Sunday November 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the flower.

Today's high was supposedly -12 here, but with the wind finally leaving us alone to go hassle somewhere else it felt damned near tropical.

Things are expected to return to above freezing by the end of the week, so there's that to look forward to as well. Until then? Soups, fireplace, hot drinks.

We might be making our final visit to Vancouver Irrealis tomorrow. Not sure yet, but I have a theme week in mind that I'd like to get started on soon and don't really want to put off the end of this year's saga for seven days or more.

So, likely, the yearlong prompt comes to its conclusion on Monday and then a theme week begins either Tuesday or Wednesday. Consider yourselves warned.


I wake in the morning light to find myself alone, a single flower left on his pillow to serve as... something. A replacement? An apology? Thanks?

Ugh, please don't let it be that last one.

Without pausing to study the parting gift, if that's what it is, I shower and get dressed. I've got coffee brewing and breakfast in the oven before I remember my phone is still on my bedside table. I enter the room, grab my cell, and I'm heading for the door when the smell stops me in my tracks.

I turn to take a closer look at the flower, realizing that I'd initially assumed that it was a rose. Typical, predictable rose. But no, that sweet jasmine scent tells me I was wrong.

An orchid. How delightfully unexpected. Where could he have... oh no.

I rush to the window, look down at Mrs. Wheeler's garden. Her prized centerpiece is missing. Maybe I can blame it on a deer or dog or... wait a second. She'll have no reason to suspect this has anything to do with me. I'll just offer condolences when she surely complains to me about it when I pass by on my way home from work this afternoon. No biggie.

Then I see the muddy footprints leading from her yard to my backdoor.

Saturday November 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: fidgeting.

Inspired by another vendor at today's craft market who just could not leave her display alone. I wasn't much better, at times, but at least I had some good long stretches where I kept my hands off my wares.

Overall I'd say it went pretty well. 33 cards and 1 print sold, and I got a whole lot of very nice feedback, both from customers and other vendors. If the wind had pissed off it would have been even better. They were selling soup and a bun for lunch and apparently there were around $150 less sales this year compared to last.

At $3.50 per person, that's quite a few less people coming out.

Still though, I'm pretty happy with how my first craft market went. Definitely interested in doing it again, hopefully under better circumstances.


It needs something -
Just a nudge to the right?
There, that's perfect!
Oh... well... maybe I might...

Friday November 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the animal.

The north wind, she be blowing tonight. And has been since mid-afternoon. Temperatures, unsurprisingly, have dropped accordingly.

Right now I'm just hoping the roads and sidewalks won't be too icy tomorrow morning for people to come out to the craft market. I suppose I should also be concerned about being able to get there myself...

I am behind on comments once again, but I'm at least trying to keep it to within the last week. That way I have hope that I might be able to get fully caught up whenever I have a reasonable chunk of time available for that purpose.


There is an animal outside of my house, circling it as though it intends to dig us a moat with its footsteps. It does not seem bothered by the wind or cold or dark. The way it moves suggest it could keep this up for days, maybe even weeks.

I knew, I just knew that Grandma shouldn't have shot that baby bear that had been sticking her nose and claws into our garbage cans...

Thursday November 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: Crystal.

Capitalization optional.

I had forgotten about the gang until I came across one of my entries while searching to see if I'd already used a different prompt. To help myself find them whenever I want to revisit their tale I've now given them their own label.

That means they join Bobby and Henri as the only characters on the blog with their own tag. I think so, at least. I might be forgetting somebody else.

Badminton tonight was pretty good. There was more of a mix of skill levels this week, so that helped (me feel better about myself). Plus I'm steadily improving, with the assistance of some of the more veteran players.

My body still hates me right now though.


I met Crystal at a dinner party in our final year of college. She was dating Tim then, but that would all end in an ugly mess within a few weeks. Jake brought me but I don't think we were even officially dating - he just didn't want to show up without a girl on his arm.

There was a game on the big screen TV. Football? Probably. Whatever it was, it had the attention of all the boys in the house. Most of the girls were in the kitchen, babbling about inane garbage while sipping cheap wine like it was a rare vintage from some remote, nearly inaccessible area of Europe.

