I feel the clock has picked up speed. The tick-tock clamors for attention. I can’t believe there’s less than a week to go.

  • Packing is half-done
  • Airport limo hired for flight and return home
  • Two appointments outstanding for next week
  • Bills paid and up-to-date
  • New refill to be picked up Thursday at drugstore
  • Most groceries in fridge used up
  • Calcium tablets low, pick up new to do duration of trip
  • Notify newspaper to suspend delivery
  • Pickup money
  • Talk to bank about bank card and where it will be
  • Type instructions for Lady Gaga’s feeding schedule + list likes and dislikes
  • Pick up more kitty litter
  • Pick up ear plugs
  • Pack lots of chewing gum
  • Decide whether to bring boots for traipsing Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, etc.
  • Make a decision regarding internet usage away
  • Pack snacks. (Wish I could make popcorn in the rooms.)
  • Tidy dining-room table of all the crap that’s been collecting
  • Double check what I can pull out of my suitcase

Good thing I’m writing this post and making a list. I’m reminded of a few jobs I hadn’t thought of until now. Must keep a copy so I don’t forget to do these things.

Sometimes my brain slams to a full stop and leaves me blinking. It can’t compute and I wait for something ot come. Too much to think about. Thank goodness I’ve made lists (and sub-lists and sub-sub—I kid you not). At least I’ve had the presence of mind not to scribble on loose pieces of paper or on a notepad. I used a spiral note book (6” x 9”) for note-taking because it’s harder to misplace. I’ve a talent for losing things.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Note B to self:

Do not pack any jewelry.  What no earrings? I’ll feel naked without my baubles. I promise to pack only one or two cheap pair. Someone made the comment, “You don’t want anyone ripping your ears off when they grab your earrings, do you?” (Large is implied, I can tell.)

“No, but…” I have only one size: big. Maybe I’ll leave them behind. Maybe. We have a couple of formal dinners on the ship while on the Yangtze River for four days. I can’t dress up without some bling. I must pack a couple of pair, right?

By this time next week, I will have been en-route for about twelve hours, including a five-hour stop-over with miles and hours to go. With time changes, it’s still going to be a long day.

Note C to self:

Take a long afternoon nap Thursday afternoon. Must be awake at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning when airport transport arrives.

This is it guys and dolls. One more post and screen dark until my return. Will miss you like crazy. If I have time. No, I will miss you all. Cross my heart.

Stanley shook out the newspaper at the breakfast table Saturday. Lori opened her mouth and closed it. She squinted at her husband for a second and left the room.

“More coffee, honey?” She held out the pot. He grunted. She topped up his mug anyway, slammed down the pot, and tossed the monster telephone directory on the table.

Her husband gaped as his wife flipped the pages with a vengeance.

He cleared his throat. “What’re you doing?”


“No, really.”

“Just looking for a carpenter.”

“What for?”

The laundry-room door keeps scraping the floor.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“I’ll buy a new one.”

“Don’t worry. I know you’re too busy.”

“I’ll do it.”

“It’s okay. I’ll hire a professional and the job’s done.”

“I’ll fix the damn door.”


“I said…”

“You’ll need to plane it. Do you have one?”

Stanley blinked.

“Uh-huh. Like you put the screen on the front door last September.”

~ * ~

This is for the Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For rules and how to join, click: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/

The word limit for Plane is 150 words. I used all of them.

Tiny led the way, cupping his hand at shoulder height in a come-hither fashion.


“Ahh.” His friend, Sammy, whimpered and bit a knuckle as he crashed into the hallway wall.

“Don’t be such a girl. Do you want to see or not?” Tiny turned the glass doorknob to the last room.

“W-oo-w! How come you never showed me before?” Sammy shoved up his thick glasses.

Tiny pushed out his chest and rocked on his heels. “Didn’t think you’d be interested?”

“Awesome. How many models are here?”

“About a hundred, different years and makes. Don’t touch.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“Took your brother a long time, huh? You ever help?”

“Nah. The glue smell makes me puke.”

This black car—oops.”

“I said…”

Sammy’s mouth dropped. Eyes enormous, he let out a squeal.


On his knees, ears on fire, Tiny’s chin whipped over his shoulder.

“What are you boys doing in here?”


