What lies beyond – Trifecta Challenge

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house

Audrey had driven by the building countless times and was always drawn to its beauty.  Today she could resist the urge no longer.   After parking her car across the street from the house, she made her way up the walkway to the front door. She knocked and was greeted warmly by a man with a charming smile and a slight frosting of grey hair at his temples.

She introduced herself and explained to the man how often she thought of this place.  There was no plausible explanation for her longing to see the inside and she was hopeful that he would forgive her intrusion.  His voice was almost ethereal as he welcomed her into his home.

The inside was just as lovely as Audrey had imagined.  Hard-wood floors spanned each room and the decor was pristine.  The fire was roaring in the fireplace which lent a diffused scent of acrid smoke to the air.  There was another odor lingering underneath but she couldn’t readily identify its essence.

The entire house was breathtaking.  Each room was decorated beautifully, boasting warm colors and tones, but even amongst those warms colors Audrey could not ignore the slight chill she felt.   Following him up the winding stairway, they made their way to the top floor of the house.  She was shown the door to what she anticipated to be the most quaint room in the house – the Widow’s Watch.  He was behind her now and slowly pushed the door open so she could enter.  The movement of the door seemed to trigger the motion light and she stared blankly at the black cavern in front of her.

His voice startled her back to reality.  “We’ve been waiting for you.”

His hand found the small of her back and he shoved Audrey into the chamber.  The door closed and she heard the lock engage.  The other smell that had plagued her was now overwhelming enough for her to identify.  It was decomposition.   Audrey screamed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

328 words written for the Trifecta Challenge to use the word “quaint” and, as always, the third definition of the word.
QUAINT (adjective)

1:  obsolete:  EXPERT, SKILLED
2a:  marked by skillful design <quaint with many a device in India
ink — Herman Melville>
b:  marked by beauty or elegance
3a : unusual or different in character or appearance :  ODD
  b : pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar <a quaint
phrase>

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 your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
• Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

Instant idiot, just add alcohol

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This post was inspired by a weekend that happened at my former place of employment.  I’m not sure why this memory surfaced, perhaps because hiring season has begun, but I heed to the advice of my muse.

Our resort hosted a few bus loads of college students, or perhaps a more appropriate definition would be potential future employees.  These eager young scholars were taken on overnight excursions from resort to resort to see what working life would be in their chosen field of hospitality.  The direct result of this adventure was more of an extended recess than a field trip.

There is a reason that the LCBO and multiple organizations urge us to drink responsibly.  After a few too many, we become abhorrent mutations of our former selves and lose all sense of discipline and self-control.  The “White Elephant in the Room” campaign is meant to draw attention to drinking and driving.  Perhaps we should also have a campaign for drinking and being an idiot.   For now, let’s call it the “Saturated Moron” campaign.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I have never over-imbibed but only once have I ever lost control of the person I have strived to become.  And even in that moment (that I am not so proud of) I have never left an impression of myself that created any ill will, any harm or caused any negative feelings.  With the advancement of technology today we have more than a fair shot of seeing our misgivings pop up on websites like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but that doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent for those afflicted with the “soak me in booze until I’m flammable” syndrome.

There are certain things to keep in mind when you are beginning a night out with friends and alcohol will be involved.  If you think you become more attractive when you’re hammered, you do not.  If you feel you can dance like a professional, this is untrue.  And if you think your friends won’t take every opportunity to humiliate you and make sure there is photographic evidence of your drunken shenanigans, think again.

Obvious health reasons aside, when we drink too much we simply make bad choices.  Perhaps the first bad choice was to drink to excess in the first place.  The thing to remember is what has been done cannot be undone.  People have very long memories when it comes to things you have done in a drunken stupor and they will do their best to never let you live it down.  Undoubtedly, they will take every opportunity to replay the videos or repost the images of your misfortunes during your intoxication.

Drinking to excess can cause you to black out and have no recollection of the events of the previous evening.  Be assured, it will either come back to you in small scenes like a movie trailer that you can’t seem to stop or in one horrific flashback that you wish you could eradicate from your memory.

These hospitality pupils failed to maintain any sense decorum during their visit because alcohol, which began the night as the co-pilot, swiftly took over the driver’s seat and all Hell broke loose.  The resort showed the battle scars the following morning as toilet paper dripped from the trees.  Broken glass could be seen littering the ground at every turn and a window was broken as the hooligans attempted to gain access to any snacks that may be hiding in the front office.

