Saturday January 31st, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the ghost.

The last day of January has arrived at last. Now on to the speedy month of February as we pick up steam heading back toward Spring once more.

Not that it has been especially cold lately. I'm just a bigger fan of spring than I am of winter.

I babysat my nose at home this morning while Kat and Sue took Max to the play cafe. Apparently it was pretty busy there but that didn't deter Max from enjoying himself as usual. Sue came away suitably impressed with the establishment as well.

This afternoon I was feeling a little better so I took Sue and Max to the playground down by the beach. We played on the swings and teeter totter, went down the slide, and were entertained by Max's imaginary puppies.

And now I'm back to feeling like my nose could fall off and I would not be terribly troubled by its departure.

Mine:

In her laugh,
In her smile,
I see you
All the while...

Friday January 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: eternal.

Max seemed to be doing pretty well with his cold today, I'm happy to report. I'm less thrilled to mention that I seem to be doing steadily worse. I would like a new nose now, please and thank you.

Back on the positive side of things, I successfully drove to Kelowna to pick up Sue this afternoon and brought her back here to see her nephew again. Max, after an initial quiet period, was very enthusiastic about seeing her again.

Actually, I'm surprised he managed to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

Anyway, I hope to be feeling better by tomorrow morning, as Max really wants to show his aunt the new play cafe and I'd like to be there for that. If not, I'll stay home and sulk/rest on the couch while Kat goes with them.

Shoo, cold. You are not wanted here.

Mine:

I grow weary of this out of tune automatic snot vending machine. I know it won't stay this way forever, but right now that is not how it seems. It appears quite content, despite my clear protestations, with its home on my face. I just want it gone and gone right now, never to return to this unwelcoming place.

Thursday January 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: entry.

After spending most of the morning wiping Max's nose, I drove down to Osoyoos to help Kat's dad work on our bathroom renovation. We removed a bunch of wall boards that we'll be replacing with drywall, and that earned us enough space to take the bathtub out.

It's a great big mess in there right now, but Kat's dad is getting a plumber in (hopefully tomorrow) to have a look at things and then it should be time to start replacing stuff. Sadly, the demolition phase appears to be over.

Very excited that Sue, my sister who lives in Calgary, is arriving tomorrow evening. Really hoping that all that good stuff we stuffed into Max today will help him feel better for his aunt's visit.

Mine:

The warm July air drifted into the house through an open window in the kitchen. It circled the room, slowly, slowly, before slipping into the narrow hall that led to the front of the house. The door to the office was open, so it paused to take a look.

A cluttered desk, two disorganized bookshelves, thick green curtains drawn across a small window. None of these held its interest, but it did linger for a while in front of the calendar tacked to the back of the door. A snowy scene loomed over the days and events of January, marred by only a few hastily scribbled reminders.

With what might have been a sigh, the air returned to the hall and continued on its way. An empty bathroom was left uninspected, as something at the front door had caught its attention. Four pairs of winter boots sat on the mat, one small red boot tipped over on its side.

How strange, thought the air.

The silence in the house was heavy, like a thick fog had come across the lake and made itself at home there. It was unbroken by words or footsteps or laughter. But... was that breathing coming from the living room?

Yes. A man sat there, slumped on one of the couches. Expressionless, holding an abandoned book in both hands at his lap, he stared a distant stare out the front window. He did not seem particularly happy, thought the air.

After only a few moments the air flowed quickly back the way it had come from and returned to the outside world. It had seen enough of that place.

Wednesday January 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the hunt.

Took Max back to the play cafe this morning for a couple hours of good times. It was pretty quiet first thing, which gave him the opportunity to play with the train set without... um... overzealous kids... interfering. Yes, let me put it that way.

He also spent some time in the bouncy castle and the new tunnel thing. The owner took a picture of him crawling through it and asked if it would be okay to put in on their Facebook page and I told her that was no problem.

It appears, however, that we might have overdone our time at the cafe. Or maybe it was yesterday's visit to StrongStart? Either way, this evening the little man showed signs of coming down with a cold. Fingers crossed it's not a bad one.

Mine:

I know what I want,
The time is right.
It will be mine
Before tonight.

I'm armed to the teeth,
I'm ready to roll!
There's no stopping me,
May God save my soul...

