In the Doghouse (Friday Fictioneers)



Karen was frazzled, on the verge of a meltdown.  Rowdy kids, stacks of dirty dishes and piles of laundry.  Work everywhere she turned.

Her husband, Bob, and his friend, Mike, were oblivious on the couch,  engrossed in wizards, warriors and healers. It was hour 28 of a two-day gaming marathon.

“Honey, can we get some beers? And maybe some nachos?” Bob’s bleary eyes never left the screen.

She slammed the beers on the coffee table, making both men jump. She glared and stomped out of the room. The men exchanged glances.

“A little chilly in here,” Mike quipped.

Bob sighed. “Arctic.”


Photo copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Ah, the life of a gamer’s wife. I feel ya, Karen.

This was written for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Love flash fiction? Join us for a weekly photo prompt and create your own story in 100 words or less.  Click here and click the blue froggy button to read the other stories.


Casual Fridays 4/24/15

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It’s Friday! Time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It has been a great week here. This is evidenced by the fact that I am currently writing from sugar-induced haze. Lab Week has unfortunately come to an end, but it was very successful. We have been gorging ourselves on food all week and playing games and just having a great time with our colleagues. However, it has been extremely hard to come close to being productive this week.

The highlights of lab week – besides food – have been the scavenger hunt and the olympics. My team came in second in the hunt this year but it was still great fun. Fifteen clues and dashing all over the building – glorious. The olympics were a blast. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. Some of the games were chopstick races, transferring m&m’s from one plate to another with a straw, bouncing balls out of a tissue box strapped to your back and stacking dice on a tongue depressor sticking out of your mouth. The only thing missing this week was nap time, which we all need after stuffing our bellies full of good food.

I am currently eating gooey butter cake. If you have never had this, google and find it immediately. It is life changing.

My older daughter auditioned for band this week. She starts next year in 6th grade. I am so excited for her because I was a band geek and band totally transformed my social circle in high school. I made some of my best friends there. She wasn’t too excited at first (which kind of broke my heart) but she came home from auditions bouncing off the walls. She did very well, receiving high praise from her future director. She did well on both flute and clarinet so she got to choose. She chose flute, which is also what I played. She is now super excited to start in the fall.

This is a short entry this week. I have to get back to trying to be productive. I’m also trying to get my flash fiction piece done for the week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Be Cool

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Please. I don’t even discuss those topics with people that I do know. Well, I have cool friends. Friends are ok. But family? Big no. OK, maybe it’s just my in-laws…

When talking to people I don’t really know, I am usually trying to fumble my way through small talk given my limited social skills so no, I am not going to broach topics like religion or politics.  You amuse me, Word Press.

But seriously… I don’t think these topics are necessarily off limits.  They just have to be navigated with tolerance and respect. It does not bother me that someone has an opinion different that mine. We are all free to think and believe as we wish, it’s what makes our world great. As long as we can listen and accept and exchange ideas in a respectful manner, things are cool. It’s only when someone judges or belittles that they become offensive. I get that these are hot-button topics and people feel very passionately about them. Still, tolerance and respect. Be cool.

So, what do you think? How would you answer this prompt?



Masks and camouflage
Smoke and mirrors
Distraction, deflection
Whatever you want to call it

Promises distorted but not broken
Technicalities, really.
Whatever keeps your conscience clean

Lies with good intention
So good you actually believe them
Yet they are still as sharp as the blade of malice

Your apathy is not a coat that you can hang on my shoulders
It does not fit
It does not keep me warm

I shed my pain like a hemorrhage
Your band-aid is a stopgap
But I bleed through

New dawn brings new light
I decide to bleed no more

photo credit: Paul Tomlin

Casual Fridays 4/17/15

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It’s Friday! Time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It has been a tiring week. I’ve been getting up early, staying up way too late. Burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. It just leaves me burnt out and exhausted. I am hoping for a restful weekend.

Things are getting busy at my kids’ school, we are in the downward spiral to the end of the school year. Field trips, field days, spirit days, planning for summer camps and summer trips and swimming lessons. Keeping up with all of it makes me dizzy. But even so, this time of the year just makes everything feel… lighter. It is easier to deal with the chaos when you are drunk on sunlight and warm weather.

It is a beautiful day here in the STL. Our midwestern weather is often tumultuous, but once in a while we are blessed with a day like this.  Sunny, blue skies and 80 low-humidity degrees.

Redbox just informed me that my husband rented Exodus: Gods and Kings for tonight. I have The Fault in Our Stars on the dvr for tonight. Hmmm… quite the spectrum of entertainment. This is usually how our movie choices go. I guess I will be on a roller coaster of emotions this evening. So has anyone seen Exodus? Thoughts?

Lab Week is shaping up nicely for next week at work. We have a build your own waffle bar, a baked potato bar, snack day, potluck day (our potlucks are legendary) and it all ends on Friday with a catered lunch and dessert day. I will be lucky not to gain ten pounds next week. I also still need to write that post about my line of work. I will get to it. Promise.

For those of you that are parents… have you ever looked at your child and realized that some of the things that frustrate you about them are traits that are most like yourself? It is a very eye-opening moment. When I watch my daughter struggle with her indecisiveness – to the point of paralysis – and anxiety, I realize now what my husband has been dealing with for all of these years with me. The good news is that I walk that road (some might say meander) so I can help lead her down it. Or try. Or at least I can be empathetic. It makes me appreciate my husband as the rock and voice of reason that he is (did I just call him a voice of reason? Shhh, don’t tell him that). Some deep thoughts for this Friday…

Happy Friday, everyone and have a great weekend!

