Sleep Gone Bye

Endless night

That moment when you realize that all the sleep in the world does nothing but make you feel even more exhausted.

I’m actually feeling pretty okay today, but had a moment when I recollected a time when my sleep cycle was truly a mess and none of my sleep was restorative. I’m infinitely grateful such a time is in the past. Now I’m just tired from excessive amounts of yardwork. Well, they likely aren’t that excessive, but when the temperature is supposed to be in the mid-90s and keeps jumping over into the low-100s instead…

Everything feels excessive then.


What? – Random Ramblings

I keep coming across random posts online (in different places and I never remember to save those sources) about how people don’t really smirk or chuckle in real life and so you shouldn’t use those terms in writing (whether in original work or fanfiction.) Today I came across a post on Tumblr (where I am not a member, but like to randomly cruise through now and then for fun posts and random rants about history that all check out when I want to check for authenticity) that said,

those posts criticizing common writing patterns in fanfiction are so ******* harmful and they ruined me

so like yknow what??? People tell you to avoid “smirk” and “chuckle” as descriptors because no one does those things (???) but then when I need to use those words I have a ten minute crisis about how I’m a ****** writer. So heres my unwarranted writing advice: If you want your characters to smirk and chuckle ******* let them and don’t let anyone tell you that no one smirks or chuckles because I do both on a daily basis whenever I tell a ****** pun, bye  –rowdyravens

I sat there for a moment and remembered running into all of those posts from before that say not to use smirk or chuckle and was really confused. For the first time, I realized that people genuinely think that no one smirks or chuckles in real life. I had not realized this before and had thought that those previous posts were jokes (or I was really tired when I read them and didn’t really take in what they were saying.)

Because quite a few of my family members genuinely smirk all the time. My dad does it (though he won’t admit to it) and he chuckles a lot. My eldest nephew is a pro at smirking (which is just all kinds of unfair, because I’m one of the few in my family that can’t do that at all) and has the deepest chuckle that I have ever heard in my life. (Which, again, is saying something because both of my brothers have some of the, previously believed to be, lowest voices in my family and they chuckle more often than they laugh. (How my 15-year-old nephew went from soprano to bass in his vocals seemingly over night, I will never know. Seriously, that kid didn’t have a voice that cracked even a little bit! My niece’s voice cracked a little when it change from first soprano to first alto/second soprano! That gangly kid is something else…)

So I hadn’t realized before this moment that many people believe that smirking or chuckling is something that only exists in literature rather than in real life.

I had to even stop and share this with my nephew and he didn’t believe for a moment because he is either being a straight man or sitting there smirking like a little brat.

And the chuckling! Over 90% of my life hearing my dad when he’s doing some kind of laugh has been listening to him chuckle! He doesn’t really laugh, he just quietly chuckles.

This is just really throwing me for a loop!

I- I must go do something else before I expend all of today’s energy being confused and ranting at posts on my computer.

Savages, Savages, Barely Even Human!

I wish that I could think of just one thing, one moment, that stands apart from the rest when it comes to being ‘wild’ as a child.

Such is not the fate for one such as I.

Dubbed by one of my mother’s reoccurring clients, I am a (once proud) part of Mary Ann’s Heathen Children.

And this was one of the few people that was so shy and hesitant that our mother told us very strongly that we would be on our best behavior around him or so help her we would be grounded for well over a month and she would be giving our only t.v. away. (And this was back before we had a computer when not everyone had one easily accessible.)

I don’t even remember much about that particular patron (Mom designed a lot of clothes for him, though) except for the fact that he was this larger-than-life looking man from a distance and a really quiet, retiring person up close. (And that man had a bakery and made the best muffins I have ever tasted.)

Anyway, I know why we would be labeled ‘Mary Ann’s Heathen Children’ because we were little savages with, strangely enough, excellent table manners. (Mom always got compliments whenever there was a community or youth group activity that needed those because people were always really surprised that we knew not only have to properly set (what my nephew refers to as ‘fancy’) the table, but also had impeccable table manners ourselves. (We also knew how to clean just about anything including crystal and silver.)

(This is kind of a ramble-y day isn’t it?)

But I guess the one example I can think of off hand that is both a perfect picture and an average day for what I was like as a child is this memory:

My youngest two siblings and I liked to collect large sticks that could easily double as a bo staff (we practiced with them often enough that we could do some pretty cool tricks). We also created little bows and arrows from fallen tree branches in our backyard. (We lived on something like a third of an acre.)

