Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flash 55 Challenge - Freeway Frenzy #2

CHALLENGE: We are traveling 60 mph on the interstate going home from our Ashland stay. Suddenly we see brakelights four or five cars ahead of us and watch a minivan swerve off to the shoulder of the highway and slide to an immediate stop, gravel flying. A young woman flings open the drivers door, jumps out, runs around the front of the van, and yanks open the passanger door. We were past her before we could see what caused her to stop so suddenly. In 55 words what just happened?

He said he would call her by 5:00PM if she got the job. She had waited until 5:30PM before heading for home on the freeway. The sound of her phone ringing was muffled inside her purse. She grabbed for it, knocking the phone onto the floor of the passenger side, just out of her reach.....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flash 55 Challenge - Freeway Fright

CHALLENGE:  We are traveling 60 mph on the interstate going home from our Ashland stay. Suddenly we see brakelights four or five cars ahead of us and watch a minivan swerve off to the shoulder of the highway and slide to an immediate stop, gravel flying. A young woman flings open the drivers door, jumps out, runs around the front of the van, and yanks open the passanger door. We were past her before we could see what caused her to stop so suddenly. In 55 words what just happened?

She saw him choking and slammed on the brakes, pulling the car to the side of the freeway.  Yanking open the passenger door, she pulled her ten year old from the front seat and circled her arms around his middle from behind. Thank God the Heimlich Maneuver did the trick.  He was breathing once again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flash 55 Friday CHALLENGE for this week!

Here's a challenge, if you so choose.  Write the ending to this incident we observed while driving home from Ashland on Interstate 5, just outside of Medford.  We were past the city limits and in "the country "  with no other freeway exits in site.

We are traveling 60 mph on the interstate going home from our Ashland stay.  Suddenly we see brakelights four or five cars ahead of us and watch a minivan swerve off to the shoulder of the highway and slide to an immediate stop, gravel flying.  A young woman flings open the drivers door, jumps out, runs around the front of the van, and yanks open the passanger door.  We were past her before we could see what caused her to stop so suddenly.  In 55 words what just happened?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sonia's Regret (Porch Story, Part One)

This is part one of an Ashland "porch observation" story.  One late afternoon we were sitting outside on the porch of our Ashland rental having a glass of wine.  We watched a wedding party preparing for a celebration that evening at the Armory across the street. We could hear a Mexican band practicing in the background for the reception.  Each of the bridesmaid dresses was in a different bright jewel-tone color of  orange, blue, gold or green. Guests were arriving and it looked to be time for the wedding to begin.   Suddenly the bride came running out of the building, down the stairs, and down the street.  We never saw her reappear.  This caused us to come up with ideas for a story to explain what could have happened  to make her flee her own wedding.  She became Sonia because we were drinking a bottle of  "Villa Sonia" wine. 

The happiest day of her life was finally here. Sonia studied her reflection in the mirror as she slowly twirled, marveling at the beauty of the simple pale ivory wedding dress. It had taken six months of saving to buy the material and another three to complete the dress.

She clasped the pendant around her neck. Its sapphire stone glowed in the filtered light of the room. It was a family heirloom. Just not hers.

Her red lips pursed in concern. She had borrowed the necklace from her employer to wear at her wedding today. Sonia worked as Mrs. Mendez’ housekeeper and had meant to ask her permission, but she had not returned home before Sonia left yesterday.

Sonia would return the pendant to its special place in the locked jewelry box as soon as she and Marco got back from their honeymoon. It would only be for the weekend, she assured herself. Certainly Mrs. Mendez wouldn’t mind if she borrowed it for such a special day.

A flash of brilliant color flooded the room as her sister entered. She was stunning in her vibrant jeweled-tone green gown. Her sister was her best friend, and would stand proudly with her at the alter today.

As the music began they moved together to the chapel entrance. Inside, a small group had gathered to witness and celebrate their union.

Marco smiled at her from the altar as she slowly walked to meet him, his eyes never leaving her face. He clasped her hand, and as they turned to face the priest, his attention was caught by the blue sparkle at her throat. His eyes widened as he stared at it, then looked up at her. They had agreed she would return it immediately when she admitted to him that she had borrowed it without permission. Stolen it, he said.

As his smile faded, Sonia felt his censure and disapproval. She knew she had spoiled this special day by wearing the pendant and not honoring their agreement. Her voice trembled as she repeated her vows. When the priest asked Marco if he would take her as his wife, he hesitated, then withdrew his hand from hers and whispered “No.”

Tears clouded her vision as she turned and ran down the isle to the outside. She pulled off the pendant and flung it away. It glittered in the sunlight as it tumbled in the air and suddenly disappeared into the opening of an old blue birdhouse perched in the lone tree in front of the chapel.

