Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Notice Me: A Bit of Fiction

I’ve lost some weight but he doesn’t notice. No. Of course not. But he does notice the house is a total mess. Well no shit. It’s a fricking disaster. He’s home all Sunday and could have helped--but no. Easier to complain about it. Fine. I have the solution. Tomorrow, I’m buying shelves. Big ass shelves. There’s a lack of storage space in this damn house and I don’t care if the shelves cost 500 bucks. I’m buying one. No, I’m buying two. Screw it. And then all the shit across House Land will have a shelf to sit on. It drives me crazy, all this crap on the floors. Toys. Dog hair. Dust bunnies. Bits of country fucking living—everywhere. On the floor. I want nothing on the floor. There. It’s settled. Shelves.

I’m not a smoker. Smoking is bad haven’t you heard? It’s bad for your health, for your lungs, it’ll give you cancer, and emphysema, and God knows what else. But I swear. I SWEAR if there was a box of smokes on the table right now, I’d chain smoke every single one of them until the box was empty. Then, I’d smoke the box. I should be happy, but I’m not. I don’t smoke, but thankfully, life isn’t just an overflowing barrel of regrets and mistakes--I have liquor.  The house is a mess. Well screw it. In the cabinet downstairs, on a shelf, sits Mr. Grand Marnier. Waiting. So, I grab a shot glass from the kitchen, but not thick crappy ones they serve at the local bars. No. Tonight, I grab a fancy shot glass, the kind you put the expensive shit in. It's ultra thin with a delicate rim, and the glass is tinted blue. It even has an elegant mini stem as a base. I open the heavy, wooden cabinet doors. The hinges squeak loudly which makes my jaw clamp down. Lifting up on my tippy toes, I find Mr. Grand Marnier and wrap my fingers around his neck. I don’t smoke, but I can sure as hell drink. 

It’s nice outside and the weather is warm. I step out with my hands full, and notice how warm it is. All summer the weather was shit, nothing but rain clouds and cold temperatures. But now that September has rolled around, mother nature decides to pull her head out of her ass and spread some of her fucking sunshine. I huff, kick off my flip flops, and stomp out across the sticky grass. With a fancy shot glass in one hand, and the bottle of GM in the other, I make my way to the hammock. Of course, I step on a friggin acorn on the way. Stupid oak tree. Sometimes, nature can be a bitch. Cursing under my breath, I reach the shabby hammock, its ability to hold my weight without eviscerating makes me think this may not be such a good idea. Screw it. Throwing caution to the wind, I get in with the grace and elegance of a baby walrus. I can’t believe I ate that whole chocolate bar earlier. Crunch. There goes my diet. Anyway, the damn hammock finally slows from a nauseating swing, to a I-think-I-can-pour-without-spillage sway. I pop open Mr. GM. He makes a deep, percussive, hollow sound when his cork is released. My mouth waters. I pour the liquid into the fancy shot glass then wedge the bottle between my knees. It's 8:00pm and the sun has set, and yet, it’s not too dark, lingering sunlight still reflects off an overcast sky. I make out spooky faces in the knotted branches above me. I hate the encroachment of winter. No, actually I don’t care. I take a swig and don’t even feel the burn. I lay back, close my eyes, and cry without vocalizing into sobs. Just a few tears run down the sides of my face. I’m just flushing out my tear ducts, it's been a while.

It’s a nice night. That's what I'm supposed to say. The crickets are chirping and a gentle breeze is brushing through the leaves. Squawks of a God damn screech owl pierce through the air. Sounds like my liquor cabinet. Now, I hear a plane rumble through the clouds above. Shut the hell up! All I want is quiet. No that’s not right. I want stillness. Just for a little while. I want everything to stand still. I lift my head and take another swig. This time, I feel the burn and mentally follow it as the liquor seeps down my throat and fans out into my chest. The oak tree drops an acorn and I hear it tear through the leaves before it hits the ground. And then another one falls, except this one hits me between the eyes. REALLY?! I rub my head. Stupid tree. Now I’m wondering if I had dinner. I can’t remember. Did I eat? Was it any good? Pop. I fill my shot glass back up. I don’t care. My head is heavy. Feels like Mr. GM is going straight to my noggin. But you know what? It feels good. At this very moment, I don’t care about anything. I don’t care about the damn screech owl, or the messy house. I don’t care about my shitty week or the shitty week after that. I don’t care about the war or the bombardments. I don’t care about Ebola, global warming, famine, the economy or the melting polar ice caps. Hell, I don’t even care about the baby seals. I don’t care about anything. I just want it all to still. Be still. Shhhhh. I take another sip from Mr. GM and thwart all effort to lift my head. The screech owl is gone and with it, the plane. Shadows grow tall around me but I don’t notice. The world is darker, and quieter, and now the bottle is empty--but I don’t notice. At last my world is still, but sadly, I don’t notice. 

