Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NEW YEARS EVE 2014

The final day of the year is upon us.  I chose to stay in my p.j.'s and have been cooking the afternoon away.  My biggest decision today has been whether to have the Turkey Soup or the Marinara Sauce.  The Soup won out an hour ago I decided to throw the potatoes in and finish it off, ready for the table and the tummies whenever hunger strikes.

I don't have anything against the sauce, two of the tummies in the house said they could just eat bowls of it and be satisfied.  I made the executive decision to wait until tomorrow, not only because it is better the second day, but an hour ago I realized I should have made homemade pasta and tried out the pasta machine for the first time.

I have been a bit under the weather since just after Christmas with my stomach doing flip flops.  I had the dedicated help of my nighttime soup stirrers so I got my stocks from the turkey and the ham made and finally felt well enough to deal with them today.

I also have a ham, bean and onion concoction brewing on the back burner, but that is more like a lunch thing, especially since Thomas won't touch it.  Yes, interestingly, my life has incorporated lunch into the mix.  Basically unheard of since my school days (where I ate at at least one of the three lunches I took daily) , or I was working in a restaurant and a break fell upon the afternoon hour ~ which was always rare, not to mention finishing the kids plates when they didn't finish their lunches pre school days.

Christmas went well.  Patrick and Bruce made their usual late appearance and I danced around trying to keep food warm until they arrived.  Oven preheated for the dinner rolls that I know better than to bake before they step foot in the house!  Next year I swear I am going to wait until they arrive to put anything on the table and save myself the stress of reheating more than once!

It was great to have the everyone home.  Everyone but Jeff and his family, who we also got to visit after dinner.  Ainsley got her wish and has a kitchen at my house and a kitchen at her house.  Jeff and her Mom got her a very modern kitchen with a cool upright refrigerator.  I really like it and so does Ainsley!!

My friend Cynthia surprised me with a random visit the evening after Christmas just after dinner.  She has been working two jobs and is one busy lady, so our paths have crossed nowhere.  It was nice to sit and catch up with her.

The holidays have been fun and I am surprised at how quickly the year passed this year.  I have undergone an abundance of changes in my life most of them unexpected, all of them very positive.  The only negative has been the absence of my own personal computer to use at will, but I have worked that out and should be up and running very soon into the New Year.  It has been a blast sharing tidbits of my self with you all and rather miss my time doing so ~

It is my next goal. All I have to do is decide on which tower is available in my price range.  I am checking out NewEgg and their refurbished towers.  Fingers crossed they will have something close to what we looked at before Christmas so I can reestablish my writing routine.

The guys are calling for me to go watch an episode of "Rome" before dinner.  It is a low key night with my family once again and I could not be happier to do what I like best and that is spending time with those I love!
 
That about sums it up ~ except to say Happy New Year 2015!!!! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS 2014

The Turkey and Ham are in the oven, Gram's stuffing is made, desserts ready to be plated and pie is chilling.  Almost everything on my list is checked off.  I am in pretty good shape this year.  Ainsley came over and decorated the tree (Santa can't leave your present a day early under a tree that isn't decorated worked very well!)

She went to sleep the night before Christmas Eve without any tears and very excited to wake up in the morning ~ waiting until 8:01 to wake me up since I told her we don't do anything related to Christmas until after 8 a.m..  She began to protest at that one, but I told her I made the boys wait til 9 a.m. over previous years.

Thomas woke me up at the ungodly hour of 1:30 to bring up her present from the safety of her eager and prying eyes and kept me up until 3:20. During which time we had to figure out how to "wrap" such a big present.  A gaudy gold tablecloth with a big red bow did the trick and I went to sleep satisfied that it would be acceptable.

Richard had teased her the evening before over dinner saying it was little.  She turned to me and said "Gramma ~ I thought you said it was big as a house," to which I just laughed.  When she saw how big it was her eyes got huge!  I don't think she was disappointed with her new kitchen and grill with all the accessories.  She played all morning with it!

Thomas slept all day yesterday and awakened to his present to open.  He knew what it was and has been just as eager to receive his as Ainsley was hers.  Sadly, the RAM was not compatible with his computer speed so now he has to wait for a return and replacement!

Richard and I are spending our first Christmas together.  It has been fun and different.  We wrapped gifts together in the afternoon.  He was eager for me to guess what he got me and wrote me out clues. It turns out he is like a little kid with a secret who can't wait to tell.

Needless to say, I could not guess from the clues and this morning I was very surprised to find a Pasta Machine under the tree from him!  I should have been able to guess that one but I was glad I didn't. Now I can roll out my pasta dough and finally make those Ravioli's!

It has been a busy week of preparation.  I was happy to have my granddaughter spend wonderful quality time with me.  We baked together, she taught me how to draw a cardinal very creatively which is some of our new "Refrigerator Art".  She made some sand art inside some glass ornaments as well and she seriously beat me in our ongoing Monopoly game.  I do not know who tired who out more!

Today is going to be a breeze compared to all of the baking and cooking I have been doing.  The most difficult thing I have left to do is peel potatoes.  My Gram's stuffing was easy and I think Ainsley had fun grinding the pork in the meat grinder which belonged to my Gram.  She will remember it for a lifetime and  I can imagine her all grown up showing her children and grandchildren some of the "old-fashioned" things which I brought to her life experiences.

I will be having a full table today with two out of three of my son's and their Dad's, Richard and myself for dinner.  I am so happy and excited that it is Christmas and am looking forward to spending my afternoon surrounded with my family.  I will see my eldest and his family later in the day since the wrapping was not finished yesterday so gifts were not exchanged.

I am off to spend some quality time with Thomas before my next task is at hand and before the guests arrive.  Life is good and Family is great!  I hope you all have a day filled with Love, Fun, Family and excellent food!

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Loves ya!

Jennifer "GClawdia" Gallant

Monday, December 22, 2014

HOLIDAY HUSTLE

Two days into my 48th year and I have come to a huge realization which is that I am glad I had my children young.  After spending two days straight with my 7 year old granddaughter I am exhausted!  I do not know think that I exerted as much energy raising three boys aged 4 years apart as I have over the course of the 48 or so hours, it has been quite a learning experience as well.

One of my favourite moves "His Girl Friday" 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell; Directed by Howard Hawks ~ a great Comedy to top off my next year as I write away.  You must watch this movie if you like good, clean comedy with a quirky storyline.

The Christmas Tree is up with lights and in the light of the tree and t.v. I write.  The lights get a pass and tomorrow I will finish decorating it.  I am down to two boxes which I am assuming are the tree decorations and I hope the Santa Sleigh which accompanies the lonely reindeer waiting to take off for their yearly jaunt.

My granddaughter cannot wait for Santa to come.  She will be back tomorrow afternoon as planned to spend the night again so she can wake up to her "big" present.  She and my youngest son were begging me to give them their presents early ~ each instigating the situation. It was kind of funny to listen to them, although time is long for a 7 year old who is anticipating a big gift and I want the tree to be finished and her present there when she wakes up in the morning.