Not my scene, thanks. I grabbed a beer and headed for the porch and fresh air. I was probably out there for five minutes before I realized I wasn't alone.

"Some party, huh?" Crystal said. She was sitting in a big rocking chair and had a beer in each hand. That was the first thing I noticed about her.

"Yeah, it's a real honor to be here," I said, walking over to clink our drinks together. Normally I would have hung back, waited for her to indicate I was welcome to approach. But things between us felt instantly comfortable.

"Pull up a chair," she said, pulling her long blonde hair free of its ponytail. I still remember the night she cut it off, two days before the bank job. "It's going to be a long night."

Wednesday November 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the prankster.

This morning I got started on preparing for the craft market on Saturday. Looking forward to not only doing a market that's more geared toward what I'm selling, but also selling my photographs of Osoyoos in Osoyoos for the first time.

Hopefully the bucketful of crap that is the current forecast for this weekend will be wrong.


You could never really relax around Luke. You were always wondering what he was going to pull next, whether you were his intended victim or not. Sure, it sucked when he made you look like a fool in front of half the school. But it was much, much worse when his target believed you were in any way, shape, or form responsible for what happened to him or her.

Especially when Luke decided it was a good idea to start pranking the boys senior football team.

You just never knew what to believe with him. He did tell the truth, on occasion. Just to mix things up, keep us on our toes. But it came out in the exact same tone of voice, with identical facial expressions and gestures, as the lies he told.

I guess that's why nobody thought to help him when he suffered a seizure during chemistry class on Friday morning...

Tuesday November 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the hermit.

That was a much better day. Had a productive morning while Max was with Grandma, shared some yummy leftovers for lunch, and then hung out playing games and watching videos until Kat came home from work.

So of course after he fell asleep at 6pm because he was so tuckered out, he woke up around 9pm and would not go back to sleep. Took probably another two hours before he finally conked out again.

In other news, we are getting a pretty major dump of snow right now. But tomorrow is supposed to be well above freezing, so we'll see how long that lasts.


Just a hut atop
a mountain, they say; but to
him, it's a palace

*     *     *

All day they wonder
what I do; I decline to
return the favor.

Monday November 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the twitch.

Not the greatest of days. Things kind of went off the rails around lunchtime between me and Max, a delightful combination of tiredness, overstimulation, and a two year old trying to assert his will. Once I eventually got him out of the house to spend some time in town things improved significantly, but it wasn't a particularly fun stretch.

He's sleeping soundly now though, and I'm enjoying sitting by the fire and trying to come up with a writing prompt and what to write for it. Well, not especially enjoying the coming up with the prompt part.

Something is bound to come to me eventually. It always does.

Ah, there we go. Thanks, random muscle that won't stop twitching for no apparent reason.


The spasm in her leg was driving her crazy, one twitch at a time. She felt as though everyone in the room was aware of it - indeed it must have been impossible to miss - and they were all struggling mightily to refrain from commenting.

Or laughing.

It wasn't even occurring at regular intervals. If that had been the case she could have at least braced herself each time it came back around. But no, it would go off three times in a row before going silent for nearly a minute. Then once, a ten second break, again, twenty second reprieve, one more time.

She knew that if it went on much longer she would crack a tooth or burst a blood vessel. Perhaps, she thought as she eyed the office supplies that lay within reach, I can just cut it off. It would have to stop then, right?

Then again... probably not.

Sunday November 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the assessment.

Pleasantly quiet day off with my family. Highlighted by Kat's brother returning from a visit with his family up north... and bringing his cat with him.

He's going to need a bit of time to get used to his new surroundings but I'm pretty sure he'll like it here. We just have to convince Max to give him some space, rather than following him around Grandma and Papa's house with "Cat. Where's the cat going? Cat? There's the cat." on repeat.


"Hello Jason, you wished to see me?"

"Yes, Mr. Collins. It's about my report card... specifically the grade you gave me for Chemistry."

"You disagree with my assessment then?"

"Disa... yes, that would be one way of putting it."

"Well I consider it a fair and frank summation of your abilities in that field of study. I'm not sure what's to be discussed, really."

"Fair and frank? It is very clearly neither of those things!"

