kajel: (Me)
I was hoping to be done and have the house listed by today, but no. I had a helper lined up Tuesday to paint the front door and finish a few other final touch up paint jobs. However, my help bailed on me. Those projects took me a good part of the day, so no work got done on the cleaning. So, at 8 a.m. yesterday, I marched into Nicky's room and got to work.

Have you ever just worked and worked for days on end and you look around wondering why it doesn't look like it? That was how I was feeling earlier this week. I have been doing big paint projects and decluttering. I have my paint staging area in my living room, my donation pile for the Salvation Army, moving boxes and empty tubs to pack things into and our day to day pile up all going on in the same place. I make a trip to the Salvation Army and three days later there is another large pile. I had an epiphany Tuesday night. I need to go get the bedrooms done. I won't make piles in there, so once done, they will stay done. I will feel like progress has been made.

That is why I attacked the kids rooms yesterday. I am tired and so worn out from all the going up and down the step ladder, crawling along the floor for baseboards and whatnot. So, my pace wasn't spectacular, but I worked steadily. Even with the three hour break in the middle to run errands and have lunch with a friend. Nicky's room is 100% done. Katey's is about 1/2 an hour away from 100%. Once Ned got home from work last night, we ran another load of items to the storage unit. These were big things that required two people to load in and out of the car. I bought a hand truck last week, and that has been the best thing ever, but it still won't lift the items into the back of my van for me. ;)

With all that work yesterday, I forgot to start dinner before Ned was home and we were headed out. It was six in the evening at that point. We ran off to Panera for dinner after unloading the van into storage. When we got home, the kids needed baths and to get ready for bed. Ned removed stickers from their furniture for me and I folded the laundry I had been working on. When the kids were in bed, Ned started ironing some of his shirts and I finished up the laundry. Sometime around 9:30, I sat on the bed to chat with him and the next thing I know he was waking me up! lol

At lunchtime the kids are going to Nana's for a couple of days. That will take about 3 hours out of my day and I realized I don't want to wear myself completely out today. Tonight is the first night in the nearly full year I have been doing karate that Ned and I will get to train together in class. I am so excited about that. He's never really gotten to watch me train.

The house is getting there. I can see that it's getting there, I'm just tired and ready for it to be done already. I think I shall get Katey's room completed before I need to pack bags for the kids. We're leaving in about an hour and a half.

Ta Ta for now my lovelies!
kajel: (Me)
There has been so much going on and I haven't jumped on here and talked about it. In February, three years of frustration with living across the street from ex-friends that I had to prosecute for theft and fraud caught up with me. Most of you know the story.

A tiny thing, that wasn't really a big deal, sparked a huge frustration dump and rage fest. I had no one to talk to that afternoon, so poor Ned got the brunt on my venting. Basically, I told him I was done and we needed to get out of here. I can't be her neighbor anymore. I was a lot more prolific with my words and um...colorful at the time. ;)

It was venting, I got it out of my system, took a deep breath the next day and moved on. The same as I have for the past two years. Imagine my shock when Ned opened up the conversation about moving a few days later after I had calmed down. It was a good thing I wasn't driving at the time, (we were in the car) because I would have run off the road when he said, 'I think it's time, let's do it'.

So, here I am a month later nearly done with projects and painting so the house looks fabulous. Now, to clean out and clean up so it can be listed next week.

I can't believe we are doing this!

Miss me?

Feb. 10th, 2015 09:15 am
kajel: (Hi Hand)
Jeni and I are going to start using [livejournal.com profile] pen_edit_repeat again to jump start some creative writing. I was supposed to post a prompt on Sunday. Being gone most of the day, I completely spaced it. Normally, prompts will go up sometime on Sundays and we have all week until Saturday evening to get something posted. Tuesday isn't too bad, so I decided this could be a short run, warm up and posted a prompt over there earlier. lol

I went back and read some of my Idol entries for this past year and I really enjoyed quite a few of them. However, I am supposed to be working right now, so i better get back to that.
kajel: (Me)
I didn't get my energy back from being sick until that Friday. It was such a huge difference. I didn't realize how little energy I had during the week until I woke up Friday with actual energy. I thought 'Oh, this is how I am supposed to feel!' Nicky and Katey were both over it faster. Now, nearly two weeks later, Ned is sick. I skipped karate class last night so that he wouldn't need to wrangle children.

My sister called me about two weeks ago. (I have three) They must have been sitting around after Kristy's birthday talking about how old they all are and they realized I am going to be 40 this year. I am the oldest of us. Wendy called to pitch a sister weekend to celebrate. We will all meet about 1/2 way in Washington D.C. and spend 3-4 days with just the girls. You can't even realize how much I loved this idea, or how much I loved that they were already thinking about my birthday. Being so far away from them is hard sometimes. I feel left out when they do awesome things together. The fact that in January they were thinking about doing something fun for my 40th gave me lots of warm fuzzies! lol My birthday is in June. We'll probably actually go at the end of April though. It's a better time frame all around.

