Tuesday May 31st, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the Wizard of Oz.

Sold over two hundred pounds of strawberries today. Still had a few left in the garden that we didn't get to picking until after dinner. Probably close to another fifty pounds in the cooler tonight, twenty of which we've already promised to a local restaurant that emailed this evening to ask if we had any available.

People are bonkers for strawberries.

I'm getting close to being done with them, but I expect another big pick for the market this weekend. Not sure what we'll get in a week's time, but hopefully it'll be enough to satisfy the orders we've already got.

Oh, so Max last night. He slept until around 3. Was a little more awake than usual for his snack, but I managed to get him back to sleep within half an hour. Didn't wake up again until his usual 6:30 internal alarm went off.

So full of energy this morning. Was nice to see him well rested for once.


We're off to see the
blizzard, the wonderful... hold
on. That can't be right...

*     *     *

If he's so great and
powerful, why can't he make
the road less bumpy?

Monday May 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the memorial.

Got the strawberry harvest for local orders started this evening with Adam and Kat`s parents. Approximately 81 pounds in the cooler so far, which is not a bad start on the 190 or so pounds needed to fill all the requests we have received this week.


In other news, Max fell asleep at the dinner table this evening, shortly after finishing his last bite. He`s still asleep now and I`m not at all sure what to do or expect. If he makes it all the way through to morning that would be a pretty incredible night`s sleep for him.

I`m just worried he`ll wake up at 4 and insist on getting on with the day...


"So... this is it, huh?"

"Yeah! What do you think?"

"It's... quite something."

"You don't sound especially enthusiastic."

"You don't say."

"What's the matter? Don't you think this is a fitting tribute to your late brother?"

"Oh, it's a fine statue, certainly. Only..."


"I'm just wondering where all the knives are."

"The what, sir?"

"The knives he used to stab everyone in the back."

"Oh... those knives."

Sunday May 29th, 2016

The exercise:

I suppose we should get back to the House of Mercy, huh? You know, before May ends in... two days?

I'm going to try to get things back on track over the next few months. Aiming for mid-June, then within the first two weeks of July, then back to being in the first week for August onward. That's the plan, at any rate.

All right, let's get to it.


Julie was feeling confused. Again. When, she wondered idly, was the last time she was truly certain of anything? Probably when she'd become convinced that she was fully, no going back, out of this world crazy. What was that, two weeks ago? Two months? During that brief time when she was convinced she'd been given a roommate who reminded her of someone she couldn't quite remember?

Now, though? She wasn't so sure.

Was she starting to get better? The signs, Julie felt, were conflicting.

It had begun shortly after they'd allowed her out of her restraints for a short period each day. That had felt like trust, as though they were telling her We know you're no longer crazy enough to do yourself harm within the confines of your room. She had been inordinately pleased.

It was a day or two after that, however, that the incident had occurred. Babs had given her the usual assortment of pills to take with lunch. Then she did her usual oral inspection to make sure they'd all gone down. Normally she would stay and make sure Julie ate a proper meal as well, but she'd been called away and didn't return for quite some time.

While she was gone Julie had begun to feel quite ill. Perhaps the fish had gone off. Maybe her medications were from an expired batch. Whatever it was, lunch (and her pills) were not going to stay down. Julie got out of bed to rush to the bathroom but there was not enough time. Not wanting to vomit all over the floor, she went to the window instead.

She'd had to clean up a little, but no evidence of what had happened remained by the time Babs returned. Embarrassed, Julie said nothing. By that night, when it was time to take her final pills of the day, her stomach was still in an uproar. This time she excused herself to use the bathroom mid-meal, ran the faucet at full blast to cover the noise, and emptied her stomach once more.

When Julie had exited the bathroom Babs had barely looked up from her notebook. They'd been working together long enough that little suspicion remained, which allowed Julie some leeway that she had never thought to take advantage of.

But by the next morning, having gone almost a full day without medicine, Julie had begun to notice things. And those things had not only brought her back to the question of her sanity, but to the practices of the staff of the House of Mercy as well.

Saturday May 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: ignorance.

Started this morning with 136 pints and 108 quarts (so about another 162 pints, ish) of strawberries. They were all gone by 11:00 am.

As a reminder, the market opens at 8:30 am.


I was feeling pretty confident that we were going to sell out before the market closed at 1:00 pm. I had zero expectations of doing so that quickly.

That was a pretty quiet and relaxed last two hours though, with only my greeting cards and photography prints left on the one table (we took down the first table around 10, then the second table at 11). Gave me the chance to visit with a few vendors I hadn't seen since last fall, and to do a bit of shopping as well.

