Theme Thursday - Yellow

This my entry for this week's Theme Thursday on "yellow."

The Perfect Yellow Rose

The doorbell rang, and she went to open it. It was her birthday, so she wasn’t surprised to see the Roadway Express man standing on the stoop holding a package. She signed for it, and laid it on the hall table. She’d open it later. She was in no mood now. It had only been a few weeks since Mike’s memorial service, and it was hard to be enthusiastic about anything, even a birthday gift.

She and Mike had been inseparable, until Uncle Sam managed to separate them by sending him to Vietnam. Their mothers were college roommates, and had ended up living next door to each other. She and Mike had been friends their whole lives, almost since they were born, two months apart. They’d shared a playpen, a skate key, afternoons watching Howdy Doody, and the chicken pox . They’d ridden their bikes together, played hide and seek in the dusk, wrestled, and occasionally given each other a black eye. They’d seen each other though swimming lessons and driving lessons, boyfriends and girlfriends, all the angst and joys of growing up. He was her best friend.

On every birthday since they were about six years old, Mike had given her a goofy gift, the sillier and more bizarre, the better!  Among other oddities, he'd given her a bullfrog, a Ch-Ch-Chia Pet and, her favorite, an alligator skull. This year’s birthday was a big one--she was turning 21--so the thought of commemorating it without some sort of gag gift from Mike was breaking her heart all over again.

That night, as she was leaving to meet her parents for a birthday dinner, she noticed the box sitting on the table by the door, and decided to open it. Inside the outer packaging, she found another long thin box. She unwrapped it and opened the tissue paper inside. Inside was a beautiful yellow rose, kept fresh by a little vial of water pressed onto its stem. She poked around in the tissue paper, but she couldn’t find a card.

She was running late, so she decided she’d look again later, and left to go to the restaurant.

“Here’s to the birthday girl!” Dad said, raising his wine glass. “We love you, Baby.”

And then she remembered. On her sixteenth birthday, an eager would-be boyfriend had overwhelmed her with two dozen red roses. When Mike had teased her about it unmercifully, she’d said to him, “That’s just so pretentious. I don’t even like red roses, and really? Two dozen? If a guy really loved me, he’d give me one perfect yellow rose.”

Improbably Pink

Florida Flamingos

Arizona Sunset

Florida Sunrise

New Zealand Sunset


100-Word Challenge: Swollen

This is my submission for Velvet Verbosity's 100-Word Challenge, temporarily hosted by LouCeel here

Stop by and look in the Comments for links to more 100-Word entries. As Lou said, “These people are GOOD.”

The word for this week’s challenge is swollen.

Swollen with Tears

She didn’t ask for much, only an hour.
Just one hour with the lights out.
One hour of opportunity to sit in the dark and talk about her plight.
One hour with the family to discuss ways to help her survive.

Many of her children never even heard her plea for support.
And, of those who did, most just couldn’t seem to manage it.
They were too busy, had things to do.
They couldn’t spare the time, even one hour, to help.

So on March 27, Earth Hour came and went,
While the lights stayed on.

And Mother Nature wept.


Photos by Boston Globe Staff Photographers

Governor Patrick again declares emergency; Guardsmen on flood alert
By David Abel, Boston Globe Staff  |  March 30, 2010
The third heavy storm of this month’s massive rains prompted Governor Deval Patrick to declare a state of emergency yesterday for the second time in March and activate National Guard units to stem the damage of more flooding in the waterlogged state.
As of late yesterday afternoon, more than 11 inches of rain had fallen in Boston this month, making it the most rainfall in March on record and breaking the city’s record set in March 1953, said a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.
Almost 3 1/2 inches of rain fell yesterday, and another 3 1/3 inches are expected before the storm tapers off tomorrow.


The Adventures of Super Gato

This is my submission for Velvet Verbosity's 100-Word Challenge, temporarily hosted by LouCeel here. (Thanks again, Lou!)

 This week’s challenge is the word Ferocity.

