If you could indulge in anything, without consequence, what would it be?

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Welcome once again to the randomness that is Wednesday. This week the questions is really something I had to think about. I mean, there’s a lot of ways to think about indulgence without consequence. Eating chocolate. Drinking. Not going to work. The possibilities were endless.

So, after much thought, I decided that if money were no object, which to me is indulging without consequence, then I would travel. And if you know anything about me, you know the very first place I’d head would be Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland.

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There’s just something about it. I can’t explain it, but I need to touch it.

Another place I’d visit is Chalice Well in Britain

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Garden, thought to be Avalon, magic. What’s not to love. And, it’s right near the Glastonbury To. Hello! Convergence of magical energy. I want to be there.

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The next place I’d go is The Alhambra in Spain. This was another place I discovered as a kid. I found a book at the library and have wanted to go here. It’s not as big a draw as Hadrian’s Wall, but the place is gorgeous.

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If I ever get the chance to have a “money is no object” life, I’ll post tons of pics when I go traveling. Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming and writing.

 

Bronwyn      Jessica

Promptly Penned July 2018

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Welcome to July’s promptly penned. The prompt is in bold in the flash below. Hope you enjoy!

 

Shay cross her arms as Jeffery carefully explained their assignment. Yeah, her team was new, but no matter how many ten dollars words Jeffery tossed around the whole thing sounded like scutwork.

“So, let me get this straight,” Shay interrupted, “the upper level’s big thought on this is ‘the best of the best weren’t available . . .  so we got the best of the mediocre.’ The mediocre being us?”

“No, no, no,” Jeffery said.

“There were one too many no’s in there,” Shay replied.

“Look, this came down from the director . . .”

Shay almost rolled her eyes. Yep, first he tried to placate then jumped directly to an attempt at being assertive. Too bad it never worked, especially with her.

“I’m out of here.”

Shay shoved off the desk and moved to the door. Bless his heart, Jeffery jumped in front of her and held one hand out like he was a cop directing traffic. He blinked rapidly behind his glasses as she fixed her gaze on him and began to stare. And stare. And stare. He looked away and she had to stop herself from smirking. Yes, she was a bitch sometimes, but she liked it that way.

“Just check it out,” Jeffery pleaded, holding a piece of paper out to her. “Please.”

Shay snatched the paper out of his hand and left the office. Yes, it was scutwork, but she’d take it. Better than the alternative. If they found out about her power surge . . . better not to think about it. They won’t find out, she promised herself. She knew what happened to people with gifts. They were used up until they were nothing but shattered people who sat and screamed and screamed. That was not going to be her.

Shay motioned for Josie to follow her as she left the building. The two women crossed the parking lot and climbed into the vehicle. Josie pulled a device from her pocket and switched it on. Red lights flashed briefly before going green. They were clear.

“What’s going on?” Josie asked, tucking the scanner away in a pocket. If surveillance was in place, it wasn’t any longer. The device Josie created made sure of it.

“Jeffery wants us to check out this house over on Collins. The owners said they heard noises.”

“Noises?”

“Yeah, you know rustling in the walls.”

“Oh, you mean mice?”

Shay laughed. “Either that or something is majorly wrong with the electrical. Mice or electrical doesn’t matter.”

“How did it come in?”

“Some friend of the director bought a house and heard noises. Ergo, the house is haunted.”

Josie shook her head. “And we were given the assignment because . . .?”

“We’re the best of the mediocre.”

“I can live with that. Live. See what I did there? Better to visit the fake haunts and collect a paycheck than roll with the big units.”

Shay nodded. The people with talent collected huge paychecks but didn’t usually last more than five years. Tops. Then they were quietly shuffled off to the care facilities the department kept on the downlow. Once there, if it was determined the person was damaged beyond repair the man or woman went quietly to sleep never to wake again. Not something Shay wanted for herself.

“Okay, so once we check on the mice, we should knock off for the day and go to dinner.” Shay pulled out her phone and began to type. “There’s a new Thai place I wanted to try.”

