Friday, December 27, 2019

TYOFWM - Christmas Holidays

I made it through Christmas. I made it...

There was a moment there I thought I was going to lose it. I thought about Momma and just a year ago sitting at home, opening gifts... an earring and necklace set from her favorite store which she never got to wear, which I now wear... some sugar free chocolates from our local candy shop which she didn’t really get to eat and which my husband ended up eating... sitting around, laughing, looking forward to the cruise in a few weeks which she never got to go on... and, me, sitting at a restaurant on board another cruise ship, drinking a glass of wine while looking at the sunset, remembering... tears just beginning to well and that weird lump in your throat that you get... and trying to hold it together.

December 25, 2018... Christmas... She fell just 5 days later, and that was the beginning of the end... just five more days of normalcy. Five more days of having her completely in my life. Five more days at home until she returned four months later to die... this is one anniversary I am not looking forward to.

But, for now, I will savor in the fact that I made it through Christmas without having a total melt down. Taking this trip was a blessing in a lot of ways. No sitting around the house thinking of her... seeing her everywhere yet feeling her absence... I made it through... 

Now the rest of the Year of Firsts Without Momma will begin... all the way through to the anniversary of her death, and what would have been her 82nd birthday... both of which I will be celebrating at sea... on the Pacific... which supposedly has no memory... but I’ll be bringing plenty of mine to share...

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Eighth Monthiversary

Ecclesiastes 3 American Standard Version (ASV)For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
It's so hard to believe that it's been eight months since my mother died. Sometimes the pain is so fresh that it feels as though it was just yesterday. I still have moments when tears seem to just come out of nowhere.... a memory, a flash of something familiar, a thought that I want to share with her after which I suddenly remember that she's not there.
It's sure to be a little harder around the holidays. This is the time of year with so many memories of past traditions...
We hadn't really done a real Thanksgiving in years, but this year I suddenly found myself trying to remember how we spent Thanksgiving last year. I remember bringing home turkey and all the fixings for my husband and me from the hospital cafeteria, but I can't remember what Momma ate last year... I can't remember if she even got a slice of pumpkin pie.
It's funny, but I have started to think now that's it been over six months of time more as a countdown to the first anniversary of her death instead of a timeline of how long it has been. And, I start to think of what we we were doing a year ago before the fall that started her on her downward spiral. 
This time a year ago we were planning a cruise for just after the first of the year... a cruise that would include Cuba which my Momma had always wanted to see. We'd have been gone for a month.
Right now I am planning another cruise... this one will only be for a week, but it will be the week of Christmas. I just don't think I can be home this year without Momma. To not have her with me on Christmas Eve... memories of coming home after being with family, opening up our gifts to each other, watching the Midnight Mass from the Vatican, tamales and pan dulce on Christmas morning...
Sigh... It's going to be a rough four more months... 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 30 - Not an End but a Beginning

So another NaBloPoMo is complete. I managed to get in my 30 posts for the month (cheated just a little). As I think over the time between last year's completion and this year's, it's amazing how much has changed. I didn't ever imagine I would be where I am now. 

And, I already know that between this year's challenge and next year's there are many more changes that will be occurring, new places to visit, and new adventures to come. There's a big one that won't be coming for another 18 months, but today I was so excited to receive the guide books to help me start planning that journey:
The Camino of Santiago which I wrote about earlier this month.

And, now this month comes to a close. I'll see about writing more often, and I hope you'll continue with me on this journey.

We'll see what the next 12 months hold...

Friday, November 29, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 29 - Loss of Control

Imagine that you are trapped inside your own brain.
Imagine that you can hear and understand what is said to you,
but you can't answer because the word you want to say won't come out.
Imagine that you're given something on a written piece of paper,
but the letters seem alien, foreign, 
even though you've known them since you were a child.
Imagine that your limb won't function the way it's supposed to.
Imagine that you can't control how it moves,
and sometimes it moves even if you don't want it to.
If you're not imagining this, and it's happening to you
you've just had a stroke.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I really hate working the holidays
because there's always one case amoungst the myriad of patients
that come in that affects you more than most.
I figured the code of the young patient would be 
the sad case of the holiday,
but this stroke patient is pretty close.

Of course they had a great family.
Of course they were pretty healthy up until they weren't.
Of course they had been intelligent, hard-working, a loving parent...
And since the law of the ED dictates that bad things happen to good people
now they've had a stroke.
They came in too late to receive the clot-buster drug.
They didn't have an operable lesion.
They'll have to wait and see what function returns.
I gave their family some hope of partial recovery
with the expectation of long weeks of physical and occupational therapy.
Only time will tell...

