Tag Archives: writing

50,000 Words!!! Yay!!! Oh, wait….

grimreaperscrabble

In my bloggy absence over the past couple of months, between recuperating from my near-death experience and changing jobs, I have cranked out about 50,000 words. Oh, no – not a novel or anything like that. Not an anthology of beautiful short stories nor a load of lyric loveliness.

No, by my rough estimate this morning – I have put together 50,000 words. Playing Scrabble on-line. And not that shabby imitation “Words with Friends” crap. Real(?) by-God virtual Scrabble.

50,000 words – One stinkin’ word at a time. I’m in deep, kids. Really deep.

In real life (you remember real life, don’t you?) very few people want to play Scrabble with me. I am insufferable. I must win, I play defensively, and know a lot of obscure words. Imagine my pure joy when I discovered the Scrabble app for my Android tablet. An endless supply of unwitting victims. I could play anonymously, so that no one would know it was me and avoid my invitations to a letter-tile smackdown. I grinned and rubbed my hands together in evil anticipation of the word whuppin’s I was about to lay down. And lay down I did. And did. And did. And without any freakin’ Scrabble Cheat apps, thank you very much. (Yes, Player 2218 I am talking to YOU).

First thing in the morning, with the sickly glow of the tablet illuminating my puffy eyes, I checked to see whom I was currently flogging with my little virtual wooden-letter weapons. Before bed – nay, even in bed – my bloodshot eyes checked to make sure that I wasn’t missing a turn to play a carefully-crafted pure-genius move that would propel me to a 200 point lead against some poor sucker (12 points). BwaHaHaHaHaaaaaaaaaaa.

Of course, I often encountered mental midgets like Player 3233 whose best word was “turds” or Player 7825 who used both the blank tiles for the letter K to spell “dick” twice in the same game. Or Player 1999 who joined both “anus” AND “vagina” on a double word score (Brilliant!!). I have screenshots of these offerings, but WP isn’t letting me upload this morning. You’ll just have to trust me on this.

And then…and then. I saw HIM. There on the bottom of the playing board.
 
happy teacher

Teacher. He looked like Alex Trebek, if Alex Trebek’s face was a wooden letter tile. He knew words – rich, high score, valuable words. He smiled sweetly and offered encouragement whenever I made a brilliant play. Like a giddy schoolgirl with a crush on her male middle-school Algebra I teacher, I lived for his praise. I was on a roll! I could not get enough of my new square-jawed lover. In addition to trouncing my feeble-minded competitors (not you, Player 3345, you are da bomb!), I resumed showering and changed into clean pajamas before ever opening that app again. I might have even applied lip gloss. When I was properly groomed and primped (18 points), I had only to click on his face to see my new main squeeze (45 points).

And as was inevitable (31 points) I disappointed my new paramour (18 points) soon enough. I played the word rivet (12 points). He frowned. “Hmmmm, let me show you what you missed” he said.

unhappyteacher

He played “erective” on the board (92 points). Wait, wait a darned minute. Did he just raise his eyebrow? What the?…what?

I was crushed. Within days Teacher had disapproved of many of my word offerings – showing me missed opportunities to play the words siemens, augite, sarkier, fique, kraters, hazan, flinkite, nutant, feod, flanerie, groanful, uranitic, kuias, miaoued, poovy, scungy, braii, gju, and arctoid (88 points).

It was over between us. Fique gju in your scungy feod, Teacher. You can kuias my poovy augite. Even though he remained at the bottom of the playing board, I never again tapped his wooden face in a quest for his approval.

I estimate (you have to sign in with your real name to get real stats) that I won 98% of the games I played (Damn you, lorrencowen – I’ll beat you yet!). I also estimate that I had as many as 150 games active at one time (the app only shows the 25 most recent games played). As of this morning I am down to 8 games and as soon was the opponents either succomb (30 points) or forfeit (13 points) I am done (5 points). Seriously (13 points). I mean it (2 points).

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Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated – Part 2

Last month I wrote a post about a dream I had where my mother (long deceased after a short and troubled life) visited me for tea.  That post was the culmination of a long stretch of days (weeks, really) fraught with deepening sadness and mostly sleepless nights that were punctuated by haunting dreams.  That post was Freshly Pressed, and after replying to comments and visiting the blogs of old and new followers and other passersby, I vanished from the blogosphere for a while.

