Wednesday November 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Let's get back to the Random CD prompt, shall we?

Go ahead and pick a song as randomly as you like. Or maybe just use one that's been stuck in your head recently. However you do it, borrow your chosen song's first line and use it as your own (after credit goes where credit does). And then... take it from there.

The final day of November already, huh? December looms. The Christmas month. The final entry for House of Mercy. The last days of 2016.

Not sure if I'm ready for any of it, but that's not going to change anything. So I might as well just say: bring it on.

Mine:

Gypsy by Lady Gaga (yeah, I know. I actually wanted to use a different song but the opening line wasn't inspiring much of anything.)

Sometimes a story has no end.

If you're sitting there thinking to yourself, Oh yeah, I get what he means. I've seen The Neverending Story, then get out. The door is right over there. I don't have time for your fantasy nonsense.

Because, you see, what I'm talking about is real. There are tales that cannot be bound by life and death, space or time. They are too big. Too important.

I'm not talking about something with no beginning and no end. Of course it has a beginning. Everything does.

I do not know who started the tale. Or why. Or even when. But I do know one thing for certain.

This story will not, cannot end.

Tuesday November 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the setback.

Woke up this morning in a fair amount of discomfort - much worse than I'd felt yesterday. I was worried I'd pushed myself too hard, but I think I just slept in a bad position. Feeling much better now, plus I got a prompt out of it.

Kat had a counselling client this morning so the boys went up to her parents house, since I'm not supposed to be lifting Miles yet. Even though I am. But I'm trying to do it sparingly.

Anyway. I went into town and did a few errands and grabbed a coffee, then came home to rest. Tomorrow will mark one week since the procedure, so I'm hoping the end of the awkwardness and soreness is in sight.

Mine:

Things were going so...
Well, I guess not. If they were,
how'd I get back here?

*     *     *

Some days it feels like
someone plucks me up and sets
me half a mile back

Monday November 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something which takes place: under the bridge.

I am dangerously close to catching up on comments. Like, completely. Yeah, I know - hard to believe.

Amazing what forced recuperation time can do. Although I'm heading into dangerous territory now - whenever I rest for long enough I tend to forget that I'm still hurting. So far little tweaks have served as reminders, but I better be careful before I do something too strenuous without thinking about it.

Took Max to the park after lunch to get him some outside time, as well as give the house some quiet while Miles was napping. I brought him back home before soccer and let Kat and Miles go with him while I rested at home, which felt very different.

I was very pleased to hear that he did really well, and that he did most of it while Kat sat with Miles in the stands. He is willing to take steps toward independence, it's just that sometimes he needs a solid shove to get there.

Mine:

"How's business today?"

It was a joke as old as their blankets, but the two men still laughed.

"Oh, you know. Not bad, not bad. You?"

"Could be worse."

"No, it couldn't."

Same old jokes, same old laughs.

"Hey, you hear about Billy?"

"Billy? Which one?"

"The littlest one. You know, always looked like he was about to keel over if the wind blew too hard?"

"Right, right. What about 'im?"

"I guess that windstorm last night musta carried him away."

"Away where?"

"Away somewheres else. He's missing."

"Well, I hope he landed in greener pastures."

"Guess we'll never know."

"Not 'less that wind carries him back our way someday."

"What, you a poet now?"

"You know it. Come on, buy my book and I'll sign your copy for ya."

"Nah, I'm good for toilet paper for at least a few more days."

Different joke. Same old laughs.

Sunday November 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that takes place at: the nightclub.

Did not have the greatest day. Miles is still having a horrible time with teething (despite his first tooth finally breaking through his gum line... maybe ten more are on their way?) and Max did not have a good night's sleep last night, so he was generally cranky for the majority of it.

But now the boys are sleeping and the house is quiet, so Kat and I shall take the chance to recharge and refresh and get ready for another day full of who knows what tomorrow.

Mine:

"This place is appalling."

"Sir?"

"You heard me, Owen," Henri told his newest assistant Wendel. "Look around for yourself, why don't you? That bartender could be your mother, th-"

"I'm pretty sure that's a man."

"The waitresses must have put their makeup - and clothes, for that matter - on in the dark."

"I think you look lovely, ma'am," Wendel told the waitress who was delivering their drinks. She merely sneered at the both of them before whirling away.