I've cleared out my spot,
The weather is fine;
When the mall opens up,
I'll be first in line.

Tuesday January 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku from a child's point of view.

Late donut celebration was still delicious. Deliciously late? Sure. Went with the Canadian Maple again this year. I've already warned Kat that next year, being the 10th anniversary of my diagnosis, will require more than one donut to properly mark the occasion.

Spent most of the day with Max. Took him to StrongStart, read him some books at the library, and had some fun around the house. Traded off with Kat late afternoon in order to help her out with some marketing materials for her counselling business, which I think basically went well.

I guess we'll see when her new brochures come in the mail.

Mine:

They ask me what I
want, as though they don't know that
I want everything

*     *     *

Spoons, empty boxes,
sticks, unattended wallets -
all the world's a toy

Monday January 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: standards.

I realized this evening, while my mind was wondering as I did the dishes, that I managed to forget all about the anniversary of my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Better known in my house as Diabetes Donut Day.

It's been nine years (well, and five days, to be exact) and this is the first year it slipped past without my noticing. I suppose that's a good thing. But I also want my annual donut.

So I'll be getting one tomorrow to make up for it.

Went out to take pictures this morning, but it was very foggy first thing and I had errands I wanted to do as well. So not many pictures were taken, and I'm not especially happy about any of the ones I did take. I'll share this one though, taken on the southernmost beach in Penticton:


I showed them to Kat and she liked most of them, then suggested that my standards have gone up recently. I'll allow that that's a possibility.

Mine:

Julie was well aware, thank you very much, that she had lowered her standards when it came to men. She did not, thank you very much, need her friends to remind her of this at every possible opportunity.

She had been single for far too long. That's where being picky had gotten her. Not with the perfect man, not even with an okay man. Alone. She was tired of it. Sick to death of it, if she was being honest.

So she had removed a few items from her Must Have list. Well, that's how it had started. Two weekends and no romance later several more were crossed out. The day after that another handful were erased entirely.

What remained... well, it wasn't pretty. But Julie was trying to stay positive. She reminded herself daily that by increasing the number of fish in her proverbial sea she was more likely to land a catch. And who knew? Maybe that eventual catch would happen to check off all the boxes on her original list.

Oh, what a happy little coincidence that would be!

At any rate, she had a date. It was a Friday night and she was going out! With a man! And he had a job (that was one of the few Must Haves that were left) and - what a bonus - he was picking her up in his very own vehicle (original item, recently removed)!

Unfortunately, Julie had some difficulties maintaining her upbeat attitude when her date arrived (right on time, mind you) in his work vehicle. Which would not have been so bad, really, if he wasn't a garbage man.

Sanitary engineer, she reminded herself sternly as she stepped out her front door.

Sunday January 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that has: rusted shut.

I don't think Max has an upper limit (that he is aware of) for how long he can be at the play cafe in Penticton. We were there for just over three hours this afternoon while Kat attended a talk and then did some shopping.

It wasn't until the car ride home that he realized how tired he was. Thankfully it's a short trip.

I guess it didn't fully hit me until after we'd been home for a few minutes. That was when the headache kicked in.

Feeling okay at the moment, but now I know better than to do that again.

Mine:

"A little more oil... there, that ought to do the trick."

"Or we could just sledgehammer it."

"I said no, boy."

"Well, looks to me like you still can't open it."

"There's got to be another oil can around here somewhere..."

"I think we should just use the sledgehammer. You know it would do the job."

"And I think you're plum crazy if you think I'm going to take that thing to this old Chevy's gas tank door! Doesn't that seem at least a little bit like a bad idea to you?"

"Okay, okay, I get it. Jeez. Can we at least use a crowbar?"

"... fine."

"WOO HOO!"

Saturday January 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the music festival.

I had some time this morning and ended up expanding my take on this prompt response and putting it up over on Protagonize. I was wanting to write something totally new, but the clock was ticking and inspiration was absent.

Anyway, feel free to add to it if you have an account (or happen to make one). Sign up is free and all that good stuff. I'm technically still a moderator over there but I have been rather excessively absent recently. I haven't been the only one, certainly, and I know the boss has been busy with his baby twins... but I still feel guilty about it.

