With Patriotic Glee

First off, I’d like to say thank you to all the men and women who have served this country in the past, who are serving now, and will serve in the future. The sacrifices you make – time away from your homes, your families, your loved ones, and the ultimate sacrifice, your lives, as well as the physical and emotional injuries you come back with – are greatly appreciated.

There are not enough variations on the phrase “thank you” that could ever be enough for you.
I wrote this poem, about ten years ago, called With Patriotic Glee, and thought this weekend was a good time to share it with you.


America the Beautiful – we sing with patriotic glee,
the statue in the harbor- is Lady Liberty.
Pulling his jacket tight – to fight the winter freeze,
praying for another meal – the soldier hits his knees.
New York bustles by him – without a second glance,
business suits and briefcases – another song and dance.
Old Glory still sings her song – even after all these years –
but how many of their widows – still shed mournful tears?
These soldiers in the background – watch their time grow near,
just memories from yesterday – through the looking-glass they peer.
Fireworks light up the sky – our great country’s anthem plays,
speeches are still made – on this, Memorial Day.
Another granite monument – erected in a park,
another wretched memory – awaits him in the dark.
Another name in stone – another battle scar,
another wooden box – beneath our stripes, our stars.
With justice for all – we hear ourselves say,
just a forgotten oath – by end of day.
These are the men – who died, who fought,
for these freedoms – that we’ve got.
Names come back on dog-tags – nobody wears anymore,
a battle fought across the foam – there on a distant shore.
These men are lost – like fading light,
forgotten heroes disappearing – into approaching light.

I will not forget everything you do to keep me, my friends, my family, and my country safe.

Thank you.


Ever So Helpful…

My daughter, now pushing three years old, decided to help us out today with the chores. She’s inherently helpful – when she wants to be. This is fantastic – most of the time. Yesterday, she helped stack wood into the pile from a tree we cut down from our yard.
I wasn’t fond of the fact that it was literally up against the garage. And it only took about three or four years for it to be taller than the house. What is it? No clue. Pain in the ass. There are several of the same type of tree-weeds in my yard. Seriously, they keep popping up all over the place in my yard – through the fence, against the garage – and the house. And they all need to come down. More than the ginormous cottonwood tree that causes my sinuses to throb and my eyes to burn for the better part of the summer.
Back to my original thought. She likes to help. She also helped when we got to my parents’ house, shoveling rock from a pile into a small lawn trailer hooked up to Mom’s yard man lawn mower.
Today, she was Daddy’s Little Helper. He filled up the sink full of hot water to take care of the dishes we hadn’t done since Friday – we made sesame chicken for my inlaws for dinner and took it up to their place so the kids could see Grandma and Grandpa.
I came out of the bedroom from folding laundry and saw this:
Daddy's Little Helper
Now… we’ve always kept a jar of quarters in the laundry room just for such occasions. But today when I went to look, it was empty. So I raided my husband’s piggy bank and pulled a handful out for our Little Helper Jar. She gets a quarter for yesterday – maybe even two, since she helped at home and at Grammy and Grampy’s – and another for today for rinsing the dishes. I love my girl. But wonder if I’ll ever be able to get my son – whom I love equally – to be a big helper again too.

Prompt Time!

Ever been shopping and wish you had your phone out and at the ready with the camera app on? Probably every WalMart employee feels this way on a daily basis.

I feel like there’s a prompt in here somewhere…


Write it up and post it to your blog, then put the link in the comments!

(I’ll even write something up if I can get through my WIP!)

Yup… Definitely Mine

I’ve come to learn over the past five and a half years (really more like about the past three and a half, since my son became a vocabulary whore) since my son came into this world, that both of my children have my warped sense of humor. Because I’m procrastinating on the yard-work this morning, I asked them what movie they wanted to watch.

They go over to the shelf and go straight for it. Their favorite movie. They consult with each other for a moment. Or more like a few seconds.

