29 December 2010

Forgiveness from a Cat

My husband and I own a cat named Pooka. She has been with us for just over two years now and we are quite attached to her. She is beautiful with long gray hair but that also means lots of knots and snarls. We didn't brush her for two weeks and now poor Pooka is paying the price. Every night we try and get at least one knot out of her. She howls and tries to get away as we do it and when we finally get it out and let her go, she immediately hides under our bed where she knows we can't get her. The most interesting part of this whole ordeal is that if my husband takes her favorite string and dangles it by the edge of the bed she will immediately come and attack it. It doesn’t matter if it seems like we've ripped half of her hair out trying to brush her, as soon as she sees the string she starts playing. Last night after an especially bad brushing section, my husband used the string to convince her to come back up on the bed just a minute after she hid. I was able to pet her and she actually started purring. I wish I was more like that, willing to forgive and easy to please. I think life would be a lot smoother in the long run. Hopefully her fur won't ever get this bad again. This summer we are determined to take her for a haircut because having that much fur in the heat can't be pleasant.

Sorry I didn't post a flash fiction story this week. I actually had every intention to write a Christmas related one. My family was just too awesome to ignore. Just a heads up though, the website will be getting a redesign for the flash fiction area. That is one of my New Year resolutions anyway. Most of the design work is done; I'm just working on testing at this point. It is hard trying to come up with something that I won't have to drastically change in the future because of one thing or another.

22 December 2010


Merry Christmas!

In preparation for an upcoming family photo, I dyed my hair. Now this is not an uncommon occurrence for me. I have dyed my hair quite a few times starting on a dare in college. It was late, I'd always wanted the excuse, so at 1:30 in the morning, I went to Wal-Mart with one of my roommates and bought hair dye. It actually turned out pretty good. Since then whenever I am feeling a little down in life, I re-dye my hair. I have never had it professionally done, and there are definitely times when it is apparent, but for the most part, it looks fairly natural. My husband always likes to bring up one of the times it wasn't natural. It was in fact blue. Granted I meant to dye it blue, it was only the bottom three inches, but I didn't necessarily mean for it to be permanent, not that I really complained about it.

19 December 2010

*Seeing Fireflies

Published April 2012

Intro: I took Catching Fireflies to my writing group on Wednesday and after I finished reading it, I was immediately bombarded with questions about the father. This story answers those questions but read the other one first. I am thinking of trying to find a way to combine the two stories. I hope you enjoy this one.


15 December 2010

Writing Group

Twice a month I attend a local writing group. I have been going for nearly a year and I thoroughly enjoy it. I would like to think that not only have I made some really good friends, but that my writing has improved. (So long as I proofread which doesn’t always happen with blogs and flash fiction stories.)

The writing group is a good mix of people from various ages to various genres and there are days that I just sit in awe as other members read their ‘rough drafts.’ The first time I had something critiqued I felt like crying when I got home. How on earth did I think I could be an author? My papers had more comments then text. That, thank goodness, has changed. (When I actually prepare and not just grab a random story so I don’t show up empty handed.)

Not only do we meet twice a month but there is a state wide meeting every year which involves a fairly prestigious writing contest. When I entered last year I felt intimidated because I knew members entering from the local chapter. (People who write rough drafts I drool over.) There was no way I could actually place when they were entering. But I am pleased to say I did enter. I didn’t place. But several of my friends did very well. Hooray.

This year’s writing contest is going to be different. I have a plan: write better.

12 December 2010

*Keeping Up

Intro: All three of my jobs since graduation have had some degree of technology. All of them have had days like this. I’m sure most people can sympathize with what this character is going through. It will never cease to amaze me that my phone and computer are practically obsolete as soon as I open the box.

“Here is a good example of a document done wrong.” The voice said from the dark behind me.

I look up at the screen and groan. It’s one of mine. As the voice continues to explain exactly how horrible it is, in the nicest possible way, I shuffle down further in my seat. The meeting lets out and we all wander back down to our cubicles.

“I can’t believe I’ve been screwing up this whole time.” My newest co-worker laments.

The rest of us look at him and sigh. He started three weeks previously and up until five minutes ago he was probably doing everything perfectly.