Took Max to a kid's fair at the mall in Penticton after lunch. He feel asleep in the car and it had already taken a long time to get him out of the house, so there was less than half an hour left before closing when we arrived. I did snag him a balloon though, so he was quite pleased by that.

Until it finally popped shortly after we got home. Ah well.

Mine:

Boys laughing without a care,
Girls with flowers in their hair;
Music's always in the air -
Just watch out for roaming bears...

Friday January 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: conscience.

I ended up splitting my afternoon between photography stuff (researching and then agreeing to purchase a secondhand camera from the guy that's been helping me recently) and writing (actually, factually working on making use of the feedback I received on my 2009 Nanowrimo novel).

The camera won't be in my hands for at least a few weeks, as my friend and his family are going on a road trip to California shortly. Which is fine, I'm in no rush for it. I suppose an upgrade was inevitable but I hadn't planned on getting one already. The price was not going to be beat though.

It feels good to finally get around to looking at that novel again. I've put it off for far too long.

Mine:

Clearly, that would be the wrong thing to do. Just because nobody is around to see it happen is no good reason to do it. This shouldn't even be a question and I can't believe we've already wasted more than a few seconds thinking about it.

Wait, what are you... why don't you ever listen to me?

Thursday January 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Too tired to come up with anything else, I bring us back to the First Line Prompt. Use the following as the opening line of your work and then take it from there:

Phil was the kind of guy that everybody in town knew, but that nobody actually seemed to know very well.

Spent the morning colouring, dancing, and playing music with Max. This afternoon Kat needed to go into Penticton so she dropped her boys off at the play cafe for another round of entertainment. I went ahead and purchased a pass, as I think it's safe to say at this point we'll be going often enough to make it worthwhile.

Looking forward to having some time to myself tomorrow to work on writing or photography. It's on the schedule to be writing, but I'm kinda getting into this photography thing.

In case you hadn't noticed.

Mine:

Phil was the kind of guy that everybody in town knew, but that nobody actually seemed to know very well. Like, on a personal level, you know? Sure, everyone was on a first name basis with him, could comfortably shout a Good afternoon! in his direction from across the street, talk endlessly with him about the weather and all that.

But who among us knew his favorite food? His preferred authors and artists? Did he have any family left above ground or had the earth reclaimed them all? What did the inside of his house look like? What, precisely, did he do with all of his spare time?

That last one, though. That was the one I often wondered about. Probably more than was healthy, I'll admit.

I dunno. It's not like I ever thought he was up to something nefarious or nothing like that. Phil just struck me as being rather secretive for someone so often in the public eye. I wondered if that easy smile disappeared once he closed his front door. I wanted to know if he swore like a sailor and drank like a fish in the confines of his own home. What did he have to hide - if anything at all?

I guess I just considered it free entertainment for my bored hours of the day. Never really gave those thoughts any credence, to be honest.

At least not until the night I was awoken by the police banging on my door, asking when I'd last seen our dear old Phil.

Wednesday January 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the rabbit hole.

Took Max into Penticton this morning to run a couple errands and visit Jumping Beans Play Cafe. We went there on Monday afternoon as well, while Kat was teaching yoga to some of her students, and it is an absolute blast.

It was a little busier this morning, which I expected since most kids nap more in the afternoon, but there were still plenty of things for Max to play with. He was more into the slides this time, which is just a sign that he's getting more comfortable being there.

I'm enjoying having a place that is intended to be used the way Max and I have been trying to use other coffee shops.

Oh, posted some more pictures from Monday's outing on Facebook. This link should hopefully take you there (let me know if it doesn't).

Mine:

Step inside,
Go for a ride!
Round and around
And upside down!
Left becomes right
And right goes out of sight!

When you arrive
(If you survive),
Smile and enjoy,
My fine young boy.
Go back home? Never!
You're here forever.

Tuesday January 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the rescue.

Took Max to StrongStart for a couple hours after lunch today, which was a first. The one in Osoyoos only runs in the morning but the place in OK Falls does 11:30 to 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It was nice. Much quieter than last time, so Max had his choice of things to play with. No gym time but he didn't seem to mind.

Feeling very tired now. Must. Get. This. Written. Before. Sleep. Wins.

