The Land of Twilight

Dreams are messy things. They take the daylight, and turn them into the surreal water colors of Monet or the darker themes of Picasso. I usually take the ride without too much damage. Lately though I’ve been having trouble determining my day from my night.

A knock on the bedroom door distracts me and I put the pen down next to my notebook.

“Gail,” said the male voice on the other side of the door. “Are you dressed? Are you ready to go?”

I’m still wrapped in my blanket, underneath I’m wearing an old ragged T-shirt. I have quit wearing nightgowns because by morning the nightgown would be wrapped up around my neck and I would shake with cold. Nothing has felt too good against my skin except cotton. I can’t endure the lycra and polyester. Even wool is too scratchy.

“I’m coming,” I say to my roommate. “David, I’m coming.”

I lost my mate so many years ago that I have forgotten what it is like to have that male energy in the house. David and I are friends. We have known each other for years and have both known the loss of mates. I was so tired of being lonely and so I agreed to having David as roommate. We shared the house and shared the cost.

If I had had a child, maybe I would have given this house to her.

I dress quickly, pulling on elastic waistband pants and another T-shirt. I rolled my hair in a bun and stuck my “murder needles” a type of hair stick securing my bun. I looked quickly in the mirror. My eyebrows disappeared into my face. I hadn’t used make-up in years and it made me look unfinished. I smeared some lotion on my face and then opened the door.

David was a small gnome of a man. He was tall enough to reach my chest. He looked up and gave me a huge smile, “Good morning, gorgeous.”

I smiled back. “So handsome, where are we going?”

Although David was the height of a child, his beard and roughened hands denied any childishness. Even so he almost skipped as we walked out the door. “It’s a surprise.”

I had had few surprises. Most of them were not fun. Today though I felt the sun warm my bones and I moved more easily than I had in years. The arthritis in my joints loosened as we walked down to the corner to a little diner. David opened the door and we found a booth.

We ate here every Sunday. I would order bacon and eggs and David would order a ham steak. I would sip my coffee and listening to the murmur of the customer’s voices. The little diner knew how to brew a good cup. I hummed as I drank.

“What is the surprise?”

“After breakfast,” said David. He grinned.

Okay, I could wait. I wasn’t the spring chicken that I used to be. But I felt a little anticipation. I hadn’t had that spark in a long time. The smells of bacon relaxed me and the dream of the morning seemed a long ways away.

I swear that I burped when I finished my breakfast. I didn’t want to leave the warmth and the food. David heaved a huge sigh and paid the check. We then left. It was so normal and so right. When my husband lay dying, he told me that I would miss this. Someone to come home to, someone to eat with, someone to talk to– I hadn’t believed him. He was right. Thinking of his death brought a tear to my eye. I dashed it away. Joy and pain.

We rambled down the sidewalk away from the diner, talking of little things that you forget. I think you call it, making memories. It wasn’t far, but I had started breathing deeply and needed to sit down when we reached the strand of trees.

“Come on,” he said. “It’s just a little farther. I haven’t seen one of these in years.”

David supported me and I got my second wind. The trees grew closer and closer and I could feel the bark, rough against my hand. I could smell peppermint and decaying leaves. I took a deep breath and continued.

The trees opened into a small clearing. The trees were tall sentinels and in the center they guarded a fairy ring. The mushrooms created a circle in the grass. I stared at the thing. A strong beam of light lit the area and I looked at David.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

He looked at me patiently. “Gail,” he said softly. “I’m taking you home.”

I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Christmas in exile

According To Hoyt

I won’t be home for Christmas. And neither will you. And in fact, very few people throughout what was once quaintly called Christendom will be home for Christmas.

When I was thinking about this post, I was going to say that we’d never spent Christmas on the road, but that’s not precisely true. Our technically first Christmas together was spent in Portugal. See, our wedding was on the 28th of December, so we went over a little earlier (about a week.) For one, I needed to have fittings on the gown. No, don’t ask. Yes it was insane.