I still need to get back into the groove of working. The holidays really threw me off. Honestly, I really didn't expect this project to take this long, but I can see an end and I like the money. The end will arrive eventually or the big boss will get tired of paying me! ;)

Alright, enough procrastinating! To work!
kajel: (Me)
Well, Nicky kindly shared his crud. Poor Katey and I have been miserable since Sunday. I woke up Sunday and my face hurt. You know it's going to be bad when your teeth hurt. I had the migraine from hell and a low grade fever all day. I spent the day curled up on the love seat napping on and off. Katey didn't start complaining her head hurt until later that evening. She has had a lot higher fever on and off, but today we both seem to be doing better. Ned stayed home from work yesterday to take care of us all. He's wonderful. My migraine released me sometime yesterday afternoon. I still had/have an on and off low grade fever, but I can function now.

Today may be spent mostly on the couch also. I am still feeling like I could curl up and sleep at any point. (I am falling asleep at my computer while trying to type this) Nicky's off to school after being out for three days and Ned has gone to work. It's just Katey and I hanging out today.
kajel: (Me)
Last year, my Mom posted something about choosing one word for the year. My word for 2014 was Flexible. I think I did a pretty good job with that word. I couldn't remember what it was, so it wasn't something I kept in the back of my mind. I need to choose a new word for 2015. I am thinking, Transformation. This is my year for transformation, for working on myself, body and soul. Not only do I have physical goals, I feel like I have stepped back behind the veil. I am in a shell once again. I don't like seeing the world through a shroud and not feeling like I am participating completely.

On a more mundane note, I need to make a certain amount of money for each paycheck in the next two months. That is of course, assuming I will still be working through February. I am pretty sure I have enough to do to get me through that point. The only problem? I have to sit my butt down in a chair and actually do the work. That's been a problem since the holidays hit. I am trying to pay off a few things. Some of it was overspending during the holidays.

I need to pack up Christmas in the house and get this placed cleaned up. The kids have friends that are moving away Sunday and I need to make sure they get to say goodbye to them today. Katey is not going to be happy that her friend, Mia, won't be available to play anymore. Jaden is several years older than Nicky and it won't be as much of a problem for him. I also need to get to the bank this morning, but no one but Katey and I are awake yet. I would just take her and go, but Ned has Karate this morning and I wouldn't be back in time for him to leave. I better make sure he is up actually.

Instead of work this morning, I am doing housework. Not a bad trade off, but it is better to work while Ned is gone. When he gets home, I won't want to anymore for sure. I took a pause to make sure Ned was up and stopped to fold and put away the laundry. If my kitchen would magically clean itself, I would be all set. Avoidance and procrastination, they are my morning.
kajel: (Me)
I was trying to get some work done today, but I am randomly locked out of the system I need. I am now waiting for my boss to get me reset. I have been a little slow in the work this week, because Nicky is sick. Poor guy woke up at 2:30 am, 4 and 5:30 on Thursday morning complaining of tummy pain and leg cramps. He didn't have a fever or ever throw up and seemed fine when he got up, so I sent him to school. The nurse called 30 minutes later. I decided he really must be sick when he slept from 12:30 to 3:30 yesterday afternoon and then from 4:30 until 8:00 am this morning. Nicky never naps. I really expected to be up at 3 am since he went to sleep so early. I can't believe he slept through the night like that. It worked for me though since I was so tired from being up and down with him the night before.

We did an awesome thing for Christmas this year. My family decided to get a beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the week of Christmas. The house was split 5 ways and my parents paid more than their share. This meant we ended up with an awesome 3000 sq ft house in Rodanthe that was 50 ft from the ocean. There is no way we could afford this house in the summer season. Here is a link to the listing Sea Horse Rodanthe It wasn't even our year to spend Christmas with my family, but Ned said if they were going to the beach, we weren't just going to visit a day or two, we were going to be there too!

Greeting the sun from the deck off the living room!

thedeck

We got a small real tree and strung cranberries. Mom made a bow for the top and we made decorations from red and green beads and pipe cleaner. Mom folded doilies into fans and flowers. We actually removed the tinsel the day after we put it on. It detracted from the simple beauty of the tree.

tree1

We got creative when we hung the stockings by the fire with care!

10392494_1027183180632459_2386832587087661871_n

The kids Christmas day!

10690141_920174154661737_8784719331547067032_n
kajel: (Me)
It’s November 1st and I feel like the year has gotten away from me.