I hate working the holidays...

Thursday, November 28, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 28 - First Thanksgiving TYOFWM

I'm sitting here trying to think of the things that I'm grateful for this year,
and it's really hard.
Not that I haven't been blessed with a good job, a beautiful home,
great husband and surrounded by good friends 
but because there is a part of me
missing this year, and I just can't seem to get past that...

I'm trying to not be sad.
I'm trying to just enjoy the beautiful day not having to work,
but there's a cloud over today as I'm sure there's going
to continue to be for a while.

For the first time I'm not thinking about turkeys and stuffing
and all of the traditional foods.
I had no appetite this morning,
and the most I can think to rustle up for lunch is
leftover pizza from yesterday.
Not even in the mood to change out of pajamas
and go out to one of the local restaurants offering
a traditional Thanksgiving dinner...

I should be volunteering today
I should be out with friends
I should be doing a lot of things,
but all I want to be doing is hanging out in the kitchen
with my mom while I prep for a small Thanksgiving dinner.
Talking to her about work, and life, and what trip we should be planning...
Asking her advice about upcoming changes
upcoming career moves
upcoming anything...

I hope when you sit down at the table tonight
all differences can be laid aside
and you hold your loved ones close
or call anyone you haven't spoken to in a while
because life is short and you never know
when someone will suddenly be gone
Have no regrets....

For that I am thankful,
Momma and I lived life together as if it could end tomorrow.
Sure, we left a few things undone,
but no regrets on the rest...

My Thanksgiving wish to you all...
Have no regrets...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 27 - Holiday Shifts

There's a reason I don't like working any of the holidays.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to and then, for me, 
the expected happens.

There will always be that sad case that will be devastating for some family:
 - grandparent doesn't look so good and comes into hospital and dies
- a family traveling to/from their loved ones gets involved in a car crash
- random act of violence strikes
or, like yesterday,
- a young, healthy parent will come into the ED in cardiac arrest and not make it

During my career in medicine, I've seen all of these and more.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes something funny happens,
and you know that family will be laughing around a table
a few years from now saying,
"remember that time you had to go to the ED for that..?"

But, unluckily for me, and for most families,
it's the tragedy that will be remembered.
It's the screams of a young wife asking her husband
whom you know is beyond help to not leave her...
to think of their kids...
to think of all the years they've been together...
"Come back to me..."

They look to me with pleading eyes, but while I can help prolong life,
while I can sometimes pull life back from the brink,
I can't bring back someone who's already gone beyond my reach...

Did I mention I hate working the holidays...?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 26 - Today's Wishes

Right now, I wish I was riding my bike more.
I'll see posts about cycling 30 miles and wonder if I could even do 7 right now,
and that's coming from the person who used to quip they
wouldn't get out of bed and ride for anything less than 10.

I will wish I had organized everything a lot better
and gotten rid of more clutter during the rummage sale
we had back at the end of September.
Hopefully, I'll have things better organized before next September.

There's several relationships in need of some repair.
I'm hoping a year from now I won't be wishing that I had done something about them...
talked to someone...
reached out to someone...
tried to come to some kind of understanding with someone...
tried to love and comfort someone...

I feel like I try pretty hard to live life in the moment
so that I won't have any regrets
because working as an ED doc, if there's one thing I've really learned,
it's that life is fleeting and at any moment things can change
and that constant you've come to depend on can suddenly be gone...

Anyone else like to share their answers...?
Can't wait to read them....

Monday, November 25, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 25 - Sneak Peek

This is all I'm allowed to show you.
I am pretty much done with the painting that I did for a friend of mine...
My first, hopefully not my only, commission.

It's pretty much done. Just a couple of touch ups
and I'll be ready to put the final coat on it
and give it to my friend.

I am very excited about it.
One of my mentors said it was "the best painting I've done to date..."

Oooh, can't wait for you all to see it...

Soon, very very soon....

Sunday, November 24, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 24 - Some Things Change

Everywhere I have been seeing the 2009-2019 challenge
with people sharing photos from 10 years ago...
Well, 10 years ago I was in residency and still had about another 10 months
before I would be graduating and starting my career...

So here I am with my hubby in 2009 in New Orleans...
I had been invited to compete in a medical case presentation
so we went since we'd never been to NOLA before...
It was so much fun, and I ate a TON of the most butter-rich amazing food...