It was quite a chore putting it together and I am glad it was one of the first things I did to prep for this holiday.  It was the most difficult part with three of us working to get it together.  I will not say what it is just in case she is psychic but it has been hidden down cellar which is the one place she didn't and wouldn't think to look.

She decorated the two ceramic trees and we set them up on a shelf I cleared and we unpacked a the Nativity as well along with two huge tubs of other decorations ~ Santa's and Snowmen, reindeer angels, bells and wreaths ~ all looking for this years placement.  I am looking for time, which is running out ~ but so are the tasks on my lists.

She persuaded us to let her sleep over two nights in a row, which is something she has never done.  She was a trooper but missed her Mom at the most random of times.  I did pretty good at handling a couple of crying sessions which is something I am not used to, but got smiles and she bounced back to her sweet self.

There is still Gram's stuffing which I have never made, pork to be ground, onions to chop, time to cook.  I cannot wait to taste it once again!  I can almost smell it as I sit here typing ~ as well as listening to Cary Grant fast talking Rosalind by the glow of the tree.

I thrive on having limited time to do things, it is when I do my best and I am up for this challenge.  It seems I am and have been in the thick of it and know I can do it.  Add to the mix the physical therapy which is kicking me sideways.  Slow and steady wins the race is my new mantra. 

It will be a miracle indeed, and I do believe in those so confidence I do have!  I am looking forward to having my missing family members around the table on Christmas and have a pretty good meal planned and everyone should be pleased.  No one will be leaving the table  hungry.

I keep checking my list and cannot think of one thing I have missed, but you never realize you miss something until the second you remember it, knock on wood I will not have any of those situations occur.

The only thing I am most worried about is my physical self which is why I am signing of for now so I can get comfortable and rest up for a full day tomorrow.  I am sure it will include the ongoing game of Monopoly with Ainsley ~ it seems I am playing quite the little mogul as she has acquired most of the property and 100 bills which she refuses to trade in for $50.  She is very shrewd and lucky!  I am tempted to pack the game up and restart it but I know she will expect it to be up and for us to continue it.

The movie is drawing to an end which is very fast and distracting me so I am out but...

 ~ remember that Christmas is a joyous time and I hope that wherever you are on your lists that you have a great day full of love and surrounded by your family because that is what it is all about and all of the work is worth it!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

WONDEROUS WORDS ARE FLOWING AGAIN!

It has been a long while since I put my fingers to the keyboard and shared anything at all.  I think I was last on around Thanksgiving praying for the miracle of my middle son at my table, places set and to my disappointment no arrival. 

While it bothered me to have a couple of empty seats at the table, I was hopeful that my prayers would be answered and lo and behold a couple of weeks ago, my wish came true, thanks in part to my Turkey soup, which he sent his Dad over for and then led him to call and see if there was more available.  I guess the way to a man's heart is his stomach indeed!

 His absence in my life produced an unusual reaction, besides sorrow, it also produced the loss of the little creative voice in my head which allows my fingers to hit the keys and write the words.  I completely shut down along with lacking my own computer to punch away at.

I have had oodles to say, but realize that I have to be in the mood to write and just because I had an hour or so of computer time a day working between my son's schedule and the demands of my days I found that just because I had things to say and wrote things in my head when it came computer time they did not always come back or out at all.

I got to the point where I didn't even waste my time plugging in my mouse and keyboard since there was no point in staring at a blank page which remained blank.  I had access to my sons computer last weekend for a couple of days and did bother to change it up to suit me and found the same thing happening.

So I have been fighting with myself, angry that I have not been able to prioritize my life and my time to suit my optimum conditions to produce anything.  We all know what happens when we start getting angry with ones self, for me, it means a total wall goes up.

So, I think it is safe to say that the Whimsey Show went over pretty well, thanks to the After ArtWalk Party at the Whitney, despite the public tree lighting during First Friday of December which did not produce more foot traffic as anticipated.

Everyone who came like the show and the layout.  A few artists were in attendance and at least one piece was sold!  The following day the Talking Books Event with Stephanie Abrams went off with slightly less attendance than anyone anticipated, but it was a very interesting event for all who were there.

Last Saturday was a travel/adventure day with Richard and I driving to Wassaic to take the train into New York City, Grand Central Station, subways and Chelsea.  You would think at my age and with the short distance from the Berkshires I would have been before, but other than a 9th grade field trip to the Financial District it was all new to me.

It was a eye opening experience and one which I am sure to repeat again.  I loved Grand Central Station and found myself looking up at the beautiful ceiling and around at the architecture and trying to piece it back together to days gone by as I remember from watching old movies.

Throngs of people filled the vast space heading here and there and while I was in line to get a Metro card for the subway I met a woman from England visiting with her son and we had a lovely conversation as the line moved forward.

I spent much of the day walking around looking up and around as we were there to get some architectural photographs for Richards latest series of paintings.  I am sure I looked like a total tourist, but I do not care.

There was a Farmers Market and a bunch of vendors selling goods and people everywhere.  It was much cleaner than I thought it would be and everywhere I looked there were young people dressed as Santa's, girls and boys alike.

We took a bus across town to Chelsea to the district with the Art Galleries and went into a bunch of them.  It was funny to me to see how different art is here in my city during ArtWalk than it is in the Galleries in New York City.  It was rare to see oil paintings, either portraits or landscapes anywhere.  I think two Galleries had paintings and all the rest were a bunch of photos, collages or anime.

It was a very interesting and exciting day for me indeed.  I was exhausted by the end of the day and was ready to board the train.  I could barely keep my eyes open all the way home and was a horrible co pilot during the drive since I had to take medicine after all that.

I am amazingly more set for Christmas than I normally am.  At first I was worried since my middle son wanted "The" gift of the year and the first store had 0 and the second store had 5 but they couldn't find them.  Determined as I was to make my boy happy I scoured every inch of Game Stop until I found the Link Character for his silly little game.

Since I do not do any kind of Christmas decorating until after my birthday (which today is) I am super organized on paper with what I will be doing.  I got the living room re arranged yesterday in preparation for the tree, cleared of shelves for the Nativity and the ceramic trees and today I found the lights I will need.

My Grand-daughter was due to come last night and I planned a Turkey Dinner for her and invited Pat and his Dad since they haven't seen her in a while, but she called in the morning to cancel due to illness so we had a small family dinner without her.

I am calling it a late Thanksgiving since it took two weeks to get my son in his chair around my table.  Believe me I am thankful.  Even though the turkey popper popped and the turkey wasn't done, which I found out when I went to cut into it after letting it rest and finding it needed more oven time ~ so goes my luck and timing! No one was in a hurry and we all finally sat down to enjoy a nice Friday night feast with some of the trimmings. 