Shay pulled up in front of a house and checked the paper. Yep, right address. The place was nice. Huge two-story brick with lots of windows and a pretty price tag. She bet it had to run close to a million five easy.

Josie whistled. “Damn this place is nice. Too bad it has an electrical rodent problem. Or the pipes shake or a million other issues the builders skimped on.”

Shay climbed out of the car and the two women moved to the front door. She rang the bell and when that didn’t bring anyone, knocked loudly.

“We came all this way and no one is home?” Josie moved to peek through the small windows flanking the door.

“Jeffery told me the home owners were going to meet us.”

Shay stepped off the porch and moved across the yard to circle the house. Maybe the owners were waiting in the backyard. Glancing over the fence she found it empty.

“Cool,” Josie said, “we can head to dinner now.”

Shay ran her fingers through her hair. She so wanted to agree with her friend, but decided they had to do their due diligence. Opening the gate, she moved to the back door and looked through the window. She could see a gorgeous kitchen, but no movement. Knocking on the door, she waited a moment.

“We’re not leaving, are we?”

“Not yet,” Shay said, “we need to check the house. Then if we don’t find anything we call it in and leave.”

She placed her hand on the door knob and gave a small push with her mind. The door unlocked and she stepped in. The sound of rushing air greeted them. It didn’t sound like an AC unit though, more like an industrial fan cranked up to high. Shay looked over at her friend and found her just as confused.

Cautiously, she exited the kitchen into a huge foyer with stairs that curved up to the right. The noise sounded as though it was coming from a room to the left with doors partially closed. Josie pulled another device from her many pockets and began to scan. Lights flashed like crazy as Josie punched buttons. Finally, she looked up at Shay and mouthed not mice.

Taking a breath, Shay shoved the doors of the room open and stared. Furniture swirled in the air as the whooshing noise got louder. Two people, at least Shay thought it was only two, since they were only body parts, were plastered against the walls that rippled and pulsed. Where the ceiling should be was a huge black hole that reminded Shay of what she thought the inside of a tornado would look like. Yep, this was not mice. Not even close.

The mediocre just became the A team.

 

Bronwyn     Siobhan

July Wordless Wednesday

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Welcome to July! Can you believe the year is half over?? Crazy!! This month I’m going to share all of my craft projects. I love to craft, but, as I tell people, I’m the Jill of all trades, Mistress of none. I make jewelry, my own soap and lotion, embroider, knit, and now I’ve taken up cross stitch. Amid all this, my Sis and I make Halloween and Yule decorations and we create fairy houses. Right now, we’re working on a miniature haunted house. Oh and wreaths . . . don’t get me started on those. Around the holidays I’ll share pics of our . . . 7 or 8 wreaths, maybe more. Anyway, here are some of my craft projects and supplies.

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Bronwyn

 

 

June 2018 Photo Flash Fiction

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Welcome to June!! The year is half way over already. Jeez louise, it’s crazy how the time is flying by. So, as it is the first Monday of June we have a new flash fiction piece based on a photo. Here’s the photo:

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I love this picture so much and, in fact, it reminds me of a friend of mine. I hope that all of you like the flash:

The Photograph

Jenna nervously entered the large gallery space and slowly scanned the crowd. The large crowd. She didn’t understand why so many people were there for a student art show. Her stomach did a flip and she breathed deep trying to calm her nerves. The stress was stupid, really, it wasn’t like her entire livelihood depended on the show. Hell, it was for a class. That was it. And yet she couldn’t convince her stomach of that.

Signing up for the class had really been a spur of the moment decision. The class she wanted to take was filled and she had to have three more credit hours to ensure she graduated in the spring. Tossing caution to the wind, she’d registered for the introduction to photography class. How hard could it be? Take some pictures, go to class, and voilà she’d be closer to graduation. She hadn’t counted on the original professor taking ill and the university bringing in a celebrated artist, Cherie Madison. Even Jenna had known who she was, and she knew nothing about art.

What she thought of as an easy grade, had become work. Hard work. She’d actually considered dropping but knew she couldn’t. She wouldn’t get her money back and she wouldn’t graduate. So, she’d stuck it out and found that she actually enjoyed it. Oh, she had no misguided thoughts that the class made her any kind of professional, but she learned that taking a picture was harder than anyone imagined.

