside right now. I'm finding it very distracting.


Grey snowflakes flutter to the ground as I stand, hands thrust deep into coat pockets, and study the scene before me. The crowd of onlookers has dispersed, though a few lookie-loos needed some extra encouragement from the boys to do so.

I've never understood those types. There must be something wrong with them, some wire left loose in their brains by the great designer in the sky. Why would anyone want to be here unless they absolutely had to be?

I sure as hell don't want to be standing here, but it's my job. So... I guess I should quit, huh?

Maybe tomorrow.

The fires have been extinguished, leaving the charred skeletons of the two cars in plain sight. I liked it better when there was still a bit of smoke in the air. Left some of the details to the imagination. Since I've never had a very good one, that's definitely a better option than reality in this case.

Ambulances have ferried the survivors to the hospital. I don't think they'll be staying long, unless someone decides to deliver them and their families a miracle. Can't see that happening. If that somebody wanted them alive so badly they would have kept them away from this intersection today.

I look up for the tenth or eleventh time since I got here. Grim fascination I guess. I can't seem to stop myself from imagining the flight, how it must have tumbled and twisted and turned as it soared through the air before landing in that tree branch. Bringing my gaze back to street level I watch the boys moving around the street and sidewalks, marking evidence and taking pictures.

I wonder which poor bastard will get sent up there to fetch that shoe.

Sunday April 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the pig.

Spent some time this morning working in the yard with my family. Max was quite entertained by a bucket of water that he slowly turned into mud, while Kat and I cleaned out weeds and tidied up our garden boxes.

We had Easter dinner at Kat's parents and that was really nice. Good food, good company, good to have a break from cooking and doing dishes.

Oh, I should probably mention that my new team is up three games to none in their first round series. I haven't actually watched any of the games, but I have been following Montreal's progress. They have a chance to wrap up their best of seven series against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.


Sometimes I wonder if the other animals look down on me. I mean, I'm smaller than them, so of course they do. But, like, do they think that they're better than me?

I'm smart, but I'm not very good at expressing myself. I do my best, I really do, and I'm learning how to do things better every day. I guess I still seem pretty stupid to them though.

Graceful I am not. Maybe one day I'll have the easy stride of the horses or the stately amble of the sheep. But not today. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.

I'm dirty pretty much all of the time. I'm okay with that but most everybody else seems to mind. Not the pig, though. At least he seems to get it.

He understands that I'm just a baby.

Saturday April 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the wheel.

Osoyoos hosted our 20th annual Easter Eggstravaganza today, so I went into town with my family to check things out. The event itself was mostly lackluster, but that wasn't really the point.

The point? That was for Max to see a whole load of puppies and other little kids running around. He was also somewhat interested in the (very brief) parade down Main Street.

And oh yes, the wheel. The festival society was having a little fundraiser - you pay a quarter to spin their big wheel and you get to pick a prize out of whatever colored box you land on. I figured twenty-five cents was a good deal to let Max have a go and we picked him out a very nice sticker of a puppy wearing bunny ears.

While I was getting him back into the stroller the woman came over and gave him another one. Max was suitably pleased.


Tiny fingers
Send the wheel and hearts spinning,
And all the while
He's just grinning and grinning

Friday April 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the plateau.

Kat and I were able to work in the garden together this morning while her parents kept an eye on Max. It was a nice change from being out there by myself, and we got some good work done. We hadn't planned on transplanting all that lettuce that came back from last year, but I'm quite confident we'll put them to good use.

After thinking about doing it for... well, pretty much since we started the farm, we finally have a Facebook page for Prana Farm. Kat sat down and put it together last night while I was at work and we'll be adding content over the next little while.

At first we felt like we didn't really need it, and then we thought we didn't know enough people locally to make it worthwhile. Now, suddenly it seems, we have a lot of local contacts (thanks Max!) and with our intention to double the size of our box program this year it seemed like the time to do it.

Hopefully we'll keep it more up to date than the website.


