Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where I Write

writing space

Once upon a time, I lived with Helen, my grandmother.  She liked to tell stories, especially when we were gathered around the dining room table-her recollections of the past seeming to follow most often on the heels of coffee and cake, or a nice ham.  After she passed away, I was lucky to inherit not her dining room table, but her desk, where she’d often sat, writing letters or paying bills.  I like to think her spirit still resides in that desk, the ancient worn surfaces of wood and brass guiding my thoughts as I write my own stories.

On my laptop

I think my grandma would approve.



I’m linking up with my friend Melissa, today-writing about the place where I write.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Trifecta: Love, and Loss

With a sigh she sits down at last, in his chair, covered in a plaid that doesn’t go with anything else in their living room.  The chair that despite her protests he insisted on getting-and she insisted on nicknaming Sore Thumb.  She is bone-weary, but  proud of herself.  She has survived another day without him.

She holds his letters with timorous hands, reminding herself each time her eyes trace the handwritten pages that she mustn’t cry and smudge the ink. But as words on paper throw wide the door to anguish, tears slide down her cheeks.

Wrapping her arms around herself, she slouches her body into the comforting softness of the plaid that never will match anything in their living room.  A sore thumb.  A constant reminder of him.  She is glad.


This week's word prompt is:

1: a usually swinging or sliding barrier by which an entry is closed and opened; also : a similar part of a piece of furniture
2: doorway
3: a means of access or participation : opportunity <opens new doors> <door to success>

It Must Be Monday!


Oh Dolores!  What a fun mannequin you are!  You painted your toenails!  I won’t need painted toenails when I wear my new shoes!


Aren’t they cute?  They have roses and mermaids on them and they remind me of tattoos! I found them after I looked for shoes just like my friend Renae has.  (Hers are really cute too!)


What’s the matter now?  Are you pouting, or is the sun in your eyes?  You’re pouting?  But the shoes are mine-and I don’t think they’d fit you.  Besides, you have the blue anchor shoes.  And while we’re on the subject of your wardrobe, it’s good to see you back in your sailor dress again.



tattoo fabric

And Dolores, I just made this bag!  It has palm trees on the outside, and a tattoo print lining on the inside-and genuine bamboo handles and vintage buttons!  Will you model it for me?



I’ll even give you a tattoo if you cooperate!   I just got a brand new set of felt tip markers!


Oh Dolores.  You really should learn how to play poker.  You’d be a natural…

Friday, April 26, 2013

Love, Kona




Happy Friday, dear readers!

Here’s wishing you green grass and dandelions, blue skies and warm lakes, and your favorite tennis ball…

Have a good weekend! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wayward Wind

Thirty-seven years

37 years, since she’d said I do, and folded herself up and put herself away along with her wedding dress and veil. 37 years of making beds, and doing dishes.  Cooking oatmeal and darning socks. 

And now, as she was about to hang out the laundry, she was mulling over Marvin's words.  What he’d said at breakfast while raising his coffee cup to her in a mock toast.

“Emma,  after all this time, you’re still as dependable as a Maytag washer!”

He’d said it after taking a swig of the Folgers she’d poured for him.  Snorted in amusement at his own wit.  She was so mad she’d wanted to spit in his mug.

Emma looked across the length of empty clothes line, and then at the basket piled high with wet clothes.  The poles at either end of the line were already sagging, as though the mere thought of the weight of all that washing was too much to bear.  She knew the feeling.


A dictionary full of words and that was the best he could do. It was the best he could do because he didn’t really know her.  Not the way she’d hoped, 37 years ago, that he would want to know her.

A quickening breeze whispered through her hair.  Tickled her legs and flipped up the hem of her dress. Took her by the heart and lead her into an ecstasy that dared her to remember-to remember when she was young. 

Thirty-seven years is a long time to be married.  Longer when the person you are married to doesn’t know you at all. Doesn’t know that memories of what might have been and longings for what could be, blow in on a wayward wind. 


The wayward wind is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And she was born the next of kin
The next of kin to the wayward wind


This piece was inspired by one of my favorite Patsy Cline songs, and this week’s Trifecta prompt.

