Monday, November 30, 2009

Flickertail and Paint in the Weeping Willow

Flickertail the Llama and Paint the Horse were watching TV when they saw an ad for an auto insurance company. It talked about a driver hitting a tree and mentioned how to get information from the other driver.

“I’m blaming the tree,” said Flickertail. “It should have barked out a warning.”

“At the very least, it should have planted itself in a different location,” agreed Paint.

“What kind of a vehicle do you suppose the tree was driving?”

“I don’t know but it had a trunk.”

“Maybe it was a Subaru Forester.”

“I’ll bet the other driver was a Forest Ranger.”

“It did happen in a National Forest Park.”

“Do you think the tree suffered from any broken limbs?”

“I think the tree should be charged with inattentive standing.”

“The tree was ticketed with paper from a former cousin who happened to be hit on Woodlawn Drive.”

“I guess the driver couldn’t see the forest for the tree.” “I hope the tree told the other driver to leaf it alone.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

another excerpt from "Where is My Family?"

“Did you have a good time at Karen’s?” Mom asked.

“It was OK.”

“Only OK?”

“I only knew a few of the kids.”

“Did you make any new friends?”

“Well, there was one really cute boy. I think he was 16. He was flirting with me.”

Mom looked horrified.

I laughed. “Don’t worry, he danced and flirted with all of the girls. He even flirted with Karen’s grandma. If you’d been there, he would have flirted and danced with you too.”

“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. It wasn’t so bad meeting new people, was it?”

“I guess not.”

I wasn’t comfortable around strangers but there was no sense worrying her. I guess I am just one of those people who isn’t good in social situations.

I knocked on Brian’s door. “Oh good, you’re back. I found some websites you might want to look at. They have forums for adopted and foster kids. They might help you find your mom.”

“Do you think I should find her?”

“Only if you do. I think I’d want to know things like, do I look like my mom? You have a good singing voice. Wouldn’t you like to know if you got that from your mom? Maybe she can tell you something about your father and what he was like. There might even be some health issues you should know about, that could affect you.”

“I never even thought about the health stuff. My case worker said she would help me find her if I want.”

“Well, check out the forums anyway. They may help you decide.”

“OK. Thanks, Brian.” I took the sheet of paper he gave me with the list of websites and turned to go to my room.

“Hey, Beck?”


“Let me know if there is anything I can do to help, OK? Even if you just need a shoulder or an ear, huh?”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flickertail & Paint Hide William

“Paint, I need your help.” Flickertail, the llama emailed Paint, the horse. “It’s less than two weeks until Thanksgiving and we need to find a good place to hide William, the turkey. The meteorologist on the Weather Channel is predicting snow by the end of the week and I want to get him hidden before then. It’ll be too easy to track him in the snow.”

“Is it cold in the barn? You know how I hate the cold. I always get a hoarse throat when it’s cold and damp.”

“Well, I’m sure a Texas Rose like you will feel the cold a lot more than I do.”

“I’ll ask Norma if I can borrow a space heater.”

“Better make it two. The barn’s a big space.”

Paint arrived with only one space heater. “Norma said she might need one for herself.”

“Maybe I can borrow another one from Mary for you.”

“Better not tell her I’m here to hide William or she’ll let me freeze.”

“Do you have any good ideas for hiding William?”

“Maybe we could disguise him.”

“As what?”

“How about a hamster?”

“His tail’s too big for that.”

“The AFLAC duck?”

“You quack me up. Seriously, I don’t think he could fake a waddle.”

“The Geiko Gecko?”

“Well, he does believe in being green but even he isn’t green enough for that.”

“I guess we’d better forget about disguising him.”

Flickertail wiggled his long, banana shaped ears in thought. “Last year, we hid him in the tunnel between the barn and the basement of the house. The year before, we hid him in the concealed room in the house. We can’t use those again now that Mary and Tom know about them.”

