Friday October 31st, 2014

The exercise:

Happy Halloween! Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: another point of view.

Max dressed up as a turtle this year and was, obviously, very adorable. Kat has a picture on her phone so I'll have to get that from her in order to share it. I did a very simple cowboy costume (as in, I bought the hat and wore jeans and a short-sleeved button up plaid shirt that I already owned) since my pirate getup from last year freaked Max out a little bit.

He definitely liked this year's version better. He even wanted to wear the hat.

Oh, speaking of pictures - we got our family photos back already. Still looking through them, trying to narrow it down to a top ten or so, but I thought I'd share my clear favorite:

I know I should probably pick one that actually shows off the fall colours, but this one is, in my opinion, too perfect to be diminished by such considerations.


He seems... upset. Perhaps his eyes - those rich, deep, dark brown eyes - see this scene differently from how my dull gray ones perceive things. I suppose he doesn't understand, but how could he?

A part of me, admittedly a very small part, wishes I could just tell him that I have simply grown weary of my troublesome wings.

Thursday October 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: wings.

If you're wondering why this is getting posted so late... so am I.

As best I can figure out, I fell asleep last night on the couch and woke up to a black screen. Instead of realizing that the computer was in sleep mode, I thought it had been powered off. Which meant it was time for bed.

I guess?

Anyway. I should get this written up so I can go help build the horse fence in the rain.


The graveyard is nearly deserted as I make my way between the crumbling and faded headstones. Soft voices carry through the twilight, originating from somewhere to my right. I think. Sound travels along strange pathways here.

Overhead the clouds are heavy with impending rain while ravens with midnight feathers move from tree to tree in eerie silence. I've never heard those birds be so quiet, and I don't care for it.

It takes longer than I would have liked, but I eventually find the grave that I'm looking for. Tucked into the northeast corner of the property and edged on two sides by towering walls covered by moss, it's hard to imagine this spot sees much foot traffic. The lack of flowers on the surrounding sites seems to confirm this.

And yet.

I move closer, careful to avoid stepping where logic tells me the body was buried. Mostly out of respect, and only a little bit out of superstition. The headstone is a small one but the details are intricate and finely done. The family obviously could not afford much but they had paid their utmost for a dignified marker.

So who, I wonder with teeth threatening to grind each other to dust, had decided to break these little angel wings?

Wednesday October 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the stranger on the wall.

My take on the prompt (and the prompt itself!) was inspired by Greg's comment on Monday's post. You do with it as you will, though. As always.

Spent most of the morning taking the last of the tomato stakes out of the garden. Then I started in on removing the row of black plastic that some of them resided in this summer. What a pain in the bum.

Anyway, hoping to finish that off tomorrow morning and then do whatever else needs to be done so that everything is ready to be plowed in to (almost) finish off the season.


Yeah, still need to get the garlic planted. Give me just a few more days, frost. Just a few more days.


The man in the picture
Gives me pause.
I study his eyes, clothes,
And his flaws,
But still recognition
Escapes me;
Dancing beyond my reach,

I should know this person,
I'm certain.
It's like he hides behind
A curtain,
Or just lurks in shadow
With that smile
That proclaims his wholly
Naked guile.

It's moments like this one,
I can't lie,
That leave me yearning with
A sad sigh
For a life where the blow
To my head
Was kind enough to leave
Me for dead.

Tuesday October 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: phobias.

It is getting progressively colder around these parts. I suppose that's to be expected, but I'm still not particularly enjoying it. Probably won't mind as much once all the garden work has been completed.


His greatest fear is
that they will learn that he fears
anything at all

*     *     *

Creepy and crawly,
slimy and slithery... could
we change the subject?

Monday October 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in: the parking lot.

Car repairs were completed without issue, errands were accomplished with minimal hiccups, and got home in time to shave before picture time.

Picture time?

Indeed. Some friends of ours here in town are photographers (mostly weddings) and we agreed to an exchange of babysitting (and produce) for some family pictures. The husband came over just before dinner and we did some shots around the walnut tree in our front yard before going out into the autumn colours of the apricot trees for the rest of the shoot.

I'm pretty excited to see how they turn out, as we've never done any professional photos with Max. I'll be sure to share a few once we get a hold of them.


I study the underside of the red sedan with little interest, despite the fact that I've never been beneath a car before now. It is kind of neat, I suppose, seeing how things connect. Where certain liquids are contained until they are used up or replaced. If I were to dredge up some imagination it wouldn't be difficult to picture how things would look if the vehicle was in motion.