I can only imagine the fetid stench emanating from the bus windows on that long, torturous ride back to school.  My sympathy to the driver who may still be in therapy a year and a half later.  I’m sure the simple message about drinking to excess was lost on these poor, hung over souls but there was one directive that rang loud and clear that morning – I would not be hiring, or even recommending, any of those students for future employment.

100 Word Song – Limelight

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Moon

Like the moon held captive in the night sky,

I am suspended in my reality unable to breathe.

My true freedom is a vague memory.

My personal space exists only in the lens of a camera.

Vague reflections of a life I once had are mirrored in that glass.

All I wanted was to reflect my passion through my art.

Fragmented moments alone are stored deep in memory,

treasured few blinks in time that I can grasp and hold tight.

I envy that moon, alone in the night sky

surrounded by stars unable to bridge the distance.

Solitude escapes me.

~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge over at My Blog Can Beat up your Blog.  You should check it out and follow him if you are not already.

I got to choose the song this week and I chose Limelight by Rush. (yes, it’s a Canadian band and I am Canadian).  Although the song has a great rock beat in typical Rush style, there is a sadness behind the words that I felt compelled to share.  Neil Peart struggled with their rise to fame and the lack of courtesy shown by fans and paparazzi.  Being in the “Limelight” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vUNxqE_3N0c

Starting over – 100 Word Song

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She watched his slender frame exit through the doorway for the last time.  Her shoulders were so tense she could feel the pain radiating at the base of her skull.   He opened the car door, waved goodbye and he was gone.

She opened the bottle of wine and fell into the couch.  For the first time in years the house had a serene quality to it.  It was a feeling she hadn’t noticed even missing but now that it was back she allowed that tranquility to bathe her in its warmth.  He was now a memory.  Time to start over.

~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  The song is “Starting Over”, by John Lennon.

Love at first sight – Trifecta Challenge

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The first time I saw him my breath caught in my throat.  He brought the glass to his lips and drank his wine.  I’m sure he could hear my heart beat as his blue eyes met with mine.

~

Written for the Trifecta Challenge – We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:

The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.  Can you class it up under these restrictions?  Give us your best.

To clarify, we are giving you 5 words.  We want another 33 from you, for a grand total of 38. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.woOfZLoR.dpuf

Sorry Harry, men and women CAN be friends

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chfriends

(image credit: Bill Watterson)

I am a tomboy.  I always have been and I’m sure, short of a lobotomy, I always will be.  I grew up with a brother four years my senior and I idolized him.  I wore his clothes, I brushed my hair in the same horrific fashion that he did (pictures from the 70’s are NEVER flattering!!) and I customized my mannerisms to be as close to his as possible. His friends became my friends.

During those formidable years as a young girl growing into adolescence I was always more comfortable around boys.  I never felt the inkling to have tea parties – I always wanted to be rough-housing and tossing the pigskin with the guys.  It was where I felt most comfortable and, to this day, it still is where I find my true self.  Don’t misunderstand, I do enjoy putting on a dress and feeling “pretty” every now and then but if I had my choice I would be shroud in a football jersey, a baseball cap and a comfy pair of jeans playing poker in a room full of dudes. That to me is home.

I have never thought of my platonic friendship with the opposite sex to be an oddity.   I have always been “one of the guys”.   It’s where I feel like I fit in.  The male friends I have had throughout my life have never made me feel like an outsider.  I am in NO way discounting the many women in my life that I have the good fortune call friends.  There is an inherent connection with those strong and vivacious women that I hold dear to my heart and there is no comparison to the depth of friendship I have with them.  Women will always have a strong bond with their female friends, as will men with their male friends.  The point of this post is to celebrate the friendships between men and women.

Television and movies have only perpetuated the impossibility of men and women just being friends by turning every story line into an eventual romance.  Modern day relationships based in reality can dispel that myth rather quickly.  Platonic love does exist between men and women and true friends are hard to come by.  So why should our friendships be defined by our gender?  Friendship isn’t about body parts.  It is about finding people also roaming on this planet who share a common thread.  They have the same likes and dislikes and understand how you work.

The archaic history of male and female relationships was based on a man and woman only relating to each other in their matrimonial home.  Times have changed.  Men and women can be friends….and very good friends.  Don’t let other’s interject their opinions into your friendships.  Break down the barriers, chisel through the ancient beliefs and regardless of the x or y, keep your friends close!

Motivation in my nation

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I’ve finally realized what has been missing this year, apart from a clean bill of health – I need a mantra – a string of words that I can repeat to myself to keep motivated while passing through this adventure called life. It’s interesting to take some time to think of what would be appropriate – what is going to inspire me on a daily basis.

