3 Things I wished I’d learned much earlier in life

Huh, so I have to keep this to three things? Jeez, there’s like a boat-load of stuff I wish I’d known sooner. For instance, when you reach 30 you still don’t know shit. I really thought that when I reached 30 I would just know things. Like what I wanted in life and where I was heading. Yeah, that so wasn’t the case.

Okay so the first of the big top three is money management. I was a child of the 70s  and parents didn’t think about stuff like that. I had no clue how to handle money. I wasn’t the kid who said “just write a check” when Mom said there was no money, but I didn’t do a good job. I wasn’t a saver and didn’t know how to be. I’m paying for it now, but lessons learned painfully are lessons that stick.

The next thing is self-care is so damn important. The reason we hear about it so much is that it didn’t happen before. Hello, 70s. We didn’t even have seatbelts. Forget about putting yourself first and focusing on what you need. Hell no. That wasn’t a thing. I’ve come to realize over my Year of Self-Care that first, I’m horrible at it and next it’s not something I can do for a year. It needs to be a concerted effort on my part all the time. It’s taken me forever to realize this, but hey, better late than never.

Finally, and this is kind of funny, but nonfiction books are awesome. I never read them. I thought they were boring. Then I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Devil in the White City and I was hooked. Now, I probably read nonfiction more than I read anything else. Mary Roach really sealed the deal. I think it was her book Spook that made me realize that nonfiction doesn’t have to be dry or boring. Her stuff is so funny, while still educating.

Now run over and check out the 3 things Bronwyn picked.

 

“Girls” Night In

promptly penned

Welcome! If you’ve never seen read Promptly Penned before, we’re given a . . . wait for it . . . prompt and we have to use it to write a short piece. Easy peasy! The prompt this time is dialogue and it will be in bold so you know what it was. Enjoy!!

 

Maggie settled back on the couch with her feet kicked up. She hadn’t been sure she could swing hanging out with her two best friends, but, once Mrs. Hutchinson had convinced her she would take the kids Maggie had agreed. It was tough being solely responsible for her two younger siblings, but Maggie couldn’t do anything else. She loved them.

Grace pranced out of the kitchen followed by Joey. Both were carrying bottles and glasses as they sang off key at the top of their lungs. Good thing Grace’s apartment had solid walls or else the party would end before it got started.

“Have we missed anything?” Joey asked, handing Maggie a champagne flute.

“No, the Grammy’s aren’t on yet and I can’t drink this.”

“Oh yes you can, it’s sparkling grape juice. What do you take me for? I know very well pregnant ladies can’t have alcohol”

“Yeah, he’s way smart,” Grace said with a smile. “He graduated from Yale and is a lawyer.”

Maggie laughed since that was Joey’s pat line for explaining why he was always right. Grace had taken to tossing it in before he could. It always made the three of them laugh.

“That’s right,” Joey said. “Yale. Lawyer. That’s me.”

“Joseph P. DeMarco, Esquire,” Grace said, putting on what she called her haughty rich lady accent, which really consisted of her attempts at a bad British accent.

Maggie sipped at her drink and shrugged. It wasn’t bad for sparkling grape juice, of course, to her, anything was better than champagne. She couldn’t stand the stuff while her friends guzzled it like water.

“Here’s to our first official Girls Night In,” Grace declared, holding her glass up.

“I love this,” Joey said. “Thanks for inviting me.”

“Dude, you’re one of the girls,” Grace replied.

“It wouldn’t be the same without you,” Maggie told him.

“Ah, thanks girls. So, let’s dish. Grace, how’s it going with Calvin?”

“He’s old news. I haven’t talked to him in ages.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Ages? You saw him last week.”

“Whatever, it’s been so long I’m probably not interested in him anymore.”

I’ve seen his Instagram,” Joey shot back, “you’re definitely still interested.”

Maggie nodded. “You’re liking and commenting on his feed all over the place. Not that there’s really much to like. The man isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack.”

Joey nodded. “Sharpest pencil in the case.”

“Brightest crayon in the box,” Maggie continued.

“You two are mean,” Grace declared.

“She only says that when we’re right,” Joey told Maggie.

“The Grammy’s are on,” Grace pronounced primly. “We should watch it.”

“Avoidance,” Maggie said, “that means we’re really, really right. And she knows we’re right, but he’s called her and she’s going to go out with him.”

Grace ignored them by turning the TV up and Joey sighed dramatically.

“Yep, she’s going out with old dim bulb. He must have a big peen since he really can’t carry on a conversation.”

Maggie burst out laughing and finally Grace broke and began to laugh too. Yep, Maggie decided, Girls Night In was a success.

 

Now head over and see what my amazing friend Siobhan did with the prompt.

 

June 2019 Wordless Wednesday

wordless

Welcome to what is supposed to be a wordless post, but never it. Yep, this is the way I roll. Anyway, below you’ll find a selection of pics from the last couple months. Most, will of course, have my cat Maeve in them, since she’s just so damn cute. Also, if you want to see my pictures on a regular basis (yes they too will have Maeve, but other stuff too) you can follow me on Instagram at @gwencease .

