Thursday, 25 April 2019

A River Runs Beside it, Thankfully not Through.

March 15, 2019

            Last night when I took the dogs outside before bed, I could hear what sounded like a happily babbling brook.  It wasn't an entirely unpleasant sound, with the exception the sound didn't belong beside my house!  Between the temperature jump of 10 degrees and the deluge of rain that fell in the evening, by midnight the heavy layer of snow became a mixture of slush and mud.  Our house is on a gently sloping hill.  There's a drain out back our home to keep the water away from our house, but between the slush and ice that remained we had a temporary elevation situation.  Slopes sloping the wrong way.  Water was running down beside the house and shed, down the driveway.  I knew I couldn't leave it that way or with the current rate of flow, I might wake up in the morning to a watery basement.  The melt water in 24 hours was incredible.
         
           There was no way I could make the ice disappear.  I am not a superhero with laser beams.   I got to work with a spade and started chipping away to form a channel towards the drain built into the hillside.  Thankfully, my father lives close and was able to come help.  In the end, it took two small channels to redirect the water to where it needed to go.  The stream stopped flowing and our home is nice and dry.  Water takes the easiest course.

            Water is necessary to life.  It's beautiful and life giving.  The properties of water, ice and snow make life possible.  At the same time, like anything else too much of it is destructive.
The temporary stream flowing over the concrete beside my home had the potential to become a river and cause a big fat mess in my home.

           There are things I couldn't change to prevent a flood -like changing the slope of the hill behind our home, or removing all the snow from the forest.  Obvious, right?  I had to chip away at the ice and make a small change.  Small change in this case was enough to redirect flow and solve the problem.

           Sort of like the way life goes?  Unless you have a money tree or know the alchemist's secret of turning lead to gold, there are many things a person learns to deal with.   Some things you can't stop, but you can make small changes that have huge impacts over time.  Life flows like water.

          In the wake of international women's day, all the memes on social media declaring, "I am woman, hear me roar!" have left me feeling less.  Not that I believe I am, but when a person's value stems from achievements and careers, recognition from society at large, I am pretty small in the grand scheme of things.  My life's work thus far hasn't gained me any accolades.  I did very well in school, I am capable, but have never got to chase after a career.  We women take many paths.  Sometimes it's not a golden road, but rather a humble, unknown trail.

         I have fought back the invisible deluge, the flow of life that disrupts and like a boat on water, got pulled along in the current.  I ended up a stay at mom.  As I think how to express my view point, I hear my sister saying how much she'd love to be home and have the time with her son.  I dream of intellectual flights of fancy, bettering my education and working into a dream job, but then I come back down to earth with the realities of my life.

        The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Neither walk is easy.  Super mom is a grand illusion.  Whether at home or at work, we moms make sacrifices.  We wish to have that time with our children, we want to have healthy homes and we have our own personal dreams and aspirations.  No matter how you tackle it, it's a feat of juggling.

        The rush of images and comments about moms that do it all on social media has a way of goading me to feel insufficient.  Career + children + wealth and all the reverence and respect that come with it.  I should be striving for more and not let anything get in my way.  Go gang busters, take no prisoners, knock every obstacle out of my way.  Maybe a few of us get that kind of life when everything goes right, but I believe it's more of a glossy, airbrushed mirage of images.  I have tried to do more and I ended up tired.

        Instead, I choose to walk beside my children.  I have my shoulda/coulda/wouldas that get me down in the moment, but I am a survivor and over the rush of the water, you might hear my roar.

        In my case, getting anywhere might take a little more time.  Ok, maybe a lot more time.  My son's arthritis means our family's pace is often a little slower.  His health struggles in his early years give me an appreciation for the simple things.  (And I mean the really simple things.)  And as any mom knows a few years in, as frustrating as some things are in the moment, kids grow up way too fast.  I am glad I was there in those tender moments.  You can't buy them back.

        I would be lying if I told you I don't hold desires of building a career, but I am where I am and this slow current of my present demands I focus on other things.  A person can only divide themselves so many times before feeling worn thin.  I admit, I can't do it all.  I can't hold onto time, but I can hug my kids.  Our house may be messy, (creatively messy, I'll go with that), but I am doing my best to do life with my family.  Maybe eventually, I get to have that full on writing career I dream of.  For now, I am chipping away at it.