The second photo was in 2019 in Olympic National Park in Washington State...
It was in July, and it was the first time away from home since my mother passed in April
and, boy, did I need that trip... 
I just needed to get away from home 
and all the memories 
and all the stresses of dealing with her death.
It was a trip that just took my mind off of things for a while.

I really am more excited about the 2010 - 2020 comparison
because it's just more significant in terms of dates and how far I've come
since completing residency and having been an attending for 10 years...

Next year will definitely be a time for change and reflection...
And, now it's almost just about 6 weeks away...

Saturday, November 23, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 23 - Bring Out the Best

Not going to lie to you... I love to eat.  And, I love to cook. Momma always taught me to use only the best ingredients I could afford. One that we always used was Best Foods Mayonnaise. No Miracle Whip in our house.

When I moved to the MidWest to go to medical school, I looked for my Best Foods. To my surprise, there it's called Hellmann's! Despite the name change, it's the same fresh flavor I grew up loving.

Oh, so many good things can be made from this lovely jar: sandwiches, salads, salad dressings, sauces, desserts... yummy.

Even more yummy... going to let you in on a little secret....

You know that little lump at the top where the jar was filled...?

It's my favorite part...

As soon as I open up a new jar of mayonnaise, I take a small spoon and scoop out a bit of that luscious little lump... don't know why, but I think it's the best part of the mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the jar will be pretty good... but not as good as that first taste from a fresh open jar...

Any weird food things you like..? Or interesting rituals you perform...? Or is it just me...?

Friday, November 22, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 22 - Going to Town

Today was a bit of a run-around day...
I think I've mentioned before that we live in a rural area.
Yes, we have the local store, but I really don't relish paying $4 for
the convenience of the a loaf of bread, 
so every couple of weeks we make a
"trip into town..."

So, the closest big town is only about 15 miles away
but it really seems like a long drive and it
becomes almost an all day event.
It's those country miles.

Starts off with breakfast at one of our favorite cafes.
Then drop Hubby off at the beauty college where he prefers to get his hair cut...
(insert eye roll here)
Then I run various errands from buying some painting supplies,
stopping at the court house to pick up the latest probate form,
quickly grab groceries at the larger chain store,
pick up a bowl from a friend who took home leftovers after our last party
then return to pick up the Hubby.
Together we go to Costco which is where everybody shops around here.
Yep, we have a Kohl's and that about it for department stores.
Well, WalMart and Target, but seriously,
we have Costco so why go there..?
We shop, snack on the food displays,
get our frozen yogurt, gas up the car 
and finally head home...

Welcome to life in a small town.
About the only thing we didn't do was join the people
having their big hot dog or pizza at Costco...
we don't live that far out of town.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 21 - Happy Fall Squirrel

My friends know I love squirrels,
so I am constantly receiving squirrel photos and videos
online on Facebook...

Love them, keep them coming...

I got this one a few weeks ago and today seemed like the perfect day
to use it for my blog post...

So, a little haiku for you:

Happy lil' Squirrel
Carrying his winter bed
Sleep warm, lil' squirrel

I'd have given squirrel one syllable but officially it's two...
skwhorl is how I pronounce it...
The interweb says it should be pronounce skwer-el
accent on the first syllable...
How do you pronounce it...?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 20 - A Blank Canvas

There's something magical about a blank canvas...
so much potential.

I've been dabbling in oil painting for a few months now,
(having initially started in watercolor then acrylics),
and a friend of mine from work joked about buying my first painting
which was of one of the valleys in Hawaii:

I just laughed...
After all, it was my very first painting in oil...

I've done a couple more paintings since then for fun:

This one I called "Claudia's Rose Garden" for a friend's mother:

I did this one for my husband who wanted a
"Bird's Eye View" of the area in which we
live... including our home which you can kind of see
on the bottom...

Then, during my deepest grief after the death of my mother,

I had been going to an art class held by a local artist
and I took a bunch of my acrylic paintings and redid them
in oils... 

So this became


And this...

Became this....

Soon a friend was opening a new business,
so I painted this for her... she loved it!
"Mad Haddie"
She's a beautician...
The writing on her chest is "meraki"
which describes what happens when you leave a piece of yourself
in your work or art.

Then hubby wanted something hang-gliding themed,
so I created this...
It's him hang gliding just above the Mattole River...

My friend kept commenting about wanting one of my paintings,
and a few months ago he said he wanted to commission a painting...
Just had to have me make him something...