The Adventures of Super Gato

I’m wicked hungry! I really want that salmon on the table but… I’m too short.
Wait, I see a way!
Up on the chair.  Big jump, reaching out.  I catch the edge, but my body swings down under the tabletop, and WHUMP!  I’m back on the floor again.
OK, OK.  Shake it off. 
Up on the chair, big running jump.  I’m on!  Uh-oh. I’m sliding, sliding, sliding.  And off the other edge.  WHUMP!  Sigh…
Shake it off. 
Up on the chair.  Minor adjustment, and l—e—a—p.  Wow, look at me!   I DID IT!!!
I am SUPER GATO!  Hear me roar!

Friday Flash 55

Heather Stirred

As the bored check out girl rang up his groceries,
The stooped old man noticed her name tag. 
Quoting Burns, he recited:

"At bam or byre thou shalt na drudge,
Or naething else to trouble thee;
But stray amang the heather-bells.
And tent the waving corn wi' me."

Awakened, Heather looked up,
And saw him.

This is my entry for G-Man's Friday Flash 55.   Visit his place for more 55s.


Theme Thursday: Sign of the Times

This week's theme at Theme Thursday is "sign."

Sign of the Times

He should have seen it coming.  The signs were everywhere.   Hushed conversations that ended abruptly when he walked into the room.  Tension in the air so thick you could cut it with a knife.  He should have known.

He’d seen it happen to other guys, and wondered disdainfully how they could have been so blindsided.  The signs were right there under their noses.  If he could see it happening, why couldn’t they? Didn’t they have eyes?
His wife told him, “You need to be prepared.  Look for a new place.  Start packing up your stuff.”
But he didn’t believe her.  Not after all these years.  It’d been nearly 23 years.  With so much time invested, he didn’t believe it could end, just like that.  He would try harder.  Something would change and things would get better.  He was sure of it.
That Thursday, he couldn’t deny it any longer.  The minute he opened the envelope, he knew.  It was over.  He’d been a fool.
23 years!  How could this be?  He laid his keys on the table and picked up the box.   He took a deep breath and headed for the door.  The box holding his lamp and the pink slip under his arm, he left the building.


They Walk

Last month, they began to walk. Thousands strong, they “walk as one” in nine cities, “in it to end it.”

Because they walk, 120,000 amazing people have raised $320 million to date for breast cancer research and treatment.

Rain or shine, they walk 39 miles, stopping every so often to rest, get water, and get their blisters treated.

They walk for their mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends. And some of them even walk for breast cancer-stricken men.

They walk wearing pink, lots of pink. Pink hats and shirts. Pink bandanas covering bald heads. Pink signs and banners, emblazoned with the names and pictures of loved ones. Pink ribbons heralding their commitment to the battle against breast cancer.

They walk for those still fighting, and for those who have lost the battle.

They walk because they are healthy, and they walk because they are not.

They walk with the bright smiles of hope, and they walk with the tears of loss.

They walk for tomorrow. They walk for the cure.

They walk for you.


My daughter Lisa is a breast cancer survivor. In a little over a week, she will be walking for the fourth time.  This is her story, in her own words.

My Story

This May I will be walking nearly 40 miles over two days as a participant in the Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for the FOURTH time. I am honored to be walking with thousands of others who have made the same courageous commitment to help raise awareness and funding for this devastating disease. Together, we will sleep in tents, shower in semi-trucks and push ourselves far beyond what we ever thought we were capable of doing.

Why am I doing this? Well, let me tell you my story. In February 2006 I found a lump. At my next prenatal appointment (that’s right, I was pregnant-- seven months to be exact), I brought it up with my doctor. She sent me for an ultrasound of the mass. That led to a biopsy which then led to a mammogram. Two days later I was being told I had breast cancer and that I would need a modified radical mastectomy. Cancer, at 33. Who would have thought? And while pregnant. I can’t tell you how scared I was. But both the baby and I had no trouble with the surgery. Eight weeks later (three weeks after Jack’s birth) I started chemotherapy. I had eight chemo treatments over 16 weeks throughout the summer. During the fall I had 30 treatments of radiation. I am now on hormone therapy and feeling great. I am grateful for the science and research that allowed me the treatments to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, while I made my recovery, others were diagnosed with breast cancer, one about every three minutes.

