Monthly Archives: February 2011

My bifocals

A few weeks ago I got my first pair of prescription glasses and have been trying to get used to them. I was warned at One Hour Optical that they might take some getting used to, and they really have taken some practice, and I have finally felt over the past few days that I might be getting somewhere. Today I took them off while I did some yoga positions and I was doing this variation of the downward dog pose, where you turn sideways and stick your arm up in the air. It takes some upper body strength, which I apparently do not have as I toppled over awkwardly – onto my bifocals, which are now broken. I was quite distraught, over being so useless at yoga AND my broken glasses. So now it’s back to my readers from King Soopers until I can get back to One Hour Optical, sigh.

I managed a very small amount of writing today and felt very thoughtful at work this morning, came home, did yoga, broke my glasses, collected Miss W and made a chicken fajita pizza for supper – delicious! I think I’ll return the yoga DVD to the library tomorrow and try something else, pilates, perhaps?

Dinosaur Ridge

The weekend seemed to go by in a flash, Mr W drove us all up to Dinosaur Ridge on Sunday. It was a nice change, and Boy 2 really enjoyed the hike up the ridge – we were walking with the wind and into the sunshine and it felt quite mild until we turned and began walking back down. Then once home, I made a soup – chicken provencal – and we all watched Toy Story 3 together. I hope this peaceful state lasts for a while. Next Monday I have a meeting with the ARC of Aurora I am quite nervous about, regarding my decision to try and get Boy 2 taken out of Aurora Public Schools. I know, and I think anyone who is prepared to be honest on the subject knows, that he is simply making no progress at Jewell, just as he didn’t at Dartmouth. I have no trust or confidence in the teachers or staff. But of course now they know that I am doing a little more than complaining, they seem to have pulled out all the stops to give Boy 2 something like a positive school experience, reports in the back and forth book have been glowing lately. I don’t trust them and feel they are doing this so that they can claim Boy 2 is happy in school with his new teacher, who I expect is quite nice but that doesn’t change the fact that Boy 2 is cooped up in a single classroom for most of the day with a worn-out para.

Took Boy 2 to Intercept today, chaos still reigning supreme there since Dr H resigned. The receptionist informed me that we didn’t have an appointment until late next month, I told her this must be a mistake – I’d never have agreed to an appointment so late because Boy 2 needed his meds refilled. She stared at her computer screen looking on the verge of tears and then took a phone call, which seemed to be from someone else having issues. Trying to solve this patient’s problems she snapped “oh, crap!” A man who appeared to be at least 100 years old tottered into the waiting area and informed me that he was Boy 2’s new doctor and handed me prescriptions for meds.

It was quite a relief to get to work! Came home and shopped at King Soopers with Miss W (day off school) and made samosas for supper. The smell of the spices really reminded me of London, I had liked these little treats so much then I’d attempted to make them in my kitchen on Deacon Road, but this time around (a quarter of a century later) I used Pillsbury crescent dough, which doesn’t make for a very authentic samosa I suppose, however the filling seemed quite authentic – potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, garlic, turmeric, coriander, curry powder (it smelled fantastic) and I made a dipping sauce with honey, garlic, lime juice. Everyone liked them and Miss W didn’t make a peep of complaint about the vegetables and asked that I cook samosas again sometime!

Scourge of Wolf: Chapter 1 (Brought to you by Miss W)

http://stories.missliterati.com/chapters/4d5883c68b9dc5796f000c09#bccs

That’s the link. If you’re too lazy to click it, here’s the chapter. xD

Lyra paced in her tiny enclosure. It felt very much like a cage, and her water bowl, which was refilled exactly once daily, was dry as a bone. She was fed even less often—once every two weeks, if she was lucky.
She was sick of living like this. Her owners would sometimes invite friends over, and all they did was stare at her in awe. Awe, she thought bitterly. More like pity. They’d throw a dog treat over the fence on occasion. Sometimes she’d eat it. Sometimes she wouldn’t.
Of course, she hadn’t always lived like this. Once upon a time, Lyra had run free with her pack—what a wonderful feeling it was, to have the wind ruffling her light gray-white fur! There was nothing she missed more than her family.
The newest thing that had been added to her prison cell was a dog house designed for large canines. A thought crossed through her mind all of a sudden—it was right next to the chain link fence. Why hadn’t Lyra thought of this before? She laughed a little. Her first laugh in the four moons she had been trapped here.
She took a moment to judge her jump, and then leaped on top of the dog house. Lyra looked behind her—no humans to stop her. And in the front—rolling, grassy Spring hills with three shimmering lakes in front of strong, solid, towering mountains in the far distance. She cleared the top of the fence and headed toward freedom.