The peace talks had begun so well, full of hope and promise and bathed in optimism. Progress was rampant, with concessions from both sides achieved with minimal bickering.

But then, as we all knew they inevitably would, things reached a plateau and suddenly every discussion point became a battleground.

And to this day our dog still refuses to talk to our cat.

Thursday April 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the DJ.

Finished mulching the garlic this morning before heading to the gym for my second last shift there. It's getting to the point that I'd rather be spending that time in the garden; thankfully, as of next Thursday night, I'll be able to do just that.

I feel like there was something else I wanted to mention here. Ah well.


I'd like to make use of this little break in the music to wish my loyal listeners a good evening and...

Oh. Edward, my top-notch director, has kindly informed me that it is, in fact, morning. Good to know! I guess these sunglasses are darker than I had realized.

No matter! Good morning, dearest listeners. To make up for that minor miscue, the next round is on me! Right, Eddie?

What? It's not too early to start, Eddie! Loosen up, man!

Anyway. Once more: good morning to the best listeners in the world, and may each of you have the merriest of merry Christmases!

What now, Eddie? You're joking. Be serious man! Really?

Okay, dear listeners, apparently today is actually Good Friday...

Wednesday April 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that is: suspended.

After finishing two rows in each of my previous two mulching sessions, I managed to do five rows of garlic today. They're not particularly long rows, but I'm trying to put down a thicker cover this year. Also? That mulch is friggin' heavy.

I know it'll do a better job than the wood chips would, but we don't have a mechanized way of doing it. So that means shovelling it into the wheelbarrow, bringing it to the garlic, and shovelling it out. And repeat. It's doable for a small section like this, but there's no way we'd be able to use it for, say, the strawberries.

Not without my wrist snapping in two.

Anyway, there are only three rows of garlic left to mulch now, so I'm hoping to finish that off tomorrow.


My life feels like it has been put on pause. I don't know who is in control of the remote but whoever it is doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry to hit play again.

Or maybe they've run out of batteries. I just have to wait until they get back from the store with a fresh pack and then things can resume.

Or it could be they've lost the remote in some dusty cosmic couch. That would not be good. Who knows how long it will take for them to find it? I could be stuck like this for years.

Worse still, they may have simply lost interest in the show that is my life. They hit pause, tossed the remote to the side and walked away. Probably forgotten all about me by now. Not likely to come back to this program if that's the case.

I've been thinking about all of these theories ever since things suddenly came to a halt. I doubt that it's doing me any good, but I can't help it.

Maybe I own my own remote and it's up to me to find it, get the tape moving forward. What if I hit rewind by mistake? Or eject?

I think I've got too much time on my hands.

Tuesday April 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: education.

Max picked up a cough over the weekend so I took him to the doctor's office this afternoon to have him checked out. It's nothing serious, just a virus that needs to run its course, but we appreciate having that confirmed. Plus, as usual when he gets sick, it's not really affecting his mood or energy levels.

More garlic mulching this afternoon. Likely a similar story tomorrow.


Dirt tastes bad, thorny
sticks cause owies, hugs feel good;
I learn by living

*     *     *

Six years of schooling
for a degree, prestige, and
a lifetime of debt

Monday April 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: allegiances.

As the only Canadian NHL team to make the playoffs, I'll be switching my allegiances to the Montreal Canadiens for the next little while. Though it won't be a particularly difficult change, as they are my dad's favorite team.

In other hockey news, it looks like Vancouver's Daniel Sedin dodged a bullet yesterday.

I was back out in the garden this afternoon, getting a start on mulching our garlic. That's always a big job but it was good to get going on it.


In the throne room he conducted himself with a quiet confidence. Every movement was sure and precise, without hesitation or show of nerves. His commands were crisp and clear, carrying to every corner of the vast space without being a decibel louder than was required.

