Aug 30, 2009

Pick-A-Path Road Work - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

Note To Reader: The last installment of the Pick-A-Path Project is proving to be a little more challenging than I anticipated. My apologies, but unfortunately it isn't ready to go up tonight. Again, so sorry for the delay, but I only get one shot to end this story and I want to be sure I get it right. Thanks so much for reading and please check back Wednesday,

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 29, 2009

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

I discovered this book through a random conversation with a fellow traveler in the Memphis International Airport almost 2 years ago.

We were both on our way to Knoxville, TN, he for his brother's wedding, and I to one of my best friend's baby showers. He'd started the novel while waiting for our flight to Knoxville. He'd already read the first 30 pages when I sat beside him at our departure gate.

When I saw him in the terminal 3 days later waiting on our return flight, he gave me the book with the warning that this was a MUST READ and probably one of the best book he'd ever read.

Let me tell you... I was HOOKED first three pages!

Last Sunday, while watching the previews before Julie & Julia, I was thrilled to learn that this emotionally charged, heart pounding, heart breaking, inspiringly wonderful thriller had been made into a movie. (Sorry to Stephen King for the obscene use of advirbage... -- I seriously doubt he reads my blog, but just in case... -- I know better, but couldn't resist!)

The Movie comes out in December so that gives you plenty of time to read the book.

To order it, click HERE

To learn more about the movie or watch the trailer, click HERE

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 23, 2009

Pick-A-Path Section 4- Baltimore, MD - August 2009

Important Note to Reader: If you’re just tuning in you’ll want to click HERE to read Pick-A-Path sections 1, 2, and 3 first.

So this week was a little tricky. On Tuesday at midnight the votes were tied at three votes for Path A and three votes for Path B. There was what would have been a tie breaking vote cast, but it was cast on Wednesday evening, so in keeping with the rules, I couldn’t whole heartedly take Path A. So below is what I came up with. Here we go…


Although it passed more slowly than most, the mundane events of that day were carbon copies of all the days before it. Lori cleaned house and did laundry. She ran to the grocery for milk and bread. She took the dog for a walk. It wasn’t until she met the mail man at the end of their driveway that she realized that tomorrow would be the last morning Jimmy would be able to wake up without the burden of his death sitting like a rock in his stomach. She’d decided she would tell him after all the decisions about the ball park had been made. Now all that was left to do was find the will to tell him and the words.

She would sit him down and tell him that the test results had come back and it wasn’t what they’d initially thought.

She’d spent most of the afternoon in the internet researching the words printed on the prescription pad. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was the most common cancer in children and about eighty-five percent survived five or more years, however, adults were a different story. It was extremely rare for an adult to be diagnosed with ALL and even though most all of them would go into remission at some point, so far as she could see, less than half of them survived.

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes and the tears that she’d been fighting to contain for over twenty-four hours broke free. She cried heaving sobs that met no resistance, and without regard for who or what could hear. She cried till she couldn’t breathe and her stomach ached. She held the paper from Dr. Walters so tight in her fist that it felt like it may disintegrate under the pressure. And when her voice was horse and her tears had run dry, she was exactly where she’d started; only now she was numb and cold in the quiet of their empty home.

She started the water for a bath and lit the candles that rested on a small table beside the claw foot tub. She made her way through the house turning off lights and closing the blinds to shut out the last moment s of that evening’s sunset.

She set the crumbled paper on her dresser and noticing that the blue ink had bleed through from the sweat from her hand; she took the paper and shoved it into her pants pocket.

She turned to cross their bedroom and with each step she took towards the bathroom she lightened her load. First the right sneaker and sock, then the left. Her favorite blue jeans were next, followed by a short sleeved tee-shirt and then the long sleeved one underneath. When she reached the door to the bathroom, a trail of discarded clothing lay in her wake and she stood in her bra and panties with the flickering candle light dancing across her skin.