In the Line of Fire (Friday Fictioneers)


She watched the news coverage of the house fire with a growing sense of dread. She loved Tim with all her soul, but she never loved his choice of profession.  Five years as a firefighter’s wife, she still worried about him constantly.

Her stomach sank when the phone rang.  Structural collapse.  Her world flew into chaos.

Distraught, she raced to the hospital, bargaining the whole way. Please don’t take him away from me. I’ll do anything.

Connected to tubes and machines, he was battered but alive.

He gave her a weak smile. Overcome, she folded into his chest and wept.

[100 words]

Photo copyright: Roger Bultot

This one was hard for me.  There was so much more that I wanted to say so keeping it at 100 words was a real challenge. Does it work? Yes, no, maybe?

This was written for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Love flash fiction? Join us for a weekly photo prompt and create your own story in 100 words or less.  Click here and click the blue froggy button to read the other stories.

It’s Party Time!

Late as usual, but I’m still sharing… a blog party! A great opportunity to mingle and meet some other bloggers.

Suzie Speaks

imageThis week marks my two year blogiversary, and I decided that the best way to celebrate would be to invite you all to my blog party!

It has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them, so I’d like you all to put on your best outfits, grab a drink (mine is a Mojito for anyone that’s interested) and get your blog on! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. I don’t have an issue…

View original post 256 more words

The Coupler (Friday Fictioneers)


She had to tell him. Today.  She couldn’t chicken out this time.   It was over, they both knew it.  She couldn’t keep living like this.  She wanted out.

They sat in the car at the railroad crossing, delayed by the train.  Car after car passed. Monotony.  She suddenly noticed the couplers, holding the cars together securely but with enough give that each could adjust to the turns of the track.  What if the coupler broke?  Massive derailment? Or easy separation, two cars moving slowly apart on the rails?

She was about to find out.

Deep breath.

“We need to talk.”

[100 words]

This was written for Friday Fictioneers – hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – a weekly photo prompt and a story in 100 words or less.

Photo credit: Jennifer Pendergast

Casual Fridays 4/10/15

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It’s Friday! Time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It has been an unsettling weather week here in the Midwest with severe storms nearly every day.  Consequently, it has been a rough week with my older daughter because she has storm anxiety.  She really panics, especially with tornadoes but even with thunderstorms.  It has also been a rough week for my younger daughter because the changing weather has played havoc with her sinuses/allergies.  We walk this tightrope of trying to find the perfect balance of meds and home remedies in an attempt to battle the cough and congestion.  Ah, spring.

Things may be moving again on the job front.  It is too early to say much but I have a potential opportunity.  Think good thoughts!  This comes at a good time for me because I have been feeling down lately and trying to figure out which way to go with my career.

At work, we are preparing for lab week which starts on 4/20 (by the way, I work in a genetics lab. I may write a post about that since I’ve had some people ask).  We LOVE lab week (Medical Laboratory Professionals Week).  We have daily potlucks/food bars, games, prizes, etc.  The scavenger hunt is the best.  My team won last year and we will be defending our title this year.  We are also having Olympic games this year which is a new event.  A bunch of science nerds doing olympic games… pure gold, folks.

I’m sharing another song this week.  Lifehouse, one of my favorite bands, has an upcoming album and they released a sneak peak of one of the new songs entitled Wish.  I have fallen in love with it so here it is…


Have a great week, everyone!



Things Worth Keeping

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If I Had a Hammer.”

If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?

As usual, I am not going to answer this prompt as asked… but it did remind me of a story.  So bear with me…

The ultimate handyman, my dad built a lot of things for me.  He built huge bookshelves to accommodate my book addiction that started at such a young age.  He built a beautiful dollhouse that was my pride and joy for many years.  He lovingly crafted every detail from the shingles to the shutters to the curtains to the furniture.  And he built two matching bunk-beds for my baby dolls.  They had wooden frames with mattresses and matching pillows.  They were sturdy but also light enough that I could drag them from room to room during play.  I adored them.

At some point early in my teenage years, the bunk-beds made their way into the basement along with my dolls and other childhood toys.  My parents kept a lot of my things,  my dad was careful to pack them in a way to protect them from moisture and time.  But after I left for college, the bunk-beds found themselves in my parents’ yard sale.  Considering the amount of my junk that they kept, I don’t know why the beds had to go.  But I do have a guess.  My dad, as talented as he is, is also humble and his own worst critic.  He probably didn’t think the beds were worth keeping.

Fast forward fifteen years.  As an adult I had moved back to my hometown and had a toddler daughter of my own.  A daughter who, I might add, thought her grandpa hung the moon.

His church was having a parish-wide yard sale.  The parish high school gym was crammed full of donations – clothes, furniture, toys, household items.  My dad was there helping sort through things and organize the day before the sale opened.  As he maneuvered his way through the narrow paths among the clutter, he spotted them.  He recognized his own handiwork and the familiar pattern on the mattresses and pillows – the bunk-beds that he had made for me when I was a little girl.  And they were still in good condition.  What a small world.  Thinking of my daughter, he brought them back home.

Fast forward another eight years or so and guess where those beds are today?  Yes, in my house, in our playroom.  My younger daughter loves baby dolls and so these beds are a treasure to her.  She will bring them from the playroom into her bedroom so that her dolls can have a sleepover.  Or she will balance one on a skateboard for a makeshift gurney when she is playing doll hospital.  They are definitely worth keeping.