I didn’t even notice.    

Monday, 8 September 2014

Remembering Tina Downey

The writing community recently lost a wonderful friend, writer, and blogger, Tina Downey. I didn't know Tina as well as many, but I did get the chance to know her better through to the Tree of Life collaboration. Her comments in the feed of our little facebook group were always funny, and bright, and positive, despite her struggles with health issues. The virtual tree house will never be the same. 

Her avatar was a sunflower and it's a wonderful symbol to remember her by. So today, to honor Tina's memory, many bloggers are gathering/planting sunflowers to brighten up the internet in the same way Tina brightened the world around her. 

Unfortunately, sunflowers were difficult for me to find and plant this late in the season where I live. Therefore, I planted these perennial marguerite daisies instead. They remind me of miniature sunflowers--and Tina. 

Rest in peace, Tina.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IWSG: Making the Most of a Difficult Situation

There's this saying in English: 

- If it ain't broke, don't fix it.   

It's a good saying.

After living for over 10 years in France, I've noticed they have a similar saying except it goes something like this: 

- If it ain't broke, break it, make it obscenely complicated, non user-friendly, and then make the people pay for it through higher taxes. 

The French government recently reformed the primary school timetable, forcing it to go from a workable system to a complete after school mess, leaving kids, teachers, daycare, and staff unable to cope, and struggling for financial resources that they don't have. *deep breath* 

I'll spare you all the details because I don't have the energy to write all the expletives that would accompany my rant. And really, AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT, MERDE! 

But the gist of it is I'm now having to wait 2 hours in my car  after lunch (because of our tight budget and limited options) to pick up my kids when school lets out. And, I'm paying higher costs for a school bus system that my kids can only use half the time. FAIS CHIER! 

Now, a lot of the problems we're having with the timetable is because while the public school system had no choice but to comply with the reform, the private schools didn't, they basically gave the government reform a giant middle finger (and I don't blame them) but the trouble is they use the same bus system as the public schools....but they're on a different timetable.. and there are limited buses....see how this can, and has, turned into a mega cluster failure? PUTAIN!

Anyway, these dumbass, brainless changes have also impacted my time as a writer. Which is to say, I now have less and less time to write during the day. So, seeing how I'll be spending lots of time just waiting in my car, I've decided to make the most of a shitty situation. I'm going to pack my laptop and use that time to write. When it's hot, I'll bring some water and I'll keep writing in the car. And when the cold comes in, I'll bring an extra blanket, a thermos, and I'll keep writing. And when it rains and pours, I'll just keep writing. 

Who knows, this may be the best thing that has happened to my writing schedule in a long time. No house work, no garden, no grocery shopping, no distractions, just me and my laptop. Could it be, I'm actually looking forward to this? O_O  It'll be interesting to see if this works out, even if only a little. I'll let you know next month. Wish me luck and I hope you all are faring better than I am!  

Many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh our IWSG super-host and his awesome team of co-hosts this month. To find out more about the IWSG monthly bloghop, or the IWSG website, feel free to click the highlited links or the button on my sidebar.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Fatherly Advice and Fuzzy Alarm Clocks: An IWSG Post

These past few months have been nothing short of crazy served with a tall, straightjacket flavored cocktail topped with a little broken umbrella. The good news is, I'm getting a lot of stuff done in my personal life, the bad news is, I haven't had much time for writing or blogging and I feel really guilty about that. Plus, I miss you guys! How I wish I could do both. 

Nevertheless, I do have a plan to get back into writing and all things blogging, I just have to wait until September when the kiddos go back to school and I have a 2 hour wait in my car before picking them up after school (long story that I blame the French Ministry of Education for F*cking things up royaly and then making the little people, like me, pay for it.....ugggg, don't get me started*angry face*). 

So anyway, until I can get back to a regular schedule, I'd like to share a piece of fatherly advice my Dad gave to me as we chatted over skype the other day. I'd been complaining how buys things had been over on my side of the world and he said: 

"At some point you just have to quit saying 'you gotta do this or you gotta do that' and just go out there, and do it." 

Well, you're absolutely right. 
I love you, Dad!

