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Archive for September, 2011

Family Friday: First Weeks of School

It’s really hard to believe that my little girl has been going to school for a month now. And she is still so excited every morning to get on the bus. Usually I don’t even have to wake her up in the morning, she’s all ready up by six a.m. If she’s not, I go in at 6:15, and she gets right up. Most mornings, she’s so excited she runs down to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. She’s told us a few of the names of the kids in her class, mainly by telling us what letter their name starts with(O is for Olivia, N for Natalie). But, when we ask if they’re her friends, she tells us no. So, I’m not sure if she’s actually playing with the other kids or not. She brought home her first homework last week which was to practice drawing long and short vertical lines. She did a good job with the long ones, but didn’t seem to get the concept of the short ones. I’m just really glad that she’s enjoying school so much and hope that will continue for the next 14(ish) years.

waiting for the bus

getting on the bus

One of her first projects - a big scary monster, as she told me as soon as she got off the bus.

Writing Wednesday: New Flash Fiction

The next round of ROW80 starts next week, so for this week I’m just going to share the flash fiction piece I wrote during the end of the last round. It came in at just under 1000 words(993 to be exact) and has not been polished at all.

“The Choice”

I cared what she though, so when she dared me I knew I was in trouble. I knew she was waiting for my answer, but my mouth felt dry, and I was not sure I could force even a single word past the lump in my throat. But, with her eyes steady on mine, I knew I could not turn away and run as I would like.

“Well?” She finally asked, growing impatient with my silence. “Are you going to do it or not?”

I needed to turn away from those eyes before my resolve could weaken. But, it was as if they held me prisoner. I knew my survival depended on it though. Finally, I forced myself to turn to the counter at my back under the pretense of finding a glass for some water to wet my dry throat. I could feel the tension in the air as I took my time sipping the water. But, I did not realize she had moved closer until I set the glass in the sink and started to turn back to face her.

My breath caught in my throat as her subtle scent took over my senses, and I had to force it the rest of the way out. I knew she would not give up until she had an answer. After all, I had known her most of my life and knew just how persistent she could be once she set her mind on something.

“This isn’t right,” I finally said. “We both know it isn’t right. It would never work.”

That did not deter her as I hoped it would though. Instead a smile spread slowly across her face, and she took another step toward me. “But, you did not say you don’t want it to happen. That matters more than what everyone else thinks is wrong or won’t work.” Her skin brushed against my clothes as she braced her hands beside me on the counter. “So, I’ll ask you again. Do you want to kiss me?”

Her breath fluttered against my skin, and I had to close my eyes to force my brain to work through the fog desire tried to clog it with. “This isn’t right,” I repeated. But, oh, how I wished it were.

“Why not?” She demanded. “Whose right is it to say what is right or wrong in the matter of our hearts?”

I could not take anymore. “It’s my right,” I shouted at her, afraid I would explode if I couldn’t get her to step back. “It’s my right to decide what is right for me. And it’s not you anymore.” I could almost taste the bitterness as the words spewed out of my mouth.

I watched as she took that step back that I had wanted, but it did not ease the pressure I had felt started to build as soon as she had walked through my door. And now that the dam had burst, I could not plug it back up or kept the words and hurt from flowing out. “I waited for you,” I told her. “I waited while you went out there and figured out who your were and what you wanted your life to be. And I always hoped I would have a part in it. And I was still waiting when you finally came back home. But, you did not come to me,” I reminded her and saw the tears fill her eyes. I refused to let it move me though. “I supported everything you wanted for your life and gave you the time you needed and when I thought all that waiting had been worth it, you turned away from me. And you went into my brother’s arms instead.”

The tears spilled over now, and she started to turn from me, but not before I saw the glint of shame through the tears. When she spoke, her voice was so soft I almost did not hear her. But, her words pieced the wall I had built around my heart when it came to her. “And you can see where it got me. Alone again because the deadbeat left me with absolutely nothing when he walked out on me.”

I wanted to tell her that she had gotten everything she deserved. But, I knew my brother better than anyone. He had been the popular one, the one who excelled at everything he attempted: school, sports, business, and women. But, there had always been a dark side to him that most did not see until they got too close. I knew everything he had done to her and knew no one deserved that. “Then, why would you even want to take a chance on the other brother?” That all I had ever been, after all. I had never been known for anything I did, just who my brother was.

“Because I chose the wrong brother,” she finally said, her voice trembling with tears. “And I knew it when I did it. But you scared me with what you made me feel. I thought he was the safer choice. I was wrong, and I want the chance to make the right choice this time.”

I shook my head and turned my back to her. “It’s too late. I’ve moved on,” I lied. “It’s time you do the same. Now, please leave.”

I heard her breath catch but did not turn back to her. I could hear the tears in her voice when she whispered “good-bye” and had to hold onto the counter to keep from going to her and taking back everything I had just said. I heard her shoes click against the floor. The door opened and it swung shut a moment later, I felt like I had lost what could have been the best thing in my life. But, I knew I could not live with being someone’s second choice. I would rather be alone. And that was my choice.