At the same time she was adding lavender salt to the heat of the water Jimmy, under the noise of the running bath water eased through the door between the garage and house with their sleeping child in his arms.

He set J.J. gently into bed and had to stop for a moment resting his hand on the dresser while he caught his breath before dressing him in the pajamas Lori had laid out.

He moved down the hall and into their bedroom and could see the back of her in the bathroom mirror as she slid into the bath.

Her hair was pinned off her neck in an intricately effortless twist and he took in each curve of her slender body as it slid deeper into the water. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as he blindly collected the clothing from the floor and dropped it into the basket in the corner. He tucked her sneakers under the bed and folded her jeans and set them on her dresser never noticing the crumpled paper that fell from the pocket to rest inside her shoe.

He eased into the armchair in the corner and watched her reflection as she traced the line of each leg with a small pink sponge and breathed in the intoxicating smell that hung in the air.

When she emerged from her bath he was so close to sleep that it felt like a dream when she came to rest beside him and then over top of him. He could have been dreaming when she finally led him to bed, and it could have been in his dreams that she pressed herself so close to him that he could feel the rhythm of her breathing and the thumping of her heart on his skin.

He woke what felt like moments later to the sounds of her moving about the bedroom. When he opened his eyes light from the windows poured in to greet him.

“Morning” he said.

“Morning” she said pulling a sweater over her head and pulling her long honey colored hair from inside. “Did you sleep okay?”

“It was alright” he said pushing himself up and off the edge of the bed. “I dreamed that you let me watch you take a bath, and then…” he paused and smiled lifting his eyebrows.

She turned to face him while she slid small silver hoop earrings into each ear “Thin what?” she asked grinning back at him.

At that moment, J.J. pushed into the room rubbing his eyes. “Are you up yet?” he said making a bee line to Lori’s leg and clinging tight to it.

Jimmy grinned and mouthed the words “…we did it!” and winked at her.

With a laugh she smoothed the hair on J.J.’s head and said “Yeah we’re up baby, just getting ready to run some errands.” She lifted him onto the bed. “You’re gonna stay here with Daddy.”

“But I wanna go with you“ he said attempting to crawl to the edge of the bed.

Jimmy lifted him into his arms. “Nope, you get to hang here with me buddy”.

“But I wanna go” he cried resting his head on Jimmy’s shoulder.

“I know” he said patting his back as he watched her search for something. “What ya hunting Granger?”

“My shoes” she said pushing the closet door closed.

“There under the foot of the bed” he said setting J.J. down.

J.J. yanked the sneakers from under the bed and Jimmy reached down to retrieve a small folded paper that had fallen from inside one of the shoes.

She turned to take the shoes from J.J. and as though in slow motion saw him unfolding the paper, and read the hand words written on Dr. Walters’s letter head. He looked to her for an explanation but all he found in her fear stricken face was truth.

Note to Reader: It’s your turn again Use the comments section to let me know which path to choose. You have till Midnight on Tuesday August 25th to pick-a-path.

Path A: Even though Jimmy’s cancer is at an extremely advanced stage he will decide to fight it.

Path B: Jimmy will choose not to fight the cancer and live what time he has left.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 22, 2009

Adventures in Grocery Shopping - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

So I have to preface this blog entry by saying that The Hub and I really LOVE sushi! On a couple of occasions The Hub has actually attempted to make it at home., so when a couple of The Hub’s new friends from work told him about H Mart, an Asian Grocery store that had sushi grade fish, trying again was only a matter of time till he tried again.

Today we made our way to the Catonsville, MD H Mart to check it out. We were a little worried when we got to the entrance and found this sign… In case you can’t read it it says “We are not responsible for sandal accidents”, but after a brief family conference we decided that we could handle any sort of sandal obstacles that the H Mart could throw at us, so in we went. I kid you not; it felt like we stepped directly into China.

Note to Reader: I’ve never been to China, but have had friends go there and the inside of this grocery store is exactly how I imagine it when they tell me stories. There were people EVERYWHERE!