But I can't be bothered with that right now. Sorry, I guess. I've got other things on my mind.

Like listening to voices drawing closer and then blessedly moving further away. Like watching running shoes of varying colour, boots of fixed colour (black, always and forever black), and heels in the genre of Too Tall To Be Practical crisscrossing the parking lot. Hidden at regular intervals by tires and lampposts while my heart pounds louder than all of their footsteps combined.

They are searching for me. They have been for quite some time. They must give up soon.

They must.

Sunday October 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: tarnished.

Had a pretty nice birthday today, going out for lunch with my family to our favorite local Greek restaurant and then going up to Kat's parents for dinner with her family. She made a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free cake so that everyone could enjoy it (though Max mostly focused on the icing and raspberry jam filling) created from a whole lot of eggs and a little bit of coconut flour.

Tomorrow morning I get to take the car up to Penticton for its second manufacturer recall issue repair, this one related to the power steering assist feature. I'll run a couple errands while I'm up there before heading back, but it's still a nuisance, especially with so much work left to do on the farm before frost hits.

As for right now, I've fallen behind on my attempts to catch up on comments... so I'm going to give that another go before I go to sleep.


In the aftermath, long after the dust had fully settled, I surveyed the damage with a keen eye. The ache of loss was a familiar friend by then, and I could relegate it to background noise without too many hiccups forcing their way to the surface of my awareness.

The destruction was very nearly complete, with no surfaces managing to escaped unblemished. Corners which once lurked in darkness were exposed for all to see. Hidden places had been turned inside out with apparent relish, leaving no secrets sacred.

I stopped to examine a printed record of all the calls I'd made from my cell phone in the previous year. Saw names and numbers I'd forgotten existed.


Turning away, I found myself staring at the reflection of a man I no longer recognized. A beard emerging from a face which had rarely gone unshaven for more than half a day. Clothes worn and grey had taken the place of fine threads and bright, confident colours. The posture that had once made yoga teachers envious now weak and slouching.

The eyes, though. There was still life there, still signs of a fire smouldering. It would take a mountain of work, but that gleam let me know that my tarnished reputation could still be recovered.

Saturday October 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: beer.

We made it to the party this afternoon, though we didn't stay very long due to Max needing his nap and wanting to get a few other things done while we were up in Penticton. Definitely enjoyed it while we were able to and it felt good to be able to make an appearance at last.

This morning I started working on pulling out the stakes for our tomato plants. There... are a lot of those. Glad I put a dent in it at least.

I'm determined to get this posted before it's officially my birthday, so I'm going to get to the prompt thingamajig now.


A pitcher of golden goodness?
Ya gotta know I'll take 'er!
She's my comfort, my company,
My best decision maker.

Friday October 24th, 2014

The exercise:

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

Did some yard work this morning with Kat and Max, cleaning up our garden boxes, pulling out dead sunflowers and weeds, and collecting all the walnuts that were felled by the recent winds. This afternoon I finally harvested the remainder of our carrots and put them into winter storage. Not as much as previous years, but there were more than I was expecting.

Tomorrow we're heading up to Penticton for the year-end farmers market party. If we actually make it this will be the first one we've been able to attend, since in previous years we've usually gone visiting friends or family at this point.

Kat hasn't been feeling too well the last couple of days though, so we'll see how things go.


Dirt clings to the carrot, as though the earth is reluctant to let go of this orange treasure. I give it a hard shake and most of it comes free, but not quite all. Shrugging slightly, I put it down on the ground beside me and reach for another fountain of green erupting from our garden.

By the time I look down again - merely a handful of seconds later - I find that the damned rabbit has managed to steal another carrot from me.

Thursday October 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about a: hardening.

Yesterday I promised Max that I would take him to gym time this morning since StrongStart was cancelled yesterday and he hasn't been spending all that much time with other kids lately. So I figured I could take him to the drop-in parent and toddler time at the community center to make up for it.

So, of course, when we arrived we discovered that it, too, had been cancelled. And the library wasn't even open, taking away that option.

Feeling rather annoyed about the whole thing, I said screw it and took Max into the empty gym, found a bouncy ball in his bag, and we made do. We had fun chasing it around and climbing on the bleachers and exploring various nooks and crannies.

Though it did break my heart just a little bit every time Max stopped, looked around, and said, "No kids."


I do not need to see the leaves transforming from green to gold or red to know that the season is changing. I can feel it in the earth beneath my feet. The way it greets me each morning with an unyielding hand. How it does not soften until late afternoon. How quickly it hardens once again, before night has fully fallen.