With Christmas just five days away I didn't want to go overboard.  This year I finally obtained the stuffing recipe that was part of my entire life minus the past 15 years, stuffing so memorable that I can still taste it.  I only hope I can do it justice!

So Monkey girl is coming over at 4:00 to spend the night and to decorate the ceramic Trees.  Her present is assembled and hidden from her, the boys gifts are locked up and the key is hidden (they are as bad as she is!), baking, decorating and everything else Christmas (except the shopping) is waiting for my birthday to end so that the Christmas spirit can be present in my house.

Words are flowing and with any kind of luck I will be up and ready to go next month if I can shake some money out of the tree for a new computer tower and get back to normal (whatever that might mean!)

Physical Therapy has also started with two visits out of the way and the therapist promising to get me back in shape by the Spring.  It is killing me the next day but slow and steady wins the race in most cases and I hope in this one as well.  I would love not to have arms like lead weights each morning when I wake up.

I am still counting my blessings, more so now than ever.  Keeping the faith and picking myself up when I stumble.  I am off for now ~ miles to go before I sleep (or so they say).  Have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 5, 2014

EXCITING AND WHIMSICAL EXPERIENCES

It has been a month of new experiences, which you all know I love and love to share with you.  Richard and I have been coordinating and hanging the "Whimsey" Show at the Whitney Center for the Arts which will be kicking off tonight during First Friday ArtWalk in Pittsfield, Mass.

We met Linda Graves who delivered her work the other day, along with the work from Gary Lippincott who illustrated the work for a favourite book, Little/Big - which I have had on my shelf for a number of years that she took to get signed for me!!!!

We met Ghazi Thursday night and began the task of hanging the Art for the show.  What a fun time figuring out the layout, making the list and checking it twice, setting up the room, hanging and rearranging the layout and finally going home feeling like all will be well for the show.

We went back this morning after we slept on whether to set up the Colt Gallery or use the last 10 pieces for the last two walls (we opted to keep the art in the same room).  Richard hung the final pieces, I composed the list and Ghazi is busy making the labels.

The prints which are for sale are nicely nestled in an adorable red Sleigh; great gift ideas for the Art lovers in your family by Gary Lippincott, Linda Graves, Kathryn Brown, Dennis Nolan.  

Lauren Mills also has work available, such as Thumbelina Sweeping which comes with a copy of the book which she illustrated.  Jackie Scalzo has some creative notebooks available which were made out of board games which any kid would be envious to have under the tree or in their stockings.

The show opens tonight and runs throughout the month with Gallery Hours Wednesday through Friday 4-7 and Saturdays from 12 - 5 and also by appointment by calling the Whit@ 413 443-0289. 

Kathryn Brown will also be a guest writer for the second "Talking Books at the Whitney" with Stephanie Abrams on Saturday at 2:00 along with Chef Maria Loi via Skype, author of The Greek Diet, Patricia Donaruma Williford, and George C. Kingston along with our very own Stephanie Abrams hosting.  It was a great turnout last month and we hope to see many more in attendance. The event is free and open to the public.

It is going to be a busy and fun weekend!! I am off for now to get ready for the rest of my day.  Hope to see you out and about this evening!

Monday, December 1, 2014

BUSY DECEMBER ALREADY!!! UPCOMING EVENTS

Time is just flying since I last wrote before Thanksgiving and it is now just a scant 19 days until my birthday and 24 days until Christmas.  If these past weeks and months are any indicator then it will be here in two blinks!

I did not get my Thanksgiving miracle that I was praying for.  I was sad, but not bothered when my son declined my invitation to dinner marking it as the first time we have not spent a holiday meal together.

It was bound to happen.  I know his father wishes that he had come, but Tom's Dad came and Richard and I had our first Thanksgiving together.  The food was plentiful and the company good.  We all feasted on Turkey and all of the fixings and the only mishap was the turkey was ready an hour and a half earlier than it should have been!

The Whimsey Show at the Whitney Center for the Arts is on for Friday and I have been observing and helping along the way.  It has been a learning experience.

Today I went along to pick out and pick up Art Work at Lauren Clark Fine Arts in Great Barrington, completely forgetting it was Monday and I had an appointment at 2:00.  When the phone rang and I was on my way back to town to eat some lunch and go at a later time.

Lauren has a fine show of small works going on right now and has some amazing art on the walls, along with pottery, glass, sculpture and jewelry.  I was at the Opening for the Small Works show last week and it was a great crowd.  I can recommend it if you have any art lovers in your family to make sure you stop in and take a look.

Between getting ready for the Art Opening on Friday and all that entails along with the rest of ArtWalk to participate in one would think that that would be enough for one week, not so with me.  A few of my favourite artists will be showing this week with Sally Tiska Rice at Unusual Wedding Rings and Morris Bennett and Anne Roland at Stephen Valenti's Clothing for Men just to name a few. 

Saturday I will be checking out the second Talking Books with Stephanie Abrams, who sent me a note back when I sent her my review of the first program which I will share with you here.


It!s my special pleasure,Jennifer, to spearhead the creation of Talking Books and to encourage my author friends to participate bringing their unique talents from near and far together with local residents and Berkshire Co. Visitors. I envision cresting such buzz-worthy programs that people will cone to Pittsfield and The Whit just to attend another Stephanie Abrams Presents Talking Books at The Whit event. The next "happening" is scheduled for Dec. 6th starting at 2pm. Wonderful authors will share their books and inspirations and mingle with participants including doing book signings! We'll be doing something groundbreaking as well as we talk with, live by SKYPE, globally known Greek master chef, Maria Loi, Food Network star & author of over 30 cookbooks including the Greek Government's Official Cookbook for the 2004 Olympics on Greece & her newest cookbook , "The Greek Diet." Maria's newest restaurant, Loi Seasonal," will open tomorrow on 58th St. between 6th and 7th Aves. In NYC. In addition to her ability to interact with participants at The Whit by SKYPE in Dec 6th, Maria will appear in person on January 17th at the third "Stephanie Abrams Presents Talking Books at The Whit" starting at 2pm. More info to follow about other authors appearing at Dec. & Jan. Programs! Hope to see you there ( mor we'll start RUMORS about you! (shameful plug go my novel!)

 So, I hope to see you all there at the Whitney Center for the Arts for another fine experience!

I am off to relax, have a great day everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HOPING FOR A THANKSGIVING MIRACLE

The snow is falling rapidly, coating everything at a steady and even rate.  It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am thankful that I got everything that I need right here at home.  It is quiet in the house, only the sound of steam coming up from the radiators is penetrating my ears.

Thomas is fast asleep on the couch, Richard is working at the studio and I am working on what little I have to do for my holiday prep in between playing games, reading and writing.  It is going to be a quiet Thanksgiving this year, unless I get unexpected visitors.

