Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For a Season

Hello Faithful Followers,
Wow. Summer has really re-arranged my priorities. not only the BuNoWriMo challenge, but my blog life in general. Silly me, I had imagined the summers when I was a single teacher. Lying out by the pool (this was before skin cancer was everywhere), working out, hot tub, popcorn for dinner, sappy chick-flicks into the night. Sleep in. With that schedule, I could have fit writing and blogging into any of the mentioned time slots. Well, not really. There was no internet back then. I am NOT kidding.

It doesn't go that way now. It goes like this: “Mom, get UP! You promised you'd make bacon today!” Make bacon. Feed children. Go garden until fused wrist and needing-to-be-replaced hip protest loud enough for me to hear. Shower. Oh look, it's lunch time. Lunch. Wow, I'm so totally tired from that gardening, I need a nap. Nap. Wow, it's dinner time already??? Make dinner. Dishes. Family sci-fi event du jour. We're currently watched all the old Star Trek episodes. 

 Kinda hard to fit blogging into that schedule. No nap you say? Blasphemy. I'm a napper, always have been, always will. Greatest luxury on the planet. Besides, it's like a re-charge for the evening ahead.

Yes, I could of course fit what I want to do into what I'm currently doing. I've always said that you have time for what you want to have time for. Lately the urge to write hasn't overtaken my urge to spend time with my kids. So instead of them grabbing a granola bar and heading out on their bikes, we sit down for breakfast. They help with the gardening. Fourteen-year-old boys are mighty strong and that's what you need when that pesky root just won't give up. My particular eleven-year-old boy like to cook, so we make lunch together frequently. Another time to sit down and connect. By the time I'm napping, their neighborhood friends have been freed from their chores and homework. Oh, and did I mention that both boys are still in school? That's what happens when Mom says, “Oh, it's fine if you don't want to do that now. We have access to the online school all summer long!” I didn't really think they were going to take me up on it. But dammit, they did.

Yes, I want to write. Yes, I'm co-hosting a challenge. I am out there visiting a lot of blogs, but I'm not writing so much. I realized earlier in the month that this wasn't the month for me to do 50k words. A month for that will come. But for now, I'm sitting here smelling of chlorine and sunscreen from a day at the pool with my boys and their two closest cousins. It was a good day. Life is Good.

If you're here visiting from the AZ Challenge, the linky list is first in my sidebar.  If you're new and not familiar with the AZ, there's a button for that too.  Happy visiting!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deep Cover, Shallow Graves


The dark clad man hiding behind the dumpster doesn't see the other dark clad figure approaching, or notice the “drunk” undercover operative stumbling down the sidewalk. The streets are slick with icy drizzle. His muscles are cramped from crouching, the burn becoming almost unbearable. The teen years of biathlon training which have helped him on other assignments is of no use in this gravity. Lungs searing from the decreased oxygen on this God-forsaken planet, he tries to gasp for air inaudibly. Silently cursing himself for failing, for losing his edge, for ending up in this hazardous position, he sends one more thought to her. “I'm so sorry, Leah. So sorry.”
It's over in a few seconds. The operative slumps all the way to the ground as the assailant calmly walks away from the scene, nods to the “drunk”. Mission accomplished.


When the body of the European terrorist hits the humble cop's car, Leah jolts to attention. John has been trying to convince the police that he isn't an insane pranker, and the only one who believes him is Abe Lincoln. But not until that body crunches the hood do others believe. Leah's been trying to convince the whole world that she's a trained soldier whose mission is to serve and protect colony residents, and the only one who knows the truth is Ian. Is he really the only one? Now that she's gotten her groove on, she starts humming. It's a nameless tune, and she's mostly unaware of this habit. Only one person ever asked about it.

What song is that? You hum that when you're thinking hard.”
I do? What are you talking about?”
Lon hums the tune. She smiles.
I guess it's my thinking song. My Grandma used to hum when she worked. It made me feel safe. Even when I couldn't see her, I could hear her in the apartment, and I wasn't so scared.”
Why is she telling him? She never reveals personal information. She's been undercover so long it's an ingrained habit. This bit about the tune just slipped out. She has to be careful. Instead of going back to her work, she heads to the kitchen.
Need anything?”
Nah, I'm fine.”

Leah isn't fine. As she did then, she needs a shot. Grabbing the soy sauce bottle out of the fridge door, she guzzles some smuggled in Jack Daniel's. Surveying the meager inventory available, she also grabs the tub of cheese product and the imitation wheat crackers from the cabinet above the cook top. Tomorrow, supplies.

She moves to the floor between the coffee table and the couch, downs several snack packs. Cracker-cheese goop-cracker. Shot. Cracker-cheese goop-cracker. Shot. As the familiar warmth slithers into her system, she grabs the timeline.

If someone else did find out the truth, when could that have happened?