I slide in front of my desk and look at the cursor blinking at the end of my document. I understood when I took the job that technology moves fast and it is hard to keep up. My brand new phone, purchased a month ago, is now considered outdated by two newer models so why wouldn’t the standards of online documentation be any different. The last document for the set that, up until five minutes ago, was perfectly fine. I wait a moment and sure enough, an email pops up in my inbox.

“Due to the new standards, I need you to re-write these and send them back.”

I grumble under my breath and hastily type out a reply.

“No. Not on your life. I just spent sixteen hours writing all of these. Deal with it. I’ll do it right on the next one.”

I delete it and write another one.

“Of course. Not a problem.”

The clock ticks. I hesitate and finally hit send. The emoticon I get in return rubs my nerves and I change the email to another message so it isn’t visible behind all the windows open. Changing around some of the words doesn’t take me too long but because of the delay, my documents are once again at the bottom of the list to be reviewed before being approved. It will be impossible to reach the deadline of the day after tomorrow. I am tempted to bash my head on my desk but instead begin the process for the next project I’ve been assigned.

Two weeks later we are brought back up to the conference room. The same voice in the dark shadows goes on and on about how our numbers are down from what the bean pushers expected. A brand new document is brought up, not mine thank goodness, and the voice explains exactly what is wrong with it and that it needs to be fixed for these reasons. I watch a co-worker slink down in his chair not looking at anyone.

My hand rises into the air. I didn’t intend to do it.


“These changes you want us to make—” I pause as every eye in the room shifts to me.


“Aren’t they exactly opposite of what you told us two weeks ago?”

Absolute silence.

“Due to the research we conducted during this period of time we learned a lot more about our audience,” the voice says.

“So it will change in two weeks?”

More silence.

“The internet a very fluid medium,” the voice finally replies.

“Just had to make sure.” I replied and turn back towards the screen.

The meeting ends and as my co-workers walked by they nod to me with added respect. I go back to my cubicle, a lightness to my step. An email waits in my inbox.

“Due to the new standards, I need you to re-write these and send them back.”

My head hits the desk with a thunk.

08 December 2010

No Restrictions

My brother-in-law recently returned from serving a mission in another country. We are glad that he is back safely. This weekend he asked to see my husband’s driver’s license. He flipped it over and read off the back “No Restrictions.” As he handed the license back he told a true story I think would do well in the Reader’s Digest.

An American was pulled over for speeding in an African Country. The police officer asked to see his driver’s license and the man handed over his American license. The officer read “No Restrictions” on the back and looked at the man in confusion. The man, who had a sense of humor, laughed and said jokingly, “That means the speed limit doesn’t apply to me.” The officer handed back the license and waved him on.

05 December 2010

*In Search of a Beard

Intro: I took my story Free Time to writing group and received critiques back this week. Overall the story was really well received. One of the members in my group suggested writing a collection of wizard fables. I thought it was a pretty good idea. So here is my second attempt at unraveling the secrets behind wizards. So this time I look at why many wizard mentors are similar physically. Old men with beards. For example: Dumbledore, Gandalf, Belgarath, Merlin, and even Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Shawn straightened his coat and looked in the mirror one last time to make sure everything was absolutely perfect. Neatly parted, well kept hair. Shined boots and pressed trousers. Spotless shirt and lint free jacket. He hadn’t even nicked himself shaving this morning. Meeting with a new client always set his teeth on edge, though speaking honestly, this was only the third client and everyone set him on edge. He lifted his chin and nodded firmly to his reflection. Not only had he been studying for dozens of years but he’d also apprenticed with another wizard for a few more. Absolutely no reason in the world existed for the dread he felt, but he still clutched his hands trying to keep them from shaking.

Instead of using a transportation spell, Shawn walked to the tavern, enjoying the spring morning. The wind rustled his hair and he furiously patted it down trying to keep it in some semblance of order. It helped a little but to be on the safe side, he took a few moments outside of the tavern to check his appearance over once again before stepping inside.

He waved to the owner, a childhood friend, and walked over to the only occupied table.

“Greetings, I’m Shawn.” He held out his hand and the young man looked up from his drink.