I'm curious to see how things go next weekend, when we'll be adding cherries to the mix.


How blissfully ignorant,
To ask such a thing!
No ma'am, these strawberries were
Not picked last spring...*

*Honestly, what kind of produce storage system do people think we have? I know the strawberries are ready early this year, but come on...

Friday May 27th, 2016

The exercise:

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

So many strawberries, you guys. Don't have an exact number, but we used up our remaining pints (around 137) and then switched to quarts (approximately 84 maybe?) because we've been unable to get more (quarts hold about 1.5 pints). Hopefully our order will come in before next Friday.

Anyway. I'll try to get an accurate count before they start selling tomorrow morning. I had help picking them from Adam, Becky, her friend Angela who arrived with her two boys for a visit yesterday, Kat's parents, and I think the kids might have done a bit of picking too at some point.

I got out there around 7:15 this morning, went until almost 1 (with a couple breaks), got back out after lunch around 1:30, and finished around 4. The truck is packed up, we just need to get the berries out of the cooler in the morning and we'll be on our way.

I'm going with Adam. Wanted to bring Max too but we're going to be busy and unable to give him the attention he needs. Need a slower market or an extra person for him to be there. Next week won't be slower, but we'll likely have more people to deal with strawberries and the first cherries.

But first... let's get through tomorrow morning. Here we come Penticton. I hope you're ready for some strawberries.


Time stretches out beyond the horizon. Movements begin to loop, each motion repeating endlessly until it is impossible to tell when they begin and when they end. Every breath is a chore, as you wonder whether life is really worth living anymore.

"Sweetie, Mr. Garvey's math class is not that bad."

Thursday May 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: tactics.

Max, he who has been regularly waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning recently, decided to wake up 5 minutes before 8 this morning. Which, seeing as I haven't had much need for my own alarm recently, was also the time I woke up.

Slight problem, that. What with me supposed to be at work at 8.

Managed to get there by 8:15, eating an apple on the way for breakfast and skipping my usual shower. Got Max his breakfast before I left, but had to leave a giant pile of dirty dishes on the counter from last night (that I'd fully intended on washing when I got up this morning).

Not the best start to the day.

On the plus side I was able to find a dishwasher in Penticton this afternoon. Picking it up after the market on Saturday. Hopefully have it installed before the end of the weekend. That ought to make a big difference around here.

Met up with Sue and Jake after Miles had his final midwife appointment. Went for a tasty dinner at a Greek restaurant in Penticton and then had to say our farewells for now. Hoping to get out to Calgary to see them in the fall.

Max wants to go see them tomorrow. After I'm done picking strawberries. We told him we're going to be busy on the farm this summer. So he said after that.

Such a reasonable young man.


I've been in four or five different appliance stores in the last few days, looking for a dishwasher. I've come across some interesting sale tactics in each store, but the one I saw this afternoon just left me dumbfounded.

I was strolling along a display of full-size dishwashers, looking for apartment-size models (we live in a small cabin, what can I say?) when a sticker caught my eye. I forget what the original and sale prices were. It was the note, all in bold letters, that got me.


Seriously? How many days do you figure that's been there for? I suspect at least a week. Longer would not surprise me.

Who would honestly believe that though? Who would look at that and rush into a purchasing decision, lest the super duper limited time only sale offer expires? (Can you imagine? 'Yes, I'd like to buy this dishwasher at this great price!' 'Sorry, sir. That sale just ran out. You'll have to pay full price.' 'Nooooooo!')

Ridiculous. I could only shake my head. And then later be relieved that the store I was in did not, in the end, offer the best option for what I was looking for.

Shopping can be so weird sometimes, you guys.

Wednesday May 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the boat.

Work was busy this morning. Definitely still a lot of tourists in town after the long weekend, as the pastries flew off the shelf while the loaves moved at a more stately pace. I imagine it'll be more of the same tomorrow.

Sue biked down from where her and Jake are staying this week in order to keep Max entertained while I was working. No easy task, but it sounds like she was up to the challenge. By the time I returned for lunch Jake had arrived with the car and the fun was fully in progress.

After lunch I dropped Max off with his aunt and uncle at a park and went dishwasher shopping. Going to have a look in Penticton tomorrow afternoon to see what else is available.

Also got Max a bat and ball so he can practice his blast ball skills at home. I think that's the happiest I've ever seen a gift make him.


