Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Than Any Marriage Can Survive?

This morning I was listening to a radio interview set in New Orleans. It was of a young couple whose lives have unraveled because of the Gulf Coast oil spill. He's a 4th generation shrimper. They've been married 7 years. They have two boys, ages 2 & 4. He was employed by his uncle's boat, and they had one week of glorious shrimping when the fields opened back up in August, but then the winch broke so he lost his job.

Without a job, they have lost

  • the house they rented
  • their vehicle
  • their phones
  • nearly their marriage.
While I was listening I felt vaguely sympathetic but still very far removed from the situation. And then the interviewer mentioned that this young man is a veteran. He served in Iraq. His wife described him currently as someone she doesn't recognize. He was more himself when he was getting shot at every day than the man she sees now.

Post Traumatic Stress from an oil spill?

Well, do the math -- since they've been married, they also experienced the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Fishermen and shrimpers are, to quote one of the experts, the last of the hunter-gatherers. They have a tremendous self-reliance ethic, and they don't want to accept help from anyone. This young man has been stripped of everything - his work, his family, the security of a home and vehicle and because of the devastation Katrina caused in the social fabric and because of the ethic of his culture, there are very few back-up systems to get him help.  
Ironically, this photo is from a site offering employment.

It makes me think about the multi-generational reliance on welfare that we hear about all the time. All this young man (age 27) wants is to WORK. If he can get work, he can regain self-respect and the other things will follow. If we could transplant his attitude to the ones who feel a sense of entitlement, and help him see that to accept a hand for a while is not a matter of shame, we'd ALL benefit.

Any ideas on how to strike that balance?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan at Stony River gives us an illustration each week. Our task is to come up with a story in 140 characters or fewer (includes all spaces and punctuation). Difficult? Sometimes, sure. But worth it -- and hey, she gives us a whole week.

Here's this week's illustration:



Confused Vegan
Ferdinand sniffed at the woman’s dress.
“Is that leather you’re wearing?”
“Yes, but it’s organic so it’s okay.”


Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Herbal Remedy


I had quite a few fresh herbs left over from Thanksgiving prep, none of which I was passionately attached to, so I offered them today on Freecycle. A lady responded and I said I'd put them out for her . . . but we didn't set a time.

Off I went to church.

When I got home, I had an e-mail from her saying she would send her husband by in a few minutes. I looked at the time and GACK! It was before I left for church!

So I e-mailed her back, apologized profusely, and said they were on the porch for her to come by at her convenience.

She responded: "Yes, my husband was there and I was confused. He picked up your bag of vines instead. I am speechless."

The bag of vines was the large industrial size yard waste bag of English Ivy vines my son pulled yesterday.



I'm still grinning at the picture of him coming home proudly having "bagged" a big load of . . . herbs.

Get on the Bus


My blog-friend Dana is in charge of the poetry bus this week, which is a very brave thing to do with it being a holiday weekend and being out of town herself...but since I'm procrastinating about chopping onions, I'll jump on the bus for her sake. Now remember, this may be posted on Monday, but I wrote it on Wednesday before.  Before the turkey, the relatives, the daughter's boyfriend visiting, the kids being home for four days straight. It was more a prayer than a poem, but the Bible is full of prayers that are poems. This is not the quality of the Bible, but it is heartfelt.

Peace, my friends.

Here is the prompt (choose from 3 great ones!) I selected:

In the first chapter of Isaiah God is having a fit. Quit giving me burnt offerings! Stop trampling my courts! Why do you even think I want that stuff? I am weary of bearing them… Wash yourselves! And then in verse 18 God says, "Come now, let us argue it out…" (NRSV) Now, you might not be a religious person, but I'm sure that even so you have wanted to argue with God (or Allah or the sun or your own super ego) in some manner. If you choose this prompt I'd like you to tell us about that argument.


