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Peaches – A Weekend Quickie

As part of the Iron Writer group we also participate in Weekend Quickies, in addition to our weekly challenges.

This past weekend I joined in on the fun and this is the story that I wrote.

The four elements to be included in a 200 word story were: beta max, cats, peaches, and a man in a white van.

Featured image

Peaches

Joey stared out the dusty windshield of his van at the highway that seemed to stretch on forever. The vehicle was supposed to be white but the roads in South Carolina had left it a mottled brown.

He enjoyed playing Elton John’s “Rotten Peaches” as he rolled past the countless roadside stands. It had been one of Marie’s favorites.

Jack the cat leapt onto the passenger seat and melted into an orange puddle in the heat.

“We’ll be at the coast pretty soon,” he told the cat, lying about the amount of time they had yet on the road.

“Then there will be new work, new home. But no new women.” He felt his heart wince at that last statement.

All he owned was in the back of that van. They had laughed at him for packing the old beta max but he still had so many home videos of Marie that he wasn’t ready to toss out.

He could have had the car fixed and driven it but he just couldn’t face the fact that she had died in it.

He pulled into a stand, throwing up a cloud of gravel and dirt.

“One basket of peaches, please.”

If you would like to read the other stories for this Weekend Quickie you can find them here.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!

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No More Shadow

I can now walk from room to room unhindered.

When I turn I don’t have to wait for someone to turn around, too.

Everyone says that fifteen years is a long time. No, it’s not long enough.

My depression is really rearing it’s ugly head. I am taking lots of naps. When I am asleep I don’t hurt. But every time I awake I look for him. In that one brief second I forget that I no longer have a little buddy.

He was my buddy, my little man, my Bubba. He was my reason for getting up in the morning and the one that I spooned with at night. He was my velcro dog. He was my shadow. He was my heart and my life.

And now he is gone.

Mary’s Maximillian

November 16th, 1999 to February 12th, 2015

He had Cushing’s disease that caused pancreatitis and renal failure. And I was in denial. I took him to the vet thinking that they could give me a fix for his tummy troubles and we would be okay. But we weren’t okay.

In the end I could not be selfish, although I really wanted to be.

I do have a kitty, Pinky, but she is not a cuddly kitty. She comes to me a few times a day for pets and to get me to give her wet food.

I am trying to feel better by binge watching Breaking Bad. And that is comforting.

But my heart aches for one more hug, one more walk, one more look into those old eyes that never showed me anything but adoration.

I feel lost and off-kilter without him.

My heart is shattered.

I have no more shadow.

Hard Days And What To Do With Them

Well it has been a yucky couple of days.

My apartment is not spotless. I am a hoarder by nature and it is hard for me to let things go. My back and neck sometimes hurt me so much that I can barely move, so cleaning is an all day event with lots of rest breaks. My home is messy, but NOT dirty.

Yet when the exterminator, who comes once a month, came to my door yesterday he said it was too dirty. My kitchen was spotless, but it is so small that you can barely see the counter for my appliances – coffee maker, toaster, microwave and the like. My coffee table and dining table were cluttered. This is a small one bedroom apartment with one big room for the living/dining area and a tiny alcove kitchen so you see all this from the doorway.

When he left I called my wonderful case worker, R., and cried to him in a tizzy. He reassured me and said he would be here first thing today. Well, he came by this morning and said that all was okay, just do some decluttering, and he went to talk to the apartment manager for me. End result is she is coming this afternoon to see the apartment first hand. I am very nervous.

But what I am not is a wreck. I had my coffee this morning and it didn’t turn into a panic attack. My little meds must be in there working overtime. I am on edge, but not over the edge.

I began to wonder why I am not a basket case. I have come up with a few things that are helping me to keep a panic attack at bay..

  1. I can only worry so much. My mindset today is that I need to wait to see exactly what there is to worry about before I commit more time to it.
  2. If a panic attack starts I can do my best to squash it in it’s tracks by taking a few deep, controlled breaths. In through the nose and hold and out through the mouth. This often works to center my mind on something else besides the circles it wants to run.
  3. I accept that I cannot control everything, so I will do my best at the things that I can control, like making sure the apartment is cleaned and vacuumed and dusted.
  4. I was able to talk with a professional – my case worker. He is expert at allaying my fears, giving me something else to concentrate on besides impending doom. And his promise to help no matter what comes of it is one that I can rely on.
  5. There is TV. Yay! I chose The World’s End to watch. It is the last movie of the Cornetto Trilogy. And now I will have Shaun of the Dead, the first of the three, on while I compose this and wait for the manager to come. For one, there is the humorous nature of the movies – they make me laugh. Second, I have seen them so many times that they can be on in the background and I can still follow along. Humor is a great blessing all the time, but especially when you are stressed out.
  6. I am trying to see the positive in the situation. This will give me the boost I need to clear out some boxes I have been saving (for what, I don’t know) and get my closets cleaned out.
  7. I am writing this post to perhaps give someone else ideas on how to deal with their own struggle. In trying to help someone else, I am making myself feel better. So thank you for being there.

