Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Looking for Goldilocks

We had a visitor to our yard today.  He just sat outside the fence but I got the feeling he was looking for someone.

Single Black Male Seeking 
Golden Haired Female
Must enjoy afternoon naps 
and porridge, 
not too hot, not too cold, 
but just right

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Delicious Destination

We packed up the camper with the essentials - the wine, the dog and our desire.  Our desire for each other as well as our desire to be at the water's edge, feel the wind in our faces and taste the delicacies that the ocean had to offer us - crab, salmon, prawns and oysters.

Our camping spot was right on the beach with nothing between us and China but the vast ocean that soothed and thrilled at the same time.  The enormity and sheer beauty of it never ceased to awe and restore.

It poured rain but we didn't care.  The soothing patter of the rain drops hitting the aluminum roof combined with the melodious swooshing of the waves crashing against the shore lulled us into a delicious, lethargic stupor and we were quite content to wallow in kisses and caresses while we waited out the weather.

When we finally did emerge wearing yellow rain gear and utter contentment, we sipped on crisp, bubbly champagne and supped on the freshest seafood - cedar-planked salmon, freshly shucked oysters and steamed Dungeoness crab so sweet that we ate it unadorned. 

We shared our bounty with a European couple who marveled at the beauty of the spot and the exquisite taste of the food.  And we nodded - knowingly and proprietorially - because we had already claimed this place as our own.

Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #8: I Need a Vacation
Write about a trip either you or a character has taken. It doesn't need to be a literal trip but can be more of figurative journey. If you're writing memoir, what do you remember most about this trip? Do you remember what it's like to go somewhere you've never been? If you're writing fiction, describe your character's trip vividly. Make us feel what your character felt, see what they saw, experience what they experienced.

I have also linked this post to Studio Thirty Plus as the prompt this week was "The Taste of Summer".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Song for Saturday - These Boots Are Made For Walking - Nancy Sinatra

In keeping with the shoe theme at the Red Dress Club yesterday, this week's Song for Saturday is this fun, old song by Nancy Sinatra.  

I find that this song is best enjoyed when cranked, preferably with girlfriends, but alone is okay too.  You must sing at the top of your lungs and you must be wearing a pair of killer boots to fully appreciate the music and the lyrics. 

Are you ready boots?  Start walking!
fg doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo!fd

Check out the Weekend Linkup at the Red Dress Club.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finding the Right Fit

Red Writing Hood - Shoes 

Kir's prompt for us this week asked us to write about a topic very near and dear to many of us: shoes.  You were to write about a pair of shoes of yours or your character's. They can be real or symbolic.

Rachel often liked to compare the men in her life to shoes.  After all, you had to wear them for a while before you knew if they were a good fit or not, right?

For instance, take Marco.  Marco was stylish, expensive and Italian.  He looked great, eliciting many appreciate glances and complements, but after wearing him for just a short while, she found him quite painful.  He was so self-centered that it was difficult to even carry on a conversation with him.  All he cared about were appearances.  He definitely wasn't the permanent type.  It was quite a relief when she kicked off those shoes.

She soon opted for some more comfortable shoes.  Robert was practical like a pair of patent pumps that came in a respectable height.  She wore him for a while until she started to grow and then he just didn't fit any more.   He made no attempts to stretch with her and as difficult as it was she said goodbye to Robert when she started to feel confined and constricted.

And then she went through her Matt stage.  Matt was all free and easy like a pair of Birkenstock sandals.  They had a great summer road-tripping in his VW Van, drinking strawberry wine and smoking reefers.  She wore gauzy skirts and let her hair grow.  He was the perfect summer lover but when winter came along, like the Birkenstocks, he didn't offer much protection against the cold.  She still thought of Matt with a bittersweet nostalgia, often wishing she could slip into those sandals - just for the summer.

She met Joe when she and some friends drove up to a guest ranch for the weekend.  Joe was a bonafide pair of cowboy boots, her very own Marlboro Man.  With his well-fitting Wranglers and his leathery, sun-weathered face, he was very attractive in that rustic sort of way.  She had fun hanging out with him at the ranch, for a time. When he came to visit her in the city and she introduced him to her friends, she found that cowboy boots were only appropriate for certain situations.   It was obvious that he was uncomfortable in her world and he often made pointed remarks about her friends.  She watched with only a little regret as Joe rode off into the sunset.

After all her misfit relationships, she decided to go barefoot for a while.  Her feet and her heart hurt.  Just when she thought that she would be shoeless forever, along came Sam.  