One summer afternoon, a stranger appeared on our land. His physical appearance is not remembered, but the green of his jeep was.

He had come take one of our own.

We could not allow this.

We gave mighty chase to this interloper and soon trapped him upon the roof of his vehicle. Running around it we chanted and shook our mighty weapons at him until the Almighty One called to us for her hour of worship.

Gleefully we left our captive, certain that he would not make off with one of our own for She too was with the Almighty One as the Almighty One’s Defender.

Our captive made his escape, never to be seen again.

In short, a teen came to take one of my older sisters out on a date. We greeted him as we were wont to do at that point in our lives to make certain that he was worthy of her by seeing how well he could handle small children chasing him with large sticks.

My sister was not pleased when she came out from where her friend (whose nickname was Umba the Almighty, by the way) had been helping her get ready for the date.

Yeah, we got grounded for that one, but it didn’t really stop us from doing the same thing to other would-be dates for our elder sisters.

This same sister’s husband was one of the few to get us to stop greeting teenage boys wishing to date our sisters this way. My brother-in-law was not amused by our actions when he came to take my sister out. His elder brother (who had also dated a different sister, but only a handful of times before they decided they were better off as friends) had thought that our ways of greeting people hilarious and played along with us chasing him and making off with his hat, car keys, watch, etc.

So yes, I was quite the little heathen as a child.

I am forever grateful that my nieces and nephews are much better behaved than I was. (Even if they have no idea how to set the table for a fancy dinner.)

This little ramble down memory lane was brought to you by Dungeon Prompt: Where the Wild Things Are.

Old Magic

The magic glittered all around her as she laughed and ran and played. The lake was so large, but not large enough that she couldn’t dance across the tiny waves that the wind caused. The river, just as wide as the lake, it seemed, was gentle as she landed on the large boulder in its middle. She plopped down, only slightly winded from dancing across the lake and down the river to the boulder itself, her legs dangling over the edge and the flowing water teasing and tickling the edges of her toes. She giggled happily, joyfully even as she flopped back and let the sun-warmed stone behind her help to dry up the water that had lightly soaked her during her play.

The sun was so warm and though it did nothing to her skin (no tan ever seemed to stick to the girl’s skin, not that she cared generally, but the incessant sunburns that few others in her family had to deal with were really getting on her nerves) she enjoyed the heat it engendered for several more minutes before jumping up and skipping back across the river in order to run through the fields and find her favorite cherry tree. (It was the only cherry tree, but that didn’t really matter to her in the end.) The tree still had some of its summer fruit on it and she gleefully picked a few from the highest branches (the only part that still had any of the tiny red berries) and ate them while still clinging to the gently swaying limbs.

This summer was glorious, but all summers in the Valley were glorious. There was always some kind of fruit in season: apples (six different kinds!), grapes (though you had to leave the Valley for those…), pears, plums (only three or four different kinds), cherries, peaches, gooseberries… The supply was endless as each month something was in harvest. She knew that there had once been other trees and bushes with fruit growing on them, though those trees had long since vanished from the Valley, likely some Evil Plague that had been sent down to frighten the inhabitants of the Valley away so that others could come and claim it.

It wouldn’t have been the first time that someone had tried to take the Valley from its rightful inhabitants and it likely wouldn’t be the last. Such a fertile and idyllic place was often sought after by all and sundry.

Even up in the cherry tree she could see movement in the fields of wild wheat up on one of the hills. Her eyes narrowed and she crouched in the tree, eyes still following the line that was being drawn in the wild wheat before springing out of the tree and racing through the fields and other trees, through the large sentinel-like juniper bushes that were on either side of the entrance to the wild wheat fields. She was careful to not trample the wild wheat (it would do no good flattened on the ground) and tracked the figure who was only several yards in front of her now.

Without any kind of cry (though she wasn’t completely silent) she pounced on the supposed intruder, rolling with them down the hill until the figure was pinned beneath her.

“Was there a reason that you just wrestled me to the ground?” came a voice that she knew, dry in its humor and with only a bit of a threat hidden within it.

She blinked and then flushed, “Oops?”

She scrambled off of the person she’d…well, attacked…before she was flung off.

Her sister had never been the most forgiving type.

“I thought you might be an intruder into the Valley.” She explained as she continued to back away from her advancing younger sister.

“Really, now.”

It wasn’t a question and without another word, her younger sister pounced (much better than she had, she noted silently even as she tried, and failed, to escape.) They went down and she realized that the only reason she’d won in the first place was because her sister had let her.

