Story prompt – Lost

Sunday Scribblings  initiator of these story prompts is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle

Lost

Lost? Me? Why would you think that?

What. You’ve heard rumors? Really? Where? Who’ve you been talking to?

My grandson’s? And you believe them? They are only kids, you can’t believe everything they say. They believe in Santa Claus. They don’t always have their facts straight.

They said I was late to a party?

I may have been late but I wasn’t lost. I just took a wrong turn. How was I to know that street went round and round through one of those new mega housing developments. I thought I could just go around the block. Done. How was I to know it would be so hard to find the way out?

There were other times?

Well, yeah, I guess. It wasn’t my fault though. I thought I could go a different route and it would work out just fine.

Why didn’t I just use GPS to start with?

I don’t trust those voices from who knows where. They give bad advice and take me places I don’t want to be.

Like the time I was supposed to pick up someone at the front door of a hotel and the lady kept taking me to the underground pick up door. I was in big trouble for being late.

Ok, so they do give me good advice sometimes.

There was that one night I was trying to find my way back to hotel-row to get a room. Eventually I asked for help and I’ll admit it did work that time.

Someone told you I could write a book about my getting lost times?

I would never admit to a thing like that. It could be true, or not, I’ll never tell.

Besides, I never get lost.

I always know where I am. I just don’t know how to get to where I need to be sometimes.

Anyway, it all works out eventually. There was only that one time I gave up and went home. Every other time it worked out just fine.

In my opinion, to be truly lost someone would have to come rescue me.

OK, so maybe there was that one time my brother had to rescue me… or was it two times?

Story prompt – Hunger?

Today I was supposed to come up with a contribution to the confusing middle’s story prompt day. I have nothing.

I was going to just let it go, say nothing, and hit the pillow – again.

That’s all I’ve felt like doing today, sleep. And I did.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m having so much trouble staying awake today. Part of it could be seasonal allergies, I’ve been out working in the yard. Part of it could be the energy expended trying to dig out a well established rhubarb root yesterday.

I say trying because I doubt I managed to get it all. One root looked like it was headed under the privacy fence and into the neighbors yard. Surprise. They enjoy rhubarb so it’s all good.

(Did you know rhubarb roots look like sweet potatoes when you slice through them? I found that fascinating.)

Part of tired could be from dehydration and meal skipping. I’ve been eating just enough here and there that I didn’t feel hunger to eat a proper meal.

I wasn’t doing it on purpose. It’s just become a recent bad habit.

It wasn’t healthy food either, those bad habit snacks. I bought a 30 piece box of fudgesicles, and a 20 piece box of ice cream sandwiches, in case the grandsons were here again. Another new bad habit. Ice Cream.

About 7:30 tonight I decided I was properly hungry and needed some real food. So I made a stir fry. The noodles don’t qualify as healthy but the carrots, celery, raisins, and peanuts do.

So now I’m feeling a little more awake, having fueled up, and … telling you why I have no story has turned into a story, of sorts.

For any who might zoom in on the page I’m reading and wonder what book would have a guy mentioning how none of his recent dates seemed interested in settling down …

I’m reading book 2 Blessed Arrangements in …

Miss Main Street The Complete Series: Books 1-3: Small Town Stories of Friendship and Romance

Sorry Aaron. Maybe next week will be better.

Story prompt – Gold

Sunday Scribblings  is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle

This weeks prompt is Gold.

The first thing to come to mind for this weeks prompt was … There’s gold in them thar hills.

You could justly accuse me of reading too many penny dreadfuls. There are a zillion stories of men afflicted with gold fever. Selling all they had, heading for the gold fields where rumor had it fist sized nuggets were sitting in the streams waiting for men to come by and pick them up.

The many fictional stories are based in fact. The gold rush was at it’s height in the mid-to-late 1800s and stretched from California to Alaska. It’s true there was gold to be found by some but more often than not it was the outfitters who made money on the phenomenon. Life was beyond hard for many of these dreamers and their families. Many loved ones were left behind to wait for a man who may or may not ever come home.

One positive fallout from men chasing their dreams – many areas of the US and Canada were settled with residue from the influx of hopeful prospectors.

Some settlements were short lived and a few of those survived as ghost towns. One is Barkerville in British Columbia, Canada. It’s listed as a world class historical site and well worth seeing. As a BC resident most of my life, I’ll admit to travelling through the Fraser Canyon dozens of times without making the short detour to visit Barkerville. It’s still on my wish list.