It washed ashore, gaping holes in its hull and all, six days ago. The response from the castaways had been unanimously positive. Even Nancy had seemed excited and hopeful, and she had spent most of the previous month explaining to each survivor, in grim detail, precisely how they were going to die.

We can do this, we said. We can make this boat seaworthy again. We can sail it home.

But then Timothy disappeared the next day. There was some confusion about what he'd been doing last. Some thought he was in the jungle, foraging for wood to be used to plug the holes. Others thought he'd been working from inside the boat. Regardless, he was gone.

Then Morris vanished that night, while everyone was sleeping. It was suggested that he may have gone sleep walking again, but this time ended up in the ocean.

The next morning, Tasha was gone. No one could think of why. No one had any idea of how.

Owen followed suit. Then Linda. Sarah and Nancy went together, just this morning.

Now it's just me. Well, me and the boat. But not for long. One of us has to go, I'm quite certain of that.

So today I'm setting that thing on fire.

Tuesday May 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: sharks.

Between myself, Adam, Becky, Sue, and Jake, we harvested about 125 pounds of strawberries over the last two days. This afternoon they all went off to good homes and appreciative bellies.

And we didn't even pick all of what was ready.

Kat's parents went out and finished the pick this afternoon and, at very minimum, got another 50 pounds. Probably closer to 60, but I didn't feel any need to weigh what I saw in the cooler.

Friday's pick for the market shall be interesting.

Back at the bakery tomorrow morning at 8. I've already set my alarm, just in case I fall asleep on the couch yet again.


I have changed my ways.
When tempted, I just repeat:
Fish are friends, not food.

*     *     *

With all those sharp teeth
and lethal muscles, people
still fear the fin most

Monday May 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that has: burst.

The harvest for our local customers began today and will conclude tomorrow morning. We've got around 110 pounds ordered for pickup tomorrow afternoon and we're off to a good start - somewhere around 64 pounds, I'd say.

Sue and Jake will be helping with the pick, as will Becky if she's able to. So great not to be doing it alone.

Oh, House of Mercy. I haven't forgotten. I was just hoping I'd do this month's entry as a reward for getting completely caught up on comments but I'm not sure I'm going to get there. So expect it this week sometime.


Glass shards are scattered across the floor. Liquids of various colour stick to and drip from all of them. Mostly red, it seems. How did this happen?

I remember, quite clearly, filling the rack of test tubes with bubbling and smoking solutions. There were no explosions. Hell, I didn't so much as spill a drop. I am too careful for that sort of thing.

After that, I can see myself crossing to the other side of the laboratory. Empty-handed. Didn't bump into any desks. There was no one else in here.

I reached my office without incident. Flipped through a few binders. Can't remember which ones, but I'm sure that's not important. Fairly sure, at least. Came back into the laboratory and... then what?

Were the shards in place by then? Had... whatever... happened while I was out of the room? Why can't I remember?

I wonder if a single beaker burst, setting off a chain reaction, or if several exploded simultaneously. That would have been impressive. Something I'd like to have seen. Look around. Check everything. There must be clues somewhere. There must be some sign of...

Wait. Who left this Bunsen burner on? That couldn't possibly have been me. Right? Of course not.

Though, for some reason, I am beginning to feel a little lightheaded. Maybe I should sit down for a moment...

Sunday May 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the overachiever.

Miles needed to get back to sleep this afternoon and Kat needed a break. So I loaded the boys into the car and took a drive into town.

You could say that I ended up overachieving a little bit:

This morning I helped Kat's parents and brother get the nets over the cherry trees. The fruit is turning red already and the birds have taken notice. Hopefully we've managed to discourage them now.


"Did you hear who got the promotion?"

"Oh, not again!"

"I know, right? It's like the guy never sleeps or something."

"What, you seriously think it's just hard work and dedication that's got him this far?"


"Nobody puts in those kind of hours anymore. That's old school garbage. This is a new age, man. Anything and everything is on a computer or in a cellphone."

"Are you suggesting he blackmailed his way to the top? That's a horrible thing to spread around the office!"

"Don't be so naive, man. I mean, just look at the guy. He's obviously not sleeping his way there. And there's no way he's smart enough to do anything else."

"What, like work hard and study hard and..."

"Who has time for that? Way faster to find some nasty dirt and put it to good use."

"So why haven't you done that?"

"I... uh... it's complicated."

"Oh, so somebody's got dirt on you then?"

"... shut up and get back to work, man."

Saturday May 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: making do.

