Small Dreams ~ Chapter One

It’s a difficult decision to buy a book online. All you have to go by is the tiny blurb beside the book cover and that’s not much. So I’m sharing the entire first chapter with you. That way you get to meet Jessica and Chris and hopefully grow to love them as much as I do.

***

Chris was, once again, perched on the porch railing. I’d told him the railing was unsafe, the damn thing was held in place with nothing more than a handful of rusty screws and a whole lot of hope. The landlord had warned him against it too. But Chris had the attitude that nothing bad could ever happen to him and, well, so far nothing had.

He jumped down as soon as he saw me and the railing swayed wildly behind him.

This is for you,” he blurted as I walked up the path then he handed me the bag he’d been holding. I took a peek inside. A pregnancy test? I tossed it back like he’d lobbed me a live grenade.

Chris!” I exclaimed, “Why did you get me this?”

You’ve been queasy all week. You’ve thrown up twice this morning alone and your period is late. Why wouldn’t I get one?”

I can’t be pregnant!” I replied, ruthlessly ignoring the voice in the back of my head whispering ‘that would explain a lot’.

The only way we’ll know for sure is if you take the test,” he said then pressed the bag back into my hands. As tempting as it was to push it back, he was right. I sighed then quietly headed upstairs.

I could hear our roommates, Ann and John, laughing and talking in the backyard so at least we had the place to ourselves. Luckily Ann had been cleaning so I could no longer smell the liver she’d fried that morning. Unluckily Ann had been cleaning so all I could smell was powdered cleanser (only 79 cents a can at Bargoon Land, Jessica) and her heavy duty, catch-in-your-throat industrial floor cleaner. I tried to breathe shallowly.

I’ll, umm, wait out here while you take the test,” Chris said awkwardly. He leaned against the wall and stared out the hall window, even though it overlooked nothing but our neighbour’s roof and the sapling collection currently growing in their eaves.

It felt weird not locking the bathroom door but Chris was right there and it wasn’t like he’d let John or Ann waltz in. I slid the test onto the counter then fished the instructions out of the box. It looked easy enough but I still read them three times. I was about to read them a fourth time then admitted to myself I was just stalling. I could have written them by that point. Besides I really had to pee.

No time like the present,” I muttered then followed the instructions.

I refused to look at the test until I had thoroughly washed and dried my hands. Finally I picked it up and looked at what I already knew was there, two distinct lines in the window. A tear landed on the test, then another. I couldn’t hold them back.

The bathroom door opened a crack and Chris slipped inside. He picked up the test gently and stared at it in amazement. His expression said it was Christmas and Santa just showed up with a Porsche. Then he looked at my tears and his smile dimmed.

You don’t want the baby?” he asked forlornly.

I rubbed the backs of my hands across my eyes before replying. “It’s not that,” I protested. “What are we going to do with a baby? What sort of life can we give it?”

Could you imagine bathing a baby in here?” I gestured around the bathroom at the chipped paint, the grime streaked windows, Ann’s hairy razor, and the cracks winding their way across the entire length of the wall.

I want a baby with you, but I want our baby to have a real home and a future.”

Chris clasped both my hands in his and stared down at me. I looked at the friendly, goofball kid I joked around with all through high school and saw the man he was becoming.

We won’t live here forever,” Chris solemnly assured me. “We’ll make a better life for us and our baby. Things will turn out; I promise.”

I stared into his eyes and believed him.

***

If you want to read more, you can find Small Dreams here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/small-dreams

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Small Dreams…

It was 1995 and we’d just got our very first computer. It had 1mb of RAM and I nearly filled it up by adding everything in our calendar for the next hundred years. I even included our 100th anniversary, you know, in case we lived to be 123. The calendar became boring fairly quickly and I fished for something else to do.

Then I came up with writing. I’d always loved to write and had been good at it for as long as I could remember. I got told last year, by one of my former teachers, that my writing was handed around the staff room in elementary school because it was good. I had been writing poetry but wanted to try something different. I settled on a novel because it would give me space to add extra details, while poetry usually wants you to pare them down. People say to write about what you know. I was young, broke, newly married, and had a baby so I wrote about a young, newly pregnant woman and her boyfriend.

book-coverAt first I wrote about every single day. Yeah, it was as boring to write as it was to read. I also tried to write it as a diary with the same reaction. Then I made everything perfect for them. Every time there was trouble in their lives, it was immediately improved. For example, they need to look for another apartment. They were living in a rooming house and found, well they found my great grandmother’s backyard cottage. Her Dad had built their house and, when him and his wife got older, he built a backyard cottage for them to retire to. My great grandmother used to rent it out to a school teacher. It was gorgeous, with it’s own small backyard and a wide front porch. It was also pretty unrealistic for the main characters to find.