Oh Lord, you tell me, “humility”
and I mumble, ME?
You tell me “peace, be still”,
and I find many things to do.
You call to me, “come and talk”,
and I go my own way instead.
The terrible intimacy of knowing that 
you knew me before I was formed, 
reminds me that I cannot hide from you now.
My rebellion grieves your heart.
Yet, you desire only what is best for me.
I thank my God that you are a God of humility, 
and peace, and patience,
and that you forgive me and wait for me to do things

Your way.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Wise Words From an Airman

Because there is a war on, we often hear tales of extraordinary heroism. Our military members ARE heroic. And sometimes their heroism is in just continuing the mission, in war or peace. This is a true story.

When I was a Judge Advocate in the Air Force, I hated working in the Claims office. Congress had designed the claims system with an eye toward preventing abuse which often prompted the exact opposite. People felt like the rules assumed they were liars and cheats and were disrespectful of their service. Due to the rules of depreciation, no one ever got ahead. On the contrary, by the third move, most people were in a position from which they would never financially recover. Thus, many inflated their claims. A lot of my time was spent explaining the fine line between truth and prosecution for fraud. By the time I met the young Airman, I had begun to assume the worst about every client who came in. 
That day I walked into the outer office and looked at the sign-in clipboard of people waiting to see a lawyer. I called the Airman whose name was in slot #1. The young man who stood up looked drawn and exhausted. His uniform, though, was crisp. Everything that was supposed to be shiny was very shiny, and he wore decorations showing him to be a fine marksman.
As we walked into my office, I motioned him to a seat . “What brings you here today?” I asked.
“My First Sergeant made me come,” he said.  “I don’t understand how to fill out these forms I've been given."
I reached my hand out to take the forms and looked at the information he’d filled in. There were a lot of empty blanks on the form. I shook my head.Many of our young Airmen back then weren’t very well educated, but this wasn’t one of the more difficult forms. Rarely had I seen a form so devoid of useful information. In exasperation I put the form down on my desk.
“Airman, you need to fill the form out as completely as possible,” I advised, “I can’t help you if you don’t give me any answers to work with.”
“I did as much as I could, ma’am,” he answered.
“Well, here in block 6 where you’re asked to list a location of loss, you put ‘not sure’. And here in block 7 where it asks you the date of loss, you wrote ‘not sure’. And here in block 8 where it asks you to list what you’ve lost, you wrote ‘everything.’ How is any of that useful information?”
“Well ma’am, it’s all I know to put. I was stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines when Mount Pinatubo started acting up. All of us cops went into overtime status. My wife packed everything up and cleared out with the kids. I didn’t see them before they left. She had all the paperwork for our household goods and hold baggage,” he said.
I had a feeling I knew where this was going.  It wasn’t uncommon in the military for young men to get married too young, have kids too young, and then be flummoxed when the wife got tired of playing house and left with everything -- especially from an overseas location. I thought he probably needed family law advice, not claims. But I persevered.
                “Okay, so your loss occurred at Clark Air Base, Philippines when your wife left. Pinatubo blew in June of 1991.  Why not put that down?” I asked.
“I can’t. I don’t know if the stuff ever got out of Clark. My wife and kids went to my parents’ home in Ohio. I stayed at Clark until the end,” he said. “I was with the last group there, and we got out in September. Next I went to school at Gunter Annex in Montgomery, Alabama for an eight month training course,” he said.
It was unheard of for young enlisted to take their families with them to the training courses. If they did, it was largely on their own funds. I knew this young man probably hadn’t had that kind of money. As if to confirm my guess he went on, “my family stayed with my parents, and then visited her family.  While she was there, she had our third child. My NCO let me go up there to be with them for a long weekend, but I couldn’t stay.” He looked at me. “Ma’am that was the only time in my entire Air Force career that I contemplated disobeying an order.” He laughed, “I think that’s why my NCO gave it to me.”
 “Well, I finally got my new orders, and I was so relieved to tell Tricia that we’d be meeting up soon in our new home in Florida. We thought sunny Florida together was better than being separated any longer.
“I caught a ride up to Kentucky. Her parents surprised us with a mini-van as a gift. It wasn’t new, but it was new to us, and with three car seats for kids, it was a life-saver.” He smiled. “We were able to pack everything we had on hand into the van and head south.”
I paused him there. “So at this point, you still had no indication of where your goods from Clark AB had ended up?”
“No, ma’am,” he stated.
“Okay, then you were in Florida. Go on?”
“I signed in to my unit and we got on the list for housing.  We stayed in TLF (temporary living facilities) for six weeks until a house came up for us. We were fixing to go look at it when everyone in the squadron was ordered back to duty and our families were evacuated due to a hurricane coming in. Ma’am, do you remember Hurricane Andrew?”
My eyes widened. “You were at Clark Air Base until the end, and your next assignment was Homestead Air Force Base?”
“Yes ma’am,” he said, “I stayed on duty and slept in what was left of a hangar with my unit for six weeks. Then I was transferred up here, to Bolling Air Force Base. I got here last week and my family joined me on Monday. So you see, ma’am. I don’t know whether my stuff got all the way out of Clark, all the way to Florida, or where it all disappeared. I don’t know how to answer the question of when and where it was lost."
I asked, "where are you staying now?"
“We’re living in TLF here on base, and waiting for housing.  The folks at Transportation they said they have no record of where my stuff might have ended up, but that I can file a claim.  But you know ma’am, it really doesn’t matter.”
“What do you mean, it doesn’t matter?” I asked.
“Well, we hadn’t seen that stuff for two years. We got along just fine without it. We’ve always had enough to eat and someplace decent to stay.”
I had a lump in my throat, for this young man who had sent his family off twice and stood between other human beings and danger, who had possibly lost all his earthly possessions, and was now saying it didn’t matter.
My eyes were moist when I told him, “Okay, I’m going to clear my calendar.  We’re going to imagine going from room to room and we’ll try to reconstruct what you had. I also want you to make a list of what you need. We’ll figure out a way to make this right.”
He looked at me and smiled. “Ma’am, I’m glad you’re going to try to help me, but you don’t need to be sad.  I know now that I have everything important in life. I have my wife and my kids. What we lost was only stuff.”