"These drinks are... good God! Do they even know what a martini is?" Henri looked like he was going to toss his drink on the floor, then slid it across to his assistant instead. "Here, you can have mine as well Owen. I can't stand alcohol abuse."

"Abuse? Oh, you mean spilling it?" Wendel's face screwed up in confusion. "Was that a joke, sir?"

"And I'm afraid to even ask who they'll be dragging onto the stage for this evening's entertainment." Henri lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. "Appalling might be too kind a word, now that I've given it some thought."

"So, um... why did you choose to meet with your potential business partners here, sir?"

"I wanted to ensure that they thought as little of this place as I do. One word of praise for this hole in a landfill and the deal is history. Now drink up and look like you're enjoying yourself - they just walked in the door."

"But I already told you I'm allergic to gin!"

"Was that you? I thought that was Wendel. Anyway, drink up - I doubt there's any gin in that monstrous concoction anyway."

Saturday November 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the prisoner in the tower.

More rest this morning (and comment catching up!), and early this afternoon as well. Then, with Max off with Kat's parents, Kat, Miles, and I went into town to do some Christmas and grocery shopping. We made a good start on the holiday shopping - now we just need to sort out what's left to get for who.

Nothing on the calendar for tomorrow, but I'm hoping for a combination of rest and getting outdoors for some fresh air and not too strenuous exercise.

Mine:

They threw me up here
For stealing the crown (twice);
The food is awful,
But at least the view's nice...

Friday November 25th, 2016

The exercise:

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

Sat around doing not much this morning. By mid-afternoon I was feeling ready to get out of the house, so I took Max to the park - after making sure he understood I couldn't do much with him (especially pick him up or climb up on the equipment).

It ended up working out nicely, as one of the boys he knows fairly well arrived with his family not long after we got there. They played together great, so I was mostly able to stand around and watch.

It was really nice to get out and do something, even if it tired me out more than I care to admit. Hopefully another night of rest will allow me to do more tomorrow.

Mine:

It is growing, in width, in length, in strength. Safely out of sight, it gathers its resources and prepares for its coming delightfully dreadful emergence. Oh, how eager I am to see the looks of surprise, shock... astonishment on their faces when it reveals itself at last!

But not yet... for patience - yes, so very much patience - is required, as my creation is not yet ready to unleash its cruel beauty upon my enemies.

Thursday November 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the prescription.

Inspired by my prescription for T3 that I'm not bothering to get filled (they made me quite nauseous the last time I took them... also: not in that much pain at the moment... knock on wood).

Was getting pretty restless by late afternoon. Hoping to be able to move around a little more tomorrow.

Lest I goes the crazies.

Mine:

"I'm sorry, you've got a prescription for what?"

"Two weeks bed rest."

"Really?"

"And daily foot rubs."

"Seriously?"

"And control over the remote, between dinner and bedtime."

"All that for stubbing your toe."

"Hey, I did hit it pretty hard. Like, really hard."

"And you got this from a doctor."

"... of sorts."

Wednesday November 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write some: notes from a sickbed.

Okay, it's not quite that bad. But I am going to be less mobile for at least the next few days.

This afternoon I went up to Penticton with Kat (and Miles - Max stayed with Kat's parents to make life easier/better for everyone) to the hospital to have a vasectomy. I was in and out in under an hour, though I wouldn't have minded having more time to linger afterward. Full recovery is 7 to 14 days (I'm pulling for 7, personally), with the first couple of days requiring very little movement. So I'm more or less glued to the couch or bed until Friday.

Kat and I knew Miles would be our last (heck, Max was a close call for a while there... but we finally agreed that we wanted him to have a sibling) and this is how we're making sure that's the case. And after Kat gave birth to our boys I figured I should take a turn on the pain train.

Feeling okay at the moment. Tylenol and ice packs are doing the trick so far. Hoping for a decent night's sleep tonight, but we shall see.

Anyway. Apologies in advance if I'm extra grumpy the rest of the week.

Mine:

* My life is passing me by fifteen minutes at a time. Ice pack on. Ice pack off. Ice pack on. Ice pack off. Ice pack on. Ice pack... is going to be used as a murder weapon at this rate.

* The nurse seems nice. Caring and understanding. That's important. I think she's not going to file charges. Ice pack off...

* My doctor is supposed to stop by to see how I'm doing. That's what they keep telling me anyway. Started telling that tale about an hour ago. I wonder if he can feel my rage through the walls. Might explain his reluctance. Ice pack on...

