kajel: (Me)
"Come back my child."

"I cannot Grandmother."

"You must come back or be forever lost."

"You don't understand."

"I understand much my child. I understand that you wish to choose this path. You go against my council."

No, Grandmother, I..."

"Yes! This path you are on will lead to your downfall. I cannot have that. You must come back. The path you take will only lead to ruin. Many have followed it before. None have come back. If you proceed, I cannot help you. You will be lost to me. You will be lost to this place where you belong."

"That is what you do not understand Grandmother. Here, in this place that I belong, I am and always have been lost."

"Do not speak foolishness child."

"Grandmother, I know that you do not understand. To you, this path leads to a terrible unknown. To me, this path is my salvation. I will walk it with assurance and courage. I have faith that I will find myself and all that I have ever truly wanted."

"Foolish child! You must stop at once. You are on the brink of disaster. A single step more and you will not be able to return."

"With this step, I become what I was meant to be. No longer constrained by fear."

"My child!"

"Goodbye Grandmother."


*********************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Second Chance, Week 4. This week was an "Open Topic".
kajel: (Me)
"Andrew, I have several ideas for the Music Hall's inaugural concert. The trustees approved my plans."

"The New York Symphony Society has been a passion of mine for years, Walter. It is why I constructed the Music Hall. As musical director of the society, you have a great influence on who the trustees choose for the inaugural concert. I want the opening to be grand and memorable."

"You will get your wish, I assure you. Before I explain that, I have something else of import. The trustees have asked that I play upon our friendship to make an appeal to you."

"What would they ask of me?"

"They wish you to put your name on the hall. Instead of Music Hall, it would be known as Carnegie Hall."

Andrew leveled an exasperated look on his friend. "Preposterous! I do not need my name emblazoned upon the facade in some grandiose form of accolade to myself. The building is for the Society and will be called the Music Hall."

"Take heed, my friend. They will continue with this. A single no may not suffice. However, I have done my duty in asking."

"You may be right. Now what else do you have for me today?"

"On May 5th of this year 1891, I, Maestro Walter Damrosch, will conduct the inaugural concert of Music Hall with the great composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky!" He said with a grand flourish of his hands.

"Tchaikovsky! That is excellent news. It will be a great coup to have the famous Russian composer for the inaugural concert."

Andrew clapped Walter on his back as he moved towards a decanter set on a table nearby. He quickly poured two drinks and handed one to his friend.

"A toast to the success of the Music Hall and the many contributions to music it will provide in the future."




************

In 1893, the trustees talked Andrew Carnegie into allowing the use of his name.

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Second Chance, Week 3. The topic this week was “Getting to Carnegie Hall". This is a work of creative fiction using facts about Carnegie Hall.
kajel: (Me)
I would sit here rocking, but I don't have a rocking chair. I do have a wicker chair. It has a foot stool. So, I can put my feet up at least. It's not the same as rocking with the breeze blowing gently against me. The smell of honeysuckle teasing my nose. The sound of Gram in the kitchen, cooking up her wondrous delights.

It's been many years since those things have been a part of my life. This wicker chair that doesn't rock just can't compare. Her death changed the course of my life. Dealing with the unexpected, large inheritance by disappearing off to college had worked. Who gets seventy six million dollars as they turn eighteen? I took the time to figure out what I was doing.

Cynthia and I traveled each summer. We toured Europe that first summer. Dublin, Ireland was where the second life changing event happened. Seeing the Book of Kells gave me a passion to pursue. That gorgeous illuminated manuscript inspired my life long collection of those wonderful works of art. The Porta Caeli manuscript is the pinnacle of my collection. Tomorrow, I would possess the key to open it.

Even though the La Chiave Fiore didn't in any way look like a key, I have a growing conviction that this is it. Negotiations to purchase the key from the church outside of Florence took longer than I expected. Cyn was coming over tomorrow to be with me when I finally open the manuscript.

***

"Alright Meredith, let's do this!" Cynthia grabbed my arm excitedly.

I looked over at her. I was just as excited as she was. I took the Porta Caeli out of the vault and laid it gently on the table in my office. I picked up the small gold flower. It really did just look like a button.

"Here we go," I said as I fit the loop on the back of the key to the small hole on the lock of the manuscript.

With a click, they key slid into place and the lock fell open.

"It worked."

With gentle fingers, I opened the leather cover. A blinding light lit the room suddenly.

"Meredith!" Cynthia grabbed my arm again. "What is that?"