Had a mostly rainy market in Osoyoos this morning. But in the end we sold 66 of the 67 pints of strawberries we brought, and Becky sold a few of her homemade signs, so I think it went pretty well.

My sister Sue and her husband Jake arrived yesterday for a visit that will last until next Friday. They're renting a cabin just south of Penticton, in order to both give us some space and for them to do some wine touring while they're in the area.

They came to our place this afternoon and stayed for dinner. It did not take Max very long to get warmed up to them again. At all.

He is quite the character.


Yes, 'tis much deeper than a well,
And wider than a church door too!
In the matter of a latrine,
It looks like we'll be making do!

Friday May 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: helter-skelter.

Picked strawberries this morning. Not enough to make the trip to Penticton worthwhile (especially if it's going to rain like the forecast says it will). When I left for work after lunch things were still up in the air as to what we were going to do with what we had - email local customers to come get them tomorrow, take them all to a restaurant...

Turns out? Becky got us in to the Osoyoos market, so I guess I'll be helping out with that in the morning instead. Hopefully it won't be too rainy and enough people will come out to make it worth doing.

If not, we'll be taking any leftovers to the restaurant anyway.

All right, fell asleep getting Max back to bed. Should get this done so I can go squeeze in another hour of sleep.

Edit: it would seem that Max can't stay asleep and I can't stay awake. Fun combination!


Helter-skelter, my plans become mumble jumble. The day begins to crumble as I slip and stumble through it all. I fumble the ball, I bumble it all.

So watch out today, this bear is going to grumble.

Thursday May 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: filthy.

Busy morning at the bakery, followed by an afternoon with Max. Also trying to find time to get ready for Saturday morning at the market.

Because I'll be picking strawberries tomorrow morning, and then working a relief shift at the community centre from 1 to 9 before having to get up around 5:30 Saturday morning in order to get to Penticton at a good time.

And yes, when I got the call yesterday afternoon asking if I could work the Friday shift, I did agree to it because I make poor life decisions.

Oh well, exhaustion never killed anybody. Right?



"Filthy? That's a tad harsh, isn't it?"

"It's accurate, is what it is."

"Oh come on! We're not talking about a landfill or a mechanic's underpants here."

"Might as well be. Not that I'd care to know how you know what a mechanic's underpants are like."

"Oh, I think you might."


"I'll save that one until we've worked our way through another bottle of wine then. Anyway, I don't think you're being entirely fair right now."

"And I think you're being too sensitive. It's filthy and that's all there is to it."

"Really? That's how you're choosing to describe your granddaughter's face after dessert?"

Wednesday May 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: perseverance.

Work at the bakery was surprisingly fine this morning, other than when I had to crouch down to grab something. That was when my five hours of, essentially, doing squats yesterday chose to rear its ugly head.

Haircuts went smoothly after lunch. Strawberries were, as expected, much appreciated. I think Max only mooched one of them too.

Back at the bakery tomorrow morning. Going to try to get some extra rest tonight.


"Good evening, men. And it is a good evening, isn't it? For we are still here, together. Still breathing. Still fighting!"


"Certainly, we have endured more than our fair share of casualties thus far. There can be no denying that. But we may be beaten down, we are not defeated! We refuse to raise that despicable white flag. We force the enemy to earn every single step that they take forward."

"Excuse me, sir?"

"And let us not forget that their losses are many as well! We have wounded them at every opportunity, reducing their numbers as they reduce ours. Our ferocious will gives them pause, our unflagging fury forces them to reconsider every foray into battle."

"Sir! Sir!"

"None of us shall return home unmarked. I myself have been rendered blind and deaf in one ear."

"Oh, right. I forgot."

"But we are heroes, men! Heroes! We honour our country with our every sacrifice! We must persevere, for the sake of our children, and our children's children! And may-"


"... what is it now, Percival? Can't you see I'm motivating my soldiers?"

"No, sir, you're not."

"That's insubordination, Percival. I won't have you disparaging my oratory skills. Especially not in front of these fine warriors!"

"Sir, there are no soldiers here. It's just you and me."

"What? What are you going on about?"

"All your men - those few who are still alive at any rate - have deserted and gone into hiding."

"... My God, man. So it's just the two of us left, to make a noble, final stand. I know you won't leave my side, Percival."

"... No, sir. Of course not. Though I should warn you, I seem to be coming down with something. It feels, and I hate to say this, but it feels like it might be my laryngitis flaring up again..."

Tuesday May 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: torture.

Why yes, I did spend 5 hours picking strawberries today... why do you ask?