Servants scurried to and fro, desperate to anticipate even his smallest needs in order to avoid grueling punishments. His advisor was knowledgeable without being arrogant, his wife a queen envied by all of the kings of the neighbouring lands. Guards stood always ready, swords sharp enough to split hairs, prepared to strike down any and all challengers.

But it was those same guards that kept him awake long into the night, unable to accept the comfort of his bed. And their deadly, gleaming swords waited for him to fall into fitful dreams in which the hairs they were splitting were attached to his head.

They were loyal, he kept telling himself. There had never been the slightest indication that would suggest otherwise. And still, and still...

Just how far did their allegiance truly go?

Sunday April 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the curse.

That's pretty much my only explanation for the Canucks season this year. Somebody cursed them. Don't know why, don't know how, but that's my best guess.

Tonight, in the midst of finishing off their disappointing year on a high note with a 5-1 victory, one of their top players took a hit from behind that sent him head first into the boards. I haven't seen the hit - I just don't have the stomach for that sort of thing - but knowing that Daniel Sedin had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher is more than I care to know about it.

Here's hoping for a speedy recovery from an injury that is not as bad as it sounds right now.

In more cheerful news, Kat is now certified to teach pre-natal yoga! Max and I are very proud of her.


Outside grey clouds turned black and a freezing wind began to howl. Pedestrians scurried for home or the nearest shop, wondering if the precipitation would be hail or rain this time. An easy, peaceful summer filled with sunny days and gentle breezes seemed to belong to some other, far away world.

Neighbourhood dogs began to bark unrelentingly, ignoring commands to be quiet from owners and everyone within earshot. Cats soon started to screech as well, though no one bothered to tell them to shut up.

Inside our home, however, silence reigned supreme. Bodies remained motionless, hoping to avoid drawing attention to themselves. It was as though we were all waiting for something to happen. And we were.

We were waiting for father to speak.

And, at long last, he did.

"Young man... what did you just say to me?"

Saturday April 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: sloth.

Day two of Kat's training, the longest of the bunch, is over and out. She was in class starting at 11:30 this morning and finished at 7pm. Max did fine, other than his afternoon nap which he had absolutely no interest in having.

I ended up sticking him in the car to go for a drive at 3pm (about an hour after he usually goes down) and he fell asleep within a couple of minutes. He only slept for half an hour, but that was a whole lot better than the nothing it was looking like it was going to be.

Tomorrow's 11:30 to 4:30 training session is suddenly looking pretty tame in comparison.


The roller coaster's rattlin',
Something has come loose.
I suppose I could fix 'er,
But, meh, what's the use?

Friday April 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the drought.

I'm in Penticton for the weekend with my family, as Kat is, at long last, taking a pre-natal yoga teacher training course. She's been wanting to do this for years but the timing, cost, location, or considerations for Max had not been in her favor.

It's a three day intensive course, which began with a two hour introduction tonight. We're staying at her aunt and uncle's place in Penticton, which is vastly better than having to drive back and forth each day. We'll be back in Osoyoos Sunday evening; until then I'll be updating on borrowed Wi-Fi.

I'm happy to say that I was able to get Max down to sleep for the night while Kat was at her course and there was very minimal extra fuss involved. That's the first time that no nursing was really involved in the process (Kat nursed him before she left, but that was at 7 and he didn't get to sleep until around 8:30).

I'd say so far so good at this point.


I watch dust devils dance in the front yard as droplets of sweat slide down my forehead and leap off the tip of my nose. Suicidal maniacs... I envy your escape from this place.

Leaves as brittle as the Dead Sea Scrolls are floating around and around as those devils in the brown grass slowly but surely tear them into a million miniscule pieces, with not a cloud in the sky.

Maybe the rains will return tomorrow.

Thursday April 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the nymph.

Spent some time weeding out our garlic this morning - it wasn't in a particularly bad state, I'm just hoping to stay on top of it this year. And, like all previous years, I suspect it will get away from me soon.

Hope, eternal, yadda yadda yadda.

