Sunday July 31st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the picnic.

Today Kat and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary by picking up 70 pounds of blueberries (hopefully our winter's supply) and having a big family dinner at her parents house (was supposed to be a picnic at the beach but howling winds gently suggested that something indoors would be a better idea).

We're actually going out for dinner, just the two of us, tomorrow night. Max and Miles will be hanging out with Kat's parents. Fingers crossed that all goes well.

Speaking of Miles, he rolled over from his back to his belly for the first time Friday morning (while nobody was watching, naturally). Today he went from his belly to his back for the first time.

At this rate he's going to be running around in no time.


"Woah! Look at this spread!"

"There's gotta be enough food here to feed a small army!"

"I don't even know where to start. How about cake first?"

"Dessert before your meal? How naughty."

"Well I d-"

"Stop talking and get me a piece."

"Hah, that's what I thought. Let me just break a bit off here, make sure you get some icing..."


"Oh great, I see the humans have returned."

"Just in time to ruin our picnic, as always."

Saturday July 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: uncertainty.

Came home from a very hot market with only ten pounds of nectarines, four peaches, and about twenty pounds of a new variety of nectarines (we only brought about forty pounds to begin with). The new ones aren't as nice looking and were not ripe enough to eat, so I'm not surprised that they had trouble competing with our main variety.

Anyway. Point is: that was another good market.

Adam and Becky are away next weekend and it's also the Peach Fest Parade on Saturday, which means unloading your vehicle, parking elsewhere, and then after closing going to get your vehicle and packing up again. So, since I don't want to deal with that on my own, I'll be skipping it as well.

The following week... well, the remainder of the season is likely full of markets that won't be worth splitting three ways. So, at most, we'll be alternating weekends with Adam and Becky. At least... I could be done with farmer markets for the year. We shall see.


Is this the end?
How will I know?
Will someone come
To tell me to go?

Friday July 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the recluse.

So hot. Brain all melty.

Going to the farmers market with 24 crates of nectarines, 12 crates of apples, 6 crates of peaches, 22 pints and 11 quarts of blackberries.

Hopefully long weekend make good.

Night night now.


I've heard the raucous bells on Christmas Day. I've seen the gaudy fireworks on New Year's Eve. I've smelled the sickly sweet roses on Valentine's Day.

Go on and enjoy them, if you must... just leave me be.

Thursday July 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: reconstruction.

This afternoon Max helped me put his crib back together, as Miles has gotten big enough to need it. So we almost lasted nine months without it being setup. At least this time when it comes down it will be done for good.

Bakery wasn't quite as crazy as usual this morning, but we were still closed before I left at 12:30. Cinnamon buns and croissants both survived the initial rush, which is a rarity, and the lineup never got excessive. It was just steady, steady, steady... oh, everything's gone.

Hoping to get up early to start picking blackberries for the long weekend's farmers market, as it's going to be another hot one tomorrow.


"Okay," I said after pausing to count to ten. "Then what happened?"

"Well, after the delivery truck started spilling them golf balls everywhere, that's when the penguins showed up."

"The penguins?" I reminded myself that these people had just been through a seriously traumatic experience. That they needed my patience and sympathy. "What penguins?"

"I guess they mighta escaped from the zoo?"

"Maybe they thought them golf balls were ice or snow or hail or something?"

"Yes," I said. "Or something."

"So them penguins were all over the place and I had to swerve pretty hard to avoid hitting them."

"Yup, couldn't go hitting penguins in front of the kids. Not right after they'd been watching Happy Feet in the backseat, you know?"

"That is indeed an excellent reason not to run over penguins." I could feel the headache coming back again. "And then...?"

"Well, what with the car jerking around like that, I got car sick."

"And then so did the kids."

"And then so did I."

There were just some days that I regretted the life choices that had resulted in my becoming a traffic collision reconstructionist.

Wednesday July 27th, 2016

The exercise:

It has been, as usual, far too long since I last made use of the First Line Prompt. So today we all get the same opening, and then each of us gets to take it from there, wherever inspiration directs. And that opening shall be:

Callie frowned as she looked over the checklist in her hands - there was still one more box that needed to be ticked before she could head home for the day.

Productive day for me today. Worked a busy shift at the bakery this morning (they were closing up when I left at 12:30 as all the loaves and treats were sold out), finished off the garlic this afternoon, managed to shave this afternoon, and did a few errands in town just before dinner.

And now I'm very tired and needing to sleep. So...


Callie frowned as she looked over the checklist in her hands - there was still one more box that needed to be ticked before she could head home for the day. And Darren was nowhere to be found.

She had looked in the staff cafeteria. She'd sent emissaries into each of the men's washrooms. She had even checked the weight room, despite its general level of disgustingness and the extreme unlikelihood that he would be there.