Knitting Monday: Fire Hydrant Cap

I finished the hat for Nathaniel’s Halloween costume last week. I may add some ties to the sides(so he doesn’t just rip it right off) and maybe a few other touches, but other than that it’s finished. I think it turned out pretty good for really just winging it. I just made a basic hat with about 1 inch of ribbing for the brim then stockinette stitch(knit every row since I was working in the round). Then, I knit a little piece to sew onto the top to look like the top of a hydrant. And I stuffed it so it would stand up instead of falling over.

20110926-161309.jpg
Once I get the other pieces finished, I’ll post a picture of the whole thing.

Family Friday: 1 Year Check-Up

Nathaniel had his 1 year check-up on Wednesday. We were there early(which does not seem to be unusual) and got in pretty quick. He didn’t mind being weighed,although he was squirming all over the scale. But, he was not happy about having to lay down to be measured, and he let us know it too.

At birth, his stats were:

weight: 8 lbs, 9 oz
length: 21 inches
head circumference: 14 inches

At 6 months(almost 7):

weight: 18 lbs, 6 oz
length: 28 inches
head circumference: 18 inches

At 12.5 months:

weight: 23 lbs
length: 30 inches
head circumference: 18.5 inches

I tried to hold him on my lap while we waited for the doctor to come in, but he was squirming so much, I decided to let him explore. His favorite place seemed to be right in front of the door, which made me worry he would get hit with it when the doctor did come in. He finally moved on to other things, such as trying to flip over the scale and exam table, both of which were much too heavy for him to flip. He even took a few steps on his own which he has been doing a lot more of lately.

The doctor seemed pleased with the steps he’s taking even if not fully walking and told me that they don’t really expect more than ‘mama’ & ‘dada’ at this point. I’m happy since that’s pretty much all his says, although in the last couple days he’s added ‘nana’ but we’re not sure what it means. She was also impressed that he was off the bottle all ready. It was actually a pretty easy transition, since he took right to the cup.

He got four shots at this appointment, one of them the flu shot. I was torn about that one. I’ve never had one and have also never had the flu(that I can remember at least). I declined it for Hayleigh the first time it was offered, and she hasn’t had a check-up during flu season since then, so has never gotten one. At that time, she was home with me all the time so I wasn’t too worried about it. Now that she’s going to school, who knows what she might bring home. So I thought it would be better to get it for him. Since this was his first one, he’ll have to get two doses so we have to go back in a month to one of their flu clinics to get the second one. He started screaming when the nurse was getting the band aids ready but calmed down after I picked him up.

All in all, it was a good appointment and he is a very healthy and active little boy. Now, we don’t go back until after Christmas.

ROW80 Round 3: Final Progress & some flash fiction

Even though I did my check-in yesterday, today is actually the final day of the challenge. Over the last 80 days, I realized I need to not be so hard on myself and I need to reevaluate how I measure my success. I thought my goals at the beginning of the round were attainable, but really they were rather lofty.

My goals were:

1.) Finish Serial Neighbor by 7/22(maybe sooner). This could take anywhere from 10-30K more words, which I’m hoping is on the lower end of that range. I’m going to increase my daily word count by 100 words a week each of those 3 weeks, so I’ll be trying to write 2200 words a day by the time I finish it.

Achieved: Finished on 7/13.

2.) Map out/outline the sequel(which I did not know was going to exist until about a week ago) by the end of July. I realized my secondary character had a story to tell as well, and there’s not enough time in this one to tell both.

Achieved.

3.) Write at least 56K words(for Camp Nanowrimo) on the sequel by the end of August and another 30000(to hopefully finish it) by 9/22.I will still be increasing my word goal until I reach 2500 a day.

Not Met. Only wrote 11,658 during the month of August & less than 4000 in September.

4.) Write 1 flash fiction piece a week, for a total of 12, using prompts from Writing Fix, to be posted here every Tuesday.

Not met. Have only written 3 & only posted 1.

I am planning on joining in on the next round, but my goals are definitely going to be different. Going to use this break between rounds to evaluate just what my goals should be and how I am going to achieve them.

And now, in honor of seeing something through(even if I didn’t do everything I wanted to), another flash fiction piece. This one  came in at under 1000 words on the first draft & didn’t really see any polishing. With these short pieces, I pretty much follow where the story leads even if it wasn’t where I thought it would go at the beginning. This is the second one I wrote, and I’m still not sure I’m happy with it but I’m not sure why.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The floorboard creaked. I stopped short, my ears straining to listen for an accompanying sound. When the house remained silent around me, I let each muscle slowly relax. But, I kept my ears alert for any other sounds as I moved deeper into the darkness. I knew every inch of this house, including where each loose floorboard was and could move silently even with no light. So I knew that creaky floorboard had not come from me. But, it was an old house and made many noises during the dark hours.

