29 September 2010


I took sewing lessons for four years when I was young. I'm no seamstress. I've made several sets of curtains, a couple of cloaks, a handful skirts, and a many other projects never to see the light of day. I'm really good at sewing things that don't have to be worn. I'm not patient enough to actually try and fit everything perfectly. Clothes never hang or drape or fit the way they are suppose to. My blankets and pillows and patches work out well enough.

I completed two sewing projects this last month that make me really happy. My husband needs a costume for something we're going to in October. I was able to make a really neat shirt from compiling two shirts together. It actually looks like it is suppose to but then again I bought two ready made shirts and made sure they fit him and basically just switched the sleeves and added a hood. Really not that difficult but I did it.

The other project I complete was lengthening a pair of jeans. I bought a pair for six bucks that were a little too short. I cut off about seven inches of pant leg from another pair that are worn out and sewed them to the bottom. Since the fabric color doesn't match I cuffed the extra length and sewed it in place. My trousers are now long enough and you can't even tell that the bottom is part of the original pair. My four years of weekly sewing lessons have paid off.

26 September 2010


Intro: My sister and I always complain about our thick hair during the summer. Most men just don't understand how hot it is to have thick long hair in the heat. We always swore we were going to shave our heads.

I looked in the mirror and ran my fingers through the long red tresses. Dozen of strands laced through my fingers as I pulled them away. Here we go again. After dropping the hair into the waste basket I finished applying my makeup and left the bathroom. I hesitated in my room, hands hovering a scarf. No, today I was going to be optimistic. With my backpack over my shoulder, I ran to catch the bus.

The school is filled with bright colors. Red, golds, oranges and even a few maroons are scattered through the halls. There are already a few people wearing scarves or hats. It wasn't surprising because some people were always more susceptible to the change. I only hope that I can at least make it to the spring formal but no longer. I didn't want to be labeled an evergreen.

“Hey, Breanne.” Kim said, sliding in next to me on the bench. Her usual lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwich looked more appealing than my soggy cafeteria salad. I poked at the limp leaves.

“Wow, you're color turned out nice.” She said.

I glanced up from the pale green forest and took in her honey golden locks. Something I'd always wanted. Red is a family trait. My parents and two brothers all have hair like mine.

“Did you hear that Jefferey has already lost his hair.” Kim tossed her head, her curly hair bouncing lightly. If she weren't my best friend, I'd hate her. “Isn't he your date to the formal?”

“Yes.” I poked my lunch without looking up.


I absently touch my hair and give it a small tug, nothing happens. If Kim was already curling her hair, she was ahead of me, again. We spent the rest of lunch talking about the plans for the night. When lunch ended I headed to my math class and had to wait while the person who used the desk in the previous class swept it off. He wore a hat and would continue to until all of it was completely gone and didn't look so awful. As he walked out he nodded in my direction. Kind of cute. I wonder what his name is.

When I got home from school both of my brothers were already parked in front of the television playing one of their games. Lester wore a beanie low on his brows. Great, someone else ahead of me. Mom handed me some cookies and bit down a sigh at seeing her head scarf. She saw it.

“Don't worry, it's not that warm.”

“It reached eighty-five today. If I don't start losing my hair, I'll be nothing but an evergreen.”

“There's nothing wrong with that.”

I roll my eyes. “Right, Mom. I've got to go do my homework”

All of my books spread out on the living room floor. The walls are covered with family pictures. Bored with the math homework I smile at the Christmas family photo, our brown hair neatly done. The picture from last year's summer vacation to the lake with all of our heads covered to protect them from the run. Mom was always trying to get a picture of us with our red hair but we never did change at the same time. While Lester was already starting to lose his hair, Byron's was still mostly brown. He always lost his hair quickly after the change.

I leave all my books where they were and headed to the bathroom. As I ran my hands through my hair I felt something give and a patch smoothly came out. My body was finally starting to accept the changing seasons. Thank goodness. I hate the idea of having heavy hair during the hot summer months. And if I was lucky it would be back just in time for the fall formal. Life was good.

22 September 2010

Garbage Dumping and Other Useful Skills

My husband is currently part of the blue-collar workforce. One of his new responsibilities is acting as backup garbage truck driver, or sanitation worker, however you want to look at it. While I have always been very grateful I can drag the garbage and recycling cans to the curb one day a week, I’ve never really thought about what it entails. This last week I had the opportunity to ride in the cab while my husband did a quick run. It consisted of picking up a compactor and taking it to the dump. The first thing I noticed, besides the cool looking bulldog hood ornament, was the fact that I could see over the top of all the jacked-up vehicles on the road. I could actually see the horses in the trailers and I felt the need to cringe every time we approached a light. Interestingly enough, my husband never thought about the fact that he could see over almost every other vehicle on the road. I was happy to stay in the cab while he loaded the compactor, unloaded it, drove around to the other side, picked it up again, dumped it, unloaded it, drove back around, picked it up, and finally deposited it back where it needed to go. (Yes. That is really how it went. Because of how the cables hook up and the location of the dumping door it is a lot more extensive than I ever thought it would be.)

