Just Do It Dammit

Santa Clara County, CA -Three Months Crazy – but healthy

When I was 13 my parents asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday.  Jimmy Durante was going to have a dinner show at the The Roosevelt Hotel.  I adored this guy.  Every time I saw him on TV I smiled.  So…I told them I wanted to see his show.  And…they took me.  And…he came to the table and had a piece of my birthday cake.  I was beyond happy!


‘Speak Softly & Carry A Big Stick’

As some of you know, for the past several years I’ve been recovering from a series of bone fractures. Four years healing, now, from my original fall.

So…you may also know that I use a big walking stick. It’s nothing that I want to use, but something I promised my husband I would and so I do.

I was using it, yesterday, while attending one of my many medical appointments – that every day stuff I don’t put here… anyways, I was using it then when I over heard the following conversation:

The Waiting Room  After Kavanaugh/Ford Hearings

An elderly male patient, his caregiver, myself, my friend, and others were seated in the waiting room of a medical office.

The elderly male patient checks himself in and takes a seat next to his caregiver and promptly says: I want to talk about what’s been happening in the news this week about this Kavanaugh thing.

The caregiver says to the elderly patient: I just want you to know that we had easy peasy girls like that in my high school, too. (More public locker room talk, I suppose?  Thanks, Pres. Trump.)

My friend, myself and another woman look at each other and raise our eyebrows and roll our eyes.

OMG! I clutched my cane and was only held back by the memory of my first husband’s voice – after I’d shot the bird out of the car window at some idiot driver – telling me he would not come to claim my body if I were to be killed shooting the bird.

So…when I left the room, I went out of my way to avoid the caretaker.

But 😛  I forgot my cane in the doctor’s exam room and had to return for it. Then I did pass by that caretaker. He didn’t move his feet out of the way so I or anyone else could pass. I smiled at him, slightly lifted my cane, and placed it on the floor on the other side of his feet.  Ever so sweetly, of course, though I did feel goaded.

Just hours before, I’d been hoping that the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings would open the way for teenagers to talk with their parents more about what doesn’t have to be a right of passage into adulthood.

I still hope for this.  And I believe, if one is being vetted for the highest court in our land, one’s past actions – and how one speaks to them – would matter.


Sunday Calls From The Cell – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  This week’s photo prompt is provided by Enisa. Thank you Enisa!

Please follow lil froggy for more stories:)

Here is the photograph and my story:

Sunday Calls From The Cell

When I first moved from Iowa to San Francisco,  I’d call home at suppertime on Sundays.

“Mom.  Hey!” I’d say. “What’s cooking?”  Sometimes,  wanting to sound all grown-up and happily living on my own,  I’d have to rehearse those first few words.

“Pot roast and football,” she’d consistently reply.  Could have been basketball or baseball.  Always pot roast.

“I can smell it from here.”

“Are you settling in alright, Bella?”

“I am,  yes.  Just can’t wait for you and Dad to see the place.  It’s colorful in an abstract way you’d like.”

The place was a 500 sq foot studio with a view overlooking a Trader Joe’s parking lot.  The top-level had a jogging course.   Cameras everywhere.   And that neon colored wall visible from blocks away.

“We can’t wait to see it,”  Mom would say. “We should come this winter.   Take advantage of that great climate you have.”

“Let’s plan on it,”  I said during one such call.

“Let’s,” Mom replied. “Here,  sweetheart,  talk to your dad.”


(168 count)

The After Storm – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge. This week’s photo prompt is provided by @any1mark66. !

Please follow lil froggy for more stories:)

Here is the photograph and my story:

The After Storm

“She kicked you out?”  This shocked me.  This must be serious.

“Do you think I’d be sitting in this god-forsaken trailer out in the middle of nowhere at the crack of dawn if she hadn’t?”

“So what happened, Dad?”


“Okay. Let’s start with nothing. What happened after that?”


“That sounds interesting,” I said.

