My Wildest Dream – TT picture prompt

TT_bannerIt’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream, with the help of her best friend Carla.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt, one of two selections: a country barn scene, or a roaring fireplace. I chose the barn as Jenny and Carla are on their way to a llama ranch. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

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TT_December 2015 picture prompt

Carla rushed into the shop, her long, still wet hair streaming behind her. “Sorry, I’m running late.” She halted halfway to the counter. “You ready to go?”

“I’m ready. But Dillon’s not here yet.”

“Call him,” Carla suggested.

“I did. Twice. I’ll try again.” I pulled my phone from my back pocket and pressed his name on my screen. When the call went to voice mail – again – I tapped end call and dropped the phone on the counter in disgust. “I should have known not to trust leaving him here on a Saturday by himself,” I muttered.

Dillon came bursting through the side door like a cyclone, with words flowing out in a flurry. “I’m sorry I’m late…flat tire…left my phone at home…couldn’t call…”

“It is what it is,” I told him. “You’re here now.”

“As long as the ladies don’t ask me how to make anything. I can’t help them with girly requests.”

I smiled, thinking about how slow business had been since I opened. “If anything comes up, call me.”

We headed out for the llama ranch, leaving Dillon in charge of the herb store for the day.

The directions weren’t complicated. There were turns here and there as we traveled the farm to market roads the back way to Ponder. The rural scenery was green and lush as the intense summer heat settled into north Texas yet. I enjoyed seeing the verdant farmland.

Traveling down what I thought was the correct road, the asphalt ended and a dirt drive pointed the way to a red barn setting in the midst of towering post oaks. But…no cars. No signage. No obvious pasture land.

I eased to a stop and turned to Carla. “You see any llamas around? Did I miss a turn somewhere?”

 

My Wildest Dream – Tuesday Tales ‘nasty’

It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream, with the help of her best friend Carla.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘nasty’. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

TT_banner

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Carla called Thursday night. “Have you seen the weather reports?”

“You know me. Do I watch the news? My TV hasn’t been turned on for weeks.”

“There’s a big storm heading in. It should be here late tomorrow night.”

ice storm“How big of a storm? Enough to keep us from moving furniture this weekend?”

“Oh yeah. If it happens like they say. Of course, half the time they’re wrong anyway. The reporters are predicting temps in the high teens and possible ice.”

Just when I thought we were going to make it through this winter without any nastiness. I stood in the kitchen opening cupboard doors, scanning the pantry contents. I checked the refrigerator to double check if there was anything I needed, in case the reporters were right.

Usually I was set fairly well and could eat of my cupboards for a good month or two, except for a few perishable items. This time though, trying to keep my expenditures notched down in readiness for my new business venture, I hadn’t been purchasing as much in the grocery store as I typically did.

Out came the list and I jotted down a few necessities to run out and pick up the next day.

By the time I got to the store the next morning, it seems that multitudes of others had the same idea. Except that they’d gone earlier than I did. The loaf of bread I’d written on the list? That wasn’t going to happen. The bread shelves were bare. I tossed a pack of hamburger buns in my cart and considered myself lucky. The milk racks were in about the same condition. There wasn’t very much left. I found a small container of chocolate milk and added it to my meager collection. I made it to the eggs before they were wiped out and picked up two dozen. Water bottles also were in scarce supply. I found a gallon jug of a pricier brand and scooped it off the shelf. The soup cans were just as picked over, but there were a few selections still waiting for the late vultures.

I hoped the forecasters were wrong.

They weren’t.

The television was turned on that evening, to stay abreast of the news. I watched the storm progress, up from the gulf and north through this huge state. The house got colder with each advancing hour. To avoid the heater running so hard trying to keep the house warm, I dropped the thermostat a few degrees and added a sweatshirt.

After a while, I opened the front door and peered out, shutting it quickly when I saw the white tempest outside. February weather. It was not my friend.

