#TuesdayThoughts: Tuesday your Tuesday

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Still in Grayville over here. Looks warmer, though; most of the snow is gone, patches of a color more green than it should be in January now bigger than the white ones.

I’m drinking my coffee but not drinking it enough, I think, I’m still woolly-headed and my alarm sliced through the very middle of a dream.

A busy dream.

Busy with what, I don’t know. I also don’t know why I can’t just have dreams that involve sitting quietly somewhere pleasant. That seems relaxing.

Editing went not too terribly yesterday, though it did highlight how many problems I have earlier in the manuscript. But that’s what getting your hands dirty, getting up to your elbows in the muck of the mess of the manuscript, is all about.

Or so I tell myself. For me, it’s the hardest part.

Anyway, I’m going to Tuesday my own Tuesday, and you have a terrific one yourself.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#TuesdayThoughts: Eyes front.

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It’s very gray out today, and not in the going to snow kind of way. Just flat and colorless.

Might be fitting.

It’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday. Funny how some weeks are like that, each day grinding along like some of the teeth are missing.

Or there are too many teeth. Neither is good.

I feel like I slept a lot but I had strange dreams so I’m not very rested, but the creative part of my brain is buzzing anyway. Probably accounts for the weird dreams too.

Oh well. This year I’d like to keep focused on the idea that forward motion is forward motion, no matter how small. In other words, eyes front, people.

Eyes front.

Have a great Tuesday.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#HappyNewYear: Why Hello There 2020!

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It’s almost not 2019 anymore, a year that looks so modern, so in the future, but sixty years from now will look as old-fashioned as a Model-T and women just securing the vote.

Maybe.

On to 2020, the most futuristic-sounding year yet. Funny how they all feel that way at first.

And, in what is now firmly a tradition, here is a short story from my collection, Better Living Through Gravy and Other Oddities:

In with the Old

“It’s nothing personal,” she said as kindly as she could muster, “it’s just time.”

“But I’m not nearly as used up as they said I would be,” the other one said, “not nearly at all. I’m not wrinkly, or old – I’m kind of in prime time.” She gave herself an once-over, careful not to break her bond with the contraption behind her.

“Unfortunately, we really need the machine.” She sighed and tapped her pen on her clipboard. “We only have a few more hours.”

“We?” said the woman in the machine. “We only have a few more hours? You’re going to install that thing,” she gestured with her head toward the giggling baby making faces at the man in the white coat at the other end of the room, “and go on with your routine. You think don’t have it down by now? Daily dial turnings, just one click. Then you, with that pretend-serious look, yanking that lever. You think I didn’t notice you enjoy those lever pulls? Well I did. And you do.”

“Now come on, Wanda, there’s no need to be this way. You can go out with dignity.” She shot a look across the room to her coworker. He was too enthralled with the baby to get her message for a little help.

“What am I supposed to do now? I was huge, I was everything.”

“You’re sounding like a bad movie.”

“They don’t tell you what you’re supposed to do when it’s over.” She relaxed her grip on the copper handles inside her chamber, her visible gears going slightly slack down her arm toward her shoulder, the teeth just a bit looser. The worker took that as a good sign. She quickly tamped down her encouragement, in case Wanda saw.

“There are always retrospectives,” the woman said. “You know, ‘Best ofs.’ And there’s still plenty to do in the first few months, while people are getting adjusted. You know, rent checks, 18-month calendars, that kind of thing.”

“And then what?” said Wanda. “Then what happens? Where do I go? What do I do?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” the woman said, finally able to return to her script. “You see, we have this lovely facility, all of you go there, you know, when you’re finished. Here,” she slid a glossy folded paper from beneath the clip of her board and held it toward Wanda. “There’s even a brochure.”

The pictures were bright and multicolored, with others sitting and laughing, eating, strolling by the water, the patina of their clockwork innards glinting warmly in the setting sun. It didn’t look too bad. She nearly let go of the handle to take the brochure, to open it, to see what kind of crafts there were, as promised on the cover, when she remembered.