It was the first full pick of the year and it served a couple purposes. Firstly, we needed the ripe berries off the plants before they started to rot. Secondly, the bakery wanted six pints. Thirdly, I'm trading strawberries for haircuts for both myself and Max tomorrow afternoon.

And fourthly... to see just how many were ready, in order to give us a clearer picture on whether or not it would be worth going to the farmers market this weekend. Judging by what came off the plants today... Friday's pick is going on a little road trip to Penticton Saturday morning.

Currently not looking forward to my shift at the bakery tomorrow morning, what with an aching back and terribly sore legs. Maybe a good night's sleep will change my point of view?


My shaking body
is making my brain invent
brand new words for pain

*     *     *

"I will never talk!"
They always say that. At first.
I enjoy my work.

Monday May 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: inflated.

Had a family trip to Penticton this morning for Miles' mandatory hearing test. Yes, I mean mandatory. The woman in charge of the testing will call and call and call until a time is agreed upon to do it, which apparently has to be within six weeks of birth. I remember how persistent she was with Max.

Anyway, he passed. So hooray and thank goodness there's nothing further to deal with on that front.

We had lunch afterward at a Mexican restaurant in Penticton, which was delicious. The owners are actually a couple with a 3.5 year old son and a second son who was born three weeks ago. So... not going to get too much more similar than that, I reckon.

We got back to Osoyoos just in time to get Max to soccer class, then came home to pick strawberries to go with our leftover pancakes for dinner. Max slept most of the way home, so after dinner we went for a walk to burn off any extra energy he had.

Didn't really work. Even though we ended up running most of the way.

Though if I ever take up jogging again I think I might have a training partner on my hands.


Your sense of self-worth,
Instilled at birth
By unearned wealth,
Is simply not health-
Even though I know
That's how the rich grow,
I wish you'd have chose
A less inflated pose.
But, I suppose
You did your best
High above the rest
Of us simple folk,
Forever too broke
To become a peer;
Knowing too much fear
That will never draw near
To the lofty likes of you
And your helium crew.

Sunday May 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the man about town.

Finished weeding one section of blackberries this morning and managed to mulch half of it as well. Hoping to get that done before strawberries fully take over my farm time.

Spent the afternoon with Max, mostly in town. Had a quick visit to the park but had to get back home for dinner prep so we couldn't linger as long as he would have liked.

Well, if we had stayed as long as he wanted we might still be there now.

After both boys were asleep this evening I stopped thinking about shaving and actually, factually shaved. If I could choose to stop growing facial hair I would do so without hesitation.


"Good evening. Can I pour you a drink?"

"No, thank you. I was hoping you could tell me where I could find Mr. Bishop."

"Sorry ma'am, he left nearly two hours ago."

"What? He asked me to meet him here just this afternoon!"

"Yeah, Mr. B can be like that sometimes."

"Like what, exactly?"

"Oh, you know, always having to be at the most happening place in town. I guess while he was here he caught wind of a new club having its grand opening tonight."

"And where might that be?"

"You know where Creekside meets Dunbar? On the east side?"

"So I'll find him there then?"

"... I wouldn't count on it. Maybe you should let me pour you that drink now."

Saturday May 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: bedtime stories.

Transplanted our tomatoes out in the garden this morning, along with starting squash, cucumbers, and zucchini in the greenhouse.

Now I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open, so good night!


Read the words again -
We both know how it goes.
But we play the game
Til those little eyes close...

Friday May 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the investigator.

Work went smoothly this morning, with things being just the right amount of busy for time to fly by. This afternoon I ran a couple errands in town, thought about shaving, rested instead, and then joined everyone on the farm for dinner at Kat's parents house.

Kat's aunt and cousin are visiting from Kamloops, so it was a full house. Natalie and Max were having great fun after dinner playing hide and seek with Kat's cousin - she's like another aunt to them. It's too bad she can't come for a visit more often.


I sit back and survey the landscape of my desk, holding a neglected cup of coffee in my left hand. A casual observer would likely suggest that my work space is messy, chaotic even. Can't say they'd be totally wrong, but I see the order and the connecting dots and it relaxes me.

I wish I could say the same about the contents of each of the files currently making up the leaning towers and shifting buildings of my desk, but I suppose then I'd be in a line of work that didn't scratch this itch for adventure I can't seem to live without.

Thursday May 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the chamber.

So, somehow, this guy is already one month old:

I call shenanigans.

Had a full shift at the bakery this morning before taking Max to blast ball this afternoon. He had lots of fun and seemed really into it, which was nice to see.

