Thursday March 31st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the teller.

Last night was the first time I've not had the fireplace going overnight since winter arrived. This afternoon the temperature was in the low twenties. Spectacular stuff.

Had a lovely day celebrating Kat's birthday. I think the big family dinner was the highlight, as everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Heading up to Penticton tomorrow morning for another midwife appointment. The last one before baby arrives? Quite possibly, seeing as his due date is next Monday.


Myra shifted her weight from one foot to the other and tried not to sigh. It had been a slow day inside the bank and the sight of the tenth person in the last half hour using the ATM she could see from her station was enough to make her grind her teeth.

What, she wondered once again, was the point of her job if all the customers just used that stupid machine? She might as well pack up her things and go home for the day. Or week. Maybe she could take a month off before anyone noticed she wasn't showing up for work.

"Hey, have you seen Myra lately?" she imagined the bank manager asking her colleagues.

"Who?" they would all reply in unison.

She checked the time on the wall clock to her left. Another hour until closing. She was in hell. This was hell. Maybe she could steal an extra notebook out of the supply cabinet and start writing a short story. Or really commit to the project and aim for a full length novel.

How long would that take her with all that spare time, a couple weeks? A month at most, surely. She could be the next Dick Francis!

"Hello there, dearie."

Myra snapped back to the present with a shake of her head and a slight shudder. Before her was an elderly man, a well-used wooden cane in one hand and a thick envelope in the other. She allowed herself a couple blinks to regain her bearings before speaking.

"Good afternoon, sir. How can I help you?"

"Oh, so very kind of you to offer," the man said with a wide grin that flaunted his yellowed dentures. "You see, dearie, I need to exchange all of this troublesome paper money."

"Exchange it for... what?" Myra was quite certain she didn't want to know the answer but there really wasn't anything else to do at that point.

"Why, for coins, dearie! Such a silly question to ask, really. So much more dependable than this flimsy stuff."

Myra checked the clock once more. Fifty-eight minutes until closing. Maybe it wasn't too late for her to go back to school and learn something useful, like computer programming. Maybe she could program ATMs. Make them spit out extra money at random. Maybe m-


"One moment please, sir," she said as she turned to walk away. "I have to make sure we have enough coins on hand to cover this."

And then she began to walk. And she didn't stop once she reached the sidewalk.

Wednesday March 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: crumbling.

Took some pictures in the apricot blossoms after dinner with Kat and Max. Mostly with the intention of getting some final baby belly shots of Kat, but Max stole the show, as usual. I think this one is my favorite:

Going out for dinner tomorrow night with everybody on the farm to celebrate Kat's birthday. One last dinner for nine before we get into the dinners for ten.

Strange thought.


This place has grown old. When did this happen? It seems as though I only looked away for a moment...

Where there was once growth, now decay has taken root. Windows that used to allow in only the brightest rays of sunshine are yellowed with dirt, leaving the interior in a murky gloom. Dust. Dust is everywhere suddenly.

Neglected. That is the word that continually springs to mind as I survey my surroundings. It is a shame. All that was needed was a little care and attention... and love. Is it too late to turn the tide? I feel as though it is, but perhaps that is just my pessimism speaking.

Open a window, let fresh air and sunlight in. Ignore the illuminated wear and tear. Forget the crumbling furniture and the wallpaper peeling off the walls. Light some candles. Scented, preferably. Go outside, get some flowers from the garden for the kitchen table.

Ah, yes. Outside. So close yet so far. The door is locked and I no longer have the key. It must be somewhere around here. I just have to find it. That's all. Get to work, look everywhere, leave no dark corner uninspected. I need to get out of here. I have been trapped inside my head for too long.

It's all so faded though. So... decrepit. Memories are so much harder to find these days, both the old and the new. When did this happen? It seems as though I only looked away for a moment...

Tuesday March 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: mistakes.

I've actually used this as a haiku prompt before, but seeing as it was nearly five years ago I'm feeling pretty okay with the repeat.

Training this afternoon went fine. It was good to get a refresher at two locations that I've hardly worked at (well, I've never actually worked at one of them). Still the most comfortable at the community centre but it will be nice to go to other locations with some more recent training.

Baby watch: we're getting into some interesting timing here, with Kat's birthday on Thursday and April Fools the day after that. I guess we'll see if baby has any thoughts on either date.


You want me to learn
from them? I'd rather not make
them in the first place!

*     *     *

Spilled across the shop's,
floor: teensy, tiny pieces
of my dignity

Monday March 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in: the valley.

I'm scheduled for a three hour training shift at Town Hall tomorrow afternoon, which is the first assignment I've had since my run of work at the community centre a couple weeks back. It'll be nice to get off the farm and have my mind on something beside the ticking baby clock for a while.