Their final project had been a self-portrait. How easy. People took selfies all the time. Not Jenna. She hated having her picture taken. In fact, once she’d been out of elementary school, she’d refused to have any more class pictures taken. Her parents had cajoled, threatened, and begged, but Jenna had stood firm. She hated how she looked in or out of pictures and, yet, she had to take one for her final grade.

Cherie had told them the picture must be a reflection of who they really were. The image must show the truth of their soul. Jenna figured the only way she could do that is if she turned in a blurry image since she constantly dodged when a camera came out. She’d gotten extremely good at knowing where the camera was and disappearing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for the class.

Jenna slowly made her way into gallery and eased along the wall. The first image she came too made her stomach flip and she felt as if she wanted to hurl. The picture was black and white and showed a girl artfully arranged on the floor. Her hair spread out around her and her nakedness was barely covered with a thin piece of material. Shit, this was so far away from what Jenna had done it wasn’t funny.

Okay, she told herself, no big deal. The girl in the picture imagined herself as some kind of bohemian avant-garde artist. Of course, her picture would be moody and black and white. No big deal. And, yet, the farther Jenna moved into the space the more black and white moody pictures she saw. Her classmates had used filters and photo effects that looked as though they should be in some kind of art book and not hanging in a student art exhibit.

By the time, she rounded the corner to her own work, Jenna was close to tears. Her piece was nothing at all like the others. The picture she had turned in was in color. She’d worn her favorite white sundress. The one that she didn’t dare wear out in public, since it was cut pretty low in the front. She’d found a wide brown belt to try to accent her waist and had worn knee high, lace up brown boots. Then she’d gone out to her grandparent’s farm.

There was no weird lighting or effects. Oh, hell no, she’d just set up the camera on a tri-pod and taken shots of herself around the farm. The picture she’d chosen to turn in had been one that she’d taken as a joke. She’d leaned against a fence with one arm outstretched and the other against the back of her neck. She’d thought of it as a goddess pose. Her eyes closed and face turned to the side. She imagined she looked sexy as hell, especially after a few glasses of wine.

Riding high on the feeling, she’d turned that shot in. Now, looking at it stone cold sober she wished she could shrivel up. The girl in the image wasn’t a goddess. She was an overweight girl flopped against a fence. Jenna wanted to turn and run, but her feet stayed rooted to the spot. She now understood how someone could be paralyzed with fear.

A person stepped up next to her and it took effort for her to turn her head. Cherie Madison smiled and put her arm around Jenna’s shoulders.

“I was terrified at my first show too,” the woman said.

Jenna couldn’t answer. She had nothing to say. Not even if someone paid her money could she have formed a coherent sentence.

“I love your piece.”

Jenna stared at her and turned back to the image.

“Why?” she blurted out. “It’s not . . .” she trailed away.

“Like everyone else’s?” Cherie asked. “Jenna who said the photos had to look alike? Who said they had to be arty? I know I didn’t. My request of you all was to take a picture that reflected your true self. You did that. You were the only one who did that.”

“I don’t understand,” Jenna said, finally able to come up with a coherent sentence.

“I highly doubt the images your classmates turned in reflected anything about themselves. It may show how they want to be seen. Or how they imagine they are. But not who they really are. This picture is you. It’s beautiful and fun and vibrant.”

Jenna turned back to the picture and really looked at it. She forced herself to forget how much she hated having her own picture taken. She shoved aside the constant thoughts that entered her head every time she looked at herself in the mirror. Instead, she concentrated on what had made her turn the photo in to begin with.

“Do you see?” Cherie asked.

Jenna slowly nodded her head and whispered. “I imagined myself as a goddess.”

“I can see it. You did an amazing job.”

For the first time that evening, Jenna smiled. “Yeah, I did.”