NANOWRIMO WINNER



That's it.  I uploaded my "still needs editing" novel this morning.  This occurred AFTER I had heart failure because when I went to do so, the novel was no longer on my desktop.  My very dear husband (who is a writer himself so he understood the panic) was able to search deeply into the computer's brain and find it.  Whew!

It's now saved as well to an external device. Live and learn.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who comes here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bike Update Times 2

Okay, this is the last one about the bike, I promise.

Our school security office (a Fairfax County Police Officer) e-mailed me about the incident this morning saying he had identified the individual and asking whether I wanted to press charges.

I asked whether there would be any benefit to the individual in doing so (seeking restoration, not punishment was my idea).

He said the kid was not a prior discipline problem, and they could do in school discipline.

I elected that option, hoping that the kid will be scared to ever try something like that again, and frankly, protecting my son from having to get involved with pressing charges. He'll be in school with most of these same kids for the next several years.

I was really impressed that our security officer knows the kids well enough that he was able to identify this kid within an hour of being briefed into the situation.

And if the officer had told me this kid had a record and there would be merit in going the other route, I would have chosen that.

Hope that kid is really THANKFUL on Thursday!  I don't know who he is, but if he's never been in trouble, I'd imagine his mama is going to have a thing or two to say to him over this long weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bike Update

Talk about a brazen thief.

Today my son walked out of school and saw HIS BIKE on the bike rack at his school!  WITH the lock still dangling around the body.

He called me so I could come pick him up as the brakes are messed up.

His school has an afterschool program so whoever rode that bike to his school today was probably still in there. I wanted to go in and ask, loudly, "hey, does anyone here have a gold bike out in the bike rack?" -- thinking someone would be stupid enough to say, "yeah, that's mine."

