Now that I am almost conscious…

Well, not necessarily conscious, more like today that sticky feeling inside my brain subsided enough so that when someone talks to me, I can formulate a response in less than 5 minutes. Yesterday, more like a 10 minute delay.

And to that end, I profusely apologize to everyone. Even though the fingers were able to work in the previous post, it does not mean the brain had anything to do with what emerged on the screen. Whatever it was.

Now to second apology. Got a new phone and somehow I lost the ability to open or receive emails to my Noble Obligations email account. Heavy sigh. Technology and I are not always friends. Or on speaking terms. So the job today is to contact my tech guy to have him show me (one more time. And the last time, I promise. Or rather hope.) how to fix the issue.

Okay. I have officially done all I had to do in the way of making EveryThing Clear. As if that’s really ever finished. But I do intend it to be so.

In my head, it’s the Jean Luc Picard line from Star Trek: Make it so!

In reality, it more like: Sorry, Oops. Sorry. Let me try again. Duct tape, anyone? Or a nail file?




I hate being sick, under the weather, not up to par, dragging lower than a snake’s belly, whatever you call it. Especially that nasty space of time when you first wake up, feeling pretty good. You’re not dead, no real aches in bones or muscles, temp is good. Then you stand up.

Oh no.

The nice ‘I’m good’ feeling skitters away like a wad of disturbed cockroaches, leaving an out-to-sea-foggy mind, the head dips a bit, then a twinge of ache, nose starts clogging and the day begins again. So, no, I’m not good, yet.

Of course the next stage isn’t much better. Which is today. I feel good enough to enjoy being sick. Which means I’m whiny, crabby and no fun to be around. Especially for me.

But I’m stuck with this semi-sick person in my own body. Even Netflix doesn’t help, ‘cause I’m not functioning enough to figure out the remote. Need a clearer head for that on a good day. And this isn’t one of them.

What can I do? Ah, well, type. And by now, keyboarding is close enough to natural that I can power up the machine and start writing. Long Suffering Husband also had a bout with whatever this particular wog is and brilliant man that he is, he sat in his recliner and did nothing. No interacting outside of the necessary. Sleeping as often as he could. So he’s on the mend all the way to helping the daughter with a door bell issue today.

Ah, that I should be so wise.

So, today, I am following his example. Doing as little as possible, drinking lots of water, fruit juices, a bit of soup, whatever actually sounds good to consume. Which is a short list.

Had great plans to prepare a thoughtful, deep-digging post on developing scenes. Oh, wait, no. That was for me to sequence the next scenes in the murder mystery I’m working on. For the blog, it was something else, which at the moment is lost in the mental ether disrupting coherent thought.

So, y’all, this will have to do.

Next week, I promise. Rational thought. Or at least the closest I come to it.


Been thinking. Again. Yes, I know, it can lead to strange places, but a few of them I know. And if you read this blog much, you’ll know some of them as well.

Took a weekend trip to Oklahoma, getting back last night. It was fun to see what’s new, what’s not, and what was never there in the first place. Memories are funny things, and when I snagged on something I thought but was never, it jolted me. Like the building downtown that I remember as much bigger and grander, but in reality, a small sandstone block façade that had only one window in the front.

In my head, that building was a grand corner structure, with tall arches and a huge front window. It housed a bank, and the building next door, also hewn sandstone, was a law office, with glittering letters revealing the name of the partners, to be marveled at. The narrow street door guarded the entrance to the law office, and in my mind’s eye, it would reveal a gracious lobby, genteel office staff working to provide quiet, stately meeting rooms.

Across the street, the big TG&Y store boasted wide glass window, emblazoned with prices and promises of the goods inside. This weekend, I couldn’t actually find it. The window? Replaced with gentrified fake old fashioned glass openings. With three different boutique store names.

My favorite store, Katz Department store, now a trending eatery.

So no more round upholstered couch inside by the jewelry counter, the smell of chocolate and popcorn drifting in from across the store at the fine candies department. I loved sitting on that couch, waiting for my mom to finish her shopping from the fabric department. I could watch people through the front windows or as they moved around the store.

A gracious murmur of service, business and awareness.

All in a child’s mind.

