there's not a whole lot going on

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

D*** Cool Layout

Now, usually I wouldn't use such language, but I'm so happy with this layout, that it just seems necessary. Ok, so I'm a closet user of d*** and h***, but that's beside the point. Ask my husband, he'll tell you I use those words too often... But that's it. Really. ;)

At any rate, if you want to check out what work went into making this layout happen, check it out over at Design-Err.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Background

While looking for suitable background images for my other blogs I found this image from fishmonk's gallery (in a weird coincidence, also where I found the raindrops photo for the Lost in Holland background).

If you're interested in how I did it, you can check it out over at Design-Err.

The March of the Weeds

They went unnoticed all winter long, slumbering with sinister patience as they awaited the coming of the spring. As the skies turned blue and the sun made its way ever higher in the sky, they drew in their strength, sapping the life from those around them, pushing their ugly faces from the ground, stretching toward the sky until the lawn was clothed in weeds.

Not yet satisfied, they turned their wicked sights upon the house that squatted fearfully, hidden beneath the ivy, and they marched through the cracks and the crevices of the sidewalk, punching through the chinks in the mortar until they made the house their headquarters.

From there they plotted the ruin of the neighborhood. Their evil schemes and dark desires would spill forth upon unsuspecting lawns, taking root within their homes and eventually overcoming the university sleeping peacefully and prettily across the avenue.

Or so it seemed - for the university did not slumber, it's maintenance crews were not unready. They had seen and were warned by the dandelions in the lawns - magic puffs of doom spreading seeds of hideous leaves and deviously cute flowers throughout the region. The facilities department stood their ground, spritzing weed after weed until at last they had been pushed back, back across the avenue, back from house to house and lawn to lawn until at last they were come to that dread source of darkness and ruin - C House.

There the last stands would be made - the university would send its best men for the job, but the weeds had long held this fortress of overgrowth and would have the greater strength of arms. Many there were that fell that day. Good men and good gardeners, choked to death by puffs of doom, lost in weeds 7 feet tall, grabbed and slaughtered by foul beasts hiding between the stalks, their numbers quickly dwindled. President Z paced within his office, desperate for some relief and yet none came.

The battle wore on, day after day, week after week, month after month until the sun rose in the south and the winds blew cold air, the leaves changed from green to yellow and red and finally to brown. The weeds knew their doom was near, their hopes of victory dispelled - defeat had come at the hands of fall. One by one their colors faded, one by one they shriveled into oblivion, and then one day all that could be seen in that accursed place were the bodies of those whose lives had purchased time.

Great biers were erected, bagpipes moaned, heads were bowed and tears were shed as the university and those around honoured the fallen. The university burned the dead shells of weeds and planted a great garden in their place to memorialize the proud deeds of their comrades in arms and stand as a reminder of the glorious defenders who would stand against any weed who would rise again. And so peace returned to the little neighborhood and the weeds did as weeds usually do - rose in those places least desired, but never again did they dare to rise in force to challenge the might of the university's maintenance crews.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Standing in the shadows, she was pale and thin, and her dress shown in the places where the moonlight touched it. Within his dark face, only the whites of his eyes could be seen peering from behind her, just above her head. He whispered low in her ear, and her eyes grew wide with fear. In the distance she could hear them coming, their footsteps like rain and their weapons like the wind.

"Are we safe here, Mark?"

"We are as safe here as we would be anywhere, but we must be away from the windows, they will be here soon, and we must be far from their sight."

Mark stepped from the shadows, his size making Miriam but a doll beside him as he clasped her hand and led her to the basement door. He pulled the door to behind them as the sounds of rain reached the house and the wind began moaning through the windows. Miriam looked at him as though about to speak, but he placed a finger to her lips and carried her down unseen steps on silent feet.

The wind whistled at the basement door, as rain fell on the floor above them, leaving tiny rivulets to run beneath the door and bringing small gusts through the frame. Miriam slowed her breathing as Mark had taught her, both to guard against detection and to distract her from the fearful screams she wished to cry. A few minutes more, and the floors were dry, the wind was silent and the threat had past. Then Miriam looked to speak, but still Mark silenced her. A drip began to sound somewhere above them and a tiny whisper fluttered through the shadows, but the rains did not return and at last the drip was gone and the little wind had become silent.