     



       
     
 

     

     


Friday, 1 February 2019

Coffee Hour #4 Digital downsides don't completely leave me in the doldrums

If faith is required for the present, then hope exists for the future. We hope for things unseen.  We hope for better circumstances, for continuity, for dreams to come to fruition.
Hope can remain unwavering or pop like soap bubble.

February 1, 2019

Recently I both my old lap top/kids' laptop and one of my external hard drives both kicked the bucket unexpectedly.  Things work until they don't.  Of course, I had photos on both that weren't backed up to anything else.  Some of you at this point will criticize me for not having my dearly beloved data linked up to the virtual cloud somewhere out there.  If you do, I am guessing that you're either more tech savvy than me or have newer technology at your disposal.  Maybe a millennial?

Either way, it doesn't change the fact that my photos are phantoms or maybe they already were...  Virtual existence requires physical back up.  Where does that cloud drift of to anyways?  Who's yard does it sit over?  Questions for another day and tangent.

In any case, I've spent enough time the last week of snow days backing up what I do have to a new external hard drive. Also pondering, why if I love these snap shots of my children's childhoods, why I didn't take the time to print some pics of the last few years?  That part is easy.  I didn't allow myself the time to use them in the way I intended.  I just squirrelled them away on in a little digital box to deal with another day when I had the time and money to use them.  Another decision arriving out of my inability to find that legendary money tree-then we would have been golden. :)  If you learn that trick of alchemy, I'd love to know your secret.

We are a family of more than one computer.  (Thankfully, so part of my photo archive survives and does have cloud connections.  Hmmm.) I have my own laptop.  Something very different than when I was young.  I remember getting our first computer.  It was a mid 90s Mac and it held a whopping 4 megabytes from what I remember.  One present photo's worth of 1s and 0s.

My teenage children picture this kind of existence something terrible, the dark ages of disconnectedness, beyond the birth of dawn of slowwwww internet.  Needless to say, our methods of operation are a little different.  Need to find something out? They turn to a search engine for information without a second thought.  My instinct was to head to the library for a book, my own personal collection or the local public location.  I am a book worm.  Now days, I use the web, but I've got to check a few sites to make sure the information jives.  Can't help it.  I don't simply trust the source.  Who knows where it springs from?

It's pandora's box.  It's the wild west.  I exaggerate.  Ideas being shaped and reshaped, beautiful and shocking.  Adapt or die as fast as climate change.  Paradigm shifts on a daily basis as we all connect or disconnect to drift along our own tethers, close, but not really connecting.  As the stormy surge of tech surpasses the rate at which our minds and our wallets can process, the uphill climb to a non-native techie seems daunting.

I would rather be outdoors, immersed in sunshine and or reading a complexly woven story than trudging through web pages how to use new software, bleggh.  (There's computer logic and then there's the logic of the written instructions which sadly often is not so pure.  If you don't know pathway and you aren't a computer programmer, good luck!  It's a few hour sacrifice as you wade through help pages.

My malfunctioning umbilical cord to all things virtual has left me checking out what remains of my intranet connections at home and pooling my various virtual annals together (otherwise known as various dinosaur tech according to my son) to form an organized photo archive (before my other hardware becomes extinct).

The angst over the images I have lost has past and I've spent the last few days enjoying the photos that I do have.  Reminiscing with my teenagers over their more tender years when the world was small and the yard was big brought more than a few good laughs. Those were precious times.  I got to show them the simple things of life, as their first impressions of the broader world formed.  Parenting another life is a powerful thing and an important bestowal.  We are stewards to another generation.  The era before my kids had cell phones and video games was wonderfully simpler, precious, when an emerging bubble from a wand and some dish soap was a miracle to witness, when their little minds came up with imaginative and astute observations that left me giggling or amazed.  Some kind of magic! A treasure to behold.  I'm not saying it all was golden, not by a long shot. We've lived through some tough times, more medical stuff than I care to think about.  (I still get emotional thinking about it.)

As I looked over the thousands of digital photos, I can say with gratitude, we had some good times.  My kids have had a wonderful childhood and they are loved.  We may not have done many fancy things since I stayed home with them, but we had some good fun just being together.  Stuff doesn't equate to love anyways.  I'm talking in your own yard sand box, water fight, paper and glue, running around in the sunshine kind of fun.  It's that fun of just spending a moment together and laughing over something simple.  I hope the memories of that love help buoy them through the tough stuff in life.