No luck on all counts.

The one place she hadn't bothered with was his desk. The man was never there, it seemed, so what was the point? But time was running out and she had exhausted all other options... so she might as well. Perhaps he'd need to grab his car keys before heading home?

"Callie!" Darren's expression told her all she needed to know. Well, that and the crumbs scattered across his desk which appeared to have come from at least four different fruit pies. "What are yo... I mean... how can I help you?"

"Darren." Callie smiled but it was not a pleasant one. "So glad I could catch you before you clocked out for the day."

"Yes, well, I d-"

"Or did you even clock in to begin your day?" Callie consulted her checklist and clicked open her pen with enthusiasm. "Actually, now that I think of it, when was the last time you did some real, honest to goodness work around here?"

"I, uh... well th-"

"You have three reports due by the end of the month," Callie reminded him, her pen tip hovering over that final, unmarked box. "I will expect two of them done by the end of the week. Understood?"

"The end of the week! But I can-"

"Excellent." Callie glanced down before returning her gaze to Darren's face. "I will check in with you tomorrow afternoon to make sure things are progressing as expected. See you then."

She whirled away without another word, and as she strode away she ticked off the final item on her day's checklist: Scare Darren so badly that he wets himself.

Tuesday July 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: difficult choices.

Becky and I managed to harvest all 37 pounds of blackberries that local customers ordered. We'd decided to offer deals for three and five pound boxes because we knew there were so many berries out there and people were happy to take advantage of that.

Pretty sure we've never had this many blackberry orders in previous years. Typically by this time in the season we start thinking about shutting down Tuesday orders but we're still going strong this year.

Back to the bakery madness tomorrow morning.


Hmm. Her, her, or her?
But how can I choose just one?
Can't I have them all?

*     *     *

That guy is a creep.
Yeah, but he's the only dude
checking me out, so...

Monday July 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the middleman.

Managed to get about two-thirds of the garlic taken care of this morning, with some help from Max. He enjoyed trimming the excess roots, or giving the garlic a haircut as we were putting it. Probably another half hour or so worth of work remaining... so hopefully it doesn't take me another week to get back to it.

No shaving though. Nor did I start on the blackberries, as a thunder storm was rolling around after dinner. Also: Kat needed some extra help with the boys tonight, so I'll be trying to get up early tomorrow to get going on the pick before it gets too hot.

Reached a milestone with Miles this evening, as I gave him his first bottle. We'd tried before (I can't remember if I'd mentioned it at the time) about a week or so ago? Something like that. Anyway, it did not go well. So it was nice to have this attempt go quite smoothly.

Hurray for a little more freedom for Kat!


From my table at the rear of the bar I have a better view of the rest of the patrons than I care for. It's necessary, clearly, but I'd still rather not know that Baldy Sr. just ate peanuts that he picked up off the floor, or that Jock Number Two has been chugging Jock Numbers Three and Fours' beers every time they hit the can to take a piss.

I won't even get started on what I can see the bartenders doing. There oughta be a law. Well, there probably is one. Maybe somebody should stop in and enforce it.

Anyway. I need to be able to see what everyone is doing in here because the man I represent is more paranoid than I care to think too deeply about. If I start down that road I might start stressing out about my job security and I've got enough worries already, thanks very much.

The man he has asked me to meet here is yet to arrive, but that's probably because I'm an hour early to the party. It's a good thing the drinks here are basically alcohol flavored water, otherwise I might get myself into a bit of trouble trying to fit in.

Turns out, I'm only on my second 'rum' and coke when he shows up. With two bodyguards. That was not the agreement.

"Good evening," I say without getting up. No need to let them see the gun in my lap just yet, you know? "Mr. Herman and Misters...?"

"Misters Noneovyergawdambizness," the guard to my right says with a sneer. The guard on the Mr. Herman's other side chuckles without enthusiasm but with plenty of obligation. I decide that I like him immediately.

"Easy boys," Mr. Herman says as he waves his dogs off to the nearest table. Baldy Jr. was sitting there but he decides, all on his own, to go find somewhere else to take in the evening's sights and sounds.

"Were they really necessary?" I ask, feigning hurt. "I thought we're all friends here."

"In my line of business," Mr. Herman replies as he sits down across from me, "they are always necessary. Sadly."

I nod my sympathies but remain silent until the waitress takes his order and moves on. My left hand, the one that's resting on the gun's grip, is sweating profusely. I remind myself that I'm unlikely to need it - that I've only had to use it once in the last five years - and give Mr. Herman my best smile.

"Mr. Cortez sends his kindest and warmest regards," I tell him, the lie obvious to both of us.

"Tell Mr. Cortez that I... actually, you won't need to tell him anything," Mr. Herman replies.

