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Archive for April, 2014

This is where our journey started!

Well, we got here. And fairly unscathed, I might add. Apart from the fifty security checks, the twenty-mile hike at Heathrow from terminal three to terminal one and the nasty border guard that stood between us and our escape from that behemoth barracuda of an airport.

 

All worth it though, because we’re free! And we’re having a great time.

 

Last night ended up being a little too great though. As I mentioned, my husband is here on business so after my long walk I was ready to hunker down for the night while he attended a Hewlett Packard dinner.

 

I was relaxed and ready for bed when up popped a late, unexpected text to meet them at a pub. Okay, so our arms are made of rubber. But let’s remember for next time, more than one glass of Pinot Grigio, jet lag and no food for forty-eight hours do not bode well the morning after. Not well at all.

Looked so pretty at the time

Looked so pretty at the time

 

So, this is what we’re doing tonight.

Dublin Dinner

 

Terribly tame and remarkably less potential for danger.

 

Fortunately, we managed to salvage what could have been a wasted day and went out walking for hours. We wandered the streets of Dublin meandering through beautiful parks and quaint shops. We even came across this gem of talent. My video skills are not the best and the sound doesn’t do him justice, but this guy’s voice made me stop in my tracks.

 

 

The only thing that might have enhanced today’s experience? A size three in those lovely little boots I found. But, there’s always tomorrow…

 

I’ll leave you with a few pics to enjoy:

The lounge in our hotel where we're hoping to sit and write tomorrow

The lounge in our hotel where we’re hoping to sit and write tomorrow

My hubby on a quick stop in St. Stephen's Green

A quick stop in St. Stephen’s Green

Mmm, Gelato

Mmm, Gelato

Cool Eddies

Cool Eddies

Love Indian food and this entrance

Love Indian food and this entrance

Dublin Ivy

Lovely lights

Lovely lights

Dublin National Concert Hall

Dublin National Concert Hall

Flushed with pink

Flushed with pink

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Exciting news, folks. I hope you have your seat belts fastened, because not only is this the first time I’ve typed and posted a blog from my phone, but I’ve also decided to take you with me.

You are now on an all expenses paid trip to Dublin and the United Kingdom.

You get to sit here at Gate D65 and keep me company for the next hour, which is nice because I’m not used to traveling alone.

Don’t worry, we had an incredibly easy check-in with only one (long) wrong turn (I told you to wear your glasses!), but we still managed to get here with way too much time to spare.

We’re chilling at a bistro table and considering writing more on Helena but we’re a little too nervous excited to settle in. We’re not really looking forward to getting from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at Heathrow, the monster of all airports, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

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When we first arrived at our gate it was eerily quiet. So much so, that we almost wanted to ask what time the airport closes for fear we were about to be locked in. But now there’s plenty of people watching to do and enough distraction to keep us from our real writing. We will write when we’re folded into our 2x3x2 seat, right?

Anyway – we’re through security, boarding passes in hand and soon we’ll be flying high.

Thanks for agreeing to come along. It means a lot.

See you soon, kids! (Our seats aren’t together)

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Turns out I’m a jet setter.

 

What a shame it would be to visit the fair city of Dublin simply to tour a recycling plant. Am I right? Yes, I’m right. And, because we’ve stockpiled enough points through our evil plastic cards to jet me there for “free”, I’m left with no choice but to swoop in and save the day for my overworked man.

 

This trip was booked very last minute and I’ve been in crazy town trying to get ready for it. Leaving 18, 15 and 13 year old siblings alone for ten days just isn’t as fun as it may sound. Sure, I get to take off into the wild blue yonder, but I’ll be far from carefree.

 

Bills have to be paid. (It’s always nice when the credit cards actually work and the kids are able to flick a switch rather than a lighter to see where they’re going) Emergency cash tucked away (it will be interesting to see what they deem an emergency – pizza anyone?), oodles of food (I use that word loosely), plenty of toilet paper, heaven forbid, a calendar glowing like a string of Christmas lights with multi-colored bulbs encircling the 50 events that could apparently happen at no time other than the ten days we’ll be thousands of miles away, clean clothes, rides organized, laws laid and riots read.