My eldest son has to work and my middle son is punishing me.  Still I remain hopeful that he may come to his senses it being a holiday and join us for the meal.  He is stubborn, as his Dad told my youngest son a couple of weeks ago, of course he gets that from me, so I am not going to hold my breath.  I can only hope that he finds some love in his heart and some hunger for Mom's Thanksgiving dinner!

I have so much to be Thankful for this year, as I do each and every year.  My family, my health, a roof over my head and new and true love (not to be mistaken with what passed for true love during previous times in my life)

My children are healthy and I have a secret that I can't share (which the thought of puts me over the moon!) I hate to even count my blessings aloud for fear that they will somehow be taken away from me.  Suffice it to say that I am blessed this year more than any of the previous years of my existence.

I am debating calling and making amends with my son, although I have done nothing to him personally.  I understand his reasoning which is fear based (I assume.) although he would deny it.  I feel responsible since I have taught him this behavior by the simple fact of my life and how I respond to things.

So many times during his life my family chose not to accept decisions in my life which led them to stop talking to me and me to them, so how could it not be normal for my son to do the same to me?  I miss him very much however and can only pray that he will come to a different understanding than the one he currently possesses.  I can only hope by some miracle that my stubborn boy will soften a bit.  Here is hoping for that miracle!

I would like to extend the warmest of Thanksgiving love to you all and hope that you too have everything you need during this time.





Sunday, November 23, 2014

CONFESSIONS OF AN ADDICT

Being an addict is difficult.  I must confess, although some of you know this about me, it may come to a surprise to a lot of you to learn that I have a huge addiction.  I didn't plan on it, it just kind of happened.

One day I was an average single parent.  Raising my three sons, living my life, working 60 to 80 hours a week.  I was up at 6:30 a.m. and worked non stop at my family, my job and keeping a very neat and orderly home and going to bed around 1:00 a.m. each and every night and waking up and doing it all over again, day in and day out.

That all changed.  The funny thing is that when everything changed for me I had a premonition five minutes before and then boom ~ be careful what thoughts you think since they just may come true.
My life changes occurred when I was pulling out of my driveway.  I had done this numerous times, as a passenger since fourth grade and then as a driver since the age of 16.  We used to joke about getting hit occasionally and I am surprised that it took so long for an accident to happen at the top of our driveway which was on the end of a street connecting to a major route.

One minute I was driving a car length and a half to the stop sign, the highway was all clear when I started and then out of nowhere I was hit halfway to the stop sign and my car was being pushed thirty feet down the road.

I remember looking at the driver of the car as my car was being pushed and thinking 'You can put your brakes on anytime now, during my non carnival ride experience, when she finally hit her brakes and I came to a stop in front of my neighbors house and almost to my mailbox which was on a pole across the street from their house.

My car got banged up a little my body a little bit more so as it had taken the impact of the force of being hit on the drivers side between my front wheel and my door, hitting my head and getting whiplash in the process.

I spent the next few hours in the hospital and the next few years getting treatment through the Pain Clinic, taking medicine and doing as much as possible to get my life back.  The pain took over my life and the medicine made my brain more fuzzy than it did to control the pain.

I quickly went from a person capable of doing anything that I wanted and needed to do with a type A personality to having many limitations and a fuzzy brain to boot, losing my talent of naming songs within three notes along with being able to focus, concentrate and put sentences together properly.
I could not deal with that so in my spare time (of which I had ample quantities) I began to play games to improve my small motor and brain function.  I had recently gotten a computer so my choices were unlimited as to what I could access and I remember developing quite a routine playing time management games and doing research.

My children have been gamers for many years before my accident, me not so much.  My time being a gamer, I thought, was different from theirs until recently. Sure, I liked my time on the Internet and I use it to distract myself from pain now that I am not taking medicine (and haven't since 2008).
My pain didn't go away.  My problem didn't go away either.  I use video games to distract myself from excessive pain and boredom.  My life is fuller now and my brain thinks in a straight line once more but I still use video games to keep sharp.

The problem seems now to be that the limited time I have on the computer since my computer has been broken for a few months and I have to share my sons computer when he is not using it, I now spend a majority of my time keeping up with games that I used regularly which makes it seem like that is all I do.

My problem has caused me to lose friends (on Facebook) who are not gamers and who do not understand the use of said platform to distract myself with my video games when I have the limited opportunity to solve my puzzles, feed my virtual dogs, earn my gold and beat people who are ahead of me.

I have developed a serious competitive side which I have never had before and strive to get higher scores than my teammates.  True, I used to be on longer and space out my game postings but life isn't perfect and my recent surgery has left me with less ability, some more pain, writers block and limited focus leading me not to get a working computer up and running.

I could be addicted to pain medication but I am not.  I could be addicted to booze and drugs, but I am not.  No ladies and gentlemen,  my name is Jennifer and I am a video game addict.

TALKING BOOKS AT THE WHITNEY CENTER FOR THE ARTS ~ REVIEW

It may be cold outside but that isn't stopping Ghazi Kazmi from bringing sizzling hot culture to the Berkshires with his newest venture "Talking Books" with Stephanie Abrams.  She is a Travel Expert Radio Host and Author of "Rumors."  After she read it over for the fifth time she decided "Rumors" was worth putting her name on.  It is a must read and hard to put down from the reports I have heard!
 
Add to the mix Sandra Howell a West Springfield resident whose love in life is the American Curly Haired horse. The American Curly is a  rare horse that she breeds.  She also helped to reestablish the line in Sweden by sending over her mare for breeding.  She has mixed her love of horses with her love of writing.

Sandra wanted to write her memoirs but friends and her writing club encouraged her to share her stories of her horses since they loved to hear about them.  This led her to  write the "Equine Mysteries" among other writing endeavors.  Sandra loves to inspire people, and promotes Therapeutic Riding Programs and Rescue Horses.

Malachy McCourt was also in the house and had the audience roaring with his Irish accent and his excerpts from his book "A Monk Swimming." Here are the links to the reading, it is not to be missed! (Click highlighted links for part 1 and part 2.)

The three writers shared their styles and processes with a large crowd of writers and book appreciators during a two hour period. "Talking Books" is going to be a regular feature at the Whitney Center for the Arts with a second scheduled for December 6, 2014 at 2:00.



All of the writers present agree that anything you write begins with the things you know ~ interesting or unresolved issues.  They develop characters from people they know and then modify them. Both Stephanie and Sandra use outlines and Sandra knows how her book will end before she begins.

Stephanie received feedback from a neighbor who had questions and suggestions. While she doesn't always follow the advice she said one needs to be open to listening and understanding and then just go with your gut.

Stephanie shared the fact that when she writes, something happens during the process of writing and she is taken over and the characters "come through her." She often writes through the night without even realizing how much time has passed.

Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Ireland.  He writes about his wild life and drinking days.  He said "I don't write, I write things down."  He insists the mind is like a computer which retains everything.