But life went on.  Each morning, when I hoisted a 90 pound book bag into my vehicle for the trek to the educational emporium which employs me – this guy would be staring at me…

Maybe today is the day...she's moving slower...it won't be long... (Photo credit:  k8edid)

Maybe today is the day…she’s moving slower…it won’t be long…
(Photo credit: k8edid)

But life went on. In an epic battle – serotonin wrestled with norepinephrine about whose job it was to cheer me up, and after coming to the conclusion that joy was highly overrated – both neurotransmitters waved sayonara and abandoned ship, leaving me with a desire to punch everyone (including sweet little old ladies) in the throat; sleeping about 3 hours a night, and wishing my mom would come back and take me with her.  (PLEASE NOTE:  I am okay, really).

But life went on.  I started feeling a little better, sleeping became my new hobby, and writing seemed like a vague memory of something I used to enjoy.  My neurons stopped twitching. I began to see hope and joy in simple things, and felt like I was making a slow, if somewhat wobbly, recovery.  Then I checked the mail.  I’d received an invitation.

Scan0001

To a funeral home.

Related Post:  Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated (Part 1)

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Tea with My Mom

My Mom.Photo credit:  k8edid

My Mom.
Photo credit: k8edid

My mother is sitting at my dining room table with a book and a cup of tea.  I remember that she loved to read, and loved tea.  Although, in all honesty, I don’t remember ever seeing her actually sit down with a cup of tea. Or a book, for that matter.  Eight children and mounds of laundry, cooking, and housework were what I remember.  I remember slurping the dregs from her neglected, cold teacups and getting into trouble for “borrowing” her library books as a child.

“Mom, what are you doing here?”

“Reading.  Having tea.”  She set her book aside with a smile.  She didn’t look tired, or sick, or any of the ways I remember her looking.

“I see that, Mom.  But…you’re…” my voice cracked.

“Dead?” she asked softly. “Yes, I am.  Grab a cup, sit down and join me”.

“Mom,” I am truly stymied. “Really, I have to get ready for work.”

“Pfft.  They can wait.  They don’t deserve you.”

“You know my employers?” I asked incredulously.  I take a seat at the table.

“Oh, of course I know them.  Certainly you know I’ve been there with you more than a few times.”

I knew exactly the times she is talking about.  Wait.  Hold on –  is she really here talking?  To me?   My mom’s been gone for more than 30 years.  But she’s at my table this morning and wants to chat.  Who refuses their dead mother’s request for a visit?  Not this gal.  I have wanted this for years – no, dreamed of this for years.  Work can wait. Work will wait.

“You were there when I told my students about colon cancer, and colostomies and screening and how you died so young,” I said, remembering one of many times I felt her presence in my classroom.

“Yes, I was there,” she said, her voice soft like I remember.  “ You weren’t going to tell them.  About me, I mean.”

“No, I…I didn’t think I could talk about you without crying.  I felt you there, though, and I didn’t want even one of them to know what it was like to lose a parent so young.  I wanted them to nag their parents if they had to so they would get screened for cancer.”

“I’m glad you told them.  They love to hear about your stories, about being a nurse and nursing school and your kids and grandkids.  Your surgical scare, your broken ankles.  Your concussion.  They just love your stories. ”

“I know,” I smile.  “I try to always tell them the truth – about how hard it is to be a nurse sometimes.  How saving someone isn’t always the happy ending you think it will be.  How dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  How some patients fill your heart with joy, some with sadness, some with terror,” I laughed.

“They love you,” she smiled.

“Well…” I can’t think of anything to say.

“Did you ever want to have a job?  I mean besides being a wife and mother?” I ask her.  I am ashamed that I don’t already know the answer to this question.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter.  I was too busy with such a big family.  I wanted to get my high school diploma someday, and would have if…” her words trailed off.  “Women didn’t have careers so much then, you know. They were expected to stay home, care for their families.  I really did want to finish raising my kids though…” her voice trailed off again.  We are both silent.

“But look at you.  A college professor and all.  A nurse,” she changed the subject brightly – and I remember her doing just that, always deflecting the focus away from herself.

“Mom, “ I start slowly, not sure what words would come next.  I remember her playing along with Jeopardy on television – keeping score and for an uneducated woman, knowing so very, very much.  I remember seeing her standing at the stove, silent tears streaming down her face, stirring another pot in an endless stream of meals.  I remember sitting beside her on the couch when she told me, without looking at me, that I could leave if I didn’t feel safe but that she hoped, no – prayed, that I would stay.  I remember her pain and her terminal illness.  Her wasting away before our very eyes.  Her selfless, shy ways.  The wit and humor which never left her.  I remember her hands, so much like my own, with short puffy fingers and soft, flimsy fingernails.  I remember her hugs; her soft arms and cushiony warmth.  The way she smelled of Jergen’s cherry almond hand lotion.  And, sometimes, like onions.