Now I’m on a mission. The more people I talk to and the more money I raise to fund the fight against breast cancer, the sooner the numbers of women being diagnosed will start lowering and the sooner a cure will be found. I truly believe that finding a cure to one cancer will be the key to unraveling the mysteries of many cancers. Too many people have had their lives torn apart by this disease. I refuse to idly sit by and watch it happen. So why will I walk? Because I can, and because I need to. My commitment has become part of my healing process. And the event itself is a huge part of that process.


Wordless Wednesday

Gee, ya think?

On a building in Albuquerque, NM


An Award! Woo-Hoo!

Ji, a fellow participant in G-Man's Friday Flash 55, has honored me with this award. I am thrilled to accept, and happy to pass it on to some of my favorite 55 writers.

I'm passing this award on to these fantastic Friday Flash 55 participants:


Friday Flash 55


Cutting the Cord

The day they tied the knot was the first day of “happily ever after.”  Or so she thought.  Who knew he would be so controlling?  He held her so tightly, she was suffocating. 
She met him at the front door, the knife behind her back.  Taking a deep breath, she severed the tie that binds.

This was written for G-Man's Friday Flash 55.  There are lots more 55s at his place.  Stop in.


Unspoken Fears

This is my entry for Velvet Verbosity’s 100-Word Challenge.  This week’s word is Unspoken.
And it’s also my entry for Theme Thursday.  This week’s theme is Breakfast. There’s lots of yummy fare on the table, so drop in and join us.

Unspoken Fears 


I’m afraid of the dark, she thought, but she didn’t dare to say it out loud. 
Passing though sinister shadows black as night, she knew hungry monsters were lurking close by, watching for a sign of weakness. She could feel them there, just waiting to devour her the moment she let her guard down.  
She wanted to howl in terror.  But to give voice to the fears was to give them teeth, and then, snarling and slobbering, they would rip her heart out and eat it for breakfast.  So instead, she just held her breath, and walked a little faster.


A Shot in the Dark

Standing at the hotel window as dusk deepened into full dark, she looked down Sixth Avenue, 12 floors below.  It was rush hour, though to say “rush hour in the City” seems a bit redundant, and dark enough for the lights of the cars to twinkle like a string of holiday lights. 
She loved the lights of the city at night.  The streets glimmered, steam from the subway grates glowing clouds of silver.  The buildings displayed squares of warmth, where commerce still thrived at 6:30PM and private lives were picking up where they’d left off that morning.
She looked at the office building across 54th Street, and as always, was struck by how close it looked at this height.  She could easily see people in the offices, some gathering up their coats, finished for the day, and others still hard at work, bent over their desks in concentration.
As she unabashedly spied on those in the building, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye.  She had been spotted!  In the window directly across from her room, a man was waving his hand at her.  Huh.  Somehow it hadn’t occurred to her that if she could see them, they could see her, just as clearly.
She looked at him, and she saw he was smiling and pantomiming, as if in a game of charades.  He raised his hand to his lips, tipping an invisible glass up to sip.  He then gestured back and forth between them: you. me, you and me, and pointed downward toward the first floor of her hotel, where she knew there was a bar.
She blushed (Oh, God, I hope he can’t see that too.) and smiled.
It was a shot in the dark, but what the hell, she thought, and nodded.  She picked up her purse, and headed downstairs.

Wordless Wednesday

Inside President Kennedy's emergency bunker near Palm Beach.