Speaking of the farm, we went out to the garden this afternoon to seed some peas, kale, and other greens. The weather is supposed to get much warmer starting tomorrow, so we'll see how long it takes for things to start peeking through the soil.

Edit: If you happened to see the Tuesday post for however long it was up on the blog, my apologies. I'm not sure what happened there, but as of right now... no labour action is happening. So that one's been reverted to being scheduled.


"This place makes me feel claustrophobic," Kim said, wrapping her arms around herself as she stared up at the surrounding mountains.

"We're in the great outdoors," I told her, "not downtown New York. Get a grip."

She shot me a glare but said nothing. I shook my head and went back to preparing dinner. The campfire was about to bring the pot of water to a boil and I was ready to toss in the package of instant noodles. I just needed to remember what I'd done with the flavoring pouch. I think it was beef.

"I think I'd feel this way no matter where I was," Kim blurted out. "Even in the middle of the prairies. Weird, right?"

"Nah," I said. But I was thinking, Totally.

"It's all in my head anyway. I know that. It's like there's no room in my brain, it's so full of thoughts elbowing each other out of the way. So what does my physical location matter when I got this junk going on up here?"

"It's like they say," I said, patting empty pockets and beginning to be concerned about our imminent meal. "Wherever you go, there you are."

"Exactly." She watched me for a few moments, her expression unreadable. "Exactly."

"So what are you thinking about right now?" I asked, feeling suddenly uncomfortable in the spotlight of her attention.

"Right now?" she asked, her lips twitching upward into a ghost of a smile. "I'm thinking our dinner is going to taste like cardboard unless you figure out you're sitting on the flavor pouch."

Sunday March 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the gap.

Had some Easter fun today, with a morning visit from the Easter Bunny, some egg decorating just before lunch, and egg hunts at various points throughout the rest of the day.

Unfortunately dinner with Kat's parents was cancelled early on, as they've both been working far too much and didn't have anything left to have us over. So I pulled a t-bone steak and a bag of broccoli out of the freezer, picked up a bag of potatoes at the grocery store, and threw together what turned out to be a pretty reasonable Easter dinner.

Toss in the chocolate pudding Max helped me make this afternoon for dessert and I'd say it worked out just fine in the end.


A gap can often be found between what has been said and what is truly meant. It may be as insignificant as a crack in a sidewalk. It can be a yawning chasm. Most commonly, it is somewhere in between.

Mind this gap.

Those who are unaware of its existence are doomed to be cheated and conned, mislead and misinformed. Trust placed in those who do not deserve it.

Though, to be fair, those who are too wary of this gap can easily find themselves unable to trust, leading a lonesome, solitary life. It can be... difficult to maintain friendships. And love? Love... quite nearly out of the question. I should think.

Do I speak from personal experience? Of course not. You offend me.

There is, quite simply, a balance to be found. A keen eye and ear are required to both protect oneself and to locate those who may be allowed into inner circles. That is all. We walk a tightrope every single day, my friend.

You do not wish to fall off. Trust me.

You can trust me, can't you?

Saturday March 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: Easter.

We took Max into town this morning to check out Osoyoos' Easter festivities. The sun was out, and so were the crowds. He wasn't crazy about that, but we did eventually check out the fire trucks on display at the fire hall, and had a visit at the petting farm area (bunnies, goats, and geese).

He's pretty excited that the Easter Bunny is coming tomorrow morning. I guess we've reached that age.


Pretty painted eggs,
Hidden all around;
Placed so skillfully,
They'll never be found...

Friday March 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that involve: Thomas the Tank Engine.

Max is currently obsessed with a Thomas book he got from the library with Kat a couple weeks ago. It's a set of five stories and it's the only thing he wants me to read to him when it's my turn to put him to bed.

I told him the other night that if he cooperated at bedtime I'd read three of the stories. And if he continued to do that the next time (tonight) I'd read four, and then all five the following time.

All I'm going to say is that I read him three again tonight.

And that I don't ever expect we'll get to all five in one night.

Baby watch update: I noticed today that any sense of urgency I'd carried with me the last few days was pretty much gone. Baby's probably lulling me into a false sense of security.


These days the steel of the railroad tracks is rusted and weak, without even enough strength to fight back the encroaching wilderness. It won't be long before they disappear completely, their existence only living on in stories told by wizened old-timers in broken-down bars. The towns and villages once connected by those lines will slowly fade away, dotting the countryside with ghost towns that no-

"Oh, shut up already Thomas!"

Thursday March 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the shock.

We went up to Penticton this afternoon for a midwife appointment. I kinda wanted to bring everything with us, just in case. Kat wanted to leave whatever isn't already in the car, feeling pretty sure there would be time, if necessary, for me to drive back and get the rest.

In the end, as you may have already guessed, it didn't matter. The wait continues.