I found the quote by Andy Warhol to be helpful today. In the end, so what.

So what if I have to do a deep clean? So what if I have to pay to have the carpets cleaned? So what if I have to have people come in and help me?

I am not meaning it in a snooty way, just saying that in the end all these things are doable, so why worry about them until they have to happen.

If you are having a hard day I hope one of my suggestions will help you. Please let me know of something I might have left out that would be helpful. What do you do to deal with your hard days?

A Little Can

I cannot let today go by without mentioning what national day it is.

It is National Beer Can Appreciation Day!

Before 1935 you couldn’t get your beer in cans. Then manufacturing processes made it possible to use sturdy enough materials to form cans. The first ones were made of heavy gauge steel, which could withstand the pressure of carbonation and pasteurization.

The taste of the beer also had to be considered. The American Can Company developed a way of “keg-lining”, which was lining the inside of a small can the way that the inside of a regular keg is lined. This was with something called Vinylite that the company Union Carbide had developed. (My father worked for Union Carbide many, many moons ago.) That way the metal would not alter the taste of the beer.

Having beer in cans was great, but how do you open one of those flat topped cylindrical things made of a heavy gauge steel? In 1933 American Can Company’s Dewitt Sampson and John Hothersall received a patent for an opener they called a church key which would puncture the top of the can, leaving a triangular shape. Even after the availability of pop top cans you may have used one of these to open a can of tomato juice or good old Hawaiian Punch before the advent of the plastic bottle.

I found a very interesting website that has the illustrated history of the American Beer Can. You can click here to visit it.

I don’t drink now, due to the medications I have to take to remain functioning, but beer is still near and dear to my heart. My wonderful friend Mark owns his own brewery. It is Chattanooga Brewing Company. If you clicked on the link, he is the one in the middle of the cover photo. He toiled for years in corporate America and when he saw the opportunity to follow his dream and take his home brewed recipes to the masses he took it. Last year they moved from the small space where the business started to a brand spanking new building and added a restaurant. I am so proud of him.

And they are at a point where they are now going to go into canning the beer. It is still a little ways off, but they will as soon as they are able.

This was not a solo endeavor for him. He has partners and brewers and staff. They are all fantastic people.

So you see why I was compelled to expound on the joy that is the vessel that makes many tailgates and parties so much fun to attend. Or, you can enjoy your beer in your own living room.

And, if you are in Chattanooga, TN, try some of Mark’s on tap (soon to be in cans).

The New Year

First, I apologize for not having posted in the last month.

The month of December is hard for me. I want to get everything right for everybody. This Christmas I was crocheting many things for friends and family and that took a lot of time. I loved it.

As I write this, my tree is still up. I will be taking it down this weekend and stowing all the decorations for another year.

I have been cleaning my house each week and that is a good thing. On Mondays I will cue up Breaking Bad on the Netflix and have it on while I do housework. Then, when I am done, I stop the show and watch regular TV.

I have to be very careful this time of year.

This time last year I was not functioning quite so well.

This time last year I put Breaking Bad on and didn’t get out of bed, just kept watching the entire series over and over. For a month. An entire month.

My little dog Max barely got exercised. My house plants all died. My bedroom became overrun with dirty dishes and other garbage. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t go anywhere. I occasionally got online, but only for short periods of time.

I found no joy in anything but the knowledge that I knew what they were going to say next in the TV show. It comforted me.

But this year? This year has been great. My doctor says so, my case worker says so. He came to check on me, remembering what had happened last year and wanting to nip it in the bud if it was happening again.

Now you know why it is so important to me that I can turn Breaking Bad off at the end of a day of cleaning. I can use it as a reward, not a crutch.

You may say, well, why not leave the TV show out of it entirely, just don’t put it on. I had to, I just had to prove to myself that I was capable of not giving in to giving up.

I am making comfort foods like chili and cornbread in a nice, clean kitchen and the cold, dark winter is kept at bay. I am not eating the junk food I so enjoy when I am down.

I enjoy the cold much more than the heat at this point in my life and going outdoors in the daytime is a treat.

I am hoping that the new year is finding you in great spirits and that everything is going well for you.

Black Friday Tale

This is a story of how Black Friday can be humorous.