"What does that me...?" My confusion lasts just long enough for Mr. Herman's guards to seat themselves on either side of me. Before I can move one of them grabs my left wrist and twists it until my gun hits the floor. Then he lets go and pats me on the head.

"It means," Mr. Herman says with the smile of a snake, "that you're in for a very, very long night."

Sunday July 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: electricity.

I'm having trouble remembering what we did this morning. Oh well.

This afternoon we took a family trip to the beach, because it was hot, hot, hot. Unsurprisingly, especially after seeing how busy yesterday's market was, the beaches were busy, busy, busy. We found a spot eventually though, and the dip in the lake was much appreciated.

Hoping to get our garlic cleaned up and hung up to cure tomorrow morning. Beyond that, I think my plans for the day involve finding time to shave and getting an early start on picking blackberries for Tuesday orders.


The first time
We touched
They flew
Lightning bolts
Cupid's arrows...

Fingertips they traveled -
Up my arm,
Down my spine -
Leaving behind
A trail
Of tingles

The electricity
Doesn't flow
Like it did
So long ago.
I suppose
Our batteries
Need replacing...
Or are
Our hearts

Saturday July 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

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

Let's see, what did I say again yesterday? 36 pints and 7 quarts of blackberries, yup, sold all those. 4 crates of peaches... sold 3 of those. 14 crates of apples... yeah, didn't bring any of those home. What else. Oh, right, the nectarines.

"... and 23 (way more than we need) crates of nectarines."

Got that one wrong - only brought back 1.5 crates of nectarines.

Let's just call that surpassing my wildest expectations.

The kids generally had fun as well, the weather was beautiful, the crowds were plentiful. Overall a pretty ideal market.


Forgotten names and faces flip past;
She doesn't even pause to look -
Not until she comes to his picture
In her dusty, faded yearbook.

Friday July 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the pest.

We've got a full truck this weekend, as we'll be bringing 36 pints and 7 quarts (nearly 2 pints in each) of blackberries, 4 crates of peaches, 14 crates of Sunrise apples, and 23 (way more than we need) crates of nectarines.

Fingers crossed that people come out to enjoy the nice weather and the market, and that they're hungry for nectarines.

It'll be the full crew once again, as Kat and Becky will be driving up with the kids and Adam and I will be taking the truck up. Should be busy, one way (customers) or another (kids).

Or both.

Likely both.


I can hear it moving in the dark. The flap of its wings, the bumps against the walls as it moves around the room like a drunken superman. I know it is in here with me but, because it flees to the shadows whenever I turn on the light, I cannot find it.

And I really, really need to sleep...

Thursday July 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the snitch.

There were about 20 people in the bakery lineup before opening this morning. Once I let them in it was the longest I've seen the shop stay full for since I started - I kept looking up expecting to see the line dying down and that did not happen for quite some time. I didn't check the time but it felt like close to an hour.

This afternoon we took a family trip to Penticton for an appointment. Did a quick grocery shop while we were there and then got back home to have dinner.

But! Not before Kat's dad came down to finally install the screen door. Max helped some more... actually, I'm pretty sure he did more work on this door than I did.

He thinks so too, as he was insisting at dinner that he and Papa (Kat's dad) did all the work and was wondering why Mommy was also thanking Dada for getting it done.



I was standing over an unconscious body in an abandoned warehouse when I made the call. The pool of blood emanating from his head was larger than I'd planned on, but I was pretty sure I hadn't overdone it. Anyway, there were worse problems to have than if I had.


"Oscar? It's Carter."

"Carter? Where the hell you been? Talk was we'd lost you, man."

I'll admit to feeling genuinely touched by his tone. He actually sounded like he meant it. I guess I wasn't expecting that.

"I've been hunting, Oscar. When word got around that we had a snitch I wanted to be the guy to find the little weasel who was talking to the cops, you know?"

"I get that, man. You know I do." Oscar sounded less enthusiastic. "It's just... man, it didn't look good on you."

"What do you mean?" I knew exactly what he meant, but I thought it best to ask anyway.

"You looked like you was the snitch, Carter." Oscar was nearly apologetic. Probably as close to it as he'd ever been.

"Well, you don't need to worry about that any more."

"Who said I was worried? About you? Please." Oscar laughed his deep, belly laugh and the phone practically vibrated in my hand. "Wait, what's going on? Talk to me, man."

"My hunt has completed with resounding success." I looked down and saw that the man's breathing had grown more shallow. Maybe I had hit him a little too hard. "I've got the snitch, Oscar."

"That's my boy! Give me your address and I'll send a car to pick you and your prey up, okay? It'll be good to see you again, Carter."

"You too, Oscar." I gave him the address and hung up. After a final look down, I went over to the door to wait for my ride. Our ride. Me and the snitch. Poor bastard. I leaned my back against the wall and watched him continue to bleed out. I felt like I had to say something, you know?