We had to bring Max with us too, as we wouldn't have been back before daycare closed at 5 to pick him up. Kat's parents weren't available, nor were Adam and Becky as they're back in Dawson Creek visiting friends and family up there.

It turned out all right. I was surprised we were able to make it back without Max falling asleep in the car. Though by bedtime he had definitely run out of steam. And cooperation fuel.


"I wouldn't touch that if I were you."

Lily pulled her finger back from the pink elephant statuette on the bookshelf and turned to look at the old man behind the counter. He adjusted his glasses and blinked, but offered no further explanation.

"Why is that?" she asked. By her reckoning she had already poked, prodded, or picked up nearly everything else in the gift shop without admonishment.

"It's wired with enough volts to burn your fingerprints clear off," he said. Lily started to laugh, saw that his expression betrayed no signs of humour, and hastily stuffed it back down.

"That seems... dangerous," she said instead.

"Oh, absolutely."

"Then why have it out here, where anybody could touch it?" Lily asked, looking at the seemingly serene elephant out of the corner of her eye.

"I like to have it around," the old man said as he returned his attention to the local newspaper spread open across the counter. "For those customers I don't wish to warn about its... potential."

Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: thorns.

Nothing going yet. Still playing the waiting game.

I don't recall this stage being so... lengthy last time around. And we only just crossed 38 weeks...


"Good morning, Patrick. How are you feeling?"

"Oh, uh, hi Doc. I thought you were still on vacation."

"Nope, had to cut it short. Wouldn't want to leave Sally at home by herself for too long anyway, you know?"

"Sure, yeah. Right. How is your daughter anyway?"

"She's fine. I'm more concerned about you right now though. What the heck happened?"

"Oh.. I, uh... fell in some bushes yesterday. I guess it was a thorny one? Anyway, I can't seem to get these bastards out myself, so I thought I'd come get some professional help."

"Well, you've come to the right place! Just relax and think happy thoughts, I'll have these out in no time."

"Thanks, Doc. You're a lifesaver."

"Sure, sure. Huh."

"That, uh... doesn't sound good. Are they poisonous?"

"No, don't be silly. It's just that these thorns... well, they come from a very rare plant."

"... do they?"

"Yeah, there are only a few in the whole city."

"I... did not know that."

"And they are all planted in the garden bed outside Sally's bedroom window."

Tuesday March 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that: sparkles.

So, barring Kat going into labour ten minutes after I post this, I've now got two prompts written up to cover my absence for the birth of my second son. They'll be scheduled as long as things aren't moving so quickly that I can't get to the laptop before I go out the door.

Also: if things go silent again after the scheduled posts I imagine it'll only be for a day. Should that happen I promise to return with extra baby pictures to make up for it.

Just for the record though, things are feeling pretty imminent tonight. I guess we'll see what happens though.


It's oh so pretty
and shiny! I simply must
have it for my nest

*     *     *

Searching in the grass
for a lost diamond earring,
cursing gum wrappers

Monday March 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the crack.

Got some stuff done around the house this morning before spending the afternoon with Max. We hung out at a park for a bit, but unfortunately we arrived just as the sun went behind the clouds and the wind picked up. So that didn't last as long as either of us would have liked.

By the way, I've yet to schedule any posts to cover my time away for the birth. So if things go quiet for a couple days... you'll know what's up.


You used to be so intimidating. Flawless and carefree. Nothing could bother you. There was an almost holy aura surrounding you. It's no wonder none of us dared stand against you.

But the years have chipped away at you. Cracks have begun to appear in your once perfect exterior. Nothing major, certainly nothing drastic. They are there, though. For those bold enough to look closely to find them.

Could one be your downfall? One day, perhaps. It's hard to imagine that happening any time soon. One can hope, though. I allow myself to dream of it, now and then.

You are still a terror to behold. Even with the hints of weakness that have begun to slip through. Which is why whenever I do dream those dreams... I always wake in a cold sweat, tangled in my sheets, searching the dark corners of my room for your watching, knowing eyes.

Of course, you're never there. Just shadows.

For now.

Sunday March 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: wishful thinking.

I finally got around to commencing my latest comment catch up this evening. Which was when I realized that my most recent reply was not, in fact, at the end of February. It was more like mid-February.

So, basically, it's even worse than I thought it was.

But now, at least, it's a little tiny bit better.

And maybe now I have momentum on my side?



He's standing at the well, watching his last coins sinking. There's no one else to see - all his buddies are out drinking. While their glasses are clinking and cigarettes are stinking, he's trying to find peace with his wishful thinking.

He didn't ask for happiness, wealth, or fame. He has no wish for a new life or name. No heart to tame, no enemy to maim. Just the banishment of a long held, secret shame.