After a good ten minutes of tussling, she gave up and lay flat, breathing loudly.

“Are we even now?” she eventually asked.

Her sister made a show of thinking it over, “Maybe. I’ll think about it. So what’s this idea that there are intruders in the Valley?”

She shrugged, “It was just a thought, probably nothing.”

Her sister’s eyes narrowed and she stopped getting off of her, deciding to pin her back down, “That’s not what I asked. Spill.”

“It was nothing, can I please get up?”


They argue like that for a few more minutes while she tried to dislodge her sister a few times before giving in. It was always best to just give in to her sister; her sister was the natural leader of the two even if she was the one who usually had to actually make her sister’s crazy plans work out.

“I…I, uh, think that some of the problems we’ve been having in the Valley have been a Plague Curse or something, to chase us out so someone, uh, someone else can, uh, take the Valley for their own.” She’d mumbled through the last bit and looked at the ground.

She waited for her sister to say something.

She didn’t.

She waited some more.


Finally, she peeked up through her (covered in dirt and twigs and leaves) bangs at her sister. Her sister looked thoughtful, her brow furrowed and her mouth drawn down into a frown as the thoughts flew across her eyes rapidly.

Apparently her wait in silence would continue, because interrupting her sister when she was thinking led to not good things happening. To her, always to her, because she just wasn’t the most patient of people and was always trying to hurry things along when, if she’d just waited even five seconds more things would have been fine.

Yeah, she had issues with waiting quietly.

Issues that were about to come up again if her sister didn’t say something already.

Before she could open her mouth and say or do something stupid, her sister nodded to herself and seemed to come to a decision.

“We need to bring our brother into this, he’s traveled the most outside of the Valley, he’ll know what’s going on outside and if there’s been any rumors of wars or plagues or anything that would be a problem for the Valley.”

She cringed; she’d hoped that her sister wouldn’t want to contact their brother.

“He’s, uh, he’s not…available…right now.”

Her sister paused in her pacing, which she had started when she’d started talking and laying out what they were going to discuss with their brother. She turned and looked at her elder sister, “What do you mean he’s not available?

She flinched and then wished she hadn’t when her sister’s frown deepened. “He’s, uh, he’s in the house.”

Her sister’s face momentarily blanked while she blinked and absorbed that information.


“He’s inside, watching something, maybe playing a video game.”

And just like that the magic was broken.

The Valley melted down into their backyard, the river turned into the gravel that ran alongside the house and the lake became the giant hole they’d dug near the end of the gravel-way. The fruit trees and gooseberry bushes were still there, but closer together and the wild wheat no longer covered hills and dips, just the part of the yard at the back where it was on higher ground than the rest of the backyard.

“I thought he was going to play with us?” her sister asked as they divested themselves of their sticks (swords, daggers, staves) before entering the house through the sliding backdoor.

“He decided he wanted to have a turn on the t.v. before Mom got home from work.”

Her sister sighed, “Fine, but we’re totally going to crash his time and demand some of the popcorn he’s likely made while we were gone.”

She stopped and stared at her younger sister with wide eyes for a moment, “We have more popcorn! He didn’t tell me that!”

Her sister laughed, “Of course not, would you have told us?”

She didn’t bother trying to argue or look guilty as they raced down the stairs.

This little story was partially inspired by my childhood backyard. It was an awesome place and had lots of fruit trees and gooseberry bushes. (There used to be strawberry bushes and rhubarb, but, uh, there aren’t anymore.)

It’s amazing the magic that a child has and I wonder just where some of it goes the older we get. Maybe we need to spend more time practicing the magic we had as children once we’ve become adults to make sure we don’t lose it.

The rest of this story was inspired by the Dungeon Prompt: Our Magical Powers.


Priceless – One-Liner Wednesday

There was a time in my life where I was determined to convince my brother that I loved strawberries dipped in barbecue sauce; it worked. (Grins)

I had started small with dipping carrot sticks into the sauce and then working my way up so that he’d believe me about the strawberries, which, while they did taste good together it was the kind of taste that I had to train myself into liking.

But the look on his face the first time I ate it with enjoyment in front of him…


For everything else, there’s Stomach Pumps.

(No one’s stomach was pumped in the course of this prank.)

Check out the original One-Liner Wednesday. (Will update link when able.)