“It is.”

“Would you like a shot of brandy, Dad?”  I’d wait for Mom to fill in the details.

“Why not?”  He was already kicked back in my easy chair.   “Make it a double.”



That Afternoon At The Psychic Fair – Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  Please follow little froggy for more stories.

Here is the photo and my story:

That Afternoon At The Psychic Fair

This particular month, for the first time in our valley, a psychic fair came to town.  Most people I knew thought this sort of thing was nuts, so I went to the fair  alone.

The air, all around the grounds, was scented with sandalwood incense.  The purple silks of one particular tent drew me in.  Consumed me with panels swaying in the breeze.  The psychic, within, looked so comforting.  We sat at her table and joined hands.

“What are you thinking?”

“She was such a beautiful little girl.  Her favorite color was purple.”

“Try to breathe now.  Evenly.  Deeply.  In. Out.”

“I don’t want to breathe!”  I shouted.  “I want my baby back!”


thank you , Jade,  for our most unusual photo this week

Sugar In Bowls and All That – Journal/Writing Notes

I’m wondering how I ever allow myself to be as I am..sometimes.  And that’s what I write about and what I want to write about when I’m writing poetry and fiction.  The way life just creeps up and attacks you before there are any defenses.  Case in point…that time ex and I took Aunt Wanda and Uncle Roddy and my parents to some Jazz supper.  Early spring…probably early 1980’s.  My aunt is a very strong Catholic married to a not so strong one and my parents somewhat agnostic/Catholic (yes there is such a thing).  I had no idea this song would enter our realm of reality that evening.  I just anticipated a ‘nice’  Jazz event. Until this song…sigh

I’m working on this memory.


When There’s No Longer Anything Concrete to Touch – A Diary Entry

Sometimes I come back and delete an entry – like I’m the only one in the world who experiences these sorts of moments and I don’t want to seem odd.  I’ll try not to do that this time.  I’ll just go ahead and post this.  Deep breath…

I will write a poem about this day’s discoveries – or a story or a novel or just more entries. Who knows?

I am reading a lot lately. Ever since I purchased my Kindle Paper Light thing I’d sworn I’d never use in my life. And so, when my vision became so bad – legally blind in one eye – and reading printed books became more and more difficult and the online PC Kindle just didn’t feel like a book…reading, something I used to live to do (right up there with writing) began to drift away from me. I hate audio books (well I shouldn’t say that since I may be sentenced to them one day) because I like to put my own voice into my reading – mine and the writer’s…not some second cousin twice removed voice.

I’ve just finished reading Savage Beauty (biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay) and Drowning Ruth (I guess it was some sort of emotional thriller. It was scary in its possibilities) and I’m almost finished reading Come Back Early Today – a book about lovers going through one of them developing dementia.

My mother suffers from dementia. She had a stroke – shortly after my parents’  home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. She developed dementia after her stroke and my father felt so very responsible to care for her. Then my father died. Or gave up. It must have been difficult to move – forcefully – from the New Orleans French Quarter to Tennessee. I guess, at their age (75) I would want to give up, too, rather than trying to adapt – again.

Maybe that’s how that book came to my Kindle – Come Back Early Today. Maybe I wanted – at some point – to read a personal account about dementia. Not some medical stupid and impersonal stuff.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I felt a real closeness to my mother. I do remember being an emotional support to her when I became an adult – because I felt sorry for her and angry that society was such that she thought she had to stay married because she was a faithful Catholic and had had five kids and “What was I to do with five children and no husband?”

When we kids were all grown and moved away, she was still bemoaning her life with my father. One evening I had dinner with her and challenged her to leave and be free of it all. She couldn’t leave her ‘things’…which were eventually ripped from her by Mother Nature.

And that’s what I want to write about about Hurricane Katrina – our total inability to determine the moment total loss will/does enter a life and how that moment is received.