Idol

I got pretty far in LJ Idol this time around. I learned that my fall back when I was completely stumped was dialogue. If I started a conversation in my head, it usually led to a written entry being submitted. I am also the worst procrastinator. Ugh. I lost my momentum and motivation after awhile. The very worst week, I had already told my husband I was done. I was going to bye out. Twenty minutes before the deadline, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t care if I submitted junk, but I just couldn’t bye out. I did two haiku. Do you know how stunned I was, when I was not voted out that week? The next topic was the intersection. I couldn’t procrastinate that week. It wouldn’t have been fair to my partner. I enjoyed the experience overall. I still have [livejournal.com profile] pen_edit_repeat that I created last year and the random topic generator my husband built for me on our website. I might pick up trying to write over there again.

Work

In July, the old office called me. Lisa wanted to meet for coffee and discuss a possible work from home job opportunity. I felt it was worth a listen to, so we met. They have a special project that would take several months and a lot of work. I could work from home and set my own hours, part time. I liked the idea and thought about it seriously. She still needed to run it by the big boss. She didn’t want to do that until learning whether I might be interested.

When she called me with the go ahead from big boss, she mentioned that she wanted me to get the DVC set up and then teach the clients how to use it. Whoa. Wait. What? Nobody ever said I would have to talky to clients. That isn’t setting my own hours if I now have to coordinate training on the phone with clients and how am i supposed to do that at home? I have a toddler and a newer, yappy dog. I called her back and told her I was sorry, but I was going to have to pass. Lisa was stunned. She isn’t used to me saying no. lol

She came back with, if we drop the client contact and you just work the background stuff and we pay you $25 an hour will you do it? It was my turn to be stunned. That was pretty much an offer I couldn’t refuse. Ned and I could certainly use the extra money as we move into the holiday season. So, I started working the second week of August. It was slow to ramp up, but now that I know what I am doing and have all the pieces and processes from a-z, I am trucking right along. The big boss has crazy expectations of how quickly this project can be done, so I am trying to pull off 20 hours a week to make a good amount of progress.

It’s hard not having worked for six year and trying to do this from home. Sometimes it is too easy to not even open the laptop, because I have distracted myself with something different. I am working with a new manager who wasn’t there when I was. She is a total sweetheart. I came in to the office one day to sit down with her and go over what I was turning in to her for review. She gave me some pretty nice complements. She told me she was amazed. According to her, they said five words to me and I just took off and did all this stuff that is new to them also. Not to be overly humble or anything, but that is why they call me to do these kinds of projects for them. ;) Six years after I have quit, Lisa thinks we need Kelly.

I have more I want to chat about, but this is getting long and the little girl is whining. She wants me to go snuggle with her on the couch. lol It is cold wet and rainy here. The beginning of the week we were still mid to low 70’s for a high. Today is supposed to be 50 degrees and raining. I had to turn the heater on last night. My husband’s family is having a family reunion at a shelter at the park today. The worst day ever for doing it. This should be fun!

hugs and love to you all. I will try to stop being a stranger.
kajel: (Me)
“Are we good?”

“Of course. I just had to put things in perspective.” I paste a smile on my face.

“What do you mean, perspective?”

She sounds irritated.

“I realize you didn’t mean to hurt me.” I say soothingly.

“Well of course I didn’t mean to hurt you! I wouldn’t do something like that.”

Now she sounds indignant. Funny how she feels she can be the indignant one here.

“I explained what happened. It was an accident. I don’t know why you’re so sensitive.”

The insult cut deep, but I was determined to keep the smile pasted on my face. A simple apology would have been nice. It always comes back to me somehow. Me and my flaws. It’s never about her.

“Like I was saying,” I start again, “I understand it was an accident.”

“Well, at least I’ve gotten that through to you. So, we’re good here right?” She looks at her watch. “I’ve got somewhere to be tonight.”

“Sure, we’re good.” I sigh as she turns and heads for the door.

“Great! I’ll call you later. Maybe we can do something without you overreacting next time.”

I stare at the door as it closes. How could she believe that everything was alright? How could I have thought things would be different?

I won’t cry. I have no tears left.


--------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 23. The topic this week was The Fiction of the Fix.
kajel: (Me)
“Aye-yah!”

The class rang with spirit. My instructor easily blocked the round kick I launched at his temple as well as the cross punch to his solar plexus. I faked a front kick and swung in with an outside hook punch to the opening I saw at his ribs. My punch connected lightly.

“Good shot.” He said as he stepped back from me.

“Thanks!” I smiled. It was difficult for me to get through Jesse’s guard, so I was pleased with my small victory.

“Time.” He called out. “Change partners.”

When I realized I was now facing Randall, my enthusiasm waned somewhat. He was a nice enough guy. He was just tall, big and had difficulty with control. We’re the same belt level in class and my control isn’t always there either. It just seems like every time I spar with Randall, I get hurt.

“Sparring positions! Begin.”

“Aye-yah!”

We circled each other carefully. I realized we both preferred defensive sparring. We tend to let the other person make the first move. So, I went on the attack.

