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Friday, November 7, 2014


Donations – in it for the prize?

Because the town I grew up in was rather small, and the county at one point was the poorest in the state, there was quite a stigma attached to me as I applied for jobs.  “Where in the world is Kalkaska?!”  Was often the first question most  potential employers asked. 

Fighting for a level footing in the big wide world, being from Kalkaska was more of a handicap than being female in a male dominated arena!  I was, immediately, thought of as backwards and back woods. 

When I would begin to defend Kalkaska, it would sometimes slip out that I was the Senior Class President.  Too often showing my pride, “The first female senior class president in Kalkaska.”  Based on this tid-bit of knowledge, my employers tended to expect more from me.  I had to work harder than anyone else to prove myself.  I was female, blonde, and worst of all from Kalkaska.  Talk about uphill battles.

In an effort to pass along the torch, to make the lives of those who followed  a little easier, I have always donated to Kalkaska.  Not to gain a “prize”.  Not for any “publicity”.  And certainly not for a “better place in the community” for I never moved back.

But, I have wanted to help the place I learned most of life’s lessons.  I have wanted to help those helping others.  I wanted the school system to be one of the best. (there is no guarantee of quality in a larger scholastic system) When my friends, still in town, brought events to my knowledge I have made certain to participate as much as I could.

I joined a Facebook website  called “You Know You’re From Kalkaska” to keep abreast of events happening.  I tried to always share pertinent information to those who also left the community but try to stay involved.  I decided to terminate that relationship, recently.

I have subsequently gone back to the site to see if I could copy/paste to substantiate.  Thankfully, the unkind words have been taken down from the site.  Thank you.  However, my intent is not to point fingers at those involved.  But to let others know that those people who cyber attacked me only made me leave the site not end my relationship with Kalkaska. 

I donate because it’s the right thing to do, not because I might win some prize.  The prize giver had been showing drawings and pictures of the items they intended to donate.  I asked, many times, if they would promote the event and not the donation.  To this, I was hounded.  Told I must be jealous, that I am petty, and that I am mean, and just who did I think I was?! 

I’ll be happy to tell you who I am.  I am someone who grew up in Kalkaska and has been donating to the school system, among other worthy platforms, for nearly forty years.  And…I know this may come as a surprise, I know many others who have donated far more that I, who also don’t need a prize in order to want a better heritage for those who come next.

Kalkaska is my “home town”.  The local cyber-bullies haven’t run me out.  They probably do need to watch out that I do not move back.


Friday, April 11, 2014

D is for Divine Grace

D is for Divine Grace

Blogging Challenge from A to Z


The words startled her.  Looking around, curious expression on her face, she searched for the speaker.  No one was there.  Shaking her head, she thought “I have got to cut back on the coffee!”

Moments later, the words again. “You shall reap what you sow.” Jumping, in defense she grabbed the only thing near her, a flower vase.  Not a very sturdy vase at that.  However, the art-deco flowers embossed on the sides would put a sizable welt on someone’s head.  No one there.

Creeping as softly as she could, peeking around corners and behind closed doors.  She found no one there.
I guess,” she thought “at least the words aren’t telling me to do
something horrendous.”

Perched in her favorite chair, fuzzy lap blanket thrown over her knees, she began thumbing through her magazine again. 


Sitting as still as she could, she began to understand.  “Getting” the message, being able to hear the words, the gift of feeling the lesson.  She had finally reached that pinnacle.  Reached the spiritual, physical plateau where lessons from beyond were obtainable, and it seemed the knowledge simply poured forth.  Was it beyond?  Or simply beside? Or had she gone to them?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Crafts

C is for Crafts



Rising from the depths, the glowing orbs illuminated the sea as brightly as the mid-day sun.

The sea had been particularly calm that evening.  Gentle waves lapped at the side of the boat as we watched the magnificent sunset.  Bright oranges, yellows, greens and golds flared across the horizon.  It was an evening topped with good company and a flavorful bottle of wine.

Jelly Fish
We had been saving the wine for just a evening event as this.  Leaning against back in my deck chair, the warm breezes on my face, I truly felt Heaven couldn't be better.  The contented expressions on my companions faces told the same story; contentment.  We had worked hard the past few days, moving this lovely yacht to its new location for its new owner.  We had jotted down all the little “idiosyncrasies” we’d found for the new owner’s mechanic to check out.  Now we had our reward.

The sun’s last ray dipped below the horizon allowing the stars to simply pop.  Leaning back, we took turns pointing out the various constellations.  Their glittering may have been what delayed our noticing the ocean coming alive. 

Red Tide
“Waterway Transportation” is the name of our company.  We have moved everything from small sailing vessels to tankers, up and down the coast.  No, I no longer even own my own water vessel.  (have to be careful, the difference between boats and ships is considerable to my clients) If the vessel is large enough, we load our Harley’s.  If it isn’t we fly back to our base.  Each of us has a different base, it all depends on where your family lives.  That’s base.  But, I digress….
Vampire Squid

The twinkling from beneath the waves appeared to be rising faster than we anticipated and was going to surface all around us. 