* On a scale of one to ten? I'd say my pain is around a twelve. How would you rate yours, doc? Ice pack off...

* I don't appreciate these handcuffs. Nor the officer stationed at my door. The staff is being very unreasonable all of a sudden. I'm pretty sure my doctor will make a full recovery. Not sure if I can say the same for myself, you know? Ice pack on...

* Oh, glory be. The routine has changed. Variety, spice of life and all that! Bag of cold water on. Bag of cold water off. Bag of cold water on. Bag of cold water off. Bag of...

* I don't think the pain medication is working. Or maybe it's working too well? Hard to say. I kinda like all of these pretty colors though. Might as well take another pill, see what happens. I'm not getting out of here anytime soon anyway...

Tuesday November 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: winter.

Spent the morning doing some more moving-in work for our friends up on the mountain. They're getting there, definitely, but there's still lots left to do. They'd have less to do if the previous owner's tastes in decor were a little less... pink... and 70's inspired.

As is, I did some work this morning to help them prepare to repaint their bedroom. Also rearranged some furniture and did some outside stuff to help get them ready for winter.

Big day coming up tomorrow, so I'm going to try to get some extra sleep tonight.

Mine:

Winter is coming.
He's almost here - can't you feel
his breath on your neck?

*     *     *

Autumn's glory fades
to gray and decay, until
white blankets us all

Monday November 21st, 2016

The exercise:

We return today to the first line prompt. That means we all get the same opening line, but then each of us takes it where our individual inspirations tell us to go. I'll get to the line in a minute.

This morning I finally got around to sowing our winter cover crop seed in the garden. So that, I think, means we're officially done with the farm until spring. Unless I'm forgetting something. Which I probably am.

Max and I were back at soccer class this afternoon (Kat and Miles stayed home so that he could nap... which he didn't). He had lots of fun and was even more excited to see that they're starting to put up Christmas decorations at the community centre.

So of course we ended up putting a few things up around our house after we got home.

Anyway. Let's get to the writing thing. Our opening shall be: Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads.

Mine:

Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so - a lingering indulgence that she would not be able to justify (or afford) for much longer. At least, not if her job search continued to prove futile.

And at first it seemed like nothing would change that day. There were the usual assortment of ads for tech workers and fast typing receptionists (both categories stretching well beyond her current capabilities), along with the various minimum wage jobs that would never be enough to pay her bills: fast food counter person (could you imagine?), lawn maintenance (At her age? They'd die of laughter the moment she walked through the door!), gas station attendant (she didn't even like pumping her own gas), and farm workers (her knees no longer allowed her to work the garden in the back yard - the idea of weeding somebody else's veggies was almost enough to make her nauseous).

It was depressing, is what it was.

But then an ad caught her eye.

Wanted: One Henchman
You: Not squeamish. Discreet. Willing to do
whatever is required in order to get the job done.
Previous Henchman experience an asset.
Us: Well funded. Access to delicate information.
How to apply: Figure it out and the job is
practically yours already.

Well, Muriel thought as she set the paper aside. It had been a long time... but for the sake of a decent paycheck, she could see herself dusting off those old skills.

Sunday November 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the funeral parlor.

Moderately productive day. Could've been better, could've been worse on that front.

Did have a chilly but enjoyable walk with the family this morning. Need to force ourselves out of the house as much as possible this time of year, especially for Max's sake. He just goes stir crazy if we don't get out often enough.

Miles is scheduled for his next round of vaccinations tomorrow morning but he's been going through such hell the last few days with teething issues that we'll likely put the shots off until another day.

That first tooth has got to bust through eventually, right?

Mine:

A death in the family got you down?

Walking all around town with a big, gloomy frown?

Let us cheer you up with a funeral service full of hilarious clowns!

With dazzling displays of dexterity and high flying hijinks, the only tears at the side of the coffin will come from excessive laughter! All of our bouquets feature refillable water vials for endless squirting mischief! How many of our jokesters can we fit into your casket? There's only one way to find out!

Come down with a serious case of the frowns? Then it's time to send in the clowns!

Leave the planning for your dearly departed's party to Ringling Funeral Parlor! We put the 'fun' back into funeral!

P.S. Balloon animals can be provided at an additional cost.

Saturday November 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the errand boy.