I stared, frightened as I saw my office fade away. Cynthia was looking around as well.

"Oh my, Cyn, do you know what Porta Caeli means? It means Gate of Heaven."



*************************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Second Chance, Week 2. The topic this week was “Front Porch".
kajel: (Me)
We were headed to New York for Christmas a few years ago. We didn't leave Friday as planned, because a snow storm blew in Friday morning. We waited until the next day so that it would be daylight and the roads would have time to be cleared. My husband, my nine month old baby, two dogs, and I left the house at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Our trip usually takes about 12-13 hours.

I should have known something was up when it took us four hours to get to I-81. That was twice the time. No big deal though. Once we hit Virginia and I-81, the roads were clear and we cruised along. We stopped for lunch, topped off the gas and hit the road after about an hour. It wasn't ten miles up the road when we hit the stopped traffic. After four hours, we had only gone thee miles. We spent a lot of time on the phone getting updates on the road from my Mom in New York. Sometime around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., we found were back to cruising. My husband and I decided to push on a few more hours and then find a hotel. We hadn't gone very far.

Thirty miles up the road we were stopped again. Around 6:00 p.m., Mom started calling hotels in the next two towns trying to find us a room. Nada, zip, zilch. She found a hotel in Staunton that still had rooms, could we make it thirty miles to there? The hotel wouldn't take a reservation. Maybe we should just turn around and go home? I let her know that if turning was an option, we might consider it. By 11:30 p.m., Mom was going to bed, but if we needed her to look for or call for anything, wake her up.

I wouldn't recommend our hotel. Hotel Hyundai on I-81 mile marker 181. The service sucked, but there was a wake up call! Spending the night in the van, with a nine month old and two dogs sucks big time. We never moved. There was nowhere to go. Men have it so much easier when stuck on the highway overnight! That is all I am going to say about that! By 12:15 a.m. I had decided that alternating napping in case we moved was dumb. We should just sleep and if we moved, someone would honk if we didn't wake up.

I moved into the drivers seat so my husband could stretch out in the passenger seat. I would sleep for forty-five minutes then wake up, crank on the van, wait fifteen minutes, turn it off, then go back to sleep. I repeated that pattern until 6:15 a.m. I saw a flashlight floating around at that point way up the line. A cop was walking down the middle knocking on any trucks or cars that weren't awake. Finally, movement!

We finally arrived in Staunton and decided to stop and have breakfast. We hung around there for two hours. There was a brief consideration of getting a hotel room and just relaxing and hitting the road again Monday morning. However, I decided I was ready for this trip to be over, so we soldiered on. Luckily, it was nearly noon by then and the roads were getting better as it was a nice sunny, but cold day. We arrived safely at my parents house at 8 p.m. on Sunday evening. A trip that takes twelve hours, took thirty six. If you have a chance to get off the road, take it!



*******************
This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Second Chance, Week 1. The topic this week was “Not Throwing Away My Shot".
kajel: (Me)
"La Chiave Fiore, The Flower Key."

"What's that Cyn?" Meredith called over her shoulder as she rummaged through the open box in front of her. Where had she put that auction pamphlet?

"This is one of your museum magazine things Meredith. It has a flower key."

Meredith paused and looked up at what Cynthia was holding. "Oh that one, yeah, I got that one about a year ago. It's something that's been in a church in Italy for the past 150 years or so. The name caught my eye."

"Did you go to Italy to get it?"

"What?" Meredith frowned. "Oh, no, it's not a key at all. Just a gold flower. There is a little loop on the back. I think it was a piece of a necklace or maybe a button." Meredith turned back to the box in front of her. "Aha! I found the pamphlet. There's a collection of antique keys being sold in France next week. The nobleman that created the collection was fond of delicate gold keys."

"It says here that the Chiave Fiore is displayed in a private collection at a church outside of Florence. They don't know why it is called the Flower Key as the piece is not a key at all." Cynthia continued reading.

"Exactly. The Porta Caeli Manuscript is locked with a gold clasp. No one has been able to pick the lock without damaging the clasp. It's too valuable to damage. It definitely requires a key."

"I still can't believe you bought that illuminated manuscript last month for so much money and you can't even open it and look at it." Cynthia shook her head. "Meredith, I know that this doesn't appear to be what you're looking for. It doesn't look like a key at all, but I think you should look at this." Cynthia walked over to her friend and handed her the magazine. "Look at the flower. It looks just like one of the flowers entwined around the gate on the manuscript."