I made my way down the hallway, my eyes having already adjusted to the darkness. The first room I came to was the study. Now I took my penlight out to help speed my search. I went to the desk first but did not find what I was looking for there. So, I moved on to the shelves of books along one wall. I knew I could not get out with everything that had once belonged to me. So, even though my heart ached from the loss, I had to leave all my old friends sitting there. I moved on, still searching for what had been taken from me.

My light swept over it and I had to bring it back again. There it lay on the floor, shattered into tiny pieces, just as I thought my heart had been. I felt it harden now though as I bent down and picked up the wooden frame that had once held a moment in time. I brushed a stray piece of glass from the photograph.

As my heart hardened, so did my resolve. I lifted the photograph from what was left of the frame and ripped it in pieces as easily as I had been ripped from his life. I let the pieces fall to my feet and moved past them with as much thought as he had when he moved on without me. I moved on to the safe I knew was in the corner of the room. As long as the combination had not been changed, I would soon have what I came for.

I knelt in front of the metal box and pressed the set of three numbers on the keypad. I heard the click as it unlocked and swung the door open. I flashed my light inside it, and there it was sitting on top of the papers that were so important to him. I reached in and slipped the ring back onto my finger where it had rested for so many years. “Taking this from me didn’t change anything,” I murmured. “You’re still my husband, and always will be, no matter what words are said.”

I could not see the look those words set off in my eyes, so did not know I had already passed the point of return to sanity. I should have left then, but my light glinted off the barrel of the revolver in the safe. My hand closed over it, remembering he always kept it loaded in case it was needed. “I just want to scare him,” I told myself. “Let him see what it is he lost.”

I moved back across the room, leaving the safe hanging open. This was not why I had come here, but now that the thought was planted in my head, I could not change my path. I made my way down the hallway, keeping the gun at my side and shutting my light off once again. I had traveled this path so many times in the years I had shared with him. I did not need to see where I was going. My feet knew the way.

The bedroom door was open, as he never liked to sleep with it closed. So many memories flashed through my head as I stepped into the room. We had once shared this room, that bed over against the far wall. And how many others had he shared it with when he was professing his love to me? I felt as if my body was burning as these thoughts tumbled in my mind. I pulled back the hammer of the gun as I stepped closer to the bed, any thoughts of turning back now gone.

But, when I reached the side of the bed, I only saw one body, and even without the moonlight shining through the window, I would have known it was not my husband. But, I could imagine the pale, smooth skin sliding over his body and saw it almost as if it was happening right in front of me. With that image in my mind, I felt as if my heart was exploding in my chest. I lined up the barrel of the gun with the woman’s head, remembering all the lessons my husband had once given me when teaching me to shoot. “He would have done the same to you eventually,” I whispered as I moved my finger to the trigger. “You’ll thank me for this.”

Before I could take a shot though, I heard the sound of a shotgun shell being pumped into position for a shot. Then, the voice I had always loved to listen to say, “I knew you would come eventually. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Final Round 3 Check-in

I’m still trying to work around my computer acting up(really need to take it in and have it looked at). So, I haven’t been getting a lot of words down but I’m still making some forward progress. Last week I didn’t keep a good count of how many words I actually got written, but I did finish my flash piece on Thursday. On Friday, I didn’t get much other than a blog post done. As usual, I didn’t get any writing done over the weekend.

On Monday, I got in almost 2  hours of writing in. I got up in the morning and wrote for half an hour, 15 minutes of my WIP and 15 on a new flash piece. then, I spent another half hour between my blog and typing up what I had written in my notebook over the past week, which wasn’t any new words, but it was still time spent on my writing. Then, I got in about another 45 minutes of writing in my notebook the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I had a total of 422 new words, including the blog post.

Tuesday morning I got up and managed another half hour before my daughter woke up for school. In that time, I wrote 83 words on the new flash fiction and 142 on my WIP. Then, I spent about 20 minutes working on this post. And another 10 typing up what I wrote Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

This morning I got up and wrote another 82 words for the flash piece and almost 200 on my WIP before the kids got up. I’m hoping to get some more written today but Nathaniel has his one year checkup, so it will depend on how cranky he is after that.

I know I did not meet all my goals for this round, but I’m still happy with the progress I made. If it wasn’t for this challenge, I would have probably thrown in the towel when I started running into hurdles. Instead, I kept plugging away and just realized I had to adjust the way I looked at things. I’m definitely planning on participating in the next round as well.

Knitting Monday: Another Hat Finished

I finished the hat I was knitting for Hayleigh last week. It turned out nice, but she decided she didn’t want the ear flaps on it, after all. The larger size didn’t really take any more time than the smaller one. I was able to knit both up in just a few days.

Once I finished this hat, I started working on Nathaniel’s Halloween costume. He’s going to be a fire hydrant(Hayleigh’s going to be a dalmatian & my husband is going to wear his fire uniform), and I’m knitting the cap for him. I’m hoping the way I’ve envisioned it will look right. Then, I’m going to knit the couplings to put on the front and sides of his shirt. I may be able to have those done by next week. At least that will give me time to try again if the first hat doesn’t quite work.

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