Although he did not finish school, he said it doesn't matter as long as you can tell a story, and tell a story he does!!  He writes longhand and dictates his story into the computer. As a child he listened to the older folk who told stories in the oral tradition and recommends you just "Tell the story!"

Time passed quickly as we were entertained and schooled by the first three writers in this ongoing series. The evening ended with a song "Will Ye Go Lassie Go" and the audience chimed in at parts. Malachy's parting words were: "Live everyday as if it is your last, cuz one day you will be right."




.


Monday, November 17, 2014

MAKING THE MOST OF MY TIME

Monday and the view out my window is dismal and dark.  Fitting since I woke with a knot in my stomach which I can only hope is a passing thing.  The sky spitting rain to go along with the pain.  I think back over the past week to ensure that it is not from nerves.

My week went pretty well with an amazing night Wednesday at the Whitney Center for the Arts and a new program "Talking Books" with Stephanie Abrams hosting.  Three very diverse writers on the stage sharing their experiences and giving me food for thought and some wonderful laughs from Malachy McCourt with excerpts from his life and his book.

This is going to be a regular thing at the Whitney, with different Authors, of course, and Stephanie Abrams hosting.  I really enjoyed listening to published authors go through their processes and share with a room filled with people, including my own sweet cousin Marguerite, who insists that I have a book inside me which she cannot wait to read.  Someday I hope to prove her right!

The two hours of sitting was killer on my back for a change instead of my neck and I spent the last 30 minutes praying for the night to be over ~ the stabbing pains down both of my legs driving me to distraction and straight to bed with some medicine once I got home.

I had too much to do to let a little pain get in my way.  My granddaughter was due on Friday for a long overdue sleepover, the first since my surgery.  We were both looking forward to it.  I had to pull myself and my house together for her visit.  The house was in better shape than I was but I managed to get everything done and feeling fine by Friday night when she arrived.

I took the easy way out and ordered pizza and wings to be delivered.  She arrived with a book on Archaeology and a kit to excavate a dinosaur from two hunks of rock.  She and Thomas set to work in the dining room (after covering the table with newspaper).  Unfortunately Thomas' hunk of rock held most of the pieces of dinosaur "bones" but Ainsley was a trooper and the next morning she busily tried to piece the dinosaur skeleton together.

It took me back to the days when her Dad was younger than she was and naming all of the dinosaurs and whether they were meat eaters or plant eaters and even knowing how to spell those names at four years old!  Ahh the memories!

When the pizza arrived I packed up all the rock pieces and dust (and was there a ton of dust) and the tools away and we all sat down and enjoyed some delicious dinner together.  I was surprised to find my boyfriend had never eaten a hot wing before ~ so I exposed him to something new for a change!

After dinner Ainsley decided it was time to play her favourite game and that is being a banker.  She took out her computer and hired Thomas before the rest of us got involved in the game which saved Thomas at which time he escaped to the safety of his computer.

I had baked brownies after ordering the pizza and we were all anxious for them to cool for dessert, which was made even better with the suggestion of Ice Cream to go on top which was promptly picked up.

My boyfriend introduced a new concept to the banking game by making a paper check to be deposited into his "account" in addition to having the bank send out his car payment.  Ainsley got a kick out of that and made me make a check for deposit as well.  This game seems to be progressing into a possible career.

In the morning we (Ains and I),  had to play bank again since Ainsley herself wanted to deposit a check and even included the car payment deduction.  It was fun, as it always is, hanging out with my monkey girl.  She had me in stitches while she played WII Resort as she delighted in knocking her opponent off of a tower in Sword fighting and yelling at the game while she played ping pong when she felt she got robbed points!

Finally, she was ready for breakfast and I made pancakes which is our usual Saturday morning ritual when she is over.  With the addition of some frozen blueberries in a bowl and some fresh pineapple she was set.

I still felt like crap when I woke up, but I learned long ago how to push the pain out of my brain and focus on something else.  I had promised Ainsley that no matter how bad I felt we would do this sleepover.  I tried not to show how bad I felt through it all.

After breakfast we set to work on baking some coffee cakes I had been putting off making.  Since she was too busy to bake brownies with me the night before I figured there was no time like the present and I love to use cooking to distract myself.

She set to work chopping the walnuts and I set to work measuring and mixing up a double batch of bread and topping (which also goes into the bread).  She patiently waited for me to put it in the oven in order to challenge me yet again to some more sword fighting and ping pong and even golf which it turns out she doesn't like.

Noon came too quickly and my son and his wife were at the door.  This time we were ready.  I made sure she was dressed for a change.  While she was getting ready I packed up all of her rocks and tools again, found her discarded socks, made sure she had her toys loaded up her backpack and she was ready.

We had to wait for my son to get in a few games on the WII before they departed.  I do love visiting with my family and we all laughed at Jeff's WII character he made so many years ago, which looks so much like him it isn't funny!

When they left I decided to lay down.  I was supposed to go to a performance that night and it was clear to me that I was probably not going to make it.  I was sent to bed to take a nap (which didn't work) and even the hot water from the shower seemed not to work the magic I was hoping for.

In the end I missed the performance guilt free since they were packed I got the feeling that it was okay that I would not be able to attend.  I guess I have to learn my limits all over again, something which has been a constant thing over the past fifteen years.

Now, since the new surgery it is a whole different ball of wax.  I feel good in a way, but when these new symptoms come on I am not really too sure how to deal with them.  Fortunately I will be seeing my neurosurgeon this week.  At least today is just a minor stomach ache and not anything stress or spine related!

I am getting a little antsy without my computer.  I think the under abundance of information is dulling my brain a little bit.  I hope that will motivate me soon to try to piece something together so I can get back on track and kick start that little voice in my head once again.  I am beginning to miss it's endless chatter and being able to write when it does speak up.

Until next time, have a great day and don't forget to smile!


Friday, November 14, 2014

UNEXPECTED PARTS 1- 9 (AND AN UPDATE)


In light of being really busy today and not having time to write before my granddaughter arrives for our fabulous and long overdue sleepover and to have my story all in one place so I don't lose anymore of it accidentally, (long story ~ me and the nook do not get along)(notice part 8 is different than the original!) I decided to share the entire story to date in one place up to the newest part 9 which I wrote the other day.

I do hope you will take a moment to read, comment, like and share.  I hope to be back up and running soon, since I have been feeling better and may be able to get my own computer up and running before too long.  

Without further adieu, my unexpected 9 part story which began from a 500 word photo challenge off of Glipho, whom I love!!  This piece, written and posted as cliffhangers  has taken me to a whole new place as far as writing goes.  I also have more fiction which deviates from my "normal" blog writing which I had been doing regularly.  Feel free to check it out.

I also have decided to opt out of the Novel in a Month during November since I do not have regular access to a computer, so for now this is the best I can do ~ Part 10 is in the works and who knows after that!!

