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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

imageHappy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Peeking my lil ole pea-head in here for just a moment to send you holiday greetings, and a quick “recipe” for homemade cranberry sauce.

Purchase a bag of fresh cranberries, wash them, put aside.

imageIn a saucepan add a cup of liquid–you can use plain water, or orange juice/orange juice/water combo. Or like I’m doing: a little water, a little fresh squeezed orange juice, a little “spiced water” I made by boiling a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and whole allspice (of course just use the spiced liquid and throw away the spices), and a little liquer (I like that orange flavored liquer but since I don’t have any, I’m using Drambuie). I also will be adding orange zest, and if I have it, lemon zest. Sometimes I add a little cracked pepper.

imageAdd sugar to the liquid: recipes call for 1 cup of sugar but I like mine less sweet so I add about 3/4 a cup or so.

imageBring liquid and sugar to a boil, then add cranberries, and bring back to a boil. Boil gently for anywhere from 10 minutes to 15 minutes, or until the cranberries are “breaking down,” stirring occasionally.

Pour into whatever dish you want, let it cool/chill overnight if possible.

imageEat and enjoy!

All photos are mine except the “finished product” at the end, which is Food Network’s (I haven’t quite completed mine yet!–preparing it as I write this!)

Here’s mine!




Well ain’t that some shit, Kathryn Magendie: kicking the ass of my fears.


I wrote this a year ago, when I thought anything at all could be possible. It bears re-reading (by me). I’m going to repost it and read it, and then I’m going to drink the rest of my dark rich strong black coffee and I’m going for a run and then I’m kicking the ass of the day–and the novel I am working on.

Originally posted on Kathryn Magendie:

ipod photos 082I done been here, and I done been there, and I done this and I done that and I done the other. I done thangs I never done before. I done thangs I haven’t in a long long time.

I been where I’ve never been, and where I’ve seldom been, and where I’ve left, and where I’ve said I’d never go, or never return to.

This here woman done seen thangs that made her speechless with wonder. Made her stop right there and say, “Well . . . oh my god.”

This here woman done done thangs that opened her up and turned her inside out bursting kaleidoscopic super-nova–KaBOOM! Ka-POW! Ka-BAM!

And I ate things I said I’d never again eat. I broke many “food rules;” like, never eat pork: I ate bacon and damned if it wasn’t tasty; I ate peaches with the skin on them and the juice ran down my arm…

View original 578 more words

Authors: You don’t have to set yourself on fire . . . .

imageOn a popular “talent” program, often the judges will tell the “contestants”  that they must kick it up a notch, take it further or farther than before, give more, be more more more MORE! No matter how much the act sings her heart out, juggles his arms and legs in amazingly weird pretzel shapes, climbs towering structures and falls–almost–to his death, dances their feet bloody, the judges tell them it’s not enough. You must engage the audience in ways you never thought you could! In ways that show what you have done before is Just Not Good Enough! Two such acts on a recent program showed me how we do not have to set ourselves on fire.


The first act rose to death-defying heights on their motorcycles, proclaiming, and rightly so, that what they do is extremely dangerous. These guys have lost (and by lost, I mean they died–gone from this earth–no more) friends doing what they do. They pushed themselves to the limit, yet at the end of the death-defying heart-stopping act, the judges said, “You have to do more if you want the audience to love you.” So what did they do the very next week? They set themselves on fire, and did the same death-defying act as before. Later came the Houdini act: a man hung upside down while struggling quickly out of a straight jacket. How did he pump it up? By lighting himself on fire.

What next? How to top something so out of control? How to prove what doesn’t need proving: you are who you are; you do what you do, and you are good at it even without the flames. And the flames aren’t really fooling anyone–they see your core.

What you talkin' bout Willis?

What you talkin’ bout Willis?

