Tag Archives: arbitrary thoughts

What? Really?

In our house, Easter is a little bit of a non-holiday. I don’t think either of my kids have been to an Easter service. For myself, it has been many, many years. We do have Easter baskets and the Easter Bunny gets a bit of candy and other goodies into them, but beyond that…not much.

My son, who is eighteen and getting ready to move out, asked me today, “What is Easter?”

I replied, “For some it is a celebration of spring, rebirth, and things new. For Christians it is a celebration of Christ’s rebirth. They believe that after Christ died on the cross, God came down and gave him the gift of being reborn.”

With a far off look in his eyes and his facial features revealing nothing, he said, “So he died and then came back to life?” I nodded. “So that means he was a zombie then. I mean, really! Isn’t that what zombies do? They die and come back to life, right? So instead of this being Easter, it’s actually National Zombie Day.”

A brilliant mind thinks of the oddest things.

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The Yampa*

The wagon train had left her station hours ago. She had worked through the rest of the day cleaning the horse dung and the human stench from the walls. Once a month they came through, sometimes twice in a month, and Margo never got used to it. The humans had a smell about them that reminded her of the dead rats she found in the barn sometimes.

Satisfied, she went back upstairs then out the window to sit on the roof. This is where she spent most of her time staring into the sky wishing for home. In the years spent in the southern hemisphere she could see her home cluster in the night sky, but here in the north she could only see the local sun. Only ten more years and she could go back south. Ten more years of being in this dust bowl serving the wagon trains that kept pushing to the west carrying those petty humans into the frontier.

Stirring out of her own mind she turned to go back inside. Mid-stride Margo met the blunt end of a shotgun in the gut. “Hello Margo. Been a long time wouldn’t you say?”

“Kate. What in tarnation are you doing here? How did you find me?”

“You are a slippery one Margo. I’ve been hunting you for the past couple of centuries. I have to admit you found yourself one hell of a place to hide. How did you find this dump anyway?”

Pushing past her, Margo went back through the window. “Believe it or not, I crashed here. Been stranded for at least a couple hundred years.”

“Come on Margo. You can’t expect me to believe that you, our top pilot, crashed on this rock. You’ll need a better excuse than that.”

“You know me Kate. Weird shit happens.”

“Weird shit my ass. Is that your excuse for the string of dead bodies you left all over the home cluster? Is that your excuse for decimating Corkerelle? Give me a break.”

Margo couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. “You have no idea do you Kate? You have spent all this time looking for me and never stopped to wonder if it was really me? Wake up Kate. Look around you. What do you see?”

“What are you talking about Margo?”

“I’ve been here for eons watching these humans scrape across their globe. They drag their sorry souls over the land and darken every corner of it. Right now, they drive their wagon trains out west in a thirst for riches and in their wake; they leave only a stench and rot. Did you smell the trash heap on your way in? Did you see what they do? Doesn’t it look even a little familiar? How long ago did Corkerelle happen? Think about it Kate, could I, one solitary being really destroy an entire planet? Think back, Kate. Remember what it smelled like?”

The shotgun began to weigh more than Kate remembered when she first pointed it at Margo. “They came here, didn’t they? They came here to do it all over again didn’t they?”

“Oh, they’ll try alright, but there will be bloody hell to pay before they can cross the Yampa.”

*****

They had celebrated that night once they arrived at the edge of the Yampa. It had been a long trek across the eastern plains and everyone was ready for fresh water and time to dance. They had made it. Living to see the Yampa River was all they had prayed for and here they were. Smiles were served all around and the music played late into the night.

The warmth of the rising sun pushed the gentle breeze through the camp. The air licked at the canvas capes that draped each wagon ruffling the bare threads. The horses had long left the area along with the cattle. A few stray dogs were all that remained behind. Silence filled the morning breeze. The celebrations from the night before were just echoes fading into the distance. Crawling out of the red masses, the tiny machines had done their job and marched back toward the water. The next wagon train was due in just a week and they needed time to recharge.

*The Yampa originally appeared on the blog: KJ Scrim, Writer and is used here with permission from the author.

© KJ Scrim 2015 – All rights reserved – No part of this story may be used or reproduced, graphic, electronic,or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or my any information storage retrieval system without written permission from the Author.

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Take Me to Church

For many years I have been exclusively listening to KBCO radio. I started to tune in when the station was just a babe, and I was pretty wet behind the ears. I have listened in for so long because they are one of the most dependable stations around. The music is a wonderful mix of new rock, old rock, and all around good rock. Although they play more classic rock, they aren’t stuck in the past. I love hearing the new stuff too and KBCO does not disappoint.

Recently I began questioning their choice of music when they started airing, “Take Me to Church” (written and performed by Andrew Hozier-Byrne).  Before I continue with this post my readers might want to understand that I am the kind of listener who loves music with a good, upbeat feel. Damn the lyrics. More times than not, I really don’t know all the words to a song.