ECSTASY (noun)


a : a state of being beyond reason and self-control

b archaic : swoon


: a state of overwhelming emotion; especially : rapturous delight


: trance; especially : a mystic or prophetic trance


Photo credit here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not the Same Old Same Old


I have to confess that the flavor of my town seems a little bland at times.  It’s not that I don’t like where I live-it’s just that I’m used to where I live.  So imagine my delight this weekend when I was presented with a refreshingly unusual entrée of discoveries.

Friday afternoon we took Kona and Willow to one of our most frequently visited trails, and this little garter snake was literally hiding in plain view.  Lethargic from the cold, he was not in any hurry to vacate the patch of sun he’d found and scurry away.  Garter snakes are a common species but I still find it thrilling to see one.  In addition, they don’t often put themselves on display like this to allow for such close observation. 



I spotted this cow in a pasture as we were en route to the trail.  I wish I’d gotten a picture that more accurately put these three animals into better perspective-but the Holstein is huge!!  At least a foot taller at the shoulders than the other two!  I’ve seen many a cow in my day, but never one this big…



It’s not my intent to ridicule this fellow, bless him-but the waistband of his pants was just above his knees!  The expression “gravity defying” comes to mind…Thanks for the giggle, kind sir!



I struck gold at Goodwill-or silver, I should say.  I found this vintage silver plate palm frond napkin holder for $5.99.  When I searched online to learn more about it, I found one just like it that recently sold for $47!  I really feel like a pirate now!



And my favorite discovery?  That the first stalks of rhubarb were ready for harvest!  Amy and I picked enough for a rhubarb crisp, and the rest, as they say, was delicious history!

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend, and that you have a wonderful week too!

Friday, April 19, 2013



One ticket back to the 20th century.

Being transferred to the new millennium was supposed to be a promotion, but now that I’m here, I’m lost.

I need to register a complaint.

Who’s in charge?



This weekend Trifextra is asking for exactly 33 of your own words plus the following three words:

  • charge
  • century
  • lost

So 33 of yours plus 3 of ours means that everyone will have a 36 word response this time around.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Write at the Merge: Till We Part

As star crossed dreams of a Veronese garden wedding wilt away, she mourns, tears glittering her cheeks.

He's crept over to her with such quietude she doesn’t notice him by her side until his voice teases her from her sorrow. “Juliet, I’ve got a surprise for you.” He holds out his hands, revealing several packets of flower seeds and a cake mix.

“I don’t think we should put off getting married just because of a silly old family feud, do you?” 

Her eyes travel from the gifts he’s brought her, to his eyes, where they settle, full of questions.  He makes his case.

“We already have everything we need-each other.  But for the sake of tradition, I got you flowers and a cake, too. They’re sort of implied, for now, but I’m optimistic about our future.  What do you say?”

Glitter turns to diamond.

“I do, Romeo.”  

writing prompt

My inspiration this week was this prompt:

“It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.”

The quotation is from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Plundered! (Or should I say thrifted?)


I found this huge vintage chiffon beach cover-up at Goodwill for just under 2 pieces of eight. ($1.99)  The colors and graphics are so luscious I wish I could walk among those palm trees and wiggle my toes in that sand  I’m not planning to swim any time soon, so for now, instead of draping this beauty across my prow, I’ll drape it where I can admire it-like across the back of my sofa.



These cowrie napkin rings were a lucky find indeed! As they are made from genuine shells, each one is unique. Do pirates use napkins?  Probably not.  But I do.  This set of eight cost just under 3 pieces of eight!  Yo, ho, ho!



When we visited the Oregon Coast a few weeks ago, I tried to reread this book on my computer.  Now there are some things you just don’t do-like drink Dom Perignon from a plastic cup-and reading a digital version of Treasure Island falls into that same category.  When we got home, I hunted the seven seas (ahem, the internet) until I found this suitably old copy complete with palm trees on the cover.  I love this book!  When Robert Louis Stevenson penned his classic in 1883 he included much of the quintessential pirate speak we know today-and  I only had to surrender five pieces of eight (plus a small fee to have it delivered to my port) to make it mine.

Until next time-I wish you some happy plundering of your own!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Helping Out

Bark Cloth Hobo Bag- Vintage Floral Barkcloth

I just wanted to announce that I’m donating the purchase price of this bag to the Salvation Army to help them in their effort to aid victims of yesterday’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon.  You can read more about this bag here.  Like a different bag? The offer stands.  For the next bag I sell, I’ll  make a $50 donation. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shall We Dance?