"Sorry man," I called out, my words echoing around the empty room. "I couldn't let them find me, right? Somebody had to be the guy to take the fall though. Better you than me."

Wednesday July 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the blitz.

At 9 o'clock when I unlocked the door at the bakery there were about 15 people already lined up and waiting. By 9:40 we were sold out of cinnamon buns, croissants (all 96 that were baked this morning), and butter tarts.

There was still a fair bit of bread on the shelves, but still. Good lord, you guys.

Most of the customers who came in after that were disappointed to discover the lack of sweets. So of course we told them to get there earlier tomorrow. So of course they all said they would.

So... yeah, tomorrow morning should be more of the same.


"Good evening class."

"Good evening Mr. Tucker."

"Ah, such loyal little soldiers."

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

"Don't worry about it, Kevin. You're hearing things. Yes, again."

"... oh."

"Before I get on with tonight's lesson, I just wanted to check in with everyone to see how things are going with last week's assignment."

"What? But I tho-"

"Relax, Jessica. It's not due until the end of the month. Yes, Victor, you may go to the washroom to try to clean yourself up. I hope you've brought a spare pair of pants in your backpack? Good."

"I'd like to go first, Mr. Tucker!"

"Of course you would, Dean. Go ahead."

"As everyone will surely recall, the assignment was to come up with a marketing campaign for a local business and then convince them to implement it. A perfect example of putting theory into action, if I may say so myself."

"You may. Go on."

"I decided to go a less conventional route than my classmates, so I-"

"You don't know that!"

"Yes, I do, Martin."

"But you don't know which businesses the rest of us chose!"

"I have my ways, Martin. May I continue now?"

"Please do, Dean. Martin... another interruption and I'll have you cleaning my office for the rest of the semester."

"Thank you, Mr. Tucker. As I was saying, I made the daring choice to develop a campaign for the local Salvation Army store."

"That's not a business, that's a charity!"

"Really, Alex? You still believe that, after all that Mr. Tucker has taught us? Everyone is out to make money. Everyone."

"Indeed. So what's your campaign?"

"I'm so glad you asked, Mr. Tucker. I printed out a promotional brochure, complete with promises of eternal damnation for those who do not support the Salvation Army, and blitzed the entire city with them."

"Excellent work, Dean. And how did you get the Salvation Army to get on board with your idea?"

"Oh, I'm sure they'll come around to it once they see how effective it is."

"You mean to say you didn't t-"

"Talk to them first? What a waste of time that would've been! No, I decided to take the bold step of combining the implementation of my campaign with the argument to get them to back it. Great stuff, right Mr. Tucker?"

"Potentially. But, just to be on the safe side, I think I'll have you removed from the class list until this one blows over."

Tuesday July 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: brevity.

This morning I picked 18 pints of blackberries for local orders, which was not even close to finishing what was out there. So I told Kat's mom to have at the rest so she can make some jam and maybe freeze some as well.

It's always nice when it works out that we have extra berries on Tuesdays, as I definitely appreciate her jam once the fresh berries are gone. And we never have extra on Fridays, seeing as we almost always sell out of what we bring to the market so we take everything we can.

Shifting back to bakery mode tomorrow morning.


It is said to be
the soul of wit, so perhaps
you should stop talking

*     *     *

Allow me to be
brief, if you would be so kind.
I'm not good at brev-

Monday July 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about someone who has: a bad reputation.

Surprisingly not inspired by the song. References to and inspiration from it still welcome though.

Had a more cooperative day with Max, but he was still more of a pain than usual. I suspect he's not getting enough sleep, which is not helped by the battle royale he puts up at bedtime every single night.

You guys won't turn me in if I start using a tranquilizer gun on him, right? Okay good.

This morning ended up being one for family haircuts, as everyone but Miles got trimmed up. I was hoping to work on the screen door either this afternoon or evening but the wind picked up something fierce not long after lunch and then the rains came. So... guess that will have to wait (yet again) for another day.



I walk into the corner store and the kid behind the counter looks at me like he just pissed himself. As I head for the fridge at the back I make a mental note to keep my distance when I make my way to the till.

They're out of the pop I want so I settle for my second choice. And by settle I mean I punch the glass hard enough to crack it, swear loud enough to set off a car alarm in the back alley, and knock over half a dozen bottles as I grab the one I'm taking.

There's nobody at the register when I get there but I'm sure I could find that kid if I follow the smell. I toss a twenty on the counter instead and go back outside. The sidewalk is busy but people make room for me. They should call me Moses.

Nah, I'd rather nobody called me anything at all.

I pick a direction and start walking. There's nowhere I need to be until dark and I'm a long ways from that. Might as well show my face around the hood. Remind folks I'm still here.