Call Home

The phone call of a lifetime. –unknown


There are many things that a phone call can say:

I love you

I hate you

I miss you

I never want to see you again

Don’t hate me

Don’t love me

This is the wrong number

It can tell you about the birth of a new child

The death of someone

That someone has been hurt

That someone has been healed

That someone is trolling their sister to get her to stop using the same line over and over again

(“Where is <insert name>?”

“There’s been a terrible accident.”)

But phone calls can also give you a measure of peace

A remembrance of days that have passed

Even if there are only two who remember them

(With a possible third, my Aunt Isa is full of awesome.)

Looking Back…

Sometimes she looked back at her past and wondered at herself.

“I shouldn’t have jumped out of so many trees.” she’d grumble when her back ached.

“Maybe learning to eat strawberries with barbecue sauce wasn’t the wisest food to become acquainted with.” she’d mutter over the porcelain throne.

“Refusing to learn the piano when the lessons were freely-given by my mother wasn’t economical.” she’d sigh when looked at the work she’d traded for lessons as an adult.

“Ignoring my body’s protests before hiking this morning when I didn’t sleep well last night was stupid.” she huffed as she lost sight of the hiking group.

“Why did I say that to him!” she’d shriek as quietly as possible to her friends later about a boy she liked. “Comparing him as my brother because I was too afraid to say otherwise even to myself was more cowardly then just mumbling an excuse and running for the library!”

Then there were other times when she looked back and decided that maybe she wasn’t quite the little idiot that she had supposed.

“For all that it broke my heart, accepting the end of our engagement was the best choice at the time.” she’d whisper to her cat.

“Being able to spend time with my  nieces and nephews was better than finally defeating that video game I’ve been saving up for the last few months.” she’d laugh as her niece shrieked to be pushed higher and higher.

“Leaving that job before I burnt out was a wiser course of action then trying to do it and school at the same time.” she’d groan happily as she sank into bed after studying for an upcoming final.

Life is full of moments and though there will be many choices and actions that we regret and wish to have never done (be they hilarious or depressing) there are many more that we needed in order to become the people we are today.

This little rant was brought to you by Dungeon Prompt: In Hindsight… which made me look back and laugh at some things and cry at others.

Childhood Favorites

You can’t beat childhood favorites. –anonymous

Matt loved everything about his family.

You’d never get him to admit to it, after all, what self-respecting twelve-year-old would admit that they loved spending a nice evening at home with your mother who was practically ancient (all parents are after all) or his lame older brother who was probably the lamest lamer to ever lame.

(Matt thought he was the wittiest kid in the apartment complex.)

But he loved being at home with his dorky family, whether they were watching a movie or a special on t.v. or playing some stupid board game like Monopoly (his mother always had this ridiculous look on her face whenever one of them took over Boardwalk and Park Place and still lost the whole game because they blew all their money on hotels that no one ever landed on.)

It was just having a quiet evening at home reminded him of playing Sorry with his parents going all out against each other and ignoring their young sons winning the game within half an hour or his father trying to make spaghetti and failing epically while his mother burned the garlic bread to charcoal.

(“That only happened once and I was delirious with a fever! Why can’t you let that go?” his mother would say whenever his father pointed out the spaghetti and bread had been going great until Mary had tried to ‘help’ by pouring four tablespoons of salt into the sauce pan and doing…something…to the oven.)

It was the love and the feeling of home and safety and the ‘nothing can get you while you’re under our roof’ that his parents had always managed to pull off even after they had separated and divorced.

The quiet evenings with everyone in didn’t happen an awful lot anymore. Terry was too busy with work and school and his stupid girlfriend (who Matt actually liked pretty well, but she was taking up more of his lame brother’s time than she needed and she must have something wrong with her in the first place to agree to even be friends with Terry let alone date him.) His mom was always working, even when she was at home, practically glued to her laptop while finishing whatever project was assigned for that week. When she wasn’t working she was exhausted even as she went through the motions to put together something for them to eat.

That didn’t mean that they didn’t have quiet evenings now and then and for that Matt would always be grateful. He didn’t think he much cared for growing up when he realized that it meant things like this could slowly vanish from your life with just enough of it left for you to remember better times and strive to bring those moments back. Life was a lot harder than he had ever thought it would be when he was sandwiched with his brother between their parents watching some meaningless movie while consuming an unhealthy amount of salt and butter on their popcorn.

Matt shook his head at his maudlin thoughts and moved into the kitchen before his mother could come out of the bathroom she’d disappeared into after returning home from work. He might as well get dinner started as Mary had looked a little more drawn around the edges than usual and he didn’t want his mother to be even more tired than she already was.