My son points to one and asks, “this one?”

My daughter (pushing three) says, “yeah!” and grabs it off the shelf and brings it to me to put in the player.

“What did you find?” I ask.

“Wobbin Hood Tights, Mama,” she informs me, showing me the case. Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Because of the two goofballs I gave birth to, my husband, his grandfather, and my own doing, I’ve probably seen the movie more times than I can count. Mostly, it gets put on as background noise for me, and as something I know my kids will sit through. It’s one of the few movies I can put in with faith, knowing they’ll be mostly quiet through it. There are precious few of these. Anything new, they’ll sit through without complaint. We took them to see Home a few weeks ago, and both sat, riveted. Croods? They might sit through that. Monsters vs Aliens? She might, but him not so much.

But if I put in Mel Brooks, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll sit through it. More with Men in Tights than with Spaceballs.

But they both sing along (or try to anyway) to the opening credits tune. My daughter will repeat some of the lines, my son can quote bits here and there too. One of these days, I’m going to have to go through and count the references to modern-day-compared-to-Robin-Hood’s-time society. Silly things like wearing Air Jordans and sunglasses. The “this is a movie-set” references. Abe Lincoln. The National Guard. Home Alone. The list goes on. And the fact that he has no qualms about picking on his own movies within his movies – “Why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles.”

But that’s my kids for ya. A little warped, a lot cute, mostly goofy, almost always loud.

When a Five-Year-Old Asks the Right Questions…

Last week, I went shopping. Nothing new there. At Menard’s. Also nothing new – I find more there that I want than just about anywhere else. (DSW Shoes and Winnick’s, a western supply store, not-withstanding as I love my boots.)

My son, inquisitive as he is, saw a man, probably about forty or so, in a wheelchair. Several feet behind him as we walked down the aisle, my son asked, “what’s that, Mama?” To which I responded with the appropriate answer – a wheelchair.


“Because not everyone can walk all the time.”


“Well, sometimes their legs don’t work anymore, or-”


“Maybe they broke their back, or they have weak muscles in their legs-”


“Well, it could be a car accident, or something like Muscular Dystrophy-”

“What about him?” (Points to the man in front of us)

“I don’t know. But one way to find out is to ask.” He takes off to ask, but I hold him back. I explained to him that it’s best to ask questions nicely, and that not everyone wants to talk about why something is different about themselves. By this time the man in front of us has heard our conversation and is turning around.

He smiled at us and waited for us to catch up to him, at which point he thanked me for having the conversation with my son about people with, what society labels as, disabilities.

My son, now even more curious because this guy was interested in talking to him (my son will talk your ear off inside thirty seconds if you’re lucky. Less if you’re not) asks, “why do you need a wheelchair?”

“Well when I was in the army,” and he told his tale. We’ll call him Nick. Nick served fifteen years in the army before he came back a paraplegic in 2004.

Now my mom is wondering where I’ve disappeared to (she came with and had my daughter with her) and waits patiently off to the side while my son finishes his conversation. He was disappointed when I told him we all had shopping to finish and we should let Nick get on his way. And then I told him he should thank the nice man.


“Well for starters, for taking the time to talk to you, and secondly for all the sacrifices he’s made to protect our freedoms.”

Little Mister summed it up with, “Thank you for talking to me and protecting me.”

And then Nick said something. It took me a moment to understand all the different levels and meanings of what he said. “Thank you for giving me something to fight for.”

At first, I was caught off guard. But then it dawned on me. My son, a boy who wasn’t even born when this man fought, was the future of our country. Nick fought for our country, for the future of it, for the safety of it, for the people of it, for the innocence and for all that it stands for.

If not for the children, the people, the future of our country, our legacies, what reason did he have to protect this place he calls home? The people around him are what make this place his home – and home is worth fighting for.

Prompted again…

The lovely and talented Sierra Kummings posted a few different prompts on her blog today and offered a challenge. Because I so love to procrastinate, I’m taking her up on that. Here are the results.


