Thursday, February 28, 2019

incomprehensible

i read something the other night that i shouldn't have
i'm not even sure "why" i read it because i already sensed that it would upset me
i guess i just wanted to understand how, and why it happened
you might have seen it
a veteran's service dog that helped him with his ptsd was attacked by a dog groomer
the story was heart wrenching, and has bothered me since i read it
i just cannot comprehend why or how someone could be so cruel
as an empath, i was just overwhelmed with the feelings the dog felt
fear, confusion, pain
a dog trained to comfort someone with ptsd now has ptsd herself because of what was done to her

my heart breaks for her
at the same time that my anger towards the groomer wants to just shred her to pieces in one of those mulch makers they put trees into
i know that isn't a healthy way to think but right now i can't help it

the unconditional love and trust our companion animals give us is a gift
something precious and amazing
there are times when i wonder how it is we managed to get to the top of the food chain
we are a cruel species to everyone and everything in our life at times
we hurt others without reason, without cause, without rational
it is just incomprehensible the things that we do

i've decided to stop looking at or listening to the news
online, on tv, on the radio
the negativity is just too much for me to handle
too much pain
too much sadness
too much incomprehensible hatred and anger
especially against so many innocents

Monday, February 25, 2019

scribbler ...

(and yes, they will deliver to Australia!!)
and got my first box today.
I
am
so
excited!
It is a little pricey ~ I just did a month-to-month plan because I was only planning on the one box for now, so it was about $40USD.  But you can get it for as low as $27.50 a month if you pay in advance for more than one month at a time.

I had read some of the reviews, and was a little concerned that I might not like the book selection since there were comments that it would be a Young Adult book (and I haven't read any of those since ... I was 13?).  I had visions of the Twilight series, which actually were good movies I enjoyed, I just hadn't read the books.  

But the box isn't really a "book club" box for people who just want to read.  It's a box for writers. People who do write, and people who want to write.  It doesn't matter if you want to write a book, or a blog, the prompts and wisdom this box offers are AMAZING!  Who cares if the book is YA ~ which mine isn't btw ~ being able to read different genres of books helps to expand a writer's knowledge base.  If you want to write a YA character, you might need to know how they think.

So here is what came in my suspense themed box, from the top down:
1.  A Scribbler Writing Exercise postcard (so much easier than running a marathon!)
2. CHOCOLATE!!!!!! more specifically, sea salt caramel DARK chocolate!!! (it's healthy for you, ya know!)
3.  A journal of 300 writing prompts (for breaking out of a writer's block!)
4.  An inside look at the publishing process ~ how to write a query letter to secure an agent (PRICELESS!!)
5.  A Writing Passport on Writing Suspense (wisdom in your hands!)
6.  A Just Write sticker (perfect laptop size!)
7.  Writer Magic! An exclusive chat with a Senior Literary Agent!!! (cough, cough I may have to call in sick ... j/k tho wishful thinking ... I'll have to catch the recording)
8.  A bookmark and signed bookplate for ....
10.  Orange crinkle cut paper in a box that Lucy claimed.  If she fits, she sits.

I can't wait to read the book, do the writing exercise, eat the chocolate, peruse the prompts (maybe some will show up in December for Words on Wednesday!)

now, how to create a story to tell the hubs about why dinner will be late...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

a river barge

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. This month the words are supplied by River and can be found right here.  All of this week's words are in bold italics.

     Alvanir and Ketz’iah washed quietly at the bathroom sink. The brother and sister had found their way into the home of Heinrich and Elise when Heinrich's employer had begged him to hide and protect his children from the SS as the attacks against Jews became more frequent. While it wasn't discussed openly, their father knew Heinrich had connections in the Resistance that could possibly smuggle the children out of Germany and to a country that was not as anti-Semitic.

     The children had been repeatedly told by their parents the risk Heinrich and Elise were taking to shelter them, and that they were to never speak out loud outside the confines of the bedroom where they slept on a shared mat under the bed. For a 10 and 8 year old in a less insane world, it would have been an impossible request. But the two of them had already seen more horrors than adults ten times their ages, and knew well what would happen to all if them if they were found.