 

Abby looking cute. Check out the side-eye Maeve gives me. Sassy cat. The outside of the American Dollhouse Museum

 

I can’t believe someone has the patience to do this

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Isn’t this miniature amazing??

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Bronwyn       Kris       Siobhan

At the Door

flash header

Hello!! And welcome to June . . . already! I have no idea what happened to May. I blinked and it was gone and I didn’t get a thing done. So there it is. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for June, shall we. Anyway, this month’s flash fiction photo is this one:

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And, this is what I wrote for it. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Willow shouldered her pack more firmly as she and the CPS woman walked up the steps to the front door. Someone long ago must have tried to liven the place up by painting it a beachy aqua, but now it was peeling away to reveal the battered wood beneath. Tentatively, she gripped the oddly ornate knocker and rapped sharply twice.

She wondered what would happen if no one answered. Would CPS try to find her a home? Or would they dump her in a shelter somewhere? She’d never find out since the door opened to reveal an elderly woman. This woman wasn’t frail, as Willow thought she’d be, since the woman was her great aunt. Instead, she stood tall dressed in battered jeans and an old flannel shirt. Her gray hair hung in a heavy plait nearly to her waist.

“It’s about time you got here,” the woman said. “You said one and it’s nearly half past three.”

“Well, we—” CPS lady started to say, but the woman cut her off.

“Don’t need no excuses. I’m Carrie Jamison,” she said, directing her speech to Willow. “Come on in now and we’ll get you settled.”

“I’m Mrs. Tanner and I need to go over some things with you,” the social worker interjected.

“You’re over two hours late and it messed with my whole day. You can leave whatever paperwork you have and I’ll read it later. Right now, my great niece needs to come in and see where she’ll be living.”

“Mrs. Jamison—” Mrs. Tanner began.

“That would be Ms., I never married. Never saw a reason for it.”

Willow tried not to stare, as her aunt nudged the other woman out of the way.

“Come on now, I’m sure you tired and hungry.”

Willow stepped inside and looked around at where she’d be staying. The inside was so different from the outside, she almost went back out to make sure she was in the same house. The hardwood floors gleamed and the house smelled of spices and cookies. Willow’s stomach rumbled and her mouth began to water, since breakfast had been at eight.

Willow turned as the door closed and she found herself alone with her aunt. She wasn’t sure what to say, since she’d never met the woman before. Her grandmother had cut her daughter off when she’d gotten pregnant so Willow hadn’t known her mother’s family.

“I don’t know how much you know about your family, but you can call me Aunt Carrie. I know your name is Willow.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Willow said. “And I don’t know anything about my family. My mother didn’t talk about her family at all.”

Hell, her mother didn’t talk about much of anything, but Willow wouldn’t say that out loud.

Her aunt gave a small smile, almost as if she could hear Willow’s thoughts.

“Well, you’ll have plenty of time to learn. I might as well tell you, before you hear in town, they say I’m a witch. Now let me show you to your room.”

She walked past Willow and started up the stairs. All Willow could do was stare after her with her mouth hanging open.

 

That’s it for me. Now go and see what my amazing friend Kris Norris did with it.

Working for the Dead

promptly penned

Welcome to May’s Promptly Penned. If you’ve never encountered this before, two members of our blogging group give us either dialogue or a scenario and we write a short piece. This month the prompt is:

He is a hitman for the supernatural, because sometimes, ghosts need revenge so they can rest in peace.

And with that, I hope you enjoy!

 

“Hurry! It’s over here.”

Dekker glanced at the woman who accompanied him. What the fuck? He’d been doing the job for a very long time and he didn’t need a newbie along. He knew where they were going. He knew what to do once they reached the destination. He was the best. That’s why he was the one currently walking through the darkness. Where they were going wasn’t for amateurs.

“Are you listening?”

“Lady, you’ve been yammering at me non-stop for over an hour. I can do nothing but hear you. Tell me again why you’re here?”

“You’ll see. Now pick up the pace.”

A growl rumbled out of his throat and he grit his teeth to pull back. The otherness inside of him loved the hunt. This too was another reason he was the best. Though one had nothing to do with the job itself. It was actually the length of time he’d been at it. Most headsman lasted twenty or thirty years, but Dekker had only been hitting his stride at that point. When you were good at something why give it up? Now he was entering his . . . two hundred and fifteenth year? Really? It almost gave him pause, but let it go. Now was not the time.

“Hey, are you awake?” the woman shouted back at him. “You’re really slow. Come on.”

He approached the dark house as the woman practically danced in place. Or, she would have if her feet actually touched the ground. Something about the spirit plane being just slightly off of the human. Either way, ghost always floated.

Ignoring her, Dekker held out his hand and the front door unlocked. He stepped into a living room and listened. He heard nothing, but knew people were home. He could feel the life force of two humans in the house. Following, the way a blood hound did a scent, he tracked through the living room and into a kitchen. A door, tucked discretely in a corner, flared bright to his eyes. The one he sought was there.