I'm sipping my pop, the bottle cap crushed into a ball in my right hand, when a police car comes to a stop next to me. I give the cops a look. They assure me they're here for somebody else before they bother to open their doors. I shrug and keep walking. That ain't none of my business.

At least, it better not be.

Sunday July 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: getting carried away.

Max had a fantastically cranky day today. Just... remarkably uncooperative. I don't think he did anything we asked him to do without us having to ask at least three times.

So. Much. Fun.

This afternoon I took him into town with me to pick up some things we needed in order to construct a screen door to go on the entrance between our kitchen and our deck. We've only been wanting one of those since the spring after we moved in. Just over five years ago.

Anyway, work finally began after dinner up at Kat's parents garage. Kat's dad, Max, and I got the frame cut out and pieced together and attached the screen. Now we just have to install it, which will hopefully happen sometime tomorrow.

And then, at long last, we can enjoy the cool air coming off the deck without being invaded by flies.


"Are you all done cleaning up your toys, sweetums?"

"Yes, Mommy!"

"All set for your bedtime snack then?"

"Yes, Mommy!"

"What would you like in your yogurt tonight? Blackberries or nectarines?"

"Yes, Mommy!"

"Hah, I should have known. All right, coming right up."

"Thank you, Mommy!"

"Here you... hey. Where's your little brother?"

"All cleaned up and put away, Mommy!"

Saturday July 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: heavy rainfall.

Eleven years ago today Kat and I went on our very first date. We celebrated the occasion by going to the farmers market together. Because, you know, farmers.

We sold out of blackberries and mint plants, all but three of the peaches, and all but five pounds of the nectarines. I also sold eight of my greeting cards. Considering it rained for most of the drive there and absolutely poured rain for a portion of the drive home, I'd say we were supremely lucky to only have a brief drizzle while the market was running.

I also got a very nice surprise, as I received a visit from someone who follows this blog. Yolanda (please forgive me if I got that wrong, it's been a long day) said she hasn't been following as closely recently (it's funny the things that having a young child can do to your free time...) but it was still a treat to chat with her.

So thanks for stopping by to introduce yourself and I hope you're able to find time to drop us a comment and share some of your writing with us again soon!


Windshield wipers on high,
Still could barely see a thing;
Probably should have stopped,
Got lucky and didn't take wing

Friday July 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: never-ending.

Picked 25 pints of blackberries today, with some help from Kat and a little help from Max too. Miles helped by sleeping in his carrier for most of the time Kat was picking. It was a family effort.

Also bringing 12 crates of nectarines and 2.5 crates of peaches to the market tomorrow. Kat and Miles will be coming up with me in the truck (his first truck ride!) and Max will be coming up a bit later with Kat's Dad. Should be fun. Hopefully the rain holds off for us.

It feels like it's been a while since I've been there. Only three weeks, but it seems like a lot longer. Looking forward to being back there at any rate.


I can see it coming from miles away. The sound of its approach is familiar, almost comforting in its regularity. It is, quite simply, the never-ending lie.

"I'll get to that tomorrow."

Thursday July 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: nefarious.

Bakery had its usual busy opening this morning, but then things slowed down more than usual. I was able to leave at 11:30, which I didn't mind at all, what with having to work my second job starting at 4.

Well, third job, if you count me bringing apricots to the bakery this morning as farming work. Which, technically, I suppose it was.

Community centre was quiet for most of the evening, with my only fun involving having to kick twenty teenagers out of the gym and having it take so long that I ended leaving work about twenty minutes late.

Easily the least favorite part out of all my jobs right now.


"How much longer do we have to hide here?"

"Until we catch Mr. Simmons doing something knee fairy us. So it shouldn't take too long at all."

"But we've already been watching him for, like, twenty minutes."

"That just means we won't have to wait much longer. There's no way he can go more than half an hour without doing something that is pure evil. You'll see."

"Are you totally sure he's evil?"

"Billy, please. You were there. You took the geometry quiz he made us all do. This man is a monster..."

"Yeah, but..."

"... and he needs to be stopped!"

Wednesday July 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the suggestion box.

There were about a dozen people lined up at the door of the bakery at opening this morning. Things were pretty steadily hectic for the first hour or so and then settled down for the remainder of my time there. Actually was able to leave at noon, instead of working until one like I did last week.

Hoping for more of the same tomorrow, as I've oh so wisely accepted an evening shift at the community centre on top of my bakery duties. So I'll likely be doing 8 to 12 at the bakery and then 4 to 8 at the community centre.

I'm sure that will end up being a good idea. Maybe I can tell Max I'm working on the moon as well, just to make sure he thinks that I work everywhere.


Needs more salt.

"What does?"