     To stay quiet and keep themselves entertained, they had developed their own sign language to communicate. They stayed mostly in the bedroom, carefully matching their steps to Heinrich's or Elise's when they went into the other parts of the tiny apartment to ensure that the downstairs neighbors did not suspect that there were more than just two people in the upstairs apartment. Elise managed to stretch their meager pantry supplies to feed all of them without any of them feeling too hungry.
     
     During the day, Elise allowed them to sit on the bed, where they read books, drew pictures on pieces of butcher paper, and created pantomime stories. Currently Ketz’iah was miming walking under a fancy parasol on a Paris street, and Alvanir was a waiter offering her a seat at an outdoor cafe. Ketz'iah graciously curtsied as she closed her parasol, and took the offered seat at the table along the Seine. When Alvanir offered her a bottle of the finest champagne, she raised her flute for him to pour, and delicately raised it to her lips.

     When Heinrich came home that evening, his pants were wet to the knees, and he carried his shoes. He began moving furniture around the living room, something he did when he was angry and frustrated. Elise knew well enough to let him vent silently, and that when they were safely behind their closed bedroom door he would tell her what had upset him so much.

     After their evening meal, Ketz'iah and Alvanir were pretending to be ducks in the river when Heinrich and Elise came into the room and sat on the bed with them. Quietly, Heinrich explained the events of the day which had made him so upset.

     When he had arrived at work, the children's father had been on the phone, angrily speaking in Spanish. Heinrich had given him a puzzled look, and been waved off.  A few minutes later, he had been waved back into the office where he sat across the desk from his employer. Explaining that he had distant relations currently living in Spain, they had agreed to take in the children and escape with them to Morocco until they could all be reunited again. The problem was going to be getting them from Germany to Spain.

     Later on the way home he had stopped to wade in the waters of the Rhine River, trying to make sense of the world and all that was happening. A world that forced parents to send their children away to be with complete strangers in another country, just to keep them safe. He wondered if his own child would be safe, or if one day he and Elise would have to make the same grim decision.

     The Resistance had told him a river barge would be leaving in a week, taking a small contingent of refugees down the Rhine River, traveling mostly at night. They would travel as far as Basel, Switzerland on the river, then travel sporadically by land through France - on foot, by trucks and trains - to reach Spain. That portion of their journey could take days or weeks since they were at the mercy of the Resistance and sympathizers.

     At the border, they would meet with waiting friends and families to travel separately to their final destinations. The Resistance would only be able to offer protection for the group to the border of Spain, after that point, the refugees would be on their own. There was no guarantee that the relative of the children's who had agreed to meet them would actually be there, and no way of knowing what would happen to them if they were left alone.

     When Heinrich had explained all that to Elise and the children, there was silence. He had not told the children's father of the travel plans, not wanting to worry him, and not wanting to jeopardize them if the SS should torture and question him. The decision on whether or not the children would go would be Heinrich and Elise's alone. They knew the longer the children stayed with them, the higher the risk that they would be found out all all of them killed.

     But the thought of sending the children off alone to an uncertain future was a decision Heinrich did not want to make. There would be no way of knowing if the children reached their relative in Spain, or even made it to Morocco. Once they were on the barge, there could be no communication to or from any of them to protect the Resistance and the families and friends they left behind. Although the children had not been with them for long, he and Elise had grown very fond of them.

     Alvanir whispered in the darkened room, "Do they have pizza in Spain? I heard someone talking once about pizza and it sounds like it would be very delicious. I would like to try some."
     Heinrich and Elise smiled at each other over his head, and Elise whispered "We would like to try some too, Alvanir. Perhaps we will all go together."