You would think that I could hold my own with Randall. We have the same amount of knowledge and my instructor told me once that I was a lot more ferocious than him. I used to be ok with sparring Randall. However, Randall either was or has become a bulldozer. Anytime I try a kick he throws his knee into my leg. If I punch, he steps into me and shoves me with his weight, then wonders out loud why I keep dancing away from him.

Last night he said, “you can’t keep moving away from me. You need to stay in close to get anything done.”

He told me what a great job I did and how I showed improvement there, but I should really have done this other thing. He’s starting to come across as patronizing. I’ve spent some time reviewing his actions and words and I think this might be a male-female thing.

I came away last night with a knot on my shin from his knee. His knee connected with enough force to numb my entire lower leg. By the time class was over, I was riled enough to seek advice.

My instructor’s advice, hit him, hard. I go to a no contact studio. We throw our pouches and kicks with speed and power, but with enough control to stop just short of actually hitting our opponent. The few times that I have been really hurt, I walked right into someone's move. You get hit. That’s the nature of Karate, but you can normally shake it off. You either walked into it, or someone has control issues.

His advice was given to help make Randall respect my space. It’s good advice, but maybe my last resort. I spoke with my husband about it when I got home. He is a black belt at the studio I go to and he knows Randall. He first suggested that I could always refuse to spar with him. I don't want that. I need to learn how to defend against him. If someone bigger than me attacks in real life, they will use their weight and strength against me also.

After a little more thought, my husband’s advice was lateral movement. If Randall throws his knee up in front of himself nearly every time in response to any kick, then I need to come at him from the side. It was good advice. I will need to be faster and lighter on my feet than Randall. He has weight, strength and reach on me. This is going to take work and a lot of practice. I am not willing to give up. There is a small part of me that wants to outpace and outshine him. My ego has gotten involved.

If nothing else, I could always hit him. Hard.

--------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 22. The topic this week was Sweep the Leg.

Tradition

Sep. 16th, 2014 07:40 pm
kajel: (Me)
“Good morning to you!”

The off key, cheerful singing startled me from my sleep. I groaned as I pulled the pillow over my head.

“Good morning to you!”

I pulled the covers over me also. No matter what I did, I was unable to tune out the cheerful song set to the tune of happy birthday.

“Good morning dearest daughter, good morning to you!”

“Mom, you can’t sing, stop trying.” I flung the pillow at her. “I’m not a teenager anymore. You have to stop inflicting that song on me.”

My mother just laughed. She had been singing that song to wake us up ever since my sisters and I were small. I’m thirty-four years old and a new mother in my own right. This was my house and my mother was still singing that out of tune song to me.

“Rise and shine daughter dearest. I let you get a whole nights sleep. Nicky is sleeping and will be ready for a bottle soon. I am going to take a nap.”

Mom had come down from New York to help us out with the new baby. I’d ended up having a c-section and I was going to take all the help I could get.

“Go to bed and maybe I will sing to you later.”

“I’m not sure my ears could take it.” She laughed as she left.

I smiled. My whole life we had felt tortured by this song. My sisters and I had hated it as children. My mother has the typed of voice that will carry clearly across a large, loud space. There were four of us girls, in two or three different rooms, she was tying to wake each morning. Her voice was always loud and very off key.

I think we were teenagers when she told us that her mother used to sing the same thing to her and her siblings when they were young. We couldn’t understand how she could torture us the same way. Especially, when she knew who awful it was. I chuckled to myself as I remembered how dramatic my sisters and I were as teenagers.

Nicky’s bottle was nearly ready when I heard him stirring. I walked over and picked him gently up out of the bassinet. I still can’t believe the emotions this little bundle of joy has brought me.

As he blinks up at me I smile and in a quiet, lullaby tone, I sing;

“Good morning to you.
Good morning to you.
Good morning dearest Nicky,
Good morning to you.”

It was tradition after all.


--------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 21. The topic this week was The Music Made Me Do It.
kajel: (Me)
For the other side of the story, catch [livejournal.com profile] dmousey's entry also. Ain't Mis-Bee-Haven

******

“What is it?” 

“It’s called Elysium. They were trying to find a drug to help the men who have been captured and altered by the Tor’ni.”

“There’s no hope for the warped.”

“Warped?  They’re humans Jack.”

“Not anymore Doc.  The aliens have changed them. They’ve been pulled deep into the abyss of the hive mind.  There's no coming out of that abyss.  They’ve warped their minds.  That’s why we hit the drone lines.  It’s the only chance we have to save those captured from that fate.”

Dr. Seden sighed.  “Your right Jack.  The drug doesn’t work on our guys.”

“Then why do you want me and the men to take it with us on the mission?”

“It’s for the Tor'ni.” 

“Sir?”