Because it’s mixed up with images from books about New York city. Because I was the oldest girl of six kids (two older brothers) and as the usual baby sitter, I didn’t have the luxury of sitting on a nice seat in the store. Mom wouldn’t allow it.

“That furniture is for grownups. You keep the little ones quiet while I pay the lay-away.”

In truth, we sat in the car, parked in front of the store. Because that what kids did when I grew up. Winter, summer, warm or cold, we waited in the car. Contained and restrained by the knowledge that when Mom came back, she’d know who hit who, why the baby was awake or asleep, and how if anyone got out and then back in the car.

She’d know. Moms do that. We didn’t know how but she did.


And Another Thing

Have another short story offering. Oh, the fun of people.

Not All that Alien

Not that I’m complaining. Heavens no. My mama, now there was a woman never satisfied. And t-a-l-k, gracious, she could chat the leg off a mule. Flat wear out your ears. I know when to hold my peace. Mind turning up the thermostat?  The chill in here, it’s bad for my lumbago.

As I was saying, Burl, he’s my husband, he just had to have this RV, and I’m a good wife, so I didn’t say anything. He can be so difficult. That and him being quiet makes my job all that much harder. If I weren’t prodding him every moment, I’d never know what that man was thinking. But I am, you know, sensitive.

Must be because I’m more in tune with my surroundings. Mind not shining that light in my eyes? You keep it dim in this travel trailer, sort of European styling I guess. Not my cup of tea, but then I like good old American comfort.

But I don’t complain. Sort of close in here isn’t it? All this equipment. You people must really be into this new technology, computers, cell phones, wires running every which way. Looks messy to me.

Now, if you tossed a nice afghan over this chair, people would be more comfy. And they’d be more inclined to sit and visit. Not that you haven’t been attentive. Oh, my no. But a person ought to consider what guests like.

Now where was I?  The RV and Burl. I know you’d never guess, but it was all Burl’s idea to come all the way out here, in the middle of nowhere. Said he wanted some peace and quiet. I don’t know where he gets these whims. But I’m a good wife, and just put up with it. He’d never have stopped if you were here first.

Now me, I like a good visit. And you made it so easy, with your porch light so bright and all. I just felt pulled in.

My, there are several of you aren’t there?  Must have a big family. That’s so nice, all of you taking time to visit with me. And you do bear a strong resemblance, the same big eyes and small chins. Kind of like those Priceless Seconds ceramics.

I do love those little kiddos. You Italian, maybe?  Not that I’d know. My people are all from Del City, Oklahoma.

Oh, don’t touch the hair, I just had it done two days ago. Mavis’s House of Hair. She is so good. Nice tight curls that don’t collapse, if I wrap my head in a satin cap for the first two days at night.

I realize you being bald and all it might sound funny, but you might ought to look her up. She’s done lovely things for a couple of ladies who’ve had chemo. Mavis sells a line of wigs that look very natural. Of course with hair like hers, a body would have to do something to look normal.

About this drink you’ve given me?  It’s a little strong for my tastes. I’ll set it to one side. Sensitive stomach you know. Since I was a baby, I just cannot handle some things. But Burl, he loves his coffee and his hot spicy foods. I just fix it for him and watch him eat.

Of course, I eat right along with him, to be polite. Mama brought me up right. It’s hard, but I don’t complain. I just put that mess he likes on the table with a smile. And watch him eat.

Speaking of pains, my hip is starting to twinge. I’ll just scoot over and put my feet on this box thing. The doctor says I need to keep my joints aligned, and I always do what he says.

When it makes sense.

Sometimes, I confess he suggests the silliest things. Said I should practice silence for twenty minutes a day, that it would help Burl’s blood pressure. You ever heard of such a foolish thing?

Goodness, this box makes a noise. And those lights. Guess it’s not a foot stool after all. But you people really should provide some amenities for guests. I mean, not all of us are little like you. I bet you don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. You got any doughnuts or cookies?  At least a cup of coffee. I’m a mite peckish. A good host would do that. But you being foreigners, probably don’t know.

Burl said he was going fishing, and you know how that is. He’ll be gone for hours, missing meals and all the best shows on television. Not that I watch it much. That Vanna, she is so cute. Nicer smile than that Erica Kane, or those nasty minded blondes on the Young and the Restless.