We may have lost a few photos, but those moments still happened and in the end, sometimes it's better to put the camera(or cell phone) away and just be in the moment.  Be there with them. That's what my kids hopefully will remember, if not the details, the sense that they are loved.  Photos make great memory prompts.  Celebrate life 'cause time pours out like water out of a basin.  There's great beauty in its complexity and simplicity.  Moments can't be bottled and stowed away for later, only snap shots.  Hugs in the present are better medicine.

Maybe I'll print a few photobooks worth of happy times, something tangible as a memory backup. I am still holding out hope some of my photos can be resurrected from the damaged hard drives...








Friday, 25 January 2019

Coffee Hour #3 Sometimes we have snow days.

Jan 25, 2019

I admit yesterday was a little disappointing.  I fully planned on sitting down and writing after breakfast until I looked out the window and saw what the snow and rain of the previous day left behind.  Everything place shovelled was covered in a thick slick layer of ice.  So much for a morning writing session. 
I did manage to jot down 3 sentences.  (Ironically, I chose to write about hope.)

Honestly, I wasn't surprised that overnight our driveway and sidewalk had become polished to an icy mirror shine.  I half expected it and had already been stroking off things on my mental list of things I hoped to do that day.  

In the sunlight, the cold kaleidoscope of greys, blues and golds would have made a good picture, but the realization that my weekly volunteer job of a couple hours just became all day affair because there was no way I was getting our truck down our steep driveway without a few bags of salt put me in anything but an artistic mood.  On top of that, I needed to head to town to get said salt.  (I only had half a bag on hand.  We don't use it often.)  There was no way I could get the truck out of the garage and down the hill without it becoming a giant toboggan.  

This is when I am thankful my parents live down the road.  Instead of being angry about my day being reduced to the simple task of escaping my driveway, it turned into some time well spent with my dad.   By noonish our driveway was no longer a slide after a good coating of salt.  My dad and I ended up doing my deliveries together and got in some good conversation. 

Taking lemons and making them into lemonade seems to happen often in our family.  Thing is, life doesn't always go our way.  There are so many things we don't have control over.  And, when you live in Canada, you're plans are going to get sidelined now and then by winter weather.  C'est la vie.  Grin and bear it.

Three snow days this week means it hasn't been a very productive week for me period.  Instead it's been a week filled with good moments spent with my kids, one of the good things about snow days. Nothing fancy, fun can be simple and free.  Who doesn't love a good movie marathon?  (I am no master of sitting still, usually I am working on a sewing project while watching and discussing what I love about the choreography and characters.  We've watched the Pirates of the Caribbean series through once again.  Think warm tropical thoughts.  Why not an adventure on the high seas?  Who doesn't love Jack Sparrow's spontaneity and charisma?  Does he plan things or is he just that lucky?  Lol!)

Productivity is such a focus these days.  I fall into that trap so often.  One of the first questions asked when we meet someone new is "So what do you do?" Being home, much of what I do is invisible to the outside world and when that dreaded question comes up in conversation, I feel like my answer isn't all that exciting.  The fact that I cleaned my house or made my own jeans feels trivial in comparison to someone mentioning they teach, they heal, they solve the mysteries of the universe. 

To my children though, I am important.  Being a stay at home mom is no easy gig.  I end up wearing many hats.  Sometimes, it means getting a little creative to make things work.  For me, staying home wasn't as much choice as necessity.  My son had a rough start to life and needed extra care.  It's what our family needed to do to make things work.  

What we do and can do can shift so quickly.  I am sure I wasn't alone in just trying to escape my driveway yesterday.  Circumstances change.  Health changes.  Babies arrive.  Kids become teens.  We grow older.  What we do can't be the only thing that defines.  Who we are matters.  How you respond to life makes all the difference.  Dreams of youth don't always pan out.  Sometimes you have to trudge forward and forge new dreams.  Leave the driveway late to start your day at noon.  Work away at writing a novel. Spend your day with your children because the snow is blowing and wind howling outside.

If life is only about what you accomplish or making dollars, it might never be satisfy.  The storm of striving for more is a dangerous thing.   At some point it becomes an act of chasing after the wind as Solomon would say in Ecclesiastes.  You'll never catch it.  Grasp at the air and open your hand to view an empty palm.   Rail against the wind, try to run through it, two steps forward and one backwards.  