The first few times I heard “Take Me to Church” my reaction was, “Christian Rock.  Why is KBCO playing Christian Rock? Are they moving toward a new format in the music program?” Don’t get me wrong. I like Christian Rock. It is an upbeat genre that brings a positive outlook into our sometimes dreary world. Yet, KBCO is not the venue for Christian Rock any more than it is for Country Twang.

Jumping onto my favorite search engine I found the lyrics to this piece of music.  Holy church songs, Bat Man! This is not Christian Rock! Quite the opposite, it is closer to Pagan Rock (is there such a thing?) and spending Sundays rapt in the arms of a sensual woman.

I had planned this post to be a scathing criticism of KBCO and its choice to play a piece of music that is blatantly Christian. Lo and behold I am now congratulating KBCO for their continued success in their choice of good music. Take Me to Church is a great example of the versatility of music choices that can be heard at 97.3FM. Rock on!!

 

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Because you Need Some Finnish

Epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän

Finnish for:  questionable this thing being doubtful its non-unsytematization.
~~From Mental Floss

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Send it Snail Mail

Not too long ago I celebrated a birthday. Before you ask, I’m not saying how old I turned, but suffice it to say that I remember watching the Vietnam War on television and seeing Father Knows Best in black and white. I also remember the day when birthday cards would come through the mail and each one was a gift in of itself.

Whenever I got a card or letter in the mail I would get a charge of excitement. The return address was the first thing to check and then see the postmark and stamp. Anything from overseas was the best (my brother served in Korea and he sent me several letters from there), but mail from anywhere was plain grand. After learning the distance the letter or card had come I would turn it over to carefully open the envelope.  I never ripped into a letter, and I would either get a knife to cut a neat slice across the top, or very carefully lift the paper along the glued edge.

Anticipation was the best part to opening a card or letter that came in the mail, actually it was the best part about going to the mailbox everyday. As I celebrated another step toward being ancient I made my daily trip to the mailbox and was pleased that I actually got two (count them, one, two) cards in the mail. There was a time that ten was more the normal, but now it is two. I did receive several e-cards, along with a slew of Facebook one liners, “Happy Birthday.”

On the one hand I was thrilled that anyone remembered my birthday at all (usually everyone forgets). I had a wonderful time going to lunch with friends and my family took me to dinner as well. On the other hand, it bothered me that I only received two cards in the mail. I miss the old days. I miss that anticipation. I miss going to mailbox everyday. Don’t you? When was the last time you received a nice letter from your Aunt who lives in New Jersey? Did you get very many cards in the mail for your birthday this year? Wouldn’t it be nice to get one?

I work for a greeting card company and I hear a lot of stories from customers who’s day was brightened just by receiving a real card made out of paper tucked in an envelope and sealed with a kiss. These are the things that make our world a better place and I, for one, will be sending more cards out this year. Let’s spread some cheer around and send a card, a note, a letter. Better yet, maybe some sand from the beach you live on, or a pressed flower from your garden. Be creative. Just send it snail mail and make someone smile.

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Filed under Arbitrary Thoughts, Dust Bunnies, Family, Holidays, Letters, Writing

Give It Back

I recently took a writing class (yes, I do claim to be a writer and sometimes I actually write good stuff), and during the class the facilitator asked for volunteers. I am usually the first one to send my hand to the sky like a blazing rocket and this day was no different. I answered the question with my usual blondness (no, I’m not blond and I do know that blondness does not define smartness) and was so off track that a search plane was sent out to find my brain.

After I crawled back under my rock and let the rest of the class go on without me, I was pleasantly surprised that our lovely facilitator was giving 7 books to the 7 participants and would these be passed to the rightful winners. Mine never came. WHAT? I was pointed to as person #5 and should have received a book.

OK, so my answer to the question really sucked, but I did stick my neck out, and I did suffer the consequences of being squashed under a rock, so after all that, I really would have enjoyed the last pick of all the books that went around. You know the book…the one that is really stupid that no one wants because it was written in 1972 and is about the soft puffy cotton balls of ancient Egypt. Hey, I don’t care. I deserve the worst book in the pile for the worst contribution of the class.

I at least deserved a book. Alas, that would not come to pass. I, once again, stuck my neck out (I do love to get my head lobbed off) and asked if the books had made it around yet. After all, there could have been a single book lost between people in a state of panic. It could be just laying there wondering if it would be claimed by some sorry soul or find itself in the pile for the closest donation center. The attendees all looked about, milled about, or studied their books, not admitting to having a book they didn’t deserve.

There is one person out there, and you know who you are, that has my book. I was looking forward to reading about the cotton balls of Egypt, and may have found my life complete by it, but it just wasn’t meant to be so. I will remain diligent knowing one day, sometime in the future, you, the stealer of my book, will peacefully move on and that book will find its way into my library where it will rest peacefully between “Blonds are for Better or Worse” and “Thieves Suck”.