Derrek was the first to notice. “Squid.” He said matter-of-factly.  We each took turns guessing at which bioluminescent creature would be rising to the surface to feed.  “Jelly fish” , “Red Tide”, “Atolla”, each of us shouted out something different.  Mind you, we certainly aren’t scientists but after a few years on the water you get so you have seen quite a bit and not too much startles us. 

After a short lull,  Lenny then hollered out, “The elusive pyrosome!”  We all looked at him.  “Just happy I remembered it’s name…”

“What?!”  We each blurted in unison.  Our boat began to rock. The waves became a stronger and higher and the gentle lapping was no longer.  They burst from the water, as a child would blow bubbles through a wand.  Dozens and dozens of them.  We each stood motionless, caught in the moment.  Filled with awe, our mouths dropped open as we watched their ascent.   

It began as a whisper, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” With each utterance it became louder and louder, until Derrek was screaming.  Screaming as he was drawn upward into the now airborne craft.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Boo

B is for Boo

Opening my eyes with a jolt to the sound of the early morning alarm was actually a relief.  For weeks now I have been awakened, throughout my nighttime rest, by unknown noises. 

I anticipated some creaking and groaning from my newly acquired home.  I had expected the normal foundation settling could make some of the first nights restless.  Even the sounds of the roof flexing with the sun can make noises.  But these mid-night awakenings were far beyond that.

The second morning, after awakening six times during the night to loud bangs, I walked the perimeter and found a couple of places needing the attention of a handyman.  The third morning, I called a roofer.  The fourth morning I called an exterminator.  It’s now been six weeks.

Six weeks with little to no sleep.  I look like I could pack the bags under my eyes for a month long trip! Dark circles sagging skin all point to sleepless nights.  I haven’t dreamt in a very long time. 

Meeting for coffee, strong coffee, my friends comment on how much work I must be doing in my new home.  After my quizzical look, they all turned slightly away saying how tired I look. 

Jan was the first to say it. “It’s really there isn’t it.” Her words were a statement not a question.  Pursing her lips she stared accusingly at me.  “I told you the history of that house!  I told you what the previous owners said.”

I just don’t believe all that nonsense.  Ghosts, spectral beings, aliens…..come on.  Get real.  They just don’t exist anywhere but in the fantasies of the gullible.  The weak minded are generally being lead around by some “guru” for whatever money or other asset can get pumped out of them.

That being said, I allowed my friend Jan to make the call.  Jan had lived on that side of the city for a very long time.  She knew the best pizza joint, the easiest in and out coffee bistro, which salon had the best stylist.  Overall, she had this side of town down.  She knew everyone, and pretty much everyone knew her.  She could get the lowdown on any place, any thing, or on any body!  She made the call.

Our “spectral” retriever was to swing by my house the upcoming weekend.  In the meantime, I walked the perimeter of the house checking for “critter access”.  I went over the bills from the exterminator, no bugs/bees/rats or raccoons.  No trees leaning on the rooftop. 

Tired of looking at the house, I decided to calm my unreasonable nervousness with a nice cup of tea. Sitting on the front porch, sipping my herbal tea, I felt the hand touch me.  Whispers in my ear….”BOO..I know what you’ve done and it won’t stop me”.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Airborne


Bloggingfrom A to Z

When I checked today I am number 1455 out of 2215 writers - feel free to check out as many as you can! My sister, Vicki Paulus, is number 1454. 

We ran down the hill. No, that’s wrong.  We galloped down the hill, slipping and tumbling as though the sands of the hillside were mud.  End over end, down the steep hill.  Mouths wide open gulping in as much of the gritty sand as air.   

Blue skies overhead erupt as the fly-boys from Kincheloe  scream overhead breaking the sound barrier with a deafening boom.  The sound reverberating off the hill sides.  Hurriedly we clap our hands to the sides of our heads, covering our ears.  

Somewhere nearby another flyer is heard, a large bird of prey screams at us.  We have, once again, disrupted it’s hunt.  Several rabbits take advantage of our distraction and scurry to cover. 

It’s late spring, nearly summer.  School will be out and we will have three glorious months.  Soon enough the hot sun will beat the sides of the sand-pit, turning the moist, pliable, soft sands into baked hard crust.  But for now, the tumbling is fantastic.  The sands have just enough moisture to cling, but not enough to make sludge. 

From the top, running as hard as we can.  Arms pumping, lips pursed in concentration, dodging the blackberry bushes on our freshly made path, feet pushing off the ground….out, out, into the air. Airborne, just like the fly-boys.  For just a moment…that one elongated, may last forever moment, we are airborne.  We can fly.

Our flying contest is marked, not by where your behind fell, or where you rolled until you could finally stop, but where your feet dug into the sands.  Your landing gear is what counts here, not the fuselage, not the wings. 