Dr. Seden looked out the window at the men getting ready to risk their lives to save this latest group of people captured by the aliens.

“Whatever the Tor'ni do to alter our minds, we haven’t found a way to reverse it.  They create a euphoria so great in the connection to the hive within the human brain that the drug is useless. Elysium was developed to rebuild pathways in the brain to help the altered come out of the ‘deep abyss’ as you put it, and find their way back to humanity.  The drug was also used on captured Tor'ni.  In a terrible twist of irony, it does for the aliens, what it won’t do for us.”

“Are you saying that the drug, what, humanizes the aliens?  How the hell does it do that?”

“We don’t know how, but Tor’ni exposed to the drug develop an individualistic personality. They lose the hive mind.”

"That's not irony Doc, that's karma.”

******

Jack surveyed the chaos around him from the back of a transport truck. The bastard aliens had tried to ambush them. There were no captives to be saved here. Only the warped. As soon as Jack had realized one of the alien queens was trying to ambush his men, he changed tactics. They had been prepared to save the captives and try to take the queen if possible. The goal had become hunt the queen and her officers, taking out anything in the way. He was overseeing his men, as they loaded their prizes.

“Have you seen the queen, sergeant?” He asked one of the men that had just dropped a green armored alien by the truck.

“No sir. This is the last one we’ve gotten. He’s got fancier armor than some of the others, but no queen. We’ve run out of tranquilizer darts out here. The alpha team has a few still, but they’re keeping the warped busy.”

“I’ve got one dose left with me.” he looked down at the pistol in his hand. “I was hoping we’d flush her out. Get that last alien bastard on the truck.” They were out of time. He barked, “Richards, give the orders. We’re done here.”

Jack was going to give Doc Seden his best bottle of scotch when he got back. Elysium had ended up being their ace in the hole. It completely incapacitated any alien it was used on. He looked down at the iridescent green armor on the alien that his men had just tossed into the truck with him. It was a much better quality than he’d seen.

There was a shout from outside and suddenly the back of the truck was filled with one of the hover trikes used by the aliens. The alien riding the bike was focused on grabbing the green armored bastard. Jack’s instincts took over. As he pulled the trigger, he realized the prize had come to him. This was the queen they had been looking for. How and why she ended up on his truck didn’t matter, only that she was there.

“Gotcha now, bitch.” He snarled as the Tor’ni queen fell twitching to the floor. “Welcome to the human condition.”


**********

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 20. This week was an intersection. My partner is the lovely [livejournal.com profile] dmousey. The topics used were Intersubjectivity (by dmousey) and Rapture of the Deep.
kajel: (Me)
an effortless spark
rage shudders between the two
forgiveness is found


unforeseen attack
suppressed temper manifests
touched by the amends




------------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 19. The topic this week was Kindling.

Words Fade

Aug. 19th, 2014 07:43 pm
kajel: (Me)
Deeds speak louder than words.
Those words you’ve spoken so many times,
they mean nothing yet.
I am watching.

The words flow from you, one after the other.
These words build upon those you have already delivered.
I am waiting.

What you do lends credence to what you say.
Your actions do not follow the words.
I am learning.

The words, they are insubstantial,
Whispers on the wind.
They're not real.
I am no longer listening.

--------------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 18. The topic this week was Disinformation.
kajel: (Me)
“I would like to biopsy one of your spots to make sure that we are actually dealing with hives.”

The way my dermatologist stressed the word hives, made my blood run cold. I had been dealing with Urticaria, as the doctors called it, for several years. The problem had started small. In 2002, I developed a spot in the middle of my forearm that was an itchy red ring. Honestly, I thought I had contracted ringworm somehow. Within a few hours, the sharply ridged ring had given way to a completely raised circle that itched terribly. The next day, it was gone.

After that, I didn’t think much of it until two more showed up, in the same area, a week later. For about six weeks, I dealt with this itchy rash that would come and go and was spreading to my torso. I went to a doctor on a particularly bad day. He told me I had hives and scheduled me to see a dermatologist who couldn’t see me for another four months. The next week, they were gone. I never followed up.

It was 2005 before they came back again. For three years I dealt with the slow ramp up from once or twice occasionally to looking like a diseased person every single day. My arms, torso and legs were so covered in itchy hives constantly, that it became a way of life for me. It was crazy. People who didn’t know, would see my arms and ask what was wrong with me in a shocked voice as they would step away.

At different times, I took Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. I took combinations of several of the drugs. Nothing helped. If it was particularly bad, a Benadryl would take the edge off at night so that I could sleep. I couldn’t live on Benadryl, so I only took it occasionally. By spring of 2008, I had had enough. I saw my physician, an allergist and finally, a dermatologist. I wanted answers.

“Oh my goodness, Kelly!” My mother sounded anxious that evening after calling her to talk about my appointment. “What does the dermatologist think it would be besides hives. A biopsy, that sounds big.”

