Back to Blogging

Home again, home again jiggity-jig!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a blog since September. I purposefully took a step back from the blogging, but I still can’t believe it’s been that long. In hindsight I should have written a post explaining why I would be taking a bit of a break, but each time I tried I couldn’t find the words.

There isn’t a dramatic reason I took a little hiatus. It was mostly that life has been incredibly busy, and I felt that more important things were being shoved down my priority list. Blogging is something I do solely for myself. Not that that’s a bad thing but I needed to establish better boundaries with my “me” time.

So a little bit of an update: back to blogging! Yay! I have been keeping up with writing, but it takes on a completely different experience when you share your stories with the world instead of saved on your desktop. I plan on continuing my mix of mommyhood and fiction posts. Writing really is such an outlet for me. It’s a stress reliever and creativity producer.

In unrelated but even more exciting news, my husband and I are expecting Baby Pennell #2! Woo Woo! I still can’t believe it. Mostly because I’m so busy chasing my very active little toddler around the house. I honestly have no idea how I’m going to juggle two babies. What in the actual WORLD!?

So, this is my clunky, unpolished first post back into the world of blogging. I’m excited to read through the blogs I followed and catch up on everyone’s lives. It’s amazing how much can happen in an almost five month span!

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Dreams……?

Dreams are _____. Dreaming is _____. Dream ____.

Dreams are such interesting things. Some consume you while others sit patiently on the back shelves of your mind until you feel like pulling them back down again. A dream can be the driving force behind every decision you make or a dream can give you a few minutes of blissful fantasy and then it’s gone.

Dreamers dream. Period. Even when life hurls storms their way they don’t stop dreaming. They may not dream as relentlessly or carefree as they once did, but dream on, they do. I lose count of the stories I hear about people overcoming unspeakable hardships in pursuit of their dreams. On the flip side, I’ve seen people waste their lives away pursuing dreams in their mind but taking no action. Instead they wallow in bitterness and self-pity, wondering how their life has become what it has. As my trusty old friend Albus Dumbledore says, “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

“But there are dreams that cannot be..” -I Dreamed A Dream, Les Miserables

“I can see so far in my dreams, I’ll follow my dreams, until they come true.”-Dream to Dream, Fievel Goes West

My husband and I had a heart to heart today about a decision that needed to be made. One of us let a dream go while the other got to embrace a dream they’ve had for a very long time. Marriage is funny like that. It’s a constant dance of compromise and making room for ideas other than your own.

I wasn’t sure how the conversation we had today was going to go, but it needed to happen. Room needs to be made for dreams and sometimes priorities need to change. I think dreams, new and old, deserve to be pursued; just be sure to bring your head with you. I think exciting things are ahead and, come what may, I’ll keep dreaming.

P.S. Below is my absolute favorite piece about dreams. It’s from the classic Disney movie Cinderella:

“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartache. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

Autumn Haiku

I was doing some research on literary agents, and one of them posted a challenge to write an Autumn Haiku. My first thoughts were (1) What a cool idea! (2) What’s a Haiku again? Ha! My 11th grade Creative Writing teacher would be mortified if she knew I’d forgotten. So, here is my extremely rusty take on a Haiku. It was fun to tackle the 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. I actually found it a little therapeutic; got my creative juices flowing a little bit. Happy Autumn, everyone!

Fall has awoken
Crinkled leaves flutter and dance
Beneath the clear skies.

Majesty painted
Golds, crimsons and greens abound
God is an artist.

Soft cozy sweaters,
And my favorite old boots,
With a book in hand.

Cinnamon breezes,
Pumpkins, warm soups and flannel
Autumn, I’m ready.

 

Three’s A Crowd

Writing Prompt provided by Writer’s DigestAfter months of planning, you and two of your friends pull off a major scam and steal $10 million dollars from a Vegas Casino. Your tracks are completely covered, there’s no way they can track it to you guys and you’ve escaped to a far away country. While you lay in your bed, dreaming of spending your share, you overhear your friends in the next room—plotting to kill you! Write this scene and what happens next.

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Webster defines a sucker as, “A person who is easily tricked or deceived.” Lucky for me, I’m no sucker. But as for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in the next room? Suckers.

While my “accomplices” praise themselves over our victorious thievery I have packed away every piece of paperwork, their passports, credit cards, debit cards, identification cards and all ten million (in various checks) into my backpack. It wasn’t difficult, as I’ve insisted from the start that I’d keep track of all the logistics. In fact the whole thing was my idea. I got them safely out of the country with a little over three million each. They were simply the muscle. Without me they’d still be scraping off buffet plates by day and mopping bathrooms by night at the Mandalay. I have to admit I find amusement in imagining them trying to work their way through the Latvian countryside. They barely speak English, let alone Latvian. Thanks to Craigslist, I’ve been taking lessons from an old Latvian lady the last nine months. Atvainojiet zēni! (Sorry boys!)