"There's no need to yell, Jason. I can-"

"And there may have been just a teeny, tiny chance of me believing that nonsense-"


"... if you hadn't just been dumped by my mother!"

Saturday November 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the network.

I'd say things went fairly well at the market today. Didn't sell any prints, which was disappointing, but I did sell 34 cards. Not a bad number, considering my previous best was last summer when I moved 22 of them.

It was a learning experience, at any rate. One of the major things? The farmers market isn't really where I need to be with my cards and prints. The vast majority of people are just there to get their produce and that's it, which is something I've been starting to understand for a while now.

So I'm very curious to see how next Saturday goes, when I attend my first craft market. It's here in Osoyoos, which is a bonus, and it's a fairly small one. A good place to start, I think.

Today's market was good in a couple other ways too though. The vendor to my right was a distillery based between Penticton and Naramata and the woman running the table had (apparently) already bought a few of my cards this summer (I can be terrible with faces sometimes). She's interested in having my cards in their tasting room for next summer and promised to get in touch sometime after the holidays. So that's pretty cool.

The other one? A vendor selling bottles of oils asked me about doing some product shots for his website. I have never done anything like that but said I'd be interested in giving it a shot. I'm going to test it out with various objects at home and send him a few examples to see what he thinks. Also going to ask our friend who did our family pictures about it for tips... and to find out what in the world I would charge for doing it.

Exciting stuff.

I should go to bed.


A warm smile,
A firm shake;
We all pretend
Nothing's at stake

Friday November 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the walk.

I am a jumble of nervous energy right now. Wish me luck tomorrow.

Feeling better after finally doing a test setup of my display this evening. Received a few helpful tips from Kat as well. Now it's just a matter of showing up and hoping that people are looking for what I have to offer.

Plus there's the fact that I haven't done a market in over a month, so I'm totally out of the habit. Pretty sure I'm going to forget something. Hopefully it's minor.


The crowded halls of our high school were home to many things. Gossip foremost among them, but there were also friendships, fights, even the odd bit of education here and there. Honestly though, there was only one thing I really cared enough to pay attention to, when all was said and done.

The way Lucy Miller walked.

Thursday November 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the racket.

Survived my second evening of badminton. My play is definitely improving, but I was also definitely the worst player there. I'm aware that this is to be expected, but my competitive side is still irked by my place at the bottom of the ladder.

After spending a good chunk of the afternoon preparing for it, I am not almost ready to go to the market on Saturday with my cards and prints. The main thing I still want to do is a test setup of the table, to see what works and if there are any extra things I'll need to bring.

So... I guess I'll be doing that tomorrow.


The rally began shortly after noon on a clear, crisp day in October. It began as a small group, with perhaps as few as ten men marching together, but it gathered in size and strength as it made its way through the narrow streets of the town.

These things always seem to work that way. Who cares what we're protesting or celebrating or whatevering, just get in on the fun!

No one tried to stop them or even slow their progress. But they were watched closely, every step of the way. The surveillance only increased as they approached the royal palace.

"What on Earth is going on out there?" the king asked from the safety of his warm and welcoming bed.

"It's the badminton players again, Your Highness," his aide replied. "They are making a rather terrible racket with their rackets."

"Oh, is it that time of year again already?"

"Indeed, sire. You can always rely on them to start complaining about the lack of an indoor playing space when fall begins to be swallowed by winter."

Wednesday November 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that takes place at: the reunion.

Spent most of the morning in town with Max, exploring some of his favorite stores, while Kat was in an online class at home. After I dropped him off with Grandma after lunch I finally got around to raking up all the leaves that had dropped off our walnut trees in the front yard. Good to get that done.

Kat's at a class in Penticton this evening and, so far at least, Max is sleeping peacefully. It's nice to have some time to myself earlier in the evening than usual... but I'm afraid of waking him up, so it's hard to do much.

Oh well, I'll just keep typing quietly away...

Edit: he woke up about fifteen minutes after Kat got home. That works for me.

Edit the second: and of course he doesn't want to go back to sleep now...


My high school gym hasn't changed much since I was here last. Maybe a few more championship banners hanging on the walls, a couple new head-sized dents in the floor, but that's about it. Same miserable puke green paint on the walls, same old stench that can only come from sweaty teenagers who don't shower nearly often enough.