"Everything, probably. Bloody peasants."

"Trash it. Next."

Waitresses should put their phone numbers on the bill.

"Is that written in spilled cologne? Trash it."

Portion sizes need to be bigger. Especially dessert. Especially the cheesecake.

"I can smell the obesity from here. Trash it."

The music is too loud.

"Tell Granny to take out her hearing aid. Toss it. Next?"

The music is too quiet.

"Of course. Bin it."

Waitresses should address customers with more compliments. Like 'Good evening hot stuff', or 'Has anyone ever told you that you look like Brad Pitt?', or 'Hubba hubba, lucky me!', or 'Would y-"

"Good. God. This is the worst idea ever."

"Shall I take the suggestion box outside and drop a match in it?"

"That's the best idea I've heard all day."

Tuesday July 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: destiny.

We got all the blackberries and peaches and apricots we needed for local orders today. Always a satisfying feeling, and there were even a few extra blackberries so that we could have some for ourselves and bring a couple pints to the hairdresser to put a down payment on haircuts (which are scheduled for next Monday).

Back to the bakery tomorrow morning. Not looking forward to the rush, but at least feeling somewhat mentally prepared for it.


This is meant to be.
Can't you see? No? What if I
take off your blindfold?

*     *     *

An unseen hand has
brought us right here, right now... I'd
rather it hadn't.

Monday July 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Let us return to the House of Mercy.

Took some time this morning to weed out our carrot row in the garden. While I was out there I discovered the first ripe cherry tomatoes of the season - Max was suitably impressed when I brought home six of them.

This afternoon we took a family trip to the beach. The sun hid behind clouds for most of it but that didn't stop Max from wanting to be in the lake. I got the honor of going in with him and... I think I'm finally warmed up again now.


Julie stood in the doorway between the bathroom and her room, still as a statue, and tried to think clearly. Doing so had definitely become easier in recent days, but the forgotten keys dangling from the lock on the door leading to the hallway had thrown her mind into chaos.

Apparently, she reminded herself again. Apparently forgotten.

Was this a test of some sort, she wondered, or an honest mistake? Babs had left in quite the hurry after Julie suggested that Babs looked like a chocolate sundae with two cherries on top.

Well, technically, she didn't leave until after she'd licked her lips and declared chocolate sundaes with cherries on top to be her very favorite childhood food.

Maybe Babs had been so flustered that she'd left the keys in the door. But how far could she get, really, before she realized her mistake? There were at least half a dozen other keys on the ring; were they just to other rooms, or to her office, or... to the outside?

Julie crossed the room slowly, shuffling her feet across the cool tile floor. How much time did she have? Had her hesitation already cost her the opportunity to escape? Would she ever get another one? Was it worth it, right now, to take the chance anyway?

So many questions. It was making her head hurt. She returned to her bed and sat down heavily, her toes brushing the floor as her legs swung side to side. She hadn't always had this much trouble making decisions. She could remember being very decisive before... Doug.

She grew still then. She hadn't thought of her ex-boyfriend since shortly after she'd arrived at House of Mercy. Had Anne told him she was here? Probably not. By the end she'd hated that smug bastard almost as much as Julie had. He would have just laughed if she had, maybe said something about how he knew all along that Julie was nuts.

"But I'm not nuts," Julie muttered as her eyes returned to the silver temptation of the keys. "I don't belong here. I need to leave. Now."

She stood up, unaware that her hands had balled into fists. But then, just as she was about to take her first step toward freedom, the door handle jiggled. Without a second thought Julie collapsed back onto the bed and commenced humming as she stared at the ceiling.

"Sorry to bother you again, dear," Babs told her as she entered the room and managed to make the keys disappear silently, as though they had never been there. "Cecilie has to come to visit us and would like very much to meet you."

Sunday July 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the book club.

Kat hosted this month's meeting of her book club tonight. Max was terribly excited about it, especially once he found out she would be making peach and blackberry crisp to serve at the get together.

He also wanted to read one of his books at the meeting but that didn't come to pass. He was quite disappointed.

Need to get back to the House of Mercy. How does tomorrow sound? Good? All right, it's a date.


"So... what was everyone's favorite part of the book?"

"I liked the bit with the dogs. I thought it was very sweet and reminded me of my childhood - my family always had a dog when I was growing up."

"You know the scene where the two main characters met for the first time? I don't think I could ever forget that. So romantic. So tender. Just the way Evan and I met."

"It's hard to pick one single thing out, you know? But I guess, if I had to choose just one, I'd go with the ending. It just wrapped things up so beautifully. I was sad to have to put it down for the final time, but what a perfect way to end the story."

"I loved the part with the pirates. But, as we all know, I have a soft spot for pirates. Ever since that one night stand on Halloween with that guy... what was his name again? Pete? Tom? Alex? Something like that."