There are many non fiction books to be had on the subject but here is one such book by a celebrated author with personal connections to the Klondike.

The Klondike Fever: The Life And Death Of The Last Great Gold Rush 

Amazon quote:
In 1897 a grimy steamer docked in Seattle and set into epic motion the incredible succession of events that Pierre Berton’s exhilarating The Klondike Fever chronicles in all its splendid and astonishing folly. For the steamer Portland bore two tons of pure Klondike gold. And immediately, the stampede north to Alaska began. Easily as many as 100,000 adventurers, dreamers, and would-be miners from all over the world struck out for the remote, isolated gold fields in the Klondike Valley, most of them in total ignorance of the long, harsh Alaskan winters and the territory’s indomitable terrain. Less than a third of that number would complete the enormously arduous mountain journey to their destination. Some would strike gold. Berton’s story belongs less to the few who would make their fortunes than to the many swept up in the gold mania, to often unfortunate effects and tragic ends. It is a story of cold skies and avalanches, of con men and gamblers and dance hall girls, of sunken ships, of suicides, of dead horses and desperate men, of grizzly old miners and millionaires, of the land — its exploitation and revenge. It is a story of the human capacity to dream, and to endure.

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If I lived in those times I think I would have become an outfitter to amass my share of the gold. Seems like a safer bet.

Story prompt – Mountains

Sunday Scribblings  is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle

This weeks prompt is Mountains.

Usually, I try to write a story with the prompt. Failing that, I try to write something/anything.

This morning my creativity feels stopped up and I have nothing. It’s like the mountains currently in my life are creating the barrier.

I thought, hey, I could write a blog post about personal mountains interfering with my obligations.

The more I considered the idea the less it seemed like a prudent move. Maybe I could just leave a comment on Aaron’s site explaining my lack of participation. That sounded like a better idea.

One good thing about procrastination; it gave me time to think things through and come up with a better idea.

I decided the post idea was the best way after all.

I had two thoughts causing doubts about the wisdom of sharing. Maybe some would make more out of my mountains than they should. That could cause ripple effects. Or maybe more would say What, you call that molehill a mountain?

I decided they are my molehills and I can call them mountains if I want to. So there.

I think I just killed two birds with one stone.

Story Prompt – Wonder

Sunday Scribblings  is hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.  This weeks prompt is … Wonder. You are invited to join in.

Wonder

Bella’s eyes popped open and she was instantly awake. Rolling over to check the clock, she found there was still a half hour before her alarm would ring. It must be anticipation excitement. This was officially the first day of her new life as a small business owner in a new town, full of people she didn’t know. So many new firsts.

There was no sense trying to go back to sleep. Her body was literally humming with excitement. May as well get up and get going. She could probably use the extra time anyway. With so much on her mind it would be easy to forget she was supposed to be getting ready for the day.

Her first and only scheduled meeting was with the Chamber of Commerce President. Bella noticed Alma was bubbling over with good ideas on how Bella could get started. Their ten o’clock meeting should be interesting. The plan was to spend the morning discussing ideas and then meet for lunch with a few chamber members. The others were looking forward to meeting the new lady in town.

Bella wasn’t sure what to make of all this enthusiasm. In all of the many places she’d lived she’d never encountered anyone quite like the women she was about to meet. Their high level of creative energy must be what made this town so vibrant and appealing. She had a feeling life for her would be good and she was going to love it here.

Bella decided Alma could do a roaring business if she were to operate a dating site. In matchmaker mode this morning she had Bella lined up with her first date, er, client.

Robert’s small wood working shop was successful by all accounts. He was a finish carpenter specializing in furniture and cabinetry, although he would do house repairs and window installations as a sideline. His bookkeeping and filing system, however, was another matter. He needed someone to step in and create order out of the chaos, if Alma were to be believed.

Bella figured there’s no time like the present and arranged an appointment to meet with Robert in the morning. They could assess his needs, her abilities, and see if working together would be a good fit for both of them.

The revolving door in the Chamber office was amazing to Bella. There had been a steady stream of business owners all morning. Obviously, the town grapevine was alive and well. Word had spread far and wide and everyone out and about, business owner or not, had stopped by to meet the lady new in town.