As he approached, the door opened before him. Once a headsman caught the scent, nothing stood in the way. He moved down the steps and could scent blood, old and new flavoring the air. The basement was dark and dingy. And empty. He knew this wasn’t all there was to see, since he was never wrong.

“Over here,” the ghost called. “It’s over here.”

“Lady-” he began.

“Kim, my name is Kim. You have to hurry. He’ll kill her too.”

Dekker hated complications and this was going to become one. He wasn’t supposed to interfere. Go in, do the job and leave. The other inside of him wanted to kill both humans. Dekker knew he couldn’t. That would spell the end of him doing the job. He’d done a lot of stuff he wasn’t proud of, but he’d never killed an innocent. Ever.

He stepped forward and the door swung open. The man had obviously sound-proofed the room because a woman was screaming. Pain such pain tainted the air. And fury. So much fury. It touched the other in him, pulled at it.

She was petite and, at first, he thought she was a child. Not until he got a good look at her did, he realize she was a grown woman. A woman who was tied to a table and covered in blood. Her own blood. Cuts ran the over her body. Shallow cuts and deep ones. Still though she fought. She pulled at the bindings on her hands and feet as the man calmly stood beside her holding a bloody blade.

Dekker stepped forward and her eyes flicked to him, then held. Deep blue green, like the ocean on a crystal-clear day. She shouldn’t have seen him, not with the shadows cloaking him, but she did. And in that instant, he and the other calmed. He understood.

Pulling the shadows away, he cleared his throat. The man with the blade spun and staggered.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?”

No matter how long he did the job, Dekker was always vaguely surprised with the stupid questions that popped out of people’s mouths. Nevertheless, he did what he’d been trained to do so many years before. First, announce who he was and why he was there.

“I’m Dekker, Headsman for the Supernatural. Tom Phillips, your name was brought before the tribunal by twenty individuals. Upon studying the case, you are found guilty. I am here to carry out the sentence.”

The man blinked. “What? Nothing you say makes sense.”

He pulled a gun out and fired point blank into Dekker. Dekker, for his part, never moved. Humans had tried to kill him before. It never worked. He always carried out the sentence.

The man, Tom Phillips, fired three more times until the gun clicked. Empty.

“As I was saying,” Dekker continued, as though he was never interrupted. “The tribunal has granted the twenty individuals their due. Do you have anything to say in your own defense?”

Tom screamed and rushed forward. Dekker held up a hand freezing the human in his tracks.

“Since you don’t, I will administer justice.”

Darkness shot from his hand and encompassed the man who had been Tom Phillips. The human began to scream, then, was silent. Wiped away in a blink.

“Can you help me?”

Dekker moved to the woman’s side and released her bonds. “Tell me your name.”

The ghost who had accompanied him appeared. “Her name is Grace. She’s my best friend. Please help her.”

Shrugging out of his coat, he draped it around Grace’s body and picked her up. He’d help her, of course he would. Grace was his. His to protect. In a flash, he was gone leaving only emptiness.

Now check out what my friend Siobhan did with it.

 

Best lesson I’ve learned . . .

 

learning-lessons

This week our topic is the best lesson we’ve learned from a work of fiction. Truthfully, the very first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My lesson: don’t be all sweet and self-sacrificing because you’ll die early, just like Beth. You laugh, but I remember reading this book at maybe 9 or so and I just didn’t like Beth. She was just too goody-goody for me. Then, like that, she died. So, yeah, no being good for me.

That was only reinforced with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The main girl, Mary, was a total brat and I loved her. First, she didn’t die. Then, she got to go live in a huge house, make friends, and hang out in a secret garden. Bam! Being a brat totally paid off for her. To this day, TSG is still my favorite book of all time.

Another book was Jane Eyre. Lesson: don’t fall for some brooding man who lives in a crumbling house because he’ll have a mad wife locked in the attic. So, yeah that one saved me from heartache and the possibility of dying tragically.

Truly, the real lesson is don’t believe everything someone tells you. Rochester totally lied to her about his wife. Jerk. Oh then he had the nerve to ask her to run away with him and pretend to be his wife. Assface. In the end, he’s blind and sad and she goes back to him. Uhhh, no. Once a liar always a liar.

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In the midst of reading the classics I was also reading romance novels. Romance novels written in the 70s. Yeah if you don’t know what special little snowflakes these books were, you so have to check them out. Young virgin heroine, much older “hero” who treats her horrible and often rapes her then proclaims in the end that he’d always loved her. Bleck!!  From reading these books, I learned my most valuable lesson and it was:

I can write better than this!

Yep, that was it. Even at 12 I realized I could write way better than what I was reading. In fact, as I read, I was rewriting the book in my head to the way it should have been. Strong, older heroines. Alpha males who loved and cherished their partners. Action and adventure they took on as a team.

Now go visit Bronwyn and see what big lesson(s) she learned.