You know, I just realized the strangest thing. All this time, we’ve been talking up a storm, and my mouth hasn’t moved. But I know I’ve been talking to you. Don’t that beat all?  My mind has been so busy talking, and I haven’t had to open my mouth, not once. That’s handy.

Wonder if I could this with Burl?  Not that he responds any more than you do. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. You’re quiet, like him. You do seem a trifle agitated, though. Moving around so quick, messing with all those buttons and dials. What you need is a nice quiet rest and chat. It always calms me. My blood pressure is never high. Not like Burl’s.

Speaking of, I best get home and see if he’s back in time for supper. You know how men are, they want food on the table when they hit the door. But it is nice to sit here. He can just wait for once.

Is it my imagination or is my chair moving?  Right to the door as it opens. Will wonders never cease?

I better stand up or this thing will dump me out. This has been a lovely visit. I’m thankful Burl wasn’t here. Honestly, he’d talk you to death. My mama was right, give a man breath and he’ll talk ‘til the world looks level.

I like how your ramp me moves to the ground. Very high tech. I could use one of these.

Well, I never. Here I put myself out, being neighborly, taking time for a friendly little visit, and they close the door, nearly on my heels. And they’ve started their motor on their RV. I can hear it. Foreigners can be so rude.

Well, if they were in that much of a hurry, they should never have invited me in. And they weren’t all that warm and friendly. Not that I complain.


What is to be is Not

Today is one of those days. It started out with such hope, fresh promise and my devout desire to Get The Book Out There. Where upon reality laid waste to everything and all I got done was profuse apologies to my husband, God and myself.

The book is only half Out There but I am slogging onward. Okay, so some of that slogging was looking at Pinterest which had some great ideas and a couple of plot points that had to be examined. Okay, all you snickering thoughts in the background should be quiet. So I spend a bit of time on YouTube. Some of that was research. Some.

But I did get some things done. I fixed lunch.

For all those of you from a northern upbringing,  to fix does not always involved with broken things, promises or hearts. To fix as in to prepare is a grammatical construct from the 14th century, as to fasten on or attach. Also used in English around 1809, a situation from which it is difficult to move. Also, usage from the 1600’s referring to preparing a meal, a project or an intended action.

So, I did so some intended actions producing a result. Technology is not always my friend or even acquaintance. One of my goals for this next year will be to no longer view misbehaving computers, programs or graphic design tools as platforms to question the heritage or birth situations of those things. I promise. At least not in the hearing of small children or husbands.

Lunch was tasty, filling and ended with a satisfying dessert. Which I created two days ago. It was the last of the shortbread cookies, and now I have room for some other sweet tidbits. Hmmm. Homemade caramel popcorn?

Appropriate for the evening. And much too sticky for my fingers to achieve any worthwhile writing. I’ll save plotting and dialogue for tomorrow. When I can stop attempting to throttle software. Writing murder mysteries concerning software is so unsatisfying, boring and plebian.

Heavy sigh. Again.


The things I think.

A crazy thing about life, the more ya know, it turns out the more ya want to know. And the more ya know ya don’t know. This trip thru the Panama Canal reinforced that realization on me. Again. Well, not just the trip. Seems I’ve been thinking. Again.

LSH (long suffering husband) smiles when I say that. He says it’s to prevent loud fits of laughing. Ah, well. He knows me well.

But back to the original direction… Once I clear out all the debris drifting in on me.

Back! Back, I say!

Now I can see my feet once again. Dust bunnies are one thing, but thought bunnies have burrs.

Original thought trail: The things one learns when least expecting it. Humans are more than flesh/bone/action/reaction. The pretty fantasy of empty oblivion after a moment of existence doesn’t have any legs when you look at what people actually do. We dream, work and know those that come after us will stand on what we produce. And we do this as naturally as breathing.

Buildings, cities, nations. Ever wonder why we create, over and over and over? Nations, like people have life spans, cities and buildings the same. Have a thought, we do this because we know inside in the reality of every individual, Eternity is real. Not just a mental concept, or some filmy word picture. What we do today is part of Eternity.

Just as humans exist knowing Eternity is real, assaults on this certainty happen as well. As in Robert Frost’s poem, where he says “There is something that doesn’t love a wall…”, there is something that doesn’t love humans knowing Eternity is real.

Gotta wonder. And fight that which would steal truth from us. Here I am, tightening up the boxing gloves. And the bazooka.