But the school secretary wouldn't let me.  Sigh.  So I told her to keep her ears open for anyone complaining about someone having stolen "their" bike.

So, son is happy, lessons learned.
1.  Put the lock THROUGH the body AND wheels.
2.  Use the bike rack, not a pole that can be knocked over.

Smiles all around!

Microfiction Monday

W00t!

I finished my 50,000 words!  Now I can relax as I flesh out more, tweak, edit and enjoy Thanksgiving.

And I can concentrate on Microfiction Monday.  Thanks, Susan, for the great photo and your story.  You're a tough act to follow!

This kind of reminds me of Ellen DeGeneres's old routine where she talked about the deer head on the wall:
"I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her." 


So here's my feeble attempt to do a story, although I've mentioned Susan AND Ellen Degeneres which means anything I write will PALE in comparison!







Sam had worked his way up from the enlisted ranks with the idea of leadership someday. Who knew that NF writers needed a static muse?

**to understand this, you need to Google "Mustang" as a slang word.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What a Day!



My poor son. To set the stage, he's been in the doghouse. We're one week into the new quarter and despite tearful promises, on Wednesday I had already received notice from his Algebra teacher that he was missing SIX assignments.

To understand this you have to know that

  • he does the work
  • when it's time to turn it in he often can't find it
  • he has a binder
  • he refuses to even tiptoe down the aisle of organizational skills
So, that's the backdrop. Yesterday morning I was going to chaperone the high school kids to a very cool National Archives field trip. I had NO.TIME.FOR.HIS.STUFF.

I had several checks that needed to get to his band teacher (citrus sales). I contemplated waiting until Friday because I know things go into his backpack and never again see the light of day. (The EPA requires a biohazard mask when delving for items possibly contained therein)

But he said he'd be really careful. I put the checks into an envelope and put the envelope on the kitchen table.

The alarm went off.
He didn't move.
He finally got up (after much ENCOURAGEMENT).
Despite the fact that he did NOT practice trumpet and did NOT take care of the bird, he was still running late.
He missed the bus.
I told him to ride his bike because I had NO.TIME.FOR.HIS.STUFF. He protested, I stood firm.

He took the bike.

I had budgeted about an hour to get ready, and catch up on some things around the house.
The phone rang.
It was son.  "Mom, somewhere near the high school I dropped the envelope."

My head exploded. After I hung up (not very nicely), I jumped into clothes (no shower), brushed my teeth quickly, and drove to the high school. I got out and looked all over and MIRACLE found the envelope intact.

I drove to the junior high (the campuses are connected but I had to move the car anyway), dropped the envelope in the teacher's box, asked them to send a note to my son that said "Envelope Found. Mom Still Loves You." They promised they would.

But now there wasn't time for me to go home and shower and still make the field trip. Sigh.

Went on the field trip, had a great time, no kids told me I stunk. Of course, they didn't get very close -- either the shower or the fact that I was an adult.

On the Metro back I called to make sure he'd gotten home from school.

"Mom, my bike got stolen."

WHAT?

"I locked it to a sign pole near the high school. When I took my lunch time to go look for the envelope I saw that the bike was still there. I didn't find the envelope."

Me: They were supposed to tell you the envelope had been found.

Him: Yeah, I got that note after lunch. After four hours of terror.

Me: I don't feel bad about that. You need to learn from this.  So tell me about the bike.

Him: When I walked over to get my bike after school, the sign had been pulled or pushed out of the ground and my bike was missing.

Sigh.

Nano Ketchup

40,128. Closing in on the target. Seriously avoiding the medical crisis in the novel because I don't know the right language. But it's fiction, right?


I know, it's catch-up rather than ketchup...just trying to maintain a sense of humor!

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?
A Friends of the Library Mystery

“Won’t you sit down?” László asked, gesturing to the table.

Emajean was still hesitant as she sat. “Usually at this time the doctors are elsewhere so I come in to have a little quiet cocoa. I really am sorry if I interrupted you.”