Sam was different than the rest.  He made her feel like Cinderella.  She felt that he was made for her, the fit was that good.  He was the pair of shoes that stayed in her closet for years, the Mary Janes that she wore to the Farmer's Market on Saturday afternoons and to the flea market on Sundays.  With him, she had just the amount of arch support without compromising her wiggle room. She had never felt so comfortable before.

She, too, had left an impression on him, an imprint on his soul and he vowed to stand by her forever. Over the years, like a favourite pair of shoes, Sam, became scuffed and worn, but it didn't matter he was still the most comfortable shoes she had ever worn.  

She still looked at other shoes, occasionally, but her feet always brought her back to Sam. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby

July 1st was her birthday.  She had vivid memories of her mother holding her and pointing to the sky as it exploded into a myriad of colour. 

"Happy birthday, Baby," her mother whispered against her cheek as her strong arms held her high so that she could see better.  

It was magical until she finally realized that the fireworks weren't actually for her but for the country's birthday.  She was probably around six when she came to this realization and it was a little like discovering that there was no Santa Claus. She was crushed but it did explain why no one else had fireworks on their birthdays.  She had always wondered about that.  

Now twenty years later, she watched the dancing lights as they squealed and popped across the sky and there were strong arms around her once again.  Not her mother's arms but her husband's.  

His face was close to hers as he whispered in her ear, "Happy birthday Baby."

The memory came back to her in a rush of feelings, feelings of being special, unique and loved.  He did that to her.  She knew that if he could have lit up the sky for her, he would have.  

Shivers ran up her spine and just for a moment, she believed in the possibility of magic, once again.

"This week's prompt is all about fireworks. You can take that in a very literal direction, or you can include figurative "fireworks." Feel free to turn this prompt into fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, just be sure to include fireworks of some kind."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Song for Saturday - Cool Change - Little River Band

My husband and I headed to the beach today.  We walked the boardwalk and had fish and chips on a restaurant patio.  Anywhere near the ocean is my favourite place to be and I often think of this song when I am there.  Happy Place.

Cool Change - Little River Band

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
Lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration
Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
And now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change
Well, I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best
The albatross and the whales they are my brothers
It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change
I've never been romantic
And sometimes I don't care
I know it may sound selfish
But let me breathe the air, yeah
Let me breathe the air
[Instrumental Interlude]
If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's hard for a cool
Cool, cool change
It's time, it's time, it's time
It's time, it's time, it's time
For a cool, cool change
Oooooh, I know it's time for a cool
Cool, cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
Well, I know, I know, I know, I know
That it's time for a cool change
Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is
It's Time for a cool change

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dream Walkers

I decided to write sci-fi because it is really not my thing.  I apologize but I totally blew the 600 word limit.  I couldn't stop but you are welcome to do so at the 600 word mark if you so choose.  I think it is somewhere around "This could be heaven or this could be hell."  Hopefully, you want to read on though.  Concrit welcome.

Every morning, Celia woke with a sense of something lingering, something she should remember – a feeling of something important, something that she was missing.  She woke unrested as if she had been wandering all night instead of sleeping soundly in her bed.  Occasionally, she had a glimmer of a memory but it was as elusive as water pouring through her cupped hands and all that she came away with was a sense of…. white, for the lack of a better explanation.  Not white as a colour, but rather as a lack of colour, a void, a clean slate.

This went on for months and after many warm baths, lavender, and then sleeping pills, the doctor finally referred her to a sleep clinic.  She was a little apprehensive as she packed her overnight bag feeling a little like a kid going for a sleepover at a friend’s house.  But there would be no popcorn or movies where she was going and there would be no friends either. They were all strangers who would be watching her sleep.  She just hoped she didn’t drool.

As she pulled into the parking lot, she noted the oddity of an office parking lot filled with cars at night.  She grabbed her overnight bag from the back seat and locked her doors.  As she opened the front door to the clinic, she hesitated for a moment, expelling all the air from her lungs.

“Just breathe,” she thought.

She just hoped they would find something.  She was so exhausted and it was really starting to interfere with her life.  She couldn’t concentrate at work, she had no energy for a social life, and she had just about fallen asleep at the wheel, twice.  The first time someone had honked at her and the second time it happened she was saved by the flashing lights and siren of a police car as she was pulled over for crossing the center line.  Yes, it was definitely time to do something about this situation.

She approached the desk to check in and noticed the sign hanging on the wall behind the receptionist. 

“Sweet Dreams,” it read and this made her smile.

As the receptionist glanced up to greet her, smiling as well, she felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, like she had been here before.  

“Celia, right?” 

Celia just nodded and the receptionist passed her a clipboard with a form attached.

“Please fill this out.” 