“Shawn,” he repeated. “You asked to meet me regarding a quest.”

“Oh—you’re the wizard?”

“Yes,” Shawn hung onto the word a moment longer than he should while a little of his enthusiasm leaked out. He pulled himself together and sat down resting his elbows on the table. “I want you to know that you won’t regret coming to me with this assignment—”

“How old are you?” The man asked, leaning forward and eyeing him in the dusty light coming through the window. “I mean do you have much experience with this kind of thing?”

He blinked at the man for a few seconds. “How old am I? I’m nearly forty.”

“Really? Hm.” The man took a swig from the tanker and looked at him again. “I would have guessed younger.”

“I assure you, I’m old enough for what you need.” Everyone thought he was younger than he really was. “I was going over the research—”

“But how much experience do you have? You never answered the question.”

Shawn rubbed his forehead and stared at the table. “I’ve been doing things like this since I was a boy. You won’t find many who have more experience than I. Now,” He straightened his back a little and tried to keep a non-strained smile in place. “Shall we discuss the particulars?”

“Since you were a boy? I just don’t see that.” The man rubbed his bristled chin thoughtfully.

“What’s wrong now?” Shawn tried to keep the whining from his voice and almost succeeded.

“If you have been doing this for years I would expect you to be more, more—”

“Distinguished? Commanding? Stronger?”

“Decrepit. Old. Scarred.” The man replied. “Sorry. I just don’t feel like you are cut out for the position of mentor.”

“Decrepit? Honestly?”

The man stood and moved his chair back. “Good luck.”

Shawn remained where he was as the tavern owner sauntered over.

“Another rejection?”

“Yes. So in the three interviews I’ve been told I need to be more distinguished, commanding, stronger, mystical, severe, solemn, decrepit, old and scarred.”

“What now?”

“My grasp on adjectives has doubled this week. If I ever wondered what they were before I know now.”

“That’s not what I meant. You are cut out for this job. We both know it.”

He chuckled as his friend sat down. “Right. So what do I do? Trade in my clothes for the oldest robe I can find and dye my hair gray.”

“Growing a beard always adds a view years, too.”

“You can’t be serious.” He rubbed his clean shaven jaw. “That doesn’t look respectable.”

“Why not? This is nothing more than customer feedback. I get it all the time. Why do you think I wear an apron even though I never touch the food?” His friend smiled and rubbed his hands together. “And I know exactly where to find a knarled stick for you to use.”

“Why do I need a knarled stick when I have a perfectly good one?”

“Goes with the image.”

“Makes me want to hit something,” he muttered resting his head on the table. “This is ridiculous.”

“That’s the best part. In their image you can hit them. They’ll probably just take it as a learning experience.”

Shawn groaned but it turned into a laugh. He wiped tears of laughter from his eyes as he left the tavern, in search of a beard.

01 December 2010

Sales Associates

I like to shop on Black Friday, mostly because socks are always 50% off at a store my husband and I frequent. This Black Friday found my husband and I at Staples for a wireless mouse. (It is for our laptop so we can be even lazier when watching our online television shows.) While we were there we gave them the empty toner for our laser printer. Sunday we helped someone replace the toner on their laser printer which was the same model as ours. We learned that when we gave the older toner cartridge we also handed over the drum.

On Monday my husband went back to Staples in the hopes that we could get our drum back. The sales associate explained that every night the cartridges are put into a compactor and that it was impossible to get ours back if we gave it to them on Friday. He looked up the price of a new drum. The drum cost more than what we originally paid for the printer. But, we could bring in the old printer and it would give us $50 on select, new printers.

When I got home from work on Monday we boxed up our printer, the new, unopened toner (which had we replaced before returning the other one would have prevented our problem) and headed to Staples. We walked in and immediately two people asked if they could help us. We explained our situation, that we were suffering from stupidity, and asked how to do the whole $50 detail. He kind of laughed and asked what day we suffered from this certain case of stupidity. When we said it was Friday he nodded, said he remembered seeing it, and told us to wait because he knew exactly where it was. A few minutes later he came back and handed us our printer drum.

It's people like you who make my day and make shopping actually bearable. Thank you.