“Not at all! Is there some place where I too could get a cup of cocoa? It’s just that it reminds me of home, and for a moment, I had a bit of nostalgia,” László said.

“I bought it at the canteen. We can go there,” she said.

He frowned a little. “No, I don’t think I want to leave this room,” he said quietly.

“Is it because doctors don’t like to be seen in public with nursing students?” she asked.

“No,” he replied. “I like that it is just us here.”

“Then I’ll share. Here,” and she pushed the cocoa to him. The mustache of cocoa that covered his upper lip after he took a deep draught caused her to start giggling.

He took on a look of mock hurt. “Are you laughing at me? A poor foreigner trying to learn American customs?” he asked.

She bit her lip lightly. “No, it’s nothing foreign about you that makes me laugh. Even American boys get cocoa mustaches. It’s just very undignified for a medical student.”

He hung his head in pretend sorrow. “Ah,” he replied. “The stereotype of the doctor being too dignified to be human.”

She smiled, and reached across the table to retrieve her cocoa. László closed his hand around hers on the mug and said, “You may not have it until you tell me your name.”

Her smile grew wider and she said, “Jean. I like to be called Jean.”

He furrowed his brow and answered, “That sounds very American, short and to the point. It doesn’t seem ornate enough for you.”

She said, “Well yes, my parents named me Emajean but it sounds so old fashioned. I wanted to be called Jean once I came here.”

László tried it out, “Emajean.”

She had never heard her name pronounced with such precision wrapped in velvet. It made something inside her warm even more to this man. “All right. You may call me Emajean, but only you. Everyone else has to settle for Jean.”

“And already you have given me another gift,” he said.

“Another?” she inquired.
“Yes, first you started my heart. Second, you shared your cocoa. Third, you gave me exclusive use of your full name, Emajean,” he said.

There was something about the way he declared the gifts and finished with his caress of her name that Emajean knew she’d be a goner if she didn’t leave the room immediately. Suddenly the door flew open and a dark haired girl looked in. “They’re looking for you, Jean! Hurry up!” she called and ran off.

Emajean abandoned the cup, straightened her cap, and fled out the door.

They both knew where they’d be tomorrow at the same time.

Chapter XI

From their beginning with cocoa, László and Emajean tried to progress as if they were colleagues. When others were around, they struggled to ignore the currents of electricity that ran between them. But in their second year, the inevitable occurred and thrown together by long shifts and difficult patients, the electricity matured into a deeper relationship, cemented by friendship and shared challenges.

When László was in his third year of medical school, his father died. This coincided with the world-wide depression so his father’s already small pension from the Hungarian government was worthless. As the only child, László was committed to caring for his mother and was making himself sick trying to decide what was best for her.

Uncle Teodor provided what appeared to be the perfect solution. He offered to pay for his sister-in-law’s passage to America. László agreed that it was a great idea. Unfortunately, his mother refused to get onto a ship that would cross the ocean. Anticipating her answer, Teodor had been urging the young man to finish a semester early, quickly take his exams, and then go to Hungary to bring his mother back to Chicago. Teodor had picked up the current that ran between his nephew and a young Irish nurse, so his additional hope was that the trip would give the young man an opportunity to be immersed in all good things Hungarian, and the Irish girl would no longer appeal to him.

László suspected that his uncle had such an intention, but his suspicion was of no consequence to his decision. He was torn between the duty to his mother, and his love for Emajean. László also knew that if he left immediately following his exams, he would not be considered for further specialization studies, and might even have trouble finding a position practicing medicine when he returned.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNo Update

34,940

I hate it when I get an idea but I'm too tired to type. Solution: put in a few key words for the next day and then hit the hay.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back on Track

33,162

Back on track
Must produce lots of words
BEFORE
Thanksgiving gets here

Remind me of why I'm doing this?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why My NaNo Got Stuck

Well, besides the creativity juice running out, I've been busy.  Here's the results though.  If you're anywhere in the area, be sure to stop by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Model United Nations

I spent the weekend chaperoning 18 teens from our school (including my daughter) to a Model U.N. conference at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

They were amazingly well behaved.