I never liked this place.

It's not that I was terrible at sports; I was average at most of them, pretty good at a couple. I didn't really stand out at either end of the scale, which is a pretty safe way to play things. Not that I did it on purpose. I didn't think anything through that much at that point in my life.

No, it was the dances they insisted on hosting here. Four times per school year. Bring a date or be labelled a loser. Stay home and invite upon yourself endless jokes involving dating your own mother. Or father.

So you find a girl who is willing to go with you. Arrive after the lights are turned down low, leave before things get too bright. Hope you're seen but not noticed. Dance as little as possible, keeping movements low key. Drink lots of water, enough so that it seems reasonable that you need to go to the bathroom every time a slow song comes along.

What ridiculous pressure. How could any of us stand it?

And now they're bringing us all back together, in this public holding cell of a gymnasium. Only this time, they've hired a live band...

Tuesday November 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the flame.

After dinner Kat was feeling like an evening launch would be more noticeable than a morning or afternoon one, at least on Facebook. So... here it is, the online home of my wife's counselling business.

Feel free to let me know if you run into any problems with the site. I hear the guy who did it for her is a bit of an amateur and didn't really know what he was doing half the time he was working on it.

But hey, at least I worked for cheap. And! I'm willing to fix (or at least try to fix) whatever mistakes I happened to make. At no extra charge, even.


A lone candle stands
watch against the coming night;
speak softly, my love

*     *     *

Somewhere, in a place
kept secret from prying eyes,
an old flame burns on

Monday November 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the badge.

Had a bit of a wildlife spotting day here. This morning while Max and I were having breakfast a white-tailed deer went trotting up our road. That thing was as noticeable as a peacock, straight up in the air like a fluffy flag pole. And this evening? Oh, goodness me.

I'd brought Max with me to go get wood from the pile, which meant giving him a ride in the wheelbarrow. We stopped to say hello to the horses for a few minutes before carrying on. He helped count me down for every swing of the axe (yes, he was a safe distance away) and then I loaded up and started heading back.

We didn't get far though, as he began complaining about the cold. So I ditched the wheelbarrow and carried him up to see Grandma and warm up a bit. I went back to haul the wood the rest of the way home, had a quick shower, and walked back up to collect him.

On the way home we were going along the fence that divides this property from the vineyard next door. I'm chatting with Max when I notice up ahead a little ways... there was something atop one of the fence posts.

I stopped in my tracks.

"Oh my... it's an owl, Max!"

I have never seen one in the wild before. It was starting to get dark, so I couldn't make out too many details, but it was still bloody amazing. It flew off shortly after Max started getting excited to see it, but that was enough for me.

More than enough.


She holds it in her left hand, feeling its harsh edges digging into her palm while she traces the raised letters with her right index finger. Though she has handled it nearly every day for the last ten years it feels heavier on this day. Just her imagination, she tells herself.

She doesn't believe it.

Outside the sun moves hesitantly toward the horizon. Day shift workers return to warm, welcoming homes. Restaurants begin to fill, bars ready for one more busy, messy, profitable Friday night.

A sigh, a grimace. She should be preparing as well. Yet she lingers, unable to escape the badge's hypnotic gaze. A decision would have to be made soon, she thinks as she runs a hand over her still flat stomach. It is a question that needs an answer sooner than later.

Will she continue to wear it... or turn it in?

Sunday November 16th, 2014

The exercise:

It's Random CD prompt time.

I will never understand how I manage to go so long between using this, one of my favorite prompts. Ah well. Go find a song, as randomly as you like, and use its first line as your own. From there, after giving credit where it is due, go wherever your inspiration leads you.

Kat's business launch has been put off until Wednesday, as the next few days are looking crazy enough without adding that to the mix. Plus it gives me some extra time to finish off a couple more things for her.

Hoping to spend part of tomorrow morning preparing for this coming Saturday's winter farmers market in Penticton, where I will be in attendance to sell my greeting/Christmas cards and some photography prints. Both looking forward to and feeling nervous about that one.


Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men

I don't like walking around this old and empty house. Not that it's vacant, not really. This place is full to bursting with memories that I cannot escape.

