Of Fish & Feelings

It’s afternoon here on the prairies and we’re having a beautiful spring day. When I got up at 6 am this morning the sun was just starting to stretch out, sending its first glow across the horizon. How I appreciate these longer, warmer days!

The cats and I were out romping a bit ago — well, they were romping. I was tromping. I decided to take a walk down the road. In the yard it seems so warm, but once I was out of the shelter of the woods beside us and onto the gravel road, a wind from the SE robbed me of my deception. I had to come back to the house for a warmer jacket and scarf before going farther.

Bob asked me yesterday how I was feeling, mainly because I’ve been dealing with an infection in one salivary gland this week. I’m getting over that, so in one sense I’m feeling better, but I’ve been pondering his question, trying to come up with a description for my general health and state of mind.

I was thinking about the poor female salmon at spawning time, swimming against a strong current and making slow progress. As you probably know, they go back to their spawning grounds in the mountain streams to lay their eggs, which means they must swim upstream for hundreds of miles, leap waterfalls, navigate wild rapids, dodge rocks and debris en route. Unless they find a sheltered pool, the minute they stop to rest the river current will carry them back toward the ocean again.

That’s how I’m feeling lately. It doesn’t help that I’m dealing with an infection right now but I’m frustrated that I get so little accomplished. I wish I had more energy; I wish my mind was clearer and I could remember more; I wish I could make more progress in the stream of general homemaking. I’d like to accomplish so much; it feels like I have a thousand miles to go and in short bursts I gain a few yards, then I’m weary again. And I feel so fuzzy-brained at times!

My mind bounces over the many possible solutions. Would it help to give up sugar? Chocolate? Coffee? Reading? Blogging? All of the above? Forget everything else and spend hours outdoors getting exercise? (I have good intentions, just no hours!) Memorize and repeat the Prayer of Serenity?

Lacking any definite answers, I just keep swimming along, thankful for the short bursts of energy I do get. These past two weeks I’ve been cutting strips and piecing a blanket top — the Rail Fence pattern for those of you who know about quilt-making — which I plan to donate to our church ladies’ Sewing Circle. On Tuesday we went to the city and I sat in two doctor’s offices; from one doctor I got antibiotics for my infection. During this time my husband took the car for servicing and they discovered about two cups of bird seed in the air cleaner. Wretched mice! We keep our birdseed in the garage and they get into it.

On the Up-side, I am enjoying the arrival of spring, the songs of the earliest returning birds in our woods. On Monday I get a new number in my life: I’m leaving “three” behind and moving on to “four.” (Next year at this time I’ll be contemplating how to spend my very first pension cheque. 🙂 )

I haven’t posted anything here this week, but I did write several short stories for my Christine Composes blog. One of them you can read here: Buckwold House. I wrote this as my response to the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt and it raises the question of when an individual’s wishes are more important than civic progress.I find being limited to 100 words is a great exercise in what editors call “trimming the fat.”

I hope life is going well for all of you reading this. I wish you boundless energy and all kinds of time to do what you must and/or the things you enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog and for being interested in what I have to say. Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat, but I find writing about how I feel really does help me sort things out. And when I think of the recent tragic events in the news, I realize my woes are very minor ones.

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Raylene & Winnie Weather Florida

As part of my Friday Fictioneers tales I’ve been posting a story about two cousins from Moose Knee who take a tour of Florida. It’s supposed to be a great time of year to go, but their plans have been derailed by the weather. In case you’re interested, here are the links to the three segments I’ve posted so far:

1 Winnie’s Views
2 Better Weather on the Way
3 More Weather Woes

The Party Line

I’ve been inspired to write and post this humorous little poem this morning and today I also plan to Reblog a few other bloggers’ poems I’ve found enjoyable and/or inspiring.

 

Sounds of a Six-O-Phonecrank-telephone

Grandma cranks and cranks
the old wall phone,
rouses Central to connect her
with her sister Margaret,
eager to share the news:
her daughter-in-law just gave birth
upstairs — in double quick time —
to a healthy baby. Number nine.

Margaret’s phone rings,
two long one short. All down the road
telephones tinkle.
Housewives leave their work;
half a dozen hands grab.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
Half a dozen ears pressed to earphones,
listening on the party line.

“Another boy,” Grandma says —
and a whopper. Almost nine pounds!”
“That’s a good size,” says Margaret.
Half a dozen silent nods.
Good size. Good size. Good size.
Good size. Good size. Good size.

Before Margaret can ask
her neighbor Flo interrupts,
“What are they calling him?”
“Billy, after his Uncle Will.”
Half a dozen silent nods
and murmurs all along the line.
“Good choice,” says Margaret. “Won’t Will be pleased!”
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!

Right shortly six more calls
tinkle over the line as six tongues repeat,
“Another boy. Number nine. Good size.
Billy, after Uncle Will. Won’t he be pleased?”

“There’s talk of change,” says Belle
who lives two miles down. “But
how would you ever hear anything?”
Heads nod all down the line.
Anything? Anything? Anything?
Anything? Anything? Anything?
“We need our party line!”

phone-lines

 

Partners in Crime – Conclusion

You can read the whole story from beginning to end here.

EX-ing the Partnership

Wanda gritted her teeth. Isn’t it wonderful how helpful people could be when you wanted them to just beat it and leave you alone? But the museum curator stood there waiting for her to try out his bright idea, so what could she do? On an impulse, she dialed Nick’s number, knowing he was in jail and couldn’t answer.

“Hi. Sorry Nick isn’t home right now.” The voice definitely belonged to some young female. “I’ll be seeing him shortly. Can I take a message?”