Trip to Penticton went surprisingly smoothly today. Got everything done that we needed to get done, with no major fussing from either of the boys.

I'll take that every time.

Tomorrow's looking pretty wide open, so I'm hoping to find time to be at least a little bit productive. We'll see how the boys feel about that.

Mine:

Errand Boy Number One is busy,
So send Number Two to me.
What? Really? Right between the eyes?
Well then, you better send me Three...

Friday November 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place at: the laundromat.

Work went pretty smoothly. Place pretty much emptied out at 8:30, so I just had to deal with a door that didn't want to lock and one guy in the weight room who just couldn't seem to stop working out.

It all got sorted out in the end. Gonna try to get some sleep tonight before taking the family up to Penticton tomorrow to run some errands.

Mine:

Fascinating places, laundromats. A public place where people willingly bring their smelly, filthy clothes, for all to see, in order to clean them, while being surrounded by others doing exactly the same. What an odd brotherhood of squalor and mystery stains which, as if by an unspoken rule, go unquestioned.

I would shun these places of business quite entirely if I wasn't so regularly in need of affordable wardrobe changes... oh hello, this fellow looks about my size!

Thursday November 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the black market.

Max and I finally got around to putting a proper covering of sawdust on our garlic planting this afternoon. Now they should be nice and protected from the winter cold - and maybe even have some help with keeping the weeds down in the spring.

Got a call today asking if I could extend my 4 to 9 shift at the community centre tomorrow night up to 12 to 9. Always nice to get some extra hours. Hopefully all goes well there.

But, really, I'll be happy as long as I don't have to kick anybody out at the end of the night.

Mine:

Something you need? I know a guy. Match his price and it's yours.

Easy, right?

Got something you need taken off your hands? Name your number, I'll find a buyer.

This ain't complicated.

At least, it doesn't have to be. So don't go making it too, how shall I say... intricate. Delicate. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward. Don't clog up the channels. Goods come in, goods go out. Flow like a river, baby.

The cops don't need to get involved here. Ain't nobody getting hurt. Just a group of like-minded individuals getting what they want. No harm, no foul, right?

So why you gotta make my life difficult? Why you gotta mess things up for everybody? You think you're something special, is that it? That our rules don't apply to you? You've got a thing or two to learn, my friend. Hard lessons, without question.

Lucky for you, we got some real good teachers 'round here.

Wednesday November 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the manager.

With the bakery closed this week, I was available to take Max and Miles to music class this morning. Haven't done that in a long time and I quite enjoyed it. Max danced and laughed a lot and... so did Miles, actually. It's just that I was holding and whirling around with him while Max could bust a move on his own.

I bought a beard trimmer this afternoon. Trying to pretend that doesn't signify me entirely giving up on shaving.

I guess we shall see about that.

Mine:

"Hey dude, how's it hanging?"

"Dude...? I would appreciate it if you called me sir."

"Hah, good one dude. Anyway, I need tomorrow off."

"Tom...? But you just started yesterday."

"Yeah, I know, right? Oh and thanks again for hiring me, dude. Means a lot, you know?"

"You can't have tomorrow off. I have nobody available to cover your shift."

"I'm sure you'll figure something out, dude. Appreciate it."

"If you don't show up for work tomorrow, don't bother ever coming back."

"What? Why not?"

"Because you'll be fired?"

"Hah, good one dude. See you in a couple days."

"What? No! Get back... not again."

Tuesday November 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: confections.

Morning with the boys went well. Afternoon was not as productive as I would have liked.

Try again tomorrow.

Mine:

I only got one
box - what's the harm? Come help me
carry it, won't you?

*     *     *

What kind did I get?
Well, if it had chocolate
in it... I got it.

Monday November 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that occurs: once in a lifetime.

Kat wasn't feeling well this morning, so I took the boys to StrongStart. Haven't been there in a long time, but it was nice to see a few friends there and the boys seemed to enjoy themselves.

This afternoon Miles had a nice long nap, so that meant all four of us could go to soccer class. Max did well and I even managed to have some distance between us for most of it. Helped that there weren't as many kids as usual in attendance.

Kat's got another counselling client tomorrow morning, so I get the boys some more. Extra sleep would be a good idea, I reckon.

Mine:

This is your chance.
It may never
Come around again,
So don't blow it.
Don't blow it.