A large, muscular gray and brown wolf snarled in frustration. He was sitting outside the den. Gosla, the Alpha Female, lay inside, nursing her one small pup.
And that was the problem—one pup. “Kail!” He called his beta—second in command—over.
Kail immediately submitted by laying his ears back and tucking his tail between his hind legs. He looked up at his Alpha expectantly. “Yes, Spen?”
“One pup will never be enough to feed our pack. In two years time, we might be dead or scattered from starvation.”
Kail nodded. “What might we do?”
“We are the Trii Pack,” declared Spen. “And we cannot let this pack go to waste. Kail, I want you to take Strik and Dija. Go to the den site of the Torr’Xen Pack and wait until night falls and their howls have died down. Take one or two of the strongest pups, and bring them back here.”
Kail gasped. “You want us to raid one of the strongest of the Packs?”
“It is a risk we must take,” Spen said gravely. “Go now.”

Lyra had started to wonder if escaping at this time was such a good idea, but most of her logic had evaporated in the noon sun by now. If she had been thirsty before, her tongue was sand now.
The lakes were still quite far away. But she had to keep going. It was not an option to stop. She would reach a lake and drink to her heart’s desire, and then she would be fine.
She never reached the lake. Just a few long minutes before she would’ve reached the Great Lake of Pume, her legs gave out under her, and darkness swam in her eyes after she collapsed.

Xina lay in the cool dirt of the den. Her four healthy, beautiful pups slept peacefully by her side. She smiled. Their eyes will open soon, she thought happily.
She got up as quietly as an owl and crawled out of the den, which was dug in between the roots of a twisted fir tree. She was greeted by her mate, the alpha male, Xaru.
“How are you feeling?” he asked gently.
“I’m fine,” Xina replied and nuzzled him. “I’m just going out for a walk, okay? I’ll be back when the stars are out.”
Xaru’s hackles rose. “Are you sure you should be out there alone? Do you want anyone to guard you?”
“I’ll be fine,” Xina said soothingly and smoothed down Xaru’s fur with her tongue. “After all, I am a Torr’Xen wolf!” She knew that the whole pack was protective of their Alpha Female at this time of the year, when she was lethargic from taking care of the pups and not getting exercise. “You can go and look for me if I’m not back by then. It’ll do me good to do some walking.”
Xaru cracked a little smile. “Alright, Xena. But promise me you’ll be careful.”
“I promise,” Xina said and headed off. I think I’ll go to the Lakes, she thought.
The air was cool and there was a slight evening breeze as she headed down the mountain slope. There was a smell of new birth and a fresh season of vegetation. The smells she loved most about springtime.
The trees thinned and she left them behind her. The lakes looked as if they had been set aflame by the setting sun. She paused to breathe in the light smell of water as the breeze blew it off the surface of Lake Pume. Lake Pume was the closest lake to the Torr’Xen territory. Farther off, to the west, was Lake Urse, and to the east was Lake Lupe—Lake Lupe was sacred to the Packs. Its water was said to bring a wolf into the spirit world, and it was also where the Cave of Lupe was located. That was where the Alphas of each of the four packs (Kriik, Borrus, Trii, and Torr’Xen) met in times of dire need.
Something caught Xina’s eyes. A light object lying a little past the lake. With a jolt, she realized it was a wolf!
She hurried over to the unconscious creature. Looked about two years old. The sun was setting. Soon her pups would need feeding and her pack would start worrying.
She nudged the poor wolf with her snout. Her eyelids fluttered open.
“Hello,” Xina said and gently pulled the stranger to her feet. She guided this confused newcomer to the edge of the water.