Over there, in the room we used as the library, that's where I fell in love with the written word. Secretly, of course. If my older brother had ever caught me reading the fantasy books I favored I would have counted myself lucky if all I lost was a tooth or two.

And down the hall, in the kitchen. I tasted homemade pizza for the first time. Baked my first cake in that oven. Learned the mysterious voodoo of recipes and cookbooks. Dodged my mother's wooden spoons and cast iron pan.

What's up there, you ask? Where do these crumbling stairs lead? I don't go to the second floor, not anymore.

There are some places, you see, that even ghosts prefer to avoid.

Saturday November 15th, 2014

The exercise:

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

Took the family up to Oliver this morning to check out a flea market and a couple of secondhand shops, hoping to pick up a used dinner table or dresser to replace the ones we have here. Found nothing useful, but Max ended up with a $2 maraca and a free toy guitar because of course he did.

It's a pink electronic Barbie guitar that I'm not convinced is working as intended. The batteries were dead when we got it and we'd intended to leave it that way. But then we left him with his grandparents this evening while we went out for dinner and he wanted to take it with him. I can imagine that a few "Not working, it's broken" observations later and fresh batteries were on their way in.

I'll admit that it's not as annoying as I expected it to be. And Max loves it, so it might stick around for a little while before we donate it to another toddler to mess around with.


Too small and too unsteady,
It is well past its time to go;
I meant the dinner table...
It applies to Grandma too, though

Friday November 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the diagram.

I felt a whole lot better this morning than I was expecting to, so that kept me happy for a good portion of the day. Then I remembered that, for me at least, it's the second day after doing physical activities that I'm not used to doing that I really feel it.

So another round of ibuprofen is on the schedule before bedtime tonight.

Speaking of schedules, the launch of Kat's counselling business is on the calender for this coming Monday. The website is basically finished (for now, anyway) and this morning I finally sorted out her business email address. Just a few more behind the scenes tweaks and I think all will be ready to roll when the time comes.

Feeling very excited for her.


And as we can see in this next room, there are four... oh! My goodness, that was not what I was expecting! Let us move on to the next stop on our tour, yes?

No, sir, I don't believe any of that was intentional - but assembly instructions for children's toys are obviously getting more and more difficult to follow!

Thursday November 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the net.

Had a pretty long day. Took Max to gym time at the community center this morning, drove up to Penticton this afternoon to get groceries, and this evening I caught a ride with our bakery friend to Oliver to play some badminton.

I have not played badminton since... I'm pretty sure high school. That's a good 18+ years right there. Sean went last week (they do drop-in on Tuesday and Thursday nights) and he hadn't played since high school too. Except he played competitively, going to tournaments and all that good stuff, and I only did it when it came up in our P.E. class rotation.

It was fun, and I enjoyed doing something just for myself while hanging out with a friend, but right now I'm not super confident about my ability to get out of bed tomorrow morning.


"We've cast a very wide net here, folks. The creeps that did this to you can't possibly escape it."

"Doesn't that just mean that almost everyone will be caught in it?"

"Yup - especially the criminals we're looking for."

"Especially? It sounds like they'll just be one for every thousand people squirming around in your great big tangled mess."

"Oh, no... I'd say it'll be more like one for every twenty thousand."

"So how will you know you've found who did this to us?"

"They'll be caught in our net!"

"Officer, I think I see a few holes in this plan..."

Wednesday November 12th, 2014

The exercise:

It is time for our second to last visit to Vancouver Irrealis.

Okay, I've got last month's adventures open in one tab, an email from Greg in another, and a vague idea of how I'm going to proceed. Let's see how it goes.

Edit: long, that's how it goes. Sorry, there was a lot of ground to cover with only one more entry remaining to me.

The horses arrived this afternoon. Max was pretty excited to see them again (he saw them on our last visit to Dawson Creek) and the two horses appeared to approve of their new home. I suppose that's to be expected, seeing as they were getting overnight lows of -30 before they left.

Kinda makes it hard for me to complain about it reaching -11 here tonight.


There had been an argument after Tristam's offer to do what needed to be done. Of course there was. Rewand's objections had been feeble, nearly drowned out by Anne-Marie's outrage. But before things managed to get fully out of control Ertrob had stepped between them, wearing a mixture of concern and fear on his face.

