First Light

She glanced at the three men sitting around the campfire and pulled her blanket tighter across her shoulders, blocking the chill of the night air.

Her brother, Murdoch (or Doc, as she had called him since their childhood), stared into the flames with intense focus. The dancing shadows and the weight of their situation aged his young face. Seamus, a hulking figure with a shock of red hair, stewed quietly chewing on sunflower seeds. Haemon was next to her, shoulders slumped and staring at the ground. It had been stone silence since the decision was made.

Doc cleared his throat. “Alright then, we will leave for the castle at first light. We should make it to the kingdom walls by next nightfall.”

Seamus nodded and spit another seed toward the fire. Haemon didn’t move.

“Doc, I -” she began.

“Moira,” he said softly, “you are not going with us. I need you to stay here and defend the other women and children until we return.”

She felt the anger rise into her chest but tried to keep her voice steady. “This camp is enchanted. My protective services are not needed here.”

Seamus interjected gruffly. “You are not going, woman, because this battle is too dangerous. You will be a liability and a distraction.”

“A liability?!” she yelled, “I saved your sorry life just a week ago, Seamus! Have you already forgotten?”

Seamus huffed and turned his attention back to the fire.

She turned to the kind and doting man at her side. “Haemon, you believe that I can do it, don’t you?” From the corner of her eye, she saw Seamus roll his eyes.

Haemon slowly looked at her and gave her a small, sweet smile. “Dear Moira, I do not doubt your abilities. Your skills with the sword are unparalleled…” his voice trailed off and his eyes went back to the ground.

“Go on, tell her,” Seamus insisted.

Haemon winced. “Your… obsession… can make you reckless. I would worry about your safety.”

She recoiled, stung by his betrayal.

“Like I said, a distraction.” Seamus muttered.

“Enough.” Doc finally spoke. “Moira, you are staying here because you are the only family I have left. If anything happened to you I would never forgive myself.”

The group fell silent once more. She fought to keep control of her emotions. Crying or raging would not help her case.

“Doc,” she breathed, “my fate is not your burden to carry.”

Doc put his face in his hands, distressed.

She stood and faced her brother. “This war has taken everything from me. The king… his soul is filthy,  stained with the blood of all his victims… our parents, our brother, my fiance. His head is mine and I will  take it. There is nothing any of you can do to stop me. I either go with you or I go on my own.”

She waited for his response, the only sounds the crackle of the fire and Seamus spitting seeds. She stole a glance at Haemon but he was still studying the patch of dirt at his feet. She knew that Doc was trying to protect her and that Seamus would never consider her an equal. Haemon, however, was supposed to be supportive. He was supposed to be her friend. His actions hurt her more than those of the others.

Several minutes passed and Doc finally let out a heavy sigh. She reflexively held her breath. “We leave tomorrow at first light.” He flicked his eyes to Moira and added, “all of us.”

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Sharing fiction always makes me nervous, but I just thought I would give you a peek at some of the characters from my WIP. They have been sharing my headspace lately.

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If We Were Having Coffee… 11/26/16

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If we were having coffee on this fine evening, we would talk about our holidays. We are on day 3 of turkey day leftovers. I have eaten an obscene amount of calories from stuffing and corn casserole. I may have gained several pounds from the banana pudding alone (but it was so worth it). How about you? Did you have a quiet, peaceful family dinner or were there political arguments? Did everyone behave or was there drama? Ours was very low-key.

Did you brave the stores yesterday to do Black Friday shopping? Or did you shop online? I didn’t do any Black Friday shopping this year. Every year I tell myself that I will start my Christmas shopping earlier and it usually doesn’t happen.

We had a busy day with Girl Scouts today. We had an event at the local horse stable this morning. This afternoon, my older daughter started working on her silver award. She is doing a visitation program at a local nursing home. It made the day go quickly and I was sad to realize that tomorrow is Sunday – the last day of the holiday break.

Does anyone else have a middle schooler that is obsessed with making slime? This is all the rage of our local junior high school. They make it out of glue and borax and then add some variety with shaving cream, lotion, glitter, beads, etc. I have bought so much glue. My daughter has a tote bag in which she carries all of the containers of slime.

I think my younger daughter has ringworm. I have no idea where she got it. She has one spot that has evolved over the last couple of days and now totally looks like a ring. She has several other itchy spots that are tiny. We can’t tell yet if these will be nothing or if they are also ringworm. Much like lice, it is making me paranoid every time I have the tiniest itch.

Catch me up. What else would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Part Time Monster for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. Join in by creating your own coffee share post with the tag #weekendcoffeeshare and/or add your link to the linkup here.

Thankful

As another Thanksgiving goes down in the record books, here are some things I am thankful for this year…

Tryptophan

Naps

Yoga pants

Banana pudding

Kitty cuddles

Excedrin

Kids who put themselves to bed two nights in a row

And of course my many blessings (kids, husband, parents, home, food)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday full of friends, family and love.

The night before Thanksgiving…

In anticipation of Turkey Day tomorrow…

I worked all day and fought the pre-holiday traffic on the evening commute. I stopped by the store on the way home for some last minute items for a side dish for tomorrow. Everyone else must have done the same because the store was packed. After dinner, I fell into bed exhausted. The kids were occupied in the playroom with the new treadmill.

Next thing I knew, it was 10:30. I must have dozed off. I got up to check on the kids and they were in their beds. Asleep. I don’t remember them coming to get me – and I find it highly unusual that they would let me sleep and put themselves to bed quietly  (they don’t do anything quietly). But I’m not complaining.

The dishes were also done. Unless my dream of housekeeping fairies came true, I suspect the husband did them. Again, not complaining.

So I got a nap and my house took care of itself. Now I am going back to bed so I can get up in the morning to start the feast preparations.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone !

 

 

 

The Nose Knows

My husband and I recently stood in the “smell good” aisle (as he likes to call it) at the local store, trying to agree on something. We agreed that we wanted some air freshener for the house since I have a very sensitive nose and we have two kids, two cats, etc. We debated on the various delivery systems and settled for one of those “sprays every so many seconds” thingies. You just hang it on the wall and set the interval and it does all the work. Then we got to the hard part: choosing a scent.

“How about this one?”

“Too floral.”

“I like this one. What do you think?”

“Too pungent. It makes my head hurt.”

“This one?”

“Too… outdoorsy? What is that, pine? I don’t like it.”

*sigh* “Well then, what do you like?”

“I like this one. It smells homey.”

“It smells like food. I will be hungry all the time.”

That last one repeated several times as I picked several food scents. What can I say? I like food.

Anyone else have these conversations?

We eventually settled on an apple cinnamon smell. I love it because to me it smells like warm ovens and Christmas lights and love. It makes me feel cozy, like being wrapped in a hug.

What is your favorite scent and what how does it make you feel?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/aromatic/

 

If We Were Having Coffee… 11/20/16

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If we had met a few days ago, we would have had iced coffees at an outdoor cafe in our summer clothes. It hit 80 degrees here on Thursday. Today we are definitely having hot beverages indoors with the heat on, perhaps even in front of the fireplace. It has been cold and windy all weekend. The dreaded “s word” (snow) has even started showing up on my facebook feed from my northern US friends. I am not ready.

It has been a quiet week here. I have been very busy at work but our home schedule was routine. I am looking forward to the thanksgiving holiday next week and four whole days off to spend with my family.

The lowlight of my week was getting scraped by an 18-wheeler on my way home from work Friday. He kept driving, I wasn’t even able to get his information. My back end on the passenger side is really scraped bad. I haven’t gotten an estimate yet. I’m debating just paying for it versus turning it in to my insurance. I don’t want my rates to go up any more than they already have. However if it is too expensive I don’t want to pay for it either. I’ll pay either way, right?  I’m not planning on doing anything about it before the holidays anyway.

Catch me up on your week. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Part Time Monster for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. Join in by creating your own coffee share post with the tag weekendcoffeeshare.

Secret

Deep in the recesses of the forgotten, she locked it away. Afraid it would escape, she buried it. Instead of starving and dying in the dark, it lived and grew. It existed despite her best efforts. It fought, scraping and clawing. Bloody and filthy, it broke through her obstacles. She could feel its poison consuming her. It didn’t just resurface, it ravaged.

If We Were Having Coffee… 11/13/16

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Hello, friend. When we meet for coffee today, we would hug warmly. It has been a rough week. Maybe we need a stronger drink today… come on in and I will break out some liquor. I’m having a rum and coke. Or three.

Of course, Tuesday was our election here in the U.S. I am certainly among the masses that were surprised – and disappointed – by the results. I feel like the rest of the week has been a bit of a fog as I try to wrap my head around it. I go about my daily activities but that outcome has sat heavily on my heart. I have concerns about foreign policy and I am truly worried for some friends if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without some safety nets regarding pre-existing conditions in place. I am concerned about our economy. I have to accept the outcome, of course, even though I find it hard to accept a man who has said such vile and disgusting things about women, homosexuals, transgender individuals and minorities. He is everything that I do not want representing our country to the world. I have had to just take some deep breaths and trudge forward. I am trying to have hope. I truly want him to succeed. I hope that he actually digs in and does some great things for all Americans. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I do hope I am pleasantly surprised. I am saddened by the division and protest in our country. While I understand the frustration, I feel like unification is what we need the most.

I would tell you about Veteran’s Day. I took the day off work to spend with my girls. We marched in our town’s parade with their scout troops. We do this every year, it’s tradition and it is extremely important to me. Afterwards, the scouts met to make tree ornaments for local nursing homes. We made 300! That will spread a lot of Christmas cheer. My girls had fun and worked so hard. The older troop helped with refreshments and helped guide and organize younger scouts as well as make ornaments. After that, several girls from our troop helped the local Boy Scouts distribute bags for their annual Scouting for Food campaign. We canvassed our assigned area and tied bags on every door. Again, the girls worked hard but also had fun together and enjoyed a beautiful autumn day. See, I can’t control the outcome of the election. I can’t change Donald Trump. But I control myself and what goes on in my household. And in my household, my kids are taught kindness and compassion. They give back to their community. That is the world that I want for them so that is the world we create. That day was just what I needed.

I really enjoyed my day off work but the trade off was that I spent about 5 hours this afternoon writing patient letters on my laptop. This job can be so draining. I have a busy week coming up so catching up this weekend will be very helpful in the long run.

As the drinks flow, we would talk about your week as well. We would share our feelings about the election, the country, the direction of it all. We would then talk about anything but the election, ready for some distance. And when we were all talked out, we would hug again and part ways looking forward to next time.

Thanks to Part Time Monster for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. Join in by creating your own coffee share post with the tag weekendcoffeeshare and/or add to the linkup here.

Thank you

Today is Veteran’s day and we enjoyed a beautiful fall day in the Midwest, sunny with crisp but comfortable temperatures. I spent the holiday the same way I do every year by participating in my town’s parade. My girls’ scout troops march along with the boy scouts, high school bands and local veterans. We stand as a united community on the courthouse lawn and listen to various speakers. There is prayer.  There is a 21 gun salute with a taps trumpet solo. I love it because it shows respect and reverence and also because it is tradition. I marched in it every year as a kid and now my childen do the same.

To all the veterans: thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifices. We owe all of our liberties and freedom to you. A simple thank you doesn’t seem enough. 

To our military spouses and families: thank you for your selflessness. You are more important than you know.