Mine:

Drowning in a sea
of tears, you swam out to me
and rescued my heart

*     *     *

At the bottom of
a well, I sent the dog for
help. I'm still down here.

Monday January 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: breaking the ice.

I managed to get out of the house fairly early this morning, which allowed me to get to Vaseux Lake just as the sun was peeking over the surrounding hills. It's an area I've wanted to spend some time photographing ever since... probably before we even moved here, actually. I remember driving past it when Kat brought me for a visit while we were still living in Vancouver.

I've had difficulty finding the time to get there, but now that we're so much closer (and I have one morning a week dedicated to going out to take pictures) it became much more doable.

I took lots of pictures this morning. I'll probably make an album on Facebook at some point, so I'll try to remember to share the link here. But for now I'll just post one of my favorite shots of the morning:


The prompt, by the way, was inspired by not knowing precisely where the shore ended and the ice-covered water began. I played it safe, obviously.

Mine:

The barrier is so thick I can barely see through it. Two feet, maybe three? It's hard to say. But there is one thing I know without doubt nipping at my heels: I can still see enough to know that the effort will be worthwhile.

I take a deep breath, ready my tools. A quick mental inventory reassures the butterflies in my stomach that I am fully prepared for the task at hand. One last shot of liquid courage. Not that I need it. For good luck?

Nah, don't need that either.

Here we go. I move through the crowd like a shark through water. People don't notice me unless I want them to notice me. Usually to get them to step the hell out of my way. I make it to the bar, order an overpriced martini, and turn to the redhead in the tight navy blue dress to my left, placing my right elbow on the bar as I do so.

"And what, my radiant sunset, shall I get for you?"

Sunday January 18th, 2015

The exercise:

As usual, it's been too long. Let us return to the Random CD prompt.

Which, if I'm being honest, I should really rename the Random Song prompt. But this is the 39th time I've used it and I am very, very lazy.

Anyway. Pick a song. Randomly. Use its first line as the first line of your poetry or prose. Let your imagination take it from there. Give credit where it's due. You know the drill. If you don't, feel free to click on the label at the bottom of the post to view a whole lot of examples of how this one has gone before.

Back in Kaleden safe and sound. I forgot to mention yesterday that Kat and I took advantage of our visit to Osoyoos to go for a couple's massage, courtesy of a Christmas gift from my parents. It was divine.

This morning Kat's dad and brother and I started work on redoing the bathroom at our place. Well, not the whole thing. We're putting in a new bathtub, which we probably should have done before we moved in, and redoing the tiling around it. The tile board we put up originally was purchased and left behind by the previous resident so we figured we might as well use it.

That was a poor decision.

And one that will be rectified in the coming weeks. It started today, with us taking off all the tile and removing the shower curtain rod and faucets and such. Kat's dad is going to get a plumber in to get advice on the best way to get the tub out (it's going to be a tight squeeze... I was all in favour of going full sledgehammer but I was unable to win the other two over on that one) and how to get the new one in.

It's nice to not be living there while this is getting done. And it'll be even nicer to come home to it being done (though I'll be making at least one trip back just to help with the work).

Mine:

Penguins and Moonboots by We Were Evergreen

I like looking out at the clouds from a window on a train. White, grey, black, doesn't matter. There's something in the sight of them that brings me a deep calm.

Some folks look up and see shapes or animals or faces. That's not me. Well, there was that one time. But I was seeing a lot of things in all sorts of places that day.

Anyway. I think I appreciate their separateness, their aloofness. The way they float above it all and seem so... unaffected by all that they witness. One gets the sense that, most times, they aren't even paying attention to us.

I need that. My work can devour me if I'm careless. I suppose it's not entirely the fault of my responsibilities though. I do have that sort of personality. Obsessive? Perhaps you could call it that. Focused would be my preference.

Regardless, my time on the train is like a life preserver to an overboard passenger adrift in raucous waters. It reminds me to breathe. That there are things to consider outside of what occupies my life while sitting at my desk. That there is still some humanity residing within my bones.

Or something like that. 

Maybe it's just better than making small talk with the vacuous people sitting nearby.

Saturday January 17th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the face in the window.

Just sneaking off to get this written. I can hear that Max is still having a blast, perhaps even more so now that he's got some chocolate brownie in him.