His crossed arms answered her before he spoke.  Already she knew that whatever his verdict, once rendered it would be as inflexible as hardened cement.

She’d posed the question five minutes earlier.  It had to be asked.  The wedding was less than a month away.

“Should we call the whole thing off?”

He frowned.  Deep creases formed above his brow, and his demeanor suggested a teacher on the brink of patience exhausted, trying to enlighten an imbecile.

“Unless you’re willing to come around to my way of thinking,  I don’t see any other course of action.

She appraised his appearance-the crisp crease in his wool gabardine trousers, the precisely folded square of silk in his breast pocket and his flawlessly shined shoes.  A paradox of her own wrinkled rayon frock and haphazardly upswept hair that threatened to escape from its pins.

His arms were still crossed.  A barricade to compromise that exposed the lower edges of his shirt sleeves, and she noted his cuff links.  Not the simple brass monogrammed fasteners she’d given him, but the smart gold and mother of pearl cuff links he’d purchased for himself. 

There was nothing sentimental about cement.

She violently stamped her foot, loosening a brown sugar strand from the nest atop her head.

“Now Ginger!  Control yourself!”


Her face wore the color of conviction as she turned to leave the room-and him.



You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto,
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!

-Fred Astaire

On to the one-word weekly challenge where we ask for a 33-333 word response to the third definition of a given word.  If you need a refresher, click here for more information on how to play.  Be sure to check that you've used the correct definition this week!

color (noun)
1a : a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects
  b (1) : the aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources

     (2) : a color other than and as contrasted with black, white, or gray
2a : an outward often deceptive show : appearance <his story has the color of truth>
  b : a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office
  c : a pretense offered as justification : pretext <she could have drawn from the Versailles treaty the color of legality for any action she chose — Yale Review>
  d : an appearance of authenticity : plausibility <lending color to this notion>
3: complexion tint:

a : the tint characteristic of good health

b : blush

Photo credit here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Field Day

File:Egg-and-Spoon Race (Barratt's Photo Press).jpg

Hard boiled eggs. 

Ladles instead of spoons. 

Short grass, and an Olympian’s feet.

If only victory was won so easily.

It’s not a given that I hit the wire first.

But I might.




Trifecxtra's challenge asks for exactly 33 of your own words inspired by the following quote from the book you could win in the WBN giveaway. Good luck!

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ― Paulo Coelho, Alchemist

File:Egg-and-Spoon Race (Barratt's Photo Press).jpg

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Did It!


I submitted my story!!  And the possibility that I might soon be a genuine published writer is so exciting I can barely sit still while I type this!

It seems like it was only yesterday that I started this blog.  My goal was to create a platform where I could promote my Etsy shop.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  Never in a million years did I imagine I would discover a love of writing, and that I’d try to take that love to higher places.

Win or lose, I’ve taken a chance-something I’d never have done without the encouragement of all of you.  And that, in itself is an accomplishment.

Thank you-each and every one of you!  

Valerie  xx

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Write at the Merge: Desert Solitaire


At some point, in other centuries, dunes of sand, and sands of time have erased what was, leaving what remains. A shadow.  A shell.  A memory.

For this reason, she likes to come here, finding beauty in the abandoned. The forgotten. The lost.  It takes a special person to appreciate such beauty, and she likes to think she is a special person.

The grains of sand must number in the millions.  Even billions.  And in this potential, she finds hope.  Out there, in the world that has wounded her with indifference, the number of souls must also number in the millions, or billions. And maybe-among those millions and billions-there is one person, who just might realize that she is special too.



I wrote this piece for this week’s Write on Edge prompt inspired by the photo and also the words abandoned beauty.  I’ve been working like crazy to finish my short story for consideration in the next volume of Precipice-and I’m almost finished!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mistaken Identity

If she didn’t, in the next five minutes, choose a cardigan, find her keys and lock the four sturdy deadbolts on her front door, miss Marian Jewel  would never arrive at the restaurant by six, and tardiness was not in keeping with her character. It might be argued that on such a warm evening a cardigan was unnecessary. It might also be argued that the locks on her door were excessive.  But by all outward appearances, Marian preferred to err on the side of caution.

