Saturday May 31st, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the man who wouldn't stay.

I am enjoying my Friday/Saturday pairings. I don't know if that will become a regular thing or not, but I'm liking it for now.

Wedding was good times. We left Max with Kat's parents, heading out just after 2pm, and didn't get back home to pick him up until nearly 10pm. That was the longest we've both been away from him and he seemed to do really well with it.

He was even very nearly asleep when we got there, so that's an interesting development as well. He's never gone to bed at night for anyone besides Kat or myself. Maybe it's time to give that a try.


A nomadic soul
From tip to toes,
When he is moving
His spirit glows.

Friday May 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the woman who wouldn't go.

Just felt like abusing the fact that I don't have to be specific when labelling my Friday posts.

All eight rows of the strawberries have now been weeded. We celebrated this evening by enjoying our first sample of the berries we've been working so hard to help thrive.

There are still two and a bit rows left to mulch but that's going to go a lot faster with two people working on it at the same time.

Day off tomorrow, as we'll be attending the wedding of one of Kat's high school friends. Seems like a decent reason to bother shaving this mess of a beard off of my face.


I have asked her to leave, many times. Politely, insistently, with great and blustery anger. Nothing has worked, as you can see for yourself.

She lingers at the edges of my mind, hitching rides with innocuous thoughts, seemingly intent on haunting me for the rest of my days.

Thursday May 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: eliminated.

There's like half a row of strawberries left to weed, which feels pretty amazing. Planning on finishing that off tomorrow morning and then turning our focus to getting the remaining rows mulched.

Once that gets done... we might actually be able to do other things in the garden again.


In sporting news, Montreal was eliminated from the playoffs this evening after a 1-0 loss to New York. My consolation, since they were only my temporary new team to cheer for, is that this is only disappointing, as opposed to soul crushing.


I stand on the sidelines and watch the proceedings continuing on without me. How quickly I seem to have been forgotten. Left alone. By those I considered friends.

It was not so long ago that I was out there with them, part of the team. Chasing the same goal, working together, all that good stuff.

Now? They're too busy competing to even acknowledge a fallen comrade. I bet most of them don't know what happened to me.

Oh, here comes Eric. We've been best friends since Grade 2. Maybe I can catch his eye and get...


Man, forget this. I'm calling my mom to come pick me up. Screw laser tag.

Wednesday May 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Our word of the day is: hurry.

There were storms swirling all around us today, with clouds weighed down by potential hail. We were fortunate enough to avoid all but a few drops of rain but we could see heavy precipitation to the south and north at various points throughout the day.

Hopefully other growers in the area were only visited by rain and not crop-destroying balls of ice.

Another row of strawberries weeded, leaving two more to go. I got a start on mulching the last two rows we did but there's still a long way to go with that.


Hurry, hurry child,
There's a bad storm coming;
The horizon is black
And the wind is a humming.

Quick, quick boy,
A bad storm is brewing;
There's no time left,
Stop what you're doing.

Run, run girl,
This bad storm is howling;
Danger is near,
A fierce cat is prowling.

Go, go now!
The bad storm is growing!
No shelter will hide us
Now that fires are glowing!

Hurry, hurry dears,
This bad storm is gnashing;
Thunder is rolling,
Lightning is flashing.

No, no child,
The bad storm is winning;
We were much too slow -
In hellfire we're swimming.

Tuesday May 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: clarity.

So much weeding got done today. It was great. And if the weather doesn't rain us out even more will get done tomorrow!

I could get used to this.

In hockey news, Montreal won game five this evening, which kept their playoff run alive. They're still down three games to two in the series, but hopefully they're able to gain some momentum from this victory and string two more wins together in order to make it to the finals.


I can see clearly
now, the pain is gone; I let
the booze choose what's next.

*     *     *

Clear as mud, they say.
Math is dumb, History lame.
I will make them see.

Monday May 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which takes place at: the bus station.

Our helper, Genevieve, arrived this afternoon after a long bus voyage from Calgary. She was in a surprisingly upbeat mood after a trip like that and we're all very much looking forward to getting her acquainted with our strawberry plants tomorrow morning.

Also: it took a while to break the ice, but I'm pretty sure Max is in love.

Also, also: new internet connection tomorrow!