The coins hit bottom and suddenly he sees the road ahead. It does not fill him with dread. A weight has been shed. A calmness surrounds him now that all hope has fled. He could share his truth with the world... but he jumps into the well instead.

Saturday March 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: a camel.

Spent some time this morning pruning and thinning raspberry canes while Kat's brother hacked away at some blackberry bushes. Max and Natalie kept themselves busy by playing on the huge pile of dirt leftover from the house construction, as well as riding tricycles up and down the driveway while Kat supervised.

I think we got the bulk of the work done. Hopefully just a bit of tying the plants to the wire and tidying up left before getting the mulch on.

Tomorrow we'll get our tomato seeds started in the greenhouse. Definitely a sign of warmer days to come.


They laugh at its approach,
For they fail to see its maw;
But I cringe at its coming -
This fatal, final straw.

Friday March 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the league.

I didn't get any shifts at the community centre for the next two week pay period, so suddenly my schedule has opened wide for baby's arrival. We shall see what the coming weeks bring.

Speaking of which, I should probably get a couple of posts ready to go up to cover my expected absence from the blog.

And maybe catch up on comments some time soon.

Haha, just kidding.



Harry pulled up his jogging pants as he moved to respond to the knocking on his front door, kicking empty beer cans out of his way as he went.

"Harold Browning," the police officer waiting on his front porch greeted him, "boyfriend of Maria 'Longest Legs in America' Isabella Sanchez, the supermodel?"

"Yeah," Harry replied after a lengthy and enthusiastic burp, "that'd be yours truly."

"You're under arrest for dating out of your league... like, way, way out of your league."

Thursday March 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: close to home.

While Max was at daycare today Kat and I took a trip up to Penticton for a couple (doula and midwife) appointments. Our doula, who we also had for Max's birth, has recently renovated a suite in the downstairs of her house to be used for home births and we wanted to check it out before fully committing to using it for this birth (since we can't do it in our own home, as we're too far away from both the midwives and the nearest hospital).

Yeah, we're fully on board now.

It's a beautiful space, with everything we could need. We'd already heard rave reviews from one of our midwives who had done a birth there but it was good to see it for ourselves. And, should something go awry, it's about a two minute drive from the hospital.

Though hopefully this time around a visit to the hospital won't be required.


"Hey! You watch your mouth, kid."

"What? What did I say?"

"Don't play stupid with me, all right? We both know what you were just talking about."

"Well, yeah. I just don't see what your problem is with-"

"It hits a little too close to home, that's all."

"... what? Seriously?"

"I already told you to watch your mouth. Don't make me knock some teeth out of it too."

"Okay, okay! Relax. I wouldn't... it's just that... I mean, a bearded lady? Really?"

Wednesday March 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the surgeon.

Quiet night at work. I actually got to my car at 9:01, which I thought was pretty good. Managed to do most of the end of night stuff without consulting my list - it's so much easier doing this regularly like this. I think the schedule for the next couple of weeks gets figured out tomorrow and I'm hoping for more of the same.

Took Max to his final music class of this session this morning before running a couple errands with him afterward. I'll just say that class did a fine job of winding him up. At least he was still more or less cooperative... he just needed a lot of reminders.


I look over my appointment book for the ninth or tenth time in the last five minutes. The door to my office is closed, the blinds are drawn over the window overlooking the parking lot. I've turned off my computer monitor, leaving only the lamp in the corner to light the room. There is nothing to distract me from the list of upcoming procedures.

I'm due in surgery in an hour. It's a routine operation, one I've done countless times. After that there's a half hour break and then three more patients due to go under the knife. My knife. Nothing too complicated. The most challenging part will likely be remembering to count all of my instruments before sewing them up again.

Can't be leaving another forceps inside a patient. The Chief of Medicine would be all over me for that.

Voices in the hallway draw my attention for a moment. Loud enough for me to hear, too quiet for me to understand. In a different mood I would imagine the topic and improv the dialogue. Maybe something about comparing the length of their nose hairs. Not today.

I check my watch. Reread the appointment list. Bite my lip. Drum my fingers on my desk.

Screw it. There's enough time.

I turn on my monitor and double-click on the World of Warcraft icon.

Tuesday March 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: invisibility.

At work tonight there was a group meeting upstairs until 8:45, drop-in soccer in the gym until 8:45, and the last two guys didn't leave the weight room until shortly before I got there to kick them out at 8:50. So I didn't get out of there as early as last night, but I'm so used to the routine now that it wasn't especially late either.

Dropped Max and Natalie off at daycare this morning. Those two goofballs were playing I Spy all the way there. Not that either of them seem to adhere to the rules too closely. For example:

Natalie: I spy with my little eye something that is... blue lake. No, I mean blue.

Max: Is it... that lake? (pointing at the lake to our right as we went over the bridge)

Natalie: No.