On her final descent, the sun dripped toward the Western horizon, turning the sky into a pallet of pinks and blues and purples. Clouds threatened to blot out the water-color image as we broke into a clearing. The water called to us. Home, was all I could think.

Henry had reservations, his steps faltering as I tugged him along with me, down the hill.

“Marlie, are you sure that’s where we belong?” He came to a stop behind me.

I turned back to him; I could feel my face flushing in the cool air, then the blush of excitement and anticipation tinting my cheeks.

“This isn’t our world, Henry.”

“But,” he hesitated. He looked up at the trees, the sky. “This world though. It feels so…”

“Ours is below the surface. Don’t you feel it pulling us? Hear it calling to us?”

Henry shook his head. “That can’t be right.”

My heart stopped. We were already too late. He’d been free of the water too long. He forgot who we were, what we were. I needed to act fast if I was going to save my love. With only minutes to spare, I grabbed his hand and pulled him down the hill with me to the dock.

The sun, just brushing the tree tops, was disappearing fast.

At a full run, I refused to let go of Henry’s hand. Just before the wood planks came to an abrupt stop, Henry’s hand jerked free. With too much momentum built up, I couldn’t stop. I was already flying through the air, arms stretched out to the side for a few seconds before I brought my hands together and sliced into the choppy water. Beneath the surface, I felt my legs fuse together, my tail propelling me through the cool, dark world we came from.

Oh how I’d missed that feeling, that feeling of belonging to the place I was. I would have kept going, the other world nearly forgotten already, but something stopped me. My heart let me go no further, pulled me back to the surface. I stayed where I was, for just seconds, before turning back to where I’d just come from.

His hair, normally a golden blond, turned to a fiery shade of red in the disappearing light. He stood there, jaw slack, at the end of the dock. Terror filled his eyes as he stared at me.

“Henry, you have to trust me. I know it’s been a long time, but this is where you belong. You don’t belong up there. We belong down here. We’re merfolk.” The sun, half hidden now, sent me into panic mode. “Henry, please. Jump in. You’ll die if you don’t.”

Strong hands wrapped around my tail and pulled me under, but I fought free and surfaced again. “Henry!”

He jumped when I screamed his name.

I grabbed his ankle, the only thing I could reach. “It’s happening, Henry. Now! You need to jump in.” Hands tried to drag me down, but I held on. Without Henry, life below the surface was no life at all. I would rather die with him than live without him.

A tear dripped from his lashes and slid down his cheek, glistening in that last ray of sunlight.

“I’m sorry.” His voice, barely a whisper in the roar of the wind as the freeze overtook him.

“Henry!” I sobbed as his form turned to ice. Another pull from below, but it was too late; everything above the surface was already frozen.

We stayed that way. For one hundred years, I held on to my love, part above the water, part below. Through the birth of our children, I survived, half frozen, half alive.

When dawn finally broke again, the ice began to melt, and the world above turned green again. I’d held enough life in me below the surface that I survived above the surface too.

But my poor Henry. Turned into petrified wood, he was destined to remain dead in our world and the world he’d so stubbornly refused to leave.

As I slipped beneath the surface, I wept. Our children would never know their father. Our children!

The twins, Trista and Ewan, waited with my sister. She’d made it back with her love, and together, they’d raised my children as their own. I embraced my children, both so much of their father in their appearance.

“How you survived is beyond my doing.” Clarice, the queen, adjusted her crown as she spoke. “You risked your life for his.”

“Live with him. Or die without. There was no other choice.”

Neighbors… *Sigh* Something of a Rant

Yeah, we’ve all got them. Some of them, we love. Others… not so much. Last night, we got to know the newest installment to the neighborhood a little better. A young couple, boyfriend/girlfriend, bought the house across the street from us about a year and a half ago. It was a big-time fixer-upper, and as a result, we haven’t gotten much of a chance to get to know them.