While I agree that we must always strive to do more and to be more, there does come a point in our lives where we must acknowledge that among all our striving, at the core of us, we simply are who we are. We give our best, and when we type The End, we feel pride and a sense of good work done. When it is just us and our work, we dream of our readers loving the words and language and characters because we created with love and hard disciplined work. No, we should not sit on our hands, rest on our laurels, give up and become lazy and sloppy. But to ask us to be more than who is the very core of ourselves, to give beyond the capabilities of our talents, well, what can happen is we set ourselves on fire and try to fool people into thinking we are doing something Great and Wonderful. It’s like the Wizard behind the curtain while fire roars! We’re still the little old man.
images (1)
Do we really need to set ourselves alight with fire to grab our reader’s attention? Won’t our readers see what I saw with these two acts: they were doing what they know; what they do best, except for the addition of bright hot distraction. Why hide the behind the fire? What they’d done before was the top of their game, the pride of their life; a culmination of many many hours of hard work and sacrifice. We do live in a “viral video” society. Reality is that not many of us will ever go viral. I refuse to set myself on fire and risk a painful death of my Self. My readers deserve my best, and if I give my best, I do not need to add a distraction.

imagesWe are often those judges. The voices in our head judge us, tell us to set ourselves on fire–surely we’ll be noticed then. Surely we’ll grab everyone’s attention, so engulfed by flames we are! Are we only teaching others that we are willing to do anything to grab their attention? Anything at all? Why not let the work underneath the flashy flamed fire be enough?

So let it be written; so let it be done.

A dozen interesting tiddlybits to make you go, “Huhn. Well now I know! Thanks Kat! You’re Special!”

  1. 0841. Our interstates have a “system” to them. Odd numbers are north to south with the lowest numbers in the west. Even numbers are east to west with the lowest numbers in the south. Exits are assigned numbers to let you know the distance to the next exit—mile-markers aren’t always exits but they tell you distance “in between.” The interstate system is about 46,300 miles, and of those 46,300 miles, it is a known fact that 40.4858788584857% of the time, a bathroom will be ten to fifty miles from where you really have To Go Bad. And 50.4848482975875% of the time, a Left-Laner will hold up traffic for 20.225 miles, plus three, and then flip you off in indignation when you finally zoom by in frustration.
  1. Supposed to work - let's hope you never have to find out!

    Supposed to work – let’s hope you never have to find out!

    A skunk can spray up to ten feet away. The spray is a yellow oily substance—and guess what? Oil and water don’t mix; so if your dog is sprayed and you wet the dog, it’s going to stink worse—delightful, right? The spray contains as many as seven kinds of nasty “ingredients” that can easily be conglomerated by the skunk into a gas that explodes from the ass(it rhymed!)—that’s what makes it stanky; no, stanky isn’t strong enough a word—putridly pungent. A skunk stinks, yeah, but  in a sobering addition to this light-hearted skunkfomercial: did you also know that skunk spray can cause severe anemia and death in dogs? Okay, only very rarely but worth a note if your dog loves chasing Pepe LePew.

  1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? According to science: 1,000. According to Kat: about 30 before she bites into it with glee.
  1. When you google “Will I ever use Algebra in real life?” This is the kind of answer you find, which is an evasive non-answer in my Algebra experience: “This is a difficult question, but the simplest answer is that Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.” Uh huh. Nice try.
  1. 007It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Where did that saying come from? Actually, it’s from the 1800s or some other time when people made up stuff out of boredom and other bored people readily believed it because there wasn’t Google, or Bing if you are a Binger, to debunk it (only 6.777558475% of people like Internet Explorer; poor thangs)—of course, ironically, the internet is full of BS that bored people make up and equally bored people believe. Anyway, lightning not striking twice meant: misfortune won’t happen twice in the same way to the same person. *fake-coughs out a barely perceptible bullshit*
  1. Women’s colons are longer than men’s colons (so who is more full of sh with a side of it, you may ask? Answer with care, my male friends, answer with care). And our female colons are more twisted up. We’re all discombobulated in there. Why? Whyyyyy? They—the infamous “They People” (who I believe are Aliens! No, really!)—say it’s because we give birth. Oh. Okay. So, we have more colon so we can squeeze out a human? Uh huh. They—the Aliens—are tricksters. Just tricksters.
  1. Conversely, a man’s brain is about 10% larger than a woman’s brain. Now, before you men’s heads swell up even more, no it doesn’t mean you
    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    are more intelligent, or any less intelligent. It does mean you process differently. But brain size is not a correlation to intelligence. The brain is larger to accommodate the extra body mass and muscle. Is to! Is TO!

