A Small Surprise

Came home from work and was greeted by my biggest fan. My mother is visiting us from New Mexico for a week. Things haven’t always been this way between us. For a long time, I actively avoided seeing or talking to her. Through time and a lot of introspection, I’ve put aside the past hurts and disappointments.

We spent a couple of hours before dinner visiting and talking about my writing and her fostering of dogs. It was enjoyable and a memory that I’m sure to treasure in the future.

It was about this time last year that I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I look back at all the changes I’ve made in my life in one short year and am amazed. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

Oh, I also got a bit of writing done on my book tonight. I’m about a third of the way through a longish chapter. I’m figuring on three or four more chapters after this one to complete Part 2 of the book.

What? What Did You Say?

At work, I’ve now got the opportunity to move from the warehouse which is NOT climate controlled to working inside doing counter sales. Did a bit of training and realized that even though I’ve resisted for many years, I need to use hearing aids. I had to ask a customer three times what he said. Finally the guy training me, told me what the customer said.

If I can’t hear all the customers, even the soft spoken ones, then there is no way I’ll be able to work the sales counter. I came home and told Mrs. D and she gave me the look. Yes, the look of “About Damn time!”.

Did some research and finally decided to take the plunge and order hearing aids from MDHearing. I should have them by Friday which will let me test them over the weekend and get comfortable wearing them before going back to work next week.

Sheesh, I’m feeling really old right now.

Trying Something New

I’ve been writing a novel off and on for a while. I like how it’s going, but have this nagging fear that it isn’t going to be any good. Yes, I know, Imposter Syndrome strikes it’s ugly head once again.

I came across this forum that you can post your story in chapters. All rights are reserved to the author. I went back and forth on deciding to post my book there. Finally I decided to take the plunge. As it gets lots of views, I think I’ll get good feedback on it. I posted the Prologue and Part 1, Chapter 1 today. I plan on posting a chapter a week. This should keep me motivated enough to keep writing the book until it is finished.

Or it could crash and burn into a million fiery inglorious bits. I’ll deal with that if it happens.

If you want to follow along and read the story as it unfolds, then go HERE and bookmark the story. You don’t have to register to read it, only if you want to comment on it.

The nice part of this forum is that I can have the story pulled if in the future I decide to publish it. Of course, I’ll probably have to do extensive rewriting.

Weekly Progress Report #33

It’s been a roller coaster of a week. With the hormone therapy slowly exiting my body, my logical mind thinks that it should be a steady progression. That is far from the truth. Some days I feel much better and then there is a setback for a day or two. Stress definitely causes me hot flashes that can go on long after the stress is removed.

I didn’t post that much last week but I did get a bunch of writing done on my book. It’s progressing quite well and getting exciting to me. I did try to keep to the routine of a regular writing time, but fell a bit short last week. Hopefully I can stick to the routine this week a bit better.

Goals, let’s take a look at where I’m at. I’ve cleaned it up a bit and deleted the completed ones.

  • Rewrite short story Lump -In Progress
  • Rewrite short story The Curse
  • Finish first draft of Part 2 of The Altered Wars – In Progress
  • Continue the Brandon Sanderson lectures

I had designated Thursday’s as my editing and rewriting day. That was the day I was exhausted and didn’t get anything done.

For the second weekend in a row, I got out to the garage and continued organizing. I also started a small project. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any woodworking. I was spoiled when I was in New Mexico with a huge workshop. Now I have a one-car garage to work in and Mrs. D likes to keep her car in it. So it has been a challenge.

Mrs. D is excited that I’m even attempting a woodworking project. I think she had given up hope on me ever doing any. Especially this last year when I was battling cancer.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Writing Challenge #20 – The Clearing

Prompt – Write about a character who finds an odd-looking egg in the forest.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Harry Greun dreaded going into the forest. He told them that he only wanted urban assignments, but they ignored his protests and insisted he was the man for the job. He wore brand new hiking boots, jeans and a plaid flannel shirt with a knit cap. He thought he either looked like a Seattle hipster or a lumberjack.

Harry checked his compass carefully and then started the perilous trek amongst the trees. He needed to hike three miles due north to get to the compound. Of course, the underbrush was thick and he had to take a lot of detours. Checking his compass frequently, he estimated he was only a mile from the target.

A rustle in the bushes to his left made Harry stop and hold his breath. Snake? Bear? To his relief, it was only a rabbit that hopped out and curiously looked at Harry for a moment and then dashed away. Harry let out his breath in relief and in the same moment cursed this assignment. He checked his compass again and lamented that his cell phone didn’t have a signal. GPS would have made this a lot easier.

He looked at the sun on his right and checked the compass again in disbelief. If he was truly going north, then the afternoon sun should be on his left. This couldn’t be right. Harry turned in a slow circle looking while glancing at his compass. Puzzled, he realized that he was probably lost. With only a few hours until the sun went down, Harry needed to make a decision to keep pressing on or abort the mission.