More tomorrow, but for now I shall get on with the prompt.

Mine:

The house next door is empty,
They say it's been that way for years.
I'm afraid to call them liars,
But I have more pressing fears...

Friday January 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something or someone that is: early.

Had some time to myself this morning to do some work, then spent the afternoon with Max. We had another visit to the library and then a brief playtime in the playground across the street on the way back to the house.

Tomorrow we're headed back to Osoyoos for a birthday dinner for Kat's Dad. We're staying overnight and will be back here Sunday after lunch, if all goes to plan.

I've suspended our Osoyoos internet service but Kat's parents have one of their own, so I should still be able to do the blog while we're there. If nothing goes up tomorrow, assume that I wasn't able to find the time and expect Saturday's prompt to appear sometime on Sunday.

Mine:

I was just getting to know you, little one. Getting used to having you around, you know? No offense, but your presence called for a rather large adjustment in my life.

And now... now you're gone all too soon.

Thursday January 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: uninvited.

After putting it off for far too long, this afternoon I drove into Penticton and bought a new, much larger memory card for my camera (my current one will now serve as a backup) and a memory card reader. Both items I'll need if I want to get deeper into this product photography business.

The reader is especially overdue, as something went wrong with either the camera, the memory card, or the USB cable quite a while back that made transferring files from my camera to my computer in large batches incredibly unreliable. Random files wouldn't be moved, fun things like that.

So I'd resorted to moving them one at a time. Which, while painful, was manageable when I was only moving a handful of images. On a larger scale, however...

Anyway, glad to finally have that taken care of.

Mine:

Now is not the time,
You are not welcome here.
Can't you see the game,
Can't you smell the beer?

I'm out with the boys,
This time is meant for me.
So could you please go
Find somewhere else to be?

I don't need your voice
Buzzing inside my head;
Just give me some space
And leave these things unsaid.

I cannot escape,
You're everywhere I go!
How much booze to kill
A conscience? I'll soon know...

Wednesday January 14th, 2015

The exercise:

I'm very excited to get underway with this year's yearlong prompt. For those of you just tuning in, we'll be revisiting this prompt once per month from now until December, creating a continuous story with every participant having an equal voice.

You guys are welcome to go where you like from my opening, but I have a couple thoughts to share before we begin. One of the problems (probably too strong a word) with this format is that if someone doesn't join in right at the beginning it becomes difficult to join in after three months or so. After six months it starts edging toward impossible. It's not a huge deal - there are nearly 2500 other prompts for outsiders to use in place of this one for that one day each month - but I do like to try to include everyone who is interested in participating.

I think this year's story, as I currently imagine it in my head, is especially conducive to each writer taking charge of a single character and using their perspective to further the overall story. That way it should be easier for someone to contribute at a later stage if they weren't interested/around/able to closer to the beginning.

Does that make sense? Agree or disagree, do what you will. I just wanted to toss that out there. So, without further ado...

In 2013 we wrote about a little town called Mejaran.

In 2014 Greg brought us into the world of Vancouver Irrealis.

Now, in 2015, I would like to introduce you to: The Colony.

Mine:

I have always wanted to go to space.

I'm sorry, I should introduce myself, shouldn't I? Otherwise you'll be left wondering who the heck this I person is that's talking to you.

My name is Eliza Hainsworth. Call me Lizzie at your peril. I grew up on a big farm in the middle of the Canadian Prairies, which meant I had a whole lot of sky to study on those nights that sleep proved an elusive friend. Or when the twinkling universe seemed more intriguing than smushing my face against my pillow.

My two older brothers, Morris and Simon, treated me as one of their own. We worked hard, played harder. Cuts, bruises, even a few broken bones were common companions. You'd be hard pressed to find a family photo that didn't capture at least one black eye.

I loved that home, but the stars held a fierce grip on my imagination. The first book I could call my own had an astronaut on the cover. My favorite toy was a wooden rocket ship Dad constructed for me. I wanted to name every dog Mom brought home Saturn but I was always overruled.

Now here I am, soaring through the darkness of space with my nine companions, a mere two weeks away from landing on Mars. Mars! Can you believe it?