Back at the bakery at 8 tomorrow morning, so I should get this done and get to bed.


"Anna? Another delivery for Lord Kevin's chamber."

"Why must he insist on calling his hotel room his chamber?"

"Better question: who does he think he's fooling by calling himself a lord?"

"True. Come on, can't someone else bring it this time?"

"No, he specifically requested you. Congratulations!"

"Go die in a fire, Chantal."

"Go bring Lord Kevin his mac n cheese, Anna."

Wednesday May 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Haven't done the Movie Prompt in a while. This time around, our inspiration will be provided by the title of one of the movies that ended up being one of the top twenty-five grossing films in 2012. Why that year? I think there are some good prompt titles in there. Plus it was the year Max was born.

Had a short shift at the bakery this morning, as things were pretty slow and a new girl was doing her first full day shift. Once I finished the dishes there really wasn't much for me to do so my boss sent me home at 10:30. Hopefully tomorrow is a little busier and I can collect a few more hours for my next paycheque.

This afternoon I potted up our pepper plants and started weeding out the blackberries. It's definitely tiring to do both the bakery and the farm on the same day, but I'm finding ways to get it done.



Chicken Little says the sky is
That crazy fool sets my skin to
All them clouds ain't coming
I'm going to run him out of
They going to have to call the
When I get my... did I just feel a
Everybody quit your damned
Run, run, cuz the sky is

Tuesday May 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: devastation.

Finally got around to seeding beets and carrots in the garden this morning. Also got a bit of weeding done in the garlic and in our row of greens. Felt good to get back on track with farm stuff, especially because there isn't a whole lot to deal with this year.

With Max not being in daycare today I seem to have lost any and all concept of what day it is. Change one thing in my routine...


His tracks are erased
by a tsunami of tears.
What a heartbreaker.

*     *     *

The wildfires raged
for weeks, turning the city
into mounds of ash

Monday May 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the collection.

Spent the day with Max, as Kat had an online course to attend from 10 to 2 and our eldest had soccer class at 3. After soccer we dropped by daycare to collect Max's things, because we're pretty sure that experiment is over.

We'll see. It might end up just being a break. But I can't imagine at this point him ever wanting to go back. And that's okay. Daycare served its purpose, which was helping us get through Kat's pregnancy and the early days with Miles (though not so much with the latter).

Miles will officially be 4 weeks old in a few hours and is just three days from being a month old. Not sure how that happened so quickly, but here we are.

The plan is to have Max with Kat's parents two afternoons a week (same as now, just different days), playing with Natalie at her house one afternoon a week, and playing with Natalie at our house one afternoon a week. That leaves me with him for one afternoon (likely Thursday for blast ball). Which likely will be tough after spending a morning working at the bakery, but it certainly could be worse.

I think it'll work out fine, with the added bonus of not having to drag him out the door to daycare twice a week. So... hurray, I suppose.


"Would you like to view my private collection?"

It had seemed an innocent enough question. The invitation came from a kindly old man who wouldn't intimidate a fly. To say that I felt safe with him, despite having met him only an hour previous during the convention's introductory soiree, would be an understatement.

So I said yes. The wine glass in my hand was still half full and hadn't been topped up since I'd started nursing it shortly after I'd arrived. Can't blame the booze, then. I suppose you could say that I, being new in the city and having not yet made any friends, was simply looking for some company. And something to do other than return to a cold, echoing, and empty apartment.

He was rich. That much any idiot could have figured out from twenty paces. He seemed harmless enough. Almost grandfatherly. And not like my mother's father, who was too fond of the drink and had a mean streak wider than Broadway. Like a grandfather whose knee you'd sit on and have him read you a bedtime story or ten.

Was I too naive? Perhaps. Surely I trust too easily, but that's not always a bad thing. What I need to learn from this, I think, is not hostility towards strangers or to always guard myself with a shield of suspicion. It's to ask more questions before agreeing to do anything.

Like, in this case, I could have asked something along the lines of, "And just what sort of collection is it that you have to show me?"

Too late now, clearly. But maybe it'll save me an awkward tour of an old man's vintage lingerie collection next time around...

Sunday May 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something about: the troops.

Had a productive and happy Mother's Day here today. Gave Kat a fun and impractical gift after breakfast, then spent the rest of the morning doing chores around the house that have been neglected for too long (mowed the lawn, washed the bathtub, bathroom sink, and toilet, got caught up on laundry and dishes).