Took Max to the park before dinner, where we met a nice couple, their one year old son, and (most importantly) their two puppies. Once Max gets on a roll with a certain word there's really no stopping him. Today that word was puppy.

How bad was it? Well, as they were leaving they said "Bye bye!", which he is entirely capable of saying. In fact, it's another thing he tends to get on a roll with. Not this afternoon though. His only response this time?



She waits in the woods for a traveller to draw near. Come closer, come closer, there is nothing for you to fear! There is no danger, merely a few birds, a mouse, and a deer.

No wolves to be found, no hidden holes in the ground. She whistles without sound as she whirls and whirls around. No vines to surround you, no bodies that have drowned here, come round, come round!

Oh, the villagers have stories to tell. They say this belle will put you under her spell. "Do not go where she's known to dwell!" they shout and they scream and holler and yell. I assure you, my friend, all is safe, all is well.

So go into the woods and dare to draw near. Go to her, go to her, what is there to fear? The coast is clear, get off your rear! But go now, for it is best to not keep her waiting my dear...

Wednesday April 9th, 2014

The exercise:

The Random CD Prompt makes its grand return today, so go find a song as randomly as you like and use its first line as your own. Poetry or prose are both welcome, and credit for the line used goes where it's due.

If this is your first time with this, my favorite prompt, feel free to click on the label at the bottom of the post to see how previous incarnations turned out.

After taking Max to Mother Goose in the morning I spent some time in the garden this afternoon, weeding out the blackberry bushes and raking out some more space for the next plantings. Not sure what's going in there yet, but it's probably past time for a variety of things to get in the soil.


Happy - Pharrell Williams

It might seem crazy what I'm about to say, I know. I understand your doubts and skepticism and suspicions. Believe me, I once walked in your boots and felt all of those things.

I was wrong then, you are wrong now, and if you give me a little time I can prove it to you.

Can you give me that? I know you are busy, there are too many demands on your limited resources already. I ask for it anyway though, because you cannot afford to be unaware of all that I have to share. Too much depends on it.

Ah, I see you seeking an escape. Those darting eyes belonged to me, many years ago. That panic and fear crawling their way up your spine is all too familiar. Relax into it, breathe through it. I don't know if that will make hearing what I have to say any easier, but it's better than running.

Not that I wouldn't understand if you did choose to flee. I ran the first time I was confronted with this knowledge. The second time as well, to be honest. But the truth would not be evaded so easily.

A warning? I suppose you could consider that a warning. It wasn't intended as one, I can assure you of that. Consider it instead a friendly heads up, if you will, that we can all save a lot of time and trouble if you just sit down, shut your mouth, and open your ears.

Begin with that, if you can, hear what I have to tell you, and then we can go from there. How does that sound? Quite reasonable, don't you think?

... damn it, another runner. Why must they always run?

Tuesday April 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: pills.

Max and I took a trip to the recycling station at our local landfill this morning. To say that it was long overdue would be... a bit of an understatement. It's possible that one of the items was the cardboard box that his crib came in.


Anyway, there was barely enough room for everything in the car and I'm probably lucky that on the way there Max didn't open up one of the bags I had to stuff on either side of his seat. But we made it, everything was deposited where it belonged, and now we have a bit of breathing space in the basement.

This afternoon I did a little more seeding in the greenhouse, so now all of our peppers are on their way. Still terribly behind on pretty much everything farm related, but I'll get there.


A bottle full of
pills? No, a bottle full of
flight and forgetting.

*     *     *

Take two of these and
call me in the morning. But
I've been shot! Three times!

Monday April 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write around the theme of: on the outside looking in.

Because, for the first time in six years, that's exactly where the Canucks will be during the playoffs this year. Certainly not a bad run, but it's been surprising to see how terrible they have been this season.

On the bright side, I won't have the chance to be disappointed by another playoff series defeat.

Also on the bright side: Max turned 17 months old today. That's nearly a year and a half. I'm having trouble accepting that.