I have to say, when I go to these things and see and hear the 2000+ delegates from schools all over the place, I am very encouraged for the future of our planet. These kids "get it" and if they retain their passion, their sense of purpose and lose some of the pushy "listen to me" behavior (which often comes with maturity), they will change the world for the better.

And their sponsor/teacher, Mr. V, is just amazing.  What a fun, exhausting weekend.  I only got the minimum done on NaNoWriMo.  Must get busy today!

Microfiction Monday

Susan, from Stony River, challenges us with yet another illustration in search of a story. Microfiction is 140 characters and that includes all punctuation and spaces. Give it a try!




Pedro’s inner fashion designer screamed that anything that involved heat, donkeys and a serape was a bad career move, but he was hungry.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?



And our mystery woman falls in love . . .


Chapter X
László Tímár had grown up in Budapest, the only child of a minor official in the government and an intensely dedicated mother. He started school at age four with a local convent school. The nuns who taught the children were from many parts of Europe and it was quickly discovered that the boy had a gift for languages. He picked up the various languages of the sisters, so with the assistance of the priests, they searched for foreigners to bring in to speak their languages to the young prodigy. At the age of twelve his education moved from the sphere of the nuns’ influence completely to that of the priests. It was then that another of László ’s gifts began to shine. There was simply no mathematics or science class that he couldn’t breeze through. By the time he was eighteen he spoke ten languages and had mastered advanced calculus.
With the blessing and financial support of the Church, his parents decided to send László to get a higher education in the United States. Because the Church was helping, it was to be at a Jesuit institution and when it came to choosing a school, they relied on geography and family connection. László’s father had a brother, Teodor, who had emigrated to Chicago ten years earlier. This brother cheerfully welcomed the prospect of his nephew coming to live with him. There were several wealthy Hungarian immigrant families in his circle of acquaintances who had marriageable daughters. Teodor was the consummate bachelor so wasn’t interested in any of them for himself. But for his nephew, Teodor was optimistic that one of the girls would give László a good reason to stay in the United States.
But wealthy Hungarian Catholic families did not send their daughters to study nursing at Loyola.  Further, László’s hours were such that he was constantly at the campus surrounded by young women from many backgrounds. With his gift for languages, he quickly found a new community among the other students and made arrangements to move into a dormitory. His easy nature and academic ease made him a favorite study partner for men and women alike.
It was in one of the study sessions that László met the young Irish-American nurse from Michigan. He was explaining a procedure from organic chemistry to one of his male colleagues one day when a young nurse walked into the study area with a cup of hot cocoa. The smell took László back to his early days in Budapest, when he shared hot cocoa and the stories of his day with his mother in the afternoon after school. The aroma made him smile and look up at the girl holding the source of the chocolate bouquet. His dark brown eyes met her lively green ones and it was as if an electric current ran from his body to hers and then back again. Her fair skin blushed dark red and her step faltered. The cocoa teetered in her hand.
László jumped up and steadied the mug by gently cupping his hand beneath it. “I’m a good doctor, but I don’t think I could heal a burn on such perfect skin,” he said.
The girl stared at him a moment longer and then dropped her eyes. “I’m sorry, I’ve disturbed your studying,” she said. “I’ll leave.”
“No, it is fine, we were just finishing, weren’t we?” he turned to his colleague. Aware that something magical had happened, the other man could only answer, “I’d say finished is the word for you, yes.” He gathered his things, nodded at the oblivious pair, and left the room.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Microfiction Monday Mess-Up

Can I just say

NANOWRIMO

20,857 words

No microfiction in that, baby!

Hopefully next week...
besides, it's not nearly as much fun coming out to play with Thom away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?


Although I'm doing NaNoWriMo, I had written a lot of Emajean before I put it down to do the month long celebration of writing. Hopefully, the supply will hold up throughout the month! And Quilly, for you an entire chapter this time!