“Ready for Lunch?” Alma wanted to know. “If you are, we have set up an informal gathering in one of the restaurant meeting rooms. No pressure, just a relaxed welcome to town to make it official. Do you have any burning questions arising out of the morning’s meet and greet?”

Bella was sure she had questions but … “I think I need to sort through some of the information swirling through my mind and get back to you. For sure, there will be questions.

I have to tell you, this morning surpassed any expectations I had going in. Thank you so much for this, Alma.  I can’t believe I have a possible client already. You are amazing. No wonder the economic climate of this town is so healthy. You and the other Chamber members are a force to be reckoned with”

With her feet up, relaxed on a comfy chair after all the busyness, Bella relived the days stream of events and marveled at her good fortune in choosing this town for her new life. Her heart was filled with wonder at the warm reception her new friends had so freely given her.

New friends and a possible client, all in one morning. What could be better than that?

Sunday Scribbling’s prompt – Code

Who knew code could be a big deal.

Sunday Scribblings  is hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.  This weeks prompt is

Code

Wow, I didn’t realize until I started taking stock; code has been a huge part of my life, all of my life. I’ll bet you’ll find it has been a large part of your’s too. Count up all the ways if you don’t believe me.

So here we go. Counting the ways.

Area code: my first full time job was telephone operator back in the day before direct dialing. We had to use route codes and area codes to connect you to your favorite aunt in New York city. Direct dialing (or maybe I should say partial direct dialing) did come in soon after I started this job. One or two of us (depending on traffic) would sit at a table with a key pad and when a bee-beep sounded in our headset we would say Number Please. looking for the number they were calling from. We were often tempted to say Rubber Knees. just to see if anyone actually listened.

Banking codes: My second full time job was bank teller, also back in the day. We were on the cusp of computerized bank branches but when I started things still had to be done manually. Accuracy was a big deal and we had to know the codes and get it right, every time. It was good training for future experiences, I’ll tell you that. I did like the job but motherhood (and a move to a different city) cut my working days short.

Invoicing codes: I won’t even try to list all the ways these have affected my life over the years, both from the employee aspect and the consumer aspect. Small print and codes – very important. I shy away from grocery store self check out. I can never find the codes for avacados and green bell peppers.

Computer code: another back in the day story. Back when personal computers were a new thing and you had to be able to write simple code to accomplish anything with it. Luckily, I had a young son who knew more than I did about such things. That, and it wasn’t long before software became a thing. These days – my son writes computer code for a living, I’m grateful for software and Google.

10 Codes – Ambulance: my third paid occupation was in a small town where the unit chief recruited me because of my flexible availability. Ambulance was not on the list of things I might like to be one day. I did get to like code 3 – lights and sirens, especially if I was driving. 10-7 was nice when we could stop for lunch after a long transfer and a hospital drop off or 10-19 going home. I did come to love the job I thought I would hate.

Codes, codes and more codes: my fourth, fifth and sixth occupations all proved to be challenging but rewarding when it came to codes. Post office/retail, printing/manufacturing, and administrative/with client interaction. I’ve enjoy all of my jobs but this sixth one has lasted the longest. Thirteen years and counting. In this electronic age things keep changing and it never gets boring.

Genetic code (DNA): of all the codes, this one has had the greatest impact on my life. Both from without and within. Family dynamics on the outside, and the way I cope with the aftermath of those dynamics on the inside. Hopefully I’m learning to live a more positive and healthy life no matter what my code says.

Code. Who would have thought…

It has definitely made life interesting!

Story Prompt – Fallout

This is week ten (I think. I missed a few) in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.

I’ve decided to hook these challenges together to make a chapter story. Might as well make something out of it if I can. Besides it helps with inspiration, having a starting place.

The earlier chapters can be found here to bring you up to speed on the whole story.

Carly was in witness protection but her cover was blown and her life threatened.

With her protection team, they were on the run for weeks unsure of the seriousness of the threat, not wanting to take a chance with her life.

Now, Bella (new place new name) is working to settle into a new life.

Here is this week’s installment and challenge.

 

Chapter Eight

Fallout

Bella was frustrated. Two weeks. Two weeks had gone by and she was not one step closer to a cover story she could live with.

The fallout would be catastrophic is she couldn’t get it right. Why was this so hard?

Her house was settled and fully furnished. The office was set up and the appropriate business legalities were all in place. She was stalling. Advertising for clients could happen this minute if she wanted it to. A plausible cover story was the only thing holding her back.