I hope you all are doing well and getting things done, if not, then just go out there and do it!

And as a little bonus for you guys, I added a short clip of how I wake up in the mornings, via little, fuzzy, attack kitty-bums. Enjoy! :D 

And now, back to my regularly scheduled crazy life. Oh and did I mention I have 11 people coming over for dinner tonight? *starts hyperventilating*

Friday, 4 July 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Birthday America! 

To everyone celebrating today, have fun, be safe, and save a cold one for me. Oh and whatever you do, don't overcook the steaks! 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

IWSG: A Reminder To Be Grateful

Something happened a couple weeks ago and while I had planned to post funny, profanity-filled pictures for today, I’ve had a change of heart. While I still plan to post my original pics (most likely Sunday so you extra sensitive folks beware), today I want to talk about gratitude. I apologize for the length and understand if you need to skim this, but I need to get this off my chest.

A couple weeks ago, we took a family member into our homes that needed a place to stay. She had no job, no money and was having a hard time figuring out this thing called life. We took her in with open arms, happy to help in anyway we could, and we did. We never asked her for a dime, she had access to our entire house, had her own room, I fed her, etc, etc. Anyway, this person had no particular job skills and told us she didn’t want a desk job because she had trouble sitting for long periods of time. Fine. My husband suggested he pull some strings at work to see if he could get her an entry level assembly job. It wouldn’t be glorious work, but the pay and hours were good, and it could be temporary until she found something more suitable. She agreed.     

After one day at work, she burst through the front door, LITERALLY stomped her feet, said a few choice words about how awful the job was, and slammed the door to her room. My mouth dropped, my kids were there and I struggled to figure out what happened. She sulked in her room all night and I decided to let her cool off  so we could talk about it the next day. Now, a mature adult would have simply said, something along the lines of ‘Thank you, I tried but it didn’t work out, I need to find something else.’ No big deal and at least she tried. Well guess what, the following morning she was gone. Yep, gone. She packed her stuff up during the night, never left a note, or phone call, did nothing to explain what the hell was going on. Frantic, we made a few phone calls and found out she had gone back to her parent’s house. We were floored. I tried to figure out what we did wrong, but you know what? Screw her. She used us for over a month, never once expressed thanks for anything we did for her, and when it came down to actually doing a real job, she bolted. Her actions had some serious consequences. Guess who had to explain why she didn’t show up for work the next day? And guess whose reputation got tarnished after recommending her for this job? Not her reputation that’s for sure. We later found out via her parents that she didn’t want to work there because of the dust particles in the air that irritated her contact lenses and that she didn’t feel well working on the line. Sounds like a spoiled teenager, right? Except she’s not a teenager, she’s an ungrateful 35 years old, who has now secured a spot in my next book and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Folks, you cannot imagine how upset and disappointed I am over this incident and I truly wish it could have ended differently, because make no mistake, this relationship has ended. Twice she’s come to us for help and twice she’s treated us like fools. There will not be a third time. On the bright side, I’ve had ample material to talk to my kids about gratitude, about working hard for the things we want in life. Nothing in life is owed to you and at some point along the line, you are going to need help. A word of advice: Do not shit in the hands that are trying to help you. In today’s writing world, authors can’t write successful books without the help of others, be it editors, beta readers, writing groups, tech specialists, or even as simple as moral support from friends and family. We all need a little help and there’s nothing wrong with that, so be grateful, be kind, and be willing to pay it forward. So in light of this incident, I want to give thanks to the writing community, to all my writing buddies near and far, the commenters who stumble across this little blog of mine and to IWSG for giving us a platform to express our insecurities and encourage others to keep writing. I want you all to know how grateful I am that our paths have crossed, virtual or not. <3  

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Silent Sunday: Garden Colors and a Handful of Kittens

Bombyliidae (Bee Fly). 
This is the first time I've seen them in my garden--Yeah!
Bee Flies are a large group within the Dipteran order, some being 
important pollinators. Most Bee Flies can be seen on or hovering around flowers. 
Adults mainly feed on nectar and pollen.  Many look like bumblebees with a long humming 
bird like proboscis.

Le bleuet de France: symbol in France of memory and solidarity
for veterans and victims of war, much like the remembrance poppy

This is a real bumblebee in the genus, Bombus. :)



Comet and Galaxy (aka: Coon and Stache ;)  ) 

Happy Sunday! 


*All of these are pictures I took with my camera. You are welcome to use any of them, all I ask is you give me credit for the it. That's all. :) 

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