Seize the moment,
Live life today!
No regrets, no doubts,
No pressure, man.
No pressure.

Be nimble, Jack,
Gotta be quick.
Capture this moment,
Before it's too late...
Ah, too late.

It's gone.

Sunday November 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the road map.

Spent the day hanging out with Kat, Max, and Miles. It was pretty grey and wintry outdoors, so we didn't venture very far. For the most part it was good, but we did make a run into town mid-afternoon just to get out of the house.

Not much currently on the schedule for tomorrow. We shall see what comes along to pass the time.

Mine:

Its edges are worn and frayed, the lines zigzagging across its surface are faded to the brink of illegibility - and beyond in many places. There are stains - coffee and sweat and dirt of course, but blood as well. This map... this map has seen things.

We protect it, keep it safe. Treat it like food or water, for it is just as precious. We would be lost without it. And not only in regards to direction.

Hope would vanish like dust in the wind.

What little remains to us now, at any rate.

The landscape is changed, certainly. Broken and shattered at nearly every turn. Bridges collapsed, roads washed away, tunnels made impassable with rocks or debris. But the map is still useful. It gives us a framework, a foundation. A destination.

We all agree that it is, in the end, better than having nothing.

For we have plenty enough of that already...

Saturday November 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: stocking up.

Things were busy at the bakery first thing (I ended up staying an extra half hour) as people were coming in to stock up a little bit to cover next week's closure. The bread freezes beautifully so it's a solid plan and, honestly, once you've tasted this stuff it's danged hard to go back to eating grocery story bread - even if it's only for a week.

Miles hit seven months today. Don't ask me how, but apparently that's correct.

Mine:

Pile them boxes high,
The apocalypse is nigh!
Now it's just you and me
And... hey, where's the key?

Friday November 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: memories of war.

Screw you, sleep - I'm getting this done early tonight.

I've got a two hour, help with the opening rush, shift at the bakery tomorrow morning and then the rest of my day will be taken up with chores around the house and yard, I suspect. But hey, maybe it'll rain enough that I won't be able to do yard stuff?

One can hope, I suppose...

Mine:

I was never daring, dashing, courageous, nor bold. I just did exactly as I was told.

Now you want to give me a medal, throw a parade, start up the band! All because I was foolish enough to lose a hand in a foreign land...

Thursday November 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the rotation.

Spent the morning trying to get over the last of my migraine. Spent the afternoon helping our friends up on the mountain continue to get settled into their new place. Did a lot of chopping of wood, which was not bad considering how beautiful a day it was.

I am very tired now though.

Kat has a counselling client tomorrow morning, so that means I've got the boys. I should probably get some sleep.

Edit: argh, not again. Apologies.

Mine:

"You almost got it, dude. Come on, give it one more try."

"Nah, bro. I'm done. I can't do this."

"Dude! That's no way to talk in front of the ladies!"

"Bro, this is impossible. Look at me. This body is not meant for this crap, okay?"

"Nuh uh, dude. You got this. Just, like, take your time. Give 'er as much of a windup as you need to get enough speed. I totally promise it'll work this time."

"... fine, bro. But if I don't pull off all the rotations on the triple Axel this time, I'm throwing these figure skates in the trash and going home."

Wednesday November 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Our second to last visit to the House of Mercy has arrived. Let us see how things set up for the finale next month.

Worked my last Wednesday shift for a while at the bakery this morning. They'll be closed next week for a little break, and then when they reopen I'll be doing Saturdays (more or less).

It was slow, but I didn't mind too much. I got hit with my first migraine in a long time last night and I was still feeling the aftereffects this morning. Still am right now, actually. But hopefully some sleep will take care of that.

Not sure what else there is to say about the US election results. Other than, perhaps: buckle up.

It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Mine:

"We need to get out of here," Julie said. "I want to go home."

"We can't," Anne said with a slow shake of her head. "Not yet."

"What?" Julie wiped the last of the fire extinguisher foam from her eyes and stood up. "What do you mean, not yet? Are we waiting for an invitation? Maybe a pretty little card, with a nice apology handwritten inside? Or a-"

"Cecilie." The name stopped Julie in her tracks. "We can't just leave her... or it... or whatever... here. We have to kill... let's go with it, okay?"

"Why us? Why can't we let somebody else have that honor?" Julie was beginning to feel the exhaustion of the past months settle on her shoulders. She wanted to sit down. Have a nap. Maybe get a foot rub or...