Ian is worried. More worried than he's been since Leah left for Spartan, and that's saying a lot. They “met” just briefly, over closed chat, way back when she first began her undercover work.
So I hear you're my new ward.”
Yeah. Just so you know, I don't like this. I don't like the daily reporting requirement. At all. I can take care of myself. How 'bout I contact you when I need you? Wouldn't that save everyone a lot of hassle not to mention budget credits? Don't you have more important things to do than babysit me?”
Your mission is of high importance. And since you're new, and in a level 4 OP, you get daily. SOP. Nothing personal.”
Nothing personal is just fine by me.”
Ok then, I'll either hear, “I'd like a beer” or “I'd like a shot.” You do remember which is which, right?”
Don't appreciate the sarcasm, your supreme highness, but yes I do remember. Beer means trouble. Shot means fine. I'm not stupid you know. Many cadets drink during training camp. It ought to be allowed. Would save the agency a hell of a lot of money in enforcement.”
Well believe it or not, the agency values human life over regulations. We'd prefer that all personnel have self-discipline. It was a one-time blunder, right?”
How many times do I need to grovel? I've lost count. You'd think no one around here went to school, got stupid, puked on someone important, and embarrassed themselves.”
Point taken. Good luck, Leah. You'll need it.”
Ok, Ian.”
She'd have to get used to the Leah.


She knows Ian is worried, but that's nothing new. She doesn't understand how he can hold this job and be such a worry-wart at the same time. Throughout her training, she never came across a man who cared. Sure, there were men who cared about the mission, or the expensive equipment, or their covers, but that's not the same as caring for a person as, well, a person. A person who can get hurt or killed at any time during the OP. With whom they're going after, she's lucky to have gotten this far in one piece. Well, a put back together piece. She rubs her shin where the titanium tibia aches, despite it's lack of nerves. Stupid phantom pain. The irritation gets her back on track, though. She was lucky to have made it out of there alive. Aches and pains can be tolerated. Failure cannot.


Some of you might recognize the characters of Leah and Ian.  For BuNoWriMo, I'm working on the sci-fi piece I started in February.  If you care to go back and read, it starts here.  I'm finding this challenge quite challenging.  But the way I figure it, even if I don't make it to 50,000 words, I'll at least be further along then I was in May.  Oh, and keep in mind, this is me spitting out words, no editing done yet.  I hesitate to put raw stuff in Bloggyville, so I keep reminding myself of my purpose.  It's in the header: Wanna be writer seeks place to vent, practice, and share.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Back to Reality

My idea was to jot down events and such as triggers so that once I had the chance, I could pull them together into cohesive posts which captured our vacation. This is how I started:

Vacation is:
Road trip part 1:
(and here would go those pieces)

Ocean City, Part 1, Part 2
late night “watch just one more” on YouTube
swollen feet, with ice-cubes and arnica therapy
Star Wars, the real ones, made before the digital age
cousins n cousins
cousins tolerating cousins
cousins helping cousins
cousins ENJOYING their cousins
popcorn (but it's pretty much the all-popcorn all-the-time channel if I'm along)
people watching
Thrasherfriesfunnelcakespopcornpepsicottoncandydeepfriedoreos (I kid you not on the oreos)
sharing drinks
realizing that we're getting old. They all look like kids
Did I mention sand?

um, yeah, never put anything here

countless memories
same view, bigger trees
a new generation of crabbers
a new generation of crab pickers
teaching the next gen how to pick be the next generation of crab pickers
policing them while picking the crab so as not to waste a single morsel of Maryland Blue Crab goodness
eating crab, hour four
showering at night, not in the morning
kids old enough to shower themselves, thank God and at last!
though those kids still haven't quit mastered the arts of wet clothes rinsing and then hanging up those clothes AND the towel
sigh of contentment
this gentle breeze through this perfect view, I'm alone, and my man is busy catching me my dinner for a second night
looking forward to seeing a long lost friend (not so much lost-lost, just as in we lost touch through the marriage-family-kid thing, aided by the 1700 miles of separation, but through the magic of facebook, have “found” each other again)

And that's all the further I got. Silly me, once again I thought that while on vacation I'd be able to catch up on all things: reading, knitting, writing, journaling. Every year I forget that even though it's vacation, I'm still the mom who needs to cook, launder, referee and do dishes, all in unfamiliar environments, and also while trying to keep track of four people's possessions in 8 different overnight places. Kinda funny (but not!) that the most important thing lost was MY iPhone charger. Grrr. That's a whole post by itself, in that it illustrates not only what sleep deprivation can cause, but also the consequences of bad training, so that customer service employees understand neither customers nor service...another sigh.

We've been back three days now, and I'm still hopelessly behind in every aspect of life, motherhood, and all those assorted associated tasks. To top it all off, I have gone insane and not only created that challenge where I visit 1282 blogs over the summer, but also am participating in BuNoWriMo. Yup, gonna finally write that book. First draft. Just spit it out. That's what they said...and my competitive nature cannot back away from a challenge. Wish me luck and stop by to see my word count.  If I can get that gadget started...having issues.