My view is obscured by rain-streaked windows. Those are not my tears. They came from the black clouds above, those pathetic emotional weaklings. My eyes are dry, even if my clothes are not.

Inside there is a dinner party. Bare skin, gaudy bracelets and necklaces, expensive suits. Bottomless drinks and ever replenishing platters of fancy food. Music too, probably something with strings and pianos to ensure the mood is just right.

I can't hear it over the raindrops hammering against the pavement around me, but I'm sure it's just lovely.

They have been networking and blathering breathlessly for hours. I would not have accurately guessed how much hot air a person could store within their body. Perhaps they are stuck in a loop, regurgitating each other's bulls-

Oh, jackets are being retrieved. Farewells are being said, oh so sincerely, don't you know darling? A taxi or two are being sent for, how unfortunately sensible. But even those thoughtful souls have to come outside to reach their yellow and black chariots. There is no escaping that.

Each and every one of them is going to get a taste of what life is like on the outside, and I plan on ensuring that they drink deeply.

Sunday April 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Vancouver Irrealis.

Let's go.


"You're still alive!" Anne-Marie observed as she came to stand beside Tristam. He couldn't help thinking that she sounded more than a little surprised.

"So far, so good." He started to get to his feet but Anne-Marie sat down beside him, so he tried to turn it into a shifting of his weight instead, a mere repositioning of his backside. He almost fell over. "How's everything out there?"

"Oh, I got yelled at by my boss a little bit when I got back but that's not unusual," she said with a quick laugh. "The streets are just crawling with Icepol though. They seem pretty determined to find whoever they're looking for - they even stopped me to inspect my documents!"

"Right, whoever." Tristam's entire body wilted. He kept his eyes on his boots to avoid looking at his companion, feeling utterly wretched about dragging her into this mess. A voice in the back of his head wondered how many toes lurked inside those boots, but it also triggered another question. "Hey, do you remember when I came into your restaurant?"

"No, Yakth does all the seating."

"Sure, of course. But, you remember taking my order, right?"

"I... well, no. But it was very busy." Anne-Marie seemed a little flustered by this admission. "It's not that you weren't memorable or anything like -"

"No, no, it's fine." Tristam glanced at her, flashing a smile before returning to his footwear study. "It's just that I wasn't... there until the end of the meal, if you know what I'm saying. I guess I was just wondering if I, like, took someone's place when I showed up."

"And whether or not someone took yours?" Seeing Tristam's face transform from hopeless to shocked horror caused her to bolt upright. "Oh! No, you weren't thinking that at all! I'm so sorry!"

"I have no idea how this... stuff... works," Tristam said with a low moan, allowing his head to fall into his hands.

"Well, we can't stay here all night. It wouldn't do either of us any good for the Icepol to come crashing through those trees right now."

"I'm so, so sorry to do this to you. I didn't -"

"You had no choice in the matter, right?" She waited until Tristam shook his head no before continuing on. "Then you have nothing to apologize for. Now get up, we have to get moving."

"Where are we going?" he asked as stood up and collected his bag. He looked at it properly for the first time since he'd arrived in that other place and wondered what had replaced his reports and financial statements. He wasn't at all sure that he wanted to know.

"My apartment, it's not far." Seeing his reluctance, her tone turned no-nonsense. "I've already come this far and there's nowhere else I know that's guaranteed to be safe, for tonight at least. So let's go... wait, what's your name?"

"Oh God," Tristam groaned as he moved to follow his only hope of escape and survival through the trees, "please don't ask me that."

Saturday April 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: cops and robbers.

I took Kat to Terrafina this evening for her (slightly delayed) birthday dinner. We'd eaten there once before, last summer for lunch on the patio, so we knew to expect good food in a lovely setting. This time, however, we knew that Kat needed to avoid dairy, gluten, and soy for Max's sake, and they took excellent care of her in that regard.

I'd called yesterday to make the reservation and to double check that a couple of their gluten free options could also be made without dairy. I also wanted to see if they had a dessert that Kat could enjoy and, since they did, I booked us a table.