“Does G.G. eat turkey?”

“Alice feeds her cat food with turkey in it, why?”

“That won’t work then. I was thinking he could hide there.”

“If G.G. didn’t eat him, Alice probably would.”

“I know. We can hide him in the hen house. He can pretend to be a rooster.”

“He doesn’t crow. He gobbles, but that does give me an idea.” Flickertail opened a bag filled with llama wool and dyed it a brilliant shade of blue. “Help me knit this so it will fit over William’s head and body. We need to hide his wattle.”

Paint was perplexed but Flickertail seemed to know what he was doing so she went along with his plan.

“Now, we need about five or six matching pompoms and white pipe cleaners for a crest.”

“Oh, I get it, now.”

“It’s the only fowl I could think of that has a tail bigger than William’s.”

They worked on the tail all through the night. When they had finished, William tried on his new disguise.

“I love it.” William strutted around proud as a peacock. “Thank you both. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your keeping me safe every Thanksgiving. At least this year I can hide in plain sight.”

Thanksgiving came. Mary’s and Tom’s family arrived. About a half hour later everyone left. “Where’d everyone go?” Flickertail asked the house dogs, Cookie and Coco.

“They decided to go out to eat this year. No leftovers for us,” Cookie said sadly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where is My Family? (Working Title)

This is a start on a new book idea I have for foster children. It will continue with the child's search for his or her family (haven't decided on the gender yet) and will end on a positive and upbeat note.

I'm writing it for an 8 to 10 year old audience. That's about the age foster kids are usually told.

I hope it will help foster children learn to accept and deal with what, for me, was a traumatic revelation.

Today, I was told I am a foster child. The people I thought were my family, aren’t. The boy who shared so many good and bad times, isn’t my brother.
I think that hurts even more than knowing my parents aren’t my mom and dad.
We learned to ice skate together. When our dog died, we comforted each other. We played store with empty boxes and cans. He taught me to read. He outgrew his clothes and they were passed down to me. When I wore them, I pretended I was him, as if in wearing them, I could capture some of the magic that was my big brother. Can we ever be close again?
I was told I am special because I was chosen. I wonder how that makes him feel.
Even my toys seem to be mocking me. My favorite teddy with the perpetual smile is laughing at me. I asked my mom, who is not my mom, to give them all away.
I feel like I have been living a lie.
Tomorrow is a school day. Do the other kids already know? Maybe that’s why they think I am weird. I think I’ll pretend to be sick. Maybe I won’t have to pretend. I feel sick.

Friday, November 6, 2009



When we were young and towers of strength,
We were fearless and the future was surmountable.
We thought we could handle all that awaited us.
We even thought we could predict what awaited us.

As we gained years, we gained experience
And knowledge, aplenty so we thought.
We still believed we were invincible
Despite that which tried to convince us otherwise.

Older now, but not necessarily wiser
Life has not always been so kind as we believed it would be
But we muddled through and now we acknowledge
That we had no clue what the future would hold.

Perhaps that’s just as well
We might have given up before we started
And we never would have achieved what we did
It’s hard to open the door when you don’t know what’s on the other side.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Excerpt From "The Steamer Trunk"

“You grew up here in the Bahamas, didn’t you John?”

“Yes, my parents moved here from England before I was born.”

“Do you know why the pirates would have hidden so much liquor in the caves around here? Were they smuggling it?”

“Yes. The pirates made money by running the liquor to the heavily taxed colonies.”

“So, this rum running is nothing new in the Bahamas.”

“It’s been going on in one form or another since the 15th century but Prohibition in the U.S. has increased the demand like never before.”

Rob grinned mischievously. “You feeling like a little adventure?”

John laughed as he headed his boat back toward Nassau. “I thought you’d never ask.”

Under John’s skillful navigation, they caught up with the officer’s boat quickly. Dan and Bob grinned and waved. “We had a bet on how long it would take you to show up.” Dan yelled over the noise of the engine.