As in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, like Captain Barbosa, what good is it to consume but not enjoy the taste.  To take a different meaning, sometimes it's good to slow down and just be in the moment.  I have a habit of making myself so busy because of I long to recapture what I’ve lost because of the way life fell, I have to keep refocusing on what has gone right.    Hopefully my career will come, my own niche business will work out, novels will get finished and edited.  Sometimes striving has to be set aside for a breather.  Children grow too fast.  Relationships take time and nurturing.

It’s better to savour the little things you do have, then mourn the larger things you don’t.  Take time to do the things you love with the people you love.  I’m a work in progress just like this writing project.   Time to leave this page for another day.  I apologize, this entry is billowing out at the seams with tangents and full of loose threads.  
Sometimes we need a good snow day to really see what’s important.  

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Coffee Hour #2 Have a little faith

Jan 23, 2019

The following is only a pin prick into a bulletin of my thought process.  It's a topic needing more than an hour of mulling over, but this is my caffeine induced journal entry for today.  This is my crumb of thought and my intent is not to upset, but encourage contemplation.  

Parenting teenagers means I often have interesting discussions.  Atheism came up the other day.  A heavy topic to write about while slurping coffee this morning and a view point I admit I struggle to wrap my head around myself.  I live by faith.  With what I have gone through in life, the existence of God for me is an absolute.  For others near and dear to my heart, it is not.

One of my kids' friends told them that they don't believe in God and thus do not have faith in anything.  I told my children even atheists must have faith in something.  It takes faith to believe God does not exist just as we have faith that God does.

At some point our knowledge ends and we must have faith in the interpretations we make of our world, just accept things are the way they are without burning out our finite minds spinning through circular logic in search of an irrefutable landing pad, the quest for concrete basis for everything.  I'm speaking of the basic construction of nature, our perception of existance.  It's not really basic either, it's fabulously and wonderfully complex.  

Ever study fractals?  Random insert here, but pretty cool!  Repeating pattern made up of repeating pattern upon repeating pattern, intricately beautiful.  Look them up!

We grains of sand struggle to fathom the entire desert when we see but one small part of its ever shifting existence as the wind carries us where it may.  It's impossible to see the whole glorious picture as a finite being.  Just imagining is like falling down a rabbit's hole as you try to wrap your mind around it.

Faith as the dictionary puts it is having confidence or trust in something, a person, a belief, in God. Strangely, it also lists obligation to something.  Am I obliged to believe in something?  I guess.  I have to believe that the chair I am sitting on will support me and that the ground will not suddenly sink beneath me in.  I must in order to move in the physical realm -equal and opposing forces.  I must push off in the opposing direction to move in the direction I desire, go backwards to move forwards.

Faith is believing in things unseen, things you can't fully explain.  No one knows everything, not even the most educated and intelligent among us.  The expression, 'the more you know, the more you realize you don't know', comes to mind.  The more educated we become, the more years of study, the more specialized the focus becomes, the more we realize there is to learn.

So at some point taking a leap of faith is required where our knowledge leaves off explanations.  Faith that gravity will continue to keep them grounded.  Faith that the sun will rise again the next morning.  Sounds silly, but can you explain every action of the universe, or further the interaction of universes plural and their gravitational effects on each other, the fabric of time?    

(Time is a favourite topic in our household for many reasons, from the constant battle to keep up with the clock to the paradoxes of time travel.  Love, love, love scifi stories.  As I write this, I am wearing corduroys with the Millennium Falcon embroidered on my back pockets.  And yes, I admit I make my own pants.  Sorry for the tangent.)  

Faith in the knowledge they have been presented with by their predecessors is correct, from the macroscopic to the microscopic.  Faith in the premises they ground their logic on.  The chemist can explain molecular interactions to a certain level, the physicist can explain or theorize the interplay of those molecules and the forces holding them together to a certain scale, increasingly minute.  I love science, but at some point science requires faith.  At some point the explanation stops and we accept what we are told, whether it be at a high school level of study or a Phd.  
Proving or disproving God lies in perception of data and which interpretation is more desirable.   Theories formed from observation or mathematical extrapolation. Either an ordered universe comes from God, a controlled big bang, or an ordered universe spins from a disordered kaboom.  