Still Mark did not move and Miriam kept silent until the footsteps they heard above were those of mortal men and daylight peered around the basement door. And when those footsteps had also past through the house and the sun shone but dimly around the door, Mark lifted Miriam to her feet and they returned to the upper floors to scavenge what food remained and to watch the evening sky for the next day's movements.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Casey Karbowski

A friend of mine just started a new blog to get his photography biz going. Check out Casey Karbowski Photographer (extraordinaire). I told him today (and I really do quote - it was over IM), "Some of these are so cool. They look like a real photographer took them and not just one of my friends." So, yeah, he actually does good stuff (if he didn't, I probably just wouldn't mention it).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Hermit Woman

Once, many, many years ago, long before you were born, an old hermit lady lived outside a little fishing village on the coast of the sea. She was nice, as everyone said, and polite and as well-kept as a hermit lady would be, and yet none traveled to see her as they traveled to see the other hermits, many of whom lived farther away than she.

And she did not understand this. She was not bitter, nor was she jealous, she was not even envious of the visitors who knocked upon the doors of the other hermits. Instead, she was curious. She thought to herself about why it should be that the other hermits had so many visitors. Those who did come, left, saying that she was indeed wise, and those she met when selling her baskets in the market by the sea, said she was kind. She did not ask for these praises, they were simply given her, and yet, so few there were who knocked, that she puzzled over this on many occasions.

You can be certain she did not spend much time on it, for she had many other thoughts with which to spend her time - thoughts concerning the glory of God and the folly of man. She included her own folly in those thoughts and dwelt upon them, praying for grace and hoping for a sudden transformation, though she knew that such transformations must take time. Many years went by, and still, the villagers came but once or twice a month at most, seeking her guidance and asking for wisdom.

One day as she walked to the market with her baskets, she passed by an old beggar woman in need of bread. "I have none to give," she said to the old woman. It was true, she was going to sell her baskets so that she could buy the bread upon which she lived, and she thought to herself, "Oh, I wish I had had some bread just then, I could have helped that old woman."

Another day as she returned to her hut, she saw a leper looking sad, and as he looked at her, she said to herself, "Poor, dear man, if only someone would look after him. Where are the Saints to help us with these tasks when they are needed?" And with that, she continued home.

Still, she prayed for grace to be holy, to be generous and self-giving, to do away with all the things that bound her and separated her from God. So one morning, as she walked her usual path for prayer, a little boy walked out of the field, kicking rocks as he wept. "What an angry little boy," thought the hermit lady to herself, "I certainly would not wish to be his mother." As she finished her thought, the little boy turned his dirty face towards her, and she saw he had an ugly little face, marked with pocks and horrible to look at. At first she turned away, but then a bit of pity took her and she looked back with marvel, "Come here, little boy. Is there something which you need, something which you want?"

"Miss Hermit Lady, I wished to get a drink from the well, but the other boys won't let me near. I am very thirsty, and that is all I want in the world."

"Well, then, come with me, and a drink of water you shall have."

Many months went by as the months do fly while the hermit lady wove her baskets and told her beads, hoping for a miracle, looking for peace. One day while walking to the market, she met the same old lady who had begged of her before, and seeing her, still in need, she said, "Come with me, I am going to sell my baskets to buy bread, come with me and we will feast."

Another day, she saw the leper looking sad once more, and seeing him, her heart was moved, and she begged him stay in her hut, but he refused, asking instead for her to walk with him. And so they walked many miles until at last they came to a little village, too tiny to be called a village, and yet too big for anything else. Here she saw that he was not alone, for many lepers there were and her eyes were filled with tears, looking upon the sadness of their faces. Thinking she knew not what she could do, she began to turn away, but then she asked, "What, what can I do for you?"