  1. Speaking of brains. Artists have different brains. According to a scientific study (by “They”), researchers found sort ofishy scientifically that artist’s brains are structurally different from non-artists. I suppose that includes us writers, right? I need an excuse for my discombobulated hootnannies. Scans (by They/Aliens!) show that artists have more grey matter in an area of the brain that matters to scientists because scientists are awesome. That area of the 1291293eef10a1b7765ddd172deed303brain could possibly (why aren’t “They” ever sure?) be linked to that “inner eye” that gives visual creativity/clarity.
  1. While goofing off on Google, you find things that you think are jokes, then realize some people really do believe in these Thangs. Like, the im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbf96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09“theory” that cats are aliens. Uh huh now; I see. Well, there is discussion of it Here and Here. Enjoy!  The first one actually is called “catalienconspiracy.com.”

10. The Perfect Every Time Boiled Eggs. Really! I swear! Put eggs in a saucepan and cover the eggs with water–I just added “the eggs” while re-reading this; didn’t want you to think I meant cover the pan with water -haha! Bring water to a boil and soon as it reaches that “roiling bubbling toil and troubling boil” turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the water for 14 minutes—no more! Some say 12 minutes; some say 13 minutes (what do “they” say?). I’ve had success with 14 minutes. Soon as the timer goes off—and if you don’t use a timer, you will forget and your eggs will suck–no one likes sucky eggs or to suck an egg; eww. No, you will forget–use a timer. I mean it; you will. Anyway, pour off the hot water, add cold water on top of the eggs in the pan, and add some ice to stop the cooking process. Perfect boiled egg.

  1. Most writers make crap for money. If writers are in it for the money, nowadays especially, then those writers may surely be sorely disappointed in the results of their dreams of Lotso Casholo. No, seriously! You wouldn’t believe the people who think I’m rolling in it because I have 5-6 books and some stories out there. When they see me pull up in my 17 year old Subaru decked out in clothes from the clearance rack, an old Dell laptop, a broken-shattered iPhone that I refuse to replace until my iPad’s paid for, they think I’m being ironic, or eclectic, or
    What you talkin' bout Willis?

    What you talkin’ bout Willis?

    that I left my sports car at home with my Louboutin’s. Seriously, though, folks. There is about 0.555785959992445566999999% of the population of authors/novelists who can do this “for a really good living without having another income” and 0.2455668855599999494994949 of those 0.555785959992445566999999% spend a lot of their time writing inspirational platitudes and giving writers advice about how we should be doing this and not doing that and all this blah blah blahdidly blah that they half-believe themselves but they’ve paid their dues, by golly gee, and can tell all us other writers how it is done and if we can’t do it that way, well no wonder we don’t sell books! The rest of us are varying degrees of starving, doing okay, doing pretty well, and pretending we are doing very well by posting upbeat Facebook and Twitter updates about how awesome we are doing and how we aren’t drowning our sorrows in wine and chocolate and sex—la tee dah, y’all! Haw!

  1. And speaking of Louboutin’s—while looking up how to spell it (I can spell Ked’s – wait, is that Keds or Ked’s – dang), a glance at a site that sells downloadthem yields this: “cheapest” (relative term): $525 for some kind of oogly-arse boat shoe looking thangs, to the more expensive sparkled heel at $4,225—my entire wardrobe does not come anywhere near that much—shoes included.

Now, aren’t you glad you know all that? I know I am!


393520_294411430580586_999236092_nTouty Plug of the Day: I love this Facebook Page – easy, simple, uplifting, fun: Things I Like –About: “feel free to add your likes (3 per post)–just keep it clean–keep it positive. drop by or join our “365 day like-a-thon.” by posting here, we have your permission to include our favorites in the future, THINGS I LIKE ©”

There are the Iconic Giants; the Before There was a You and an I . . . .

Who typed on this? What words did they create, and who loved or hated or felt indifferent to them.

Who long ago typed on this? What words did they create, and who loved or hated or felt indifferent to them.

I was thinking about Rules, and about the creative endeavor, about where we’ve been and where we are and where we will go. I thought about those who came before, and those who are always remembered, and those who will be remembered only for their fifteen minutes. I wondered, who of those of us who live in this moment, the here and the now, will be most remembered twenty, thirty, forty, one-hundred, two-hundred years from now? Do we have the ability to create Classics in literature, music, art? Or have the molds been made and then placed behind thick glass to preserve them and we can only hope to find some tiny spare spot in an ever-expanding crowd of creativity?