There were other minor issues. Things like phones for example. Almost no one had a cellphone in the 90’s so, when they got a phone, it was a landline. Then they waffled over having cellphones but they were too expensive… and again got a landline. Now, what 20-something year old doesn’t have a cellphone? So they have cellphones.

I’ve been working and editing on this book for so long and finally decided enough was enough. It was time to publish. I hope you love Jessica and Chris just as much as I do. If you’re interested in reading my book, it’s $3.99, so about the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee and it lasts longer too. You can find it here.

Kathleen Creates…

63One thing I’ve been working on for months now is getting back into my much loved hobbies. Reading, writing, and scrapbooking. Of the three, I’ve found scrapbooking to be the easiest. This isn’t my best layout but I a) didn’t want anyone else in the shot and b) most had already been converted to 8×10 for printing. An aside, I love that picture from Dollarama and can’t wait until I unpack it again and find the perfect spot.

I recently bought a friend’s book and read it from cover to cover in one evening, just like I used to read. It helped that the book was well written and interesting. Then I went to the library with friends and am now enjoying curling up on my swing chair with a book.

Reading has rekindled my love of writing and I have a finished book called Small Dreams that just needs a read over. And I’m doing just that. It’s the first book I ever wrote, I started it in 1995 when Kait was a baby. Back then I started it in a diary format then decided it was too clunky. Then I made everything too perfect for the couple. For example, they’re looking for an apartment and stumble across a sign. The apartment turned out to be a grandparents’ house in the backyard, complete with leaded windows and their own little backyard, redolent of lilacs. It was too perfect and I ended up tucking it away for a few years. It was gutted and rewritten so many times but, finally, I think it’s almost good to go. I’m looking forward to when it’s done and I have people reading it! I hope they like it as much as I do.

And finally, I’ve started a Facebook page where people can keep up with what I’m working on and get chucked interesting memes on a regular basis. The webpage is Kathleen Creates, feel free to click the link and like the page. As always, when you click on a link here, it opens in a new page so you can come back.

And, with that, it’s time for me to go work on Small Dreams again.

Kathleen Creates

Positive steps…

makes you happyFor the longest time my life was defined by being Katie and Colin’s Mom. Meals were picked with their palates in mind, activities planned around their interests. My free time was marked out by their bedtime; once the bath, stories, and lullabies were done… then I got to creep downstairs and do some activities of my own. At least before I got too tired to do them.

Then they got a bit older, Kait upgraded her name, and they had more freedom to explore, leaving me with a bit more freedom too. But even with that extra freedom my life revolved around their needs.

I’m going to be moving in a few more months and, for the first time since I was 25 years old, I am going to be on my own in my own empty nest. No one will be counting on me (other than the cats). I will be cooking for one and cleaning for one. And all my free time will be my own.

It’s a hard thing to wrap my brain around after almost a quarter century putting myself blog picturein second place. And it’s made doubly hard with depression and anxiety. But I am determined to do it. I’ve metaphorically dusted off my digital scrapbooking program and am making an album for our Dominican Republic vacation. Plus I’ve been taking time each night to sit in my swing chair and watch YouTube videos. I love music and this relaxes me before bed. And I see friends of mine several times a month to sing karaoke. The microphone is a cheapie that I picked up for twenty dollars but it works well enough for us. And singing with just the three of us gives us the confidence to branch out on songs we aren’t 100% sure of.

And even more changes will happen once I move. Their transit system stinks so I’ll be walking a lot more. Plus there’s going to be a Planet Fitness nearby which I’m determined to join (and attend). I’ve been told that there will be groups held in my new building, which means the potential of making friends with my neighbours. I’ve lived here for five years and I don’t think I’ve even seen some of my neighbours.

I used to write almost every day and regularly for several hours at a time (obviously while the kids were busy or asleep). I’ve got out of practise when it comes to writing and am hoping a quiet apartment with no distractions will help me get back into practice again.

I am looking so forward to letting the real me step outside. I’ll always be Kait and Colin’s Mom but from now on I’m going to be known mainly as Kathleen. And that feels good.

Looking forward…

Today feels like it should be covered in glitter and wrapped in ribbon… like there should be a hint of magic along with the optimism a new year brings. Instead we’ve got rain and chilly winds. Not that it matters because I’m cozy in my home, wearing sequined slippers and taking breaks to cuddle with the cats.

