TOO MANY FLAKES DOTH A GREAT WHITENESS MAKE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – White

White. I am not white because snow is white and I do not look anything like snow. The whites in my wash are not nearly white enough and anyway, it’s all racist. Everything needs to be neutral beige.

The sky has cleared. It was sort of white. Now it’s sort of blue with patchy puffs of white. It’s getting cold again and they think it might snow Christmas Day, but they don’t know anything anymore because the weather is refusing to behave itself.

Too many flakes

If you use super-duper Tide, your whites will be whiter than white. I know this because they said so on television, so it must be true.

May our Christmas be dusted with the lightest of fluffy white snow, but nothing deep enough to plow.

ABOUT THAT PAIN IN MY RIGHT ARM? – Marilyn Armstrong

First, let me clarify: this doctor isn’t going to give me any more Prednisone or other steroids. He says it will melt my kidneys and kill me faster than my heart valves. Bummer.

What a killjoy. It’s like getting caught by the Baseball Commissioner for taking steroids except all I want is to walk like a regular person as opposed to limping around and falling over a lot.

But Dr. Lawrence IS a fancier of lidocaine shots. Today, I got one in my right shoulder and after his Christmas vacation, he will take on my hips.

I don’t have anything wrong with my hips. It’s my back that’s screwed up. The back is so calcified and arthritic, it sends signals to all the other local joints, so my bad back makes the rest of me hurt. Double bummer.

It turns out my shoulder has become arthritic, too. It didn’t used to be. It was one of my “normal” joints. Now, like the rest of me, the shoulder is calcified and that calcification is pinching a nerve.

That’s why my hand goes numb. And the rest of the arm hurts so much.

To be fair, it only hurts when I lie down, as in “trying to sleep.” If I could sleep sitting up, I wouldn’t have a problem, or at least not yet. It’s one of the reasons I stay up so late. Lying down hurts, but sitting up isn’t nearly as bad. Of course, then there’s walking. That’s bad too. And let’s not even think about running!

It’s nothing special. Just my body being itself. I sure hope this shot works.

Garry got one in his left shoulder about two months ago and it worked for him so I live in hope.

ANGEL’S SONG by Kim Harrison – A CHRISTMAS STORY

Get Your Tissues Handy!
I’ve got a gift from me to you today, written long before I found publication and was raw with the need to reach and connect and short on literary grace. You may have seen this last year, but it still makes me cry, and like the best gifts, please feel free to share it.
However you celebrate the season, we hope you find joy, warmth, and a feeling of completeness.
Holiday wreath
-Kim, Tim, and the boys
Angel’s Song
angel clipart
by
Kim Harrison

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright. . . .

Humming, Kaylin held her coat closed against the cold, more from habit than anything else as she dodged through the unseeing, evening shoppers. She was anxious to get home. Her work had seemed to stretch forever today, but finally, The Boss had let her go. She couldn’t wait to see her daughter-it had been too long since the entire family had been together.

Slipping at the bus stop, she grasped the door to the bus, just making it on behind two tired women as the doors closed. The sound of their money jingling into the box chimed like bells, and the bus jerked into motion. Kaylin stood where she was, gripping the ceiling support as the gears shifted. Her gaze rove over the heads, looking for acknowledgment she existed. There, at the back where the heat didn’t reach, was a smiling face and a beckoning hand.

Though she didn’t recognize him, Kaylin went to sit with the old man. She smiled shyly, the anticipation of her coming evening prompting her to be more bold than usual. “I’m going home for Christmas,” she said by way of greeting as she jammed her gloves into a pocket.

“First time?” the old man murmured, his brown eyes going sad in memory.

She nodded. “Since my accident. I can hardly wait to see everyone together.” Kaylin put her hands in her lap, glad she couldn’t feel the cold anymore.

The man met her eyes. “See that boy up there?” he said, pointing with his chin. “I’m spending Christmas with him. He’s a college student on his way home. He needs all the help he can get, and my family doesn’t miss me anymore.”

Kaylin bit her lip and fussed with the hem of her coat’s sleeve, uncomfortable with the idea she would eventually be forgotten. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Make the most of the time they remember you. As it’s said, it came to pass.”

She didn’t know what to say. “This is my stop,” she said, glancing out the window to the colored lights.

“Best hurry. The door won’t wait for you.”

Giving him a hesitant smile, she hastened to the front, edging to the sidewalk past the three girls giggling about the presents they had gotten for their boyfriends.

Kaylin’s mood went soft as she took in the familiar street gray with twilight. The curb was jammed with cars. A noisy, joyful reunion on her front steps had the dogs barking. Excitement tingling to her toes, Kaylin waited on the walk, following the last of the children inside.

Her shoulders eased as she stood in the entryway, basking in the cheerful clutter and the too-noisy greetings. She waved as she spotted her grandmother in a corner, deep in the thick of it. The old woman’s eyes sparkled as they met hers. Her fingertips again had a rosy glow, and the blue tint Kaylin remembered was gone.

“Jasmine is in the kitchen!” her grandmother called over the noise. “Go on. We’ll talk later.”

Relieved her grandmother understood, Kaylin followed the smell of heated punch into the kitchen. She stopped in the open doorway as her heart clenched.

Jasmine stood on a chair before the counter, stirring a cup of green frosting. “I can’t do it, Daddy,” she complained, her high voice clear over the excited babble of relatives. “It’s too hard.”

Kaylin’s hands reached out, but she stood unmoving, forcing back the unexpected tears as her husband set aside his dishcloth and went to their daughter.

“Mommy always helped me, Daddy,” the child said around a sniff as his hand covered hers atop the spoon and they stirred together. “I want Mommy. I miss her.”