There was a time before Rules. There was a time when writers, artists, architects, dancers, musicians, etc, made the rules, because they trod where no one else had ever been before. It’s difficult now to find the places where no one has been, which is why there are “The Classics,” and why we have those literary (and other creative) giants/icons who are held up as larger than life, their images on cups and t-shirts and postage stamps, their works examples for those who follow. One glance at an image and most know who and/or what that image represents–if not their complete works, then some part of those works or of them. One mention of a phrase and one knows who said it, and it is deemed brilliant, never to be touched again by another – right? Are we able to create our own new paths? Swathing the way through literary (or otherwise) forests? Are brilliant works and new paths simply swallowed by the glut of All That Out There Everywhere? This is BRILL–oh, wait, what’s this new thing it’s BRI–oh, wait! What’s that shiny thing over there, it’s BR–oh wait! Oh Wait! WHAT’S THAT OVER THERE?

Just as civilizations have been built and then built upon and built upon again and again, so it is with language and music and art. There was the creating of new ways. And now, we build upon those “ways” – we have rules we follow because they were established before us, and we build on those, and sometimes we throw them out, and sometimes we morph them, and sometimes we break them gently and ungently. Language, art, the creative endeavor, is a living breathing thing, a malleable thing. A gorgeous beautiful lush thing. A frustrating gut-wrenching terrible thing. A kick in the gut and head and ass thing. A straining towards thing. A falling back thing. An all or nothing and then all again thing. An I give up, oh wait no I do not thing.

What magic sprung from the works of those before us, and how can we create our own magic? How can we cast a spell upon our readers?

What magic sprung from the works of those before us, and how can we create our own magic? How can we cast a spell upon our readers?

Who will find their face on a cup? Who will be caricatured on a t-shirt? Who will be our icons and giants? Or will we hold onto our iconic giants from before, those who cleared a path for all the rest of us? Forever and ever, ah-men.

I don’t need a cup with my name on it. Do I? Of course not, she says adamantly and hesitantly. My books are my tombstone—my legacy; my mark even if small and one day forgotten. She says most emphatically and discombobulatingly. But what if in some magical world of long from now my words, your words, our words, were held up as examples of iconic splendor? We’d never know it. After all, we’d be dead, short or long dead, but dead. So what’s the point of striving for all that iconic splendor when I can beat myself silly striving just for a bit of attention in the right here and now. Well, when you put it that way, Kathryn.

Just let me love and appreciate every moment of it. Each little bitty moment. And let me always want more. More. More. More. More words. More books. More readers. MORE!

I put a spell on you–because you’re mine . . . .


Thoughts in a writer’s peaheaded brain at 1:30 and change

10417600_10152480426884176_6460205242015283935_nOnce again, I awoke at the magical hour of one thirty plus change. I’ve had some alarming insane writer thoughts, like, “Is one-thirty going to mean something pivotal? like the hour I am to die one day?” Yes, I think things like this. Same as I used to look over at the clock and it would “always” be eleven:eleven, 11:11. I’d think, “Oh no! Why do I keep looking at the clock and it is 11:11, surely disaster is going to happen at 11:11!” Now, never mind that I could look at a clock fifty times a day and it is only 11:11 twice, but!, those four one’s just kept jumping out at me. So, dear readers, I’m sure I awake at other times than one thirty and change; however, I do not get up and look at the clock. So there.

So, I’m awake and lying there (after going to the bathroom and looking at the clock and wandering in the living room and looking out the window, and wandering into the next room and looking out that window) and I thought how writers (or at least this one) can take any little thing and write an entire damn page out of it. You noticed, huh? Well, dang. I answered myself in my head, “So, like what kinds of any little things do you mean?”

And I answered myself back, “Like little things. You know, insignificant nothings and I turn them into significant somethings.”

Myself said, “Oh, you mean, like for instance, peas.”

“Yes, that’s a good one, peas. Those green peas.”

“So, what about peas?”

“Well, peas are pretty boring; I’m not sure what I’ll come up with.”

“I’m sure you’ll find something, since you are, supposedly, awkwardly, maybely, fortuitously, unfortunately, *snicker* a genius writer *snicker*”

My other self is a gawdamned smart ass.