We're going to be the first colony on the Red Planet. Headquarters have already sent off several supply rockets that have made touchdown safely, as far as the machines have been able to tell. If for some reason they've all been damaged beyond salvage, we're carrying enough provisions with us to last well beyond the three weeks that will pass before the next supply drop.

It's still an uncomfortable feeling, for me at least, knowing that if all we have to go on is what we're carrying with us...

Anyway. We're a highly trained group. Headquarters made sure of that. I was surprised when I managed to get past the initial screening process and into the interview stage. Relieved when I survived the background checks. Ecstatic when I received the phone call that let me know I was one of the chosen few.

We're doing it. We're really doing it. Humans, living on Mars. This is happening. I'm part of it. Unbelievable.

Knowing that I will never see Earth again is a small price to pay for this honour.

*     *     *

Notes from Marc: I found this to be useful reading while cobbling my opening together and thought you may feel the same. I've obviously not stuck strictly to what they're planning, but it was nice to have some sort of foundation to work with.

This is something that captured my attention when I first heard about it. Who are the people that would want to do something like this? Why? Who would actually be chosen? Why? What will happen when they finally land? This prompt, I suppose, is my way of exploring this subject, and I hope you find it interesting as well.

Again, this is open to anyone who is keen to join. Just carry on the story from where the previous writer left it and have fun!

Tuesday January 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: Lego.

I took Max to the local library for the first time today. It's only a five minute walk away, but recently it has become increasingly difficult to convince him to leave the house (or do anything, really).

Anyway, it was mid-afternoon by the time I got him there, but we were able to spend about an hour reading books and playing with Lego. It was fun for him and an utter relief for me to be out of the house.

Hoping to take him to the StrongStart in OK Falls tomorrow morning. We'll see how that goes.

Mine:

In the middle of
the night the smallest pieces
are found underfoot

*     *     *

Colorful pieces
joining together to form
psychedelic cars

Monday January 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the slippery slope.

I'm not sure that I would go so far as to say that it was ill-advised to go down the slope I was on when I took this picture this morning:


... but it also probably wasn't the best idea in the world. At any rate, I managed to get down to lake level without incident. Although next time I'm pretty sure I'm taking a different route to get there.

Oh, so... that yearlong prompt thing. The 2015 version. I totally hadn't forgotten about it until Greg's comment the other day. Not in the least.

Ahem.

Expect an introduction to this year's literary playground on Wednesday. Written by me again this year, though I'm pretty sure I'd like to alternate starting the story off with you guys. Me first, Greg second, me third... Morganna fourth?

Mine:

Each step
Carefully placed
And so

Evenly spaced.
Go slow.
Slower than that!
Hands out,
Let the wind have your hat.
Just breathe,
Don't bother stopping to think,
For you
My dear are very clearly on the brink...

Sunday January 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the shortage.

The power went out in our neighbourhood for about 45 minutes this evening, while Kat was out at a meeting for work. I'm very glad Max didn't wake up until after it came back on, as I don't think he would have been too happy in the dark without Mommy.

Otherwise it was a pretty quiet day. Went for a short family walk this morning, watched most of The Lorax (too many scary parts for Max to finish it), and did a lot of playing inside. Planning to go out to take more pictures tomorrow morning, I'll be sure to share any that turn out okay.

Mine:

There is never enough.

Not enough time. Always too many things to do and too little time to do them. Rush, rush, rush. Try to catch up but never quite get there. If you're lucky. Mostly there is well out of sight.

Not enough money. See the toys, big and small, that the other kids, old and young, get to play with. Know that they will never be within your budget. Scrape and save, focus on getting by. Feel the debt growing, pushing you down until you have to crawl to get anywhere. Doesn't matter how hard you work, you're stuck in the mud at the bottom of the ladder.

Not enough friends. But who has time and money for friends? Better off without them.

Not enough sleep. Not enough joy. Not enough love. Not enough life.

Maybe enough needs a new definition.

Saturday January 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the lie detector.

Back in Kaleden tonight after a fairly productive time at home. The Osoyoos home, not the... oh, never mind.

Feel like I had something else to say. Oh well, maybe I'll remember tomorrow.

Mine:

I know she adores me *BEEP*
Huh? What did I say?
Aw man, I am such a creep.
No beep that time... hey!