“I didn’t ask.”

“How could you not ask?” She was dismayed.

“Honestly, Mom, I don’t even want to know.”


-------------

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 17. This week’s topic was [“Scare Quotes”]. I never really got my answers. The biopsy came back hives. By the fall 2008, after a house fire and quitting my job they faded away. I believe they are stress related. They came back in November 2009 and they are only just faded away this spring. The first batch were 6 weeks, second, 3 1/2 years, third over 5 years.
kajel: (Me)
Margaret’s delicate nails were glowing an interesting green color in the dark. Gloria turned the lamp on the vanity back on.

“See Gloria, isn’t that amazing?” Margaret said and she finished touching up her lipstick.

“That certainly is the bee’s knees.”

“The girls and I are going dancing tonight. You should come with us.”

“Thank you Margaret, no. It was a long day at the factory. The boys overseas need those parachutes. “

“I don’t know why you slave away so hard in that factory. I hear the war will be over soon. What happens then Gloria?”

“If the war finally ends, Richard will be back. We plan to marry.”

“I think you should come work with me. Painting the dials on watches to glow is so much easier. You won’t be so tired all the time.”

“I don’t know Margaret. Are you sure the paint is safe. It is so unusual, I still can’t believe it glows. You said you have to use your lips and tongue to keep the point on your brush. You’re ingesting it. We’ve been learning about harmful ingredients in my nursing classes.”

“The big shots at the company have assured us it is perfectly safe!”

“I am happy at the factory. Switching jobs now doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Horsefeathers Gloria, don’t be all wet. You’re just going to lead your boring life waiting for your beloved Richard to get back from Europe and never do anything exciting.”

“I like my boring life Margaret. I shall live vicariously through your exciting one.”

“Fine!” Margaret huffed in exasperation. “I’ll see you in the morning.”


******

“Darling!”

“Yes Richard?” Gloria stepped out of the kitchen and into the sitting room where her husband was reading the paper.

“Did you hear about the Radium Corporation? They discovered the radioactive paint they were using is killing the workers. They’ve been sued.”

“The Radium Corporation? That’s where Margaret worked when you were overseas. She’s was really ill the last year before she passed on.”

“They are calling the workers the Radium Girls and they’ve got something called radiation poisoning.”

“She used to come home with her nails and sometimes her lips or face painted.”

“A terrible price to pay for beauty if you ask me.”
kajel: (Me)
The fat buck grazed quietly in the sparse patch of grass. The afternoon sun beat down upon its speckled hide; perfect for hiding in the deep shadows of a forest. The sand panther stalked the deer with slow patient steps. She carefully maneuvered herself closer to her prey. She was a magnificent specimen of the largest and most ferocious panther in the lands. Her tan hide blended well in the desert and grasslands that surrounded her. Fully grown she would stand nearly as tall as a small horse. Though she had not reached her full maturity, she was strong and quick. Inexperience had not hindered her at all with this deer. He seemed to be completely unaware of the predator stalking him through the broken, washed out landscape. The buck moved towards a rock formation on the edge of the cliff.

In a deadly rush the panther broke from cover. Terrified, the buck leaped upon the boulders. Too late he realized his mistake. The sand panther had the buck trapped at the edge of the cliff. Muscles bunching smoothly, the powerful panther sprang onto the boulders after the buck. In a desperate attempt to avoid the carnivore behind him, the buck leaped off the cliff. Startled, the panther looked after her disappearing prey. Suddenly, the boulders supporting the panther gave way and she was flung from the cliff. The young panther yowled in terror as she fell to her death.

At the base of the cliff thirty feet below, a woman of middle years stood nervously next to a young man. They watched as the buck jumped and the panther fell.

The woman gasped in fear as she watched the panther’s descent.

"Don't worry Canara. She’ll be fine. The air cradle will hold." The young man said. He was tall and lanky. He was at that awkward stage of life when he is neither a boy nor a man.

The panicked roar of the panther slowly changed to a high-pitched scream as the panther's form blurred. A teenage girl was left in its place. As the girl neared the ground, a cushion of air caught and cradled her. She was lowered gently to the ground at her mother's feet.

"Naya!" her mother cried. "Are you all right? Are you hurt at all?" Canara knelt down to gather her daughter into her arms.

Slowly Naya's terror turned to realization. She wasn't dead. Her mother was crying as she held Naya close.

"Oomph, Mom, I am fine. Loosen up. You're going to break my back." Laughing, Naya wriggled out of her mother’s grip and stood up.

"I'm not trying to break your back, but I may strangle you. It has been a week since you became a sand panther. Laron and I had to resort to dangerous measures to turn you."

Startled, Naya looked from her mother to Laron. He was grinning at her. "A week? Truly?"