Anyway, I suddenly had an image of very green peas on a bright white plate. They are sitting there waiting to be eaten by a large bald man. (I just added the large bald man, though I didn’t picture him at one-thirty and change. He just appeared this moment! He’s pretty big and mean looking, so I’ll leave him here.) So, the very green peas on the bright white plate are there, waiting to be consumed by Large Bald Man.

this is a Charlie Brown pea-head

this is a Charlie Brown pea-head

One of the peas (and I swear this is exactly what I was thinking last night other than the large bald man who showed up unexpectedly just now), one of the peas decides it does not want to be eaten. It quivers on the plate, because it all of a sudden decides that being scooped up by a fork, shoved in a nasty moist mouth, chewed, verily I say, masticated to with an inch of its green, with hard teeth until it is a nasty green pulpy mess of gunk, and swallowed down the tube, and into the stomach, where the acid and digestive tract juices will render it even more unrecognizable from its cute round shape, then down it goes, still aware that it was just a moment ago still a cute round pea, and horrified that it is now a disgusting mess, it makes its way into the small and large intestines, along with other extremely disgusting gunk, and is deposited into the toilet, where it will be flushed to more unworthy places.

So, that one pea quivering on the plate, rolls and jumps off the plate, onto the table, and then onto the floor, where it cries out “I’m free! I’m free!”

That is where my thoughts of the very green peas on the bright white plate ended. I was then very tired and wanted to sleep without thinking about peas. I thought maybe I was insane and should be knocked unconscious before I did any more harm to my psyche. So, I wandered around the house again, and wrote on an envelope “Green Pea. Digestive Tract. Table.” And, thus satisfied I would remember things not worth remembering, I went back to bed.

photoYou may be wondering what happened to the little pea that could? Maybe it rolled out the door and is hiding in the woods? or maybe a fox ate it? No, no one but the big bald dude likes peas. What do YOU think happened to that sweet pea? I’d like to know myself. But, it’s time to finish this cup of coffee, y’all. *Kat trails off . . . .* Dang.


Monday Classroom: More Grammar Tidbitters (ain’t you gladeravated?)

10305604_10152463711914176_2993508658427162551_nMorning, all y’allses! What? You think all y’allses isn’t correct? Well, it ain’t. It ain’t even correct in many southern towns. Nope. But it’s correct in my pea-head, so there y’allses goes’ses.

Our manuscripts will never be perfect. Yeah, I know! It’s difficult to imagine, isn’t it? That we aren’t or will never be perfect? Nor will our books/essays/short stories, and so on. Lawd and Dang. However, we can do our best to strengthen our work by learning The Rules and applying them when we “should.” Then, we can break those rules with a firm and knowledgeable hand. Right? Riighhht!

downloadDo you own a Strunk & White? No? *Gasp!* Go ye and purchase one. I don’t care if you’ve heard it’s all stuffy-fied. I’ll wait whilst you do. *Jeopardy music here* You back? All right then (and notice, yes sir and yes m’am, that all right is two words—two!).

Now, let us begin.

As I wrote above, all right should be two words. Not alright. Because I say so. So does “Grammar Girl,” who I do agree with (and yes I know what I just did with that sentence and how I ended it!). And I don’t care if people are beginning to “accept things that are used all the time.” Nope. All right?

Do you feel badly? Well, what’s wrong with your hands? Yep. Feeling badly, or feel badly: think about it. Roll that around on your tongue-brain. It is: I feel bad. I feel bad that you think I’m being a grammar bitch (I really don’t feel bad – haha!).

Another of those pesky “ly” words: Most always when we write “hopefully” we mean “I hope or with hope.” Yup. It is with hope that I write this tip prompting you to stop saying “Hopefully, I will understand all this mess.” Well, dang me but “hope” looks like it’s spelled all wrong and I know it is not. Ain’t that funny when a word does that in our heads? One we’ve written many times will all of a sudden be all wrong in said heads?

Of course there are many “ly” words that are perfectly acceptable. Those adverbs — ly words — flummox people right and left and up and down. Another day with the ly-ers.

well, sheee'it

well, sheee’it

Who that? I often see/hear “that” used instead of “who—” if you are writing/speaking of a person, then it is who. She is a woman who likes strawberries right off the vine; not, she is a woman that likes strawberries right off the vine.

Commas before which’s. The dog wanted his walk, which was most inconvenient for the woman who wasn’t yet ready. What? I don’t care! It’s correct! Because Strunk & White say so! And I do, too. Humph. If you hate commas, “that” can be used instead of “which” in many sentences. But if you are going to use “which” then use the comma, which is proper grammar that can be used today and tomorrow and so on and so forth and la tee dah tee dah.