She was experiencing major writer’s block with life threatening implications if she couldn’t figure it out. Maybe that’s why it was such a big issue to begin with. First hand knowledge of what could happen with a slip up was impeding her progress. Not that she had been at fault in her last situation. She hadn’t but she could see how it would take only one innocent comment in the right place to ruin everything.

Truthfully? She was terrified.

How do you live a lie when you never have? This was her biggest fear, as she honestly thought about it, fear that she would forget, tell the truth and her cover would be blown all over again.

This whole thing could have been left in the hands of the authorities hiding her but there was danger of an unidentified leak like last time. No one could live with the possibility of it happening a second time.

Somehow, she had to come up with a story that felt true. True enough that even her new friends would accept it without question. True enough that she wouldn’t stumble in the telling.

Maybe she needed to approach this like a fiction writer creating a story. The emotionally detached perspective may work better for her, it was worth a try. Up to this point nothing else had worked.

Thinking about the many books she’d read it seemed common for parents, young or old, to die in horrific car crashes. Readers readily accepted that scenario. She could handle having her story sounding like that.

Only child seemed to be another common detail. It left the plot with enormous flexibility. Army brat with moves every two years would be useful in solving issues arising out of the “where are you from” question with all it’s pitfalls.

All alone in the world, from no particular place, could serve her well in avoiding dangerous fallout.

Bella could hardly wait for Monday morning to arrive. It was time to launch her new life.

Random thoughts for July 18, 2020

This is a random thoughts, no books, kind of day. It was good in so many ways.

It started early, to make the hour trip into the city in time to meet up with the rest of our writers group. An impromptu picnic in a beautiful and popular park was the plan. With covid, it’s been a long time since we last met, the first Saturday in February in fact. The extroverts among us couldn’t bear to wait any longer and so, The Picnic.

Usually at an event like this we have pot luck lunches, we bring all sorts of interesting dishes to contribute to the meal.

We behaved well during this social distancing time. Most of us just brought a sandwich and a drink of some sort. Betty, the lady I traveled with, was highly disappointed with the food situation. She likes things to be an event not the ho hum I could do this at home routine.

By the time it was over she had forgotten her thoughts on food and was reliving the good time we had visiting with friends of like mind. Not everyone in our life gets our love for writing. Sometimes we forget and fail to appreciate how much encouragement we gain from time spent with our writer friends. The aftermath of Covid has been a good reminder for us.

We  (Betty and I) don’t see each other all that often even though we live in the same small city, and it was nice to catch up on the drive to and from. When I dropped her off we said our good byes suggesting we should do lunch sometime.

Sometime came sooner than expected. Her coffee mug was left in my car and that had her dropping by to retrieve it.

The forgetting turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

For some reason it felt like a downer when I got home after the day away. I was tired and feeling crummy. Blaming it on the early morning I took a nap that made only a marginal difference. It wasn’t too long after my nap there was a phone call about the neglected and forgotten coffee mug.

Sometimes it pays to go ahead and do things even when desire is not there.

With minimal enthusiasm on my part we went on an adventure to find somewhere interesting to have supper. Neither of us go out for meals all that often so we have no clue about where’s a good place to go.

We tried one new place everyone was talking about but it was take out only. Not what we needed. There was one more place we had both heard about and hoped they had inside seating and no line ups.

The pizza at the golf course’s new restaurant was delicious and the view of the golf greens next to our patio table added to the ambiance.

I think our outlook on life had improved considerably with the experience. We seemed to be in agreement on that.

It was a wonderful day all the way around and now group plans are underway to meet next month too.

**************

Well, there were no new books today but there’s no shortage of reading material with all the offerings we’ve had lately.

I’m almost finished Cold Shot and it’s still a bargain. I think it’s worth the $1.99.

I learned something new with this book. Cold shot is sniper terminology and you have to be good to pull it off. Not sure this will be useful info but it is new.

Cold Shot

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

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I may go to a lighter read next. It’s still a bargain too, at $0.99

A January Bride (A Year of Weddings Novella Book 2)

A January Bride

What will happen when novelist Madeleine Houser’s “pen pal” friendship with a lonely widower takes an unexpected turn?

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Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of our day.

I always mean to but get talking and forget.

One of these times…

I’m just happy I managed to find something to say after all.

I hope you had a good day too.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story Prompt – Number

This is week nine in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: TheConfusing Middle. 