     Raising an eyebrow, Heinrich looked at her, and she continued speaking to him directly.
     "We have talked about how dangerous things are becoming, and how we feel we should be doing more to help those less fortunate. What if we were to go with the children and make sure they were safely to Morocco with their relatives? Then we could join the Resistance in France to get more children safely out of Germany."
     "Do you know what you are saying, Elise? We have a child of our own on the way. We don't know that things will be better in France and I have a job here."
     "But for how long will you have a job? If ..." she looked at the children, "... something were to happen to the business, what would happen to you?  To us?  Is this really where you feel our child will be safest? Things are getting worse every single day and we have no way of knowing what the world will be like in six months.  If I have to hear of another burial of a child because they starved, or became sick from something that they could have been made well if they only had not been a Jewish child..." a sob escaped her then, and the children looked up at her.

     Wiping away her tears, Heinrich kissed her on the forehead.  "You are right, of course.  As always.  I love you for your courage, and your belief in what should be right in the world.  We cannot tell anyone of our plan to leave, and we can only take with us what we can wear or carry in our pockets.  We cannot be seen carrying suitcases because it will draw too much attention from the prying eyes of Frau Schäfer, do you understand?  We will not be able to take any of your most priceless possessions from your parents and grandparents."
     "Heinrich, my love, they are only things.  What is truly priceless to me is all that is here right now on this bed."
     They kissed, completely oblivious to the rolled eyes of the children sitting in their laps.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

cherries

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. This month the words are supplied by River and can be found right here.

I'm two weeks behind, when my brain shutdown from the mother of all colds that made me a coughing hacking wreck but have finally been getting enough O2 to pull out of the fog and catch up with another chapter in Heinrich and Elise's story.

     Elise reached for the tortoise shell hair clip her grandmother had let her borrow for her wedding, and later bequeathed to her when she died.  Pulling her hair back, she stumbled in the dark to their small bathroom.  Severe morning sickness had started a few weeks prior which marked the beginning of her second trimester.  It woke her early, and she tried not to wake Heinrich.

     Heinrich had suggested she make more of an effort to befriend their neighbor to see what she could learn from the newest member of the Hitler-Jugend. Frau Schäfer was very old school when it came to pregnancy, and when she learned Elise was expecting their first child, she was more than happy to spend the afternoons talking about everything Elise could expect from the pregnancy and labor.  Herr Schäfer worked at a small brewery, and it was when he came home that Elise learned the most about what the SS was doing.  He was an ardent and vocal supporter of Hitler, especially when he had been drinking, and he and his son would discuss in detail the latest plans and schemes to torture and manipulate the population in support of Hermann Göring's plans.

     When Elise slipped back into bed, Heinrich wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.

     "Are you alright, my love?"
     "It is just the baby.  Frau Schäfer said this was to be expected, but should end soon.  I hope so anyway.  I'm so exhausted."
     "Is there anything I can do to help?"
     "Just hold me and don't release just yet.  When you hold me like this it is easier to imagine a world without all the insanity, the three of us living happily in a small cottage at the base of the Vordertaunus mountains.  I can picture our daughter running in open fields."
     "Daughter?  Oh, no.  It is a boy."
     "Her name will be Hannelore."
     "Hannelore?  That was the name of my aunt on my mother's side who was a wonderful woman and made the best schnitzel!  But his name will be Karl, and he will have your ears."
     "Hölle nein!  I would never curse our child with my ears.  But he should have your eyes."
     Heinrich laughed at the unexpected language of Elise in the dark and pulled her closer.
     "So you agree it will be a boy?"
     "You tricked me!  And no, it will still be a girl!"

     Two days later, Elise heard a soft knock at her door.  She had been washing some fresh cherries she had gotten at the Gemüsemarkt to make a pie as a surprise for Heinrich.  It would be a small pie as she could only afford an insignificant amount, but it had been so long since they'd had any fruit at all it would be as if they were eating caviar.