"Julie!" Anne shouted, snapping her fingers in front of her face. "Come on, stay with me. Don't let Cecilie take you away again."

"She's not taking me anywhere," Julie muttered, but even she could hear how uncertain she sounded. "So what are you saying? That we have to do it if we want to make sure we're rid of her... it forever?"

"That... and who else would do it?" Anne mimed picking up a phone. "Hello, police? Yes, please send a unit over to the House of Mercy. There's a vampire locked in the basement that needs to be properly disposed of."

"Okay... but how?"

"You've read vampire books, right? Seen a movie or two?" Anne flipped over a wooden stool by Bradley's desk and smashed its legs off. She gathered them up and handed Julie a pair. "Here, have some wooden stakes."

"This," Julie whispered as she stared at the weapons she held in each hand, "is insane."

"Careful now," Anne said as she headed for the hallway. "Talk like that might just get you committed in a place like this."

Tuesday November 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: at a loss for words.

America? America. What in the fuck, America?

Feeling too depressed and sickened to say much more than that right now.

Mine:

Really? This is who
you've chosen? Is this some kind
of practical joke?

*     *     *

Understanding does
not live here. Logic has moved
out. Reason is gone.

Monday November 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the supreme ruler.

Had a pretty enjoyable birthday day for Max. Opened some presents in the morning, a couple more in the afternoon, and the remainder at his birthday dinner at Kat's parents house.

Oh, and the cake was delicious too:


What I initially considered the definite highlight came fairly early. Early enough for it to be topped later on, apparently.

Mine:

Kat and I gave Max a globe for his 4th birthday, one that has a 'plane' attached which can be controlled with a joystick. It's got some fairly advanced features that are a bit beyond him at this point, but he's finding it interesting enough to just 'fly' the plane around the world, occasionally clicking on various points of interest. He'll grow into the games and other features soon enough, I'm sure.

Anyway. My sister Sue called not long after he'd opened it and during their chat the following exchange took place:

"You know what Mommy and Dada gave me for a present?"

"What did they give you?"

"The whole Earth!"

I pretty much lost it instantly. I was certain it couldn't be outdone by anything else that could happen today.

So then I stopped by Kat's parents house this afternoon to drop off dinner food before running to the bakery to pick up his cake. Max was there, along with Natalie, and they were playing with his new toy (because of course he brought it with him when he went up earlier). When Max saw me he had this to say:

"Dada, look! My toy! Natalie and I are controlling the Earth!"

This kid, you guys. Anyway, here's a less than perfect picture of him and his new toy, while he was giving Miles a turn to play with it:


Happy birthday, you funny little man.

Sunday November 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the knock.

Probably should have brought us back to the House of Mercy today. Will aim for... I'm going to say Wednesday, what with tomorrow being Max's birthday.

It was a picture perfect fall day here. Clear skies, no wind, autumn colors all around. It was nice to take an afternoon stroll through the orchard.

Right up until the sun ducked behind the mountains.

At which point winter reminded us that he's just around the corner.

Mine:

The knock at the door is unwanted, but not unexpected. I remain motionless in the darkness of the living room and consider my options.

They are... unfortunately limited.

I could run. Find some other hole to hide myself in. Hope that they don't find me again. But live in constant fear of being found.

Hard to get a good night's sleep, living like that.

The knock comes again, more urgent this time.

I could fight. There are some fantastically dangerous looking knives in the kitchen. The curtain rod would make a lovely quarterstaff - I've always wanted to go Little John on somebody. Maybe there's even a gun hidden somewhere.

That's boring, basic, fight or flight stuff though. I need something a little more interesting than that. Something like... trickery.

Yes, I think trickery will do the job just fine.

Excuse me, won't you? There's someone knocking at the door and I need to go see who it is.

And to see who I will be when I open it to greet them.

Saturday November 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: craftsmanship.

Bakery was pretty good today. Ended up with 13 loaves and 11 cinnamon buns to put in the freezer at closing, which isn't too bad for this time of year. Got out of there at a reasonable time as well, which was a bonus.

Also: Shannon was making Max's birthday cake before she left for the day around noon. He is going to love it. Will share pictures on his actual birthday. Which, somehow, is happening on Monday.

