Tuesday, December 31, 2019

the dinosaur ~ WoW

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  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 Mark Koopmans and posted on Elephant Child's blog.  Some challenging words this week!

     My passenger pulled a beer from his bag and slid it into a Wisconsin Badgers soft koozie that mostly hid the fact that it was a beer.

     "Do you mind?"

     He looked at me when he asked, but I had no doubt that even if I had minded it would have made little difference.

     "It's all on you if we get pulled over.  I'm not paying the ticket or doing the time."

     He shrugged and I heard him mutter under his breath, "How the heck do I manage to get an Uber with a sweet ride of a Porsche, and the driver is a freakin' dinosaur?"

     I ignored him, "Where to?"

     "The Watergate hotel."

     I'd picked him up on Douglas Street, not exactly an area whose residents were the type to frequent the Watergate, but that was none of my business.   On a good day, the drive would be about 20 minutes, but today didn't look like it would be a good day.  Traffic inside the circle was crazy today and I hadn't had a chance to see the news to find out what was going on.  It seemed like they had been doing road construction inside the circle since the days Washington had been president, so it was always a challenge to find the best way to and from destinations that would soften the blow of the cost to my riders.  Arriving at a destination in a black sports car designed to impress didn't come cheap.
~*~
     "Detective, the autopsy report on the Douglas Street victim is back."
     "And?"
     "The victim was alive when he was castrated and forced to eat his ... um ... well ... his ..."
     "Testicles, officer, the word is testicles and it's okay to say it.  What is the official cause of death?  Exsanguination?"
     "Surprisingly no considering how much blood was at the scene.  Whoever did this to him cauterized the wound before that happened.  He actually died of asphyxiation from choking on his ... um ... his ..."
     "Testicles.  I get the picture, officer.  Anything else?"
     "The, um, tox screen showed that he had also been given epinephrine.  The corner thinks that it was given more than once, possibly to extend the amount of time it took for him to die."
     "So he was tortured?"
     "I guess so, but why?  He wouldn't have been able to talk with his ... um ... mouth full."
     "Maybe to give the killer some twisted pleasure.  Anything on the prints taken at the scene?"
     "Only the victim's prints, ma'am.  There were no other prints in the house at all, not even on the knife used.  In fact, it looks like the victim was forced to castrate himself."
     "No sign of any syringe or source of the epinephrine?"
     "No, ma'am."
     "Any luck finding next of kin to positively ID the body?"
     "Well, ma'am, we did go to the address on his drivers' license, however, the woman there said she was his 'soon-to-be' ex-wife and he didn't live there anymore.  When I told her that we needed her to come down and ID his body, she laughed."
     "Laughed?"
     "Yes, ma'am.  A little hysterically."
     "Was she in shock?"
     "No, ma'am.  I think she was genuinely happy.  Should I bring her in for questioning?"
     "Yes, do that.  And see if you can find out how long they've been separated and why."

     There was a knock at the door.  "Yes?"
     "There's been another murder, ma'am.  A guest at the Watergate Hotel."
~*~
     I pulled up in front of the Chateau Remix on Benning Road.  This was definitely a new part of town for me and I was more than a little surprised when Mr. Watergate Hotel came out of the club and climbed into the front seat.

     "Hello, again.  To the Watergate?"
     "No, my business there is done.  This time I'm going to the Lego Store at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City."
     "Will you need me to wait?"
     "No.  I think I will catch the metro out of there.  Thanks, tho."

     The Lego Store was right next to Microsoft, and since I'd been needing to go there anyway to buy a new router I told him there wouldn't be any charge for the ride.

     "Seriously?  Sweet, thanks.  Hey, by the way, I'm thinking about a trip this winter to New Zealand to do some surfing.  Have you ever heard of Surfersskin Suncream?  A buddy of mine recommended it.  Said it was made with honey and aloe, and great for delicate skins like mine.  Gotta worry about skin cancer, you know.  Think Macy's sells it?"
     "I really don't know.  I've never heard of it, but I'm sure one of the clerks at Macy's could tell you."
     "Yeah, right.  I thought so too.  You know, you're really pretty easy to talk to.  Maybe because you remind me so much of my Dad."
     "Hmmm.  I'm sure there is something Freudian about that statement."

     He looked at me and started laughing.  He was still laughing when I parked the Porsche, and as he walked into the Lego Store.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

traditions ... WoW

     When I was younger, there were Christmas traditions my mom started when we were living in Germany.  We began to leave our shoes out on the night of December 5th for St. Nicholas to fill with candy [or coal & switches] that we would find on the morning of the 6th.

     For a while when I was a married adult, I would do variations of that tradition:  put candy and an annual tree ornament in my husband's boot or new bedroom slippers, but in recent years I have gotten away from that tradition.

     There were traditions I had always wanted to start if I had ever had children of my own.  An Advent wall hanging with 24 small fabric bags each filled with a small gift, candy or note.  Recently I saw one on Pinterest that used toddler's socks that I really would have liked to do.  Perhaps in the next life.

