Friday, February 26, 2016

Personal Challenge #3 - Save The Queens

This is a work of fiction; anything resembling reality is a figment of your imagination.

Go Here to view image sources.

Three generations of them lived together in the old house in West Virginia, on it's nine acres. Old Ma'm, her brogue still thick and rich as a good stew, whose proper given name was Ivy. Old Ma'm's daughter, Rose, as beautiful as her name and sometimes as thorny. There was almost nine year old May, Rose's daughter; as lovely as a perfect spring morning, with a sunny nature that matched her name. Then there was young Tommy, a slim lad of twelve, he wasn't a Queen like them; there was a good deal of speculation amongst the people of the area about where he'd come from. Most thought he was an orphaned or abandoned child the women had taken in; some of the older folk whispered back and forth about changelings, Tommy being a bit odd in his ways. Still, there was no denying that he was devoted to the Queens and that they were devoted to him.

Peering through the branches, Tommy waved May forward with her lantern. "Careful now Maypop, something ain't right." They were looking for Mrs. McGuffin, the wayward hen who sought out the oddest, wildest places to hide her eggs and having more trouble than usual finding her. Tiptoeing ahead as best she could (the cowboy boots she'd coveted all winter had been an early birthday gift and they were still stiff) she followed Tommy's finger as he pointed at a lifeless Mrs. McGuffin. The snake which had taken the hen's life and, apparently, swallowed her eggs was curled up beside the feathery body; staring at them soundlessly... As the children watched a grey mist rose from the serpent's back and formed into an ugly, shadowy, little grey man. "Run Tommy" May whispered, "tell Old Ma'm and Mama there's a grey on our land!"

I'm going to be very, very bad and finish this tomorrow. Hope you'll forgive me. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So They Say

The power is going to go off tonight; yet another winter storm. Not a big deal: we just got another load of firewood in, we have propane for the emergency cooker, etc... plenty of food in the house, so we're set. After all, it's a sure bet that we will lose power sometime during the year, most especially in winter. Anyway, thought I'd publish a post whilst I could since it generally takes them some time to get the power back on.

Thought I'd share some photos from the busy day yesterday; the kidling and I stopped by the cemetery where Dad is buried and I took the opportunity to take a few snaps.

First dandelion of the season... good thing they're tough, it's likely frozen by now. Click on any photo to embiggen.

Assorted headstones; the last is that of a Civil War veteran.

Last but not least: I don't generally like pranks but would li love to be able to do something like this when encountering people like the old gentleman who simply would not stop staring at me and whispering with his companions last night! Bwahaha!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Personal Challenge #3 + General

It's that time again... ooooo! 

To encourage myself to continue writing, to explore varied genres and emotional tones, I've decided to begin selecting disparate images every week. (Usually two, but sometimes more or less.) The goal is to concoct a short story which connects the images in some fashion and publish the tale on Friday; you are more than welcome to participate.

This time we have two images, first this:

And then this:

Hmmm, wonder what will result from these?? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. 

It was a busy weekend and is shaping up to be a busy week; among other things, my cheapskate tendencies came to the fore and I made a reclaimed wax (and jar) candle... with all my *ahem* high tech equipment.

Freshly poured:

And set:

After the fire is going well, I'll finish up the ham and dumplings for supper and prepare for spending part of the day out with the kidling. She is kindly driving me to the town where I spent a large part of my childhood, to take care of some business and to visit my father's grave. Hope your day is a good one.

Viennese busker covering 'Stairway to Heaven'.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Personal Challenge #2 Ohinniyan (Always)

This is a work of fiction; anything resembling reality is a figment of your imagination.

Having said that, some words will be in the Lakota -Sioux- language and the English translation will be in parentheses. In order to cut down on confusion, I will arrange Lakota words in the same way they are arranged in English. To see image sources, etc... you can click --> Here.