After thinking about what could be my own personal mantra I finally settled on something that resonated with me: “Feed your mind, nourish your body”.

After all of the changes I’ve made in my life over the last two years this one really strikes a chord with me. From losing weight and learning how to properly feed my body, ending relationships that were toxic to me to starting this blog, it all seemed to fall into place. My body was craving the proper nourishment I was depriving it of and my mind was craving the attention of a myriad of words and ideas. Solved – feed your mind, nourish your body.

It’s such a simple run of words but something I can repeat to myself that will keep me focused on what has become most important to me as an individual. I now have it written on my fridge so if I feel I’m getting off my course it is there to remind me of where I was 24 months ago and where I am now.

Maybe you’ve always had your own mantra or maybe you’ve never even thought of the idea but it’s a simple thing to do, it costs no money and could potentially drive you to accomplish more that you thought possible.

If you already have one, I’d love to know what it is – and if you’ve never thought about it, give it a try. It may make a big difference in your daily life.

The sun will come out – tomorrow??

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After dealing with the “polar vortex”, the unending snow and a delightful case of Pneumonia, I needed something to cheer me up so I went through the archives and found this pictures to help warm me up!

Cruise 2010 - after St. Thomas into St. Maarten 279

This was a sunset in the Caribbean.  I can almost feel the warmth.

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The sun began to settle into the blanket of the clouds.

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The sky just looks so animated and inviting.

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It seemed like the sun’s journey had ended.

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But it poked through the clouds before disappearing into the horizon.

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Taking my own advice

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I give excellent advice – to anyone other than myself.  I have many people ask my opinion and they feel very comfortable getting into very personal matters.  They trust my discretion and they know my words come from a place of empathy and understanding.  I’ve had many people over the years tell me that I should have been a Social Worker.  I have a great ability to listen and to give thoughtful and meaningful opinions or just listen when necessary.

I’ve learned over the years that I can dish it out, but I can’t take it – my own advice, that is, but today I listened to my gut and went to the walk-in clinic.  I know I’m sick when I willingly sit in a waiting room with a multitude of people with the same symptoms I have for a chance to feel better.

After the obligatory three hours between waiting room, exam room and lung test I was given my diagnosis as well as a prescription for some very strong antibiotics.  My seemingly benign flu had morphed into Pneumonia and the doctor was concerned that I had a lung infection as well.  A simple test proved that the lung infection was non-existent but Pneumonia is a big enough hurdle to jump over.

Learning to trust my gut when it comes to personal matters is going to be on the forefront of my goals for the new year.  I didn’t, and still don’t, feel as sick as I am but I’m certainly glad I followed some sage advice today and got myself to the clinic for a professional diagnosis.  I would have told everyone else to get to the doctor, but it took a nudge from a friend or two to take the advice I would have freely expelled to anyone else and get the help I needed.

If you are great at giving advice….take a moment and see if you are following your own wise words.  It was a good lesson learned for me today.

Strong work ethic and stronger cough medicine

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The rattling sound in my chest is an inescapable reminder that I am still sick.  That coupled with the fact that I could pass for James Earl Jones on the phone have steered me from my objective of getting back to work and led me right back to my couch.

I have never in my working life called in sick to just have a day off.   I would never have been able to enjoy a day knowing that my colleagues were doing extra duties to cover my work load because I had lied about my health to have a day of leisure.  Even when I am sick, I have a hard time not going to work.  But this time I didn’t have a choice – this flu kicked my butt.

I worked a few hours on the morning of the 30th and went back in for a few hours on the 31st but my road paved with good intentions quickly became the road home and I spend the next two and a half days curled in the fetal position in my living room praying for the coughing to stop.  I’m not a whiny sick person but whatever this bug was proved that even the strongest people can revert to child-like behavior when they don’t feel like themselves.

Today, after feeling a tremendous amount of guilt for missing so much work, I dragged myself out of bed and made a valiant effort to forget that I am still sick.  I was shocked to open the door to a temperature of -34C.  After only a few seconds of vehement debate, my car turned over and I was on my way to the lodge.  I was greeted warmly by my coworkers until I opened my mouth and spoke a few words.  Their smiles turned to looks of fear and, as they backed further away from me, they all told me to go home.

sick

As much guilt as I feel for not being able to perform my job, my bosses and fellow employees made me see that I was doing them more of an disservice by being there and possibly spreading my germs.  Although I am past the contagious stage, I quickly heeded their advice and am now curled up on my couch once again with three layers of blankets and a hot cup of tea.

On a side note:  I should have realized how severe this flu was when I discovered I haven’t had coffee in four days!!