I sit at a computer for hours every day and create words. I don’t think I have the talent to be a sanitation worker. I’m terrible at driving big trucks and backing, I don’t think they’d ever let me get a commercial driver’s license which is required. I’m very grateful for the people who can actually work with their hands and machines. Trust me; if we ever have some kind of disaster I will be useless. Thank goodness for a mechanically inclined husband. We might be able to trade his skills and possibly my copyedited materials (as fire starter) for clean water and warm blankets. I do have plenty of copyedited material and rejection letters I’d be willing to burn. It wouldn’t break my heart at all.

19 September 2010


Intro: Because I could. What other reason do I need?

Kirkpatrick turned off the television in disgust. Once again, Hollywood had taken a perfect good monster and made it, loveable. Werewolves, aliens, mutants, vampires, what was next? Two headed monsters with three arms? Nope. Never mind. That had been done too.

“If you’re bored why don’t you take a walk?” Gladys said leaning over the back of the couch and turning the television back on. “While I finish the show.”

“You already know how it’s going to end.” Kirkpatrick said as he stood up and brushed at impeccable sleeve. “The tragic but amazing man will beat all possible odds against his own character and choose true love over nature.”

“But I can always hope.” She replied, sitting in the recently vacated seat.

He left the mansion. It was still raining and the drops pattered against the dark leaves. Even though the house was located in the middle of the forest, there were no animal noises of any kind. Just how he liked it.

At the road two women accosted him. Though neither of them were sober, they could still walk in a fairly straight line and knew the alphabet.

“Hello, hot stuff.” One purred. “How about a date?”

He pursed his lips and regarded the scantily clad women. The one that was more sober stared at him with wide eyes.

“Red eyes, white skin. What are you?” The bottle fell loosely from her hands a she scrambled away.

“Vampire?” The other one breathed, ignoring her friend’s hasty retreat.

Kirkpatrick rolled his eyes and sighed, waiting for the next line which was always “But your hair is red.” Everyone, well, the two people who had a chance to realize what he was before he ate them commented on his red hair.

“Will you please go on a date with me?” She clutched his arm tightly and looked up at him through her lashes. “Pluh-ease?”

He pulled out of her grasped and rubbed his lip thoughtfully. “A chance at true love?”

“It would be epic.” She replied. “I’m . . . Faith.”

“And I’m Charles.” He replied flatly.

“Oh, what a grand name.” She latched onto his arm again and tried to pull him towards a building.

Clenching his teeth, he slowly walked towards the building and paused at the door as she threw it open. He remained where he was as she dashed in. After a moment she came back.

“Aren’t you coming?”

Blast Hollywood. They make real vampires seem so drab.

“I don’t really feel invited.” He replied.

“Of course you’re invited, silly. Come in and have a drink.”

He should leave. This wasn’t nearly as fun. His ‘date’ would switch between using words. Some words came straight out of an eighteenth-century romance novel, no, he thought, probably not the books but the Hollywood movies. Other times she spoke the meaningless jabber with her friends that mimicked their own written abilities. It gave him a headache.

For the next four hours she paraded him around the town inviting him in to all the hangouts. She offered him drinks but he always politely declined and would usher her on to the next place when she looked like she was getting to friendly with the beverages.

“Wow, it’s nearly four and I’m not smashed. That’s a first.” She pulled away from him for a moment and spun in a circle on the sidewalk.

“Faith.” Kirkpatrick called. She didn’t respond. “Faith.”

“What? Who . . . oh. Yes.” She replied.

“How about a walk in the park?”

“Will you protect me, Charles?”

“From all but the scariest of monsters.” He replied.

Away from the lights and noise of the city he led her to a large tree and a pond. He pushed her back against the tree and could hear her heart beating rapidly.

“I owe you my thanks.” He said, leaning closer.


“Because you’ve invited me so many places I couldn’t go before.” His sharp teeth sunk into her neck.

“Let me go . . .” She faltered

Good, she was sober enough to realize what a fool she’d been. Her body made no splash as it slid into the pond.