When we arrived tonight our waitress knew all about Kat's needs and was sure to point out which items on the menu would work, or could be made to work, for her. We were very impressed.

And we'll definitely be back.


The kids play cops and robbers
with their colourful toy guns.
Well, except for little Troy -
he's got himself a real one.

Friday April 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: pain.

I would expect a return to Vancouver Irrealis on Sunday, for those of you who might be wondering about that.

The apricot trees are filling with blossoms, the bees are buzzing, the sun is shining.

It's a good time of year.


"Why does Luke have to be such a royal pain in the a-"

"He's not," I said, cutting her off before I was left with no choice but to ground her. "He's your little brother, that's all."

"So what," she snapped, half-turning and pointing behind her with a finger adorned with too many rings, "that means I have to just accept this fork being stuck here?"

Thursday April 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: an exchange.

Max passed his exam with flying colours this morning, I'm happy and relieved to report. What seemed like it might be a touch of cross-eyed is actually just a result of where his eyes are naturally positioned. The optometrist wants him to come back in a year to have another look to make absolutely certain, but he didn't seem too concerned.

In the garden the first of the peas are in the soil, while the apricot trees in the orchard are beginning to bloom. It's almost like spring is here or something.


He said it would be an exchange of ideas. Thoughts and suggestions speeding along an eight lane superhighway, the results of which couldn't possibly be anything other than groundbreaking. Fame, glory, fortune all seemed so inevitable.

Stupid me for believing him.

It was too good to be true. Of course it was. I was lured in by my own needs, by my own greed. I wanted it to be true, so I convinced myself that it was. I could place all the blame on him but I know better. I suspect you do too.

The truth, that I can see is so painfully obvious from here, is not terribly complicated. What he offered was not an expressway of innovation. It was a one way street.

And I was left stranded at the wrong end.

Wednesday April 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the expiry date.

Finally spent some time in the garden this afternoon, raking out and marking a section for peas and greens. The plan is to get those seeded tomorrow while Kat takes Max to his first ever eye appointment.

There's nothing we're overly concerned about, just one eye that might be a little weak. We figured it's better to get it looked at sooner than later though, just to be sure.

Speaking of Max, he finally got through a day today without getting hurt. He's not had the best of stretches lately: his neck got caught in his coat zipper on Sunday, he fell into a rose bush at Kat's parents place and sliced up his left hand on Monday, and he dropped a pot lid on his right big toe yesterday.

So it was a nice change getting him to bed tonight without any new injuries.


The beach is crowded. Bodies glistening with sweat and suntan lotion lay side by side like sardines in a tin can. Noon is approaching on sluggish feet but no one seems to be in any rush to come back to the hotel for lunch.

I am not pleased to be here.

This is not my kind of scene. I prefer the dark and the cold. I like my space. Solitude brings me comfort, not colorful drinks festooned with ridiculous little umbrellas.

If I had any choice in the matter I would be elsewhere. Anywhere elsewhere. But I do not. The man I am searching for is here. I think.

He better be.

He has escaped me for much too long. His expiry date was so long ago that I should be able to smell his rotten stench from the oasis that is my air conditioned room. But I cannot. For whatever reason, I cannot.

This man has somehow discovered a secret that is not his to know. Disguises, illusions, smoke and mirrors. The game ends here, today, finally. This pursuit is over. He has avoided death for far too long.

And Death is not pleased.

Tuesday April 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the gate.

Another warm spring day here, which allowed us to have our first lunch on the deck. Max was deeply distracted by a large truck up the street, but otherwise he ate most of his meal and seemed to enjoy being out there again.

Work this evening was uneventful and therefore passed quite slowly. That's all right though, as I'm now down to three or four shifts before I'm finished there in favour of working on our farm for the next three seasons.


Though my kind is not
welcome, I peer through the gates
while cursing my horns

*     *     *

Beyond the iron
birds sing, butterflies flutter...
and I've lost my key.