Oh, the places I’ve been

Just got back from a trip through the Panama Canal. It’s been on my list for a long time and it lived up to everything I’d dreamed. We went all the way through from Atlantic to Pacific, with several ports along the way.

Actually going through the Canal took 8 hours (surprised me it took that long) and we were able to see the locks open and close on ships beside us. All the rails were filled with people watching from as many angles as possible.

Learned a lot, not just about the Canal but what it means to the world. At least 20% of the economy of Panama, the country comes from the Canal, for employment, maintenance and development. They made a new wider canal to better service bigger, longer freight ships and cruisers and new taller bridges crossing the Canal.

Several ships go half way and turn around because they’re too tall to go under one of the bridges. Plans are in place to wider and raise that bridge but it’ll take a while.

That region, from Columbia to Nicaragua is a beautiful, lush place, poised to be in a new place for world attention. The mix of peoples amazes me, from indigenous peoples to almost every other continent.

Have a lot to process about what I saw, learned and heard, so in the next few weeks or months, between story installments, I’ll talk about it. And of course, the knitters group was a mine of information and revelation.

But you’ll hear all about it. Later.

Scratch the Scrabble

Part 2

Steve twisted his mouth to a lopsided grin. “You all trying to get back those points I won?” He laid out the word nutty. “I’m cleaning up tonight. Fifteen points.”

“You could say that,” Ward agreed. He handed Steve a sandwich. “Have one of these. Peggy’s speciality.”

Steve took a big bite before Dulcie could stop him. “Hey, very good, Peggy. Could use a little salt though. What kind of sandwich is it?”

“I don’t use salt. Just something I like to whip up for company. Have one, Dulcie.”

Dulcie smiled, setting the sandwich beside her glass. “My turn?” she asked brightly. Turning her and Steve’s pockets might give some small protection. It once saved an ancestor from a death trap. One hand to her chin, she used the other to pull the pocket of her slacks out.


She brushed each tile with the ring then spelled out the word strong. “It’s a shame no one else from the office is here. I was looking forward to meeting everyone.”

“There’s just Steve and me.” Ward’s smooth explanation sent warning tingles to Dulcie’s mind. The room felt cooler now. Shadows flickered in the hall way. “My turn. Mind. Now that’s a good word.”

“I can top that, darling. Doorkeeper.” Peggy’s eyes opened wide for a moment as she smiled at Ward. He glanced at Steve, one eyebrow raised a fraction.

“That you did, my dear.” He turned a bland face to Dulcie and Steve. “Your turn.”

Steve screwed up his face, studying his tiles. “Wow, this is getting tougher. You two play this game a lot?”

“We find it’s a lovely way to pass the evening.” Peggy put her hands in her lap. Somewhere in the back of the house, Dulcie heard a creak, as if something shifted against a wall. The air grew close, cooler. Darkness hung outside the lamp lights.

“Got one. Skill. Talk about reaching.” The word attached to Dulcie’s last word. “Your turn, Dulcie.” His words slurred but he didn’t notice.


She had to get him out of here before the game ended. A sharp scent from her untouched sandwich bit her nose. Studying her tiles, she leaned toward Steve. She twisted her ring but what little protection it afforded did not go past her hand. “Let me see.” She fiddled with the tiles. Nothing. She racked her mind for something, anything.

Her nose tingled. “Excuse me.”

Dulcie picked up her purse, digging. Debris from past lunches, salt, ketchup packets, old napkins met her fingers. She grabbed a napkin, palming the salt packet and dabbed at her nose.

She sat upright. “Looks like I need to trade letters.” Thrusting her hand in and out of the bag, Dulcie felt the cold clinging of worn leather. Reading the tiles, she allowed a tiny smile. “Raven. The guardian.”

Ward frowned then shifted his face to a bemused pout. Peggy’s mouth twitched. “Guardian?” She shifted, hands under the table. The shadows thickened.

Ward leaned back in his chair. “Ravens. We don’t let any roost around here.” He clicked out three tiles to make a new word on Dulcie’s. “Ravenous.”

Steve shook his head, forcing his eyes open. “Is it getting warm in here?” He blinked.

Peggy and Ward watched him, cats eying a canary. Peggy’s tiny pink tongue flickered in and out. Dulcie swallowed. Behind her, faint scrabbling noises came from the dark hallway.