Gladys looked up briefly as he sat down on the couch next to her. She’d put in another movie, this one didn’t appear any different than the hundreds of others. If she was lucky, it would end right before the sun rose.

“You know,” he said, shifting down on the couch a little. “I think Hollywood may actually not be completely daft.”

15 September 2010

English Major

It amazes me how each Tuesday comes around and I’m frantic to find an interesting story of my life to post on Wednesday. For me writing fiction is much easier than trying to write interesting biographies that people other than my family want to read. Not that there are many people besides my family that currently reads this. I’m okay with that.

With my husband just starting a new semester in school it reminds me of when I went to college. When I started right out of high school I was so sure I was going to be an elementary teacher. I had everything figured out. The second week into the second semester I realized I would go crazy if I was an elementary teacher. Not that I don’t love children and enjoy spending time with them I just knew I couldn’t do it. What was I going to do if not be an elementary teacher?

Side note: Part of the dissuasion from the major was I took AP Calculus in high school and passed the test for a whopping 8 math credits. For an elementary education degree I was required to take a math class specifically for the major. I think they were supposed to teach us how to teach math. Not this teacher, we just learned basic math all over again. I had no problem; I finished the 100 question final in 15 minutes and got a 98% out of the class. I don’t complain about only having 98% because I spent most of the time playing the computer at my desk. There were a few people who actually struggled with that class. I couldn’t believe it, we weren’t even covering algebra or geometry. Drove me bonkers.

So I decided to major in communications because I really liked my speech class. Another couple of weeks went by and I changed it again. I finally settled on English with an emphasis in technical writing. I’m a shallow person and prefer reading genre fiction for plot over anything else. I do like symbolism and all that but I hate analyzing every paragraph of every page and trying to figure out what the author, who lived two hundred years earlier, is trying to tell us now. Don’t get me wrong I love classics such as the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Jane Austen.

So here I am, a technical writer who hates grammar but is slowly getting better through practice. I’m not good at the mechanics of writing but I wouldn’t call myself bad anymore. This is what a college degree gave me and I love it.

12 September 2010

*Soda Can Dragon

Intro: I used to write stories about dragons all the time. Every story I wrote or read had to have dragons in it someway if I was going to enjoy it. While all of the novels I write now are science fiction and none of them even hint at dragons there is still a part of me that dreams of flying.

On Joanne’s fourteenth birthday she found an unopened can of lemonade, the traditional yellow kind. Pink lemonade was nothing but a mockery or lemons, Joanne thought. If you couldn’t find it in nature, it shouldn’t be digested. Pink lemons definitely did not appear on her family lemon tree in Arizona.

She knew she shouldn’t drink it. After all she found it lying forlornly against a chain-link fence partially hidden by a bush. There was no telling what devious person had made microscopic punctures and laced the lemonade with something disastrous like arsenic or bleach. She knew she shouldn’t have even picked it up, but there is was, in the side drink pocket of her backpack as she continued walking home from school.

Other kids complained about their parents. Joanne remained silent because she had no experience with cruel mothers or unjust fathers. Her parents were a happy couple and although they had little money to spare on frivolities, they were never wanting. Frivolities consisted of things like candy bars or soda pop. Joanne was happy with the freshly squeezed orange juice and warm chocolate chip cookies.

In her room she reverently set the can on her desk. She looked at it for a little while. She hadn’t noticed before but the writing on the can wasn’t in English and didn’t look like any brand she’d seen before and she knew her lemonades.

She gently rubbed the top again and sighed. As her finger brushed at the metal she caught site of the sell by date. It was today, giving her another excuse not to drink it. Rarely did she see any soda can so close to expiration.

To prevent as much temptation as possible, she set the can on her shelf, next to her other treasures. Instead of doing her homework, like she’d planned, she took down one of her favorite books and started reading. It was a retelling of a fairytale and she basically had the whole thing memorized. The end still filled her with butterflies.

The can fell off her bookshelf. It rolled slowly across the desk and fell to the carpet. Joanne stayed on her bed, her feet tucked under her and watched. The can cracked, the shiny metal edges flashing in the light. She covered her face but nothing squirted out. Instead there was a low chirping sound.

A polished silver dragon stretched out on the carpet and mewed. The can lay in pieces around it. Large light yellow eyes regarded her thoughtfully. Joanne moved closer to the edge of her bed, holding her breath. When her father came into the room, the can of lemonade sat in the middle of the floor looking innocent.

That night as she laid in bed her gaze kept drifting to the cylinder doing absolutely nothing on her shelf. Her eyes drifted closed and something mewed softly in her ear, with one hand she raised the blanket and felt a warm metal shape, like holding a tin mug of hot chocolate when camping, move under the covers and take up position behind her knees. She smiled to herself and dreamt of flying.