Soon it will be time to harvest our gardens, to retrieve and store whatever sustenance the too few seeds that were sown in the spring have blessed us with. Before the soil finds a grip comfortable enough to last all winter, one that cannot be broken by our meager shovels and weakened fingers.

There are other signs as well. I can see the coming cold in the faces of those who have lived through it before. Hard lines cluster at the corner of their mouths and eyes, jaw muscles struggle to contain clipped replies.

I know winter is drawing near when mistakes that would be laughed away in the heat of summer are no longer tolerated. The margin for error is shrinking, shriveling with each passing day. It is time to prepare for the long winter ahead.

Or each of us shall pay the price all too soon.

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the lumberjack.

Had some time to myself this morning and the weather wasn't exactly inviting me outside, so I used it to catch up on a few emails, put in another print order for greeting cards (winter shots that I think should work as Christmas cards), and chip away at the comment backlog.

I'm caught up to the first week of October now. So if you're interested in seeing what I had to say about your writing from, oh, three weeks ago, feel free to have a look.

This afternoon I took Max into town to run a few errands. We were just going to swing by the library to return some books and then do something else, but that didn't go quite to plan:

We hung out and read books and played with letter magnets and shape puzzles for quite a while. It was nice, actually. Good to find a decent rainy day activity around here.


He sizes up the fallen tree, excitement dancing in his eyes. His body nearly vibrates, he is so eager to commence his work.

He squats down with a natural grace I find impossible to resist envying. One hand runs along the top of the wood, tracing bumps and indentations. Fingernails toy briefly with lumps of bark.

Then, at last, he turns serious. It is time to get down to business. But first...

"Max need chainsaw!"

"Here you go," I say, handing him the small slice of wood that he has decided performs the same function as Papa and Uncle Adam's noisy machine. "Watch your fingers."

"Watch your fingers," he repeats as he begins sawing at the log, a mischievous smile on his lips. "Cutting the wood off!"

"Good work," I say, waiting. It doesn't take long.

He starts up his wooden machinery with full sound effects and really focuses. And I'm proud to say he does a damn fine chainsaw impression for a kid two weeks shy of his second birthday.

Tuesday October 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: armageddon.

You can thank Seeking a Friend for the End of the World for that one. Not a bad movie overall, had some nice moments. Made me think, so there's that as well.

Today was probably my last chance to get a second coat of paint on our side door, what with rainy weather and colder nights on the horizon, so I took care of that this morning. Kat was at work and Max was off picking apples, kicking balls, and picking up fallen acorns off the front yard at grandma's place, so it was a good time to bust out the stinky paint at home.

Still chipping away on the comment backlog. I will continue to remind myself of that fact every day until I'm caught up.

Fair warning.


The countdown is on;
What will you do with the time
That is left to you?

*     *     *

So this is farewell.
It's okay, this planet was
never meant to last

Monday October 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: camouflage.

Max woke up early this morning, which lead to an early nap. Since it was around lunch time, I didn't join him right away. So, of course, when I did go to lie down he woke up pretty much immediately.

A late afternoon trip to the coffee shop was definitely in order.

I'm slowly catching up on comments once again. I figure that if, at worst, I do two posts per day then I'm bound to be back on track eventually.

Now all I have to do is two posts per day...


The grass in the backyard is reaching for the top of the fence with thin, green fingers. When the wind picks up the blades sway back and forth like worshipers at some dark and unsettling ceremony, setting my teeth on edge. I keep watch from my kitchen window on those days, certain that someone or some thing is using the movement to cover his or her or its approach.

I should have had it cut while a lawnmower was still an option. Now a scythe is likely the best bet and none of the neighbourhood kids will go near it. Not that any of their parents would trust them with a giant blade.

Maybe I should wait for a dry spell and just toss a lit cigarette back there. If the fence catches, or the garage, or the neighbour's house? Acceptable collateral damage. At least to me.

But I don't smoke. And even if I wanted to pick up that horrid habit, I'd have to get to the corner store to buy a pack. Which would require stepping outside, leaving the safety of these walls far behind.

Putting myself directly in the line of fire of whatever might be lurking back there.

Oh, I hear you. Why not go through the front yard instead? As though I'm so mentally deficient that such a brazen idea would never occur to me!

Well, go on then. I dare you. Go see if the front yard is any better than the back.

Sunday October 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that is: smooth.