“Hush,” he said, the pain in his voice causing Kaylin’s throat to tighten.
“I miss her too, sweetheart, but look. She’s everywhere, especially tonight.”

Eyes bright, the man pointed to the dusty Christmas candles Kaylin had refused to burn, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. “There are her candles, right where she always put them. And the mistletoe above the doorway? She made that just last year. And the bow? Remember her spending an hour on that to get it to look just like the one in the store window? And you can smell her touch in the gingerbread men and taste it in the fruit punch. She’s everywhere.”

“No, Daddy,” the small girl protested. “It’s not the same. I can’t see her at all.”

“But I can,” he said, giving her a hug. “I can see her in you when you cut out your star cookies, I watched her hand move yours when you hung the ornaments on the tree, and I can see her eyes when I look at you. So, Jasmine, she is here.”

“I can’t see her,” Jasmine said, sniffing as she licked the frosting from a finger.

Kaylin ached. The Boss had warned her it would be hard, and she thought she could handle it. But this? This tore at her. Kaylin came close to stand behind her daughter and nudged a cookie, as if she could make the star any less lopsided. Perhaps . . . .

Perhaps she could pretend.

And so she was a silent participant, each moment harder than the previous, a bittersweet mix of memories. She hovered in the kitchen while dinner was prepared, blowing on the gravy to keep it from boiling over until someone remembered it. She watched the rolls brown through the oven window with Jasmine, admonishing the child they weren’t done yet when Jasmine pronounced them finished. She stood in the archway to the living room and worried about the carpet as paper plates over-flowing with food were balanced on knees. She sat at the kitchen table while the dishes were washed, catching up on the women’s gossip with her fingers curved around a forgotten cup until it was whisked away.

And then it was done. Kaylin knew the signs: the last swallows of coffee, the slowing conversation, the children collapsing in their mother’s arms. Kaylin sighed. She didn’t want it to be over.

Jasmine was slumped in her frills and white stockings in her father’s arms, too sleepy to be anything but content. Kaylin sat on the arm of the couch beside them, running her fingers unfelt over her daughter’s hair. There was one final tradition as yet undone, her most cherished part of the evening, and Kaylin’s heart fell when the first of the coats appeared. They had forgotten.

“Wait, Daddy.” Jasmine stirred as her father rose to say his goodbyes.
“We didn’t sing yet. Mommy always sings. Please?”

Kaylin waited, hoping.

“Of course, Jasmine,” her father said, giving her a hug. “You’re such a clever girl for remembering.”

Coats were dropped to the couch in the sliding sound of nylon. Her grandmother beckoned, and Kaylin joyfully edged closer to the piano. Jasmine wiggled down to sit on the long bench before the battered keys, her father standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. Kaylin could see a glimmer of tears in her mother’s eyes as she took Kaylin’s usual spot before the piano and began to play.

“Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.

Tears pricked at Kaylin’s eyes. Her favorite. Voice quavering, she joined her voice to her family’s.

“Round yon virgin, mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild.”

“Daddy,” Jasmine whispered, her face upturned as she pulled on his sleeve. “I can hear Mommy singing.”

Kaylin’s throat nearly closed, and tears slipped down her cheeks. Angels could sing. And on Christmas Eve, they could be heard by those who listened.

Her husband knelt and gave Jasmine a tight, fierce hug. “So can I, sweetheart,” he whispered, rocking her. “So can I.”

“Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

***************************************************
For You Last Minute Gift Givers,
Kim has your “Perfection” gift card for under the tree and an exclusive one-of-a-kind Rachel Morgan doll designed and created by Kim herself.
Click on either of the links for additional information for each item:
You will need to scroll down the page to view each of these items on Kim’s blog.
   Rachel Doll                                                                            Gift Card
Holiday Hollows
Take time this holiday to read a good book.
Even Santa enjoys a Kim Harrison novel.
Happy Holidays!
Freebies for The Drafter and The Turn are still available in limited quantities. Send a SASE to address below. If you need assistance, Tim can be reached via the email address below.
Tim’s Email Address- coldtoastwritingsllc@comcast.net
Kim Harrison   www.kimharrison.com   P.O. Box 498, Dexter, MI   USA   48130

WINTER SOLSTICE DINNER TIME FOR BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Winter Solstice – Time for Dinner

It was not a day for taking pictures of birds. It has been pouring all day. Even at midday, it was dark outside.

I have taken so many pictures over the past month, there were more than enough pictures to make a post for today. On this dark and dreary day, it seemed a good time for bright birds. And it was almost warm enough for flowers, though the meteorologists assure us that cold weather is fast approaching.

This warm day is just that. A day of warm rain … on the winter solstice.

Squared Hairy Woodpecker

Squared two Hairy Woodpeckers and a Warbler

Square impressionist birds at the feeder – Two Warblers and a Chickadee

BEACON HILL – THE LOST PICTURES – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve been switching SD cards in my cameras lately. This is to avoid leaving my cameras without a card. I hate getting ready to shoot, then seeing the notice that “there is no memory in the camera.”

So imagine my surprise when I pulled out a card and it had previously unseen pictures from the last time we went shooting on Beacon Hill. And here they are, fresh from May 2015.

Arched doorway

Walking ladies going down the hill

Three views (also three different shots) of the building façade.


And just a couple more:

Another lovely doorway

A wider view of the façade

I love when I find “new” old pictures. I knew they were mine simply because I took a lot of shots of that façade. I loved the old curve of the door and matching curved windows.

Beacon Hill has some truly elegant old houses. An architecture photographers best place to be on a sunny spring day.