“Hello? Who is this?” Nick’s going to hear about this chick answering his phone, Wanda thought. And what does she mean about seeing him shortly? Is she visiting him in jail?

“My name’s Emmy. I’m Nick’s…um…friend. Can I ask who’s calling?”

“This is Wanda.”

“Wanda?”

“Nick’s girlfriend, Wanda.” She gritted her teeth. Nick is definitely going to answer some questions when I see him again.

Aware that the curator was frowning at her, she whispered, “Sorry. I pushed the wrong redial. On my friend’s phone,” she added. He didn’t look impressed.

Emmy seemed to be in shock. “Nick’s…uh…girlfriend?”

“Nick’s fiancée.” Wanda almost shouted it into the phone. “He has mentioned me, surely.”

The curator rolled his eyes and headed down the stairs.

“No!” Wanda caught the sizzle in the girl’s voice. “He never told me about you at all. Honest. The cheating rat!”

“You got that right.” Wanda jabbed the OFF button and stuffed the phone in her pocket. Just wait til I get my hands you, Nick. You’re toast!

Quickly Wanda grabbed for the wallet. Nick had told her the old lady had just cashed her pension check, so likely there’d be a couple hundred dollars in her purse. She kind of felt sorry for the woman, a senior and all, but she needed the money herself. Badly. Her rent was due tomorrow. She sighed. What a life!

Once outside, she found a bench in a secluded spot and opened the wallet. “Two five dollar bills. That’s all! All this mess for two measly fives,” she squawked. She fumed for a moment, then pondered her options.

I’ve had it, she decided. I really was a fool to get mixed up with all this. Nick is history. She grabbed her cell phone and pushed a button.

The voice at the other end said a hesitant “Hello?”

“Hi, Mom. I’ve just learned a really important lesson in life.”

“Oh? And that is…?”

“Crime doesn’t pay. And being with Nick really doesn’t pay. I’m through with Nick and his wild schemes.”

“Oh, I’m so glad to hear you say that. We’ve been praying you’d come to your senses and see him for what he is.”

“Mom… Do you think you and Dad could…would…let me move back home for a few months. Just until I get my life straightened around?”

“Oh, Wanda. Yes. We’ll gladly help you. Just come anytime you’re ready.”

Thanks so much, Mom. See you in a bit.”

Wanda hung up and searched through the stolen wallet for ID. She had one important stop to make before she headed home.

The End

I’ve also started posting again on Tree Top Haiku

Partners In Crime — Part 2

Yesterday I downloaded a book called 5000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter, by Chris Fox. He claims he can write whole books in a month since he’s perfected this method. Dream on, right?

Well, he advocates starting by doing mini sprints, no stopping to correct typos or to rearrange this or that. Seems to me if you’re going to do an exercise like this you’d better know exactly what you want to say — and how to spell it — or you’re going to spend hours editing!

Anyway, I decided to give it a test run, doing my first mini-sprint by writing another part to the story I posted a few days ago, entitled Partners in Crime. In my ten minute sprint I did 490 words — well thought out ahead so I wouldn’t waste time. Then I polished my piece for over an hour and came up with 625 words. There’s no escaping editing.

Read Part 1 here

Quick summary: A woman is alone upstairs in the old mill looking for a wallet her boyfriend had stolen and stashed in a crack or cog. But the curator has just appeared to tell her the museum is now closed and she has to leave. She gives one last desperate look around before following him downstairs. I’ve decided to give this poor lady a name: Wanda. And more troubles.

Partners In Crime — Part 2

The next morning Wanda was standing at the museum doors five minutes before the place opened. As soon as the curator unlocked them she stepped inside, ready with her story.

“I … I must have dropped my cell phone here yesterday,” she explained. “I was walking around up by that big wheel and… and I took it out to check the time.” She took a deep breath, hoping her nervousness wouldn’t give her away.

“I was sure I… had just…put it back in its special pocket and…and I…it must have slid out somehow. I didn’t have it when I got home. I’d like to…to just run up and look around. I’m sure it’s…”

Wanda froze as her cell phone, from its usually pocket in her purse, started playing the tune to “Somebody’s Fool.” She turned a bright pink and silently berated herself. Why didn’t I think this might happen?

The curator looked at her in surprise. “It appears…”

“Oh, no. Not really.” She sucked in some air. “I…like…uh… I borrowed my friend’s phone. Like, just in case I needed to call…uh… In case I didn’t find my wallet and…you know…needed stop credit cards…”

“I’m sorry. I’m not getting this. Did you lose your wallet, too?”

Wanda felt the temperature in the room shoot up ten degrees. Maybe twenty. She gave herself a good mental slap, took another deep breath, and tried to save face. “Oh, dear. Now I’m getting mixed up. No, It was my phone, not my wallet. I’ll just be a minute looking for it.”

The curator eyed her a moment, looking as stern as the ancient mill owners whose portraits hung on the wall. Maybe he wondered if it was safe to allow her around those huge gears alone. Finally he nodded. “Go ahead. If you were standing on the landing maybe the sweeper found it last night. I’ll check in the office.”

“Oh, thank you so much.” Wanda turned and wasted no time getting up the stairs. Frantically she scanned the walls and the big wheel.

Thank goodness this part doesn’t have any security cameras, she thought. Not like the main lobby. I guess that’s why Nick stashed it here. A minute later she spotted something dark in a crack.

She was reaching for it when the curator appeared at the top of the stairs. “I had a thought, miss. If you use your friend’s phone and dial your own number your phone will ring and you’ll find it in a jiff.”