"Shic'eshi!" (what a woman calls a male cousin) she called, jiggling her fussing baby gently. She watched him approach, her eyes still bright despite her troubles, and he carefully took the little one from her before kissing her on the forehead. " Hau hankashi, hepela!" (Hello female cousin, happy to see you!) Turning back the blanket, Bernard greeted the now-quiet child: "Hau thanhanshi!" (Hello male cousin... from one male to another.) Giggling, Dosi... whose full given name was Theodosia... exclaimed "iyokiphi!" (he is pleased) this is the first time he's been quiet since we got to the airport! Was it a long flight, cousin? Did you have trouble changing planes at Minneapolis? Have you eaten?" "Your Ina (mother) could learn a lesson from you, little cousin, but once a magpie always a magpie." Winking, he handed Dosi's son back to her and picked up his bags; following her out to her old clunker of a car. 

From the corner of his eye, Bernard inspected his beloved cousin, noting the changes in her: thinner, hair cut short, sad eyes, and murmured " chante shice, hankashi". (I'm sorry/sad, female cousin.) "Don't do that Bernard!" Sighing, she said, "Just English right now, okay, otherwise I'll cry again. Michael is gone from this earth and my tears can't bring him back." Nodding, he touched her shoulder a moment, then looked out the window at Aberdeen . . . (Aberdeen, South Dakota that is.)

"Was Unci (grandmother) right? Are you moving back home?Will you still do the presentation dance, Bernard? Please? I made you a new roach." (A roach is a head piece made with quills, you can see one in the last photo.) "Aw Dosi, you didn't have to do that, but thank you; did you choose a name for your son?" Shaking her head, she glanced at him and smiled, "Nope, that was always going to be your job, remember? I make the babies and you name 'em. Oh and before I forget, Bobby TwoHawks will be at the dance, his Ina said."

"Oh really..." he drawled. "Yeah really and don't even pretend to be snotty; he's been a big help to me, buying diapers and formula for the baby." Laying his head back, eyes closed, he pretended to fall asleep; memories of Bobby and possible names for the baby playing through his head until the car stopped and Dosi shook him lightly. "We're back in the big town now; Bullhead, South Dakota... musta been named after you, cousin." Stretching and yawning, he stepped out of the car, popped his back, then turned around for his bags while Dosi got the baby from the car seat. 

A long arm stretched past him to take one of the bags; turning, he found himself nearly nose to nose with a freckled face and familiar hazel eyes.  "Hau khola,  (Hello, male friend to male friend; indicating a special bond.) welcome back to the rez, I've missed you ... Are you back at Standing Rock (Standing Rock reservation) for good this time?" Laying his hand on his friend's shoulder, looking between Bobby and Dosi, he said one word, "Ohinniyan" (always) before leading the way to his Unci's door.

Three days later: dancing with his young cousin in his arms he glanced up to see the three of them together; grandmother, cousin and friend all watching him. 'Perhaps', he thought, 'Bobby and I can be more than friends?' then turned his attention back to the dance. Stopping before the elders he held his young cousin out and spoke aloud, for the first time, the name he'd chosen to honour both of the infant's parents: "This is Micah Theodore ManyHorses."

(Thanks for the good thoughts everyone, the tremors are better and my shoulder isn't hopping up and down anymore. Who knew that orange soda would contain caffeine???)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Until Tomorrow

That's how long I'm putting off posting my story... The tremors have been particularly pernicious for a couple of days; pushing a share or like button is do-able, but extended typing is not. Still, have figured out what's causing it and all should be rectified in a few hours. In the meantime, wouldn't life be lovely if we could adopt her philosophy?

Methinks this is a good time to re-post this video about Essential Tremor: (By the by, not shilling for donations by posting this video, just showing what it can be like.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Snow Daze

You'd think, dependent as we Americans are on the automobile, we'd be good drivers, yes? Nay, not so. This video shows the result of 3 inches, 7.62 centimetres, of snow on a major interstate. The 50 vehicle smash happened next to the family farm . . . this is not my video however; we knew better than to be on the roads after seeing this: (Scroll down for vid.)

Is it unreasonably cranky for me to suggest that too many drivers must have gotten their licence from a Cracker Jack box? Or that remedial driving school should be considered?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Personal Challenge #2

To encourage myself to continue writing, to explore varied genres and emotional tones, I've decided to begin selecting disparate images every week. (Usually two, but sometimes more or less.) The goal is to concoct a short story which connects the images in some fashion and publish the tale on Friday; you are more than welcome to participate. 