I called Carla. “Well…guess we won’t be moving furniture this weekend.”

“Nope. But look at the bright side. I’m off work. Not that I’d drive there in this anyway. And you don’t have to try to get to Crafty Hands in bad weather anymore. So we both can stay home and be warm. And safe.”

icy viewWhen I peeked out the windows the next morning, I was glad to see the storm had past. I also had to admit that the pristine, icy world it left in its wake was beautiful. As long as I could view it through the window of my warm house and didn’t have to be out in it.

Not a single vehicle had gone down the street. The landscape in front of me was almost like one of the gorgeous snowy scenes on a Christmas card. But instead of white fluff surrounding us, it was a white layer over top of a nasty, icy crust.

icy roadTexas shuts down during an ice storm. The Midwest and the East laugh at us, as they keep on with life in their winter wonderland. But ice…nope, this California girl does not drive in ice. I was glad I’d gone ahead and picked up a few groceries.

For four days I couldn’t get out of my driveway. Not that I tried the first few days. The temperature never rose over twenty-four degrees. It was cloudy and dull, not a speck of sunshine to brighten our world – nor warm the icy layer cast over us.

By the second day, one or two vehicles made tracks down the street. I could hear one crunching along early one morning, making its way down the street very slowly. It sounded like a diesel, so it was probably four wheel drive. I didn’t care enough to get up and watch. I stay snuggled under my warm covers.

By the fifth day, the sun finally broke through and the temperature rose to a high of thirty three.

The down time gave me a chance to catch up on crafty projects for the store. I took advantage of that and worked up everything I could, until I was down to projects that needed one more piece, one more bottle of paint, one more item before it was complete. And I wasn’t going to go slide around on ice for a small bottle of acrylic paint, that’s for sure.

I pulled out the calendar to review the schedule I’d penciled in. There was no way I could open in one week. Without being able to move the large pieces in, and losing four days of making it to the shop, I’d lost too much critical time. It was going to be close anyway. But the ice storm had set me back too far.

Maybe I could move the opening to mid-March?

From past experience, I also knew that after a storm of this magnitude it would take a week or two before the world returned to normal. Not only had we cleared the grocery store shelves of produce and goods, trucks bringing new merchandise couldn’t get in to deliver their goods either.

I decided to push the opening back to April first. April in north Texas is nicer weather. People are excited to get out and about after a cold winter. And gardeners are starting to put in their first crops.

My Wildest Dream – Tuesday Tales ‘cup’

TT_bannerIt’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream, with the help of her best friend Carla.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘cup. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

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There we were, driving up 377 towards Denton, a route we’d taken so many times together. Chattering a mile a minute, we were catching up after the horrid retail time was behind us. On a cold January day, there’s not much sightseeing to be doing in this area. The scenery looks much the same. Dead and bleak.

Before I knew what was happening, Carla pulled the car onto the shoulder and almost screeched to a stop.

“What’s wrong?” All sorts of imaginings raced through my mind. Flat tire. Overheated. Hurt animal on the side of the road.

“The old bank building!”

“The brick one?” Which other one could it be? There was only one old bank building in Argyle, the brick one sitting on a corner, a relic of the past. We’d both admired it every time we drove through this area. It always sat empty and neglected, looking forlorn as if no one loved it anymore.

argyle bank“There’s a ‘For Rent’ sign on it.” Carla was already opening the door and sticking a leg out.

I joined her behind the car and we hiked back to the corner. She was right. A huge sign hung in the large window. ‘For Rent’ with a number. I patted my pockets. Of course, no pen and paper. I debated about jogging back to the car to grab one out of my purse, until I remembered the cell phone in my pocket. I quickly snapped a picture of the sign.

“There. Now I have the number.”

I don’t think Carla heard me. She was already up by the building, peering in the other window.

My mind was whirling with the possibilities over an old historic building like this. And I hadn’t even seen inside yet. I’d be in heaven if I could have my business here.

One problem existed. “Except, there’s no space for gardens.”