Celia awoke to that peculiar white noise sound of forced air common in institutional settings. She was lying on a bed that had railing sides. Uh oh. I think I’m in a hospital. The lights were low and she could hear the faint murmur of voices out in the corridor. She did a mental inventory of her senses and everything seemed to be working correctly. Next she started a physical inventory, tensing and relaxing muscles, starting with her wiggling her toes and working up.
She was just starting to lift her left arm when the door of the room pushed open and a young man came in. He had a white coat on and a stethoscope around his neck. She thought he looked vaguely familiar.
“Hi Celia,” he said. “How are you feeling?”
“I guess I’m all right. What happened?” she asked.
“You fainted at the party at Garm’s barn. When you fell you hit your head on a hoe that someone had left out. It cut your scalp. Like all head wounds, it bled pretty badly, but it’s not serious. I put a couple of stitches in, and your hair will grow back,” he said.
“You cut my hair?” she asked.
“Just a little bit. No one will even notice. It is fortunate you weren’t hurt more seriously,” he answered. “When was the last time you had eaten?” he inquired.
Now that was a tough question. In her time, she had been on the way to meet her friend for lunch and had felt hungry then. But she didn’t know how that time translated to now. “I don’t really remember exactly,” she offered.
“Well, that probably explains it. Everyone said you had been acting a little different all evening. I know I was surprised by your attitude when you argued with me,” he said.
In a flash the memory came back to Celia. This was the insufferable bigot from the party! She got ready to give him another piece of her mind when he broke in to her thoughts. His voice was somber. “I don’t know why you’ve suddenly developed these radical ideas, Celia. The races need to each keep to their own,” he said.
Celia couldn’t help but argue, “that’s wrong! It denies people a chance to love whoever they want to spend their lives with!”
Anthony flashed a sad smile at her, “I said last night you were naïve. Now I know you’re stubborn as well. I think this means we’re not as well suited as I had hoped.”
Celia had a sinking sensation. If I’ve traveled back in time somehow, what is this man’s relationship to me? His name is Anthony Harper. Could it be that he’s related to my husband Rob Harper? This is so wrong! He saw the look on her face and interpreted it correctly.
“I know you’re not interested in me romantically, but I hold you in the highest esteem. You’re a beautiful girl, a wonderful nurse, and will make someone a great wife,” he said. “I’m going to let you rest until the morning and then we’ll give you a day of rest in your dormitory. Then we’ll see how you feel about coming back on duty. Your patients miss you,” he said with a smile.
After he left Celia closed her eyes. I don’t understand this and I don’t know how I’m going to get back to my own time. I cannot fake being a nurse and having all this training!
A light tap on the door brought her eyes back open. A familiar face peeked into the room. “Oh good, you’re awake!” said her visitor.
“Emajean!” said Celia. “I’m so glad to see you. I have so much to ask you!”
Emajean looked at her curiously. “It isn’t as if we don’t talk every night. And why on earth are you still calling me Emajean? It’s because of the Annual, isn’t it? I told them I didn’t want them to use my entire name but they insisted. But why you’re taking it up, I don’t know! So why are you?” she finished in a rush.
Celia laughed. “To me, you’ve never been anyone else. I guess I wasn’t clear about that before. I have something to explain to you. Come sit down.”
The other girl sat on the end of her bed and folded her long legs atop the covers. Emajean perched her chin in her hands and said, “So give. What do you need to tell me?”
“I’m not the Celia you know. I actually live in 2010 and I only know you through some photographs we found in your 1933 Loyolan,” Celia said.
Emajean didn’t bat an eye. “Where is the Celia who is my classmate then? You look just like her and you sound just like her.”
“I don’t know how it all works. But when I have to do something that involves nursing you’ll see that I’m not the Celia you know. I can’t stand the sight of blood,” Celia replied.
“That’s nothing new. You aren’t good at the blood stuff, but you get through it. You’re still not convincing me. Tell me something that is a surprise,” Emajean said.
“Let’s see. You have a little sister named Frances.”
Emajean rolled her eyes, “she’s been up to visit. You know her. Keep trying.”
“Okay, you have a step brother named Walter and your father was married to Walter’s mother before he married . . . “ Celia’s voice trailed off as she saw the horrified look on the other girl’s face.
“No one here knows about Walter,” said Emajean in an urgent, quiet voice. “He was sent away a long time ago. How do you know about him?”
“I told you. I’m from 2010. You see, I was trying to find out who the photos that fell out of a 1933 Loyolan belonged to. I started using the Census records to trace your family,” she said.
“But Walter hasn’t lived with us for many years. He wasn’t with us when the census taker came,” Emajean said.
“Not with your family, but nearby, and your family name is unique enough in Lincoln that he’s easy to find. I just used the internet,” Celia said.
“The what?” Emajean asked.
“The internet. I can’t explain how it works because the technology is still a long ways away. The point is, I’m in the wrong time, and somehow I’ve got to get back to my time but I don’t know how,” Celia said.
Caught up in the mystery, Emajean ventured, “maybe you’re on a quest and you need to accomplish something to . . . I don’t know, maybe save the world!”
Celia winced inside knowing that if she could change one thing about history it would be to eliminate Adolf Hitler who at this moment in this time was consolidating his power in Europe. “I think saving the world is a bit dramatic, but it is possible that I’m supposed to help someone.”
Emajean bounced up and down, “I know! You’re supposed to help László and me be together!”
Celia paled and clutched her head. Emajean immediately stopped bouncing. Celia said, “thanks,” and thought for a moment. “Yes, that could be right. Tell me more about him and what is going on.”