So, now I am faced with a new blank canvas...
I have my photo for inspiration...
I've done a preliminary sketch with 
all of the themes and symbolism I want to include...
and my heart and soul are ready...

Hope I do a good job!

Promise to share my progress...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 19 - Another Day, Another Peacock

From this:

To this:

This is Petey... he is a peacock...
He is the one egg that was laid this year out of about a dozen that actually hatched.
They talk about how hard it is to raise peacocks, but he made it...

He's now definitely a young male peacock...
For a while there, we thought Petey might be a girl,
but within the last couple of weeks, his neck feathers brightened up
and he started tail flapping which will help get those muscles ready
when he is full grown and has his train...

I'm hoping I'll get to see it in three years when he fully matures...
kinda like I waited for Prince's train to come in...

If you remember, I wrote about back in April.
Unfortunately, about 3 weeks ago, he didn't show up in the barn
and a couple of days later I found a clump of white feathers.
Another loss to the bobcat...
I was to the point of crying over this loss...
To raise a pet patiently waiting for that final display 
and then losing it so suddenly was too much to handle.
Not to mention that my mother hand-raised him
it really hit me hard.

Now we're doing everything we can to protect Petey...
But, if there's one thing I've learned being on this property,
you can do everything right and all it takes is a single
moment for everything to suddenly go wrong...
Here's to hoping...

Monday, November 18, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 18 - Seriously...?

I haven't watched "Grey's Anatomy" in the longest time, 
but one of the taglines from the show that I remember vividly
was "seriously..?"

It covered everything from boy problems, to work problems, to all general life problems.
Often, when I pick up a chart in the ED, I read the presenting complaint of
(what the patient came into the ED for) and immediately go "seriously?"
Others, I go in and interview the patient then walk out and go... "seriously?"
Still others are given the benefit of the doubt, worked up,
found to have, um, something like meth or cocaine in their system,
to which I say, "Seriously...?"

I really wish I could say it to the patient...

As in,
"Seriously..? You came in concerned that you were having a stroke because
you "couldn't think straight," or couldn't "find the right words,"
and your head and your body hurts and you're not sure why...
Well, let's see... your CT of the head was negative...
your EKG, labs, vitals are all normal...
oh, but let's focus on that drug test:
positive for cocaine
positive for methamphetamines
positive for benzodiazepines
positive for methadone (which you're not prescribed, by the way)
and you wonder why you alternatively:
don't feel right...
have been really tired...
can't seem to focus...

People wonder why health care costs are so high...
I think it's in part because of all the patients like this I see on a daily basis...
Today it was like this for three different patients...
All different genders and age ranges...

I can't discount you're not having some physical symptoms which are bothering you,
but if you had initially just been a little honest about your social habits
I probably could have avoided about $5000 worth of a work-up.

Don't do drugs, seriously...
And, especially, don't do uppers which you then take downers for
which leads to more uppers, then downers, then uppers, etc, ad nauseum...

I wish we did have levels instead of just positive/negative for drugs
because I think some patients have perfected the meth/heroin ratio...
However, combining uppers and downers can 
lead to a potentially lethal combination...

Then there's the "what's this on my body...?"
Seriously, you came in for that...?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 17 - My Own Back Yard

Still recovering from our annual party...
The food was AMAZING, the wine flowing, and this year my caterer made a warm apple cider, cinnamon and Southern Comfort drink that really hit the spot... or many spots depending on how much you drank of it...

Thought I would share the following pics:
This is our backyard before the party...

And this is our backyard after the party...

It was a gorgeous night, little wind, the bonfire was just perfect
and even the moon popped out for a bit...

Another successful soiree in the books...!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 16 - TYOFWM Wine and Mushroom Party

Every year we hold a Wine and Mushroom party and invite all of our friends. It's during the month of November that we usually get the first rains of the season and chanterelles grow in the moistened undergrowth of spruce trees. Our friends come over and hunt for these delicious fungi, and we have a splendid dinner and lots of wine.

This was the first year without my Momma being there. She really didn't come out of her room; she never was very social. But, I would make her a plate of all the delectable treats and rarely she might sneak out of her room and smuggle some desserts or sweets of her own choosing.

I make a small welcome speech before dinner and this year we raised a glass to my Momma and her memory.

There was no sunshine all day because of fog, but about an hour before people were going to start arriving the sun came out and I was able to capture this shot of the sunshine coming through those spruce trees at the top of our property... I like to think Momma shone down and was present in spirit...