Meredith studied the picture of the flower. She jumped up and went to the vault across the room. Quickly she opened the door and moved to the case where she stored the 13th century manuscript. She held the magazine close to the gilded gate on the front of the book.

Cynthia peered down at the two items. "It is exactly the same flower."

"I don't know how this could be it, but I think I need to go to Italy tomorrow. You're right. They are exactly the same in every detail." Meredith said.

Cynthia smiled at her excited friend. Maybe she would actually get to see why that manuscript was worth over a million and a half dollars in this lifetime after all.



*******************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 9 Sudden Death Write-Off!. This was an 'Open Topic'. I wrote about these two characters before. Once in 2013 with Treasures Unique, and in 2014 with Rainy Days.
kajel: (Me)
We are sitting in her hospital room listening to her doctor. It's finally Monday morning and her oncologist may let her go home today. She's been here since Friday. She had her first chemotherapy a week ago. They never found a reason for the fever and infection she developed. None of the cultures came back with a culprit.

"I think the steroid I have to take for the chemotherapy gave me the infection." She says. "Prednisone does that to me. It makes me have infections."

"Mom, chemotherapy suppresses your immune system and everyone in your house is sick! I'm pretty sure the steroid, which isn't Prednisone like you've taken before, has nothing to do with putting you in the hospital."

Two chemotherapys, two hospital visits. Her Oncologist doesn't think her body is tolerating the aggressive chemotherapy he has put her on. He steps her back to a different type that isn't as harsh. Instead of taking the steroid once a day before and three days after, she now has to take five pills the night before and the morning of chemotherapy. She balks.

"I don't do well on Prednisone. Do I really have to take it?"

The answer is yes. The steroid suppresses to side affects of the chemotherapy. Without it, she would be even more miserable.

The new chemotherapy isn't putting her in the hospital. The comments about the steroid are unending. I see no visible differences in her after taking the medication, but she complains of multiple problems. The doctor has told her that she has to have it. I'm starting to sound like a broken record.

We are four weeks into the new regimen of weekly chemotherapy. The nurse is setting up her pre-chemotherapy IVs. She gets three. One of them is the steroid. She starts listing all the horrible side affects she gets from the steroid to the nurse.

I sigh, "you have to have the steroid." We chat together before she drifts off from the Benedryl she receives.

"You know," she says to me, "that's why I was so tired yesterday!" She sounds excited. "It was the steroids that made me so exhausted all day yesterday."

I give up. I retreat into silence, keeping logic to myself. I don't point out that she took the steroid last night just before bed, not yesterday morning. She's going through this and I realize, she doesn't truly understand what is going on. The steroid is the evil destroying her and the chemotherapy is making her feel better. It's the other way around, but no logic in the world in going to change her mind.



*********

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 8. The topic this week was “No Comment".
kajel: (Me)
How do I answer questions about my roots, when I didn't live in any one place for more than four or five years until after I was twenty eight years old? I've lived in North Carolina now for over thirteen years. When I mention my family, I talk about them being in New York. 'Oh, you're from New York', they say. Well, no. I only lived there for about three years in my late twenties. Maybe it's best to start at the beginning. A man from New York and a woman from Arizona meet and fall in love. Is that a little too early in the beginning?

I'm an Air Force Brat. That's how I usually start that conversation. I know there are people out there that don't know what that means. My father was in the Air Force for twenty six years. He was in before he met my mother in Arizona and married her, until two weeks before my twenty first birthday. I was born just outside of Phoenix, AZ and we stayed there until I was about four. I have very little memory of the place that I always referred to as my home. I don't refer to our moves in the years that we did them. I remember them by what grade of school I was in.

When I started kindergarten just after I turned five, we were in Illinois. I remember the base we lived on. I remember the house we lived in. We had cats then, before we discovered my sister was allergic. I went through third grade in Illinois.

Fourth grade found us in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. It was back to the sand, cacti, and lizards for us. The desert was my backyard. The lack of cats meant no pets. I visited every dog I could on my way to and from school every day. I remember the man who tied his doberman puppy up so he couldn't visit with me each morning. I finished elementary school here.

Seventh grade in junior high was radically different. We were in England, stationed overseas for four years. Instead of wide open desert out my back door, I had a beautiful forest. In both instances, when I say my backyard, that is what I mean. Both base houses were on the edge of the base. My fondest memories of childhood are from England. Living out of the country is an experience very few I have met have had.