Filled with remorse and regret, she ran blindly into the street, not knowing what direction to go. Hearing a shout and the squeal of brakes, she looked up just as the bus knocked her to the ground, its momentum and weight crushing her beneath. Her last thoughts were of Marco. Her foolishness had cost her the love and trust of her soul mate and in turn, her life.

If only she could turn the clock hands backward a day. She would do the right thing. “I’ll love you forever through time,” she whispered with her last breath.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ashland In Verse

The plays were awesome
The weather, just okay
Breakfasts to die for
In Ashland this stay

A travel day on Friday
With a lunch stop at Marche’s
Rhubarb sodas were a treat
Painted flasks made the day

Sunshine Saturday morning
Found us out on the porch
After Linda’s Quiche with berries
Accompanied by Gene’s Ashland Roast

Karen’s Mango Chutney Chicken
With yummy curried rice
For three dinners at home
Was heavenly with its spice

Hamlet on Sunday
Brought us to our feet at the end
Even though the “Hip Hop” Players
Made our minds have to bend

Bothered by two young drunks
On the porch of our abode
Charlene chased them away saying
If they didn’t go her head would explode

Anne arrived Monday morning
Ready to relax and rest
Yeah! The sun’s still out
Showing the flowers at their best

Tuesday brought showers
And a Pride and Prejudice Matinee
Swirling dancers and clever dialogue
Made this a most enjoyable play

Dinner at Amuse
All wearing Terri’s flashing glam rings
Each meal was delicious
The waiter was “Amuse”d with our bling

Several trips to the Spa
Each of us gladly paid
For painted nails or massages
A connection to Simplicio was made

Karen invited Simplicio
To our vacation abode
His gentle manner and skill
On Christiane he bestowed

The musical “She Loves Me”
On Wednesday we adored
Based on “Little Shop Around the Corner”
Left us laughing, asking for more

For Wednesday’s evening meal
To Peerless Restaurant we went
Waiter Bill’s treat of Honey Mead
Was heaven sent.

Christiane had a breakfast idea
For us when we awakened
And slaved over the stove top
Frying up a treat of bacon

Throughout the week
We relaxed, shopped, and read
Sometimes walking around town
Or through the park instead

Anne brought a book
She absolutely had to read
Book club was at her house
She had to be up to speed

A few used the beading supplies
For a rainy day they were brought
To make a bookmark or two
After they were taught

From a wedding across the street
We watched the bride flee looking riled
Just another “porch experience”
That caused our imagination to run wild

Already to Thursday
Where did the week go?
We were just getting started
To be in rhythm with the flow

Not enough entertainment?
To the movies several went
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
And Letters To Juliet

Jan’s French Toast with berries
Char’s Pancakes with syrup from Quebec
Too many calories you say?
It’s vacation, what the heck!

Mimosas or smoothies
Each morning we enjoyed
Wine tasting each evening
Kept the wine shop employed

Potato nests with scrambled eggs
Coffee Cake to bake too
Good thing it was done
Before the old range blew

Too much activity for the stove top
Caused it to spark and blow
To the neighbors to finish cooking
Linda and Terri had to go

Thursday’s plays were awesome
“Well” provoked much thought
And “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”
Much discussion later they brought

Hail to the Cork Queen
Jan wins it again
Her wine label took first place
And another year she will reign.

A new addition to the Queen’s attire
A sparkly bracelet she will wear
Along with the crown and scepter
Very regal and quite fare

It’s Friday already
And time to go
To a few more shops on the way out
Our money will flow

‘Till we meet again for lunch
We’ll bid each other adieu
"All’s well that ends well” and
“To thine own self be true”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Rosemary Caper

Hat bill pulled low, knife tucked in the sleeve of her fleece pullover, she walks with her accomplice casually down the sidewalk, endpoint in sight.

Approaching it, she looks sideways at the group of bicycle riders across the street to gauge their interest in her. None.

As her accomplice stands watch, she bends, knife sliding from her sleeve and severs the young stalk.

She quickly stands and they hurry back to the others waiting.

She holds up her conquest as they enter the room.

“Great, you found some rosemary for the baked pears.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flash 55 - Simplicio's Gift

Using feather-like fingertips
With head tilted sideways
He listens with his hands
And feels with his eyes.

Latching into special places
Waiting for muscles to relax
He sees her chin float upward
And her head release back.

She is floating underwater
Swimming circle eights in her mind
In symmetry with her body
Feeling relaxed and sublime.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flash 55 - New twist to a character

I take the brunt of everyone’s weight ever day. What else am I supposed to do? It’s my job to be there for anyone that needs a respite. I’m cheerful, smooth, cool, and welcoming. Not everyone is comfortable with my color, but I try to be accommodating. It’s not easy being a chair at Starbucks.

PS I'm done packing and I can't stay away :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ashland Here I Come!