A twenty minute stopover in the middle of nowhere at two o'clock in the morning. Really. Who's bright idea was this, pray tell? It better not be anyone travelling with me tonight, that's all I shall say on the matter.

No, actually, it isn't. Did the person responsible for this ridiculous schedule simply make a typo? In that case, he or she could be forgiven.

Of course I would then want that person's direct supervisor alone in a dark alley to discuss my feelings on the subject, and to possibly offer a few pointers on how to double check your subordinate's work.

Seriously, twenty minutes. For what? To make this miserable journey just a little bit more soul destroying?

Maybe the driver has a special lady friend he likes to visit. I couldn't blame him for that. I mean, look at the fat bastard! It's not like he's got too many options on the romantic front.

What's this now? Masked men boarding the bus, yelling and waving guns and knives over their heads? Well, at least now I know who gets to suffer the brunt of my anger.

Sunday May 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that has been: captured.

As I type this help is, quite literally, on its way. If the bus schedule is accurate then our incoming helper should be pulling into Lake Louise shortly.

Oh boy, are the strawberry plants looking forward to seeing her...


It sits on a cluttered desk, collecting dust that is wiped clean once every month or two. Surrounded by books and scraps of paper littered with hastily written notes, it is a silent reminder. Of another time.

Of another life.

Unburdened by the weight of the meaning that has been placed on its shoulders, it is unremarkable. A lengthy examination would reveal no surprises, no hidden value. No secret beauty.

But it cannot be divorced from the memories that even a casual glance has been known to spark. It is one and the same with a laundry list of emotions he associates with it. He may neglect it for a time, may even forget that it waits for his attention, oh so patiently.

He will always come back to it. Sooner or later, he must.

For the seemingly simple photograph in that plain black frame captured a moment that he is not ready to lose.

Saturday May 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Following up yesterday's prompt, today we write a four line poem about: defeat.

We learned today that our helper won't be arriving tomorrow after all. She was supposed to be catching a ride with her aunt and uncle but they were delayed at the last minute until the 27th. But instead of waiting until then, she's catching the overnight bus from Calgary tomorrow night, meaning she'll be arriving in Osoyoos on Monday afternoon.

I hope she's a better bus sleeper than I am.


Mom and Dad are fighting,
About who or what or when;
Doesn't matter who wins,
We'll be the losers again.

Friday May 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: victory.

Spent the morning mulching strawberries while Kat weeded and thinned greens. This afternoon I dropped off five pounds of rhubarb at the bakery before taking our bikes in to one of the bike shops in town to get tuned up.

They've been sitting in our basement for... a year and a half, I think, so they were due. Plus we want to have them available for our WOOFers to use this summer, so they should probably be road ready.

Hard to believe our first helper is arriving in just a couple days.


It's about time I came out on top of one of these stupid battles. She's always finding ways to twist the rules in her favour, make it seem like I'm the bad guy. Well forget that nonsense; I'm getting my way this time around and it feels great.

She can figure out a way to tell the kids, too - that ain't my problem no more.

Thursday May 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which takes place: poolside.

Because one of Kat's friends here in town lives in an apartment complex that has a pool, and she invited Kat, Max, and some of our other mom and baby friends over to check it out this afternoon.

Today was a good day for that, since it was rather stupendously hot out. It's not even June yet, guys. I mean, I appreciate the sunshine, but can we cool it just a little bit?



"What did I tell you, man? I told you this would be awesome, right?"

"That you did."

"And I'm so right, right?"

"Well, I can see the awesome from here..."

"Oh come on, dude! Hot babes all around, wearing nothing but bikinis? A crazy big pool? Enough alcohol to get a football stadium full of people hammered for a week? What's not to like?"

"Well, how about the fact that we're not hanging out with the chicks or swimming in the pool or drinking any of that booze because we're not staying or visiting here... we're working here?"

Wednesday May 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: burning.

Mulched some strawberries this morning. Slept away most of the afternoon next to Max. Worked on creating a website for Kat's soon to be unleashed counselling business this evening.

And now it is late and I can hear my bed calling my name.


As the car pulled into the long, winding driveway the man behind the wheel grimaced. There was an unpleasant odour in the air and at first he feared it was coming from beneath the hood. The vehicle had seen better days, many years ago, and he knew it was only a matter of time before the poor beast finally gave up the ghost.