Anyway, we hosted a game night last night, and invited them over. They seemed right  up our alley – they have a bobcat sitting in their yard next to the garage, nothing but pickup trucks in the driveway, and he’s a mechanic/landscaper, she mostly does landscaping. They’re as redneck as us. (More so, we found out last night, but that’s okay too!)

We discovered they met at the rodeo, (someone to go riding with! She has three horses,) she just graduated from college in December, and so many other things about them. And we also discovered there is a common neighborhood enemy. As in 70% of the families on our street, plus someone from the street behind them too. This particular couple complains about nearly everything, and continually tries to tell everyone else in the neighborhood how they should be living.

I don’t understand why there is the need for people to impress upon others their own world views as the only “right” world view. There is no “one right way” to walk through this world – unless that is with kindness and compassion for those around you. This world is not about just one person. It does not revolve around any one person. We must learn to live together and respect each others’ differences, cultures and ways of life without forcing everyone else to conform to our own beliefs.

Our differences are what make this world such a beautiful, diverse place to exist. Let’s learn about them instead of being offended by differences we don’t understand because we never stopped to ask questions about them. One example would be when my son asked what a wheelchair was when he saw a man in one when we were out shopping. I explained to him that not everyone can walk. My ever-inquisitive 5-year-old wasn’t okay with that short answer, but that story is for a different post.

The point is… just be nice and respectful to others; you might even find yourself having a more positive attitude.

All Fed Up…

This also came to me in the form of an assignment, but will make a wonderful prompt as well. Mary was fed up with Bob and… My assignment was to write something with that as the opening line. This was as much of a venting session as it was a work of creative writing…

Mary was fed up with Bob and… Just… and. She couldn’t quite figure out what the ‘and’ part of it was yet, but when she did, things were going to change. The incessant thumping from his room at all hours of the night from the hard rock and techno he preferred kept everyone else in the house up, despite the constant complaints. The midnight snack he was prone to was more like a meal, and every morning when she got up to get ready for the day, there was another sink-load of dishes to be cleaned even though the sink and drying rack were both empty the night before. He was a straight A college student, and he was busy with homework eighty percent of the time when he was home. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t do the darn dishes every now and then.

She picked up one of the offending dishes, still perched precariously on the edge of the black granite counter before someone – most likely the cat – knocked it on the floor and broke it. She stared in disbelief. Something had been melted to the plate. He didn’t even have the decency to put it in the sink and soak it? GRRRRR! Enough was enough. Her nose twitched, her lip curled up as she rummaged through the storage closet and dug out one of those old child safety latches, the ones that look like an octopus with it’s little zip-tie-like straps that caused the need for ten thumbs plus an extra hand to operate correctly, and put it on the first pair of cupboard doors. She gave a light tug to one of the doors and to her delight, it didn’t budge an inch.

“Morning, Ma,” he said, going directly to her to start his morning the way he started every morning. He scratched his ribs through the plain white t-shirt he wore, yawning immensely, causing his eyes to pinch shut as he walked.

“Good morning,” she replied cheerily, sipping on her own steaming mug of coffee while she read the newspaper at the kitchen table. He kissed the top of her head, then did a one-eighty to open the glass door that housed the coffee mugs, stopping abruptly, digging his fingernails into his scalp through his brown hair. Glancing about the kitchen, he noted the line of safety latches guarding the contents of the cabinets. Bob took a few steps back and leaned his butt against the table next to his mother and reached for her mug to steal a gulp while he pondered the mechanics of the contraption keeping him from his morning brew. She read her son quicker than a lightening strike though, and dropped her hand possessively over the top of her mug, drawing it in closer. He sighed, rolled his gray eyes, made a face behind her back and turned back to the cupboard.

“So do we have a poltergeist or something?” he teased, reaching up to try and make a go of the latch.