Salud, Momma!

Friday, November 15, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 15 - Mommy Loves Purple Shells

So, I was getting our house ready for our annual party,
and I went into my mother's room to move stuff around
and have her bathroom ready for guests...
While cleaning stuff up, I found this...

And the first thing I thought was:
"Mommy loves purple shells.."
one of the quotes from one of my favorite movies
"Finding Dory"

Momma did love purple. It was her favorite color.
Yep, mommy loved purple shells...

Thursday, November 14, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 14 - Cows in My Dreams

Don't know if you've ever seen this photo... 
It's been around for a while...

I recently joined Instagram and most of my new contacts
are artists whom I met while doing #inktober...

So one of the artists I met posted this on Instagram this week:

Love it!
Almost everyone knows I love squirrels,
but I have really liked cows for a long time,
which is great because I live in the middle of Cream City, CA...

They got a bunch of lauds and affirmative comments
then they went and did this...

Now that is a happy cow...!
And, I'm in California which is the land of happy cows...

Love their clouds by the way...
I've got to learn to paint them like that... 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 13 - Please Don't Touch the Doctor

I am not a hugger...
Never really have been.

I'll allow certain people to hug me
but it took a long time to really get used to being
touched by other people.
Even now I have a very small select
group of people whom I'll tolerate hugging me,
Very small...

At the hospital, I don't shake hands, 
mostly because I immediately have to wash my hands
because I can't get the sensation of having been touched
removed from my hands fast enough...

Hugs, yeah, nope...

Today a patient's family hugged me...
A family that I gave bad news to...
A family that understands that their loved one may not survive
despite all our best efforts...
And they hugged me...

I explained what needed to happen,
what was going to happen,
asked what else I could do for them
and they thanked me for everything I had already done...
And then they hugged me...

I stood for a moment stunned as they put their arms around me...
As I patted their back, the hug grew tighter and I felt the familiar
heaves as their tears started...
And, even I have to admit I got a little misty...

I guess it's the ultimate in trust...
this family trusted that I had done everything I could,
the rest they (and I) believed is in God's hands
because their loved one is in a serious condition,
and those few moments I gave them before I put a breathing tube
in their loved one I sincerely feel may be their last chance
to let the patient know how they feel...

And despite being uncomfortable,
at least I could feel good about that...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 12 - Going My Way

In July 2021, I plan to walk the Camino...

If you don't know about the Camino de Santiago, let me tell you a little bit about it...

It's a long walk...
616 km or about 383 miles along the Portuguese Route from
Lisbon to Compostela de Santiago in Spain
or 780 km or 485 miles along the French Way starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port 
which is the traditional route.

It's a pilgrimage...
St. James the Apostle is said to have been buried by some disciples in the Galicia region
of Spain which is in the Northwest corner. A chapel and then a larger temple were built near
the burial site to encourage pilgrims to come to this area.
Soon, thousands of people began the pilgrimage.

In modern times, there are several routes to chose from
and everyone walks (or cycles) the route of their choosing.
There are albergues or hostels along the camino where you can stay 
cheaply (about 10 - 15 euros) and now there are porter services 
that will carry your bag from hostel to hostel so you can
walk without the added weight.

It's a quest...
By tradition, you have to walk the last 100 km of any of the routes
and collect a number of stamps in a pass book of sorts to get the
Compostela which is a certificate of completion.
When you go to pick up the Compostela you have to tell the administrator
why you walked the Camino... so...

It's a Journey...
"Everybody walks their own Camino"
This is a common quote which people say.
I've read so many stories about how people's lives have been changed
after walking the Camino.
Some go with no expectation,
Some go hoping to change something about their life,
Some go with a purpose...

I am going to walk in honor of my mother,
and to honor her during my walk.

It's a party...
I plan to walk in June/July of 2021.
The Feast of St. James is held every year on July 25th, but
the Feast falls on a Sunday only every 10 - 11 years 
and 2021 will be the next year it does so,
and that's when they have the biggest Festival
and the botafumeiro is swung in the Cathedral...
It will be quite a sight!

It's tradition...
The final walk is the 81.5 km or 51 miles to 
the "End of the World" at Finisterra
There you end your travels at the Atlantic Ocean
at the Costa de Morte the "Coast of Death"
named by the pilgrims as they followed the Milky Way
to the end of all they knew
and what they thought was a magical place
where you got "closest to the land of death."