This is a day of reflection about 2018 while planning for next year and thankfully my reflections are happy ones. Kait’s pregnancy and subsequent birth have brought the two of us closer together. It’s not uncommon for us to have three hour long phone calls now. And I have the most adorable grandson too. I love watching his eyes light up with happiness when he sees me. Colin’s slowly maturing and has expressed an interest in being more organized. He also wants to go out more and join some groups. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time with family and friends. Woo hoo… karaoke! I can’t forget L either. I’ve only seen her once but I’m seeing her again soon and really looking forward to our second date… considering our first one was great!

One thing I have to work on in January and February is my weight. I’d lost 10 pounds by the beginning of December then regained six. Christmas Crack is so yummy but it’s also really high in calories. And there were other snacks and treats as well. January is a fresh start. I’m going to make sure I exercise every day. There’s no real excuse not to. I have a membership to the city’s walking track, I can go downstairs for a swim or some time on the treadmill, or I can use the mini trampoline I have under my bed. Plus on good days I can go outside for a walk on one of four trails. I am sure that I can get into the 180’s before our Dominican Republic vacation in March.

I’d also like to work on my writing. I haven’t written so much as a page in my current novel over the last year whereas pre-depression I lived for writing and would write a chapter at a time. I read an article, via Facebook, that said writing in Comic Sans helps boost creativity and I’m willing to give it a try. It can’t hurt and it’s not hard to change the novel back to Garamond.

I’ve been enjoying hanging out with friends but I’ve got local friends who I only ever see on Facebook and we need to get together too. That’s something for me to try harder to arrange this year.

2016 was one of the worst years of my life, 2017 was an improvement, 2018 was great, and I’m hoping that 2019 will be amazing! Happy New Year!!!

Start your year off right

 

The wrong way to get recognized…

November 22nd: I’ve read more about Lori Alexander and it turns out she’s an asshole who lives to shame childfree women and basically anyone who doesn’t follow her narrow ideas of living. It’s probably best to completely ignore her.

*******************************************************************************

I’m pretty sure most bloggers want their blog to get noticed, to go viral. Well maybe not the people writing their diary online and, in those cases, I suggest a lovely journal from Marshalls. I know that I’d love to see one of my posts get noticed. I should be more careful about what I wish because sometimes it’s like wishing on a monkey’s paw, you get what you want but in the worst possible way.

There’s a blogger who, like me, has a small blog and a Facebook page. Our content is worlds apart. I write about Colin, LGBTQ issues (mainly trans), vegan recipes, my novels, and mental health issues (mainly my own). I’m also an atheist. Hers is about her interpretation of the Bible, offering suggestions for living a godly life, in full blown posts on her blog and handwritten notes on her Facebook page… with the occasional photo thrown in.

so regrettable

I want that font!

A friend of mine posted against the blog on her page, after getting banned for commenting. I went on as well and, I must admit, I commented too.

“I need to go get another tattoo. Would girls still like me?”

I wondered why I never got banned and then I took another look at the sheer number of posts and their times. I had to scroll up to get out of the 1 minute old messages then the same for two, three, five… there was no way a single person could delete that deluge. Plus many of the posts were people calling friends in to see and comment.

Then I wondered why she didn’t just delete that post… until I scrolled down and realized it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Her posts were buried under thousands of comments. She’d become viral in the worst possible way. I figured, by then, that she was probably extremely shaken, maybe even crying, and away from the computer. I know I would be. Most of the comments were along the lines of:

No, REAL men preefer strong independent women who dont take.lessons on how to live or who to be from.a FB article. This lady is nuts!

That was an average comment. There were better and there were plenty worse. I did not see a single comment supporting her.

I get that people have the right to their own opinion but if your opinion has already been shared 500 times, do you really need to post too? There’s even an article on Woke Sloth that God helpfully shared (the Facebook persona, not the sky Daddy). Someone, who appears to lead a quiet, sheltered life, has suddenly been shoved into the lime light and it’s all negative.

There are all sorts of people that I don’t care if they get negative press. Actual Nazis, rapists, child molestors, people who make pickle and peanut butter sandwiches, and bigots of any kind. She didn’t fall into any of those categories as far as I could tell. She simply wanted to share her 1950’s views on the Bible. She certainly didn’t deserve what happened to her page.

With any luck, something new will happen in the next few days and she’ll fade, once again, into obscurity. And, hopefully, when the next viral blog shows up, they’ll be remembered as a human and not just something to mock.