But that was arguably better than our second Christmas, when we were alone. Being childless and away from all family, even though I’d cooked a turkey breast for lunch, we found ourselves all out of sorts, so we went out in the evening to a steakhouse, and that was worse, actually. Because…

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Ho Ho Ho

I can’t overstate it, but this has been a rough year for all of us. So in the spirit of the season, (Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, and Kwanzaa) I am writing a list of the books I am reading. It’s my gift to you.

  1. Silent Knight– Robb Howell I just finished reading this one a few days ago. It has a slight noir flair and is fun and interesting. Robb is one of the newer writers I decided to sample this year. I want to read more and he has assured me that he has more about Nick Patara in the works.
  2. The Cute Moose – Cedar Sanderson Cedar is one of those writers that is very creative. She mostly writes fantasy, but this time she has written a children’s book. I liked it so much that I sent a copy to my three-year-old niece.
  3. Cool as Ice – (Wine of the Gods series) Pam Uphoff I met Pam through Sarah A. Hoyt. This is one of Pam’s later books in the Wine of the Gods series. I suggest going to book one of the series and read right through. It is a very fun read and has both elements of science and fantasy. I read her books as soon as she publishes them.
  4. Familiar Tales – (Familiar Tales series) Alma T.C. Boykin Actually I am really invested in this series. I really like book 2, which is the start of Leila’s story. I’m really into this series right now.
  5. Deep Pink – Sarah A Hoyt Another noir like story with a funny twist. Also, go look at her sci-fi. It is really really really good.

There are many more authors I like to read, but at this moment I’m on a noir fantasy kick. And just to be fair, here is one of my older offerings for Christmas–

Santa’s Boots


According To Hoyt

I’m not actually stupid, you know, and I did grow up in Colorado. As far back as I can remember we used to joke that weathermen in the area go stark raving mad, and that we could get a better weather forecast by flipping a coin or using another form of divination than by listening to the so called experts.

When I was seven there was a a snow storm on my birthday. Which wouldn’t be all that weird, except that my birthday is on the fourth of July. Oh, and the storm was in the morning and by evening it was 80 degrees.

When I learned to drive at 16, mom always made sure even if I was just driving the two miles to the grocery store I had space blankets, water and power bars in the car. Summer and winter. Just in case, you know?

And in winter?…

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What is Joy?

Photo by Khoa Vu00f5 on

Sometimes I need a little guidance outside myself so I throw the I Ching coins and read the hexagram for that day. Sometimes I get scolded and sometimes I receive insights into my challenges. This morning the hexagram was #58 Joy. In other translations, it can also be called “Open Connections.”

When I throw the coins I am very well aware that this advice was around about 1000 BC even though it only recently came to the Western world. Still when I read it, the words remind me of things my grandfather, may he rest in peace, used to say to me.

So as I was reading the English translation of hexagram #58, I realized that I didn’t know what joy was… because it is one of the small quiet emotions. When I looked around for a definition, I found that the online dictionaries dismissed joy as happiness at receiving something. It turned joy into a materialistic coin. Do you only get joy when you receive a promotion, a new car, or a child? I can see joy with the birth of a child because there is so much in that gift. But a car?

In the religious side, joy is associated with openness and communication, mostly communication with family. So did that mean because I am alone, I cannot feel joy? I think that if you have good relations with members of your family that maybe joy can be easier, but once again the definition reeked of capitalism and coin. You get joy for good behavior. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

I think because joy is so quiet that I zoom past the feeling and never quite remember it. I feel that quietness when I am holding my dog or watching a sunrise. I miss that feeling when I leaned against my late-hubby and rested my head against his shoulder.

When we walked hand in hand and talked, I felt that same feeling.

So maybe joy doesn’t come from receiving things, but maybe joy is actually wrapped up in gratitude.

Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.