“But the old bank…”

“I know. It would be great. But I need to have plants growing too.”

“Look at the huge lot on the side though. Maybe some of that is part of the property.”

“Maybe.” She was right. The bank was flanked by a large open field on one side. The back side had a dilapidated asphalt area that appeared to have been a parking lot at some previous point in time. It would be necessary as there were only spaces for about three cars on the front street side of the building.

The area on the side street didn’t have any parking. A deep gulley run alongside the building. Hopefully it was adequate to carry heavy rain waters away and keep them from flooding the building. I thought about it as if I were already a tenant here.

Pretty presumptuous, Jenny. You haven’t even called about it yet and you’re already making plans for having a business here.

The field and the area behind the old brick building might come with the rental. They might not. There was only one way to find out. Of course, dialing the number on a Sunday afternoon only got me to voice mail. I left a message and crossed my fingers.

I walked up to the doors, set in the angled corner of the building as was so common then. Cupping my hands around my face, I tried to see through the dusty window. Not much existed inside. I could barely make out the empty shell of a large ‘L’ shaped space. Directly across from the front door, there appeared to be an interior room with a large, ornate door going into it.

argyle bank vault“Hey Carla. C’mere. Is that the vault back there?”

She reappeared from wherever she’d been exploring and looked it. “Yeppers. Looks like it. It’s so dark it’s hard to tell. But when I worked for the newspaper that was located in the old bank building in Roanoke…years ago…that’s about where their old vault was.”

“Wish they said how much the rent was on the lease sign.”

“Don’t cha’ know it. I’d love to get inside and look around.”

I wandered around the side of the building, towards the back parking area. To call it a parking lot was rather grandiose. It could do. The ragged edges of what used to be a structured parking lot didn’t have any remaining striping. However, it was better than parking on a dirt or gravel lot. And there was plenty of room around the sides that could potentially have planting areas surrounding the old lot. Without the formal edges that many commercial spaces utilized for plantings, it could be a unique, rustic space, complementing the vision I had for my herb business.

Visions of having my herb and garden shop situated in a historic bank building filled my thoughts for the rest of the day. Every time Carla said something, I’d have to reel myself in back to the present and have her repeat whatever she’d said or asked.

My Wildest Dream – flavor

It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream, with the help of her best friend Carla.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘flavor’. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

TT_banner

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“Speaking of herbs for cooking…let’s go eat. I’m cold. And starving.” Carla rubbed her stomach to emphasize her words.

I checked to make sure the baggies were sealed and dropped them into a crunched up shopping bag I pulled out of my pocket. “Where to?”

“Where else? Waffle House?”

I smiled, thinking to myself that I should have known. Carla’s choices consisted of Waffle House or Mexican. Oh, occasionally she went the Barb-B-Que route, or chose burgers or a Sonic chili dog. But nine times out of ten, it was one of her two favorites.

Soon we were out of the woodsy area and seated in a booth of our favorite hangout. We each scanned the menus, although probably neither one of us would order anything different than what we usually got. Carla asked for coffee as soon as we sat down, while I only asked for a water.

As soon as the coffee was poured, Carla wrapped her hands around the steaming mug. “No iced tea today? Too cold for you?”

“They don’t have a flavor I like. Now, if they had a nice raspberry or peppermint tea, I’d be all over it.” I realized where we were and started laughing. “I’ll have to take a picture of our meals and send it to my sister.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket and sat it next to my water glass, to remind me.

waffle houseCarla chuckled. “Yeppers. She’ll be jealous. Elisabeth really likes to eat here when she visits, doesn’t she?”

“Her and my niece, Shelly. They both like it. Although I don’t know which they like best. Waffle House, Babe’s or Reno Reds.”

“How’s your sister doing?”

“Fine. Of course, the school year’s started up, so she’s back at work.” I stretched my legs, glad that we were finally sitting after our hour in the woods. “I know she likes her job. But I think she likes her summers better, with six weeks off.”

