Almost the end…

The end of 2012, that is. I’ve survived the Christmas rush and I’m grudgingly back at work this week. Over the last few days I managed a bit of the Spirit of the season and wasn’t (I hope) a total Scrooge during the long weekend. Now I have a brief moment to reflect on the status of my blog and the NaBloPoMo challenge.

I take my inspiration to write for my blog from numerous sources and I enjoy prompts of all kinds. The wonderful people at BlogHer had posed the challenge of posting once a day, every day for the month of December with the underlying theme of WORK. Today is the 26th and I’ve fallen well off the post-a-day pace at this point, due largely in part to, well, working.

The month of December is often “soft” as we say in Sales, and it takes most of my mental capacity to churn out as much business as I can for the end of the quarter and the year, often meaning that I have little energy left over for doing things I enjoy, like writing. When I’m not working I’m at home with my family and have really been enjoying that time, so my writing has taken a back seat, especially this month.

I’m not complaining, just perhaps explaining to myself and setting the tone for where I am mentally with regards to blogging, writing and my job as we try to finish up, squeezing every last sale and dollar out of 2012 while preparing to start a New Year next week. I have irons in fires now I didn’t have when this year began, all of which are very important to me. I have plans for 2013 I couldn’t have anticipated back in January, and I’m thankful for the opportunities that have and will present themselves.

This isn’t my last post of the year, but I had some writing energy pent-up from the long weekend and needed to get it out. It’s been enjoyable, therapeutic and personal, but I know that at least a handful of people read along with me and I appreciate that too. I hope your yearly goals have been reached and that you’re busy working on your own big finishes.

 

 

Is it in the ayes or the noes?

“It might actually be safer for you to come with me to the station and answer some questions. No one would dare try to kill you there,” she said blandly, blinking as she turned first to Max and then to Ralphie.

The look on Ralphie’s face, they way his eyebrows were raised, his cheeks taut in an ear-to-ear grin, said he thought the idea was perfect, that he’d be happy to oblige the officer.

“I don’t think I agree,” Max countered. ” Until we know exactly who we’re dealing with, I don’t see how you can possibly know that. I don’t approve.”

 

 

The 100 Word Challenge prompt this week is: Countenance

 

Happy Endings

According to theorists studying the Mayan Calendar, the world as we know it will come to an end tomorrow, 12/21/12. You know what? I hope they’re right.

The weather in St. Louis was weird this morning. Skies were dark one moment, then the sun peeked through, then skies went dark again as the winds picked up and clouds rolled in. It rained overnight and now it’s snowing. One thing I love about a good storm is the morning after when the sky seems scoured clean, the air is crisp, and the sun reappears. Could we be in for a morning like that tomorrow?

Maybe it will take another whole day of storms to wash away the ugliness the world has been displaying lately, and maybe those Mayan Calendar theorists are on to something. Maybe the world as we know it NEEDS to end so a new, more tolerant and supportive world can begin. It would take a change of hearts and minds on a global scale to really alter the direction humanity is headed, but global change begins locally, right?

What harm could it possibly do if, as the clocks and calendars across the world tick over into Friday, we were all to start thinking about slowing down and showing each other more respect? If we all consciously stopped and took time to think about how our actions and words affect those around us? How could it be a bad thing if everyone finally gave compassion a fair shake and wanted to help each other instead of competing on every level every day?

Don’t mistake me. I’m not suggesting we stop living our lives and drop everything we do or give away our material possessions and join convents and monasteries  This is not about choosing one religion over another or the rich versus the poor. This is not about skin color or where we live. I’m talking about a very simple thing EVERYONE around the world could do to make a change. Everyone, everywhere, of every age, race, class, sexual orientation, those who believe, those who don’t, young, old, the haves and the have-nots; every human being on the planet can do this.

I challenge you to stop or slow down for a minute between now and tomorrow to really consider what you’re doing and why. Would it be bad if we were nicer to each other? If we choose to be, will the world as we know it be different?

Here’s hoping the Mayan Calendar has been correctly interpreted and the world as we know it will end tomorrow, 12/21/12. We’ll be in a better place and I feel fine about it. How will you help facilitate a change?

 

WWW Wednesday 12/19/12

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme held over on Should be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My current read is still Wheat Belly. It’s slow going, dense with chemistry so far, but makes an extremely compelling argument for eliminating wheat gluten from your diet. I’m going to try, we’ll see how it goes.

I never finished Cloud Atlas, came up <100 pages short, but had to return it to the library. Someone else had it reserved and I felt bad about keeping it. It’s definitely worth a read and I’ll finish it before seeing the movie.

I’m SO excited about my next read: Jim Butcher’s Cold Days, the latest Dresden Files installment! If you’re into mysteries, cop stories, fantasy, wizards, or even vampires, you’ll like the Dresden Files novels.