Considering her outfit-slim brown skirt and white blouse-she decided to wear her tan sweater.  Such a sensible color. Penny loafers and hair neatly tied back from her face, with just the tiniest bit of Vaseline, dabbed on her lips, and Marian was ready to meet her friends.

Once hellos and hugs had been exchanged, Marian took her seat at the table, ordered a glass of milk, and waited for the inevitable barrage of advice.  She was, after all, the only one among them who still hadn’t accessorized herself with a man.  Less plaid and more leg. Fitted sweaters and black eyeliner, perhaps.  And  lipstick. Definitely some nice red lipstick.   They were only offering their two cents for her own good, they soothed.

At eight, Marian looked at her watch and noted the lateness of the hour. Bidding everyone good night, she walked back to her apartment, her cardigan sweater slung over one shoulder.

Marian was careful as she lifted the sizeable box down from her bedroom closet shelf and carried it over to her bed.  Setting the lid aside, she felt a familiar alchemy come over her as she gazed at the contents nestled within the walls of brown cardboard. One piece black suit that fit like a second skin.  Black duffle bag.  Grappling hook. The slim gold tube of Germaine Monteil.

Her friends were right about one thing, Marian conceded, as she roared into the night on her black Vespa. 

Red lipstick suited her.



For this week's Trifecta challenge: I wrote this story almost a year ago, but I was never completely satisfied with it.  I dusted it off today, and with a little editing alchemy transformed it into a most suitable submission.

ALCHEMY (noun)

1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life

2: a power or process of transforming something common into something special

3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If you know your post does not meet the requirements of the challenge, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finding Flawless


Landed on the beach, like travelers after some mysterious journey. 

Broken pieces, tumbled smooth by sand and tides.

Treasures at my feet.

Much more estimable than the whole.

True virtue lies in imperfection.


This piece was inspired by a handful of Florida seashells  They aren’t perfect, but then neither are any of us-and that’s where the beauty lies in each of them-and us.

On to the weekend Trifextra challenge.  We want you to give us thirty-three words of advice.  Your advice can be to anyone or about anything.  We only ask that you make it uniquely yours.  If you have time to kill, you can easily get lost in the advice of others here

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Work in Progress Report


This time of year, I realize that my garden is still a work in progress.  As I photographed barely emerging perennials this morning, I could envision the potential-but winter still has my garden in it’s chilly clutches.  Just a few short weeks from now, though, the picture will be very different.  Big, beautiful plants-lush and green and blooming their little hearts out.  Rightfully ready to be  “put on display” so to speak, and admired and enjoyed by all who happen to see it.

And so it is with my writing.  I’ve decided to do something I’ve only pretended was possible before, and that is to try to get published.  My wonderful writer’s group Write on Edge, is putting together an anthology of work written by its members, and my goal is to be included in it. I have a story sketched out, and my rough draft is done, but it’s still, none the less, a work in progress. Not ready.  I’m at the point where I just need to buckle down, and put the time it will take into finishing it. 

Because I really want to do this.

So please, dear readers, forgive me if I seem, over the next week or so, to neglect all of your wonderful blogs a bit. The deadline for submission is not until April 30th-but I don’t want to wait until the last minute.


Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.  The concept that good things take time doesn’t seem to be an issue for my rhubarb.  Since I photographed it last Sunday, it’s tripled in size!!   

I’ll be in touch!

Valerie xx

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Write at the Merge: The Prop


All Edna Wilton had ever wanted to do was go somewhere.  Anywhere.  Feel the suns of distant cities bronze her skin.  She made plans. Visited travel agents and acquired brochures, charting courses between home and the exotic locations laid out on glossy pages.  She even collected a shelf's worth of foreign language books, learning how to ask for coffee in a dozen different tongues.  And all the while, after seeing friends off on their adventures, Edna stayed behind, watching cats and watering plants.

Those plans of hers.  For one reason or another, fate never seemed to be on Edna’s side. Too little money, not enough time.  Conflicts of schedule, and interest.   She finally gave up, waving a white flag of defeat, while unfairly, everyone else she knew seemed to be waving goodbye.