This time we have three images:

And a little music...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Abby

Abby loves her comfort, particularly in winter... food, a warm fire and before long she looks like this:

Belly up with a contented smile on her face; she doesn't care that she looks remarkably like a plucked chicken, nor should she. 

She, Buddha and Geraldo are curled up in their crates, cuddled up in or on their blankets. Lily isn't crated when we're sleeping since she is remarka fairly well-behaved and her big bark discourages unwelcome visitors. All visitors are unwelcome when we're trying to sleep. She and I have a certain routine this time of day: After I publish this post (or any other, actually) I sit on my stool in front of the fire and Lily sidles up beside me. She waits, more or less patiently, until I begin stroking her curly 'doodle head, sighs, lays her head on my knee, then slowly subsides to the floor.

It is a peaceful, contented moment for the both of us which melts me every time. May your weekend be as filled with contentment. Until Monday night, be well... The Cranky.

A longtime favourite:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Personal Challenge #1

As I'd posted earlier in the week, part of the reason for this blog is to challenge myself to both write more and to be more experimental in my writing. Go Here if you'd like to learn more and to discover the image sources, if you so desire. This and future stories are entirely fictional; this particular tale will be a short one... for me.

It had begun in the night, the insistent pounding in her ears; faint at first, barely enough to wake her but once wakened she couldn't return to sleep and didn't especially want to.

As dawn grew closer and the first, faint hint of light appeared on the horizon, Grandmother awoke as the sound of drums grew louder; the girl felt a faint tickling on the top of her head. Reaching up, she felt a faint and pleasant warmth, grasped it and brought it down to eye level, laughing as she beheld a small blue flame dancing in the palm of her hand. Replacing the flame, still smiling, she stood to help her wide-eyed Grandmother from bed. 

"This was my dress, in case I was called" whispered Grandmother, "wear it with joy and pride and don't forget what I told you of the old lord and his ways." Nodding, the lass slipped the white gown over her head, twirling as it's graceful folds slipped down her body and swirled around her ankles as if it, too, were dancing. Stepping out the front door lightly, so lightly, she gazed up at the temple; the only thing of beauty left in this shrunken, destitute town, so much of it destroyed by the invaders who came two generations ago.

She walked the streets of the awakening town, gathering everything in with her eyes as the pounding resolved itself into music, people gathering at doorways and windows to watch her pass. They were awed, having heard  stories of the call of the old lord but not seen it with their own eyes. Only the oldest of them had and they knew to maintain the silence she'd imposed on herself. 

The stairs which led to the secret entrance to the temple were on her right and she turned toward them, her feet beginning a dance whose steps she had never known before. Throwing back her head, she laughed, so filled with joy that it felt as though she floated on air; heedless of the sharp stones which bit at her feet, she danced up the steps until she reached the top and the door which stood there. The music reached a crescendo, then fell silent as if awaiting her decision...

Throughout the town people gathered, silent and solemn, before proceeding up the ramp to the temple. The men trooped in while the women gathered outside the door; waiting outside as the priest's harsh god demanded.

As the sun began to set the priests, uneasy at the silent vigil the people maintained, tried to send them home but they stood still in silent refusal. Finally, as the last ray of light began to disappear behind the mountains, came a girlish laugh and the sight of blue flame-crowned black curls swirling around a slight frame... and she danced. The priests, stunned for a moment, were as silent as the townspeople before converging on the cursed female who had breached the sanctity of their violently acquired place of worship. Seeing this, the women of the town surged through the door; they and the men blocking the priests from reaching their girl.

Setting her foot on the air as if it were a step only she could see, music swelling until all could hear it, even the priests, she ascended; dancing as she went, before disappearing. On the floor laid a path; her dirty footprints beginning to gleam, golden, and the spots of blood from treading on sharp stones transformed into rubies.