     Christmas Eve has always seemed to include delivery pizza for dinner for most of my adult life, but I've always lived away from immediate or extended family and most of the time have spent Christmas Eve alone [or in one particular previous marriage, wishing I was alone ~ there was always an argument during the holidays no matter what the occasion].

     But if given the opportunity in the next life to spend them with immediate or extended family, I think I would enjoy a day spent in new pajamas binge-watching Christmas comedy movies, eating take-out and of course, delivery pizza.  Nothing could possibly relieve the stress of the holiday season like laughter with loved ones.  The first to start an argument or be in a stinky mood have to wash ALL of the dishes on Christmas Day!

     David and I haven't had a large tree up or decorated in a few years, so getting ornaments that will just stay in a box seems a bit of a waste.  Instead, I've curated a selection of ornaments for a smaller, wire tree that saves space and is easier to swap out for each season.  In fact, I've been re-homing some of the ornaments I've collected over the years that I won't use again.

    Christmas stockings seem to be more of our style as we've gotten older.  If we're ever blessed with my husband's children visiting us for the holiday or our grandkids, that will be when we put up a large tree.

     This year, however, we are doing something that I would like to start as our new tradition:  helping someone in need of a hand up.  It will vary each year I'm sure, but this year it means helping someone get his old job back, connections for a possible apartment, and a gift card for clothing.  He'll also join us for Christmas dinner(s), and opening stockings.

     For me, the best part of this season is the giving, with no expectations of receiving.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Words on Wednesday ... the prompts

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  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 me!  
     Share a tradition you have at this time of year; when, why or how it became a tradition; and how it makes you feel.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

dear diary 12/18/2029 ~ WoW

Tuesday, 10 December 2029

Dear Diary,

     You'd think after five years of cruises for the Christmas season I would be tired of them, but I think I'm more excited for this year's cruise than all the past ones.

     It is going to be a long awaited family reunion with my brother, sisters, and their families!  I've been dreaming of this kind of a trip since seeing the family on my Rhine River cruise in 2007 enjoying their Christmas together.  It took me three years to be able to book the trip far enough in advance that all sixteen of us could get on the same boat!

     I haven't ever had a Christmas with all of my siblings at the same time, so I'm super excited for this trip.  I think the last time Ken, Heather, and I had a Christmas together was in 1978 before Kat was even born.

     We're all on our way right now to New York where we're going to spend a day sightseeing before we catch a red-eye flight to The Netherlands to start a fabulous ten-day adventure!

     We'll be exploring Amsterdam for two days and nights before boarding our Viking cruise boat and traveling down the Rhine River to Basel, Switzerland!

     Fingers and toes are crossed that we'll all still be on speaking terms by the end of the trip!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Words on Wednesday ... the prompts

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  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 me!  I'm using writing prompts from the book of 300 that I received as part of my February Scribbler box.
     Write a diary entry, dated 10 years in the future.

Friday, December 13, 2019

The 40-Day Sugar Fast [a book review]

 I requested this [free] book to review from Baker Books Bloggers shortly after I found out that I was pre-pre-diabetic.  [which according to some medical thought is not a "real" diagnosis, but whatever]  I was interested in finding a way to put a positive spin on changing my diet.
To be completely transparent[hahaha transparent] I'm really not that much into sweets or sugar.  I have my weaknesses [Skor candy bars and Almond Roca just to mention two] but the last time I had just half of a bag of gummi bears I had the worst migraine from the sugar overload in my system.
[Hmmm.  Maybe I'm less pre-pre and more pre.]
Initially, I read through this quite quickly because I wanted to post my review sooner than 40 days, and I do plan on reading it again at a slower, 40-day pace to focus on the process.
Each chapter (or day) begins with a scripture verse followed by the author's personal perspective, or a historical reference, testimonials from some of her past "clients," or information related to why giving up sugar is a good thing.  Some chapters do suggest searching your motives deeper with questioning prompts.  But the book is essentially a devotional, and I would have liked to have more journaling or writing "homework" that challenged my attention and focus.
But that's just my own desire for a season of more growth since I'm in the middle of therapy anyway.
I tend to be a multi-tasker and quiet time in my head is not always quiet.  I'm thinking of what to do next, what needs to be done.  If I truly want to focus on hearing from God, I need to do it in writing.  I'm a tactile learner, not just a reader, speaker or listener.  If I want to learn something new and form a new [healthier] habit, I need to see it, hear it, say it, and write it.

Like many 12-step programs where admitting you are powerless over XYZ, this devotional can be used for anything you substitute for a closer relationship with whomever you consider to be your "Higher Power."  Just like in a 12-step meeting, my recommendation when reading this is to take what you like and leave the rest.  Find what works best for you when you are reading the book, and if you need more [as I did] create it along the way.  The goal of the book isn't *just* to stop eating sugar.  It's to find yourself in a closer relationship with God, and to defeat whatever "enemy" is keeping you from that. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Perspective ~ WoW

     She keeps me because I remind her of her childhood and her father.  Even tho I haven't worked since 2008, she keeps me in the hope that I will work again one day.