"All right then. I guess I'll just crack open another bottle of wine seeing as, yet again, I'm the only one who actually read the book this month."

Saturday July 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the alarm.

And, because mine was inspired by what happened at work this morning, you get a bonus two lines from me. Hurray?

Long story shortened: I forgot that the weight room has a separate alarm, with a different code than the rest of the building. Two customers walked in right after I unlocked the door to get to the weight room and opened the weight room door and the alarm went off.

And I didn't have the alarm code on me, nor could I remember what it was since I hadn't had a shift at the community center in a while. It was back at the front desk with all my notes. And I wasn't sure how long I had to enter the right code before the security company showed up.

Wheee. Fun start to the morning.

The rest of the day was fine, thankfully. Other than having to turn off the lights in the gym at 4:55 to get the basketball players to leave (they were supposed to be out of there by 4:45).

Yay, fun with working with the public.


Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.
Run, run, run, run, run, run.
Find the code, find the code.
Run, run, run, run, run, run.

*Beep* *Beep* *Beep* *Beep*
Thank God that's done...

Friday July 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: broken promises.

We only managed to get 12 pints of blackberries this morning. I guess the weather has not been to their liking recently. Oh well, it was a good day for them to ease off the gas pedal. As long as they find it again before next weekend.

Had to swing by the community centre to pick up a set of keys this afternoon, as I'll be working by myself tomorrow. I've never had to do an opening there, just closing, so I guess we'll see how that goes.


He meant to keep his word, truly he did. Only the best of intentions paved this road. But then vision was obscured by smoke and fire, and thoughts were distracted by the sight of pitchforks and demons.

And, well, maybe this time he'll remember to pick up the kids after school...

Thursday July 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the police officer.

Lineup at the door of the bakery this morning. 45 minutes of madness followed. By the end of it we were sold out of cinnamon buns (all 80 that were made this morning) and most of everything else, really. We ended up closing up around noon because there were only a few slices of carrot cake left as far as baked goods went.

I'm so glad I don't work Saturdays, which is easily the busiest day of the week there.

Max and I took a drive to Cawston this afternoon to visit the chicken farm of a fellow farmers market vendor. We stocked up on whole frozen chickens and picked up 4 dozen eggs as well. Before we hit the road for home Corey let us check out the chickens, which Max got a real kick out of.

Even with skipping the market this weekend there are blackberries to be picked, so I'll be doing that tomorrow morning. We'll see how many I get and then figure out where they're going (I suspect that at least some will be eaten fresh and frozen and made into jam).


He protects his community
As best he can,
Even though all the kids just
Call him The Man -
Just an authority figure,
Never their friend.
A sometimes useful tool,
A means to an end.

He's never drawn his weapon
And hopes he never does.
He keeps his cool when they
Call him Pig or The Fuzz.
He walks his beat in the heat
And in the cold;
He cannot be bought or bribed
With sex, drugs, or gold.

He's a good, true man
Who does his best,
One small part of a team
Who outshines the rest.
They know his face all
Around this town -
So please tell me why you
Want to shoot him down?

Wednesday July 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the malfunction.

Had a pretty long lineup at the door when I opened up at the bakery this morning. The shop was basically full up for the next 45 minutes or so, maybe longer (I didn't exactly have time to check the clock). Wasn't much left by the time the initial rush subsided.

Then the second rush arrived.

The bakery is a very popular place, I will say that. Deservedly so, too. Glad there were two of us up front for the whole morning.

In other job news, I got a call to work the 9 to 5 shift at the community center this Saturday so I'll be doing that. We were already discussing skipping the market (both because the forecast was calling for rain and because we don't have much to offer right now) and that phone call sealed things for me.

This afternoon I stopped by the library to pick up a book for Kat and grabbed a few books for Max while I was there. When he saw them he was very excited. And then he asked me if I worked at the library today.

I think I might have too many jobs.


"Is this working properly?"

"If you have to ask... probably not."

"That's... not a very reassuring answer."

"I'm not paid to reassure. I'm paid to fix things. I'm a repairman, that's what I'm trained to do."

"Well, you could do a little stretching beyond your very specific job description."

"Or I could just fix your busted junk."

"This is not junk!"

"Could have fooled me. Anyway, do you want me to fix it or not?"

"Well... I don't know if it's supposed to be doing this or not. I've lost the instruction manual, you see."

"... I'm pretty sure your electric toothbrush shouldn't be shooting out sparks like that."

"But what if it's a special model? Or a one of a kind edition? Wouldn't it be worth more as is?"

"Whatever, man. It's your mouth."

Tuesday July 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the middle of the night.