"Yes, your mother had to actually rely on my wizardry this time. As a sand panther you were quite difficult to pin down. I think that was the best illusion I have ever done." He said proudly.

"Illusion?" Naya asked.

"The deer and the rocks on the edge of the cliff." Laron winked at her. “There was a wooden platform extending from the cliff. I created the illusion to hide it. I rigged it to collapse with your full weight.”

"I could smell the deer. It seemed so real."

"As I said, my best illusion ever." Laron crowed in delight. "It took me all week to work out the fine details."

Naya looked up at the cliff she had just stood upon. She shivered slightly when she realized how far she had fallen. She looked at her mother. Worry was clear upon her face.

"How did it become a week?" she asked.

"Of all the cats in the world to choose from you wanted to be a sand panther. What is there for a sand panther to fear? It has no natural predators. Even humans fear such a large fearsome creature. If I had known what you were doing, I would have talked you out of it. Laron told me your plans only after you had changed."

Naya cringed at the reproach in her mother voice. She had known what her mother would think of the sand panther. That was why she had not told her. As a young woman newly turned sixteen, Naya felt that her mother just worried overmuch. For the first time in her life, Naya understood and accepted the true danger she had put herself in. To lose her mind and herself was an overwhelming fear.

"Really, Naya, it took your mom and I three days just to make sure you didn't escape the training area. Then we had to figure out how to terrify a sand panther. Everything we tried just didn't work. You were too cunning. The cliff was really a last ditch effort." Laron explained.

"I am sorry mother. I just didn’t think this through."

"Yes. I think, maybe, I have not told you enough of our history. You are at a disadvantage not having grown up among the clan. You are not able to learn from other people’s mistakes besides your own. You’ve watched me your whole life, and it seemed so simple.” Canara sighed. “Why must it always be the biggest, the best with you? First the great Seraphi Eagle, now this. At least with the eagle I knew what you were doing. That is probably why you did not tell me this time. You thought I gave you such a hard time about the eagle. You just did not understand the danger involved. You are playing with forces you do not fully comprehend."

Canara watched as her daughter's joy of learning a new form slowly faded. Her face became somber. Canara watched as Naya’s understanding tempered her excitement. Her daughter was growing up. Naya would be a wise levelheaded woman someday who would know her own strengths and weakness very well. That was the legacy Canara would leave her.

***
Naya woke up slowly. The patch of shade she had found under a stunted oak a few hours ago had moved. Her paws were quite warm as they baked in the sun. It was mid-afternoon and the prairie was quiet around her. The dream that awakened her had been very vivid. She had not thought about that day when she was sixteen for quite some time. She had learned from the experience. Planning was the key. In the past ten years she had used that lesson wisely.


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This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 15. This week’s topic was “Chekhov's Gun”.

Fed Up

Jul. 10th, 2014 07:33 pm
kajel: (Me)
“I just can’t handle this anymore!”

“Darling, you just have to learn how to tune him out.”

“That’s easy enough for you to say Celeste. You have your music to retreat into.”

“Now Darling…”

“No Celeste, Sophie is right. He’s a sanctimonious…twig.”

“You don’t think that is a tad…harsh, Gramps?”

“I know he used to work in a church, but that was a long time ago. Are we going to be regaled with the secrets of every single person who confessed in church?” Gramps said reproachfully. “Those secrets belong to those who told them. They don’t deserved to be aired to all and sundry.”

Sophie sighed. “I don’t understand what she sees in him. He doesn’t fit in here at all.”

“Sophie Darling, he is going to be back tomorrow. We are all going to have to find a way to live with him. Maybe you could have a talk with him Gramps.”

“Once he gets settled in and relaxes, maybe it will get better.” Sophie said. “At least I won’t have to look at him all day. I have the bulk of the work to handle in here.”

“There you go!” Celeste said cheerfully. “Positive attitude.”

“If you’re going to wish for the impossible,” Gramps chimed in, “wish she fires the decorator.”

They all laughed at that.

****

The next day, the decorator in question, arrived to supervise the installation of a new love seat in the home owners formal living room. It was the statement piece she was using to give the room a bit of punch. She walked around the room making last minute adjustments. The mirror she had leaned on top of the old upright piano has slightly off center. She turned to survey the room in satisfaction.

“The modifications to the old confessional bench were perfect. It makes such a unique love seat and sets off the sofa beautifully.”

She jumped slightly as the grandfather clock began chiming the hour on her way out.


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This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 14. This week’s topic was “Confession from the Chair”.
kajel: (Me)
Have you ever had a run in with a wild animal and walked away with the knowledge that may have been one of the coolest things you will ever see? I had that experience in Kansas in 1993.

I was hanging out at the large horse barn that I spent all my time at. There were about ten geldings in a pasture and they were racing round and round the pasture. This was pretty unusual. For one thing, the pasture was quite large. On a normal basis you might have one or two horses running about and kicking up there heels, but not usually the entire herd. Running the length of the pasture was usually enough for a frisky horse to feel like he got the kinks out.