Had a lovely morning with friends at the park. Sun shining, kids playing, relaxed adults catching up. Could use more of those.

Kat did up some roasted pears for dessert tonight, which I had never tried. I, uh, would be willing to eat those again.


A gentle breeze ruffles my hair as I stroll along the edge of the water with her by my side. Our hands are not quite touching, though I can sense the warmth of her fingers whenever they draw near. The sun is sinking steadily toward the horizon.


I hesitate for a few more steps but the knowledge that there will be no better time than this nudges me into action. Without a word I drop into a crouch and begin digging around in the sand, discarding lumpy rocks with casual flicks of my wrist.

I can feel her eyes on me but she remains silent. Amused? Curious? Expectant? I can't say for sure, but I'll take anything other than bored.

At last I find what I'm looking for. The rock is like glass, no thicker than a pencil, and sits comfortably in the palm of my hand. I return to my full height and look out across the water. I've been practicing all week. My best throw was yesterday, a good twelve skips.

I know this one will be better.

I give her a smile, somewhere between bashful and watch this. Leaning to the right, I bring my left arm out for balance. Just as I've done hundreds of times before. A nice, long, slow backswing, and then bring it forward quickly with a hard flick of my wrist.


Smooth, man. Real smooth.

Saturday October 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the escape.

I quite enjoyed our first post-market Saturday of the year. This morning I went with Kat, Max, and Kat's brother up to Oliver to check out a salmon spawning area that Kat had visited with her students last week. It was a nice walk along the river, despite the grey clouds and chilling wind.

This evening Max went up to have dinner with Kat's parents and brother while we had a date night featuring rib eye steak and actual, proper, adult conversation. Uninterrupted, even.

We have plans to hang out with our bakery friends tomorrow morning so hopefully the weather is a little nicer for that. Warmer, at least.


He's left his desk,
With only a note in his place:
See ya suckers!
I can see the smile on his face...

Friday October 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the miller.

In honour of Ryan Miller, signed in the off-season to be Vancouver's new number one goaltender, earning his first shutout with his new team, a 2-0 victory over Edmonton. That makes three wins in a row to start the season - admittedly against weak teams, but still nice.

Max's haircut went well this morning, once the initial settling in process was completed. It probably took about five minutes to get him in the chair with me, but after that he held very still and didn't complain at all.

Once I got him to start telling the hairstylist about what he had for Thanksgiving dinner he was actually quite happy to be there.


A fine coating of flour covers every surface in his small home. Every touch leaves behind a grainy fingerprint, each gust of wind unleashes another cloud of wheat or rye or corn particles.

He coughs a lot, but doesn't really notice it anymore.

The authorities regularly threaten to permanently shutter his mill, but he doesn't really notice that anymore either.

Thursday October 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the takeover.

Watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Kat this evening. Really enjoyed it. Some genuinely funny moments, excellent scenery, several wonderful acting performances. Consider it highly recommended.

Also? I'm really digging the soundtrack.

This morning I got the majority of our squash out of the garden. Just need to go back for the remainder of the spaghetti squash tomorrow. After that I should probably get myself organized for this year's garlic planting.

But first things first: I'm taking Max in for a haircut after breakfast. That boy needs to get that mullet situation under control, stat.


He strolls these halls,
Touches our walls,
As though he belongs,
He's been here all along...
But he does not,

He has not.

We flee his approach,
He has encroached.
Who invited him,
This reaper so grim?
T'was not I,
T'is no lie.

Make no mistake,
Jobs are at stake.
We can only cower,
For he holds the power -
This by the book,
New age crook.

We should fight back,
Get on the attack!
But we choose instead
To sit and break bread;
We're so scared,
Desperate to be spared.

Wednesday October 15th, 2014

The exercise:

It has, as usual, been too long. Let us revisit the Random Book Prompt by selecting a book as randomly as possible and borrowing its first line for our own use. After that, and credit having been given where it is due, each of us can take our opening wherever inspiration directs us.

If you don't have any books within reach, Amazon's Look Inside feature should come in handy.

We had a lot of rain here last night, so rather than trying to slog a wheelbarrow full of squash through mud I decided to run a few errands in town this morning. It's supposed to be nicer tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some work done then.

Apparently it's my birthday in a week and a half. Does not feel like it at all, probably because I'm far more interested in the birthday that follows less than two weeks later.


Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean

Sometimes the world can be such a busy, noisy place. It can overwhelm a young man such as yourself, the way life comes at you in ceaseless, battering waves. Footing is lost, there is nothing to grasp to prevent yourself from being washed away.