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The Cup

The cup sat on the empty table

Air spilling over the edge.

Four legs reached down that held the plain above,

I breathed in the emptiness and fell through the floor.

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The Carnival

I couldn’t sleep.  I laid in bed for at least 2 hours with a constant stream of nothing rolling across my brain.  Then a childhood dream popped into my mind. It was the strangest dream I have ever had in my life.

My father was a spy. Not just any spy, but THE elite spy who ranked number one on most wanted list world wide. My kidnappers had been looking for him for the better part of five years and they planned to get to him through me, his daughter.  They hauled me into a cave filled with light, music, and people. There were two ferris wheels, a merry-go-round, and dizzying roller coasters that defied gravity. People were everywhere laughing and shouting with glee. The three black clad men towered above me as I was dragged screaming through the crowd.  We rushed by parents and their children holding cotton candy without being noticed. I thought we must be invisible. I cried and thrashed trying to get someone’s attention. Anyone’s. The carnival just went on.

At the far corner of the cave I was thrown onto a slab that mimicked a bed.  The largest of the three men loomed over me and spitting his words asked, “Where is he? Where is your father?” Shaking my head I told them that I didn’t know.  He had left three days ago and didn’t tell me where he was going. “You know where he is. Quit lying child. Tell us where he is!” His hot breath burned my face and he grabbed my neck and began choking me, “Tell us where he is or you will die.” My head began to throb as the blood and oxygen was robbed from it. My eyes felt as if they would burst from their sockets.

With a jerk I woke from my dream  with both my hands wrapped around my own neck choking.

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Filed under Arbitrary Thoughts, Dreaming

Kind Of….

The catastrophe here in Colorado is something that I would expect to see in a movie. It is beyond a catastrophe and the floods are still surging into Nebraska.  My post today is actually not about the strife of the flooding, loss of life, nor the property lost to the poor people who have suffered.  These stories are already written and have the event well covered. This post is about the live news coverage and the on the spot reporters who, in their vast array of word knowledge, could only KIND OF put their words together.  Don’t get me wrong, the reporters are brave souls who venture out and face dangers in every type of disaster and l, for one am glad that they were out there and not me.  What they do is quite heroic in its own way.

A news report came from one of the many flooded areas. The reporter told her listeners that there was water kind of everywhere. Really?! The camera shot most certainly showed water all over the place. Do rivers and streams only kind of go over their banks?  Throughout this report, and others, I heard the newscasters say, “kind of” more times than I could count.  The water kind of went through the house behind me….  This car kind of came down stream…. Raw sewage is kind of leaking into the flood waters….  The water WENT through that house and destroyed it, there IS raw sewage in the flood waters, and vehicles of every kind DID float into houses, and pile up everywhere.  There is, and was, no kind of about it.

These two little words are a non-commitment that gives everyone an excuse out.  A person should commit to the situation, “the car floated down stream.” This simple statement commits the speaker to the fact that the car did indeed float down the stream, but what if it was already there?  What if there was no floating involved?  This lack of confidence, in terms of speaking, has permeated our culture.  Are we so afraid of saying that something IS?  Have we lost the confidence in the use of the word “is” that we now have to fall back on “kind of”?  Take these famous quotes (Shelley, Einstein, Buddha), and how they are completely deflated when there is that added piece of uncertainty.

Go forth and kind of prosper.

Imagination is kind of more important  than knowledge.

The tongue like a sharp knife kind of kills without drawing blood.

The rivers in Colorado didn’t kind of overflow their banks, they did. Let’s take those two words and put them to better use.  Colorado is a proud state and will be a stronger community.  The flood waters are receding but the mud remains everywhere.  Are the people kind of taking care of it?  No, they are tackling it.  They have shovels, buckets, and strong backs that will scrub every nook and cranny where the mud is.  I hope that the media does more than kind of follow the clean up.

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Filed under Arbitrary Thoughts, Language, Quotes

Do Not Mock Me

There you are, sitting in front of me, mocking me.  Do you not understand what it takes to decorate your face with just black ink?  How am I to write upon you when you are not giving me any expression or meaning?  I have needs too you know? Are you amused when I wince uncomfortably searching for just the right word, sentence, or structure?  I am a writer who crafts words to put on you while you laugh each day that I struggle to fill you.  Be wary my white friend.  The day will come when you laugh too much, or taunt me into a cruel corner.  I will crumple, shred, and send you into oblivion without a thought then turn my back on your pitiful pulverized mess and pull a clean sheet from the stack.  This new paper will not disrespect me, and  I will continue to write whether you are a clean slate or a small mount of powder in my waste bin.  I am a writer and I will fill your face with my words, and laugh at your weak attempts at ridicule.  Now, step aside, I have a story to write.

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