UNEXPECTED
Jennifer M. Gallant aka GClawdia


It was getting dark as I walked down the wooded road.  I was not afraid.  Being alone in the woods was only scary if you let yourself be scared.  A twig cracked to my right.  Okay, maybe I was  a little scared.

After escaping from the basement of the house I was held up in I had less to fear out here in the woods than what my captures might have done for me if I hadn't of used my head and taken the one opportunity to escape.

What a freaky day it was turning out to be.  I  was minding my own business when I found myself thrown into a car and dragged into a house I had never seen, to be left alone in the creepy basement.

They should have tied me up if they didn't want me to escape.  Thankfully they were not that smart. Now I found myself on this wood road as night fell.  I should be more concerned that they might find me, but I was more concerned about trying to figure out where in the hell I was.

The car ride wasn't that far, so I can't be too far away from where I had been snatched up.  I thought as I walked.  Crossing the stream and heading as far and as fast as I could away from my prison, I was happy to be away from there.

Since I had left in a huff, storming out of my house and swearing I would never come back, I doubt anyone back home had even begun to worry that I wasn't home yet.  They probably wouldn't worry for a couple of days and it had only been a couple of hours!

No service on my cell, what would I say to anyone if I did have service?  Hey, would you come get me?  I am in the woods but I don't know where - I could see how that would play out!  Safer in the woods ~ I thought to myself.

I had a feeling if my captures were looking they would be driving on the road, not searching the woods, thinking I would go to where I could flag someone down and escape more quickly.  No stranger to walking, and knowing it is better to be off the main roads, I chose the woods.  After all I didn't look like I would be an outdoorsy girl, but looks can be deceiving!

I saw a solid stick along the path, that would make a good weapon I thought, in case I was wrong and they did run into me.  Chances are ~ I was okay, but better to be safe than sorry.  I continued deeper down the wooded road.

Night fell.  Now I was beginning to get scared.  I kept walking, listening for voices, noises in the woods.  Any signals which would alert me to be ready for fight or flight.


Unexpected Part 2

I noticed an outcrop of rocks off the path.  It was up high so I decided to check it out and have a rest after walking for what seemed like days.  I gratefully sat upon a nice smooth rock, back up against a tree and feet up.

I was glad I had my sneakers on and not some stupid pair of uncomfortable shoes.  I lit a smoke and looked around.  Not too much to see, and now it was even darker!  I finished my smoke and explored my surroundings.  

There was a little shelter under one of the rocks.  Maybe I should take a rest here and start out in the daylight, I thought to myself.  I was very tired.  Nothing had looked familiar.  No idea where I was.
Better not to light a fire ~ in case they were in the woods looking for me.  A fire would be a dead giveaway to my location.

The woods were quiet as I gathered some dried leaves to make the hard ground more comfortable. Glad I had my gloves and hat with me to say the least and my fleece under my coat.  I took my coat off and used it as a pillow.

As I lay there, I began to think about what the hell had transpired.  All I did was get into an argument with my son, storm out and maybe if I wasn't so mad I would have noticed those sketchy people before they grabbed me and threw me in the car.

I wish I had been more observant!  Getting mad at myself would not change the situation that I was in.  I thought back to the basement of the house I was put in.  Not much to go on there either.
They had blindfolded me after putting me in the car so I don't even know what direction they took me ~ or if I was headed in the right direction towards home.

What I wouldn't give to be home right now, sipping a tea, laying in my bed watching t.v. with my son.  I hope he isn't too worried, I thought as I fell into a semi deep slumber.  I woke with a start ~ a twig broke very close by.  It was darker than it had been when I sat down to rest.  I could barely see my hand in front of my face.  What time was it?  Was that an animal - or a person??

I listened.  Thankful that I had found this little cave under the rocks.  I held my breath and listened harder.  My eyes adjusted to the darkness, but I still did not see anything.  Maybe it was just an animal ~ I thought.

I was too wired to go back to sleep.  After ten minutes I did not see or hear anything else.  I decided to keep walking and maybe I could make it to the road and flag down a car ~ would it be safe?
Were they still looking for me?  Why had they taken me?  These and many more questions flooded through my brain as I walked back toward the path.


UNEXPECTED PART 3


Should I knock and find out where I was, perhaps use the phone or should I head toward the road and try to get a location marker, I wondered as I neared the house.  I decided to knock.  At the very least I could call home and let them know what had happened to me.

My son should be worried by now.   He usually called me if I was gone more than an hour.  With no service he was probably frantic by now.  Hell, I was beginning to be a bit unnerved myself.  I knocked on the door.

I heard noises inside the house as someone approached the door and slowly the door opened.  I am sure no one expects visitors before it is even light out and I probably looked a mess after sleeping under a rock in the woods.

Before me stood a middle aged man, coffee in hand.  He did not seem too surprised to see me.  I did not recognize him.  I explained I was lost and needed to use the phone if he had one.  He invited me in and offered me a cup of tea.

The phone rang while he was in the kitchen making my tea and I could here some of the conversation from the other room.  " ...she is here."  That was enough for me ~ I quickly ran out the door ~ my heart was pounding a million beats a minute.

Fuck!  What the fuck did he mean "she is here?"  Who the hell was that and who was on the other end of the phone.  I ran!  I did not know what else to do!  Shit!  Now they had a location on me and it was getting lighter by the second.

Things were not looking too good for me at the moment!  I needed a place to hunker down before they located me.  The road would not be safe ~ why hadn't I just gone to the road in the first place! Just my luck the one place I see is a danger zone!


UNEXPECTED PART 4

I stopped running to listen.  Scanning my surroundings for shelter ~ safety.  Someplace to stop and think and get my bearings on not only my location but the entire situation.

I didn't hear anything ~ no dogs barking tracking ~ not yet, mainly I could hear the sound of my heart pounding in my ears over all else.  I hadn't run like that in 30 years and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack!

Looking behind me, I saw nothing, heard nothing.  Good sign?  It was hard to tell.  Knowing now that two separate houses of people were involved in snatching me up and bringing me to this desolate place ~ which was not too far a drive from my local neighborhood store~to an area which I was unfamiliar with!

To my left ~ up the hill ~ I remember thinking to myself ~ why is the option always up????  I saw another crop of rocks which might offer some shelter/safety and give me some time to think to catch my breathe and to figure out what my options were here.

I headed up.  I was glad that the ground was firm and there were no tracks being left to give me away. Had it been the week before with all the mud after the rain I would not be so lucky.  The shelter of rocks would do I noticed as I reached my destination.

I sat down and listened some more.  Not  hearing a peep ~ including birds I noticed, had they gone silent because of me, or did they know something I was not privy to yet?  I took a chance and lit a smoke and grabbed some broken branches which were laying around the rocks to make my hiding place less evident.

I lit a smoke and settled into my little cave.  I could see the wood road I had come off of below me through my "doorway".  I felt pretty secure for now.  I rummaged in my bag.  Checked my phone again ~ still no signal, damn mountains!  