Friday January 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something or someone that is: fickle.

We're back in Osoyoos for the night. Max needed a visit with Kat's parents and we needed to do our seed inventory so we could figure out what needs to be ordered for the garden this year. Plus we have some cleaning and organizing to do around the house.

We're hanging around tomorrow morning and then heading back to Kaleden after lunch. It's nice to be in our own space again, even if it's just for a night.

Mine:

The cake is perfect. The flavor, the decorations, even the two little figurines at the top, one in a wedding dress and the other in a tuxedo. Part of me think they're a tacky, unnecessary addition, but that particular decision is out of my ha... oh no, what now?

"It's beautiful, it really is... but can I get it in chocolate instead?"

Thursday January 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the snow fort.

Spent most of the day with Max again, but feeling less tired this time. I think that's mostly due to a better sleep last night, though there might be some advantage gained just by getting used to it.

Plus, you know, keeping the running around the house with a giggling and screaming and wriggling two year old in my arms to a minimum this time.

Gotta pace myself, right?

Mine:

"Everyone in position?" That would have been Charlie, the leader of their gang. "Armed and ready to fight?"

"Ready!" They would have all shouted in reply. I can picture the wide smiles on all of their stupid little faces.

"We have ruled this fort all winter," I'm sure Charlie would have reminded them. "Spring is coming back for a visit starting tomorrow, so after today's battle we'll be the first group to ever go a whole season without suffering a single defeat!"

"We'll go down in history!" One of his idiot lackeys probably shouted.

"I heard they're up to something." I like to think at least one of them had caught wind of what we were up to, tried to warn the others. "Like, big."

"Are they resorting to spreading false rumours now? Hoping to dent our... confidence... with... what is that noise?"

I can almost hear them calling out different possibilities. Maybe an earthquake. A few suggestions of the school's garbage truck making an unscheduled pickup. I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure. I do have a pretty good imagination though.

What I can say for absolute certain, however, is that each and every one of them fell into shocked silence when I came around the corner behind the wheel of my dad's pickup truck, a gleaming silver snow plow leading the way.

Wednesday January 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the bump.

Max accidentally hit my forehead with a flashlight this afternoon, so that's where the prompt came from. If you happened to be wondering.

Took a drive into Penticton this morning, now that the roads have been reasonably cleared after that huge dump of snow. Picked up some groceries and a couple of other things before coming back home for lunch.

It's nice, living so much closer to the (relatively) big city.

Mine:

"Oh no!"

"It's okay, kiddo! You're doing fine. Keep those hands on the wheel!"

"But Grandpa..."

"That was just a little bump in the road - we all hit those. Trust me on that one!"

"But Grandpa I -"

"It's nothing to worry about. You're better off not stressing out over every little mistake. That's a whole lot of life experience talking, so you better listen!"

"But Grandpa, I'm pretty sure that bump was Grandma!"

"..."

"Grandpa?"

"Take the next right and hit the gas, kiddo. We can be in Juarez before sundown."

Tuesday January 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the puzzle.

Spent most of the day with Max, as Kat got back into school work. The energy level of a two year old boy continues to amaze me.

In other words: me tired and go night night now.

Mine:

One thousand pieces,
all coming together to -
wait. There's one missing?

*     *     *

For each puzzle life
gifts us, there must be at least
one solution... right?

Monday January 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the shipment.

Went out in the snow this morning to take some pictures. I was mostly just experimenting with camera settings and trying to learn a few things, but a couple pictures turned out fairly well. I liked this one best:


That should give you an idea of how much snow we've had the last couple days. Thankfully it seems to be done for the foreseeable future and temperatures are on the rise, so maybe we'll be able to drive the car somewhere in the next couple of days.

Mine:

It took five fully loaded trains to deliver the entire order. The route was almost entirely secure, traveling through terrain that most thieves couldn't be bothered with traversing empty-handed, much less with loot in tow.

Almost. Most.

If a man needed further proof that Henry and I were a different breed, I would have happily shown him our plans to hit those trains.

Yes, trains. Plural. As in, all five of them.

Hey, if we could do it once, why couldn't we pull it off multiple times? No reason at all, as best we figured.