Looking ahead, there were several downed trees blocking his way. On a whim, he decided to climb up and over them instead of circling around. As he got to the top, he spied a clearing, the first one he had seen since starting this adventure. It wasn’t a very big clearing, maybe twenty feet across. He kneeled down on the tree he was standing on and took a closer look at the edges of the clearing. Seems there were downed trees all along the perimeter. Surprisingly, there were no stumps in the clearing, only wild grass and wildflowers. In the center, there looked to be a small mound.

Thinking this could be a bad idea, but throwing caution to the winds, Harry jumped down toward the mound. At first glance, he thought it could be a really big ant bed, but he didn’t see any ants. He glanced at his compass and the needle was swing around wildly. Mystery solved why the compass wasn’t working correctly. Harry pulled out his Bowie knife and gingerly probed the mound. A clink made him catch his breath once again. Could it be treasure he thought?

Digging carefully, he finally unearthed what looked like a metal egg. It was bigger than a goose egg, but smaller than an ostrich egg. The metal looked to be somewhat shiny, possibly steel. Why on earth would someone craft and egg and then place it in a clearing in the middle of a forest?

Harry decided this was something that his friend John Ang would love to see. He reached down and grasped the egg. A thunderous roar and flash of light made Harry clinch his eyes shut. He slowly opened them and found himself in front of a door in a hallway. Confused he looked around and realized he was outside John’s office. Looking down, he found that he hand was grasping nothing. He opened the door and there was John busy at his desk working on calculations.

“Harry! Isn’t it a bit early for Halloween?”

Harry eased himself on the sofa and took a deep breath, “Um, I’m not sure what happened.”

John peered at Harry with concern, “You okay? Tell me what you remember.”

Harry thought about it and then shook his head, “No, I think I’ll keep this one to myself.”

John laughed, “This is one for the history books. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in such a state.”

“Put it this way, I’m never, ever going to take an assignment that involves a forest again.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

All stories of Harry Gruen are now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.


Business meetings took up almost all of my two week visit to France, but I was determined to do some sightseeing, so I called in sick.

Finally a chance to see Paris, I got into a taxi and off we went only to slow to a crawl.

I asked the cab driver, “Why is there so much traffic?”

“Detour mon ami.”

“Detour? Why are we on a detour?”

The cabbie laughed at my obvious confusion, “De Tour De France, the bicycle race!”

The challenge? Write a story in 6 sentences, no more & no less, and if you’d like, share your creation or just visit and comment on others’ ideas, with GirlieOnTheEdge, Denise. The prompt is “Detour”, and here’s where you join the party: Six Sentence Stories

Strange Mornings

Photo by Ruslan Alekso on Pexels.com

It’s been a weird week, especially in the mornings. Monday morning, I woke up and for some reason thought I needed to be at work earlier than usual. I’m the receiving manager and I start work a half hour later than the shipping manager. Occasionally, I’ll go in to work at the same time as the shipping manager, usually because there is an early truck to unload.

I couldn’t figure out why I felt the need to be in early. Maybe I forgot something? I finally shrugged off the feeling and went into work at the normal time. Sure enough, I find out that the shipping manager has a family emergency and wouldn’t be in. So guess who has to do both shipping and receiving. Yeah, me. Very long day at work and quite stressful.

Tuesday morning, I did something completely out of character for me. When I heard the alarm go off, I got up to turn it off and noticed that it had been going on for four minutes. What? I usually turn it off within seconds of it going off. I must have been tired from the day before, more tired than I usually am. Another day of doing both shipping and receiving caused more stress and I started having more hot flashes than normal.

Wednesday morning, I woke up normal. However, my morning routine was completely disrupted as my internet was down. I did an outage check and it was down for the whole neighborhood. I felt off the whole day. The shipping manager returned and I worked hard to catch up on my receiving. Hot flashes got pretty intense this day.

This morning, I woke up normally again, however, I felt like I could go right back to sleep. I struggled to keep my eyes open even after two cups of coffee. I poured a to go cup and went to work anyways. I felt tired all day. When I got home, I laid down in bed and slept for almost two hours. I haven’t done that since last October when my liver was declining due to the cancer treatments. Again another day of intense hot flashes.

I don’t know what Friday morning has in store for me. I’m hoping for a completely routine normal morning.

Meanwhile, I continued writing on my book Monday night and Tuesday night. I knocked off a chapter that may just be the pivotal chapter of Part 2.

Last night, I sat down to do the Six Sentence Story challenge. The prompt word is “Detour”. The obvious came to mind. Detour of life or taking a detour literally. I didn’t want to do the obvious. Call it ego, call it pride, call it whatever you wish, I try to do the non-obvious when I write the Six Sentence Story. I shelved the challenge and hoped that I may get inspiration later. I still have time as the challenge runs a couple more days.

For now, I’m going to take it easy for the rest of the night in the hopes that tomorrow returns to normal.

Weekly Progress Report #32

Huge improvement in my writing routine. I’ve carved out an hour each night that seems to work really well. If I can keep to the schedule for another week or so, then it will become an ingrained habit. My to-do list is slowly getting worked on.