We Southern/Mountain folk often add words and such all and all that stuff and a little bit of this and that the t’other. I often use colloquialism in my work, since my settings are usually in the Appalachian/Deep South. So if you read my work, you will see grammar discombobulations when I am in the character’s voice. However:

Off of is incorrect, and plain old “off” is correct. The woman jumped off of the couch and ran to the porch to yell, “Git off’n my land!” should be The woman jumped off the couch and ran to the porch to yell “Git off’n my land!”

As well, instead of “Could of” we should write/say “could have” – I could of had a V8 is incorrect! Don’t you watch commercials to learn yer grammarfications? It’s I could have had a V8! Or “I could’ve had . . . .” That said, I it may sound as if I am saying the “could of” because I’m southern and charming and oh so mysteriously colloquial. Tee hee.

you nauseate me - just say'n

you nauseate me – just say’n

Nauseous versus Nauseated. If you feel it, it is nauseated. If you or someone or something else is causing the nausea, well then, that is nauseous.  I am nauseated because you vomited on my just-mopped floor, you nauseous pile of vomitus!

Y’allses gots any grammerfications and other writin bloooperdoops you wanna tawlk about?And, as always, if I have an error, which does happen because I’m imperfectly perfect, point ‘er out and I’ll fix it (if I agree).

Now, go do the day!


Touty Plug of the day: Family Graces, the 3rd book in the Graces Trilogy. This explores Momma’s and Rebekha’s lives more, and we finally learn what happens with Virginia Kate and Gary.


Poetry Sunday from a Non-Poet

deep creek hike 148I never know what to do with my poetry. I’m really not a poet; I’m a novelist and occasional short story writer. Still, every so often I have to say something in very few words. I have to create an image stuck in my head and heart and other innards that is poking at me and needs release — and it’s something that definitely isn’t going to be a short story or novel. So, unlucky for you dear readers who happen here, *laughing*, I am going to occasionally post them here on Sundays. That way, they have a home and aren’t gathering mold and dust upon my computer. It just makes me feel better – as if I didn’t write them in a lonely vacuum and leave them homeless.





The deer pauses

early morning fog twining ‘round a100-year-old oak

whose ancient branches weary to the ground,

reach, touch roots, leave a bit of deceptively soft Spanish moss

to trail along by the action of breezes


and she that is alone

lowers her snout to dew spattered grass, sips each blade

a delicate pull of her lips, teeth bite down, chew swallow and begin again.

Silence knows her.


He comes on quiet paw

watches her from behind a young swarm of knobby cypress knees—

the mother cypress towering near—steam sears from his heated body,

saliva slips from sharp points of teeth, his tongue protrudes,

slicks along his lips


she lifts her head

trembles, the ripples vaguely discernable across her small compact body,

nostrils flare, a tear of moisture drips and falls to the ground

as one tiny hoof lifts in preparation for flight—


—and he is upon her

snaps her neck, one swift calculated bite finds its way to her death,

she is consumed,

the rest left as pickings for the scavengers who are patient,

waiting for her fall


He saunters away belly distended

the good parts of her he uses for nourishment

the parts he has no need are disgorged upon the earth


Her bones are licked clean

Lay bleaching in the sun—


And he returns again and again to the killing spot, sniffs, wants more

of what she no longer has to give.



–kat magendie



Finding the rest of your (life’s) story . . . .

I found this blog post from right after my father died and my brother and I went on a journey – an odyssey – and I was keeping a little bit of a “blog journal” of our travels —  little did I know how my life would morph and change in unexpected, and very big, ways–though, truth told, I knew change was coming; felt it in my bones, down to the marrow. I read this post as if someone else wrote it, and it contains a message for me. Maybe for someone out there, too.


10274015_10152437219614176_2351572946895967498_nAs my brother and I left Blanchard Caves on our Odyssey trip, one of the tour guides said to us, “Watch out for deer. They come out this time of the evening.”

It wasn’t ten minutes later, as we carefully drove along an unfamiliar road in the soon-to-be-coming dusky dark, that I saw a deer by the side of the road and said, “Up head. There’s one; be careful.” We passed the deer without incident, both laughing at how we were warned and then there a deer was.

A few miles more, and I saw her. She darted out quickly and in the time it took me to open my mouth and yell, “Watch out!” she’d already ran right into Tommy’s truck. The sickening sound of WHAM! against metal, and our cries of “Oh no!”

deep creek hike 130 Tommy said, “I can’t go back. I just can’t.” The stricken look that formed his features into grief must have mirrored my own.