As they bicker over the details of my imminent and, apparently, brutal murder I am finishing up the last knots of my bed-sheet rope. A little medieval I know, but when you’re in a creaky old hotel and there is only one door in and out, you improvise.

“Do it now before she wakes up,” I hear one of them growl. Thank God the old man at the desk downstairs gave us the suite with the extra room. There’s no lock on the door, but I didn’t sleep anyway.

I pry open the window and fling out my makeshift rope. There’s not a soul in sight on the dimly lit cobblestone street. I double check that it’s secure on the wrought iron bed frame and begin shimmying down as quickly as I can. Three stories seems a lot higher when your only lifeline is a rope made of ancient sheets.

“She’s climbing!” one of the idiots shouts. I still can’t really tell them apart. Better to not get too personal with people you’re committing criminal offenses with. Thank God they don’t have guns. I stashed them when they went downstairs to eat in the lobby, thinking I was asleep.

Just as my toes touch the pavement I’m knocked off my feet with impressive force. My head feels like it’s splitting in half. I push myself up and rub the back of my head. Blood. I turn back up to the window and see the two buffoons staring at me, hoping their little stunt worked. It didn’t.

“You’ll need more than a bedside bible to do me in, boys,” I sneer at them. I couldn’t feel more elated to see their idiotic dumbstruck faces.

“Your money’s on the table,” I cheer before turning to run down the street. I laugh to myself as they’ve undoubtedly read my note; next to the $6.60 in US dollars I left, by now.

“T & H—spend it wisely, suckers.”

Confessions from a Boulangerie

This is a random little shout out, but if you head over here, you can read 25 one-liners to lift your spirits. I had a couple of good laughs going through the list! One of my favorites, “The early bird gets the worm, but the late worm gets to live.” Ha! I don’t know why I find that so funny but I do.

I’m sitting in a picturesque boulangerie on Division Street in Portland. We’ve been in this city about a month and I’m finding so many quirky places with fantastic food. I’m partial to this little french spot because, not only does the food taste like a cafe straight out of Strasbourg but it feels like it’s smack-dab in the middle of Strasbourg.

I’ve lived overseas a couple of times and my heart has never really left Europe. I’ve been blessed to visit so many extraordinary places, but France has always moved me. It gets down into my bones and stirs my desire for adventures. I can’t explain why. It just does. I’ve never been a fan of that phrase, but I can’t figure out any other way to describe it.

My heart has been yearning for an adventure. I know we’ve traveled a lot this summer. It was mostly for my sanity’s sake while Grady was away. My family and inlaws saved me and Scout in so many ways. However, traveling solo with a very active baby in new times zones, new beds, new places is no easy feat. Poor thing. All things considered, Scout handled this summer fairly well.

I also know that my cousin passing is a big reason I want to get the heck out of dodge. When trials come my reaction is to run. I can confront them only for so long before everything within me needs to hop on a plane and get a new view for a little while. Also, moving to Portland has been a big transition. Grady has been working all day every day with hardly a break in between. It’s been a couple of very long, lonely weeks. To quote a movie that I don’t even like, “I need a vacation from my problems!” (from What About Bob).

Sometimes I feel like my only adventures will be out smarting my 16 month old into taking her naps and cleaning up four thousand piles of dirty clothes and dishes and then doing it all over again the next day. The weight of the redundancy of my days overwhelms me a bit at times. It’s hard work. It’s repetitive work, but it’s good work. C.S. Lewis said that, “Children aren’t a distraction from your most important work. They are your most important work.”

Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not blaming Scout for my struggles. Her high energy and strong-willed ways and all, she’s a phenomenal little human being. I love her with everything I have within me and I wouldn’t trade my position as a mother for anything in the world. And goodness knows she is so gracious with her tired mama. Even when I lose my temper she meets me with hugs and kisses. This has been a very long, very difficult summer and I’m struggling with sifting through my feelings and exhaustion. Sorry for the whiny blurry post, but writing it out has already made me feel a little bit better. Life is unfairly difficult at times, but good always finds a way in, little by little.

Happy Sunday, everyone! I challenge you to find your own little haven in the midst of life and all the craziness it brings with it.

 

 

Fool Me Once

Prompt provided by Writer’s Digest! I promise my next post I’ll switch things up…perhaps.

After arriving at your favorite lunch destination and eating your favorite meal, your waitress rushes to your table. She looks panicked. She grabs you and looks into your eyes, but doesn’t say anything. Finally, she turns toward the wait staff, who is all gathered just outside the kitchen, and yells, “We only have 6 minutes until he dies! We need to save him.” Write this scene from your perspective.

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“I’m sorry, what?” I stare at the waitress, whose complexion is as tomato red as her hair.