Random luck results in the building blocks of life meeting and mixing leading to genetic perpetuation of favourable traits along an evolutionary tree.  If aliens seeded life here on earth, who created the aliens....chicken or the egg, repeat.....hmmm.  Sorry, I admit I am a little bias on this one.  I believe in an infinite designer of universes.  Not meaning to ruffle feathers here, my point is none of us were present at the point of the world's creation, let alone the cosmos.  No matter how you believe it happened, it is an act of faith to believe in an explanation.

So the atheist is required to have faith in the idea that God does not exist.  Hopefully my kids walked away from our family debate with an understanding of how they might explain their own viewpoint and turn it into an open discussion with their friends.  They have a great bunch of friends who are thinkers and I love it!  

We come together from different walks of life, different beliefs and trying to clout one another over the head into submission of following the same beliefs is not showing love in the least.  We can love each other and strive to understand one another without demanding conformity under the threat of rejection.  Humanity is a tapestry of beliefs and cultures entwined and beautiful in its own right.  It's a shame when threads become tangled into terrible knots to the point of hatred.  In conflict, we end up seeing only our differences instead of how fundamentally we are the same.  

My point in all this is not to persuade or dissuade you of your beliefs, rather to get you dear reader to think, have faith!

I believe I have had enough coffee today.  This entry has taken a second cup after lunch to finish.  I'll be writing about a lighter topic tomorrow.  Phew!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Coffee Hour#1 -Cause Caffeine could create confidence.

Coffee Hour #1  
Jan 22, 2019

Well, if I am honest, for the last few months I have been struggling with writer's block.  Well, maybe that's not entirely truthful.  It's more of a confidence thing.  I have had many failures in life and quite a few things feel like they fell apart in my hands and many seemingly simple aspects of life end up becoming complex.

When working on long term projects, like novels, it's easy to get stuck in the doldrums and sit forever without a fresh breath of creativity to fill your sails and send you on or maybe it's more that life gets so busy it drains any creative drive before you sit down at the keyboard.  I think for me, it's been the latter.  The stories are screaming to get out, but I wall them up in the name of duty, responsibility.

Maybe it's more the fear that I could write for ages and not a soul would ever remotely be interested in reading my stories.  It's a silly fear because I have nothing to loose.  Write or don't write, the cost is the same.  I am not nor have I ever been the queen of popularity.

So once again, I am starting small.  Whatever I can write while drinking my morning java, I am going to post.  Time to take this blog in a different direction and maybe I'll get over my fear of getting back on the horse, forge new patterns of behaviour, open up one of my manuscripts and dream again.

I am not one for New Years Resolutions and this is not one.  I'm simply attempting believe in writing again.  I've given myself to many reasons not to.  As with sports, sometimes it is better just to do and not think in the moment.  As I tell my kids, don't attach any emotions to the action.  Don't dread it.  Don't consider things hard.  Just get moving.  Just get to it.

What do I have to loose anyways?  The drive to write stories wells up until the point of desperation, until the dam is going to burst and I am so frenzied trying to get everything else done in life that I feel  washed away before I've started, until I can't sit still.  Thoughts flow like the water in a torrential river named time.  A deluge of ideas wash through my fingers as grasp for paper cups to catch them in.

Why don't I let myself write?  Self perception, mainly.  I am my own worst enemy.  Considering my humble post in life as a stay at home mom, I battle the ideology that I should cook and clean for my family, making our home safe harbour in the stormy outside world and yet, the hurricane is blowing within me.   Growing up on an extended family farm and rising to work with the sun and playing only after it has set has left its stamp on me.  Don't be a grasshopper, be an ant!  Idleness is folly.  Reading and writing will remain leisure activities as they don't feed or house you.  I should be doing things that have a guaranteed return for my family.  Necessities of physicality are a beast of a task master.  If you're not moving forward, you're falling behind.  Are they not drivers of most actions if you really break it down?

I see what needs doing all around me.

So I hesitate.  I put off writing while I finish chores only to find that the kids are home and it's time to start supper and all the while the storm silently rages on for me.  My husband comes home and the house is alive with activity.  I batten down the hatches and keep the gale at bay.  Candle lit in the window in hopes of time for my own creative outlet returning.