“Is she coming back next summer to visit you again?”

“I hope so. Since I didn’t make it to California this year, I was glad she was able to make a trip this way.”

Carla raised her coffee cup as the waitress approached the table with a steaming pot of fresh coffee. “When she comes out again, we’ll have to go to Babe’s again. I enjoyed meeting her and spending some time with her.” She busied herself adding sugar and creamer, then looked up with a thoughtful look on her face. “She’ll be able to come and see your herb shop if she comes back next summer.”

“Ha!” My response burst out, surprising us both. “I doubt I’ll be operating by next summer.”

“You never know. You could be.”

“November…December…January” I ticked the months off on my fingers. “It’s only eight months till June. I’ll never have everything ready by then. I doubt I’ll even have enough money to even have a place to rent by then.”

“Sure you will. You’ll find someplace.”

“That I can afford?”

“Of course.”

“And then I have to order stock. And make things. And buy dried herbs. And package product up. And…” My chest heaved as a long, slow sigh of frustration escaped. “I don’t know if I can do it by then. Heck. I don’t even know if I can do this at all!”

“Yes you can. I have faith in you.”

“More faith than I have in myself. I’m seriously doubting whether I can really do this or not.”

“What about all those positive thoughts you’re always talking about? All your talk over the past year about living an authentic life and doing what you really want to do? About celebrating life and living it to the fullest? Where did all that come from?”

“I know. But do you know how much money I’m going to need? Money I don’t have.”

“Then I guess you’ll just have to buck up and figure out a way. You can do it. Write up a bunch of those affirmations you’re always talking about. Stick ‘em on your forehead, plaster ‘em all over your house.”

Crazy friends. Don’t you just love it when your best friends parrots your words and throws them right back at you? I shook my head and tried to rub my frown lines off my forehead. Fortunately our meals arrived, giving me some time to think.

I hated to admit that Carla was right. I was so discouraged and overwhelmed, that my dream seemed impossible. I wasn’t using my own words on myself. I was looking at the negative and kept repeating these negative thoughts to myself. Where was the positivity that I talked so freely about? I was doing the same thing that I berated others for doing – the old adage ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ hit too close to home right now.

My Wildest Dream – TT picture prompt

TT_bannerIt’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt, so the snippets are limited to 300 words. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

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TT_November 2015 prompt“What are we looking for again?” Carla called over her shoulder as she scurried through the golden carpet of fallen leaves.

“Mullein.”

“Mule…whatever… Just tell me what it looks like.”

“It’s got large silvery, gray fuzzy leaves.” I held out my hands showing the approximate size of a small watermelon. “They’ll be about a mound about a foot or so high, with a tall fuzzy stalk coming out of the center.”

“A stalk?”

“Yeah. A really tall one, almost as tall as you are, or taller.” Which wasn’t saying much as Carla was a bit of thing that barely came to my shoulder. “With clusters of yellow flowers, or flower pods at the top.”

Carla stopped and scanned the woodsy undergrowth around us. “It still has flowers this time of year?”

“Probably not. It’s probably dried seed pods now. They’ll be about pea sized pods in large clusters.”

“Why are we looking for it if there’s no flowers?” My friend looked totally confused now. She wasn’t a plant person and would be the first to admit it. But, being my best friend she was up for any outing I suggested, even if she didn’t understand the whys of our Sunday afternoon wandering.

“The seeds. That’s what I’m after.”

“What are you going to do with seeds?”

“Plant them. Next spring I’ll have my own stock of mullein plants growing.” I pulled a few Ziploc baggies out of my pocket and dangled them in the air.

Carla grabbed for a bag. “The thing I do for you,” she muttered.

“Hey, you should like these plants though.” I paused to catch her attention before I continued. “The Indians lit the dried stalks to use as torches…they used the leaves in cradleboards as diaper material…the smoldering roots eased chest congestion…and teas…”

mullein

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