Smiling, laughing and singing, the old lord's people returned to their homes as the priests attempted to wash (or gouge) the footprints from marble floors. Finding it impossible, they gave up; fearful, they began drifting out of the temple in ones and twos. Three days later the angry new god's priests had all left for their bleak land and the old lord's townspeople had returned to the temple, men and women both, to fill it with flowers, laughter and song as Grandmother led them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Meanwhile, In Michigan..

Children are dying or suffering permanent brain damage because Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, wanted to save 15% on the water bill. Whilst a government official wanting to save money is a wonderment to all, doing so at the cost of children's lives and futures is not on according to The Cranky. One would think that eliminating this crisis and beginning the support and care of the children (and their families) who have been affected by lead poisoning would be of the highest priority... nay, not so!

Instead, the head clown and his cohorts (Head Clown)

have opted to take on the immensely important issue of... wait for it... making anal and oral sex between consenting adults illegal. One wonders, but not too much, how they intend to catch perpetrators 'in on the act'. It bothers me not one whit if they prefer to get their jollies with strictly procreative sex. Why? Because it's none of my damn business. Besides which, the thought of spying on them causes moi to shudder. A lot. By the same token, what hairless bipedal creatures capable of giving informed consent (i.e.: adult humans who are reasonably intelligent and are conscious and able to speak) decide to do with their bodies is not the business of government. The end. And if some Nosy Parker tries to mess in my bedroom business and survives the horror of seeing me naked, I fully intend to chop off their nose (s). 

Take that Mrs. Grundy!

Links to more information:

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Personal Challenge

To encourage myself to continue writing, to explore varied genres and emotional tones, I've decided to begin selecting two disparate images every week. My goal is to concoct a short story which connects them in some fashion and to publish the tale on Friday. You are welcome to jump in if you so desire.

The images I'll be using this week:

After a brief span of slightly warmer weather February is up to it's old tricks, delivering ice, snow and cold temperatures to us. How very frabjous.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Must Go!

As a month, February is the dirty bum of the calendar and, despite it's real length of 28 (or in the case of this year, 29) days, it's apparent length is approximately eternity. February is the month, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere, in which days which begin like this

often end like this... or worse.

Even the most pleasant and placid of people get antsy whilst others get irritable; I myself become entirely irascible... Unfortunately, rather than quaking with a deeply satisfying fear, most folks tend to find my irascibility entertaining. This I find really quite disappointing, even dismaying.

January one expects to be a foul month and so one is prepared for it; March is busy rushing around roaring like a lion and gives us the Ides of March (the 15th) with it's history of assassination and sacrifice. We know to beware of March and it's false hints of spring. February? It promises sweetness and silliness with Valentine's Day and Leap Year but what it really delivers is overly commercial, saccharine and pretty much dull and boring.

I think I shall write my congressman and suggest he introduce a bill to rename February. Arse would be an appropriate substitute. Then I'll suggest we opt to wipe Arse from the calendar.

And now for some appropriately NSFW music sto 'borrowed' from Deborah, the bee seeker.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Time And Past Time for a Fresh Start

I've been talking about it intermittently for the last few months and decided there was no time like the present for doing it.

There's been no new emergencies; no one is stalking me and I haven't been upset or offended. It was just time... there are things to say and stories to write for which my prior blog wasn't the right venue and, quite frankly, I spend (more than) enough time online as is, so I couldn't be arsed trying to keep two blogs going. I'll miss Randomosity in some ways, but in others I won't. It changed over the last year or so as I tried to protect someone who is, understandably, quite fragile just now from the... hmmm... less happy happy, joy joy parts of myself. I find I need the shadow as much as the light to be whole and balanced; it's where much of my strength and passion comes from.

I'm still Jacqueline, but also the Cranky... although that name may change over the next few days, lol. 

It was also time to clear out the blogs I follow, many of which are now dead or with whom I seldom interact... it may be that I got carried away; if so, my apologies.

There will be more in coming days, until then I shall continue helping with the bathroom, which has grown into a bigger job than we realised 

(the centre bit is the old flooring)

and cooking.

(Pork with mixed mushrooms over noodles.)