"We have to go back," he said as he held out his hands to the trio. "Now."

"Why?" Tristam had asked, glancing at the screens. "What's happening?"

"The worlds are coming together again," Ertrob said, grabbing a fistful of Rewand's sweater. "You cannot remain here during an overlap... unless you wish to never return."

"Let's go then," Tristam said, taking hold of the boy's free hand with his right hand and reaching for Anne-Marie's hand with his other. She shook her head and began to speak but the instant their fingers touched the room went black and they found themselves tumbling back to the secret room in Rewand's apartment building.

The impact of their return was even more jarring than their departure had been, but Ertrob had no time for apologies.

"That was much sooner than it should have been. This one feels... different. Like it could be the last of the overlaps. You will have to hurry if you wish to... just hurry! You know the building you must find, Tristam."

And with a crack like a miniature thunderclap he was gone again.

Now, as he raced through predawn streets filled with people and buildings flickering like ghosts suffering from dissociative identity disorder, Tristam began to wonder if they might have been better off staying... wherever it was that Ertrob had taken them.

"Where are we going?" Anne-Marie yelled from a few steps behind him. She had insisted on coming and there had been no time to convince her otherwise. Rewand had returned to his apartment, his body too old for this adventure. His disappointment had been unquestionable.

"The only place Ertrob could have been talking about," Tristam called over his shoulder. "The only place that would make sense. The o-"

He skidded to a stop as a woman stumbled out of an alley entrance and teetered to a standstill in front of them. One moment her face was clearly Asian, a long black ponytail hanging down her back. The next she appeared to be a pale blonde with fashionable glasses. A wordless scream united them as she clutched both sides of her head before collapsing to the pavement.

"Come on, come on!" Anne-Marie dragged Tristam forward and out of his stunned horror. "You have to lead the way! Where are we going?"

"The... there's just one possibility," Tristam said, forcing himself to not look back. "The office building that I worked in back home."

Tuesday November 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the farm tour.

This afternoon we took a drive up to Covert Farms, just north of Oliver, to attend a birthday party. I can't remember if I mentioned this before or not, so I should probably tell the whole story.

Way back when we were taking our prenatal classes, one of the other expectant mothers in the group turned out to be an old high school friend of Kat's. They hadn't seen each other in ages but reconnected quickly, and the husbands bonded pretty smoothly as well.

We've been keeping in touch ever since, meeting up when time allows. Their daughter, Ruby Mae, ended up being born just four days after Max... so yes indeed, that's whose birthday we were celebrating today.

Since Ruby Mae's dad works at Covert (he's sort of kind of the manager? I don't know, it's a wide ranging, complex sort of position), they hosted the party there. After a ride around the farm on the back of a couple trucks (thank goodness for sunshine, if not warmth) we came back to the wine lounge for soup, cake, and present openings.

Lots of fun. Took a few pictures but haven't transferred them off of my phone yet - if any of them end up being worth sharing I will try to remember to do so.


Sunshine and laughter,
good friends all around... I still
can't ignore that smell

*     *     *

Endless rows of grapes,
gardens bursting with berries -
how do we get out?

Monday November 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the omen.

It is very, very light, but it is currently snowing outside. I don't imagine there will be much to see in the morning, but the fact remains that snow is falling from the sky right now.

Oh well, the fireplace is keeping me nice and warm.

Expect a return to our yearlong prompt on Wednesday. I should have time to figure out my next steps by then.


He stood at the edge of the forest, staring out at the seemingly empty meadow. The sun had set behind him only a few minutes earlier so there was still enough light to see by... but hopefully not enough to be seen in.

Dark clouds were gathering at the north end of the valley, carried his way by a wind that brought with it hints of woodsmoke and something harder to identify. Much less pleasant, certainly.

He chose not to make an effort to determine its source.

Instead he focused his energy on watching for movements in the tall grass before him, ones which were not caused by the chilling wind. He remained that way until it was nearly dark, one finger tracing unconscious circles on the hilt of the sword sheathed in the scabbard at his left hip.

He began to turn away, ready to make the long walk back to camp, when a dark shape rose suddenly into the air. He paused a moment to locate its source, another to watch the crow wheel away to the south.