Why I Love the English Language

I can claim no credit for this; it was sent to me.  I cannot even give credit as no credit was ascribed, and an Internet search turned up nothing.
It’s clever and interesting, though, especially to those who of us who love to play in this sandbox of words and phrases, so I wanted to share.  I give all credit, and plaudits aplenty, to Mr. or Ms. Unknown.
 Why I love the English Language

You think English is easy???  Consider these:
-  The bandage was wound around the wound. 
-  The farm was used to produce produce.
-  The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
-  We must polish the Polish furniture.
-  He could lead if he would get the lead out.
-  The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
-  Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
-  A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
-  When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
-  I did not object to the object.
-  The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
-  There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
-  They were too close to the door to close it.
-  The buck does funny things when the does are present.
-  A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
-  To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
-  The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
-  Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
-  I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
-  How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it.  English is a crazy language!
-  There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
-  English muffins weren't invented in England or French Fries in France.
-  Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that:
-  Quicksand can work slowly.
-  Boxing rings are square.
-  A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
-  Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
-  If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth?  One goose, 2 geese.  So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
-  Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
-  If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
-  If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
-  If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
-  In what language do people  recite at a play and play at a recital?
-  Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
-  Have noses that run and feet that smell?
-  How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
-  You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
-  Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?
-  English was invented by people, not computers and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why when the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out they are invisible.

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more uses than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'.
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. 
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When is doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP UP in the dictionary.  In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.  If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.  It will take UP a lot of your time but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so...
It’s time to shut UP!   
But sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.


Friday Flash 55

Hurricane Season

She feels the barometric drop
As he turns toward her,
His eyes harbingers of the storm.
Absolute and oppressive,
He sucks the air from the room.

He hurls angry words at her
Where they tumble like boulders,
Crushing communication to wordless grit.
This time, smarter, she packs her bag
And leaves, heading for higher ground.

For more Friday Flash 55, visit G-Man at Mr. KnowItAll, and prepare to be entertained.


Are you feeling it?

Women Airforce Service Corps (WASP) B-17 Pilots

There was an AP news release yesterday that at once made me proud and ashamed.  Haven’t read it? Go here now.  I’ll wait.

                   (humming... "Off we go, into the wild sky yonder.
                                      Keep the wings level and true;
                                      If you'd live to be a gray-haired wonder..." 

Oh, good, you’re back.  So, as I was saying…
Yes, I’m proud. 
Over 65 years ago, during WWII, a group of women took to the air to support the war effort.  Underpaid and unappreciated, they flew for their country nonetheless, 60 million miles in two years.  Many were injured, and 38 were killed.
Yesterday, they were finally recognized, and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress.  I’m enormously proud.
But ashamed?  Yes, that too. 
How could it have taken so long for these women to be honored?  Oh, wait, silly me.  After all, they were just women, and “civilians” to boot.  Maybe their contribution was just not worthy of recognition.  Let’s take a look:
  • The requirements were tougher for women pilots: they had to have 500 flying hours compared to men’s 200.
  • Their pay was less than men’s.
  • The women paid their own way to Texas for training, room and board.
  • They underwent the same officer’s training as men: ground school, flight school, cross-country flying, night flying, instrument flying, daily calisthenics, flying link trainers, and lots of marching.
  •  Anyone who flunked out, and that was not many, had to pay their own way home.
  • They flew every type of aircraft the Air Force owned—from trainers to bombers.
  • They ferried personnel and cargo, delivered aircraft, tested new and repaired aircraft, trained male cadets, and even towed targets for ground-to-air anti-aircraft gunnery practice and targets for air-to-air–gunnery practice (meaning that they were under live fire).
  •  WASPs were used to prove to male pilots that B-26s and B-29s were safe.
  • And unlike male pilots who were killed in action, the families of WASPs had to pay for the return of the body for burial and received no Gold Star or even a flag to drape the coffin.

(Information excerpted from Classroom Spice Newsletter. February 2006. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Dr. Jeanne Ramirez Mather, Ed.)

How is it possible that it took over 65 years for this country to officially say, “Thank you”?    How is it possible that over 900 of them have died without ever hearing their country say, “Good job! We appreciate it”? 
How is that freakin’ possible???
Oh, and did I mention that I’m also mad, no, no, outraged at this?
Oh, yeah, I’m proud. And ashamed. And OUTRAGED!