 

Then there’s the baking guilt. Guilt that’s been rising ever since I found out I was going away without them. Thank goodness I haven’t known for long, thank you, oh kind travel Gods, but I still can’t help myself. After all, our last two trips to the greenest of isles are amongst our family’s most treasured memories, so it’s hard to feel good about leaving anyone behind. You know, Ohana n’ all.

 

Luckily though, I’m not made of 100% pure patheticester. I am looking forward to quality time with my husband who is meeting me there after being away for the last week on business and to seeing the many family members I have living in the North.

 

Anytime guilt can be presto’d into something sweet smelling, warm and comforting we’ve uncovered a glistening, no-stick lining, have we not? And, I don’t know about you, but I’m big into magical baking.

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While my daughter’s sweaty palms grip the plastic covered arms of a dental chair and she is inflicted with crazy kinds of torture, I sit, a few hundred yards away, in our local diner, somehow lucky enough to snag a deliciously cozy booth at the very back.

 

My intent was to hunt and gather, to try and squash three hours worth of errands into one, to rush. But, as we were leaving the house, my laptop somehow hitched a ride and I’m now imbibing on the creativity a morning away from home is able to squeeze out of my juicer.

 

It’s a writer’s dream. A secluded booth, back to the wall, a bird’s eye view of the little man who looks like someone I once knew, the adult daughter treating her elderly parents to breakfast, the middle-aged couple deep in some mysterious conversation that can only be cultivated by being together longer than they’ve been apart.

 

I relish the comforting heedlessness cloaked in hustle and bustle. No one’s worrying what I’m up to. No one cares how long I stay. No one wants me to stop. The server happily refills my cup as if as much to say; Yes, yes, write to your heart’s content my dear, for you are forbidden to do chores here. (I think she even had a glittering wand)

 

Now this is the point where we all imagine the sound a record player makes as its needle is abruptly lifted, scraping over several vinyl grooves on the way up.

 

I started this post yesterday morning, but just moments after deciding my waitress was in fact the good witch, my writing came to a halt. As it often does, life happened and for the next twelve hours, I was in the thick of it. Somersaulting from one thing to another, I never touched these keys again for the rest of the day.

 

But the good thing about being at this stage of my writing game is that I’m nobody. I have no obligations, no duties or requirements.

 

So basically, the pressure is off. I’m *too small to fail.

Photo courtesy of wallaadoo.com

Photo courtesy of wallaadoo.com

 

 

*Courtesy of the t-shirts the Saints servers wear at my local diner.

 

 

 

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*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*

I hope you’ll read parts one through five HERE!

 

Smoke shrouds her shaky, short pink fingernails, curls up past her nose and out the open window into the blue of the great big sky. Her view turns murky as she shoots a smooth, straight line at the windshield in front of her.

Coffee.

Joplin booms. Gladys signals left.

And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain’t right,
Never, never, never, never, never, never hear me when I cry at night…

“Black.”

The waitress looks disappointed. The place is empty. This will likely be her only chance at a tip ‘til lunchtime.

“Just the coffee then?” Her pencil is poised hopefully over a badgered notepad.

“Black.”

With the waitress gone, the sun glares into Gladys’ face and without the breeze, it’s incredibly warm. She shifts to the other side of the booth. Her stomach, a mind of its own, doesn’t follow. Her hands flutter like an indecisive butterfly, mimicking the thoughts flying through her mind.

She’d promised herself a sole slug, so it was important to wait for the cup to land in front of her. If she sipped straight from the flask, she’d want another in no time. She’d wait. She could wait.

The cup does eventually come, full to the rim. She’d forgotten that black meant no room for cream. She tips a little more than she should out onto the saucer and, as discreetly as possible, adds a generous pour into the steaming liquid. Her eyes close as the sharp vapor reaches her nostrils.

And, she sips.

But, it’s gone before she’s even had time to think. Time to decide why she’s really here. Time to convince herself that she shouldn’t just turn around and go home.

She could go home.