But no smoke emerged from the engine and the gauges on the dashboard all showed safe readings. Not that, then. So what and where was the source of that awful smell?

It only grew stronger as he approached the house and he struggled to maintain his stately pace. He hated to appear to be in a hurry to get anywhere, even when he was late for an important meeting. Especially then.

The man had a handful of foibles that regularly annoyed friends and family; that one was near or at the top of many of their lists.

He brought the car around the final bend in the driveway, bringing the house into view at last. The expression on his face changed only slightly when he saw the bonfire in the front yard. When a box filled with his favorite books exited the second floor and joined the pyre he sighed, a long and slow thing, and brought the car to a stop.

Then, without a word, he put the car into reverse and gently stepped on the gas once more.

Tuesday May 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku that have something to do with: slim.

Had a successful first harvest this morning, gathering two bags of stir-fry blend, four bags of baby lettuce, four bags of arugula, three bunches of radishes, and two pounds of rhubarb. Other than the rhubarb and maybe the radishes, that was about all I could have gotten out of the garden so it was a pretty ideal number of orders.


She searches online
for a potential partner,
finds it's slim pickings

*     *     *

Tall and thin, just like
his dear Daddy; he was born
to be nicknamed Slim

Monday May 19th, 2014

The exercise:

We're revisiting the First Line Prompt because I'm too tired to come up with something else. We all get the same opening line and then each of us goes with it wherever inspiration urges us to go.

And our first line shall be: Through the thick veil of fog a figure slowly emerged.

Did a little bit of weeding in the strawberries this morning, but a good chunk of the start of the day was spent getting ready for the potluck BBQ we hosted this evening. It went really well, with a total of ten parents and five children squeezing onto our deck. And spilling into our yard. And the surrounding orchard.

At the end of the night we were chatting with the last couple when their son went around the side of the house to go play in the dirt some more. Max, obviously, soon followed. They were playing together (so friggin' cute) while the parents continued to chat, when all of a sudden the boys apparently decided they needed to go see the tractor.

So that extended the evening by at least twenty minutes.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I did up some smokies on the BBQ, Kat made a salad (with our own greens and radishes!), and our guests brought potato salad, pasta salad, rhubarb pie, and peach crisp to share.

Tomorrow morning I get to harvest for our first local orders of the year. Which would be a lot more exciting if I didn't have so much work left to do in the strawberries.


Through the thick veil of fog a figure slowly emerged. I couldn't stop myself from taking a step (or five) back, but at least I managed to swallow my scream.

The person shuffled slowly toward me, head down and threadbare coat wrapped tightly around himself. At least, I was beginning to suspect that this newcomer was male. The general outline seemed right, as did the location and timing.

You know, middle of nowhere, on the wrong side of midnight.

Don't ask me what I was doing there, all right? Just... it's a long story, and not the one I wish to tell you right now. Another time, perhaps.

As he came closer his stench grew steadily stronger. I hadn't noticed it at first, what with my preoccupation with keeping my pants unsoiled, but once I detected it I began to wonder if this man was the source of the unnatural haze we found ourselves in.

You think I exaggerate this odor, yes? I wonder how you would describe it, had you been in my shoes. Would you say he smelled unpleasant? Like a garbage bag left out in the sun all day? Worse than rotting, bug infested food scraps? Something like that, I imagine.

What I can say for sure is simply this: to me, he smelled like death.

Sunday May 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Today we shall write something that has to do with: Mickey Mouse.

Had some help with the strawberries this morning - our friend Audrey weeded while I did some mulching. It's much faster now that I'm using the tractor to haul larger loads of mulch; the wheelbarrow is just miserably inefficient for this work.

Max and I slept most of the afternoon away but I was able to get our tent set up while I was barbequing dinner. We wanted to have a look at it and air it out ahead of our first helper arriving (a week today already!) since we haven't used it in a while.

Thankfully everything looks fine, but we'll still have to buy another one for when our second helper arrives.


"I have never been issued such a Mickey Mouse assignment."

I'll give Brent some credit - he honestly sounded like he meant it. Which is possible, I suppose. Personally, I'll live the rest of my life haunted by the memory of our superior's request that we scrub all of the public toilets in New York with a toothbrush.

