Monthly Archives: September 2013

Daily Prompt: On the road to Orkney

orkney_mapMap from

From The Daily Post:

If I could pause real life and spend some time living with a family anywhere in the world, I’d go back to Orkney in a heartbeat. I even know whose home I’d crash…Stuart, of John O’Groats Ferries, watch out!

The hubby and I were able to spend nearly two weeks in Scotland in the summer of 2012, and basically did a big loop of the country, from the southwest clockwise around to the southeast. At the northeasternmost point of our loop, we boarded a ferry and left the mainland for the islands of Orkney. We only had one day to explore, so we booked a guided day tour to maximize our sightseeing experience.

From the moment our ferry docked in the foggy, windswept harbor, I was hooked. Something about the place immediately spoke to some primal corner of my soul, long before our tour guide even introduced himself or began unveiling Orkney’s multifaceted story.

Our guide, Stuart, was not a native Orcadian, but he was married to one. As a result, he had extensive knowledge of the history, geology, geography, archaeology, people, customs, and culture of the islands. He crammed as much as he possibly could into the 10 hours we had together during the tour, and with every story he told I fell deeper in love with Orkney.

I’d dearly love to return to Orkney, to spend some time exploring and researching on my own. But at the end of the day, I’d like to crash at the home of Stuart and his wife, coaxing more anecdotes about the islands out of them, using their tales to guide my next day’s adventures.

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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Monday Mix, The Daily Post Prompt, True Life






Outside the bar:

“Who threw the first punch?”

“I couldn’t see, Officer,” said Mizaru.

“What was the argument about?”

“Didn’t hear it,” claimed Kikazaru.

“Which way did they run?”

“Couldn’t say,” apologized Iwazaru.


Thirty-three words for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge about a famous trio from literature, history, or pop culture.


Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Challenges, Fiction, Sunday Best



Just be

100_1597Deep breath in…deep breath out

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of life. I am famous for it. An early morning walk in the crisp September air this week reminded me how much I need to occasionally step away from the ceaseless internal chatter and endless to-do lists that constantly plague my brain. Though I’m normally a fairly competent multi-tasker, I absolutely can’t absorb a scene like this one at the lake near my house and filter all that other crap too. It’s nice to turn off once in a while and just be. I’m ever so grateful to Mother Nature for providing a glorious fall so far, and for a peaceful neighborhood that allows me to get out and stretch my legs in relative safety (late-for-work commuters and nut-chucking squirrels notwithstanding). Here’s to just being.

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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in How It Is, Six Word Saturday, True Life


Ever hear of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act?

doorsPhoto copyright Rich Voza

“How’d the interview go, hon?”

“Like the last one. From the receptionist to the head of HR, all anyone could look at was the chair. Like it matters if a CPA has legs! I don’t expect them to call.”

“Their loss. You’d think your pre-deployment résumé would outshine the chrome on that wheelchair.”

“You’d think. But wait. I met a guy on my way out. He’s a vet, too, with his own business. It’s grown so much that he’s looking for an accountant. I start Monday!”

“Wow! I guess it really is true: when one door closes, another one opens.”


100 words, in response to this week’s photo prompt over at Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.


Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Challenges, Fiction



Please pass the tissues

tearsPhoto by Vassil on Wikimedia Commons

Question 741 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
What brings a tear to your eye?

Oy. What doesn’t? I’ve got to rank in the top 10 of the world’s biggest saps. Happy tears, sad tears, the waterworks seldom stop. The hubby is forever asking, “Why are you crying now?”

Is anyone old enough to remember that Folger’s coffee commercial where Peter comes home for Christmas? Total sob fest.

Other things that make me well up:

  • Budweiser Clydesdale commercials
  • Hallmark cards
  • children singing (especially Christmas carols)
  • onions
  • the national anthem
  • when tribemates’ relatives visit on Survivor
  • news stories of children being massacred in their classroom
  • when the autistic (parapalegic/blind/insert other physical or mental challenge here) equipment manager is called onto the court in the final minute of the game and sinks a three-pointer
  • Glory (seriously, from about minute 15 straight through till the end)
  • random acts of kindness
  • refugee camps
  • gut-bustingly funny stories
  • other people crying
  • Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes
  • good Samaritan stories
  • animal cruelty awareness campaigns (“Help a Little Donkey” was especially hard to watch)
  • proud parents hugging their contestant offspring on X-Factor/The Voice/American Idol/America’s Got Talent
  • a mother screaming, “You’re stupid,” at her child in the supermarket
  • flags at half staff
  • homecomings
  • farewells (and occasional until-we-meet-agains)
  • homeless people
  • happy endings
  • anything and EVERYTHING when I’m excessively tired



Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Deep Thought Thursday, On Me, True Life



Weekly photo challenge: shapes, lines, textures, patterns






Here’s a selection of photos I’ve taken in my travels this year that work with the latest Weekly Photo Challenge from The Daily Post.



Something about this picture seems familiar

readingBack on September 14, the instructions in The Daily Post‘s Daily Prompt were to “Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.” Ten days ago, I was afraid if I cracked open a book I might be accused of goofing off instead of unpacking and setting the house to rights, so I filed the prompt for a calmer day. Today wasn’t really calmer per se, but I have an ulterior motive for tackling this prompt now; if I write a post, I can purge the prompt from my email inbox. 🙂

I am cheating a bit, though. I am too lazy tired to get up off the sofa to go upstairs and grab a real book, so I fired up the Kindle app on my iPad, executed a fast finger swipe in the library, and opened the book that rolled to a stop at the top of the screen. The book, An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr, begins with an introduction, so I dutifully counted ten words into that and landed on, ironically, reading

A Google Image search resulted in the above photo, supposedly from, although I could not find it on the site for proper attribution. Of the thousands of images that popped up, this one spoke to me because that could literally be me sitting there surrounded by all those unread books. These days, I feel that about the only way I’ll get to read all the books I’ve amassed is to camp out by myself in the middle of the woods.

Over the past five years, each time I visited the States from overseas, I collected an assortment of hand-me-down books from my mom and haunted Costco in search of every new Nicholas Sparks (don’t judge) title to add to my collection. I read exactly none of them.

I was going to read lots and lots on the crossing from the UK to the US. I loaded more than a dozen new books on my Kindle, just in case the two dozen unread books already on there weren’t enough. I read exactly none of them.

A local library had a clear-its-archives book sale two weeks ago. For $10, I was allowed to stuff a cloth eco shopping bag with books. I took them at their word, and waddled out of there with twenty-two books threatening to spill out the top of my bag. I have read exactly none of them.

I signed up with BookSneeze, which gives bloggers free books in exchange for posting an honest review within 90 days. I received my first book August 26. You guessed it. I have read exactly none of it.

We won’t even discuss the five boxes of books I’ve unpacked in the past week and a half. Ninety percent of them I have not read.

Anyone have an unused acre or two of woodland I could borrow?


Posted by on September 24, 2013 in How It Is, The Daily Post Prompt, True Life