My Junior year of high school we returned to the states and I was living in Kansas. Culture shock was the term we used here. I was old enough at that point to be unhappy with our move. In England I was in a small school of all Air Force kids. Everybody was the same, we were all brats. I wasn't used to police patrolling the hallways, gangs and other issues that my new school had. When Dad retired, we moved on.

He got a job in the middle of nowhere, swampsville Georgia. I hated it. I moved to Tucson, AZ to live with my Mom's family for three years. The small hospital I was working in closed and I missed my parents and sisters, so it was back to Georgia. I still hated it. In 2001 my Dad changed positions in his company and we all packed up and moved to Albany, NY. I was twenty five. My family is still there. I, however, left in 2004, when I was twenty eight, to come to North Carolina to be with the man I loved.

I'm still here in North Carolina. I'm married and raising a family. I still stammer and stutter and wonder where to start when I get the question. I'm an Air Force brat. I'm from all over.



***************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 7. The topic this week was “Where I'm From".
kajel: (Me)
"Alright, let's work on spinning back side kicks!" my instructor shouts out.

This is the part I've dreaded. My balance is shot after having to quit. I've been out of karate for nearly two years. A herniated disc in my back derailed by quest for fitness for awhile. Depression from the pain and lack of activity set me back even more. I'm just now feeling healed enough to begin karate again, physically and emotionally.

I spin my whole body with forced enthusiasm. My feet stick slightly to the mat and I don't make it all the way around. I stumble, unbalanced by the kick I throw. The spins always get me. They were a problem before also.

I was 280 lbs. when I started karate the first time. I weigh more now, though not by a lot. I have less muscle now then I did then. I feel ungainly and ridiculous. This is such a different feeling than the enthusiasm of my very first class.

"Point your heel," he says. My instructor walks over to me. He takes up a stance and demonstrates for me. "Take that planted foot that you are spinning on and rotate your heel just before you spin. Point the heel at your target."

I take a deep breath and follow his instructions. I take my time to set up and think about what I just saw him do. Suddenly, I spin beautifully. I feel coordinated and balanced for just a moment. My kick strikes out with snap and confidence.

"Great kick."

I smile. Maybe I can find that enthusiasm again.



*******************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 6. The topic this week was “Heel Turn".
kajel: (Me)
I know where I should be. My mind is three moves ahead, but somehow, I've lost a step in the process. My mind is there, however, not the rest of me. I see where I should be. How do I get there?

That's how I got caught. I knew where I needed to go. I lost the how. It's all so fuzzy now. I took a job. It seemed pretty routine to me. I have an excellent reputation for getting the job done. Excellent reputations are important. You don't get the good jobs like me if you don't have one. The good jobs mean good money. The money allows me to pick and choose the jobs I want. Got a good one. A job that is.

I remember the house clearly. Slip in, get what I came for and slip out. Easy money is good and builds the reputation more. Got caught though. I knew where I needed to be. I knew what I needed to do. It got fuzzy. My mind was there, but I wasn't.

I was out, easy as can be. I was moving, moving down the alley. There was a noise and I was up the fire escape in a flash. Only, I wasn't was I? I thought I was, but I was just standing. I remember that now. Just standing looking at the guard. That's not right. I should have been up above.

Fuzzy, cold and dark is all I have now. There was a stone pressing into my cheek, but it's gone now. Not me, the stone is gone; the stone and the guard. I don't hear them anymore. That's right, I heard them. They spoke to me. They said something important. I know it was important. If I could just remember.

I lost the how. My mind was up, but I wasn't. That's not good for the reputation. That's it!

"Reputations get too big."

Can't feel the ground anymore. Maybe it was too easy. The job I mean.






*******************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 4. The topic this week was “I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be".
kajel: (Me)
"We've got four more souls like the one that just came through." The harried reaper looked to his boss for direction.

"Four? Well, stick them in a holding room. We've got a backlog from that fire in the slums."

The reaper escorted the four newly released souls to to one of the few open holding rooms.

"You gentlemen can wait here. We'll get you processed in as soon as possible. After processing, you will arrive in purgatory until the Grim Reaper arrives for sorting. You'll have a couple days in purgatory waiting, then it will be off to wherever your soul belongs."

With that parting bit of information the reaper was gone. The four men looked at each other in shock.

"Are we dead? What happened?" Asked the one of the men.

"I think we are, Riley. You remember Thad ran in yelling about people after him?"

"Yeah, I remember that." Piped up Giles. "He went past me."