Maybe that just slipped his mind.

"They can't seriously expect us to do this, right?"

More likely, he drank so heavily afterward that the whole experience now exists as a black hole in his memory banks. He's been known to do that. On occasion.

"There's no way. Just absolutely no way we're doing this."

Yeah, buddy, we are. If we want to keep our jobs.

"I mean, come on! Every single stray dog in India?"

Saturday May 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the bazaar.

Had a very nice visit at the market in Penticton this morning. Good to see familiar faves and great to see it so busy. I know it was the first long weekend of the season, but we were there fairly early and the crowds were impressive.

Max had a great time, as expected. He didn't really want to leave, also as expected.


Bright colours assault my eyes,
Pungent spices stuff my nose.
Pickpockets grab at my clothes,
And my ears hear shouted lies.

Friday May 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the diner.

Spent most of the morning doing an oil and filter change on the car, so no farm work really got done today. Trying to be at peace with that.

It's a struggle.

We're heading back to the farmers market in Penticton tomorrow... but as customers only this time. We won't be going as vendors until our strawberries are ready.

Which is going to be much sooner than I care to think about at this stage.


As Terrence squeezed his way toward the far end of the row of men and women (mostly men) stuffing their faces with food they would surely soon regret consuming, an itch manifested between his shoulder blades. Someone was watching him.

There was hardly room to move forward, much less turn around, so he continued on and tried to ignore the waterfall of sweat that had been unleashed in his armpits. After a lifetime passed he reached the only available stool and sat on it while keeping his head down, all too aware that he had wedged himself into an inescapable corner.

Thursday May 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the cut.

Kat and I spent some more time working on the strawberry plants this morning. Felt like some actual progress was made, which was nice. Our friend from the bakery is coming again on Sunday morning, so that should take another chunk out of the workload.

And we found out today that our first WWOOFer will be arriving on May 25th. She's coming to us from Calgary and I can't wait to have a (more or less) full time helper out there.

Then on June 4th we'll have, for the first time since we started doing this, two full time helpers, as our second WWOOFer will be joining us from Denmark.

So the goal right now is to simply survive until then.


You had a really good training camp.

He unzips his bag slowly with hands heavy with scars and fatigue. Tired from reaching for dreams that remain beyond his grasp. Exhausted, to be honest.

There was some fierce competition for our open roster spots.

Pieces of battered equipment are dumped into the bag in ones and twos. He doesn't bother packing them properly, though a voice in the back of his head tells him his mother would not approve. He simply continues to shove more gear inside.

It broke our hearts to have to cut you from the team.

Not as much as it broke his.

We hope that it's some consolation for you to know that you were the final player that we cut this year.

No, it isn't.

Wednesday May 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Let us return to the continuation prompt (if this is your first time with this exercise please feel free to click the label at the bottom of the post to see how previous visits turned out).

Montreal eliminated Boston this evening with a 3-1 victory. They are now off to the Eastern Conference Finals (aka The Stanley Cup semi-finals) to face the New York Rangers, a series which begins on Saturday.

Max did pretty well with his vaccination this morning, which surprisingly only involved one shot. I didn't bother asking about the other shot listed on the immunization schedule - if they weren't planning on jabbing my son with two needles, I sure as hell wasn't going to be the one responsible for suggesting it.

Maybe I'll enquire in a couple of months.


She grew nervous with night's arrival. Her bare feet would beat a familiar path through the house, weaving between chairs and around appliances without giving them a moment's thought. From the window in the living room overlooking a quiet street to the bathroom window that gave a partial view of an even quieter alley.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Gradually slowing but never stopping.

Not until sleep slipped into her apartment and lured her into bed. Whispering empty promises of rest and recovery. Of peace and worst of all, the lie she so desperately needed to believe, of safety.

This slumber, the voice cooed, this one will be undisturbed. They will not find you here. The dreams will not find you.

But, of course, they always did.

Tuesday May 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: vandals.

More progress was made with the strawberry patch. Still feeling way behind, but every little bit helps I suppose.

After only napping for around an hour the last couple of afternoons, Max slept for almost three hours today. Of course I woke up after an hour and a half and couldn't get back to sleep, but it was still good. I actually had to wake him up so that we didn't end up having dinner too late, as well as pushing his bedtime back.