I hope to come to this coastline one day in July of 2021
having followed the steps of thousands of others going all the way back
to the 8th century or earlier
and reflect on what will have been an amazing
6 weeks of walking hundreds of miles
and reflect on what my Camino has shown me...

I promise to share it with you when I do...

I did set up a blog for those wishing
to join in on the Camino...
or just support those of us going...
I haven't written much,
but in the next year I will probably start writing more...

Monday, November 11, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 11 - Sheep in the Mist

Some people may not know that we have sheep. Seven of them... which is 1 more than what we started out with... It was a kind of experiment.

My husband thought that we needed to make something of a hobby farm on our 25 acre property. We started off with goats, but after the first set was killed by a bear, and the second set ate his blueberry bushes one too many times, and then the youngest one died and broke my heart, we gave the two blueberry eaters we had left to a friend who had lots of bushes she really wanted eaten.

We then tried a cow.... and her calf... They were ok. Big beasts that I wanted to call Ham and Burger because, well, yeah, that was the point in raising them. I didn't want to get too involved knowing their time with us was going to be kinda short, but they didn't work out either because they got to like being around the house and wouldn't really go any where else to graze... plus, we had to start thinking about getting a bull, or bull stuff, or haul them to be with a bull... so they went to auction.

Then we got sheep.  Six of them. One ram and five ewes. Six turned into 14 as we had several sets of twins and a number of singles. Spring was amazing around the farm with all the little ones running around. Four ram lambs and four ewe lambs...

We knew the males were going to be sold, and one by one they were. Then came the ewe lambs. I picked my favorites and we sold a ewe lamb and an older ewe. Then our oldest sheep died. So now we have 7... trust me I've done the math a bunch of times...

Two of them are actually "on hold" for sale at the moment. So we'll be down to 5 but our ram Billy has been busy, so this spring will bring a whole bunch of new lambs... and the cycle of life will continue here on the farm...

The picture is from one of our trail cams as the sheep make their way around the property... ignore the date, I had to reset a bunch of the cameras and didn't reset the dates.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

NaBloPoMo - Day 10 - Writer's Block

So I was going to be writing this month for the #WriterInMotion challenge.
The picture above was given for inspiration.
A first draft was due 11/08, but I didn't get a story done in that time...
In fact, I got about 4 paragraphs done and then I had nothing...

I had a number of thoughts about this picture...
I heard some interesting ideas during one group discussion that I participated in.
I thought I could totally write something original...
but the words aren't coming.

I thought maybe this post I would share my few paragraphs with you and see what you think...
Maybe I'll be inspired to keep writing and share that during the next round due in about a week...

Here goes... don't be afraid to be brutal... I've been a surgery intern... I can take it... 

Mariana ran as fast as she could through the darkened alleyway.  She stopped just before the cross street and leaned up against the wall catching her breath before daring to continue. Looking down at the flare she held in her hand she got a rush of confidence and took a deep breath before slowly glancing out to the street.

To her right, cars burned in the distance and the crowd seemed to have moved on. Looking to the left she saw an empty street made darker by several broken street lamps. Straight ahead, the unlit alley looked like a cave as it passed between several more of the downtown buildings. Mariana knew that to get to the fort she should go to the right, but she was trying to avoid the Civil Guards who were sweeping through the city herding everyone to the eastern end of town. She had a decision to make.

She crouched and eased onto the sidewalk and was about to take a step out onto the street to get a better view when to her left she heard a shout, “Hey you! Get over here!” She turned to see a couple of Civil Guards in their signature tan and red-trimmed uniforms holding automatic rifles heading toward her. Her decision was made for her. She quickly pulled the hood of her black shawl over her head and ran straight ahead into the darkness.

The expected gun shots never happened. Mariana dared initially to run right down the middle of the near pitch black alleyway hoping to avoid hitting or tripping over anything. God, it seemed to go on forever. She stopped when she finally started to be able to differentiate larger shapes in the gloom. She tucked behind a garbage bin trying to calm her breathing and listened for any sounds.

The night was strangely quiet given the activity happening now south and east of her. The flare gave her some comfort; almost like a totem that would carry her to safety. She wished she could light it to help guide her through the streets, but she needed it for later. For now, she had to continue on her mission.

Before moving again, she listened long and hard: no footsteps, no voices, no more gunshots. Mariana felt safe enough to leave her resting spot and continued on down the alleyway, now staying more along the walls and in the shadows of the increasing light from the next cross street. Once again she slowed down as she got closer to the end of the alley way and then slinked along the wall on her right before stopping to rest just before the intersection.

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