"Did you not see the huge amazon that ran in after him and attacked us? She killed me and Giles."

"I saw her, but that's all I remember." Said Riley.


Suddenly, the door opened and three more men were ushered in by a different reaper.

"Riley!" One of the new guys said. "What's going on?"

Riley sighed. "We're dead."

"Thad came down stairs and this knight or something came in after him. She attacked us with this huge sword and the next thing I know, we're in some strange place with this guy telling us to hurry up, we can go into the holding room with our friends."

"Damn! I hope Thad's alright, I really liked that guy. We haven't seen him." Riley said.

"Jarl was with us too, and he isn't here," said the new guy as he looked around. "Maybe the two of them got away."

The seven men sat around swapping notes and stories for a awhile. They were trying to understand what was happening when they died.

One of the reapers from earlier arrived to usher them to the processing department.

"Come this way." He motioned them out the door. "Well, you gentlemen will get to meet up with your other friends in processing."

"Other friends, how many of us are here?" Riley frowned.

"We had another eleven of you trickle in."

"Eleven! What in the world is happening out there."

They arrived in processing to see a group of men they knew waiting.

"Jarl! We hoped you got away!"

Riley looked at the other men.

"I don't see Thad. Maybe he got away, I hope he is alright."

"Thad!" Jarl shouted. "He stabbed me!"

"What. What do you mean Thad stabbed you?"

"I mean the traitor stabbed me. He tried to do it in my back, but he said something that confused me and I turned and watched him kill me."

There was a lot of angry muttering as the men were processed into Purgatory. After passing through an endless series of corridors, the large group of men found them selves in a large room.

"Welcome to Purgatory." The reaper said as he ushered them through the final door. "Make yourselves at home while you wait for sorting."

"Riley!"

They all heard a shout as someone ran over to them.

"Thad?" Riley watched as the man ran up to him.

"Man, I'm sorry to see you here." Thad quickly embraced the confused Riley. "I've been here for hours. I was hoping that meant no one else got caught by surprise like me."

"Wait, If you were here before us, then who the hell was that in the keep?"

The assassin removed the disguise and looked around the room. Looking like one of the sentries had been useful.

**********************

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 2. The topic this week was That One Friend

I Exist

Nov. 23rd, 2016 07:13 pm
kajel: (Me)
No one sees me. I work, I eat, I sleep. My life is monochromatic. There are no extremes. I exist, but do I live?

At work, I am forever forgotten. I walk in as unacknowledged as when I leave. The woman in the cubicle next to me doesn't know my name. We've worked side by side for three years.

There are no ups or downs. There is only the status quo. I exist, but do I want to live?

Strangers skip over me. There's no friendly banter, no smiles, no eye contact. I frequent the same businesses over and over. I never receive recognition. I remain alone in a sea of faces.

There are no depths of emotion. No peaks to aspire to. I exist, but I want to live.

I have found a book. A book of rituals and spells. I don't believe in such things, but there is one that calls to me. My days are filled with thoughts of how my existence could change. My life could become more.

This is obsession. Obsession is new to me. I exist, but I want to live!

The ritual is nearly complete. With the last word from my lips, something shifts. From nothing, before me, steps a creature of nightmares. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this. For the first time, terror courses through my veins. It looks into my eyes and sees me.

The status quo is shattered. It's smile haunts my dreams. It hunts me. I am alive now, but how much longer will I exist?



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

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 1. The topic this week was I need the struggle to feel alive.

I Am

Nov. 10th, 2016 07:35 pm
kajel: (Me)
I am Mom. The one two children look to for love, guidance and nurturing. Let's not forget food, but only what they like to eat please, breaking up the squabbles and doling out the discipline. I get to kiss the boo-boos and receive the hugs. It's all worth it, good and bad.

I am Wife. The one he counts on. He is my partner, my love, my comfort and my home.

I am Dutiful Daughter-in-Law. The one who listens to the word, Cancer, and understands what this means, even when she doesn't. I understand the implications, the appointments, the long haul and I will be there for it all. I am the rock. I do it for him. I do it for us.

I am more than this. I am less than this. These things dominate, here and now. There is chaos, creativity and procrastination.

I am Me.


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

This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 0. The topic this week was Introduction.

LJ Idol

Nov. 1st, 2016 10:41 am
kajel: (Me)
Throwing my hat in! Wait, do I have a hat? Ah, yes, my Smithsonian baseball hat! That should work.

Time to break out of my funk and get creative again.
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