Brushing the sand from our hair, off our clothes and somewhat off our faces.  We give one another a knowing glance.  It will take days to get the sand out of our ears and nose and any other crevice it will have worked its way into. We laugh and trudge back up the hill to do it all over again. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014



The BloggingLounge   
Hosted by: Ariana Browning

Prompt #5

Racing against time, she pressed down upon the gas pedal more firmly.  Coaxing the old pick-up truck around the curves and bends in the road at what her father would call, break neck speed.  Gusts of wind had knocked down branches and trees across the road.  So far the downed trees had been small enough to simply drive over, jerking her back and forth, straining against the seat belt. 

Peering into the rear view mirror, she could see the lights gaining on her.  She could feel them trying to overcome her independence.  They were trying to probe her mind and control her without even being in proximity.  “Fools!” she spat out the word as she rounded a curve on two wheels.

Knowing full well the turmoil she would cause, she escaped her captors.  Unwillingly, she had left others behind.  Others she fully planned to go back for, once she had figured out how. 

Mind control.  There was no need for them to chain anyone.  There was no need for them to discipline anyone, they simply controlled your thoughts.  Oh, they said it wasn’t control.  They said they could only foster a thought process.  Instill a certain pattern and our brains willingly followed.  They said, from the time we are very young, we, the lazy humans would much rather be told what to think and how to behave rather than make those tough decisions on our own.  

It had taken years to figure it out.  But, that knowledge was the key to her escape.  Learning to block their suggestions!  Learning to think for herself!  Learning to made decisions on her own! Initially, these had been very nearly intoxicating.  Initially, she was nearly found out on many occasion.  Initially, she had been giddy with the new-found self awareness.

Escape had been relatively easy once she mastered the “turn about”.  Instilling a suggestion into her guard’s mind had been as simple as the old woman was.  She was just an old woman doing a job to get by in life.  No point in hurting anyone, that would only make her as bad a person as her captors.  No reason to start out her new life with a “bad omen”. 

The lights were getting closer, but so was the town she was heading for.  Expletives burst from her.  She shouted at the heavens.  Then calmed, quieted, and began the tiresome act of transmitting to her pursuers.  Slowing, merging into traffic, she disappeared.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

To My Younger Self


To My Younger Self

Blogging Lounge #4

Sitting near my Grandmother, she reaches out a gnarled claw like hand to stroke my hair.  Grizzled as she appears on the outside, she is all soft and love on the inside, at least I thought so.  She loved me like no other.  I had not seen her extend even a thought of kindness to anyone else, ever. 

My Grandmother lay on her deathbed.  She wheezed and groaned as she fought the inevitable.  Hard as nails, she was determined to see my wedding day.  She was determined to have the right to request her “wish” be granted.  Only my Grandmother knew what that wish was, but I had a good guess.  Often I could catch snatches of words, as I sat next to her.

After days of lifting her nearly hairless head off her pillows to spoon feed her broth, I finally got the gist of what her request was going to be.  I was struck nearly dumbfounded when I realized what she planned.  I dropped the warm cloth I had been bathing her face with.  Staggering backward, I knocked over the stool I had perched upon for the past week.  My back aching from hunkering over her was thrown into an upright position.  My very nerves jangled at the thought of touching this person I had so long thought of tenderly. 

The years of her telling me that if she had it all to do again, she wouldn’t change a thing.  The hours of plotting and planning she had divulged what she would do if she were young in today’s world.  How often she had said “if I were to tell my younger self anything, it would be to implement this plan sooner”.  I had adored watching the movements of such a swift mind.  Her ability to envision a plan and implement it down to every detail was astonishing and wondrous to watch. Her plans were always to her advantage, the other individual always left hurting.  She had no qualms about using the other grandchildren.  

Always whispering to me how much she loved me, how she was teaching them lessons I didn’t need to learn, and how I was her favored one.

My wedding day was also my 21st birthday.  Two magical days rolled into one!  I was so excited, and had been for months.  Giddiness was normally squelched by my Grandmother.  She did not delight in other’s joy.  It was difficult to hide my excitement.  She said she could “see” it on me.  She said it hung about me like a shroud, colorful and bright.  However, she did not punish me overly much.  I assumed she knew it would be futile to try to sober me up.

How wrong I had been!  How na├»ve!  This wicked old woman had been planning something so cruel I never would have conceived it!  “To my younger self”, indeed!  She was planning to utilize my magic day!  Every lesson she taught me, she would always add that even if I forgot the actual lesson, my body would remember when the time came.  

Every extra helping of food, every ministering when I was ill, every look she bestowed upon me was the path she had lain out to execute her plan. 


 That wicked old witch!  That devious horrible woman! The vileness radiated from her body.  I stepped back, with my hand to my mouth and my mind reeling.  Slowly, vowing she would NEVER again hurt anyone.  Vowing she would NOT be trading bodies with me on my wedding night, I moved her nearly hairless head from her pillow and forced it onto her face.