And then what was to be a long walk transformed into a frantic run.

Sunday November 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the choir.

There is a pretty major wind blowing out there tonight, and it's been going on for quite a while now. I think winter is in the process of arriving.

I'm holding off on the penultimate entry in the yearlong journey through Vancouver Irrealis until I get some clarification on last month's goings on. So Greg... when you have a moment, please and thank you.


Father Timothy was always preaching to the choir, it seemed. Not the most appealing attribute to have, but we could hardly blame him. I mean, the singing members of his congregation were often the only ones who would show up to his services.

So there wasn't much competition for his attention, you know?

Plus it didn't help that he almost always forgot to wear his glasses on Sundays...

Saturday November 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the trailer.

Well, all the fencing is up around the horse pasture after a lot of hard work today to finish it off. All that's left now is to put in the two gates, which is on the schedule for tomorrow morning, and it'll be ready to contain our two equine visitors.

Who will no longer be arriving tomorrow. It seems a pretty major snow storm decided to visit Dawson Creek and its surrounding area, so they're going to wait a few days to let the roads be properly cleared before sending the horses southward. So, hopefully, they should still be here before the end of the week.

Max's birthday dinner at Kat's parents place, such that it was, went well. I say such that it was because he got his presents from us (a red toy car and set of wooden tools and tool belt) and his grandparents (a toy tool box absolutely stuffed with plastic tools... I'm talking pliers, ratchet wrench, a level(!)...) before dinner. The thinking was that if he got them after dinner we'd never get him back home.

Turns out? Before dinner just meant he had no interest in coming to the table once food was ready because he was utterly fascinated with his new tool collection.

"Max, you want to come eat some food?"

"No can't come, too busy."

Kat's dad ended up bringing over his dinner plate and feeding him on the living room floor. Max did finally come to the table for cake, at least.


It's cramped in here,
There's a tail in my mouth!
But I know it's not for long,
And at least we're heading south.

Friday November 7th, 2014

The exercise:

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

That was a pretty fun day. All the kids and parents enjoyed the model railroad, Kat's cake was delicious, and Max loves all the gifts he received (despite our request for no gifts... because of course people bring them anyway).

This afternoon we chatted with my parents on Skype and got phone calls from other family members; plus he got to hang out with Kat's parents for a little while too. They were out working on the horse fences again because, apparently, the horses will be arriving on Sunday.

As in two days from now.

So I'll be helping them finish that up tomorrow morning, before we all go up for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate Max's birthday with family. We figured the party with his friends this morning was plenty enough for one day, and I'd say we made the right call on that one.

Oh, one last thing before I get to my take on the prompt... here's our birthday boy:

Two years already. Pretty nuts.


Such tiny little people we have found. Busy, busy, busy... they are all so very busy. Shopping at the market, going to the circus, fighting forest fires, and a thousand other activities spread out before me.

I am so big compared to them... I must be their king.

Thursday November 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the busybody.

Getting pretty excited about Max's birthday tomorrow. We're taking him to the Desert Model Railroad, where we'll be meeting up with lots of his friends (and their parents, obviously). After that we're coming back to Kat's parents place for cake and more hanging out, as unfortunately the model railroad place doesn't have any sort of room where we could do that (I dropped by last week to check, since neither Kat nor myself have actually been there before).

Anyway, he's really too little to understand what's going on, but I hope he has a good time no matter what. Pretty sure he will, as he's gotten very interested in trains in recent months.

Fingers crossed he has a decent sleep tonight to help him be at his best for his big day. So far, so good.


The neighbours are at it again. Out there, hammering away like woodpeckers, apparently completely unaware that it is the middle of the night. This is getting terribly old... maybe I should just call the cops and be done with it.

No, no, I'm being too rash. Time to put a kettle on for tea, that's the thing to do. A warm, fragrant cup cradled in my hands always calms my thoughts.

That's better. Just right, just right.

I'll talk to them in the morning. Face to face, like reasonable, sane people do. Enough of this underhanded, behind the scenes skulking about. One conversation, that's all it will take. There's no other choice in the matter, not now.