Before you know what's happened you're lost. Alone. Helpless. Hopeless.

It doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes it's best to step out of the river and sit on the banks for a spell. Let the stream and all its fish and leaves and sticks and garbage do their thing while you fill your lungs with fresh air, fill your soul with fresh resolve. You don't have to fight for every inch, for every second. You can't.

It is simply not sustainable.

After enough time has passed, when you are ready to rejoin the river, then do so. Not a moment sooner. Don't let others rush you. They are too busy losing their own battles to see what is best for you. Those reaching fingers are not there to help you stand strong, but instead to drag you under with them.

The world is not always this way, of course. And there will be those who genuinely wish to help, to be at your side. Pick your allies wisely. Aid them as they aid you. Be their rock, their tree branch when the river runs too strong for them. They will do the same for you.

And always know, never forget, that should they let you down, should their eyes be turned away at just the perfectly wrong moment, I will be there to dive into the rushing waters to bring you back to the shore for another rest.

Tuesday October 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: Goofy.

Started cleaning up the garden this morning, hauling a wheelbarrow filled with butternut squash back to the house for curing. Max was out there as well, helping his grandma harvest pumpkins. I also finally got around to collecting all the bamboo stakes we used in the peas this spring and found them some better winter storage than simply sitting on the ground at the end of the garden.

Probably spend some more time collecting squash tomorrow morning, likely while grumbling about the rain, should the forecast prove correct.


Tall, clumsy fellow,
a relic from younger days;
my son brings me back

*     *     *

Loyal friend to mouse
and duck, lifting them up with
his optimism

Monday October 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: sprinkles.

Had some time to myself this morning while Kat and Max met up with some friends at the park. Managed to get some pictures off my phone and organized, finally, and got around to shaving as well. Also finally.

Was hoping to get a start on catching up with comments too, but I guess that will have to wait for another time.


I approached the car slowly, keeping as much as possible to the shadows cast by the boarded up shops. Avoiding empty beer cans and broken glass, I moved as noiselessly as I could. I didn't think anyone was watching, or even should have been, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Two days had passed since I'd abandoned the vehicle there, though it seemed much longer. The constant pressure of being on the run can play havoc with one's feel for the passing of minutes and hours. And the things it could do to individual seconds? Inhumane.

Aside from the rumble of a drunken snore coming from an alley half a block away, the street was quiet. As though it was holding its breath, waiting for something interesting to happen. I desperately hoped to leave before the exhale.

I surveyed the damage from the nearest patch of darkness I could lurk within, knowing I'd have to cross the final eight or nine feet completely, utterly exposed. It was a pleasant surprise to find all four tires still attached, not to mention the windshield appeared to have remained intact. Was it drivable?

I sure as hell hoped so. Though, to be frank, the sprinkle of bullet holes across the front of the car did not fill me with optimism.

Sunday October 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the horse.

Spent some time this morning helping the guys put in fence posts around a part of the property that hasn't had anything growing in it (other than weeds) since shortly after I met Kat. There used to be apple trees there but Kat's parents pulled them out due to a combination of them not being worth the effort and so that they could scale back just enough to be able to do all the work themselves, with no need for hiring pickers every year.

Needless to say, in an area filling up with vineyards and very little land left unused, that corner of the property has attracted a fair amount of attention. But soon, likely by the end of the month, it won't be quite so empty as Kat's brother is bringing his family's horses down from Dawson Creek.

And before those two get here, we need to get that fence finished.


"He seemed like a pretty good horse when I looked at him before the race..."

"Really? You're being serious right now, aren't you?"

"I checked all the things you told me to look out for! The feet, the walking stride, th-"

"Stop talking. Right now."

"You were putting big money on this one, you know I wouldn't cut corners!"

"Mate, you didn't just cut corners. You completely missed them! The bloody horse finished dead last!"

"I had no way of knowing that, I swear! Like I told you, he looked like... oh."

"Oh? Oh?"

"I... um... may have forgotten to replace the lenses in my glasses after they broke while I was getting ready for bed last night..."

Saturday October 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: passing.

Our last outdoor farmers market of the year is in the books and it was a pretty good one. Sold most of the apples I brought, along with all the cherry tomatoes, most of the larger tomatoes, and all but one of the ornamental squash and ornamental baby pumpkins, not to mention a good chunk of the garlic.

The morning started out with sunshine but then things clouded over and it was fairly cool for the rest of the day. Just a few sprinkles of rain during the market and then a few more drops on the way home, but otherwise it held for us.