Max: Is it that lake? (pointing out the other side of the car)

Natalie: No.

Max: Which lake is it?

Natalie: It's uh... mountains!

Max: Mountains are mountains, not lakes!

I think I laughed the rest of the way to daycare.


Where would you go? What
would you do? If all that you
did remained unseen?

*     *     *

Would you haunt a house?
Lend a hidden hand? Or would
you just disappear?

Monday March 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the warrior.

Worked the 4 to 9 closing shift at the community centre again this evening. I'll be doing that everyday this week, except for Thursday (Kat has two appointments in Penticton that day and I wouldn't have been able to get back in time to do that shift). Pretty nice to get some steady work right before baby arrives.

Going to have to set my alarm for tomorrow morning. Max has been 'sleeping in' since the time change. I might actually get to be the first one out of bed for once!

... yeah, probably not.


His skin tells a thousand tales, each scar a memory. He knows them all, remembers them all. Do not ask to hear any of them, for he will not share. It is a deeply personal history, these tattoos of war, and he intends to keep them between himself and those who inflicted them upon him.

Every aching muscle is a reminder. He cannot leave the past in the past, for it shadows each step he takes. Though, I must admit, I do not think he would if he could. The lessons born from what was guide him through what is to come.

He knows too much of battle and bloodshed, and too little of peace and harmony. Quiet is unsettling, so he does not seek it. Stillness stinks of death, so he continues forever onward. There will always be more conflict, always men and women in need of his services.

There is a type of peace in knowing one's purpose. He has this, at least. It is enough. It must be enough.

For he will never know any other peace. Even, perhaps, in death. I cannot imagine him being content in his grave.

So I intend to stay far, far away from the burial ground that will one day attempt to contain him.

Sunday March 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: a friend of the family.

The clocks went ahead by an hour here today. Somehow, now that I have a toddler around, this feels less disruptive than when the clocks go back in the fall. Probably something to do with the expectation of losing sleep regardless of what else is going on.

I'm pretty sure mine is going long, if what was running through my head while I did the dishes is any indication, so I'll just get to it.


"You find Reed at the back door," Kelly told me. "You tell him you're a friend of the family."

"He'll break my neck!"

"He'll do no such thing," Kelly said with a smile that was anything but reassuring. "Reed will ask you what a scrawny, ugly little kid like you knows about the family."

"He'll say that?" I'd seen Reed around. I was pretty sure that wasn't how he talked.

"Well, he'll toss in a few words your mother don't want to hear coming outta yer mouth," Kelly said, laughing. "But that'll be the general message."

"So what am I supposed to say to that?"

"You say, Who? Me? I don't know nothing about the family."

"What, that's it?" I realized I was getting dangerously close to shouting and forced myself to speak more calmly. "That'll get me in?"

"That will get you in the door. You'll do great. Yer a smart kid, it won't take them long to figure that out."

"You're sure? Wouldn't it be easier to just say that you sent me?"

"Things don't work like that, kiddo." I'd learn later - much later - that he didn't want his name on my lips in case I didn't work out. Just a precaution, nothing personal. I've often wondered since whether he would have told me to use his name if he'd been more sure about me. Probably not, I suppose.

"So what do I do if he wants some kind of proof?" I asked, still unconvinced. "Is there a secret handshake? Maybe a code word? A phone number I can give him to call?"

"That's always been your biggest problem," Kelly said, patting me on the cheek before fishing a packet of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket. He tapped one out, stuck it between his lips, and lit it with a match with practiced ease. He turned to walk away, calling over his shoulder, "You think too much."

That only made me think even more.

Saturday March 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about a: workaholic.

Prompt and take inspired by Max. On more than one occasion recently he's refused to play with Natalie in favor of working with either myself or Kat's parents around the farm. I feel for my niece, but it's also pretty hilarious.

It was a cloudy, windy day here today so we were only outdoors in passing a couple of times. Spent part of the morning in town with my family, doing some shopping and hitting up our coffee shop. This afternoon I was with Max at Kat's parents house before leaving him at his cousin's house while I went home to get started on dinner.

Tomorrow's weather isn't looking that great either, but I'm sure we'll find a way to pass the time. We usually do.


Just play, play, play all day?
No sir, that's not the life for me!
There's too much work to do -
After all, I'm already three!

Friday March 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: lying in wait.

Worked the 4 to 9 closing shift at the community centre this evening. Bit of a hectic start, but things eventually settled down. Even managed to get out of there pretty close to on time.

This morning I finished filing our taxes, so hurray for that. Still hate the process but I think I might be getting faster at doing them now.

After lunch I went to pick up some packages from the States and grabbed some groceries on the way home. Then I got back home and... well, that's where our tale begins.