She sat down in the waiting room to fill out the form. There were the standard questions regarding her health and her family history but at the bottom of the form there were some questions about dreams.  

1. Do you remember your dreams?
a)      Always
b)      Sometimes
c)      Seldom
d)      Never

2. Which do you dream mostly about? (pick one)
a)      People
b)      Places
c)       Objects
d)      Animals

3. Do you dream of any particular colour?

She thought this last question was odd but some part of her sensed the significance of the colour white.  It was a feeling.  She had the flash of a memory, a feeling of white.

She was starting to get a little creeped out now and she nervously giggled as the words from Hotel California starting playing in her head.

                “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in her hair….”

“Get a grip,” she thought to herself.

She finished the questionnaire and handed it to the receptionist.

“Someone will be with you in a moment,” she smiled.

A door, that she hadn’t previously noticed, opened and a nurse, dressed all in white called her name.  She was smiling like she knew Celia.

“There she was in the doorway, I heard the mission bell. 
I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell.”

“Follow me,” she said.

            “Then she lit up the candle and she showed me the way. 
There were voices down the corridor; I thought I heard them say,
Welcome to the Hotel California….”

She followed the nurse down the long, sterile white hallway and then they stopped at another door.  The nurse punched a code into the keypad on the wall to the right of the door.  Celia heard the door unlock with a buzz and a click and as they entered the door buzzed and clicked behind them.

                “Last thing I remember I was running for the door.
                I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
                Relax, said the night man, we are programmed to receive.
                You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

She seriously had to get that song out of her head.  It wasn’t helping matters.

She looked around the room they had just entered.  Everything was white.  There were three other nurses busily writing in charts.  They all looked up as she entered and smiled in that knowing way.  It was all very "Stepford-ish" and did nothing to calm her anxiety. 

Along the back wall, there were six cubicles separated by glass partitions.  Each cubicle had a bed and three of them were filled.  The people in the beds were hooked up to large machines and appeared to be sleeping peacefully.

A tall man entered the room and strode towards her.  He was dressed in white, of course. He must be the doctor.  He reached for her hand and both of his warm hands enveloped hers as they shook, slightly. 

“Welcome, Celia,” his voice resonated deep within in her. 

Again, she had the feeling that she had been there before but this time it was comforting.  It was like coming home, as if she was supposed to be there.  All her apprehension ebbed away.  He took her by the elbow and led her into a smaller room with two white love seats and a low coffee table set between them. Upon the table was a glass pitcher of iced water with slices of cucumbers floating atop.

“Please sit down,” he gestured to one of the couches.

She obeyed and sunk into the overstuffed furniture accepting the glass of water that he poured for her without asking.

“You are probably wondering why everything seems so familiar to you, like you have been here before.”

He paused for a moment as she nodded.

“Well, it is because you have been here before, several times, in fact.  You come to us at night in your dreams.”

She should have been shocked but she wasn’t.  She knew it was true.  Her acceptance of the fact lifted the veil surrounding her consciousness and everything became clearer for a moment.

 “Why?” she asked.

“We don’t really know,” he said gently, “but we are trying to find out.  We believe it has something to do with the healing properties of an all-white environment but it is much more complicated than that.”

“When I set up this clinic about ten years ago, my goal was to treat people with sleep disorders, such as apnea.  And we did and still do, actually.  We designed the all-white environment because of the theory that the absence of colour promotes a deeper REM pattern – kind of like the visual version of white noise, if you will.”

“Then something strange started to happen.  We have six beds and not all of those beds are filled every night.  On the nights when we were supposed to have an empty bed, a patient would show up in the bed anyways.  They were always gone in the morning.  This caused a great deal of confusion, as you can imagine, and fright.  I have lost several employees because of it.  Anyways, we noticed that some of these “patients” would return night after night whenever we had an empty bed." 

"And then another thing happened.  We recognized one of our real patients as one of our "phantom" patients.  She had been coming to us for a few months in her dreams before she ended up here in the flesh."  

"Since then we have had fourteen more patients just like you find their way to us.  You are the sixteenth.  You must have many questions, but unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to many of them.  Yet.  We are working on it. I do know this much, though, that when our phantom patients – Dream Walkers, I like to call them – finally make it to us, they are very tired.  Am I right?”

She nodded, wearily, not sure if she could find her voice at the moment.

“All of our Dream Walkers have the best sleep of their lives after finding us.  It is like they have found what they have been looking for so they no longer have to wander in their dreams.  Are you ready to go to sleep?” he reached out his hand.

Again, she nodded as tears of relief slid down her face.  She was just so tired.