     Her father bought me when she was just seven years old.  They were living in Wiesbaden, Germany and I hung in the kitchen.  She delighted in winding me up by pulling my rock weight to the top and listening to my calming "tick-tock" throughout the day and night.

     That was more than 50 years ago now, and even then she knew the truth.  She knew that there once was a time when I was alive, a tall tree deep in the woods.  The wind would blow through my branches, and birds would hop on them and sing.  Untold generations of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks lived among my branches, and deer fed in my shade, raising their young on the tender seedlings that would rise from the ground beneath me.

     I weathered the seasons, growing taller and taller until the day came when the woodcutter chose me to create something that would live on in her memories.

     Even the rock that hangs from me was once alive.  Molten minerals flowing on the still-forming earth, it hardened when the earth cooled, and overtime as the earth shifted and moved, it was broken off a much larger boulder to the size it is today.  Its memories locked away in the glittering crystals within it of a time when the earth was young.  When grass and moss grew around and upon it, and the tiny feet of insects and field mice ran across its face, barely visible above the dirt.

     After Germany, I hung in a kitchen in Arizona for a while when her father was in Vietnam for a year.  My comforting "tick-tock" reassuring her 11-year-old heart that he would return one day.  When he did, we went to Florida where I hung in a kitchen for the next 33 years.  When she lived there, she still delighted in winding me up and hearing my gentle reminder that even when she felt sad or lonely, I was always as close as her heartbeat.

     Her father died in March 2007, and I moved from his house to hers.  She hung me in her living room, but could never get me balanced just right so that I could comfort her in her loss.  But in January of 2008, a few days after what would have been her father's 71st birthday I was finally able to comfort her again.

      She had closed her sliding glass door on the wall where I hung, a little harder than usual to keep out the cold after letting her dogs in from her tiny yard.  The jarring woke me from my sleep, but there was something else at work in me that day.

     As she watched my tiny balancing weights move back and forth, and the familiar tick-tock began to emanate from my cogs and gears, she laughed with joy.

     "Hi Dad!" she said with a smile just as her telephone rang.

     The call was from her uncle, her father's twin brother, and as she explained what she was still laughing about they both cried.

     Their talk lasted for 45 minutes, and she did not take her tearful eyes off of me as I continued to work.  The spirit of her father was at work in my heart, wanting to reassure her once again that all was well.  As she hung up the phone after saying goodbye to her uncle, my gears slowed to a stop once again.

     I hung in her house in Texas, and back again to Florida before moving to the Michigan Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin where I now hang in her office.  She's carefully dusted me, and moisturized my wood.  Where I broke from age, she gently glued me back together, talking to me like an old friend.

     That we are.  That we are.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Words on Wednesday ... the prompts

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  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 me!  I'm using writing prompts from the book of 300 that I received as part of my February Scribbler box.
     Look around you and choose an object in the room.  Now write something from the point of view of that object.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Idioms ~ WoW

      I flew for hours before the sun came up trying to find that darn worm, but couldn't see anything at all.  Finally, I was forced to land, and upon looking at my feet, I realized I was standing on ice.

     "Oh mon Dieu, et maintenant ? Qui a dit que l'oiseau précoce pouvait attraper quelque chose dans le noir ?"  Oh my gosh, what now? Whoever said that the early bird could catch anything in the dark?

     I saw an old dog standing on the nearby shore with snow up to his ears.

    "Verskoon asseblief my Frans, my vriend.  Ek is 'n Afrika Collared-duif en is verlore in die mis.  Ek is in Kanada, is ek nie?" Please excuse my French, my friend.  I am an African Collared-Dove and was lost in the fog.  I am in Canada, am I not?

     "Nei, þú ert ekki í Kanada.  Þú ert á Íslandi og var að vonast til að læra nýtt bragð af skauti á þunnum ís.  Þú gætir kannski sagt mér hversu þykkur ísinn er?"  No, you are not in Canada.  You are in Iceland, and I was hoping to learn a new trick of skating on thin ice.  Perhaps you could tell me how thick the ice is there?

     "Dun ys?  Oh my!  Ek moet ..." Thin ice?  Oh my!  I should ...

     ... crack, splash, flutter, sputter ...

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Words on Wednesday ... the prompts

     Words for Wednesday is a moveable feast of participants. Each month the prompts ~ words, pictures, themes, or even phrases are provided by someone new.  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 me!  I'm using writing prompts from the book of 300 that I received as part of my February Scribbler box.

     Rewrite some of these commonly used idioms to make them more interesting, or maybe use them to start a story:  "Pardon my French."  "My mind is in a fog."  "You are on thin ice."