She could sit on the couch with her book and sip away. She could make beans and toast. She could watch True Detective. She could talk to Helena.

Helena.

Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling…

Gladys looks for the waitress. She’ll pay her check. Get back in the car. Drive.

She spots her over by the register, posing herself in such a way that the cook can ogle her without much effort.

Where is Damien when I need him? Gladys wonders as she heads for the till.

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~ This piece is part of a short story ~

You can read Part One, Helena, HERE

Part Two, Gladys, HERE

Part Three, Mrs. Statton, HERE

Part Four, Eat Crow, HERE

 

Helena picks at the jagged piece of blue vinyl poking up from the empty side of her bus seat. Sure, Gladys had driven that first day of school, but now that her duty’s done, Helena is on her own. She doesn’t mind. She’d taken a long, hot shower this morning and had the mirror all to herself. Gladys, apparently long gone, had texted her to point out the obvious – bananas on counter, yogurt in fridge.

Forgoing sustenance, Helena had instead wrapped her slight fingers around the thick white handle of the carafe on the counter and poured herself a cup of steamy black coffee.

Now, her collar damp from her still wet hair, she shivers as the bus ride makes the liquid roll in her stomach.

Pulling the cord, she gets off at the stop before the one closest to the school and inhales before venturing on. She’d done something. Something that had seemed like a good idea. Well, not a good idea maybe so much as something she hadn’t been able to stop. The secrets had poured from her fast and furious, like the coffee out of the pot, dark and scalding. And now it’s too late. There they are, black and bitter.

Her bag pulls at her shoulder as she walks and her hair begins to sway as it starts to dry. She can smell the shampoo Gladys buys in the huge blue tub wafting in the breeze. Although the sun is out she shivers again, the damp now reaching the middle of her back.

Unaware of her fingers, she twists and twirls several strands before choosing just the right one to pluck from the bunch.

“You should leave some on your head,” a voice from behind her calls out. “Most people look better with hair.”

“Not interested.” Helena answers and keeps walking.

“Well, except maybe Sinead O’Connor. I have to admit she’s hot bald. A little old now maybe, but still…hot.”

Without turning around, Helena replies; “Like I said, I’m not interested in what you think of me or Sinead or our hair. Piss off.”

“Well, pick away then,” the voice continues. “But fair warning – you’re no Sinead.”

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When I was a kid, I hated P.E. I’d do anything to avoid it – hide, duck, dodge…take cover in the outfield…behind a tree if at all possible.

 

Not much has changed. I’m forty-three and I’ve dropped the ball. It’s been eleven days since I last posted something to my blog and even that post was only a simple snap of my husband’s conveniently timed typo’d text.

 

I’ve been neglectful of reading blogs, answering messages, posting to my facebook page and I haven’t checked my Hazy email in months. I opened it the other day, saw that there are over five thousand tidy little envelopes in my inbox to sift through and quickly closed it again.

 

I’d like to say that it’s because I’ve been buried in writing, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been doing much of anything. Trapped in a roundabout, I keep missing my exit, running the vicious circle without escape.

 

I get overwhelmed by having so many projects that I don’t know where to begin and end up not starting, working on or completing any of them. My kitchen cupboards need a good gutting of all the cumulative bits and bobs that somebody, not me of course, keeps sneaking in, I have a desk to paint, I need to dismantle my son’s massive loft bed so he can stop sleeping with his nose half an inch from the ceiling, I have an office that has morphed into one over-sized junk drawer and don’t even get me started on the garage. No really, I don’t want to start on the garage.

 

And I can’t type of course, while all of these undone tasks have my fingers tied together with their loose ends, but for the one thing I have no choice in, (thank goodness for deadlines!) my upcoming interview on WOW. My runner-up short story, Magic, and my ridiculous bio, can be found HERE. The interview itself, should be published sometime in April or early May.

 

If it weren’t for my blog and contest excitement, I’m not so sure I’d be writing at all, so today I give thanks for the side of me that apparently wants people to know my name and to the entities that grant me a voice, ensuring I’m heard above my own silence.

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