Had turkey dinner up at Kat's parents place this evening and it was both delicious and a lot of fun. Max definitely had a blast, which tends to be infectious.

Also happening tonight: the Canucks continued their positive start to the hockey season with a fun 5-4 win over Edmonton. We watched a bit of the game at Kat's parents place and Max was quite fascinated. For a while. Then he just needed to get up and run around in circles some more.


He wants to write.
He tries and tries so hard but... ouch!
He can't help it -
He just passes out on the couch...

Friday October 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the pilgrim.

It's Thanksgiving long weekend here, which means a visit from Kat's aunt and uncle from Calgary. They arrived around dinner time this evening so we went up to have a visit after we finished eating. It took Max a little while to get used to them, as he hadn't seen them since Christmas, but eventually the Charm Show began.

Oh, and his Uncle Adam was there as well. But he's been here since last Sunday.

Because he lives here now.

I forgot to mention that, didn't I? Well, Kat's brother has a job in OK Falls that began on Monday. This is all very exciting, but will become even more exciting when his house in Dawson Creek sells and his wife and daughter are able to join him here. They'll all be living with Kat's parents until they're able to find a place of their own around here, likely in either Oliver or OK Falls.

We are so looking forward to having Max's only cousin living so much closer. They'll actually be able to grow up together, instead of seeing each other once or twice a year.

So, you know, somebody hurry up and buy their house please.

Oh yeah, heading to the market tomorrow morning for our final outdoor market of the year. They'll be doing two more markets but they're usually so poorly attended, not to mention poorly weathered (... you get what I'm going for there, right?), that they're generally not worth attending.

Thankfully, with Kat's new job providing some much needed steady income over this upcoming winter, we won't have to.


The ship has reached shore at long last! We shall live and grow in this new world, with the memories of our fallen comrades forever near at hand. Far from the tyrants who wished to tell us how to worship and what to believe, we can practice our ways in peace.

And, soon enough, we shall have these savage natives doing the same...

Thursday October 9th, 2014

The exercise:

It's been a while since the First Line Prompt last made an appearance here, so I'm bringing it back for another visit. Use the following line as your opening and then take it wherever inspiration tells you to go:

The playground on South Street was not a friendly, welcoming sort of place.

Inspired by this afternoon's trip to the playground with Max, though only in the loosest possible sense. We hadn't been there in quite some time and he was very excited to get reacquainted with the various pieces of equipment.

It was nice to get there again while the weather is still nice. Will have to make that more of a priority as long as this trend of clear skies and warm temperatures continues.


The playground on South Street was not a friendly, welcoming sort of place. Visitors were greeted by a barbed wire fence patrolling the perimeter of the area and the only way in was through a jagged hole that had been cut by only the good lord knows who.

All of the equipment was covered with rust and peeling paint and at least three playsets could be seen peering over the weeds from where they lay in collapsed heaps. The neighbours had obviously been using the place as a landfill for quite some time, judging by the smell.

None of that stopped kids from playing there, of course. At least those whose parents didn't have much interest in their activities outside of their homes - as long as they were out of their hair for a few hours and came home alive, preferably before dark, all was well.

My mom wouldn't let me near the place. Looking back now, it's easy to see the love behind that decision. At the time, though?

I hated her for it.

I mean, how in the world was I going to become one of the cool kids if I wasn't allowed to go to the one place they were guaranteed to be found?

Wednesday October 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Quick, before the month moves on without it, a return to our yearlong monthly prompt of Vancouver Irrealis.

If you haven't joined in on this one already, feel free to snag any old prompt from the archives that you haven't written on yet. Don't worry, I'll see it.

And one day, perhaps, reply to it.

I'm going to have another go at catching up on the comments eventually. Hopefully soon.

The NHL returned to action this evening and the Vancouver Canucks opened their season with a 4-2 victory over Calgary. This team looks quite different from last year's, so hopefully that equals different results.


The tea this time was comfortingly familiar to Tristam - peppermint with just the right amount of honey stirred into his cup. Anne-Marie and Rewand, however, set their drinks down after one sip and proceeded to forget that they existed.

"Am I... back home?" Tristam asked, keeping his eyes on the tea rather than run the risk of seeing pity or sympathy in the woman's eyes before an answer could be verbalized.

"In a manner of speaking," she replied.

"What the hell does that mean?" Tristam was tired of half answers. He was tired of the never ending barrage of weirdness. He was, most clearly of all, simply tired. Exhausted, really.