There were 16 pints of blackberries ordered for this afternoon's pickup and we actually managed to get them all. Becky and Adam only got 6 on Friday so I was expecting to end up around 12, but the bushes gave us a pleasant surprise this morning.

Bakery'ing it again tomorrow morning. I should get some sleep.


All is calm, all is...
bright? Hey, who forgot to turn
off the sun again?

*     *     *

The chaos of the
day is long gone, but still I
vibrate. Damned coffee.

Monday July 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the land of the forgotten.

This morning I weeded out our blackberry bushes (well, well past due) and harvested our garlic (only slightly past due). After that I was quite tired and ready for a nap.

But Natalie was coming over after lunch to play with Max, so instead I got caught up on comments on the blog a little bit while keeping an eye on them. I feel like I'm starting to get a bit of momentum with the blog for the first time in a while.

Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself.


I do not belong here. I am not one of these castoffs or rejects. This is a mistake. An oversight, that's all. I have not been forgotten.

I mean, look at these people. Simple and plain all around, head to toe. Unremarkable. Nothings and nobodies. Clearly, I am in the wrong place. How could anyone possibly think otherwise?

Someone is responsible for this. I fill find them and I will extract answers from them. I will demand that this be put right, and I will insist upon recompense. This, I promise you, will not be a cheap fix. They will pay, and pay dearly.

For I am...

Well, I mean, of course, my name is...

Heh. Please, excuse my poor memory. I... must have been out late last night, drinking and partying and doing things of that sort. You know, famous people stuff.

Anyway, allow me to remind you of who I am. My name is... uh... um...

A little help here?

Sunday July 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the factory.

We drove up to Penticton with the boys this morning to do some grocery shopping that I never have time or energy to do after the farmers market. On the way back we stopped in to visit a friend of Kat's and her new (six weeks old) baby girl.

Speaking of number of weeks old, Miles will be turning 12 this Tuesday morning. One more week and he'll be 3 months old. Not quite sure how that's possible.

The weather has cooled off, as we're now seeing highs in the upper twenties instead of mid thirties. I am a big fan of this change.


The noise of the machinery and clouds of pungent steam rising from the open vats made it very easy for me to move through the building without being spotted by security. A handful of workers noticed my presence but I wasn't worried about them. They either knew I was on their side or they had long stopped caring about sides.

I was headed for the manager's office, a wide room that could only be accessed by a long staircase at the south end of the factory. From there one had a perfect view over the workers - when they weren't obscured by the steam - and the only protection required was provided by a guard stationed at the top of the stairs.

I imagine they figured worst case scenario, should a revolt occur, he could empty his machine gun before retreating into the office and locking the door behind him. They probably had enough supplies in there to last weeks, if not months. The workers would simply die of starvation or dehydration and then they could emerge, have someone clean up the mess, and have them all replaced with fresh faces before the smell of their predecessors was completely gone.

Getting to the stairs was the easy part. The trouble would come in finding a way to get to the guard before he started shooting.

Nothing had come to me yet, but I still had a few minutes left before I'd have to cross that bridge. I was quite certain everything would work out fine in the end, once I figured something out.

Though, to be fair, that might have been the booze talking...

Saturday July 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: feeling left out.

I realized this morning that this was the first time the farm has gone to the market without me being there in about seven years. No wonder I was having trouble letting go of things.

From the sound of it things went fairly well, which I was pleased to hear. And, on my end of things, I quite enjoyed waking up after the market opened.

Max slept until almost 9, which nearly made up for him going to bed at 11:30 last night. He was definitely confused as to why both Mommy and Dada were awake and out of bed before him though.


All the other kids
Are having so much fun.
I would join in but...
They know what I have done.

Friday July 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the water fight.

They start and end the Canada Day parade here in Osoyoos with a water fight between the volunteer fire department and whoever wants to have a go at them (usually kids with squirt guns, with a few adults thrown in for good measure). Max was not impressed that he got a little bit wet on the first pass.

Thankfully there was a lot of good entertainment in between, as well as enough room behind us for us to escape before the water combatants returned. Here's Max with Natalie, waving their flags:

We watched the fireworks from Kat's brother's house tonight, all eight of us. Emersyn and Miles slept through it but Natalie and Max managed to stay up. Max really liked his first fireworks experience and I think he'll be talking about it for a while.

I'm taking a break from the market this weekend, as Adam and Becky are going up together tomorrow morning. They're going to be away a couple weekends from now, so I'll either be doing that one by myself or recruiting Kat's parents to help out.

Either way, this is going to totally screw with the days of the week in my head.


My heart was racing as I watched the enemy's approach. The bucket at my feet was overflowing with heavy, impatient water balloons. They were ready to fly but I needed to wait just a little longer.

It was shortly after that the first salvo was fired and the rest of my memories of that day have been washed away by the fury of the waterfall that followed.