I parked outside the gate, since I had to leave for work in about half an hour, and brought the groceries in. I went right back out to get the packages out of the trunk and decided to carry all three large boxes in one go because I'm a guy.

As I was passing back through the gate I heard something behind me and I turned to find... two deer heading straight for me and the open gate.

I kicked the gate shut, they ran off down the street while I laughed... but now I feel like I need to keep a close eye out whenever I leave the gate open, even for less than a minute.

Thursday March 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: clockwork.

Yeah, the Wastelands haven't left my thoughts quite yet...

I spent this morning rearranging furniture and organizing stuff in Max's room. There's a lot more space for him to play in there now and I think the layout works better in general. Thankfully he approved of the changes when he got home from daycare.

This afternoon I got started on filing our taxes for 2015. Not my favorite thing ever, but it was good to get it started and I'm hoping to finish it off tomorrow morning.


The ache of my broken wrist is a constant companion. My only one, so I can't help but treasure it just a little. It is a reminder that I am still alive, that all of this is not some unending nightmare.

How many days have come and gone since my airship was blasted out of the sky? Five, I think. They blend together in my memory. Though the landscape changes as I continue westward, it all feels the same. Boulder after boulder, dusty ravine after dusty ravine, with no signs of wildlife to be found other than the distant, screeching calls of falcons high above.

I chase the western horizon, as best I can, because this is the way Captain Miranda had been taking us. Perhaps, if I survive long enough, I will find what she was seeking. Whatever in the hell that might be.

My canteen is empty now. It has been a day (or is it two now?) since I last discovered clean water. My throat aches at the memory. If things continue like this, it is difficult to imagine me lasting much longer. But I continue to drag one foot in front of the other, for what choice do I have?

I reach the end of my most recent canyon and the path rises steeply before me. Under ideal circumstances it would only take me five minutes to reach the crest; I probably wouldn't even really notice the incline. But now... now I shudder in dread at the mere sight of it. The climb takes too much out of me, and far too long. I have to crawl the last few feet and don't attempt to rise until my heart stops threatening to burst through my chest.

"Up we go," I mutter through cracked lips, pushing myself off the ground.

"Who goes there?" The voice is not fully human. There is a metallic quality about it that is vaguely unsettling. On my hands and knees I am reluctant to look up. "I repeat: who goes there?"

"Xavier Daniels," I say. "Helmsman to a fallen airship. I come from the -"

"That is more information than I require at this time." I hear clicking and grinding as I feel a shape bend over me. "Can you stand?"

"I... could use a hand."

"That I do not have to offer." More clicks, some whirring now. "However, I do have this."

Something grabs hold of the back of my shirt and hauls me upward until my feet are dangling a few inches off the ground. I look up slowly, taking in dull brass legs, an abdomen covered with turning gears and dials, up to a face dominated by two large, oval pieces of glass. They look like they belong at the end of a telescope.

Only they are moving as though they are looking at me in the same manner as I was just looking at it.

"You are badly injured and malnourished." I want to ask it not to harvest me for parts but I don't have the energy to crack the joke. "I will take you to my master. He may be able to help you."

"May?" I repeat as I let my head sag back down. I watch the ground move below me for a few jerking steps before deciding closing my eyes is a better idea. "I like the sound of those odds."

Wednesday March 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the chef.

Inspired by Kat and I watching Cooked on Netflix the last few nights.

Went to Penticton this afternoon for our 36 week appointment with the midwife. Next appointment is at 37 weeks next Friday and we'll be going week by week at that point, what with the baby potentially coming any day.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.



I feel nothing. I wonder why I don't feel anything. This is bad, right? I should feel something.


How did I not notice? I know we were busy - swamped, really - but I'm having trouble understanding how I didn't notice until now. You'd think... I dunno.

"Should I call a doctor, Chef?"

"What? No. Not yet."

"Not yet?" A slight pause. "Chef?"

Normally I'd fire him on the spot for using such a disrespectful tone. Somehow, right now, I don't really feel like it though. It must be bad.

"Find the salad first."

"The salad, Chef?"

Note to self: fire this idiot later.

"Yes, the salad. You know, the one with my finger in it?"

Tuesday March 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: sing-alongs.

Blame Max. And maybe music class, I suppose. Toss in daycare and StrongStart while I'm at it.

Had a productive day. Chopped and hauled wood after dropping Max off at daycare this morning. Then came home and did some cleaning and organizing in the kitchen with Kat, where we finally finished the last cupboard.

After lunch I dusted off the rototiller and brought it to the garden (because the tractor is still at the garage getting ready for the season). I tilled up the area we plan on growing our vegetables in this year, then sowed the cover crops I never got around to sowing in the fall. I also tilled between our rows of garlic, which are coming up nicely already.