~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For rules and how to join, click: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/

The word limit for Models is 150 words. I used them all.

February 26th I had the sweet opportunity to attend the launch of Time and Place, a cultural quarterly. Nervous as a cat (cliché, I know, but I was nervous), I swallowed hard and went into neutral mode—think the idling of a car while you wait for a green light. This was a two-fold occasion. I also read a story I’d submitted! Yes, me.

Each submission required the significance of time and place regarding origin of story. (Noted at bottom of page.)

photo (4) Time and Place Cultural Quarterly


It has begun…my worst nightmare. Myrna-Jo Bourke blinks and stares into the gas-lit fireplace. Nail-bitten fingers smooth her creased forehead. She frowns at a rap at the door.

A lanky girl, cinnamon hair streaming, soars through the finished basement to the Easy Boy and her grandmother’s arms. “Why are you sitting in the near dark?” The girl squints and pulls back for a better look. Her small hand brushes the rough cheek. “Grammy, are you okay?”

“Of course, I’m all right.” Myrna-Jo offers a fake smile and plunges closed fists into her lap.

Thin lips clamped, Lilli slips out of the light embrace. “Your cheeks are wet. Why?” Stepping away and examining the room, she flicks on the light switch.

Grammy’s glance drops and rises. The half-lie slips out between wobbly lips. “I’m happy to see you.”

The young girl leans in again and lays a warm satin cheek against her grandmother’s. Arms steal over rounded shoulders and circle her neck. “No-one hugs better than you.” Lilli breathes in the baby-powder scent of her grandmother’s neck, sighs, and tightens her embrace.

“Can I help you?”

Giggles tinkle like tiny crystal wind chimes. “I almost forgot.” Her nose scrunches. “Mum wants you to come to supper Saturday. For your birthday.”

Myrna-Jo’s eyelids flutter. “Birthday?”

“You didn’t forget did you, Grammy? Wait till you open my special surprise.” Lilli rocks on stocking feet, hands twirling at her sides.

“Such excitement over a little birthday…”

“But it’s your seventieth.” Pink-faced, bunched hands rise and slip underneath her chin.

“Seventieth?” The voice cracks. A spotted hand pats the bun. “Seventieth. And you are how old?”

“Stop teasing, Grammy. I’m eleven. Remember the hot pink dress you gave me last August?”

Myrna-Jo’s eyes wander. Time rushes headlong with a mind of its own. If only I could slow its….

Lilli grins. “You’re coming, right?”


“For supper Saturday, didn’t I just say?” She searches the drawn, clouded gaze of the woman in the recliner. “Grammy?”

Eyes dart left and right as the woman claws her throat. “Who’s my most favorite grandchild in the whole wide world?”

“Silly, I’m your only one.” Fidgety, Lilli caresses the cloud-white hair. “What will you wear?”


“I know—your green pantsuit—makes your eyes look like emeralds.”

“Oh… Come and help me dress, will you…?”

“Okay, an hour before supper. Gotta go. Mom is setting the table.” She plants a kiss on the cold cheek and scurries away. At the door, she hesitates. “Grammy?”


“Love you. See-ya-bye.” Slam. Thump. Thump. Thump. She avoids a collision with her mother on the landing.

“There you are. Thought I’d have to come down. Wash up.”

“Mum, is Grammy all right?”

* * *

Myna-Jo listens to chairs scrape overhead and buries her face. How long before I end up like my Aunt Sylvie. Can I lay this burden at my family’s door?

Another glance ceiling-wise, then she gazes into the rhythmic flames as if answers are written there.


A short time ago, while working on another short story, I rummaged around in my head for a particular phrase. My brain refused to cooperate for a moment. Because of my age, this made me wonder about memory / word loss and its beginnings. What happens when you are aware of what’s happening to you? What if you loved writing?This story is the result of those meandering thoughts, somewhat abbreviated due to word limit.


This has been printed with the permission of Ninth Floor Press ISBN 978-0-9919730-0-2

Editor: Ed Shaw. Submissions: ninthfloorpress@gmail.com

Danny Maloonie ground his teeth for the third time in five minutes. Snow swirled and gusted across his windshield. The devil of winter and enemy of cars had arrived.