This afternoon all four of us made the trip in to town to check out a small market (ended up buying a couple jars of local juice - pear and grape) and then we went to Kat's brother's place for a big family dinner. Kat's parents were there, along with Becky's visiting mom and aunt. Good food and good company.

Then we got the boys home and struggled to get the both of them to sleep. So now I'm quite exhausted and ready for bed myself.


"We need to rally the troops!"

"... why?"

"We need... what do you mean, why?"

"I'd think that one's pretty obvious. It's a one word question. This isn't like that time I asked you to call the president of France and only speak in German."

"Yes, well, I don't think you ever did properly explain that one."

"I disagree."

"... what were we talking about again?"

"You said the troops need rallying. I'd like to know why."

"Right. Okay. It's just that they look as though they could use some cheering up. Don't you think?"

"What do they have to be upset about?"

"... you mean besides the near constant threat of death and or dismemberment?"

"People in big cities live with that feeling every day, you don't see them getting inspirational speeches and what not."

"They also have access to coffee."

"So do our troo... wait, do they?"

"No, sir. We ran out yesterday and the next shipment isn't due until the end of the month."

"Good God man! We need to rally the troops!"

Saturday May 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: teamwork.

As of today, Max is officially 3.5 years old. Not sure where the time has gone.

Speaking of 3.5, that's also how many weeks old Miles is. As if the passage of time didn't have little enough meaning already...

Max and I spent the morning working in the garden. I mulched the strawberries while he sometimes helped and sometimes did his own thing (he brought some of his tools out there with him). Did more of the same after dinner, and now we're down to the last row needing to be mulched.

Which is good, considering Adam found the first two ripe berries this afternoon while he was doing some mulching himself.


Teamwork is not always
Exactly as it seems.
You think we suck but really
We're just on different teams...

Friday May 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about a place: where the streets have no name.

It was good to be back at the bakery this morning. My voice held up pretty well, with only the last half hour or so being a struggle.

I ended up spending most of the afternoon resting. Still working on catching up on comments, but at least I've made it into April now. Baby steps!

The plan is to get some garden work done tomorrow. The strawberries are coming on fast - we'll likely be doing our first farmers market of the year in two weeks - and I need to get out there and do my part to make sure the rows are mulched and weeded.


It's pretty fun, sitting here watching the tourists wander in confused circles and asking each other for directions and tearing their maps into shreds. This isn't why I did what I did but it's a fantastic bonus.

No, I did it for the money, plain and simple.

If this city wants all their street signs returned they're going to have to pay me big bucks to dig them out of my basement.

Thursday May 5th, 2016

The exercise:

It's been awhile since last time, so let us return to the Random CD prompt.

Pick a song as randomly as you like, use its first line as your own, and take it from there. Credit where it's due, of course.

I'm heading back to the bakery tomorrow morning. My voice isn't 100% yet, but it's close enough. And maybe with another night of sleep it'll come the rest of the way back.


Cucurucu by Nick Mulvey

Softly, in the evening dusk, a woman is singing to me. At least, I think she is. We don't speak the same language, so I can't be certain. Maybe she's just singing to herself. A song she heard on the radio in the afternoon that won't get out of her head. She doesn't seem irritated though. She looks content, with that small smile on her lips that vanishes behind her long hair every time she bends to wash a table with long, slow circles of her slender arm. The cloth in her hand doesn't seem to be gripped very tightly but she has yet to adjust her hold on it.

I want to get her attention, ask what the song is about. But I also don't want to interrupt. The heat of the day is rapidly departing and the cool air is soothing. Her voice is almost hypnotizing. I know I have an early morning meeting tomorrow but I don't want to get up, don't wish to break this spell she's casting over me.

And what if she is singing to me? She's young and beautiful and exotic and I'm a world away from home. It's not like my marriage is a happy one. It's not like anyone would miss me if I never returned. Work would have a warm body in my seat before I hung up the phone after telling them I'm done with this miserable job.

Well, not so miserable that it doesn't require trips like this one to warm, magical islands in the sun two or three times per year. Though this is definitely the first time I've had a local girl sing to me as the stars began to appear high above us.

I look down and am reminded of my bulging belly and pale, hairy legs. My scrawny, hairy arms. The sweat pooling in places I'd rather it didn't. I remember all the young local boys around her age I've seen the last few days, how athletic and smooth and potent they all seem.

Yeah, she's not singing to me.

But nobody here can tell me she's not. So I might as well stay a while longer and let this daydream live on. Maybe for another drink in the bar across the way. The bar filled with young men who could break my face without breaking a sweat.