“No,” she said.

“Wanda,” said the woman, her tone sharpening, gaining hardness around the edges, “I’m afraid you haven’t got a choice. It’s time.”

She shook her head as much as the chamber allowed, which wasn’t much. “I’m not going.”

“But what are we supposed to do with him?” She pointed her pen at the baby, who turned, stared at them and burst into a full beam, his tiny gears engaging as he reached his arms toward Wanda. “It’s his turn now. Don’t you want to give him his turn?”

Wanda closed her eyes. It wasn’t fair, she thought. It went by so quickly, her lifetime of usefulness, her purpose, and now she was supposed to retire off with the rest of them, with some anonymous body of water and a dining hall and crafts. Though crafts are nice. But still, this was her machine, it was hers.

The worker had moved away, but she could hear her talking softly, her sentences interspersed with the cluck of her two-way handheld.

“No, no, I’m telling you it didn’t work.” Something unintelligible garbled through from the other side. “No. Clamped on, completely. Like a vice.” Again, soft electronic murmuring. “It’s like Oh-Three all over again.” More garble. “What? She can’t hear me. I’m away from the chamber.” Indistinct chatter. “Fine, fine, Trinity. Like Trinity all over again.” She waited for the response. “That would probably be best.” After a long interlude of murmur, the handheld fell silent.

“Umm, Wanda?” said the worker several minutes later, the ice in her voice retreating. “I’d like you to meet someone.”

“Not interested,” she said, her eyes still closed. She knew the truth, the worker had practically said so herself, with the conversation she thought Wanda couldn’t hear. She was only a number to those people. Oh-Three indeed. “What do you call me when you’re out of the lab?” she said, her eyes still completely shut. “When you’re talking to your buddy over there at lunch or wherever it is you go?”

“Wanda,” the woman said, her discomfort obvious even to Wanda and her closed eyes.

“What do you call me? One-One?”

“Wanda, really, there’s someone here you should meet-“

“Or Eleven? Do you call me Eleven? A number to you, that’s what I am after all this time.”

“I thought she couldn’t hear,” she said to someone, though Wanda wasn’t going to bother to open her eyes to see who it was. “I swear, I wouldn’t have used the technical–“

“Technical?” said another voice, a new voice, a male voice. “Technical? Really? Is that how you’re describing it?”

“Well-“

“Her name is Wanda, you know,” he said, his tone both relaxed and oddly engaging despite the rebuke. Wanda couldn’t help herself, she opened her eyes a crack.

“I’m Oden,” he said with a half-smile. “I’d shake your hand, but I understand your position. Obviously,” he said. His gears were slightly rainbowed with a healthy dose of age. Wanda thought they made him look distinguished.

“Oden,” she said. “So I?”

“Replaced me, yes.” He took a step toward the chamber, careful to keep a distance. “Flip of the switch and it was me in there. And you over there,” he said, and smiled at the baby, a real smile, not a put-on one.

“What did you do?”

“I went,” he said. “It was time. It’s how it works, you know.”

“I know,” she said, looking at her feet, so comfortable in the only spot they’d ever known. She glanced up and met his gaze. “I know,” she said again.

“The place really looks like the brochure,” he said, offering her his hand to help her to step out. She considered it, but didn’t lessen her grip on the handle.

“What about the crafts?”

He took the hand he’d been holding out and dug into his pocket, his gears gliding smoothly along. He pulled out a wallet. “I made this,” he said. “Stitched it myself.” She took in the uneven stitches and frowned. “I’m not a very good crafter,” he added quickly, “but they are fun to try.”

“Hmm,” said Wanda. She glanced at the worker who looked at the clock on the wall and back at Wanda, her face full of cautious hope. Oden set out his hand again.

“The sunsets are every bit as pretty,” he said, “and the best part is there are no more dials, no more levers. No more chamber.”