“Here, Steve.” She shoved the glass into his hand. He drank automatically, a slightly dazed smile on his face. Quickly, she turned the pocket of his trousers. The Kellers didn’t notice.

“Thanks, Honey. My turn?” He studied the board, frowned and began to hum an old pop tune. “How about this. Vain.” A silly grin creased his face.

Ward and Peggy sat back in their chairs, predators gathering muscles to spring. Twisting her ring, Dulcie looked around the room. Steve sat on her right, the front door beyond him. Until the game ended, they were safe. She had to act soon. But with what?


The tissue in her hand brushed the ring. Her purse. Salt. “Oh, this nose.” She bent as if getting another tissue. Palming a salt packet in her left hand, she wiped her nose with the new tissue then shook the leather bag. Thumb against the tiny paper tube now inside the bag, she pressed it open scattering salt among the tile. Acrid smoke began to curl out.

Peggy jumped up, sweeping the bag to the floor. Tiles, salt and bits of leather scattered in front of Ward. Dulcie jerked Steve to his feet, racing for the front door. As she dragged it open, a huge raven, wings blacker than the darkness swooped overhead, settling on their car roof. Steve stumbled, almost balking when the bird lifted its wings.

Dulcie shoved him in the suddenly open car door, scrambling in on the drivers side. A rising howl tore from the now dark cottage. Peggy, humpbacked and huge stood over Ward. He groveled, just out of reach from her claws.

“No, Peggy, No! I’ll find someone! I promise!” He crouched, arms flailing in the grip of the dark form growing from Peggy. Dulcie started the car, eyes on the rear view mirror, Steve passed out beside her. The raven cawed once then beat its wings, pushing the little car to safety down the narrow lane. As they sped away, Dulcie heard a ragged gnawing sucking of something being drawn down behind the stone walls of the cottage.

and now for Different

Hey y’all. Thought I’d try something different for the next few posts. A friend suggested I offer a taste of my writing stash. So, stepping out on a bit of a limb here.

Today’s post is half of a short story I did few years back. I’ll post the first 3 pages this week and the last 3 next week. Let me know what you think.


The tile bag lay slug-like on the table top. Thin wrinkles gaped like worn teeth in a dry mouth. Dulcie steeled herself for her turn. Scrabble. She didn’t like the game in the first place, and playing with strangers made it worse. Steve insisted they come.

“Just for a little while, Honey. An office party. To thank Ward for thinking of me.”

After the dry misery of being laid off, mindless warehouse jobs, fast food, and any part time he could find, this job, offered by an old college classmate sounded like salvation. Dulcie welcomed any signs of Steve digging out of that hole. But these people! She stifled a shudder.

Red headed Ward Keller, tombstone white teeth in a Roosevelt smile, chomped the cigar trapped in his rubbery mouth. He seemed to relish flexing his huge arms over his broad chest. His wife Peggy curled like a cat in her chair, black cap of curls studded with red highlights. Her languid smile ebbed and flowed with Steve’s replies to Ward’s mindless jokes about women, politics and money.

“You’ve sure changed since college, Ward.” Steve drew seven tiles from the bag. “I remember your have terrible health problems. Asthma the main one, wasn’t it?”

Ward laughed. “Not since I met Peggy. She cures all my ills and chills.” Peggy smiled indulgently, dragging her nails along his arm.


“As long as you give me what I want, darling,” Peggy purred. “Your turn to draw, Dulcie.” She smiled, the glint of the lamplight making her teeth sharp and pointed.

“Sure.” Dulcie rubbed her thumb on the underside of her wooden ring. It felt warm and smooth, like the rowan branch it came from. Holding her breath, she extended her hand into the bag.

The leather clung to her fingers but as the curved surface of the ring touched the bag, it retreated. The cool tiles clicked between her fingers like bones, skittering away from her hand. Dulcie managed to scoop up five, then two more slipped out, face down.

“I go first.” Ward slapped out a five letter word in the center of the board. “Claim.”

Peggy smiled tolerantly at her husband. “Such melodrama.” She looked across the table to Dulcie. “So you’ve been with the library for several years then.”

“And she just got a promotion. Dulcie handles all the cataloguing, getting books into the computer network.” Steve’s eyes shined with pride at his wife.