 

Bronwyn     Siobhan

 

 

 

 

Top 10: Insecurities

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Hello and welcome to the randomness that is Wednesday. Wow, this topic is intense. Who the hell picks these things??? I need to tell you my top 10 insecurities? Shit, it’s going to take forever to whittle down the list to just 10. Huh, or maybe it’s just the top 10 insecurities I like to use in my writing? Yeah, I’m sure it’s not that.

Let’s see if I can get to 10 before I quit and crawl into my blanket fort with a book and a glass of wine.  As always, these are in no kind of order.

  1. I won’t be able to ever write again. This is a huge insecurity and it’s dogged me my entire life. Now, has it ever happened? Not really, though I’m still struggling to finish Entangled.  It’s not that I’m not working on the book, it’s the fact that I need to keep making adjustments because it’s just not right.

2. I’ll be 85 and asking people if they want fries with that. Truly, unless you are really wealthy the idea of a huge retirement savings is never going to happen. I have a retirement account, but it’s not nearly what it should be. Hence the worry.

3. My eyes will get so bad I can’t read. I know, what a random worry, but it actually happened to my mom. She also had tons wrong with her eyes too, but this is still a worry of mine. I can’t imagine not being able to read. Or knit or embroider or write or the millions of other things I do.

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4. I’ll end up alone. I’m sure this is a worry that many people have, but it’s one of my huge deal things I fret over.

5. I replay stupid shit I’ve done or said all the way back to when I was a kid. I know, crazy, but yeah I do it. I also know this is fairly common, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

6. The feeling that I’ve let someone down or made a major mistake. This will tie me into knots and I have a huge stress response with this. Like I can’t eat, sleep, and end up physically sick. I also get heart palpitations and feel like I can’t breathe.

7. Even at my age, I often don’t feel like a grown-up. In fact, I will look around to see if there’s a more grownup grownup around than me. I think this goes back to the sexual abuse I suffered as a kid. Sometimes, if the situation is intense I just don’t feel old enough or mature enough to handle whatever it is.

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8. If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me. And, this is funny since I don’t put on a new persona when I go out. I’m me, all the time. So, if you don’t like it then there’s nothing I can do for you. This also feeds into no one likes me. This especially happens at work, which is kind of funny since I really only have a few people I’ve connected with. See, weirdness.

9. I’m totally insecure about my weight. I’ve fought it all my life. I’ve been as small as 130 pounds and as large as . . . well I am right now. No matter what’s I’ve weighed or looked like I always find some flaw. Once again, I know this is fairly common, especially with women.

10. Finally, I’m insecure about where I am in life especially at my age. I often think I should be more financially secure or have an amazing relationship or have kids. This is kind of funny since I never wanted kids, ever. I still don’t want kids, but it’s one of those milestones that other women have crossed. So, since I haven’t, then there must be something wrong. I’ve also never been married. Once again, not something I wanted, but it’s another milestone.

So, there they are. Some of my insecurities. If you would like to share some of your own, please feel free.

Bronwyn

Songs that Represent Each Decade of My Life

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Welcome to the randomness that is Wednesday. Today our amazing question is: If each decade of your life was represented by a song, what would it be? Wow! That’s a tough one since I love music so much. I guess I could go in a few different directions with this but I think I will give you the song that I remember/loved the most from each decade.

Here goes:

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This to me was really the defining decade as far a music went. When the 70s first rolled around I was so little, so I don’t remember much. But as the decade went on, my musical tastes changed so quickly. I went from the boy singers like Leif Garrett to really good music such as Led Zeppelin and Bob Seger. I think the song that sticks out the most though, was my very first crush Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco family. I’ve talked about him before in a previous post, but here’s the song (the only song) I remember from them.

 

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I rolled into high school in the 80s and the band that I loved, at the beginning anyway, was Journey. I know, but when you’re 15 they’re the shit. Anyway, I collected all their albums (yes vinyl) and when they went on tour to support Escape I was allowed to see them. Talk about excited. My friend Sherry and I got to go and we were so excited. I still really like this song.

 

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By the 1990s, I was working and going to college. I made some really great friends during this time and most weekends were spent out at the dance clubs. So. Much. Fun. I went to New Orleans and danced on a bar. Hey, the bartender offered free drinks. I also attended my last really big concert. Yeah, I’m an introvert so I hate crowds. Going to concerts is a major overload so I go to see the people who matter. When Nine Inch Nails announced they were touring to support The Downward Spiral album I instantly got a ticket.