“Was snow forecast?” He glared at his younger brother, Frank, who shrugged.

“If it had, we’d still have to get home.”

“Yeah, yeah. Dad would pop a kidney if we didn’t come when summoned.” Danny slumped.

1971_dodge_challenger-pic-3053“What could have happened?”

“I don’t care. Damn snow. I’m not ready to put this car on blocks for the winter.”

“It’s a car, bro, not your girlfriend.”

“What do you know? A’71 Dodge Challenger is special, and I paid for it myself.”

“Turn that up, will you?” The announcement blared, ‘Mattress King, Sean (Shinbone) Maloonie has suffered a heart attack…’ Frank cut the radio.

Mouths dropped, the young men gawked at each other. “Uncle Sean? No way,” they said together.

Frank blinked. “Poor Dad.”

~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. Rules and how to join, click: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/

The word limit for Blocks is 150 words. I used them all.


“You like the Winking Judge, Georgie?”“Yeah.” The nine-year-old grinned and pulled a scarlet earlobe. “Sounds like an announcer. He said we can do it again next week. Please, can I?”

His father pursed his lips, squeezing back a smile. “I disappear for two minutes and you’re buddies all ready? He’s gotta be ninety or thereabouts, one of the oldest members.”

Georgie’s freckles faded into blush. “How come I never heard about amateur radio operators before?”

“You’ve been fixated on Xbox and iPhone games.”

“This is cool. You’ll teach me?”

“The boy scouts have programs for young people like you.”

“Yeah? I heard of them.”



His father cocked his head. “In a disaster or emergency, cell phones may die, but not these babies. Your mom used to be a YL.”

“What’s that?”

“A female amateur operator: young lady. Her voice caught my attention. That’s how we met.

“Seriously. My Mom?

~ * ~

Serious planning has begun. My packing list expands and contracts now and again. The clock is ticking and I feel a rush of excitement.

The past two weeks, my cat, Lady Gaga, has been especially needy. She demands hugs and cuddles in a loud, urgent meow. Never has she looked as tall as these times when she stretches on her hind legs and taps my hip, as if I cannot hear her complain. She looks so mournful, I wonder if she knows about my travel plans. I have been careful not to pull out the suitcase yet. Can you believe that I plan to be so well-organized I’ll only unzip my luggage while she is sleeping and close to my departure date? I’ll throw everything into my suitcase, re-zip and store it upstairs in my daughter’s house until I leave.

I live downstairs

I live downstairs

The sad thing is, I will miss her. I’ve been dreading leaving her. I worry what she’ll feel when I disappear for more than a few hours. True, she will be in her own house. Although she sleeps most of her day away, she wakes on occasion and searches me out like a two-year old. I give her a pat on the head and off she goes to find another spot to sleep again.

During this same time frame, Lady G. has decided walking all over my dining-room table while I sit at my laptop is her right. For a year-and-a-half since we met she didn’t have this habit. She now insists on sitting at my elbow waiting for a pat on the head, a rub under her chin or behind her ear. I can no longer leave my laptop open when I get up for another coffee, a snack or a bathroom break because my furry friend has somehow learned to be indispensable. What gave her the idea to sit on my keyboard? Does she think she’s saving my place?

These helpful sitting sessions have skewed the images on my screen, frozen my mouse as well as the screen, the keypad refused to cooperate and powering off didn’t work. One morning I dashed to get dressed, desperate to race to Best Buy for help. On second thought, I pulled the battery and the normal settings reappeared. Whew. Saved some dollars too. One function I learned about is the f11 function key. It talked beneath Lady Gaga’s tail on one occasion. Must make time to investigate that.

I am home all day and she knows I’ll be back soon if I disappear. No-one will be home as they will be at work and at school. As well, she has scheduled mealtimes. Her caretakers, although they promise she’ll be loved and fed, do not keep to a timetable. Their animals often must remind them the food dish needs refilling.

This is my spoiled furry friend.

photo (2)

This is Barbie the neighbour upstairs with whom Lady G. has a on again / off again relationship. The other cat is older and fussier it seems, but they get along.

photo (1)

This is Max, who sometimes kisses and other times terrorizes Lady G, but she has been known to instigate some of these plays. ( have no idea why this picture turned out so small.)


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