From that time on, the can never left her side. She carried in her backpack every day to school and more than once she had to stop someone from opening it. Once, when she was a junior, someone flipped the tab before she could stop them. Only the tab wouldn’t flip. It remained firmly in place as if welded to the can itself.

Every night and every waking moment she was alone, the little soda can dragon would come out of its can and watch her. Though the dragon never grew larger, it comforted Joanne to know it was always there and would rest on the back of her hand while she worked. It didn’t weigh much being made from aluminum made it light and glistening.

In college one of her roommates threw the can out. It took Joanne two hours to find it again. That night the dragon wrapped around her wrist and showed no sign of ever letting go. The idea that the dragon wanted to stay warmed her heart. She never saw the dragon eat but the cans in the recycling bin never added up to how many her roommates drank. It made her wonder what the dragon had done when she’d been living at home.

Her junior year of college she met a nice boy. They sat next to one another in an economics class and he’d asked for her number. When her phone rang two days later it was the dragon that nudged it her way. It watched her expectantly as she talked. From that point on, the dragon always brought her the phone at precisely eight fifty eight, in anticipation of the nightly phone calls.

A year and a half later they were married. She had packed the can in her suitcase out of habit but it wasn’t there when they arrived at their hotel. Her new husband could tell something was wrong but she pushed the worry away and turned her focus on him.

She moved into his place and as she was unpacking her last box, she found the soda can resting at the bottom. Even stroking its warm sides didn’t provoke an answer.

He looked over her shoulder, his eyes wide with shock. Joanne hastily picked the can up and tried to splutter an explanation about keeping it for the unique can. He only smiled and held out a can of pink lemonade. As she stared at the strange markings the can shifted and a long toothy snout poked briefly out of the top before disappearing.

With a grin, he placed his soda can on the mantle. Joanne tentatively left her can next to his and they walked out hand in hand. They risked a glance back and saw the two dragons, one with pink eyes and the other with yellow, curled up together.

08 September 2010


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had vivid dreams. Most of the ones I still remember from childhood are the nightmares. Not surprising really because they are the ones that were more emotional. Sadly, they were normally the ones that were the most coherent as well. Here are just a few examples of the nightmares I’ve had over the years.

Age 4(ish)

My little brother was born the year I turned four. I really don’t remember anything because I was so young. But something’s always stayed with me and I’m pretty sure it came from around that time.

The nightmare was a little red riding hood story. Instead of the wolf trying to eat the little girl, it was trying to eat my baby brother. I made it through the story without him being eaten but as the dream continued the wolf would pop out of the most unexpected places (like a loaf of bread at a grocery store) and eat my brother. It kept happening, over and over.

Age 6-7(ish)

I had a dream that was like a video game. The game consisted of different levels I had to complete. If I died, I had to start back at the beginning. The levels consisted of things like a rock slide, or water to explore. One had a witch that when she looked at me, I died. It never failed that there was always a woman in the room before me that I could hear screaming. I got so good that I could more often than not, rescue the woman. The final level was a Jester who had a mask and a knife. He would put the mask on, disappear, and then stab me in the back. I would then start back at the beginning and have to do it all over again.

Age 12-14(ish)

When I was older, I had the Jester dream again. I was able to get through all of the levels. I even killed the Jester, although I don’t remember how. Once I killed the Jester, I was the one with the mask and the knife. I would see someone come in, put the mask on, appear behind them and then kill them. I had no control over my body and was forced to kill people over and over.

Last Week

I dreamed I was going to a writing conference and we would get to have the first chapter of our story looked over by a “professional” group. I was the last person to be critiqued. Before I handed out the copies of my story one person said: “This is either going to be the best thing we’ve seen or the absolute worst.” I handed out my copies with trepidation and started to read my story. The first paragraph made no sense whatsoever and it went downhill from there. When I woke up the next morning, my heart was beating so fast and I had to remind myself that it was only a dream. Amazing how nightmares change over time.

05 September 2010

*Zoo Animals

Intro: I love going to the zoo but I never liked going on the school trips because they wouldn't let me see the animals I wanted for the length I wanted. My family has had a year pass for years and we would go all the time. Now that I am older I love watching little kids' reactions to the animals I've been looking at for years. I enjoy people watching.

Once again the school was taking a trip to the zoo. Somewhere I’ve been a million times before. Never by choice of course. I try to convince my parents to let me stay home. I even volunteer to clean my room.

“It will be fun,” said Father.

“It’s required,” said Mother.