Lyra, with her mind still wrapped in cobwebs, needed no logic. It was purely instinct which drove her to lap furiously at the water. Slowly, as she drank, her mind returned to full consciousness.
Suddenly she realized another wolf was with her and she whipped around, her fur rising. “Who are you?” she demanded.
“I am Xina, the alpha female of the Torr’Xen Pack. I saw you lying near Lake Pume, and it looked like you could use some help.”
Near? Thought Lyra. It had felt like that lake was miles away.
“Do you have a pack?” asked Xina. She might’ve acted aggressive, but she wasn’t in her own territory and this wolf seemed so tired and dehydrated.
Lyra could feel the sadness drag her ears down. “No,” she replied. “Humans…took me away.” This wolf looked sorrowful, and Lyra was grateful that for once, it wasn’t pity. Just sorrow.
“Would you like to come with me, then?” asked the large wolf. “I could maybe use another wolf to look after my pups.”
Lyra thought this over. The wolf was an alpha female. Lyra was alone and without a pack—how could she turn down such an offer?”
“Okay,” Lyra said.
“No time to waste,” the large wolf said. “I’m Xina.”
“Lyra.”
Xina looked to the sky. It was a darkening shade of blue, and a star shyly showed itself. Xaru would soon begin to fret… “Come on, then,” she barked, and set off, Lyra hurrying after her.

Summer weather

One thing I do like about Colorado is the weather, as more often than not it’s warm and sunny here. Driving to and from work this week has been a pleasure without icy roads to contend with. Last Thursday marked the 1 year anniversary of my divorce. No mention of it was made by either me or Mr W but it was a very strained week. I am struggling to get on with life and leave the past where it belongs, and although this hasn’t always been easy for me what makes it easier are the very things I spend a lot of my time moaning about, job, children, reading, writing, animals, cooking etc. etc. I am too busy most of the time to dwell and simmer on the almost 20 years of my marriage. I will be 50 in May and am very hopeful this life has a lot of fun in store for me yet.

Because of my chronic writer’s block, I’ve done more than the usual amount of reading this year, at the moment I’m reading my 7th book since January 1st. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (which I finished a few days ago) is an intensely moving novel about slavery, told from the POV of a black woman, Aminata Diallo, who is just 11 years old when abducted from her native land. Even though we all know the truth about people packed into slave ships like sardines and left to rot in their own filth for the duration of the voyage, this novel still gives you pause and makes you consider the nature of slavery and what it actually meant to millions of people before it was abolished. After this, I started In A Land of Plenty, by Tim Pears, this is a long novel about a rather eccentric English family, jam-packed with detail and really delicious, insightful, funny writing. And I’m listening to My Reading Life by Pat Conroy and very much enjoying it as I drive here and there, listening to his thoughts on Gone with the Wind (I shall read this again soon, I haven’t reread it since my teens) and what it was like to be a teacher in South Carolina in the early 60s. I really am liking Mr Conroy.

Must go . . . Boy 2 has just been delivered home to me, so we’re going to launch into some Saturday afternoon housework, romping with dogs and listenning to music!

Cooking disasters

I am back by popular demand. Well, 1 person asked where I had gone. It has just been an overwhelming month with really too much going on, and at times I have felt very sad and thoughtful. Debra and Lara have gone, and their departures seemed to bring on a spate of mishaps – a broken down dryer, horrible weather, the car broke down twice, personal probs, more problems with Boy 2’s terrible school. I’m not writing, which is depressing, just going to work and trying to deal with all the chaos. But at least we’re all well and I’m doing lots of reading this year, today I decided to do something from The Joy of Cooking and make soup while I guzzled down some wine. I’d had the usual tussle with Boy 2 about keeping his clothes on and after a bit of a struggle I did prevail and he kept on his undies. I don’t think I can blame the alcohol on my cooking not turning out very well today, I’d actually made the lemon sponge custard before, a long time ago. It’s the kind you bake in a bain marie and it separates into 2 distinct layers, a light sponge atop a delicious, lemony sauce. Well, there were no layers or delicious lemony sauce today, just a sort of flat sponge over a lemony sludge. It did taste nice, but why can’t I get this right anymore? It used to turn out well for me. I wonder if it could be the altitude or temperature of the oven. While my lemon sponge sludge was baking I made soup with carrots, coriander and lentils, however, have to say this was a bit on the sludgy side too even though I used the right amount of liquid it cooked down to almost nothing. It resembled baby food and Boy 2 (who usually loves everything I cook) just looked really dubiously at it.

But onwards and upwards, I’m going to try something different next week and hope, hope, hope as usual that I will find some time and inspiration and set pen to paper . . .