In the end, it turned out we figured wrong. But that won't come as much of a surprise, if you know anything at all about me and my old friend Henry.

Sunday January 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the entertainer.

So about yesterday's adventures. You didn't think that escaped video capture, did you?

video

That is only a very, very small portion of his on again off again performance. One of the better bits, certainly, but definitely not the best.

I have a longer video as well, but there's a lot of breaks and distraction in that one, so I figured I'd just share this one.

Mine:

The dressing room is cramped and poorly insulated. I can hear every word the idiot going on before me is saying. I'd really rather not, but at least I know I don't have a hard act to follow.

I light another cigarette and wish there was a window to open. No such luck, but I'd known that from the moment I walked through the doorway. From the smell of the place, previous occupants didn't have my knack for dealing with preshow jitters.

You'd think the least they could have managed was to eat something a little less foul for their last meal before hitting the stage.

My notes are scrawled across the flash cards in my jacket pocket but I don't bother pulling them out. I've done this enough. Preparing the cards is just part of the routine, as ingrained as the four smoke minimum, but not as necessary.

My opening act finishes up to a round of thunderous silence. I crack my neck, decide against sipping the glass of water I'd found waiting for me when I arrived (Tap water? Seriously?), and head for the door.

Let's get this over with.

Saturday January 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: karaoke.

Had a nice dose of sunshine today and took advantage of it with our first walk around the neighborhood after lunch. It was still a little chilly but the uphill portion of the walk helped to take care of that.

I had my camera with me, but I also had Max in a carrier on my back. He fell asleep fairly quickly, so that made taking pictures... well, I suppose impossible is not the right word. More difficult than I could be bothered with is probably more accurate.

This morning the three of us went into Penticton to visit a coffee shop and run a couple errands. We ended up at a place that hosts live music nights a couple times a week and they had drums and guitars and microphones up on their stage.

Obviously Max ended up there, holding a mic and dancing and pretending to sing into it. Because of course. And thus a prompt was born...

Mine:

Sing it
As though it was written by you,
Even though
Everyone knows that isn't true

Friday January 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the aviary.

I've noticed a wide variety of birds around our borrowed home, but today in particular was pretty amazing. There were the usual assortment of magpies in their black and white formal wear, a couple of Steller's jays hanging out in the backyard in their casual blue and black, and even an unidentified hawk perched out front for a short while.

My photo trigger finger is getting twitchy. I shall have to go on a little expedition once the temperatures warm up a little bit. Or at least when the wind settles down.

Mine:

"Magnificent, aren't they my friend?"

"Mmm."

"You seem nervous... is something amiss?"

"Well, I know for a fact that they haven't been fed in over a week... and you've never called me a friend before, Henri."

Thursday January 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Welcome to 2015! Write a little something about: making waves.

Back in our temporary home again tonight. Pleasantly surprised by how warm it was when we arrived around 8pm - I'm going to have to get these baseboard heaters properly programmed tomorrow.

Max had a fun and very active visit with Kat's parents this afternoon. Unsurprisingly, he fell asleep on the ride back to Kaleden. We almost managed to get him inside without waking him, but not quite. Thankfully it didn't take much to get him back down.

Looking forward to settling in here and not having to worry about going back and forth to Osoyoos for the next little while.

Mine:

Out on the ocean there lives a man. I could give you more precise coordinates but it would do you no good - you will never find him. If you spent the remainder of your days looking for him, even if you lived to be three hundred, you still would never see so much as his shadow.

He is not a man who wishes to be found.

You may doubt his existence. I would not blame you. It is no easy task, believing something you cannot see or hear or touch or smell or taste. Perhaps it would help you to bear witness to the results of his work?

Come, come with me. Down to the shore, right to the very edge of the water. Perfect. Now, look out to the horizon. Do you see them? You must! They are everywhere, coming at us with endless enthusiasm!

No, not the birds. Are you stupid? Or merely playing a joke? I am not sure which I would prefer.

The waves, my friend. They are his creation. He sits upon his massive device, painted the color of the waters it rises above, and he sets them in motion. One after the other, after the other, and so on to infinity.

Why does he do it? What drives him? It is a mystery, one that will likely never be solved. Unless, brave soul, you dare to seek him out and ask him those very questions yourself...