I said, “I know, Tommy. I understand.”

Yet, as we both said this, he’d already slowed, ready to pull to the side of the road. We both knew we couldn’t leave a suffering animal. We’d just lost our father and the thought of dealing with death of any kind caused our faces to fall into folds of worry and sick and sad. The Odyssey had barely begun and already we were ready to call it Done. It was all too much. Too much. Too much. And if she was suffering, what would we do? How to help her?

Tommy looked into his rearview and said, “Hey wait! She’s up! She’s running into the woods.”

“That means she’s probably okay. Oh I hope so. And Tommy,” I said, “even if she’s not, we can’t go searching for her in unfamiliar woods, especially with dark coming soon.”

“I know,” he said. And we went on our way down that lonely darkening road. The night tainted, unfamiliar. Grieved. It felt as if Tommy and I were the only humans left in the world. Visions of the beautiful animal hurt in the woods pummeled my thoughts. I know Tommy was feeling that too.

084After driving in silence for another hour or so, we began to worry. There was nothing out there but a smattering of farm houses here and there far back from the road. We were tired and ready to settle in for the evening. At last we saw lights in the distance, and we came to a gas-station where we stopped to fill up. As Tommy went inside, I looked around, trying to gauge my bearings, feeling disoriented and exhausted. There were a few men standing around but they didn’t look approachable. Another woman filled her car, but she had an angry expression. I felt uncomfortable there, as if I were an interloper upon their space and place and time.

Just then, a woman pulled up to fill her tank. Something about her calmed me, so I made my decision and walked up to her, “Excuse me,” I said, “But where are we?”

She laughed, and told me.

“Is there a hotel nearby?”

She laughed again, then said, “Not one you’d want to stay in, that’s for sure.”

At my stricken look her face softened. “Hey, look. You can go to Hardy. It’s a little town but it has a couple of decent hotels. And!” She smiles at this, “And! it has a Wal-mart and a McDonalds!”

“Sold!” I grinned at her, then said, “Thank you so very much.”

“No problem. Drive safely. There’s some construction on the way.”

A little over an hour later, Tommy and I were checked-in to a hotel, and set out to the McDonalds for salads and to Wal-mart for a few supplies. Our moods were lighter, our faces lit in relief.

I said to my brother, “I only wish I’d asked her name. She saved us a heap of driving into the unknown.”

107The next morning was bright and beautiful. Tommy and I prepared again for our Odyssey, our faces as bright and beautiful as the morning. “Off we go!, I cried, “Into the wild blue yonder!” We laughed, speeding off to the next adventure.

I think often if we’d have given up because of that evening we were so tired and sad and distraught. I think if we’d have consulted technology and sped our way to an interstate where everything is The Same, given up the discovery we had been so excited about—the old back roads using only our sense of direction and a paper map. I think what if we’d have said the trip was too hard, and we were too tired and disoriented. We’d have missed the Rest of the Story. We’d have never known the days ahead of that evening. We’d have slapped the face of the evenings before The Deer & Lost in the Dark incident when we felt as if the entire world was waiting for us to find little treasures.

The magical world of readingEverything doesn’t have to be easy. Everything doesn’t always go our way, or the right way. Everything we do has ups and downs, has disappointments and successes. It’s when we decide to keep going, to let the dark times teach us to reach out and to find The Rest of The Story, that we live the life we were meant to live—one well-lived.

Will you give up? Or will you find The Rest of Your Story?

Tuesday Morning Coffee: getting your groove on or back or sideways or however a groove works – haw!

When Angie’s nekkid husband comes in (but we didn’t get to see him – lawd!) and Ann says she flaps around her house like a bird – well dang — and I receive texts that Ann interprets as inappropriate (because they usually are – teehee). But we do manage to stay on topic, a little anyway.

And yes, I have neglected my blog and for that I offer up only discombobulated grunts. One day my life will fall back into place, but won’t that be boring? haw! My life, right now, is all about exploration and discovery and wild rides and meeting new people and seeing new (and old) places and experiencing things I’ve never experienced because I’ve been afraid or busy or made excuses or was hiding — now, well, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAWWWWWWWWWWW! watch out, Kat (or watch out, World – maybe I should say!). All many of these experiences will go into my new novel. Yeah. WHUPOW!

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