I cannot lose any more sleep to this silly midnight fence building, waking to find higher and higher barriers between our properties. It's utterly pointless, honestly. It's like they think I can't buy a taller ladder or something...

Wednesday November 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the booth.

Kat and I spent the morning working on the yard and our house, attempting to get cleaned up and organized before winter's arrival. Made some good progress. Still, as always, lots left to be done.

Need to get last month's visit to Vancouver Irrealis figured out before I bring it back around again. Currently thinking/hoping that will be this Sunday.

Max turns two on Friday. I just... that's... how the... what?


"Order's up for booth fourteen."

"Oh come on, Peter... not you too."

"What are you talking about? And get this food out of my kitchen, I've got more coming in a hurry here."

"We don't have fourteen booths. There's only -"

"One shy of that. Yeah, I know."

"Great, we can't even say the number anymore? How incredibly juvenile."

"Hey, I don't really believe that crap, but rules are rules. Boss man says no mention of... that number... I say, You got it."

"Well I'm not putting up with it. Let me know when the order's up for booth th-"

"Hey guys? Guys?"

"What, Blake?"

"The paramedics are at booth fourteen again... it's not looking good."

Tuesday November 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: fairies.

Sleepy. Need bed. Write now.


She flits about the
apartment, my beloved
human butterfly

*     *     *

Her magic dust can
fix anything; I sit back
and chug a cold beer

Monday November 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: beauty.

Spent a good chunk of this morning working on Kat's counselling website, as it is time for her to begin focusing on that area now that she's a bit more settled into her teaching job. It's mostly done, just a few tweaks here and there remain to be figured out. Looking forward to seeing it go live after all the hard work she's put in.

Once that gets sorted... I might actually have to get back to working on my Nanowrimo novel. That I wrote in 2009.


Her mother told her every single day that she was beautiful. Without fail. She could not escape the house in the morning without hearing those words.

And she meant it, too. Her mother was telling the truth. She could tell when she was lying. Like when she picked at her nails while talking about how excited she was to have the neighbours over for dinner on Saturday night. Or the way she stared at her daughter's right eyebrow while saying anything nice about her own mother, never quite making eye contact.

The words were very nearly ingrained in her skin. They felt like an extra layer of armor as she walked along the sidewalk. One more piece of protection against the harsh and cruel world that lurked beyond the comforting walls of home.

Some days she would repeat it to herself, over and over like a mantra. She would begin to believe them, fully and truly. A smile might sneak its way onto her lips as she entered the school grounds.

And then she would see Chloe Harris headed her way, with those vile words carried in both hands like poisonous darts always ready to be hurled without warning, and her defenses evaporated, leaving her naked and shivering in the cold.

Sunday November 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the service.

With some help from Max and Kat, I finally managed to get the garlic planted this morning. It's a little on the late side, but garlic is hardy stuff so I'm hoping to get away with it. A few more weeks before freeze up would also help, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Thanks to the clocks falling back an hour last night we're back to the season of Max going to bed early. It's nice to have our evenings back.

Now if we can just convince him to sleep in an extra hour in the mornings...


"I'd say we're in agreement on all the particulars, yes?"

"Well, yes, I suppose so..."

"Then let us settle on a price and then we can, at long last, proceed!"

"Er... I don't know... maybe we-"

"Is there a problem?"


"Or should I say, another problem monsieur?"

"Sorry. It's just that money is real tight these days. I should probably talk to my wife about this first."

"Honey, please. If you could talk to your wife about this sort of thing then you wouldn't be in need of the services I have to offer."

Saturday November 1st, 2014

The exercise:

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

Spent the morning stringing out and affixing barbed wire fencing with Kat's parents for the soon to be arriving horses (sounds like within a couple of weeks). Only managed to hammer my thumb once.

This afternoon I had some time to myself to rest while Kat took Max to a friend's birthday party, a boy we'd met through StrongStart who is just a few days older than our little man. Uploaded some of our family pictures to Facebook and took a big chunk out of the comment backlog I've got going on here. Finally within a week of being caught up!

Oh, right, more pictures. Here, have this one:

So pleased with the work our friend did for us.


What do you mean?
Of course I'm doing it right!
Now I'll just put...
Oh dear, that wasn't too bright.