Typically, I use the weekly prompt to write another chapter in the online story I have going. Except for this week. Too many distractions and I’m not ready.

I do have a prompt submission though, having thought about number for a while.

If I had to say the first thing to pop into my head when I heard the word Number it would be I’ve got your number.

Meanings change so fast I wasn’t expecting to find it still means what I think of at the sound of those words. I guess a good definition is worth keeping.

Google says it means –

Search Results

Featured snippet from the web

to understand someone or realize the true purpose of their actions. I’ve got your number – don’t think you can fool me.

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So hopefully, saying No, I’m not interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge still means the same thing today too.

I was thinking today’s usage of the phrase would be more like…

“Give me a call sometime”

“Sure, I’ve got your number”

On further thought though, I think both meanings apply today.

“I’ve got your number (1-800-123-4567) and no, I’m not interested in the scam of the week.”

Numbers are a wonderful thing.

Story prompt – Occupation

This is week eight in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.

I’ve decided to hook these challenges together to make a chapter story. Might as well make something out of it if I can. Besides it helps with inspiration, having a starting place.

The earlier chapters can be found here to bring you up to speed on the whole story.

Carly is in witness protection but her cover has been blown and her life is threatened.

They have been on the run for weeks unsure of the seriousness of the threat, not wanting to take a chance with her life. Things were about to change.

Now, Bella is about to settle into a new life. That’s right. She’s left Carly far behind.

Here is this week’s installment and challenge. I missed a week so it’s only chapter seven.

************

Chapter Seven

Occupation

Bella couldn’t help the pleased smile as she let her gaze roam around the new house. John and his team of US Marshalls had done an excellent job orchestrating a smooth transition for her relocation.

They didn’t waste any time, that was for sure. In fact, her head was still spinning at how quickly it had all come together. And who knew they could come up with such a perfect plan. Her new life couldn’t possibly look any better than this.

The house was situated in a nice but ordinary part of town. It wouldn’t have won a Best-In-Town award yet to her it was beautiful and above average. The previous owners had obviously loved the house they built and the choices they made at every turn were what made it special. Their upkeep was also exceptional. Normally new buyers were planning changes the minute they moved in. Bella couldn’t see anything she wanted or needed to change which was a blessing. Upkeep on a house was not a skill placing high on her list of talents.

Another blessing was the lay-out. Clients needing to visit her house was not an ideal situation but it could work out alright as a last resort. There was a comfortable seating area near the front door. It could be used for a meeting and still protect her privacy if she managed it well.

Her meeting with the Chamber of Commerce was beneficial. They offered a wealth of information that would go a long way toward helping her get her new endeavor off the ground. The monthly luncheon for Chamber members would be a good networking opportunity. Hopefully she would find clients in need of her services among the attendees. If not, they had knowledge of the business community and could provide valuable leads on where to look.

Taking another sip of coffee, she realized her cup was empty. She wasn’t exactly sure how that had happened but it meant it was time to get moving. There was still a lot to do if she wanted to get a good start on Monday morning. Her cupboards were bare and her office computer still needed set up.

Saturday mornings on Main Street looked like fun. All of the shops were open and bustling with people determined to get things done. It was really good to see actually. It’s not ideal shopping at the most popular time of day but seeing the healthy indicator about the business community gave her hope for her future.

It looked like the population has doubled in size compared to the rest of the week. Bella wondered what was going on to bring out this many people.

It didn’t take long to figure out. As she continued down the street looking for a parking space, she spied an open-air Farmer’s Market. Wow, it was huge. Bigger than any she had ever seen before. And crowded. If she thought the shops were busy, they had nothing compared to this.

It was three blocks before she could find a parking spot and hurry back. The market looked even better close up. There was everything one could imagine. The usual – garden produce and fresh meat – but it was all the extra things that caught her eye. Homemade everything. The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in this town.

Her job security was looking better all the time. Maybe her favored choice of occupation was going to pay off well, above any of her initial expectations.

Now if her personal life could only do as well. All alone in a new town knowing no one was daunting. On the bright side, working with small business would be more personal that corporate business. She may be able to make friends among her clients.

And then there was shopping. Maybe this Farmer’s Market would be the perfect place to meet new people. She might meet a new client and make a new friend.

The hardest part was going to be remembering to introduce herself as Bella rather than Carly, not to mention remembering her new occupation.

She couldn’t keep herself from smiling as she approached the first booth.