Feel like I'm fighting something off, as I haven't been feeling all that well since I got home. Not surprising, considering how hard I've been going lately.

Should probably get to bed at a reasonable time.

Mine:

Her goal is perfection,
The pursuit is unending.
We say it can't be done,
But her will is unbending.

Friday November 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the moving company.

Had a successful trip to Penticton this morning. Got back just in time to spend the afternoon helping a friend's mom and dad move into their place just around the corner from us.

I think am in danger of becoming a professional mover.

Anyway, I am tired and sore and I've got a long day at the bakery ahead of me tomorrow. So I'll just get on with the writing, if you don't mind too much.


Mine:

The boxes are perfectly packed, not an item unaccounted for, nor a fragile heirloom so much as scratched. We are exactly on schedule, as promised. Our clients will be supremely pleased with our work, of that I am utterly certain.

Now... if we could only remember where we parked the truck...

Thursday November 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: going out on a limb.

Bakery was a bit quieter this morning, but it still felt like my shift went by pretty quickly. I've got the day off tomorrow to run errands in Oliver and Penticton, then I'm doing a full 8 to 4 shift on Saturday.

This afternoon we went over to a friend's house (Shannon, my boss at the bakery) for Max to have a play date with her son and another woman (who is new to town) and her son. We've been over there a few times before (and they've come to our place as well). Today went really well. As we were leaving Shannon asked Max if he thought maybe next time his parents could just drop him off and he could stay and play without them.

And he was totally into the idea.

Another brave new world we're entering.

Mine:

I want to help you. I can see that you need it. But with every step toward you I can feel the ground beneath my feet beginning to give way. There is a black, bottomless chasm awaiting any misstep - I cannot see it but I can sense its presence.

Is it worth it? Are you worth it? I want to say yes.

I want to.

Maybe that's not for me to say. Maybe as the only person in a position to help you it is simply my responsibility to do so - regardless of your worthiness. Regardless of the danger I must put myself in.

That hardly seems fair to me. Others might say that this isn't about me, though. It's about you. The peril you've found yourself in. Your desperately precarious situation.

Well then, they should get out on this limb with me if they care about you so bloody much. See how they like the view from here.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Wednesday November 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the spiral.

Work went quickly this morning at the bakery, with just enough customers to keep me feeling busy. Starting to see more of the winter crowd now, which is good.

This afternoon the four of us went out to rake up some of the leaves in the front yard that have fallen from the walnut trees. Kat was raking with Miles on her back and I was working with Max. We got about half the yard done, hoping to get the rest done tomorrow afternoon.

Oh, before I forget, here's a picture of the view from where I was helping with the move:
 


And now... I need to get this posted on time. So I should get this writing stuff figured out.

Mine:

"Have you seen the latest sales forecasts for our department?"

"No, sorry. I've been trying to stay out of the gutter recently. New Year's resolution."

"Hilarious."

"It's either laugh or cry these days, man. I know which one I'd rather be doing."

"Yeah, but it doesn't matter, does it? With the numbers looking the way they're looking, we'll all be out of work soon enough. Won't matter then if you walk out the door laughing or leaving a river of tears behind you."

"A river of...? Good lord, man! Pull it together!"

"This company is spiraling out of control. Nobody else in our industry is even thinking about hiring. You want me to pull it together? Maybe you can tell me your secret. What's keeping you so bloody calm these days?"

"Me? Oh, that's easy enough. Here, I'll share the secret of my serenity with you."

"It's in your water bottle? What, staying hydrated is the... wait. Is this vodka?"

"Take a big swig, my friend. Everything will seem more manageable soon enough..."

Tuesday November 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the rise and fall.

Making a point of getting this published tonight, on time. Starting to feel like that 'days in a row' counter up top is a bit of a lie and I'd rather it not be.

Spent some time in town this morning with the boys while Kat was with a counselling client. Then spent another four hours up on the mountain helping with moving stuff in the afternoon. Lighter work this time, but still pretty tired out.

Back to the bakery the next couple mornings, then I've got an appointment in Penticton on Friday, a full day of work at the bakery on Saturday, and then we'll either be celebrating Max's birthday on Sunday or Monday (actual birthday).

Busy days ahead.

And behind, really.

Just... busy days.

Mine:

The sugar rush sends
him screaming skyward; now we
prepare for the crash

*     *     *

Trusted friends, who once
helped him rise to power, now
work to take his place