Yeah, she's not singing to me.

I should get back to my hotel before she's forced to ask me to leave her cafe in broken English. Let's just avoid that awkward departure, shall we? I should call my wife, make sure she hasn't forgotten about me. Remind her that I'll be back in three days.

Because this young beauty can't possibly be singing to me.

Wednesday May 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: Star Wars.

Because I had to cave in to the whole "May the 4th be with you" thing eventually. Plus I've never written anything to do with this setting, so I thought maybe it's time to do that.

Took Miles up to Penticton this afternoon for our second to last midwife appointment. He's at 9 pounds 6 ounces now, up another pound in the last 8 days. Everything's looking good so far.

Max stayed here with my parents and it sounds like they had a pretty great time together. They're heading back home tomorrow morning and I know we'll all miss them being here. Planning on going out to see them in August, so hopefully that works out.

My voice is starting to come back to me. I think tomorrow it should be back to normal. Or close, at least.


A walker across the sky,
You're like a god among mortals.
Through windows I see other worlds,
While you go straight through the portals.

They say the Force is strong with you,
Like no one who has come before.
Others may fear your shadow,
But I want you as my mentor.

Teach me your secrets and ways,
Show me the path to true glory!
So that one day the scholars
Will be writing down my story.

Why would you refuse my request?
Are you scared of what I can do?
Fine, I'll find another master...
And then come looking for you.

Tuesday May 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku which have something to do with: speechless.

Let me tell you guys, having laryngitis for the first time in my life while living in a household with a toddler and a newborn is just, like, such good times. Such, such good times.

I had to get Kat to call in sick to the bakery for me. I've been booked off for tomorrow and Thursday. Fingers crossed I'll be up to doing my shift on Friday.

Because I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.


Naked but for a
well-placed cauliflower head?
You've left me speechless...

*     *     *

The coronation
is about to begin! Where
is my speech writer?

Monday May 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write something which has to do with: vikings.

Yeah, not sure how I've not used that prompt before.

Still difficult to speak. Maybe one more good sleep will do the trick?

Max had a lot of fun with my parents today. It's wonderful having help keeping him entertained, especially with me being sick.


They arrive under the cover of a night sky filled with star- and moon-obscuring clouds. The longboats slice through the sand and they are out and running before the beach has brought their crafts to a complete stop. Swords and axes and spears in hand, shields and iron helmets providing protection they don't seem to need.

Especially on this night.

They are expecting a village of vulnerable weaklings, of elders and women and children. Ripe for the plundering. Utterly unprepared for an attack.

Except look at them. Going from house to house, the confusion on their faces growing more prominent with each empty discovery. They are gathering in the square now, talking in their harsh language, but quietly. Looking around, at each other. But not up.

That's good. We are hidden here, in the highest branches of the surrounding trees, but I would not want them to look too closely, even at night. Because we are weak, and elderly, and far too young. Our warriors are far away, on a raid of their own. But we are not unprepared.

We were warned, and we have heeded that warning.

They linger for a few moments more before beginning to return to their boats. Is that fear I see on a face or two? Even better. They are less likely to pay us another visit if they believe our absence is magical or divine.

We do not wish to see them again. For if we do, we will not have the benefit of the warning we received this time. Not that he would have been able to tell us what they plan next without returning to their company, but the scout we captured has already been put to rest.

We watch them as they return to the sea. We breathe easier as they disappear into the darkness from which they came. We remain in the trees until dawn comes once more. Just in case. And only then do we return to the ground and our routines and tasks and try not to look to the sea between each heartbeat in our chests.

Sunday May 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the plague.

Why, yes, I do have a cold right now. Why do you ask?

I'd almost lost my voice by the time I had to read Max his bedtime story tonight. So maybe I should get to bed myself and maybe try to feel better in the morning?

My parents got into town this evening. Had a short get together with them here after dinner and we're planning on meeting them at the park tomorrow morning.

Assuming I'm still alive.


We thought we would be prepared. That all the policies and procedures would keep our country safe. Keep us safe. Quarantines. Medicine and doctors of the highest quality. We thought we would see it coming.

We were not prepared.

Not for this.

How could it remain dormant within the carriers for so long, yet remain so unrelentingly contagious? Why would it do that? For maximum dispersal and impact, certainly. But was it purposeful?

Does it have intelligence?

Does it know what it's doing?

Is it trying to wipe us off the face of the Earth?

Well, it's doing a bloody fine job of it so far...