Oh well so now – that didn’t hurt much. I’m clearer headed and more hopeful these days. I was right to reduce my anti depressant. I’ve actually been crying sometimes lately. That’s a good feeling – to have a sad feeling now and then. That’s normal …

I’m giving myself lots of slack…and the easier I am on myself, the kinder I feel towards those who occupy my space now and then.


He Was Her Hero – Fiction

Time for another installment of   Friday Fictioneers  hosted by Rochelle.  100 words or so based on the image below. Click on the froggy link (after this piece) and come join us!

He Was Her Hero

Ellen hurried about their home cleaning and organizing.  She was preparing the place for the first time her parents would be visiting.

Even though there were major imperfections that could not be hidden, her husband, Ned, didn’t mind helping her clean and organize and attempt to perfect their environment.

It was best to try to smooth some things over,  he thought.  Ned loved Ellen more than any woman had a right to be loved.

“Do you think they’ll notice that there isn’t a porch?” Ellen asked.

“Nah”,  Ned replied.  “Who’d notice such a thing?”

“Thank you,  Ned.”

“You’re welcome,  sweetie.”


photo prompt © Lauren Moscato

When We Were Treading Water – Fiction

Time for this week’s Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers.   It takes place each Wednesday.   100-150 words more or less.  I’ll put the link to this week’s stories at the end of this piece.  Drop by to read or write or both 🙂

We’re all so thankful to PJ (Priceless Joy) for hosting this challenge and giving us a chance have people read our work and to read the work of others.  This is such a gift.  So **    ** PJ.

I’ve put a link to other stories for this prompt. 

Here’s the photo and my story (175 words):

cotton candy standWhen We Were Treading Water

I was seven years old that summer.  Wednesday mornings,  mom would haul the five of us down Old Beach Road and into the amusement park.  There was an Olympic sized swimming pool just past the Clownzie Cotton Candy Stand.  Mom had us doing swimming lessons and learning how to tread water just in case a hurricane came and flooded us all out.

Dad was drunk that summer.  Most of his nights were spent sleeping on a bench at the Greyhound Bus station.   Every night mom had us pray to the Virgin Mary.  We’d ask her to take care of daddy and make him well again.

One Wednesday, our prayers were answered.   Daddy was home to take us to our swimming lessons.  He promised us cotton candy from the Clownzie Stand.

“You have to tread water for 5 minutes to get cotton candy,”  he told us.

I was tired after three minutes.  Daddy stooped down low .  “Keep going, Irene,” he said.  “Keep going, sweetie,” he coaxed.

“I’m tired, daddy.”

“Done!” he rejoiced.

Our smiles met.


other stories for this prompt are here

Photo: pixabay.com

Old Lace & Bay Windows – Fiction

Time for this week’s Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers.   It takes place each Wednesday.   100-150 words more or less.  I’ll put the link to this week’s stories at the end of this piece.  Drop by to read or write or both 🙂  Thanks to PJ (Priceless Joy) for hosting this challenge.  Here’s the photo and my story (175 words):

bay windowsOld Lace & Bay Windows

Mother always says I’m crazy. Since I know that opinion clearly depends on her definition of crazy, I’ve never paid much mind to her assumptions of me.

About 20 years ago, I moved out west. According to mom’s outlook on life,  everyone out west is probably crazy. That could be why I like it so much here. I’ve never tried to run away from my craziness as much as I’ve tried to tone it down just a tiny bit.

I bought a small town house in the Haight. The previous owner  had flattened the signature bay windows. I’ve hung old lace panels and strung crystals from the curtain rods. All around me glows magic and rainbows.

Mom and I talk on the phone each week.

“When do you think you might be coming out, Mom?” I’m always asking.

“Soon. Maybe. Are you happy, Polly? And you like your place?” Mom sometimes asks.

“I do like it, Mom. It really stands out from the other buildings. You’d just love it,” I always say.


other stories can be found here: this week’s stories

photo prompt Copyright Vanessa Rodriguez