100 Word Song – Never Going Back to Ok

“Chicago PD would like to talk to you both regarding your connection with this man,” said the officer, holding up a black and white mug-shot of a grim-looking, barrel-chested man. “Seen him before?”

Max swallowed the lump in his throat, nodding. “Less than an hour ago that man tried to kill me outside Lucky’s Deli,” he managed, his pulse quickening as he recalled the incident.

“What?” Ralphie exclaimed, spitting out his drink. “On the phone you said you had the grub and everything was fine!”

The cop shifted her feet. “I’m thinkin’ you’re never going back to okay, Mr. Sampson.”

This is my response to last week’s 100 Word Song challenge from Lance & Leroy. Be sure to click the image to head over and read all the great entries.

Stakeout

The barrel-chested man sat behind the wheel of his plain, white van, parked at the corner. He’d had a clear view of the front of Ralphie’s building and screwed up his face in a snarl watching the female police officer enter. He’d been so worked up his heart threatened to beat right out of his chest, but now he’d wait.  There was something about those guys that really didn’t make any sense. He knew Max wasn’t dead, though at the close quarters outside the deli the cops should have been picking up pieces of Max from the sidewalk along with the sandwiches. And that downpour? Where the Hell had that come from?

The engine of the plain, white van roared to life and the barrel-chested man pulled slowly away from the curb and into traffic, heading deeper into the heart of the city. There would be another time to take care of this situation. He couldn’t afford entanglement with the authorities again.

 

This was in response to last week’s prompts at Studio30Plus.com

Guy Gifting at The Indie Chicks!

Thrilled and honored to be writing today over at The Indie Chicks! That I’ve been invited to be a part of their awesomeness is beyond amazing, the women there (and men, too!) are strong-willed, opinionated, funny and smart. I’m excited and humbled to join them.

I’m writing about Gift Giving today so follow the link above or click on the logo and head over to have a look!

 

WWW Wednesday 12/12/12

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme held over on Should be Reading. To play along just answer the following questions.

 

WWW_Wednesdays4

 

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Right now I’m trying to finish Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. It started off slowly and I nearly put it down but now I’m thankful I kept at it. It bogged down a bit near the middle but now I’m on the home-stretch and it’s been a wonderful ride. I highly recommend it.

I’m also reading Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD. It’s basically a condemnation of what science and agriculture has done to wheat in the name of convenience and profit. I’m barely into it, but I have to say some of the arguments for eliminating wheat gluten (in nearly everything we eat) from your diet are compelling.

The last book I read was the very funny eBook, 101 Things to do Before the Apocalypse, by Jon Hanson. You should click on the image and go buy it today, it’s only $1.99 and would make a great Christmas gift for yourself or anyone you know who enjoys a good laugh. You can also read my review of it here on my blog.

 

The next thing I’ll read will likely be The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie. It was recommended by a friend (thanks, Jeffery, if you’re reading this) and is a sort of dark-humor, fantasy offering, the first of three in a trilogy. I’m a sucker for trilogies.

Review – 101 Things to do Before the Apocalypse

If someone tells a joke but no one’s left alive to hear it, is it still funny? In the case of Jon Hanson’s 101 Things to do Before the Apocalypse the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Hanson has put together a bucket-list folks from all walks of life can occupy their time with as we near the Mayan Doomsday date of 12/21/12. As it’s the month of Christmas I think I’ll start by checking off #6: “Have Christmas Early.” December 25th comes days after the scheduled ruination of mankind, so why miss out?! One of the best things about the book is that similar things are grouped together so you can knock out two in a row. (#7 is “Buy Yourself Christmas Presents!”)

Whether you’re a student, parent, work a white-collar job, or you’re a ne’er-do-well slacker, this book has easy to accomplish tasks, all laid out  in a convenient format. They range from sound advice, to suggestions of questionable morality, to outright law-breaking, but not every suggestion is selfish or illegal. There are plenty of things on this list to make your neighbors’ last days a little brighter. One of my favorites is #18: “Give up Your Restaurant Pager:”

“If you find yourself waiting for a restaurant table among older people, keep an eye on them. If you get buzzed first, offer to swap with them. They have done enough waiting. You could also apply the same efforts to active duty members of the military and veterans. It’s the right thing to do and you’ll feel good in the process!”

Again, 101 Things to do Before the Apocalypse provides a wide variety of entertaining ways to spend your final hours, and though there are a few points of repetition along the way, those moments don’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. 101 is a big number, and I suspect the author managed to get them all in while dodging the authorities a few times. No small feat. I had fun reading this lighthearted take on our impending doom. It’s a fine reminder that sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Go to Amazon and buy this book, you won’t regret it!