“You know us too well,” John hollered back.

Soon afterward Dan cut his engine and eased his boat into a concealed lagoon. John followed suit. “What’s up?” asked John.

“Look over there.”

The men watched through binoculars as Theo and his men pulled up to a schooner. They off loaded several cases of liquor from their boats. “Looks like they had other sources of contraband than just Mark,” John observed.

“Is this undiluted?” they heard the Captain ask.

“Sure is.”

The captain selected one of the bottles at random opened it and handed it to one of his crew. He tasted it and nodded.

“Wonder why he didn’t just taste it himself,” Bob said.

“That’s Bill McCoy,” said Rob. “He’s a teetotaler. He wouldn’t have accepted that liquor if it had been diluted and he only deals in quality brand names.”

After he’d been paid, Theo and his men pulled away from the schooner and proceeded toward America.

“Darn,” said Dan. “The Coast Guard can’t arrest them for having empty boats.”

“Maybe they held some back for themselves,” said Bob, hopefully.

“It sounded like Theo was concerned about the Coast Guard catching them. Wasn’t that why he had Sam and Timothy load some of it in Timothy’s boat?” Rob asked.

“Maybe it was just coincidence that they ran into the schooner and they decided to take advantage of it,” John guessed.

“Are you going to keep following them, Dan?”

Dan shrugged. “No point.”

They waited until the schooner was out of sight to go back to JJ’s Island.

A few days later JJ's Police Department received a report from the Coast Guard.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A sneak peak at my novel in progress: The Steamer Trunk

A knock on the cabin door startled Heather out of her nap. “Who is it?” she asked sleepily.
“Cabin Steward; we dock in five minutes.”
“Thank you.”

As she threw cold water on her face from the sink in the tiny bathroom she remembered the jokes she had heard about ship’s cramped cabins and lavatory facilities. She wouldn’t miss the lack of stretching room in both.
The large awkward trunk she was struggling to maneuver out the door had only helped to make the space more confining. But the villagers would be surprised by what was inside it.

One hundred years before, her great great grandfather had traveled these same waters to bring it to the newly founded village but he had had dysentery. He, his wife, and infant son had been dropped off at one of the ports along the way to seek treatment for him but he had died at the age of 25.

She smiled as she thought about how astonished the people would be to see her and the contents of the trunk when she presented it at their centennial celebration.
When Heather and her trunk touched terra firma she assessed her immediate surroundings. Directly ahead of her were a restaurant and a gift shop. To the left was a car rental place and to the right was her hotel. She decided to go to the hotel first so she could unpack the trunk and make arrangements to secure the carefully wrapped item.

She unpacked her jeans, polo shirts, a lightweight jacket, and a couple of dresses. Next she carefully removed the costume she had hired a costume designer to make, based on a painting she had of her great great grandmother, Virginia. Everyone in the family said Heather looked just like her, right down to her abundance of strawberry blonde hair, her slender frame, and her classic features.

Heather was looking forward to the Centennial to wear the soft blue gored flared skirt with darker blue embroidered flowers. Its high waist was sashed in matching blue satin. A matching bolero jacket had embroidered flowers on the gigantic leg of mutton sleeves and along the open sides and hem of the bolero. A high necked white tucked blouse with a lacy floppy artist’s bow completed the costume. Smiling, she hung up the ensemble in anticipation of the big day.

She would wear her hair in the same style as her ancestor’s portrait. Caught up in a plaited bun atop her head with soft tendrils framing her face and longer curls at her nape, she bore an even stronger resemblance to Virginia than usual. Like her, she would not wear a hat but would opt for some blue plumes in her hair.
Finally she unpacked the unexpected gift she had brought for the community, her real purpose for the visit. It had waited almost a century to be back in its rightful place.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Catnip Chronicles

I love this site. If you are a cat lover check it out. Informative and humorous. Catnip Chronicles