"An explanation - a proper one, one that might actually satisfy you - would take hours," she said, her words floating through the steam rising from her cup. "We don't have time for that."

"Well, we do," Ertrob said with a laugh like bells chiming. "But you don't."

"What is happening?" Anne-Marie cut in before Tristam could start yelling. "You said that you could tell us."

"These worlds are overlapping at an increasing rate," the woman told them after the briefest of pauses. "Crossovers are happening on a daily basis. And not just humans, as you obviously know, but entire buildings as well."

"How is that possible?" Anne-Marie asked.

"How could that go unnoticed?" Tristam added a heartbeat later.

"That is beyond our current knowledge," the woman told Anne-Marie before turning to Tristam. "Only abandoned buildings have gone over and remained so far. It is difficult to say why. Perhaps there is less resistance when only wood and stone and brick are involved, no flesh and bone. Or perhaps..."

"Someone or something is controlling what overcrosses," Rewand said.

"That is a possibility that must be considered," the woman admitted. "But there is one thing that we can say with some certainty, as grim as these tidings may be for you to hear."

"Get it over with already," Tristam said, the end of his patience having been left far behind.

"The two worlds are becoming one," the woman told him, then returned her attention to Rewand and Anne-Marie. "And when that final overlap occurs and becomes permanent, your government is dead set on being the ones who are in control."

Tuesday October 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: Earth.

And, just like that, we're done with the harvest boxes. I am already looking forward to next Tuesday and its relative peace and relaxation.

The final day was not without complications, of course. Kat didn't get home from work until nearly 4 (box pickup is between 4:30 and 5:30) and Max was not super interested in napping. So I had to take him back up to Grandma, who was thankfully still available to watch him, and then borrow their car to bring the produce back to the house.

Because not only did Kat have our car, but Kat's dad had the truck. Squeezing 14 crates of produce into a Civic is not something I generally consider a good time.

Anyway, it all worked out in the end, as it always seems to on box day. So we're done with it for this year... and likely much longer than that.

It's still under discussion, but at this point I would say it's very likely that we won't be doing the box program next year. Probably not the year after that either, and quite possibly never again. It's just an incredible amount of work and the return doesn't really measure up. So we're going to try doing things a little differently next year and we'll go from there.

I am very much looking forward to the experiment.

Speaking of things I'm anticipating, we're now one month away from Max's second birthday. Hard to imagine.


Spinning and spinning,
Like a child trying to look
Everywhere at once

*     *     *

Visitors stop to
search but cannot find signs of
intelligent life

Monday October 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the penguin.

Feeling mostly better today, aside from some lingering nasal grossness. Max is also on the mend, though his lingering nasal issues would be better described as nasty. Kat has also hopefully turned the corner on her cold, so fingers crossed that we'll all be back to full health in a day or two.

I got started on our final box harvest of the year late this morning and late this afternoon, collecting butternut and spaghetti squash, as well as tomatoes and zucchini. Still a fair amount of work to do tomorrow while Kat is away teaching, but it should be manageable.

The weather here, by the way, has been quite lovely. I was just realizing I hadn't mentioned it recently, so I wanted to point out how warm and sunny the days have been lately.


Night fell on the rainy streets of the city with deceptive speed, sending the remaining pedestrians scurrying for the relative safety of their homes. Water collected in puddles both shallow and deep, casting murky reflections of the few working street lights.

High above, standing at the window of an abandoned warehouse, he watched. Tapping the silver tip of his black umbrella against the rotting floorboards, he waited. Grinding his teeth the way his dentist insisted that he stop doing, he sighed.


The room he occupied also hosted a large, sturdy desk and a dented filing cabinet that no longer closed properly. Otherwise it was empty - no chairs, no shelves, and certainly no art on the walls. And, more to his current displeasure, no henchmen.

They should have returned an hour ago, at least. Bags weighed down with stolen goods of varying size and value. Perhaps even with a kidnap victim or two in tow. But no, nothing. Which, of course, could only mean one simple, aggravating thing.

That meddlesome Batman had interfered in his business yet again.

Sunday October 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: congestion.

About two weeks ago I had an idea of where I wanted to go with my installment in October's edition of Vancouver Irrealis. At the moment, I couldn't possibly tell you what it was. I'm blaming it on this cold, if that's okay with you guys.

Anyway. I'm delaying this month's visit to our yearlong prompt until later in the week. At which point, hopefully, I'll be thinking a little more clearly.