  • Finish first draft of My Cancer Journey Completed
  • Rewrite short story Lump -In Progress
  • Rewrite short story The Curse
  • Finish first draft of Part 2 of The Altered Wars
  • Setup Storylines page on this blog Completed
  • Continue the Brandon Sanderson lectures

Priorities this week is to work on the first draft of the book, “The Altered Wars” I last worked on it during the month of November. I want to have it finished by the end of June, but we will see.

Worked on the garage workshop yesterday and will continue today. It’s needed a cleanup and organization for a long time. Finally felt decent enough in energy to start tackling that job.

Today is our wedding anniversary. We don’t have anything special planned. As it is the third marriage for both of us, we are both a bit jaded on celebrations. We will occasionally do something, but it isn’t a high priority. On our fourth wedding anniversary, we both completely forgot it. Our two youngest were graduating from high school and our oldest had just gotten her associate degree. Wasn’t until a few days after all the hoopla that my mom remembered our anniversary and let us know. Oops!

We have been together now for eighteen years and Mrs. D is definitely a keeper. She is and always will be my beautiful bride.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Writing Challenge #19 – The Rain

Prompt – Write a third-person story about two friends playing in the rain.

Photo by Viktorya Sergeeva ud83dudc99ud83dudc9bud83eudec2 on Pexels.com

The dark clouds rolled in from the east toward Sunnyvale Retirement Home. Ethel and Mabel had been enjoying the view of the lawn with the distant trees in the background from the porch.

“Mabel, we better think about getting up and going in, rains a coming.”

“Pfft, Ethel May, don’t tell me you is afraid of a bit of rain?”

Ethel shook her head, “I’m not afraid of rain, but I don’t want to get my good Sunday dress wet.”

Mabel took a sip of her lemonade and said, “I do declare, you must have a month of Sunday dresses as I’ve never seen you wear anything but them.”

The heavens opened up with a gentle shower. The air freshened with the sweet smell of rain. Puddles started forming in the low spots of the gravel road that led to the home.

“Oh look, Ethel, isn’t the rain nice? Do you remember when we used to play in the rain?”

“Oh lordy, child. That must have been a hundred years ago. I’m getting way too old to play in the rain.”

“And too cranky,” muttered Mabel.

“What? What did you say?”

“Never mind, I jus think we ought to have at least one more time to play in the rain. Look at all those puddles jus beggin to be jumped in. Do you remember all the fun we had when we was youngin’s? When is the last time we actually had fun? I swear on my pinkie finger, I haven’t heard you laugh in forever.”

Ethel glowered at Mabel, “I remember. I also remember the scoldin’s we got when we came in all muddied up tracking dirt in the house. Besides, that rain looks cold to me, I don’t want to die of pneumonia, I’d rather die in my sleep dreaming of my late dear husband.”

“Pshaw! You mean the husband that you nagged to death. I saw the relief on your face when he finally passed on.”

Ethel put on her shocked face, “Mabel Kay, I do declare! You shall not disparage the memory of my husband. He was the finest …”

Mabel interrupted, “Yes Ethel Mae, we all know about your sainted husband, but lest you forget, I was there with you crying on my shoulder all the times he was mean to you. Oh look, the rain is lightening up. Come on Ethel, while we still have the chance. Please come and play in the rain with me.”

Ethel took a slow look around, “Well, maybe. No, what am I saying! I won’t be found frolicking in the rain with you or anybody else.”

Mabel narrowed her eyes and said in a low voice, “Ethel Mae, you either come play in the rain with me, or I’ll let everybody know you have been sneaking into Mr. Charles bedroom for years, even before your so-called sainted husband passed.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

Mabel got up from the chair and took a step toward the edge of the porch. She looked back and with a knowing smile said, “I would dare. Now get up and humor this old woman one final time.”

Ethel slowly stood, “Is it cold?”

“Of course not. You know as well as I do that summer rains here in the low country of South Carolina are always warm. It’ll be jus like takin a shower.”

Mable and Ethel gingerly walked out on to the lawn in the rain. The paused next to a small puddle and Ethel brought her foot down splashing water and mud all over both of them. They laughed and moved to the next puddle where Mabel splashed them with even more mud. By this time, arm in arm, they were laughing and giggling like a pair of loons.

The Sunnyvale orderlies eventually came out and whisked them back inside to get them clean and dry.

“Miss Mabel and Miss Ethel, I can’t believe the two of you. Ninety-eight years old and playing in the rain like you was young again.” said the head nurse.

The old southern ladies grinned at each other and headed to their shared room to lie down for the night. Morning came and the orderly checking on them discovered that Mabel and Ethel had passed in the night. They both wore grins like they had been dreaming of playing in the rain.

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Author’s Note: Usually I have a good idea of what I’m going to write in these weekly challenges before I get started. This time, I sat down and had no earthly idea what to write. Somehow, the story slowly took shape and then like a locomotive at full power took off. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.