 

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The 2000s is when I began to teach. To say that my music choices were a bit angry is putting it mildly. I think I needed the driving, screeching music to get me through. My band was Disturbed and their song Down with the Sickness was the bomb (still is in fact). I have the CD and would often play it as I drove to work. LOL! Yeah, I know. I also heard a lot of music at the school dances. Most of the music wasn’t what I listened to, but I did learn the Soulja Boy dance. Yeah, I know that too. When you teach in an elementary school you do what you have to.

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Now we’re up to the last few years. I can’t really tell you what song I’d pick. I don’t really have a group that stands out for me. I can’t even remember the last CD I purchased. Hmmm, maybe Lindsey Stirling. I really like her. And I love the song Hold My Heart, which features ZZ Ward on vocals. Amazing

There are songs that make me turn the radio up like Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, but nothing that really stands out huge for me. Perhaps if we do this again, I’ll have something more to share. Hopefully, you liked all the songs I shared with you.

Bronwyn    Kris     Siobhan

May 2018 Promptly Penned

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Welcome! If you’re new here, Promptly Penned is where we are all given the same sentence and we have to craft a flash fiction piece around it. I’ll let you know what the sentence is by putting it in bold. I hope you enjoy the piece:

 

The figure came out of nowhere, or, at least, that’s how it seemed. One-minute Anna was walking home from work and the next she was wrapped in someone’s arms. Yeah, it would have been awesome if it were Jason Mamoa, but it wasn’t. She didn’t have that kind of luck.

Her attacker wasn’t big, but he . . . she was strong. Really strong. And smelled of rancid meat. Anna gagged at the smell as she fought to get away.

“Let go of me, mother fucker!” she yelled.

She kicked back and connected with a leg, but still her attacker wouldn’t let go.

“Shit, fuck, damn.”

The person grabbed her hair and wretched her head to the side as something sharp dug into her neck. She sagged and gasped at the sudden bright pain. Pain as she had never known before and truly didn’t want to know.

From far away, someone yelled. She was jerked away from whatever held her and she fell to the ground. She tried so hard to roll to her knees and crawl away but didn’t have the energy.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she muttered.

“Do you want to live?” a voice asked her.

“Duh, fucknut,” she slurred. “Of course, who wouldn’t want to live unless they had shit for brains. Fuck, fuck . . .”

Anna then died doing what she loved—swearing profusely.

 

Anna gasped in a breath and struggled to sit up. What the fuck happened? Where was she?

“Relax.”

Gentle hands pushed her back until she lay flat. She wished she could see . . . why couldn’t she see? Was she blind? Was she dead and blind? No, fuck, she wasn’t blind, her eyes weren’t opened. Were they? No, they weren’t. So, why couldn’t she force them? Fuck, she was so tired.

 

The next time Anna surfaced she could actually open her eyes. She also didn’t try to sit up since she felt dizzy and hadn’t even moved. Was that normal?

“Oh good, you’re awake.”

She tried to focus on the voice, but everything was a blur. So, maybe she wasn’t awake. Maybe she was dead. Was this heaven? She almost laughed, yeah, she doubted it since she cursed way too much for heaven. Couldn’t be hell since it wasn’t hot and she didn’t believe in it. Huh, so if she didn’t believe in it could she still go there? The question made her head hurt and she closed her eyes again.

A cool hand stroked her forehead.

“You need to wake up now.”

The voice was soft and female. Yeah, it was a female. Anna opened her eyes to find a woman she’d never met leaning over her. Blonde hair, big blue eyes and a bright smile. Anna knew right away the woman was probably perky. She hated perky people. They got on her last fucking nerve.

“My name is Selene and we have a lot to talk about.”

Anna wanted nothing more than to close her eyes. She hated when people said they had to talk. That usually meant bad news. Really bad news. Fuck, she was dead. She knew it.

 

Bronwyn    Siobhan