     "Yes?  Who is it?"
     "It is Frau Schäfer, my dear.  I have some extra coffee and was wondering if you would like to have it?"
     Elise opened the door a crack and looked out into the hallway.
     "I'm alone, dear. Is everything alright?"
     "Yes, it is just that I've been so sick and wasn't expecting any company so am not dressed."
     "I won't come in, I just wanted to share some of the extra supplies that my wonderful Manfred brought home from his latest Hitler-Jugend meeting."
     "Are you sure?  You could save it for when I come over again."
     "I'm sure, my dear.  I heard that you were at the Gemüsemarkt this morning and were able to purchase a small amount of cherries.  Were you making a pie for Heinrich?  The coffee will be wonderful with fresh pie."
   
     Later that night, after Elise and Heinrich had finished dinner and she was cutting small slices of the still warm from the oven pie for dessert, she put on a pot of coffee as well.  Heinrich came into the kitchen and put his arms around her.

     "I almost thought I was asleep and dreaming when I smelled cherry pie and coffee.  Where on earth did you get coffee and cherries?"
     "The cherries I purchased at the Gemüsemarkt this morning.  The coffee came from Frau Schäfer, believe it or not."
     "Really?  That was kind of her.  I thought you had coffee with her on Thursdays though."
     "I do.  She came to the door."
     "Did you let her in?"
     "No, of course not!  As soon as she knocked, Ketz’iah and Alvanir ran into the bedroom.  They know what to do."
     "I will have to reach out to our contacts and see if we can move them sooner.  I don't want to do anything to jeopardize any of us, and I know Frau Schäfer will become nosy if you don't invite her in soon."
     "There was something she said, too.  She knew I had been to the market this morning and purchased the cherries.  Heinrich, I didn't see anyone I knew at the market.  Do you think there are people watching us?"
     Heinrich said nothing, just held her.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

brain dead

so i've been sick with a head and chest cold that has completely deprived my brain of oxygen
if it weren't for spell check, i wouldn't even be able to spell at all
i looked at at all three times and thought, is that all?
i can't think
i can't breathe
i can't think to breathe
and on top of it all i've been trying to wrap my head around a 36 year old nephew i never knew about until this week
mind
blown

i'm behind on getting my words for wednesday done because
i
just
can't
think
and may just have to wait until the next words on wednesday and do a monster story to catch up

david is learning how to play banjo
we're both excited
him for learning something new
me because i get to listen to him practice

puffs tissues makes some with vicks called puffs plus lotion
they are great
just don't touch your eyes after using them

ricola dual action cough drops
awesome
i have blisters on my tongue and the roof of my mouth from the generic non-brand ones we have been getting, not sure why, but sure painful

so i've not forgotten about words for wednesday, just forgotten my words

Friday, February 8, 2019

the memory

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to   write. A story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.  This month the words are supplied by River and can be found right here.

     Elise pushed the bread dough against the floured board, kneading it roughly before flipping it over and repeating the motions.  She had hoped that baking would rid her of the consternation that had hung over her all morning.

     Last week, a simple tourist to their small town had been beaten and hung in the town square for being a sympathizer to the resistance.  The man couldn't even speak German, yet he was killed for being one of the resistance!  The Hitler Youth (the Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend) had attached a notice to his corpse that this is what would happen to anyone found helping the resistance.

     Reaching for the fresh butter she had made the day before, Elise shook her head.  If the SS and Hitler-Jugend had thought they would be able to target a specific group of people in town with their message, they were sadly mistaken.  All they had done was increase the anger and hatred that ran like an underground river through the countryside.

      Targeting innocents.  Twisting the truth to the youth to make themselves appear larger than life and impervious to the laws of God.  The son of the neighbors across the hall had recently come home wearing the insignia of the Hitler-Jugend.  Elise had been terrified, but Heinrich told her that it would be fine.

     "Yes, it means we have to be extra cautious in what we say and do, but it also gives us access to information we can use. You know how much Frau Schäfer loves to gossip and brag on her son. She will not be able to keep silent when he tells her what they are doing at their meetings.  You must continue to meet with her for coffee in the mornings and feign ignorance to what the resistance is doing."