I decided to find out what was going on, so I climbed the fence to get a good look at the entire pasture. At first, I didn't see anything that would get all the horses really racing like that. Then, from the trees along the right of the pasture a cougar emerged into the open. Now, the farm was just outside the city of Wichita. The tree line that the cougar emerged from was a small 20-30 foot wide buffer between the farm and a suburb full of houses and the farm land the barn was situated on.

The cougar watched the racing herd for a moment and then it broke into a run and dashed across the length of the pasture. The horses, finally seeing what had agitated them, startled badly and swerved towards me. The cougar did not give chase. It jumped the fence and disappeared over a hill into the farm land. I had not been expecting to see a cougar. It was a brief, but wild and crazy experience.

That was not my only encounter with a cougar. It just happened to be the only encounter with the animal in the wild. Fast forward several years to Waycross, Georgia. Obediah's Okefenok is an 1800's restored homestead in the Okefenokee Swamp. There are a lot of exhibits as well as a small zoo of local animals. In 1997, the homestead had a cougar by the name of Danny Boy.

I knew about this cougar as I was working part-time at the chamber of commerce. The ladies I worked with were talking about Danny Boy's handlers bringing him out to an event that happened in town. One of the ladies was there with them and was able to pet the cougar. I was enamored of the idea of petting a cougar. Cougars are one of my three favorite animals and had been before I saw the wild one in Kansas.

A few weeks later, my grandparents came to visit. I ended up taking them to Obediah's Okefenok. It was a neat little tourist place. I hadn't been before. When we came upon Danny Boy's large chain link enclosure, I remembered the conversation from work. There was no one around besides us. So, I got bold.

There was about ten feet of shrub and flowers planted between the enclosure and the path we were following. Danny Boy was pacing slowly along the fence nearest us. I carefully picked my way through the vegetation and squatted down alongside the fence. Danny Boy came up to the fence next to me and stopped. I was sitting right at his shoulder. Our heads were at a similar height. He turned his head to the side to look at me for a moment and then focused on something off in the distance in the direction he was facing. I took a deep breath for courage and stuck my fingers through the fence and scratched his shoulder.

It was surreal. There I was, scratching a huge cougar through a chain link fence while my timid grandmother was having a heart attack behind me. Danny Boy seemed to enjoy it. He leaned heavily into my hand and shifted position so that my hand was further up his neck. I talked to him gently, but noticed he was becoming agitated. A low rumble started in his throat and he tail started twitching furiously. Even though he didn't seem to be focused on me, I decided I had been there long enough.

It was at that moment that I heard the rowdy boys that were coming closer to us. I wasn't able to see them as they were still around a bend in the path, so I quickly retreated back to my grandparents position. I didn't want to be caught where I wasn't supposed to be and I certainly didn't want to give the teenage boys any ideas. The noise they were making was really agitating Danny Boy. My grandmother was relieved to have me back on the path. I think she was shocked I would do something so crazy.

I was pretty surprised with myself also. I would like to think that certain factors aligned themselves neatly so that I could take a chance and pet a cougar. Had there been anyone else in eye sight it wouldn't have happened. If I hadn't overheard the conversation at work, the idea would never have occurred to me when I actually saw Danny Boy. Had the enclosure been roped off better from the public I would not have considered the idea that snuck up on me.

I look back years later and say, 'I did that'.
kajel: (Me)
How many monkeys jumping on the bed? Two little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped her head.

It was just before bedtime. I was in the room, but my back was turned. Something caused me to look at the kids. I was just in time to see Katey’s head slam into the desk at the end of Nicky’s bed. There is about twenty four inch gap between the foot board and the plastic desk sitting under the window. Her head hit the desk and then she fell between it and the footboard. The carpet in that spot was not clear. Her lower back slammed into a large plastic truck.

She was already halfway down when I turned. There was no catching her. It’s funny, it felt like I should have miraculously been able to catch her. Is that every parent’s instinct? You want to prevent the accidents and the hurts. Contrary to my children’s opinion, I am not superwoman.

This was not a simple boo boo. Her head was developing an immediate goose egg at the base. Her lower back was an instant purple line of bruising. It took twenty minutes to calm her down. Once she was settled, she seemed alert. I had to debate putting her to bed or keeping her up to observe her. Based on her behavior at the time, I opted for tylenol and putting her to bed.

The next morning I was quick to check on her. She was fine. She talked about it for several days. Katey enjoyed showing her boo boos off. Kids tend to have a short attention span for these things.

How many monkeys jumping on the bed? Two little monkeys jumping on the bed. None fell off and 'that makes me happy' Mommy said.


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This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 12. This week’s topic was “Barrel of Monkeys”.
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