Who knows how much longer he would have gone if we'd let him?

Tomorrow morning brings the 18 month vaccination shots. At least it's only two shots this time, compared to the four at 12 months. Also: it's the last time we have to go through this for a very long time

Edit: sorry this is up so late, our internet connection went down just as I finished writing it last night and didn't come back before I had to go to sleep. T-minus 2 weeks and counting until the new service is up and running...


A touch of paint here,
This rock through that window there;
Mute feelings expressed.

*     *     *

A steady hand sprays
black words on yellow buses:
Leave Our Kids Alone

Monday May 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: sand.

Montreal won game six at home this evening, sending their second round series back to Boston for a deciding game seven. Go Canuc... er, Canadiens go!

Kat, Max, and I went over to the home of our bakery friends for a potluck dinner tonight. Their son, who turns two in July, plays pretty well with our little guy and it's always fun to see the two of them together.

Back to the strawberries tomorrow.


The castle stands watch over an empty beach lit by the fading rays of the setting sun. A light breeze dislodges a few grains of sand from the northwest tower as rolling waves lightly slap the shore a safe distance away.

Hidden in the shadows of the tree line at the edge of the beach, I watch and I wait. If my information is correct - and I have no reason to doubt it - then this scene will not remain quiet and unoccupied for much longer.

There is a gun tucked into the waistband at the small of my back but I'm hoping that it won't be needed. I've hoped that before though, in situations very much like this one. I wish I could say that those wishes came true.

If I didn't know better I'd think the sand castle was created by children with little interest in accurate architecture. Each tower is a different height, the moat is much too narrow. The citadel itself sags on one side, leaving it with the appearance of a discarded garbage bag.

Of course there's a good reason for that feature: an object has been secreted away inside it. I'm not sure what, precisely, it is, but I intend to find out.

But first I need my expected guests to arrive.

Sunday May 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the count.

That was a nice Mother's Day. Good weather, good food, good times.

The only drawback was not being able to connect with my mother, but hopefully that will be taken care of in the next few days.


While Max and I were having breakfast this morning and Kat was sleeping in, I decided to compile a list of all the words he's learned to say so far. These were all words that he'll use on his own, not just repeating after someone else. I also decided to leave out his sound effect words, despite how excellent his woof is.

I knew I'd forget some, but by the time I served Kat breakfast in bed I figured I had a reasonably complete collection. I presented it alongside her toast and eggs, titling it Max's Words, Mother's Day 2014.

Of course it bugged the crap out of me that there were words I'd forgotten, so I kept adding to it throughout the day. Now, with my bedtime fast approaching, I'm basically satisfied with what I have cobbled together.

Apparently by 18 months of age, toddlers should be able to say between 10 and 20 words. I remember our public health nurse saying 18 words by 18 months was about right, which was 6 months ago. At the time we couldn't imagine Max having that many, as he really only had maybe three or four that he used consistently.

Now all of a sudden he's got 80. That I was able to think of today.

Saturday May 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the stamp collector.

I had a friend from the bakery helping me with the strawberries this morning and it went pretty well. So much faster when there are two of us working at the same time. I only wish she was available more than just once a week.

But I will gladly take whatever help I can get right now.

In other news: I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow with my family, as we celebrate Kat's second Mother's Day.


My pretty little stickers
From here and there and there;
Trapped in my precious binder,
Not going anywhere.

Friday May 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the call center.

I spent a good chunk of this rainy, windy morning on the phone in an (eventually successful) attempt to get our new internet service sorted out. We'll be switching over to the new company on the 27th of this month and that should have our connection operating much more reliably and at much faster speeds.

That's what they say, at any rate. We'll see how it actually works out.

Also did a bit of updating on the farm website and printed out a few posters to put up around town advertising our box program. We're already at 9 customers committed to the full season, which is pretty exciting.


From the moment I enter my shared office (it's just me and three hundred of my closest pals, you see) I am surrounded by ringing phones. Any time a call is answered its jangle is replaced with a voice oozing with poorly manufactured sincerity. Meanwhile, dozens of calls waiting to be dealt with reverberate around the room.

I hear them in my dreams at night, I... yes sir, this is all vitally important to explaining why I don't care about your mobile phone making odd noises, thank you for asking.