And now I wait to welcome the next seven days or so of grey clouds, rain, and me bitching about the weather.


John's singing my Lord,
Kumbaya. Please make him stop
my Lord, Kumbaya...

*     *     *

I don't know the words
but if I keep moving my
lips no one will know

Monday March 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Today each of us shall pick the title of a song and use that as our individual inspiration. Not the subject of the song, not any lyrics, just the title.

This afternoon was Max's last soccer class for this session. The community centre will be coming out with their spring leisure guide soon (you'd think I'd know when, but I don't work there very often) and we're planning on signing him up again. Hopefully Natalie will be joining him.

Oh, since I'm stupid behind on comments once again, I'll just say this here: Greg, I shall try to get a picture of the deer fence for you tomorrow. For now, just know that it's tall enough that they can't jump over it.


Blame It on Me by George Ezra

All of the tears,
All of the scars,
Every last fight;
Come on, come on,
I will take it
And hold it tight.

All of the cheats,
All of the scams
In this unfair game -
Of life, of love -
I'll take more than
My share of the blame.

All of the quakes,
All of the droughts,
The rise of the sea!
Go ahead, go on,
It's all right if
You blame it on me.

My skin is thick,
My back is strong -
I'll smile all the while!
You've got more gripes?
Another hurt?
Add it to the pile.

Sunday March 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the gated community.

Had the whole farm family out this afternoon, getting started on cleaning up the blackberry bushes and raspberry canes. Max and Natalie did some good raking before deciding it was time to go to their grandparents house for snack time. Becky came by with Emersyn in a stroller. The dogs were out and about.

Good times. The first section of blackberries is now cleared out and pruned and ready for mulching. The longest section of raspberries is pruned but still needs to be thinned out some more, and then it's mulch time for that area as well.

We still have the upper section of blackberries and raspberries to take care of, but it was a good start. So nice to not be the only one working on this stuff this year.


Although we don't have locks on the gates (yet), the farm now feels like a gated community. The deer fence was finished on Wednesday, I think, and the guys returned yesterday to install the four gates (we get one, there's one at the end of the driveway for Kat's parents, another for Kat's brother's place, and the last one at the access point by the horse pasture).

So the deer are fenced out. The fruit trees and vegetable gardens will hopefully be able to grow without losing leaves or branches to marauding deer. We're in here with two dogs, a cat, two horses (in their already fenced pasture), one infant, two toddlers, four parents, and two grandparents. With one more infant arriving in the coming weeks.

I like it already. There's a comfort in knowing that Max can walk out the front door to play on his own in the yard and he has zero access to the road. Stray dogs and wandering wildlife cannot get to him. Well, I suppose he could stick his hands through the fence and get himself into some trouble, but I'm pretty confident that he wouldn't do that.

I don't think we ever felt unsafe here, but it's nice to have the extra security. Though I did notice an interesting change in my thinking this morning. I'd parked the car outside the fence because I was going to be driving somewhere relatively soon and didn't want to bother with the stop the car, open the gate, get in the car, drive through the gate, park the car, close the gate routine. I didn't notice it at first, but there was a feeling nibbling at the back of my mind that I eventually identified.

Suddenly, now that there is a fence and a gate where there was not before, outside the fence didn't feel like a safe place to park the car. There was a part of me that wanted to go out and bring the car inside. And there isn't even a lock on the gate!

I don't believe this is a sensation that is unique to me or this situation. But I find it fascinating how quickly it happened. And I wonder how it will feel a month, or a year, or years from now.

Saturday March 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: massive.

Earlier this week Max was invited to a birthday party for one of the kids at daycare, so that's where he and I spent most of this afternoon. I was expecting more daycare kids there but it was just Max, the birthday boy, and one other boy - the other seven or eight kids were... I don't actually know how to classify them. From other sources? Sure.

Max stuck close to me for pretty much the whole time, but there were enough new and interesting toys for him to explore that I think he still had fun. That's what he told me afterward, at any rate.

This morning we seeded broccoli and cabbage in the greenhouse. The onions we seeded a couple weeks back have come up nicely, and in another couple weeks we'll be getting into tomatoes and peppers.

Ah, spring. You are nearly here.


Life was coming along fine,
Felt like nothing could hold me back.
Then one morning I woke up
And had a massive heart attack...

Friday March 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: mutiny.

While at work this evening I discovered that the Friday night pickleball session had been cancelled in favour of a party to celebrate the end of a season of kids hockey (I'd guess in the range of six or seven year olds?). And that the players had been given no notice of this change.

I was already aware that the relationship between the players and the community centre was fairly prickly, to be kind. This... this did not help things.

Thankfully nobody took it out on me too badly, but it still wasn't much fun waiting for the next wave of them to arrive to discover they had made the trip for nothing.