Every year in May, six girlfriends and I leave behind our daily lives (husbands, jobs, kids, and pets) and travel to Ashland in southern Oregon for a week. ( I have been a part of this group for the past 20 years. A few of the friends have changed, but the core group remains in tact. What is the draw, you ask?

*The play’s the thing* Plays, plays, and more plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. ( If you only choose one link to look at, this should be the one. This year, I will be seeing Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet, Well (by Lisa Kron), and She Loves Me (by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock). This is the 75th season and it looks to be stunning. The plays are magnificent, the settings are truly a work of art, and we are always wonderfully entertained.

*A dish fit for the Gods* Great food! We pair up and share breakfast duties and our results outdo any of the local B&Bs (and Ashland has the most B&B’s per capita than any other city in the USA). We enjoy one of Ashland’s many and unique restaurant fares each evening. Our choices have included Amuse (, the Peerless Restaurant and Hotel (, and New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro (

*Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears* Good friends and good company. We all look forward to this week. We discuss the plays, what has gone on in our lives since we saw each other last, wander the town looking in all the shops, tour a winery or two, read a book, go for a spa session, or just kick back and relax. It’s usually sunny, but we have been there in rain and once in snow. The house we rent has a covered porch along the front that affords us a view of the foot traffic headed to and from town. Two years ago we watched several beekeepers corral a swarm of honeybees that were moving in mass from tree to tree in the yard next to us.

*Chance may crown me* The Cork Queen competition. Each year there is a wine label theme. We all bring entries for the theme, vote on the best label, and the winner in crowned Cork Queen  for the upcoming year. This title comes complete with crown, scepter, and the duty of selecting the wine label theme for the next year. It also comes with a lot of laughter, giggles, and outright guffaws.*Laugh oneself into stitches*

*Such stuff dreams are made on* Did I mention wine? Well, yes, all the bottles of wine that are brought for the CQ competition must be consumed, right??

*Brevity is the soul of wit* So, for the coming week, I will be absent from my blog page. I’m not taking my computer, but do plan to take my notebook and pentel pencils to write away on my goals for the month. I’ll also jot notes or write about anything else that catches my interest and report in when I return. And if I win the Cork Queen Crown for 2010, I’ll include a picture of me with the winning label!

*This above all: to thine own self be true*

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flash 55 - Market Furor of 5/6/10

What happened to the market today
Makes me want to take my 401K
And hide it in a box under the bed.
It may be safer there instead.

It's scary when a misplaced zero
Can create so much havoc and furor
Dropping 1000 points - well, it's just money.
Somehow, today it was not very funny.

Issues and Goals – for Merrilee’s Creativity Workshop

Several of my blogging friends have joined a 12 week Creativity Workshop and because I can’t commit (perhaps issue #1 but I’m not choosing it), I am auditing the workshop and completing the lessons when I can.

One of the first assignments was to review your issues and interests. A defining moment for me, as I am new to this writing process and have not written more than some short-short stories, a poem or ten, a bunch of blog posts, and a couple of family history essays. I have written an outline of a romance/mystery novel that I have receive positive feedback on, and that I like. Most of my friends have already written a draft of their novel and are into the revision stage. I’m so far behind already.

Looking at my issues, I can list many but will stick to the three I want to work on in parallel with the class:

Issue #1 – Staying focused

Issue #2 – Starting my novel (I have lots of research, ideas, an outline, but I can’t seem to start writing it)

Issue #3 - Writing something believable

Then there are my interests. Because I am still exploring this thing called writing, I have many. (This may contribute to the focus issue above.) I like writing:

• poetry

• family essays

• short stories

• funny snipets

• romance stories

• mystery / fantasy stories

• children’s stories (although I’m not very good at it)

Looking at my issues, challenges, and interests, I have a renewed comittment to my novel and have developed my goals around working on it.

Goal #1 – Learn about time travel and spells and how I can use them in my novel.
• Write 4 stories in the first month that deal with one or the other of these topics.

• Write for 60 minutes each day – attempting to be uninterruped.

• Use one of my characters as the lead in these stories, so that I may be able to use the outcome in the future.

• Give myself free reign to write out of my comfort zone (which I will need to do to write about time travel and spells).

Goal #2 -Delve into character development to strengthen my characters.

• Read, read, and read more about characted development. Learn from all the information available about how to develop     
and define strong characters.

• Write a short story about each of 4 characters in my novel to learn more about them and their personalities/interaction skills.

• Make sure these four characters are “worthy” of being a part of the story.

Goal #3 – Learn how to develop and describe a setting.

• Read, read, and read more about setting development. Learn from all the information available about how to develop and describe a believable setting.

• Continue to do research on the planned setting of my novel.

• Write 4 stories, each from a specific place in the setting of my novel.

This is my start and I am making the commitment to follow through with my goals, one a month for the next 3 months. They are perhaps very basic goals, but I believe that is where I need to start.