I love my family.  I love my husband.  I know these moments with children in the home pass all too quickly.  Spending time with them is time well spent.  I am a cancer survivor (right smack in the middle of my university years-a key hinging point in my life.)  Life and health are treasures not to be taken advantage of.  My boy's life almost ended at 2 days old and he lives with some extra challenges.  Another twist in the road I am on.  Everything in balance and my problem is I give my time away easily.  
(And I am just not good at saying "no" when I am asked to help.  I'll admit I enjoy being able to help others.  There are have been many times I needed help.)

I am a mom.  I am, or, I was a scholar and an artist.

This battle, this duality of titles leaves me scrambling.  So I pick up a pen and save a sentence for later and maybe later happens much later than I would like.  I lived through a few things and I know control over life is an illusion, but it does help focus and make decisions.  Rage against the storm and even best laid plans come to ruin.

Perhaps it's the beauty unpredictability of life, the depth of feeling that develop character and make for better stories and deeper understanding.   What are stories but a tale of characters confronted with problems?  Ideas are birthed from problems and failures.
Shapeless and soft clay molded into a vessel that holds a wealth of water.  Standing water grows stagnant.  A vessel needs to be poured out and refilled to stay healthy.  I need to let the stories out.  For the sake of the act,  for the need to open my hand and let the torn bits of paper take flight,  grow hard like clay baked in a kiln and not fear negative responses.  

Maybe no one will ever read this, but it's been set free.  A form of communication or is it if it rests in silence?   A tree falls in a forest and no one is present to hear the sound......  Nevertheless, my coffee mug is empty and writing a blog is much cheaper than therapy sessions.   I am a survivor and the wilderness is vast so I'll keep on climbing over boulders.  Maybe my words can be a bridge for someone else.





Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Plugged In -Writing Club Exercise

May 8, 2018

Writing Club Exercise

Time Limit: 25 minutes

Prompt: "Your grandmother asks you to fix the internet.  As you pull out the cord, she yells, “Not that one!” and promptly disappears."

Plugged In

            Sam groaned as the screen of his cell phone lit up.  The text read, “Need your help.  This gizmo froze on me again.”  
            Sam typed in response, “Be over in 5.” 
He had just set up Gran’s modem yesterday and wired her in.  “Forget dial up.  It’s slow as molasses.  I can’t get online and get with the times,” she’d said.  
Sam offered to give her lessons on how to use the internet, but she declined.  "It would be adventure," she assured him.  She hadn’t done a good puzzle in a while.  
Before Sam reached Gran’s front door, he knew there was a problem.  Her house was lit up inside like a Christmas tree.
He knocked.
            Gran hollered from the other room, “Sammy, Sonny, I’m a little tied up at the moment.  Come on in. Door’s unlocked.  Mind you don’t trip over my deliveries.”
            Sam opened the door and found his way over the myriad the amazon boxes.  They were stacked to the ceiling in some places.
Sam’s mouth dropped open as he saw Gran. She was dressed in her favourite floral dress, but it was frayed at the edges and burnt in places.  Her gray hair was puffed up around her face, standing on end. Wires wound everywhere throughout her entire living room like jungle vines.  Poor Gran was wrapped multiple times round.
“Are you ok, Gran?”  Sam asked anxiously.  “What did you do?”
“I think I broke the internet.  I tried to 'upload',” she huffed.  
Sam tiptoed over the cords to reach Gran, getting zapped once or twice.
“I’m a mite charged at the moment, but I’ll last.  Setting up my smart home.  Wasn’t as easy as it sounded in the ad.”  A puff of smoke exited her mouth in a big “O” and she wheezed.  Gran looked exhausted.  Probably up all night according to the full scale mess in the house.
            Sam tried to untangle the wires around her arms and legs.  How on earth did she get so tied up?  He was getting nowhere.  He lugged an armchair over to Gran and gingerly helped her to sit.  He got zapped a couple more times as frazzled cords resisted a tug.
            “I guess cutting you out is a bad idea.  Better unplug things first.”  
            Sam headed to the desk trying to make heads or tails of where anything was plugged in.  Sam fiddled with the mess of wires knotted at the back of the router.  Green wires twisted in with red wires. Big black wires coiled into a spiral-like snake waiting to strike.  
            “Gran what did you do since I was here yesterday?”
            With a tired grin, Gran answered, “Been getting up to speed.  Things are so much different than they used to be.”
            As Sam finally found the outlet in the wall, he gave a good pull.
            Gran suddenly jumped to life with a start, “Not that one!”
Gran disappeared.  His phone read, “I may be a little analog, but I think I just joined the digital age.”