When, by chance, Edna saw the ship’s propeller, she knew she had to have it.  Salvaged off of an ancient, well traveled freighter, and now resting heavily in the dirt, just inside the chain linked boundary of a junk yard fence, the cost to have the massive fan-like piece of steel and aluminum alloy delivered and deposited in her back garden was about equal to what she’d paid for it.  But then again.  No price was too high for so tangible an artifact that represented every sea Edna hoped to sail, every shore she’d ever pictured herself setting foot upon.


Edna likes to sit beside her propeller, and touch the blades. Imagining the possibilities, when hardened metal and salt water come together.  It’s the stuff of dreams.



writing prompt

Phonaesthetics — the pleasantness or unpleasantness of words without concern for the meaning. This week, one of your offerings is the phrase “cellar door”. “Cellar door” is considered a perfectly euphonic phrase, some say the most beautiful in the English language.

And, propeller.

image courtesy of Thor Carlson (via Flickr Creative Commons)

Image courtesy of Thor Carlson (via Flickr Creative Commons)

So “cellar door” and a propeller… use either or both to craft your piece. Happy writing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Foul Weather

Hunched over in her chair, eyes down, the curved handle of her cane within easy reach, Minnie prepares to shield herself against the shards of a shattered friendship. 

Millie’s face is like a strawberry.  Ruby red.  Ripe with anger.  Her quiet demeanor turns hurricane-and in its wake, $2000 worth of bills, and 60 years of amiable acquaintance rain down around the palm of Minnie’s outstretched hand.  A rainbow colored storm.

Minnie is stunned.  She’d only demanded what was owed to her. She finds that the novelty in owning a hotel on Boardwalk is gone.



This week's Trifecta one-word prompt is inspired by the recent arrival of the Hong Kong monsoons and the start of April in general.
rain (transitive verb)
1: to pour down
2: to give or administer abundantly <rained blows on his head>

3: to take a lot of money in bill form and toss it up in the air. This is most effectively done at a strip club for the effect of raining one dollar bills on the dancers (and it makes them feel so pretty), or to snub a hater by throwing money into their face that then falls to the floor like rain (use this when paying a debt to a punk bitch who keeps asking for their money to the point that they are ruining your friendship or when dumping someone who has been bankrolling you for a while now that you're making money).

Monday, April 1, 2013

I’m Just an April Fool…


For red tulips…

This past weekend, the weather here was gorgeous!  Not too hot, and most definitely not cold.  Stuart and I raked winter’s insulating blanket of dead leaves off the flower beds, and these tulips were eagerly waiting to show themselves.  When we bought our house almost 7 years ago, the yard was a complete wreck-in fact there really wasn’t any yard or gardens left after the previous owner used the property as a parking lot.  But these red tulips came up the first spring we were here, encouraging us to not lose hope that one day all would be beautiful again!


For useful gadgets…

Friday, Paula and I made a quick dash to our usual thrift stores, and I bought this hand rake at Goodwill.  I’ve wanted to try a hand rake for a while now, for removing leaves from around plants that are delicate and break easily. I’ve seen expensive models, but I was hesitant to make the purchase until I tried using one.  After this weekend, I can say without hesitation that I love it!  While it’s cheaply made-it only cost $1.50-so far it’s holding up well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a higher quality, more expensive one in the future.

hand rake


For vintage fruit themed kitchenware…

I also snagged this gigantic and colorful 16” enamelware tray at Goodwill!  I entered the housewares aisle, spied it, swooped in, grabbed it and exited the housewares aisle.  All in under a second. I was pretty pleased with myself.  When I showed my find to Paula, it left her speechless.  That’s a good thing, isn’t it?



For rhubarb…

I love rhubarb!  All three of my plants made it though winter again, and are coming up bigger than last year.  I have a bunch of new recipes to try out-thanks to my favorite new cookbook author, Nigella Lawson.  I’ll be experimenting, and sharing, too!



For my daughter…

Two peas in a pod. That’s what Amy’s first grade teacher said Amy and I reminded her of.  I’ve never forgotten that.  I found this perfect salt and pepper shaker set recently and fell in love with these two sweet peas and their darling little faces.  Just me and my girl!

peas in a pod


And for you, my readers…

Happy Spring!!