Thursday May 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the school.

Any sort of school at all, no need to write about a real one.

Kat and I finally got around to transplanting the last of our onions, leeks, and shallots into the garden this morning. We didn't start nearly as many as we did last year, and that's a good thing - we ended up with a ridiculous amount last fall.

The weather is expected to get a little wet tomorrow so it's looking like a get indoor things done kind of day. Which is fine, because I've been ignoring that stuff for a while now.


There is wisdom in my walls. That must be why the children are always leaning against them at every opportunity. Learning through osmosis.

Countless lessons have been collected by these chalkboard brushes. I understand that the little ones think that they can consume every scrap of education that they can get their tiny fingers on, but I wish they wouldn't try to eat those dusty things. The teaches must watch them more closely.

The students sit at their desks and soak it all in, class after class, day after day, year after year. They cherish their time with me, I know it. I would, however, prefer if they could refrain from leaving notes for future generations to find carved into their desktops. Where do they get those knives, anyway?

My cooks create nutritious meals in my cafeteria. Brain food for blossoming minds, feeding their imaginations and bellies at the same time. The food fights concern me, I must admit. So much wasted effort in the kitchens beforehand, so much work for my janitors afterward.

Still, I wouldn't want to be any other sort of building. Lasting friendships and memories are made here. They will never forget me.

Even if most of them will not look back on me with fondness, they will think of me.

Wednesday May 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the beggar.

So Max hit 18 months today. Which means, for those of you not so great with math, that he is a year and a half now. Which means, for me, that time has been driving on the autobahn for the last couple of years and it is travelling like it needs to be somewhere right now so get the hell out of its way.

In other news, strawberry weeding and mulching continues to crawl toward completion. We're hoping to get a friend to come by Saturday morning to help with that, so as long as the weather agrees that will be great.


Hidden beneath rotting, tattered layers of clothing, my secret hopes and dreams wait. An upturned cap sits before me, collecting donations that will go toward their grand unveiling. Nickels, dimes, quarters - no offering is too small, no token is turned away.

Some walk past without lessening the weight in their pockets. Okay, most continue on with their busy, important days without seeming to notice my existence. That's fine. Once my desires are unleashed they won't be able to ignore me a moment longer.

Perhaps you, with your fancy suit and shiny shoes, will provide the final gift that will push my savings over that final hill. If so, I will remember you and be sure to thank you in my keynote address. The world will know what you are responsible for.

No? Fine, keep on walking. I will remember you for different reasons.

Another dollar in the hat, another step closer to the end of this miserable existence. I am nearly there now, I can smell it. It won't be long now.

No, my good people of this good city, it won't be long now.

Tuesday May 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the predator.

My (temporarily) new favorite hockey team took a 2-1 lead in their second round series this evening. Montreal is matched up against Boston, for whom I need no extra motivation to cheer against. Hell, I was hoping they'd lose in the first round.

Anyway. So far so good for the Canadiens.

Did some more seeding in the garden this morning before pulling weeds in our strawberry patch. After dinner I went back out to do a little more seeding and spread some organic fertilizer.

Slowly but surely things are getting done around here.


My talons are sharp,
My eyes are always watching;
There is no escape.

*     *     *

Run, my little pet.
Go! As fast as you can! I
need the exercise.

Monday May 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: angry.

I can't say for sure that this guy was ticked off (in fact, I'm fairly certain this is just the way he looks all the time), but he definitely looked like it:

That's Houdini the Great Horned Owl from the rehabilitation center we visited yesterday. It was so cool to be able to get so close to him.

Even if he didn't look particularly happy about it.


Put your hand against my side
To get a taste of what's inside.
Feel my heart beat against my rib cage
While I tear another page
From this book filled with rage
That spilled from my pen
But only when
I let my guard down,
When no one is around.

Sunday May 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Managed to dig up some inspiration in the last 24 hours, so we're going back to Vancouver Irrealis tonight.

The local owl rehabilitation center had their once-per-year open house today, so Kat and I dropped by with Max on our way back from a shopping trip in Penticton. I think going in I was the most excited to see some owls up close and personal, but by the end it was closer to a tie with Max.

I snagged a few pictures while we were there, and wanted to share this one of Pilot the burrowing owl:

I'd loved to have spent more time there, getting pictures and hanging out with the owls, but it was quite crowded and we needed to get home for lunch.