What else was in this bag that could be helpful??  Some gum ~ good, unwrapping a piece of Spearmint gum and popping it in her mouth.  I got a rush from the sugar and some saliva. My stomach grumbled as a reminder of not having eaten in two days, and wished I had gotten that tea before the phone rang.

He probably would have drugged it, I thought, and then I would not be free in the woods (hiding in a rock cave).  I would take the rock cave over a basement ~ or who knows what would have been harsher conditions since I had escaped the first time.

Not for the first time the words "What the fuck" flashed through my brain.  This indeed is the most bizarre situation and did fall in that category nicely.  Focus ~ I thought to myself, as I chewed my gum.

Noticing the birds had begun their music once again seemed to reassure me that the men were not looking in the woods at this moment in time for her.  My heart was slowing to a more manageable pace now.

Good, calming down, I thought.  No one  could think with their heart pounding like that ~ not clearly anyhow, and I need to think.  I needed not to know what this was all about, more immediately, I needed to think about how to get out of these damn woods and back to home (safety).

Maybe they thought I had gone to the road and got a ride.  I wished I had done that earlier, now it did not seem like an option.  Maybe not right away ~ maybe later.  I will play it by ear.  I rummaged some more.  Nothing to eat ~ I had only bought some cajun seasoning and gum at the store.

I had long ago stopped carrying the knife and the pepper spray since the dog was gone ~ they had been protection from other dogs after the two attacks of her dog while they were walking in the city.
I thought about my dog ~ a source of comfort and sorrow combined.

I wish he was here with me now, just to have companionship, petting him always made her feel better ~ and those teeth would be good protection.  But he was gone now, I never got used to the idea of my fearless protector not being there protecting me.

Not that I had ever needed protection before ~ not like now!!  Focus ~ don't start getting all sad and mushy ~ I reprimanded myself for straying off into loss and sorrow.  I had no time for that right now!


UNEXPECTED ~ Part 5



Carefully I removed the door from the rock cave, crawled out and got to my feet.  I needed to stand and stretch after the refreshing, yet cramped nap.  I still had no idea what to do.  I looked around and noticed a paper on the ground about twenty feet away.

I walked over and bent down to pick it up.  It was a couple pages of the local paper.  I looked at the print and then looked at the date. Well, how could that be?  I thought to myself?  The paper was dated two years later than it was in reality.  Was this some kind of a joke?  I wondered.

The implications of the date on the paper were lost on her.  How could it be two years later than it was when she walked out of her house and to the store?  That was messed up.  I had no clue!
Damn, I thought, my sons really must be wondering where I was!  Two years?

I was having trouble processing this information rationally.  It must be a joke paper...I thought to myself again.  I tried to remain calm and process this new information.  I walked over to a tree and relieved myself and headed back to my shelter and lit a smoke, processing this news.

Where had I been for two years?  Who were those men and what did they want with her? Had she been in that basement for two years???  I wanted answers, but I needed to find my family.  Needed to get out of these woods and back home.

I smoked my cigarette as I thought, enjoying the normalcy of smoking a cigarette.  The only normal thing that I could grasp at the moment.  Stay calm, I thought again.  Don't freak out ~ that paper could not be right!

I could feel myself losing control ~ reacting emotionally and that was the last thing I needed right now.  At least I was not in immediate danger.  Then I heard a branch snap down the wood road from whence I came.

Quickly, I took shelter and put up the door...did they see the smoke?  Did they see me?  Was it them? Panic rose inside of me.  Stay calm, I thought, calm, peaceful, Quiet!  I held my breath and waited for them to find me or walk on by.


UNEXPECTED ~ PART 6



I watched from the safety of my small opening as a boy and a dog took a stroll in the woods.  If they were with the people she fled from and the house whose door she knocked on she could not pick up on it by the body language ~ they appeared harmless enough.

My heart once again began to slow down to a normal rate.  With this new realization that I had been gone for two years I was at a loss for what to do.  Now, not only was I somewhere I had no clue about, but it was suddenly two years later?!!?

Someone sure had a lot of explaining to do!  That could wait, however, until I could pinpoint my location and  family.  I thought about the day I had left in a huff ~ a minor misunderstanding ~ yet, hadn't I said I was never coming back as I stormed out?

Suddenly, I became concerned about my family.  What if I couldn't find them?  What if they thought I really had planned this and no one had noticed or cared that I was gone.  Sure, I said I was never coming back all the time ~ but I always did after a brief cool down ~ but two years!

Now the desire to get out of these woods seemed more urgent.  I decided then and there that I would find the road and find out where in the hell I was and try to get back home.  Home, would I even find it?  

What if my kids thought I had left ~ would there be anything but anger to go back to?  They were going to be very angry with her indeed!  As a Mom, they should realize that she would never go to such extremes over a stupid fight which quite frankly she could not even remember!

Had anyone been looking for her? Where had she been for such a long time?  I waited for the sun to drop down, but not completely set before I got on the wood road to try to find a main highway, knowing that I would get no answers hiding in a shelter in the woods.

I was worried, hungry and tired.  Now she was something else as well ~ determined to get back to her family safe and in one piece and find out what I had missed over the course of the previous two years.

When I was on the wood path again, I began walking in the direction of the boy and the dog.  I was fairly confident that I would hear the noise of the traffic or see street lights ~ something to indicate the road.

I remembered when I was knocking on the door the day before that the driveway led to a road ~ so one could not be too far away.  With any luck it wouldn't be a secondary road.  At the very least I hoped for a sign so I could get my bearings.

Was I even in my hometown?  This question and a few others filled my head as I walked through the woods.  The birds were still making noise, despite my presence.  That was a very good sign indeed.
As night fell, I was grateful for the warmth of my fleece and my coat.

The night air cooled as the night sky deepened first orange slowly changing to pitch black.  It became very dark indeed.  I listened and heard what sounded like running water.  Just in time ~ I thought ~ I sure could use a drink.

I continued to walk towards the sound.  Down the path and further down the hill ~ I saw the twinkling of headlights in the distance ~ a road!  I began to get excited ~ thoughts of water completely out of her head now ~ warmer thoughts of home and my family occupied my brain instead.


UNEXPECTED PART 7
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:53 PM

 I made my way in the direction of the headlights careful to be aware of my footing as I made haste to get to the road before dark.  I wanted to be able to (hopefully) assess the drivers of the stopping car to avert another poor choice in judgement.


I was still careful to be mindful on my way through the woods  down the rocky and rooted way towards the direction I had seen the car lights coming from.  I took a piece of gum out of my bag, forgoing the water I had originally planned to scout out and I looked around to make sure no one was around.

Ten minutes later I made it to the road.  It was a secondary road, not quite dirt but close to it.  Hmm, which direction should I head?  Since the house I had knocked on was behind her, I chose to move forward and stick to the edge of the road in case I needed to duck into the woods if my intuition kicked in.