“Six minutes,” she rasps, “six minutes until you die!” Despite my best efforts my laughter clamors through the awkward silence of the restaurant, stunning the waitress.

“Where is she?” I ask, scanning the room. I know she’s behind this. Annie always was one for dramatics. Price you pay for straying from the marriage bed.

“If I were you,” the waitress pleas, “I’d be in the next cab to the hospital, mister.” Ignoring her again I stand up and walk back through the kitchen towards Annie’s office with the waitress on my heels.

“I wouldn’t go in there!” She wails, “Seriously, sir, you need to get to a hospital!”

“Listen, you’re obviously new here,” I warn her as I hold my hand up. “Annie is a close friend of mine. So if you’d be so kind as to get out of my way.” Niceties have never been my strongpoint.

I push open the office door and there’s Annie, leaning against her desk, looking perfect as usual. Her slender legs go on for miles and her hazel eyes take a man’s breath away. But beneath all that gorgeous perfection is a hailstorm waiting to strike.

“Enough with the nonsense, Anne,” I say to her. “Your little friend is making a scene and I’d like to eat in peace if that’s alright with you.” Annie smiles exposing two rows of flawlessly straight pearly whites. She laughs her rich sultry laugh and for a minute I’m almost swept up in her storm once more.

“Ezra Kane,” she says, “what a way to spend your last six minutes. Tell me, how was the milkshake?”

“Annie, I’m tired,” I begin, “it’s been a long day. I thought we agreed to leave well enough alone.” I see her left eyebrow begin to rise like it always does when she’s about hurl a lightening strike.

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you wasted three years of my life, Mr. Kane,” she hisses at me. “And of all the diners in this city, you still come to mine? You had it coming.” It’s as if she has said the magic words. A searing pain slices across my lower abdomen as a burning sensation tingles in my hands. My vision blurs at a rapid pace as my heart booms in my chest .

“Goodbye, Ezra,” Annie bends down and whispers. Through the pulsing in my ears I can hear Annie’s favorite soundtrack playing on her computer. It’s “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. Just as my world is going black she sings the words, “You know some guys just can’t hold their arsenic.”

Aunt Edna

Writing Prompt provided by Writers Digest ! 500 Word Max.

Your wealthy Aunt Edna has died and left you all of her money. At first you’re excited, as you’ve been living paycheck-to-paycheck your whole life, and this newfound money offers you endless possibilities. But, in her will, Aunt Edna left one big catch—and, if you don’t do it, all of the money is to be given to your most unlikable cousin, Wilfred.

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“So you’re telling me if I don’t do this, all five hundred mill goes to Wilfred?” I clarify incredulously.

“Yes, Mr. Hardy,” croaks the Lawyer. Once again the grin cracks across his aged face, reminding me of an old toad.

“I guess we better get going then,” I sigh. I follow Mr. Hale down the hall and out into the parking lot. We climb inside his vintage Jaguar and set off for Aunt Edna’s house in the woods. I haven’t been back since I was a kid. All I really remember is her weird obsession with vintage glass soda bottles. She’d buy them by the dozens wherever she could. “A soda a day can add up,” she would say each time she bought one. She was always missing a screw or two.

We turn onto the long driveway leading up to the house. From the mailbox at the end of the drive, stretching out over at least an acre of yard is an enormous mosaic of soda bottles. There isn’t a blade of grass to be seen between the shimmering green and clear colored bottles. She seems to have been inspired by her Dutch roots, making a picture of a windmill and a pair of clogs.

“There must be half a million bottles here,” I groan to Mr. Hale. “I’ve got to wash, dry and polish every single bottle? Just to throw them away?” Mr. Hale nods once again smiling like bug eyed toad.

“Well make yourself comfortable,” I sigh as I push the car door open. I realize that there are a myriad of worse scenarios in order to get five hundred million dollars. I’d clean a billion bottles if I had to. I just don’t get why I have to go through all the work just to throw the stupid things away.

Back at the mosaic I’ve set up a cleaning station on the front porch of the house. I pull a couple of dark green Sprite bottles. Just as I’m about to dunk them in the water I see that they each have something inside. I flip two bottles over and two tightly rolled wads of twenty-dollar bills fall into my hand. I unroll the wad and each one has a hundred dollars worth in twenties. I flip over the other three bottles and inside each is a wad of one hundred dollars. I grab ten more bottles from the yard and dump them out onto the porch. Every single bottle holds a hundred bucks. I collect the money and stash it under the porch steps before running over to Mr. Hale.

“Is the entire five hundred million in the bank?” I ask him as coolly as I can.

“Yes,” He replies without looking up from his book. Pure jubilation rises in my chest. I’m going to walk away today with at least another fifty million.

“A soda a day can add up, Mr. Hale,” I tap on the car door and run back to the porch.