Our group came up with some really good stories.  That's the reward of writing together, hearing a bunch of amazing stories, everyone wandering off along different tangents from the same starting point.  Everyone has a different style, life experience and thought process.  
This prompt was tough.  I admit, had I more expertise with technology, it would have been much easier.  Write what you know, in this case when the prompt came out of the box, it's write as best you can on the given topic.  
To me the internet is an adventure.  It existed in my childhood, though it really wasn't something that came into my childhood home until I was on the verge of leaving.  During university is when I really experienced the world wide web, but with its slow trawling pace page to page, I didn't have the patience to wait. I love to regale my kids of my pre online life and they stare in disbelief.  Yup, no cell phones or iPads.  I love the reaction I get when I tell their peers my first computer had a whole 4 megabytes. 
I wonder what I would know by now had I have had access to the information I do now.  My kids are learning to code in class.  I would love to learn, I love learning language of any sort, math included. An old dog can learn new tricks.  I am of the mind that anyone can learn anything if they can read.  One niggling little fact stops most of us though, time.  As a child, you definitely have time on your side.  As an adult reality of necessity stops most of us in our tracks.  
Alas, Cinderella, you don't get to go to the Leisure Ball.  You have to work first.  Pay checks to earn, houses to clean, children to feed and nurture, physiology to support (exercise keeps a body healthy).  The work is never done.
Unless you are one of those scholarly few whose mindcraft becomes their livelihood....

Mindy's Cookout -Writing Club Exercise

March 27, 2018

Writing Club

Time: 20 minutes

Prompt: "Despite a few fatalities everyone agreed that Mindy's first cookout was a success."

               So they say when writing, go outside your comfort zone, push boundaries.  
              
Well, the first thing I thought of when the prompt was read was canibalism.  How else can a fatality at a cookout be positive?  On a more subtle direction, I guess it's a "fatality" if you drop a nice cut of steak in the dirt.  No 5 second rule when you're outside.  But hey, I didn't think of that in the moment.  So this one headed off on a macabre bent.  I didn't use the prompt line in the story, instead I let it be a perspective.  I am hesitant to post it because it produced one ugly word baby.  Sometimes, though you can't take yourself too seriously.  When you've got 20 minutes to produce a story, you don't have time to ponder.  And hey, you definitely don't have to like Mindy.


            “Are you remembering to turn it every 15 minutes?”  Craig was making himself a nuisance. 
            Mindy thought the roast smelt just fine.  She imagined her nosy neighbour roasting on a spit, complete with pineapple in his mouth -that would shut him up.  Instead, she gave a fake smile, one showing her teeth.  “Of course, I read the manual.  I was the one who assembled the pig roaster after all.  I’m surprised they’d ship it this far south.”
            Mindy stared at Craig’s fleshy physique.  
            “You know, nowadays drones deliver everything ordered on Amazon.”  Craig interjected.  “Even to the Amazons.”
Actually, the delivery had come via cute UPS pilot.  Mindy could just eat him up.  She offered him a stake, but he quickly declined.  Many more deliveries to make and the like, but Mindy had insisted.  
            Flipping a blond pigtail braid off her shoulder and turning her back to Craig, Mindy gave the handle on the spit a heave.  The conversation was over, Craig, take the hint.  She didn’t want to listen to his nasally voice the rest of her life, ugh!
            But Craig droned on, “Did you use the sauce so it doesn’t try out?”
            “Yes, like I said, I did.  Everything should be a go for sunset.”  She swatted a mosquito buzzing around her ear.  “Darn blood suckers, can’t have them contaminating the meat.”  Mindy lit a citronella candle.  
            Craig wandered away for all of 5 minutes to fiddle with the knives at the table, “I think I smell something burning.”
            Mindy snapped, “I don’t need help!”  She swung a barbeque flipper and nailed Craig in the face.  
            Craig startled, tripped over the rocks around the old fire pit the clan used for cooking, bashing his idiot skull good.  He was out cold in the ashes.  
            More roast for her, Mindy smiled.  “Oh, well, I guess we can make it two for dinner.”
            That would really impress the elders and earn her a good husband for the choosing. She didn’t want to marry Craig anyways. Mbuntu was more her style.  
            The dinner ceremony would start in a few hours.  She better get the extra roast onto the rack so she could really prove she could bring home the bacon.