And so the old hermit lady lived no longer as a hermit, but instead she lived amongst the lepers, caring for them as no other cared for them, accepting them in their sad state until at last she became a leper too, and then they cared for her as no other had and visited her as none had visited her before.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


It was getting late and the thunderstorm still hadn't passed. She swallowed what was left of her Pepsi and headed out the door. He would be sore in the morning, but there was nothing she could do. There was nothing she wanted to do.

As she climbed into her pickup truck with the faded seats and the rust spots on the rear fenders, she felt Cody brush past as he climbed in too. She was glad for the company.

"Well, Cody. It looks like we're leavin' Dodge and the sheriff hadn't even run us off. Not long on courage are we, boy?"

Cody just wagged his tail as he stared out the window.

"Time to move on, ain't it? Let's go."

As the old truck roared to life, Katy smiled at the clanking diesel engine. It was good to be back in the saddle again.

The rain beat down, drumming a senseless racket on the truck's roof, as Katy drove into the night, shifting gears with the engine's whine and cruising to the sound of an old 8-track. Someday she'd have a truck with a newer sound system, but that would have to wait for somewhere farther down the road. For now Loretta would have to wish her old cad "a happy birthday, merry Christmas and happy New Year" on tinny speakers and a crummy bit of tape. Katy wondered if Tom would see the birthday cake when he got home that night. Or if he'd even get the reference.

The first rays of daylight were just beginning to pierce the dark of night, giving a warm glow to the horizon as Katy and Cody pulled into the dock. She waved as her old friend walked over.

"Yer sure yer wantin' to go through with this now, are ya'?"

"Jon, I've never been more sure in all my life. It's now or never, tonight's the night, or today's the day, and if I don't make it, I'm gonna die tryin', and all that rubbish. Me and Cody gotta boat to catch to the rest of our lives."

"Yeah, yeah, I figured you was, I just hadta ask 'cuz that's what friends do and all. Just pull that old wreck over there and we'll go get some breakfast."

As Katy jumped to the ground, she noticed the grease marks on Jon's face and clothes. "You been workin' all night tonight?"

"Well, you just called me two days ago, and you know this old clunker don't run half the time you want it to, so I figured I had my work cut out makin' sure this'd be the better half. Wouldn't do you know good otherwise."

"That's true. That's true. So you got her runnin' good, now?"

"Yeah, yeah. Let's go get some breakfast."

Cody whined when Katy left him at the door of the diner, but he was waiting for her when she came back.

"Cody, you and that old truck are the only things've stuck by me all these years. I don't know what I'm gonna do when you finally go."

"Now, Katy, that ain't quite fair to me nor your mama nor half your friends. We've all been there just as much as we could."

"I know Jon, but you didn't live with it. Cody did." She paused to watch his face. "How long's the ride?"

"'Bout three hours by plane. Fifteen in Doris."

"Doris? You named your boat after your show cow? Jon, sometimes I just don't know what to think of you."

"Yeah, and what about Jake? You named your pickup after your mama's tabby cat."

They laughed as they walked toward the dock. Katy paused when they reached her truck. "Is it time Jon? Can we load up and set sale? Blow this popcicle stand, split like a banana, make like a tree and leaf and all that jazz? I know he wouldn't know where I was goin' or what I was doin', but I've just got the itch, and I've got to go."

"Sure, Katy, you just pull up over there and we'll get her loaded up."

Katy paused as she climbed in, looking at her old friend as he walked toward the boat barn. "Jon."

"Yeah, Kate."

"Thanks, Jon."

"After all these years you don't have to say that to me." He took a breath, "But you're welcome, Kate."

The sun finished his grand entrance just as the truck rumbled across the loading planks. "Jon," Katy called, "Jon, stop a minute and look at that sunrise. It's a good day, ain't it? A good day for a boat ride, and a good day to feel the wind in yer face and taste the salt in the air."

"Sure Katy, it's a good day for a boat ride, and a good day to taste the salt in the air. But Katy, Doris don't do wind in yer face." He winked and said, "You'll just hafta take it easy and settle for somethin' a mite bit slower."