“But I like the chamber,” she said, scooting back to be further back within it.

“You like the chamber,” he said, “because all you know is the chamber. Take a leap.”

“No, no,” said the worker, “that’s him.” She pointed at the baby.

“You understand you’re not helping the situation?” Oden asked her.

“I do, yes, realize that now.”

“So what do you say, Wanda?”

She gave her chamber and the lab a final look over. She could probably make a better wallet. She could certainly make a better wallet. Maybe they’ll have pottery. Slowly, she released first her right hand and then her left, and placed it in Oden’s outstretched palm. The machine beeped behind her while the worker anxiously watched the clock, the man with the baby leaning, ready to place him.

She stepped out of the machine.

The woman grasped a crank on the side of the box and turned it furiously so that the chamber got smaller and smaller and the arms shorter and shorter. The man, watching the clock rather than her or the baby, placed the baby where she had been moments before but where she would never fit now. The baby giggled.

Without looking back, Wanda took Oden’s arm, and together, they headed toward the door. They reached it and disappeared into the flash of sudden white light.

The worker leaned against the machine, her hands shaking. “Happy New Year, everyone,” she said weakly.


Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.
Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing

#TuesdayThoughts: Where is the Jingle?

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You know how I said that, with my regular themed posts, most days I sit down at the computer and out comes the blog post?

Well.

Today is not one of those days.

Outside it should be a day of both hustle and bustle, with people rushing through last-minute errands, inside that snow globe, but it’s brightly sunny, and again is warm, the ground not white but undulating browns, some even very close to green.

And the traffic is quiet, and the movies have lied to me because I don’t see a single person clumsily juggling brightly-wrapped packages.

You can’t trust the movies.

I’m still working on a crochet project I’ve been at for a while, and I’m starting to think I may never reach that stage of the effortless construction, where you don’t even have to look and there it is.

That seems like it would be fun.

Have a great Tuesday and a lovely Christmas Eve if you celebrate.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#TuesdayThoughts: So much ugh

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You know those days when you feel out-of-sorts but for no discernible reason? Well, here I am.

I didn’t sleep well, so there was that, but not just that. Lots of little irritations; lots of large irritations; so many irritations.

It’s irritating.

My workout felt hard this morning, though in all fairness, it felt hard because it was hard, and I’m still feeling it, I guess.

Who knows.

Some Tuesdays are like that. Even in Chicago.

(Bonus points if you get the reference. Bonus points even if you don’t just for hanging around me and my grumpiness.)

Anyway, I’m going to get on with it, irritating or not. Have a wonderful Tuesday.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#TuesdayThoughts: Distractions

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I’ve been working on learning to crochet, and I’m nearly through my first project. A scarf.

It’s pretty.

That’s largely to the credit of the yarn, which is multi-colored and beautiful, but go me for picking it.

I’ve tried before and it didn’t quite take, but I found a great video and I’m well on my way. Now all I want to do is practice, but of course, life exists.

It’s as effective a distraction as baking, only way fewer calories. So that’s a plus.

The purpose of this distraction is to keep me from focusing on other ones, deeper ones, broader ones, ones outside of my control. So much of the world is outside of our control, especially now.

I can control the yarn.

Sort of.

I mean in the most general sense.

At least the scarf should be warm. Winter is here.

Have a terrific Tuesday.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#TuesdayThoughts: Possibly?

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It may be December but the gray remains persistent. Still, all the holiday lights up sparkle and pierce the gloom. It’s pretty.

In winter, it’s like Chicago is an entirely different place, stripped of all of its warmth, the wind a badge of honor to survive. And yet the people are the same. We look at one another and we know.

We know.

I spent hours on the phone dealing with health insurance yesterday, and the whole process exhausted me in a way only bureaucracy and automated phone systems can. Still reeling today.

So much so that editing sounds like fun. LIKE FUN.

And I’m going to get to it. You have a terrific Tuesday.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird AND FREE!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.