NaNoWriMo

UPDATE

8922 words

I started a new story with this (had to based on the rules)
and it's really taking off!

Don't know where it will land either!

All Over But the (Please No More) Shouting


Okay, the mid-term election is mostly finished except in a few tight races. I don't have much to say about it except these observations.
  • People in my district returned someone to Congress who sees himself as an heir to Ted Kennedy. A wealthy man, who purports to speak for the poor. Very big on social programs (with much fanfare and press), very small on accountability for them.
  • The candidate who opposed him was so opaque as to be scary. So my choice was between the devil I knew and the potential devil I didn't. Or a write-in.
  • Interestingly, the people who who have gritched and moaned about the incumbent apparently don't care enough to get out and vote for something different. I feel like John the Baptist sometimes (lonely voice crying in the wilderness)
  • The following statement applies to ALL political parties:  I DETEST when a sitting President goes out to campaign for the party that he purports to lead. Once elected, a President represents ALL the people and while he pursues the agenda he feels he needs to do, any actual campaigning for individuals really offends me. It bothered me when either Bush did it, Clinton did it and Obama did it.
  • Article II of the Constitution States the President's Duties:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

  • I don't see anything in there about "continues to lead the political party that placed him in office."
  • I would be so happy to find ANY candidate who can be gracious in victory as well as defeat. I'm hearing a lot of crowing from both sides. That sows the seeds for future ugliness.
Okay, that's all for now on this.  My kids have been out of school for 2 days, and NaNoWriMo is in full swing. I woke up this morning in a panic thinking I needed to post for Microfiction Monday...heh, heh...I have since realized it is Wednesday.

Back to NaNoWriMo.  Word Tally at present: 6666


Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo

I am not usually a trend follower. Nor do I succumb to dares. Usually. But in 2005 my ego got me into agreeing to run a physical marathon and I did it in January 2006.  I survived it, and horribly scarred by the experience (not really), vowed to never do such a foolish thing again.

But writing is different. It's fun, right? So, driven by ego and the challenge from my 16 year old daughter whose Creative Writing class is participating, I'm going to try doing it. So if I'm slower than usual in visiting and blogging...sorry!  It's not personal! It's all ego.