“Mmhm. He likes to eat our food and leaves piles of dishes to be washed by someone who got no enjoyment out of the meal what-so-ever,” she said. He made a noise, his concentration on the stubborn latch. He hadn’t heard a word she’d just said. Bob shook his head while he tried to contort his hands to get the latch to release.

“Ma, can you get this thing open? Please?”

“What? You mean the engineer can’t get a simple latch to open?” Mary asked, finally turning to him, one dark brow raised over a set of blue eyes.

“Ma! I need my morning brew,” he said, “and I can’t get this stupid thing open.”

She couldn’t keep the vindictive smile hidden any longer, so she let it take over, a dimple flashing to life on her right cheek.


My Muse has Misplaced his Marbles…

Has your muse ever… gone off the deep end? Gone somewhere he (or she) wouldn’t normally go? Mine has now done this a couple of times. The first was during my very first NaNo last November. Damn dragon plunked his scaly little ass down right between me and my sexy cowboy, then took over the conversation. He made me start writing fantasy. No biggie, really, as dragons are my favorite part of the genre.

But then last night happened. I was cruising along and a song came on. My muse turned a simple, sweet phrase into something creepy. And then made it erotic. Oh yes. My muse thought, while we listened to Roy Orbison’s Dream Baby, (yes, I love oldies. I grew up listening to them with my dad, but that’s for a different post.) “boy. Sweet dream, Baby would be really creepy if it came from the wrong person.”

And then I, for all practical purposes, blacked out. When the next song on my playlist came on, I’d written about 300 words. That’s a two and a half minute song. I know I don’t type that fast. I run closer to about 70 words per minute – when I’m on a roll.

I’m traditionally a romance-mystery-erotica-and-apparently-fantasy writer. So why did my muse throw a “creeper” in there last night, right in the middle of a WIP? In case you’re wondering, here’s the piece. I can’t quite call it a horror – though clowns are creepier than hell to me, which is a perfectly legitimate reason to have never read or seen Stephen King’s It. And why I called it a “creeper.” (I suppose fetish could work for this.) So. Without further ado, here is the piece that has ruined Roy Orbison for life. And I can’t quite categorize it either.

Roy Orbison crooned through the crappy speakers in the concrete room in a continuous loop. I remember that. I remember that as much as I remember the clown smiling down at me. But he wasn’t a clown. He wore the face of a clown. And not much else.

His eyes betrayed him; a glint of crazy in them as they snaked over my naked form. His laugh screeched in my ears.

His hands — hard, like the metal table I lay on, cold, like the frigid room that entombed me. They grazed against me, gentle as a lover’s caress. He brushed my damp hair from my face.

Frozen in place, I couldn’t move. Not even for the futile attempt at avoiding contact when his knuckles skimmed across my nipple. Open palms stroked the hard peaks atop my ample breasts.

Cold. His hands were so cold. My skin pimpled as chills swept over me. My eyes stared straight ahead, unseeing.

Another cackle. I flinched at the sound, a reflex I couldn’t control any more than the pool of heat between my legs.

His breath was hot, blistering like sunburn; sweat beaded on my chilled skin. His tongue blazed a trail from my navel and up between my breasts, tickling me. The stubble at his chin was sharp like the razor he’d scratched across the sensitive skin around my cooch. Strong, confident hands massaged me. The very essence of my being dripped from between my folds.

I trembled, as much as my restraints would allow. With my arms stretched tight above my head, my shoulders ached as much as the throbbing need for him to take me to the edge and let me fall.

Instead, he pulled his cock out of his boxers – the only thing he wore – and jerked his limp dick to life one tug at a time. Sounds of glee, like an excited toddler, echoed off the walls inside my head, a sharp squeal of delight an exclamation point as he shot his hot cum over my prone body.

Something pressed against my throat. He didn’t say anything to me. Nothing at all. At least… not until he leaned over me and whispered in my ear. The last thing I remember seeing before my world faded to black was that bright red smile; his voice came out in a raspy whisper.

“Sweet dream, Baby.”