“Sound’s like you got a bright girl there, old man. Come on Peg, your turn,” Ward boomed.

“Slay, on your Claim, Darling.” Peggy and Ward exchanged glittering smiles. Dulcie stifled a shudder. Everything they said seemed to have more than one meaning. She glanced at Steve but he was studying his tiles. Peggy winked at Ward, the barest tip of a pale tongue licking the corner of her mouth.

“Disclaimer,” Steve said, laying out the word. “19 points. Right?”

“Yes, sir.” Ward said, dutifully writing down the score.


Dulcie rubbed her ring. Her finger tingled, hand muscles throbbing. The silver chain around her neck lay quiet, the bell pendent silent. She frowned at the small lettered squares before her. The markings quivered in the lamp light. She picked up a tile. It brushed the rowan ring. Instantly, the letters stilled.

She held her breath, pretending to rearrange her tiles. Touching each white square to her ring, a word emerged. There was more at stake here than a simple game.

“Deny.” She smiled in relief at Steve. He grinned and Dulcie’s heart flowed with love and cold resolve. Whatever these two people wanted, they weren’t going to get it at Steve’s expense.

“Anyone care for snacks?” Peggy asked, rose to her feet.

“Sounds good. I bet Steve here could use some goodies.” Ward stretched his hand toward Steve like a blessing.

“I’ll help.” Dulcie bounced up and headed into the kitchen ahead of Peggy.

Peggy shook her head. “There’s no need.”

“We can get back to the game quicker this way.” Dulcie ignored Peggy’s brief frown. The small kitchen, old like the rest of the house, gleamed. The floor, glossy black, contrasted to the white of everything else. She put a hand on a cabinet door. The knob felt oddly slick. “Glasses?”

Peggy rearranged her black brows. “Yes, on the right. I’ll get the wine.”


“Oh, Steve can’t take wine. Allergies. I’ll fix him some water.” Anything they ate or drank in this house would have to be watched. She ran water from the tap, sniffing for strange aromas. Nothing.

“Allergies? What a shame. I couldn’t help but notice your ring. Family heirloom?”

Dulcie looked down at the swirling design. Protective, alive on her finger, the swirls of the endless knot looping and turning around and around. “Yes, from my father’s people, the Pellings.”

Peggy’s languid eyes blinked. “Pellings.” Her mouth twisted then smoothed. “How interesting. You know your family history?” Her cat like smile tilted. The green eyes narrowed.

“A little. I know my dad’s people were from Ireland. You interested in genealogy?”

Peggy answered with a throaty chuckle. “Oh my, no. All that I am now comes from those who gave me life.” Her pink mouth smiled at Dulcie, eyes half closed.

“And who gave you life?” The words were out of Dulcie’s mouth before she realized it.

Peggy lifted an eyebrow. “Those who went before. I could ask you the same.”

“Ladies?” Ward’s bellow sounded from the living room. “Where’s the refreshments? You’re holding up the game.”

“Coming, darling.” Peggy took a tray of sandwiches from the counter top. Dulcie picked up the drinks, mind working furiously. There was old magic here, but she could not be sure of what kind.


“Dulcie tells me she’s a Pelling.” Peggy’s lips curled around the words. “They’re rumored to be descended of fairies, you know. Sorry to hear about your allergies, Steve.”

Ward raised his eyebrows. “Oh.” He frowned.

Steve looked puzzled but before he could speak, Dulcie handed him his glass. “Here, Sweetheart. The water is very cold, right out of the tap.” She kept her tone light. “Now, who’s turn?”

“Keep,” Ward said firmly, eyes on Steve.

Peggy studied her tiles for a moment then laid out a word. “Kill.” She brushed a finger to her lips, watching Dulcie.

Calm before

Today feels like the calm before the storm. That slight awareness of large shifts about to come, sudden and unseen. This morning beautiful late summer clouds rolled around, puffy with rain. They fell for a few minutes after 10 a.m. then moved on with more showers to the south west of town.

But the feeling persists. Something on the offing, not yet ready to reveal itself. So I pray. For wisdom, clear vision, truth. Not really sure if whatever is coming should be averted.

The sense of waiting rests inside. So I wait, eyes wide, ready to receive or resist. Waiting