"Jeez," I muttered to my best/only friend in high school, "the hallways keep getting more and more congested."

"No doubt," Fitzgerald replied. "Say, you know what it reminds me of?"

Now, Fitzgerald was not a particularly nice guy. I'd overheard one of the teachers saying that he thought he was "a bit of a prick" and... well, I'd say that was pretty generous. I guess you have to be at least a little mean if you want to survive being named Fitzgerald.

But he was a good friend to me. Always there when I needed him, or just about. More than anyone else in our stupid little town anyway.

Either way, all I'm trying to say is this: whatever he was about to say was not going to be very complimentary to the denizens of Saint Jacob's High School.

"What?" I asked, keeping my voice low in a vain attempt to get him to do the same.

"My nose when I had that cold last week. A never ending supply of slimy gunk that I wish would be vaporized by a robot before I ever had to look at it."

Well. You can't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday October 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about someone who is: headstrong.

Had a pretty decent market, selling a good chunk of the apples I brought. Also had one of my better days this season with my cards. I think the wine tourists who are around this time of year are more into them than the visitors who pass through during the summer. Maybe.

Who knows, really.

Anyway. We're officially all sick now, as the cold hit Kat today. Tomorrow has been dubbed a family sick day, with a focus on watching movies, reading books, snuggling, and generally doing as little as possible.


He knows the way,
He knows what's what;
He makes his point
With vicious headbutts

Friday October 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the destination.

In an utterly unsurprising turn of events, I have been infected with Max's cold. This is less than ideal.

Still going to the market tomorrow, but I'm leaving Kat and Max at home. No way I'm dragging him out of bed early to go hang out in the early morning cold. I'm not crazy about having to do that myself, but I'll manage. Through the power of coffee.

Also: one of Kat's cousins will be there to help for the first part of the market. She came a couple weeks ago to watch Max for us, so she already has a basic idea of what needs to happen.

We'll mostly have apples to sell, once again, but I did find a few pints of cherry tomatoes this morning after the garden dodged another frost warning bullet. There are four crates of plums on the truck as well.

The weather is supposed to be nice, so that will make things easier. If the forecast had even the slightest chance of rain in it I'd be staying home.


"You know what they say dear," my husband says with what is rather obviously false cheer, "life is about the journey, not the destination!"

I say nothing. I don't need to. We both know that this rat-infested bed and breakfast was not worth the time, effort, or even fuel we expended to get here.

Thursday October 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the judge.

With Kat going on a hike with her students late this afternoon and then staying for a potluck dinner and vision meeting with the families, I was in charge of keeping Max alive from shortly after he went down for his nap until about 8 o'clock this evening.

Which would have been much more manageable if he'd slept for more than half an hour. Stupid cold clogging up his nose.

I had to resort to using frozen blueberries to bribe him into being in a good mood, but after that things went pretty well. We watched videos, kicked balls around on the deck, went visiting grandma and grandpa in the orchard, and shared an apple in the fall sunshine:

Now we're just hoping for a reasonable night's sleep for all of us.


"This is a tough one, Mitch."

"It is, Judge?"

"Absolutely. Lots of things to consider from both of those fine young lawyers."

"I thought it was pretty clear myself, Judge. You know, one of them open and shut dealies?"

"Well, that's just one more reason you'll never be behind the bench."

"That's okay by me, Judge. I like being a bailiff just fine."

"No ambition. No ambition whatsoever."

"What's that, Judge? I couldn't quite make out your grumblings there."

"I was telling you to order another couple of pizzas, Mitch. It's going to be a long afternoon of deliberating."

Wednesday October 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: close... but not quite.

Max has come down with his first cold in a very long time. I guess the combination of travel, a return to StrongStart, and (most damningly) a sick StrongStart teacher was enough to do the trick.

He's fine during the day, it's just the nights. Oh, those nights.

Anyway. I should go get as much sleep as I can.


I mentioned before that Kat's been hosting another little boy at our place a couple times a week. Apparently one of his favorite things to do is sing his ABC's, and it so happens that one of Max's toys has that song on it.

So they've been listening and singing along to that quite a bit.

I wasn't aware of this until Max started up on the way to Vancouver last week. Except he's not quite two yet, so it's not terribly surprising that he can't get all the way through without making any mistakes or forgetting letters or what not.

What did catch me by surprise, however, was a substitution he makes.


Yup, so far so good!


Sorry, what now?


No, no, hold on. Back things up a bit, please. Grandma is part of your alphabet? Close, Max. So close.

But not quite.