That they would reach a breaking point was inevitable. There had been too many disappointments, upsets, broken promises, and not nearly enough acts of reconciliation. We all knew this day would come.

We just never expected the seniors to storm the community centre and then refuse to ever leave.

Thursday March 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Today, without any warning whatsoever, we make our third visit to House of Mercy. Sorry about that, it just totally slipped my mind while writing yesterday's post.

Kat and I took a trip up to Penticton this morning for a midwife appointment. We'll be doing that every week until baby comes, as tomorrow marks one month until the due date arrives. Everything went well, as has been the case all along with this pregnancy.

Also tomorrow? I'll be working at the community centre from 2 until 9. I ran into one of the ladies who is higher up on the relief seniority list at the park yesterday and she mentioned she'll be unavailable for all of March while her daughter and her family is in town for a visit.

So hopefully that means more calls for me this month.


Julie opened her eyes. Not with enthusiasm, but with great reluctance. Those days, that was always how she woke up. She didn't know what she was going to find waiting for her, and she didn't want to know.

This time there was only blackness. It was a relief. But only briefly.

"Have I gone blind?" she whispered. She closed her eyes and then opened them again. She could discern a slight difference in the depth and texture of the dark. "No, I suppose not. Must be night then."

Julie talked to herself a lot during those days. She knew it must only encourage the staff's diagnosis of Full Blown Crazy, but she didn't care. At least when she was talking to herself she knew there were no animals or inanimate objects involved in the conversation.

She wondered idly how long she'd been in the hospital. Days? More than that. Weeks? Maybe. Months? Not out of the question. She no longer wondered when she would get out.

There was no getting out. Julie knew that. Not for a person as crazy as herself. Anne hadn't even bothered to visit her. Just dumped her there and then returned to her happy, normal life. Probably had a nice long shower to wash the insanity off of her.

It wasn't as though Julie wanted to stay. She had just begun to realize the mental hospital was where she belonged. Try as she might, she couldn't seem to stop seeing impossible things everywhere. She didn't want to talk to the animal people anymore, but they kept talking to her.

"Doesn't mean I have to answer them," she muttered with a shake of her head. She paused, mulling this observation over in her head. Was it as simple as that? Maybe it was worth a shot. Sitting up in bed she announced to the room, "I'm done talking to the animals. They can't make me talk to them."

With a satisfied nod, she lay back down and closed her eyes. Sleep had almost returned when a noise at her window startled her fully awake.


Julie propped herself up on one elbow and turned to the barred window. She didn't know what she was expecting to see... but a giant owl's head was not it. With a resigned sigh, she flopped back down and closed her eyes again.

"Julie! It's me, Anne!"

"I am not interested in talking to you anymore," Julie told the owl. It had really gotten to be too much. She was ready to go home and try to be normal again. "Please go away and don't come back."

Wednesday March 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: retaliation.

The two guys Kat's parents hired to put in the deer fence that will surround the farm were working in our front yard this morning. They were using a machine to put a few more posts in before starting to put up the actual fencing. It was very noisy, and even shook the house a little bit when the posts were going in.

Max loved it.

He was watching from the deck at one point and I could hear him giggling as they were putting one of the posts in. Pretty sure he wanted to grab one of his toolboxes and go help them.

I do not know where he gets this from.


"When he shuts off his truck," I say, forcing myself to speak slowly, "that's when I make my move. Just keep the car running and be ready to hit the gas when I come back."

"I don't think... actually, that's not true. I know this isn't a good idea." Tyrone looks nervous. I suppose I can understand why he'd feel that way.

Not me though, not right now. I just feel eager.

"What, you don't think that prick deserves this?"

"I'm not saying he should go unpunished," Tyrone says, holding his hands up, palms facing me. "I'm just questioning who should be doing the punishing."

"There's no question there," I say as I turn my attention back to the street. "It's me."

"An eye for an eye creates blindness, my friend."

"Who said anything about going for his eyes? That ain't, generally speaking, my target area."

"I know he hurt you, bro. I understand where you're coming from."

I turn to look at him but don't say a word. I don't have to. My eyes tell him I don't think that you do.

"This will not end well. Mark my words. No good will come of this."

"That's where you're wrong, my friend." I watch as his truck comes around the corner, then eases into its usual parking spot. "Something very, very good is about to come of this. I'm going to cherish what's about to happen for the rest of my life."

"Cherish?" Tyrone's laugh is harsh. "More like regret."

"Whatever, bro."

The truck's engine goes silent. I open the car's passenger door.

"Just keep it running, all right? Be back in a few."

Tuesday March 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: miracles.

Already fell asleep on the couch, just want to get this typed up and go to bed.



Believe it or not,
it makes no difference to me,
for I know it's real

*     *     *

His tale could have been
A light gone too soon; instead
he escaped, unharmed