"I don't mean to be rude," Tristam said as he followed the man into a cramped room that somehow managed to hold three chairs, a couch, and a small coffee table, "but who are you?"

"My name is Rewand," the man said with a slight shrug of his shoulders. The gesture seemed almost apologetic to Tristam.

"Right, Rewand," Tristam's mouth said as his brain thought Right, Andrew. With a deflating sigh he gave up and flopped down into the nearest chair as his host exited the room.

"We don't sit on those!" Anne-Marie told him, one hand covering her mouth as her eyes went wide with shock.

"Oh!" Tristam sprung back to his feet and looked down for signs of damage. "I'm sorry, I just... it's that... I didn't..."

"Just kidding," Anne-Marie said with a grin and a wave of a long-fingered hand. "Take a load off, you've had a long day."

"I wouldn't expect your night to be any shorter," Rewand said as he reappeared from an adjoining room carrying a platter weighed down by a teapot and four teacups. "And, to finish answering your first of what no doubt will turn out to be very, very many questions, I am Anne-Marie's fathergrand."

"I had nowhere else to turn," Anne-Marie said as she accepted a steaming cup from her grandfather. "Sorry, Pa. There were people in my apartment and I -"

"I know," Rewand said, passing Tristam the second cup while taking the third for himself. "You chose wisely, dear. I fear I would not have seen or heard from you again had you entered that building. I have your sharp eyes and quick mind to thank for you being here now, sound and safe."

"I'm pretty sure I don't want to know the answer," Tristam said, sniffing tentatively at his tea. It smelled of ginger and lemon and... something else. Familiar yet out of place. "But you promised to tell us anyway, so... what in the world is going on?"

Saturday May 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: balls.

Because Kat bought two new balls for Max this morning while we were in town and we haven't heard too many other words since he laid eyes on them.

One of Kat's friends runs the drama club at the local high school and she invited us to check out the play they are putting on. We managed to catch the final show this evening while Max entertained his grandparents and it was quite a bit of fun.

I'm always impressed whenever I see teenagers getting up on stage and acting and singing, because I never, ever, ever would have done that at their age.


Bruised faces, bloodied noses,
Though we try the message just won't take!
Listen son, hard hit golf balls
Quite honestly don't good beach balls make...

Friday May 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the liquid.

It's that time of year again... time to weed out and mulch the strawberries.


Not so much.

I'll save the hurrays for when it's done.


In the flickering candlelight the liquid in the cracked wooden bowl glistens darkly. The woman seated across the table from me reaches out a wrinkled finger and uses its long, curled nail to stir it slowly. I half expect it to dissolve in a surge of black bubbles.

What I don't expect is to hear the voice of my dead grandmother.

Thursday May 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Welcome to May, the 2014 version. Now write something that has to do with: careful what you wish for.

Inspired by Greg's comment on yesterday's post, much to my character's chagrin...

We managed to get almost all of our onions into the garden this morning. Things were slowed a little by temperatures reaching toward 30 degrees (officially it hit 27, though I would be surprised if it wasn't hotter here), but it was still a good start.

In the afternoon I took a drive to our local farm supply store to pick up some organic fertilizer and diatomaceous earth.

Because those cutworms are going to die. Tonight, preferably.


I am free at last. There is real, live vegetation brushing against my legs as I walk. Coconut water still lingers on my lips, my tongue, my throat. I can feel it in my belly, moving with me in a comforting way that the sea never did.

As to how I got here... I am not proud. Utterly necessary, without question, but I do not wish to think on it. The lies, the sneaking about. Getting caught, sliced throats and blood pooling on the deck. Not my finest moment.

But I am here. That is what matters. That is all that matters. I am alive and on solid earth once more. Where I belong. Island or mainland, I cannot possibly care.

The past is behind me and will stay there. I must keep my eyes forward. No time for looking back. Enjoy the feel of this tree against my fingers. Allow the birdsong to caress my eardrums. Breathe deep the smell of wet earth and flowering plants and... cooking meat?

What's this? A clearing up ahead. A bonfire burning bright. People seated around it, each one very nearly naked. How strange. I should change course.

But that aroma keeps pulling me forward...