Pretty quiet, somewhat warmish evening with a pretty sky was before me.  Soon it would be full on dark.  I didn't mind walking, keeping my eyes open for any signs or landmarks I might recognize along with trouble as I made my way down the road.

I thought some more about the boys.  Sure they were grown men, they had been when I left but they would always be her babies.  I wondered what they thought about my "disappearance" as I made my way, hopefully, in the direction of home.

I  hoped I was heading in the right direction.  I needed to find out where I was.  Why was there never any signs when you needed one?  With any luck she would hit a main road soon.  There were sure to be markers on a road bigger than this.

A phone would come in handy right about now.  I took mine out to see if I had a signal.  I was surprised I had battery life.  Still no bars on the phone.  Oh well, maybe once I broke free from these mountains...

I remembered how on one stretch of the road the phone would just be dead ~ no warning, no service and then just as suddenly good to go, that was in a car not walking.  I wondered how many steps I would  have to walk to get service!

I began to count as I walked on down the road.  "Think happy thoughts", I thought as I counted.   Check the phone after 100 steps.  100 steps and still no service ~ no traffic either.  This really was a remote road, must have been someone coming home from work.

I wondered if I would be lucky enough not to have to walk down this stretch of road without getting a ride and some answers as to just where I was.  I began to think about how to bring that up without giving up to much information.

Too much information ~ now that was a joke considering that I had 1) no idea where I was 2) no idea how I got there and 3) what had happened in the two years!  I would have to be tactful.  I would also have to be super cautious.

I knew that two separate entities were involved by the fact that I escaped the basement in one house and knocked on a door for help at a second house and those two places/people seemed to be connected somehow.

I stopped to check the phone again ~ no signal.  I decided to have a cigarette as I walked.  I liked to walk.  I used to walk to think ~ driving to think was her favourite with the radio blasting... I was lost in thought when I saw a car approaching.

I could not tell if it was friend or foe but I tried to flag it down.  My luck could not be all bad.  Think positive ~ happy thoughts~ trust your instincts ~ I thought to myself.  The car slowed down and pulled over just ahead of me.

I cautiously approached the car.  The driver put the passenger side window down "Hey, you look like you could use a ride." said the driver of the car.  I ducked my head down to get a look at the person speaking to me.

A young man around the age of her sons.  Okay, that was a slightly positive non threatening greeting. "Hi" I said, "Where are you headed?"  Hoping his answer would give me a clue as to where I was.
"Heading to the city" said the young man.

No help there, but I did live in what was the "city" so with luck they were on the same page. Anywhere was better than that basement or the woods.  I had enough of sleeping on the ground for a while.

"Hop in, I will give you a ride."


UNEXPECTED PART 8




I hopped into the car, sat down and put on my seat belt.  I did not sense any danger from this curly headed young man.  "I know how horrible this road is to walk ~ it gets long." said the young man.
The radio was playing quietly and the car was warm and cozy after her days in the woods.

"Where are you headed?"  I asked.  "I am meeting some friends in town to see a play at the Theater."  he said.  I could only hope it was my city.  I would soon find out.

The young man seemed to sense that conversation was not something I wanted so he turned up the radio a little and soon the sound of the tires on the road lulled me to sleep.  I wasn't sure how much time had passed when he said "We are almost there."

I opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep out of them.  It was the best sleep I had gotten in a while. Good thing he wasn't one of the bad guys I thought to myself as I looked around.  I was relieved to see a familiar sight ~ the lake she grew up on was to her right.

I tried not to let my excitement show at the sight of it.  Relief passed through me.  Perhaps I would see my boys and get some answers to the mystery of what had happened to me.  They arrived on the Main Street of the city where I had been taken from.  A very familiar sight indeed.

Closer and closer to home and family.  I was excited!!!  "I hope this gets you closer to where you need to be." he said.  "It is perfect, " I replied, "Thanks for the ride ~ I totally appreciate it!  Have a great time at your play."

"You're welcome," he said.  They both got out of the car.  He headed to meet his friends and I lit a cigarette and contemplated whether I should call home first or just show up.  I was still a little groggy from my nap so I decided to walk in the direction of my son's residence.

Not too much had changed in the two years I had been away.  Perhaps that paper in the woods was not accurate ~ I was less concerned about the passage of time and more concerned about seeing my family.

I wondered what they thought about her disappearance and if they would be angry with her for the millionth time.   As  I walked nearer to their home I got nervous about their reactions.  Maybe I should call.

I took out my phone and began to dial and hung up the phone.  What would I say over the phone to them?  Maybe I should just show up.  It was early, just beginning to get dark and it wasn't too much further now.

I became more anxious and excited as I neared the boys home.  I decided to phone after all.  I dialed the number and the phone rang and rang.


UNEXPECTED PART 9
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 3:53 PM


The phone continued to ring as I walked towards the last place I knew the boys were.  I hoped that they were still there.  I was so nervous as I anticipated seeing them and their reactions to seeing her.

I began to wonder just how angry they would be.  What could they be thinking?  I did leave the house angrily, but not so angry that I would leave and have no contact for a couple of years and I hoped they knew that.

I walked the familiar roads not passing any other pedestrians as I went.  Now that I was in familiar territory I was not afraid at all.  First things first, I thought ~ see the boys and find out what they know.

After that all I wanted was a shower and some food and a real bed to sleep in.  I was sure that their anger would be minimal and that their relief at seeing her alive and well would override that anger. Time would tell.

I arrived at the street where the house was located, passing the second elementary school I had attended years before, which was now converted into condominiums.  The house was halfway down the street, I could see it from where she was on the corner.

It was difficult to tell if anyone was home due to the angle of the house.  I dialed the phone again to give them a heads up and to feel out their reaction.  Still the phone rang and rang.  I dialed the other numbers I had for them.

Still no answer.  That was odd ~ or was it?  Sometimes they neglected to answer the phone when they were busy.  I continued down the street  trying to keep my nervousness at bay.  This was almost as intense as walking down the road and waiting for a ride!

I tried to clear my mind. I had no idea what I would or could say to them to explain my absence.  I knew that they would not believe me, yet some part of me hoped they had developed some compassion in the time I had been gone.

Each step closer made her more anxious in anticipation of seeing them and about their reactions.  I lit another smoke and approached the house.  The house looked the same and as I walked up the driveway towards the front entrance noticing a familiar car in the driveway.

I took it for a good sign and my nervousness abated somewhat.  I took a final drag off of my smoke and tossed it to the ground and crushed it out with my foot before I walked up the porch steps onto the enclosed porch.

Everything looked the same so I could only hope that they still lived there and that someone was at home.  I had figured her youngest son would have moved in with his brother and his Dad after her sudden departure, otherwise I could not even begin to imagine where to find him.  I wondered where all of my belongings were as well.

Knock, knock, knock on the door.  My heart was pounding and my pulse was rapid as I waited for signs of life.