All through most of her life my father was on my sister about her weight. She takes after my mom and was just a little heavy. I felt really bad for her. Now the tables have turned and he is on me about my weight.

My sister had started yet another diet, bless her heart, and was doing very well on it. Especially for it being around the holidays.

Now, my sister and her good friend since childhood used to go out every Black Friday. They would go at 4:00 in the morning and wait in the long lines together. I never went, but it sounded like they had such great fun.

One year the Target store was their first stop. They waited in line in the dark, bitter cold. But the store was doing something nice for the shoppers. They had free coffee and doughnuts for the first people through the door.

My sister and her friend got in, were handed the doughnuts and coffee, and proceeded to get their buggies.

Just then, my sister found herself on TV. The local channel’s news department had sent a camera crew to cover the big event.

Later in the day, everyone in the family saw the news footage.

My sister, on her diet, with a doughnut in her mouth.

I don’t think my dad has ever let her forget it. We all still find it so funny. Her doughnut diet.

Now she is just as beautiful but she is thin. I am the fat one.

She is in a great relationship with a marvelous man, her fiance.

Oh, wait. I don’t know if he knows this story. I have some sharing to do!

Happy Fibonacci Day

It is the day of the year that follows the beginning of the Fibonacci number sequence. 1, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Each subsequent number is the total of the two previous.

Though it originally appeared in Indian mathematics, in Sanskrit, Leonardo of Pisa (known  as Fibonacci) wrote about it in his book Liber Abaci in 1202.


The graphic above shows the sequence. It is used in computer programs and has many other applications.

But the one thing that draws me to Fibonacci is the way you can find it in nature. You can see the sequence in everything from flower petals to fruits and vegetables and my favorite, the shell of the Nautilus.

I usually stink at math but in this case I find it to be quite beautiful. Poetic, even.

If you want to learn more about Fibonacci numbers and their applications here is a great website that explains it all.

I hope you enjoy your Fibonacci Day!

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day. I think every day should be Kindness Day, but what do I know.

From the time we are young we should be taught kindness. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” teaches Aesop in his fable about The Lion And The Mouse. If the lion had not shown a bit of compassion when he first caught the mouse then he would have been doomed when he found himself stuck by a thorn in his paw.

You don’t have to go big when performing a compassionate act. Random Acts of Kindness.Org has pages of kindness ideas. You can even narrow the field by category, money, or time involved. The ideas range from something as simple as holding a door for someone to something more elaborate like buying someone a vacation. Bottom line is that there are a lot of good ideas.

You never can know what someone is going through and that smile you show to the harried cashier may just make her day. Complimenting the blouse of the woman by you in line may make her a bit happier the next time she wears it. Tell that customer service representative who is helping you on the phone that you really appreciate his help, it may be the only kind thing he hears his entire shift.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The things I have mentioned cost nothing but a few moments of your time. Yet, by doing any one of them, you can deeply affect someone’s view of the world. Isn’t that a grand idea?

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”   Gautama Buddha  The Dhammapada

So please, if you can, show a little kindness. Especially on this, World Kindness Day.


Yay #HintingSeason

There is a promotion by Best Buy on Twitter. You use #HintingSeason in order to hint for something that you would like for Christmas.

I have just started using Twitter. One of my first tweets was to hint for a new laptop and a year of Geek Squad protection.

Well, emails were sent back and forth.

Today I received via FedEx a gift card to Best Buy for $100.00!!!

That is enough for a year of Geek Squad help!

I am so very grateful to Best Buy for noticing my hint and, of course, for the generous gift card. I never win anything.

In other news, I am still very sick. I apologize to NaBloPoMo. I couldn’t post yesterday due to feeling so cruddy. But tomorrow I see the doctor because my symptoms seem to be getting worse instead of better.

No Delivery

Sorry. The delivery didn’t happen today. Hopefully I will know something tomorrow.

But in the good news department I did have some very nice friends today. One chatted with me all morning via Facebook and one texted me and even came over and sat with me for a couple of hours. So I do have some nice friends.

Unfortunately, though, I think that I have caught a friend’s cold. I knew I was risking it when I took her to get her medicine on Sunday. Waking up with razor blades in your throat is not fun. And my nose won’t blow, but it’ll run. Go figure. I’m sucking on zinc lozenges like they are going out of style.

So I have felt anxious and excited and spacy and like crap all day. And then the people don’t come. It has been a disappointing day, to say the least.

These are my tissues of choice – Puffs Plus Lotion. They are good ones, worth the extra cost.

Hopefully I will find out something tomorrow and all will be good.

In the meantime, I have eaten my soup, blown my nose, sucked on my last zinc lozenge for the night, and I am going to go to bed.

See you tomorrow.