So, here I am, sitting on a cramped bus sharing one tiny plastic fabric bench seat with two other students. Never mind that it was a difficult fit three of us four years ago when we were in second grade. I don’t even know the other students. They’re from the other two sixth grade classes. Something about encouraging interaction. My stomach rumbles and I glumly think of the brown paper lunch bag undoubtedly smashed in the bottom of the box. It always happens. My cookies are most definitely crumbs.

Before we even get to the zoo I’m sick of the animals. I have a headache from the monkeys behind me kicking the seat and my ears hurt from the screeching of the parakeets and laughing hyenas. They don’t need to take us to a zoo, just put up a big mirror in the class and we could do all our reports on animal behavior without needing to set one foot on a bus.

“What’s your favorite animal, Jamie?” The girl next to me asks.

I glance at her nametag; yeah we all get to wear nametags. Remember that whole improving interaction who-ha. It says Heather. I don’t know why I bother, I’ll forget as soon as I look away. I receive another sharp kick to my back.



“They have no vocal chords.” I reply. I don’t think she heard because the chattering parakeets are screeching about something.

Off the bus is no better. I’m assigned to a group and though I know them all, none of us would have picked the others to spend a whole day with. I pity the parent watching over us. Mrs. Paitly. She’s nice and sweet and has eyes like a hawk. Not really though because I compared them when we pass the cage. But nothing gets past her. Somehow she keeps all of us in line as we straggle from one exhibit to another.

“Who would ever come here by choice?” Lacey Londawl asks wrinkling her nose when we enter the aviary. “It smells like . . .”

“Lacey.” Mrs. Paitly warns. “Can you tell me what we are looking for in here?”

Lacey tries to toss her hair and she screams. A white goop slowly slops down the side or her auburn hair. Freddy Childs hoots and points which starts the rest of the boys. All the girls squirm and chatter to one another. The next twenty minutes we wait outside the bathroom while Lacey tries to wash the gunk out and make her hair presentable. Mrs. Paitly is with her but keeps popping her head out the door to make sure we’re still here.

I sit on the bench looking at the nearest animal pen. Little black and white birds waddle around on sun bleached concrete. Penguins. They never change. The only exciting time is when they’re in the water which only happens once in a blue moon.

I hear a giggle. Then there’s a faint “Mo?”

The laughter continues and I turn my attention from the flightless birds.


A small girl sits on a man’s shoulders. Her blond hair is done up in two elastics and it looks like antenna on a bug. She claps her hands and calls again, “Mo!”

“Yes, that’s a penguin.” The father replies. “Do you want to see the zebras now, little one?”


The father chuckles and they continue to watch the penguins. I look back at the penguins. They rest on the concrete; most aren’t even standing anymore but relaxing in the tiny shade available. The little girl giggles.

On the way home I’m sitting by Heather again. She’s red and flushed. Apparently she didn’t put on enough sunscreen and I wonder if I’m a lobster like her.

“So did you enjoy the giraffes?” She asks. “I got to see the tiger. They’re my favorite.”

A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I actually really enjoyed the penguins today.”

“They weren’t doing anything interesting when we were there.” Heather says, a little downcast.

“I had a great time watching.”

The boy behind me kicks the seat. The girls are still talking to each other; the discussion revolves around Lacie’s misfortune. Another groups laughs loudly at a joke I couldn’t hear. I’m glad when the bus drops us off at school. The trip took the whole day and we are quickly excused. My head is pounding.

As I walk the five blocks home I look up at the blue sky and smile.


01 September 2010

Forgotten Child

I really meant to post last night, it was on my to-do list. Sleep won. Sorry this is late this morning.

The other Sunday I had to arrive early to rehearse for a musical number. I was the third hand in the accompaniment. The men were required to attend another meeting in another building. The other accompanist has four children between the ages of 5 months and 6 years. She was helping me in Primary that day since the regular chorister wasn’t able to make it. After we finished practicing for the musical number and church was about to start, I took the two older children to Primary while she ran the 18 month-old child to nursery.

The first half went well but during the second hour the chorister grabbed my arm.

“I left my baby in the Relief Society room.”

Relief society is the class for the women. As my friend tore out of the Primary room I thought to myself, “Leaving a child in a room full of women isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.” Sure enough her son was sleeping peacefully. They figured my friend was feeling overwhelmed and needed someone to watch her son since her husband was at another meeting.

I can’t even begin to imagine the fear of leaving a child somewhere. My husband and I don’t have children at this time. I hope that if (or maybe I should say when) I accidentally leave a child it is in as safe a place as a room full of woman who know exactly where I am and are just trying to help.