“Mom,” I close my eyes and start again.  I want to ask her so many things – how she managed so much sickness and pain in her 42 years on earth.  How she managed abandonment, infidelity, cruelty, and disappointment without anger or bitterness.  How she forgave so easily.  How she asked so little for herself yet always had so much love to give.  How she could bear to leave her children.

I am suddenly ashamed.  Mortified by my whining and bitching and the definite lack of grace I have been exhibiting lately.  Ashamed of my pissy attitude and ungratefulness.  I am embarrassed by my incessant irritation with my first world problems; by my impatience and unhappiness.  Ashamed for not appreciating the health and bounty and opportunities placed before me each and every day.  For not appreciating that I am given, undeservedly, a new and beautiful chance at happiness each and every day.

“Mom,” I open my eyes to try again.  She is not there, of course – but she is not really gone, either.  I get up from the table and go to the kitchen to start my morning coffee.  I stop.  I reach into the cupboard and take down the tea instead.

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Romantic Monday – Side by Side

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She laid her forehead on his cool hand on the hospital bed. A monitor emitted a steady beep as multi-colored lines flowed across the screen in undulating waves. A multitude of tangled lines and tubes delivered or removed fluids – she didn’t even know what most of them were or did. She didn’t really want to know.  The hours since the phone call notifying her of his accident were a blur of tests and procedures, with doctors and nurses swarming detailing the verdict:  head, chest and lung injuries, various broken bones.  In the last hours his condition had stabilized and it was quiet at last.

She stood and leaned over him, her mouth next to his ear. “It’s Valentine’s Day” she whispered.

His finger, the one with the oxygen monitor, twitched once – barely noticeable.

“I’m going to stay tonight. I’ll sleep right here in the chair”.

His finger twitched twice.  The agreed upon sign for “no”.

“We’ve never been apart on Valentine’s Day. I’m staying. The chair will be fine.”

Again, his finger twitched twice.

“You want me to go?”

Two twitches.

“The chair, then?”

Again he signaled no.

She stared at his barely recognizable form – his bandaged head, the breathing tube protruding from his mouth. His body – the one she had loved for so many years – was covered with bruises, abrasions and bandages.  She remembered their first Valentine’s Day together so many years ago. It was the first time she had slept beside him on his narrow bed in his rented room. The monitor beeped.

Two twitches.

She slipped her shoes off and readjusted the tubes and wires. She slid onto the small bed beside him, perching perilously on the edge. She took his hand in hers.

“I love you,” she said. “Is this better?”

One twitch.

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

This is yet another offering in “Romantic Monday” over at Edward Hotspur’s place.  Check it out.

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BlogFestivus 2012 – Cupid

BlogFestivus 2012 – 243 words – 9 days – 9 Reindeer (wait, are there 9?)

Cupid lay beside Blitzen, his face turned toward the wall, sheet drawn up to his chin.

“What is it, Cupie? Is something wrong?”

“I’m…just tired. That’s all. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

“It’s okay – let’s just snuggle”, Blitzen lazily stroked his back with her hooves.  “There’s always tomorrow morning,” she whispered in his ear.

Cupid tossed back the sheet and sprang from Blitzen’s reach.   He pulled her bra from his antler – tossed it to her. “What about Donner. Won’t he be expecting you home?”  The beauty of having an affair with a married doe was that he wasn’t expected to serve breakfast.  The stolen moments were quite enough for this buck, thank you very much.  He paced.

“He’s out-of-town. Helping a ‘friend’ with a business deal,” Blitzen snorted. “I can just imagine. That slut Vixen is conveniently out-of-town, as well. I tried to set up an emergency meeting, and she’s ‘unavailable’.  I know a load of doe diarrhea when I hear it.”

“Emergency meeting?”

“Yes, Santa’s getting out of rehab…the Sheriff has been nosing around, wanting to know where all the reindeer are.  Someone must have tipped him off.  Rudolph hasn’t been seen in weeks.  Then that ransom note.  There’s only 10 days till Christmas – we need a plan.”

Cupid continued pacing.   That last meeting of the Reindeer club had been quite the…well, the only word that came to mind was “cluster”.  Damn it.  They were running out of time.

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

These fine folks are also participating in the BlogFestivus 2012 writing contest. Check it out!

Blogdramedy – The Hostess with the mostest

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane — thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fix it or Deal — Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books — Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective — the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover — she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog — he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2 – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me — Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts — Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul — Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! — Liz, the life changer.

A Spoonful of Suga – Making reality sexy.

Random Says – in the moment. At the moment.

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