     The memory of that conversation with Heinrich, wrapped up in each others arms in the darkness of their bedroom, his whispers in her ears little more than the sound of his breathing in the quiet of the room, filled her with a momentary warmth.  Their love-making after they talked was intense and she wondered if the life growing within her had woken with a headache.  The thought made her laugh out loud, and she quickly brought a flour covered hand to her mouth.

      She had agreed that there were advantages to living next to someone who was one of the Hitler's faithful.  Coffee was one of them.  While their own cupboards were often bare, Frau Schäfer always seemed to have a large amount of surplus food, especially coffee.  Elise wondered what they had traded to always have enough food for themselves, and then decided she didn't want to know.  They had sold their souls to the devil as far as she was concerned, and she would never stoop so low, no matter how hungry she became.

     A noise in the street below drew her attention to the window, and she looked out just as a man in an SS uniform began to spray bullets into the windows of the shop owned by a Jewish watchmaker across the street.  Kristallnacht was still a few short years away in history, but already the attacks on the Jews were beginning.

     Looking down at the broken glass that now covered the street, Elise shuddered.  They had once taken a holiday to the Nordsee (North Sea) and she had stepped on something sharp in the sand.  Heinrich had picked the sharp pieces out of her foot and told it that it was part of a deep sea reef.

     "Ouch!  Heinrich, not so hard!  You are hurting me!"
     "I must get all of the pieces out, my love.  We do not want infection to set in.  These pieces were once part of a living deep water coral, and while they appear to be long dead, we must be certain to clean them all out of the cut."

     He had kissed her toes and foot as he wrapped the wound, and she had laughed as his kisses tickled her.  A tear fell into the bread dough as the memory came back to her.  Would they ever be that happy and carefree again?  

Friday, February 1, 2019

resist

In January, the memory of rain hosted Words for Wednesday which was started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write - a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you - using some or all of the prompts.

     Heinrich stood in the shadows smoking a cigarette.  So many thoughts were running through his mind.   The man was insane, a zealot, and for some reason the whole country was falling for him.  He and Elise had been married for just a year, and the changes in Germany had been happening so fast it had stunned him.  This morning Elise had told him they were going to be parents, and as excited as he was at the thought, the recent changes in the political views of the country's leaders made him terrified at the thought of bringing a child into the world.

     He dropped his cigarette butt and stepped on it before turning homeward on the street, stopping occasionally to listen for the sounds of the Polizei on their patrols.  Elise had expected him home almost an hour ago, and now it was nearly midnight.  She would be worried.  She always worried, especially lately.  But today of all days, he knew she would worry more if he didn't get home soon.

     Elise stood by the window in their darkened apartment and watched the street below for Heinrich.  She knew that what they were doing was dangerous, but both of them had agreed it was something they needed to do.  Whispers of a resistance to the new regime had started in the markets among the farmers, and in the Bierhallen with the industrial workers late at night.  The new political leader was a wicked and evil man.  Someone had to stop him.

     The next day the two of them were going to take a holiday to Bingen and to see the Mäuseturm on the Rhine  River.  It was one of Elise's favorite childhood stories that she used to tell her little brother to scare him into behaving when her parents were working the fields of their small farm. The two of them would pretend to be kings, queens, barons or baronesses of the magical castles that dotted the German countryside.

     Now, the Mäuseturm had become the symbol for their small corner of the resistance, and what they all infinitely hoped would one day become of the new political leader of Germany.

     Movement on the street below caught Elise's attention.  Heinrich!  Finally he was home!  She rushed to open the door as she heard his steps on the stairs.

     Coming through the door, Heinrich thought he heard the neighbor's across the hall open. The neighbors were staunch supporters of the new Führer. Heinrich would need to be careful of what he told Elise about the meeting tonight. Their small apartment had thin walls, and he could often hear the neighbors arguing.

     "Gute Nacht, Frau Schäfer.  So sorry to wake you.  I went for a long walk tonight after work to clear my head, and did not realize it was so late. Auf Wiedersehen!"

     Heinrich pulled Elise into the apartment with a finger on her lips and closed the door behind them.