There were men with hand trucks scooting through the crowds replenishing everything from produce to 80 lb bags of rice. There were kids running around eating samples of Asian candies and there were some of the most amazingly interesting foods I’ve ever seen. There was Kimchi, Stinky Tofu, Beef Tongue, Blood Sausage, whole entire fish with heads and eyeballs and every other fish body part still attached.

Additional Note to Reader: There’s something you should know about the hub. He secretly covets Andrew Zimmerman’s job. He is the host of the Food Network show Bizarre Foods. So he actually wants to eat all of the crazy foods listed above.

There were also live crabs that we affectionately called Chinese fighting crabs or Crabby Crabs(see video).

video

After wandering as much of the store as we could with all the people there, we returned with a bag of sushi rice, a bottle of rice vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, seaweed salad, two handmade wooden bowls, and sushi grade tuna and octopus.

After 50 minutes of tedious rice preparation, The Hub created THIS!!!
(Tuna and octopus sashimi, sushi rice, and seaweed salad)
So so so so Yummy!!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 16, 2009

Pick-A-Path Section 3 - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

IMPORTANT NOTE TO READER: If your just tuning in, you'll want to click HERE to read Pick-A-Path Section 1 First.

And the readers said.... Path 'A'! Here we go!!!

That night Lori dreamed that she and J.J. were at the little league field searching for his coat. J.J. was crying saying that only Daddy could find his blue coat. Every place they searched she found a photograph of Jimmy but each photo was more faded than the last, like a Polaroid working in reverse until finally it was blank. The paper was so bright that it lit the entire ball field.

She turned to see where all the light had come from and the entire field was filled with small blue coats. It began to snow, but when she reached to catch the flakes, she discovered that it wasn’t snow. Bits of torn up paper filled her palm. She opened her fingers and the pieces slipped through and became part of the thick layer of paper that covered the field. The wind began to whip around her and she found herself snatching one of the falling papers out of the air and bringing it close enough to read. It was a portion of the paper from a prescription pad. She reached and managed to pull another piece from mid flight. She brought it close and realized it was the missing half to the one she was holding. She brought the two together to reveal Dr. Walters’s letter head and the word “cancer” written in blue ink.

She let the papers fall from her fingers and before they landed they burst into flames setting fire to everything they touched. She began to turn realizing that J.J. was no longer by her side. She couldn’t see him anywhere. She tore through the flames screaming for jimmy and J.J. finding them reading a book in the visitor’s dugout which turned into their living room as soon as she stepped inside.

J.J. looked up from the pages and said “Daddy found my coat.” His eyes shifted from her face. “Mommy, your hands are on fire.”

She’d woken to find she’d sweat through her clothes and tossed and turned so much that she’d pulled all the covers to her side leaving Jimmy with nothing but his shorts and a pillow he’d managed to hold onto.

“You must’ve had one hell of a dream Granger” he said sitting down at the kitchen table the next morning.

“Yeah,” she said pouring him a cup of coffee and sitting across from him at the table. She slid a #1 Dad mug across to him. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he said and took a sip from the cup. “You alright?”

She nodded and sipped from her own cup. “Are you taking J.J. to school?” she said changing the subject.

“I can.” he said watching her get up from the table. “What’d you dream about?”

She stopped at the sink and placed her mug in slowly. “A bear” she lied knowing he would know it was a lie, but unable to think of anything else to say.

“I dreamed about a bear too Mommy” J.J. said from the hall way just beyond the kitchen.

“Really” she said with noticeable relief in her voice.

Yeah!” he squealed, “Poo Bear!” There were a series of thumps and grunts and then their son appeared in the doorway on one foot “Daddy I can’t get my shoes on right.” He hopped across the kitchen to reveal his left shoe on his right foot and his right shoe in his hand.

They both laughed at the sight of him and Jimmy pulled him into his lap. “Its cause you’ve got them switched again goofy.”

“So you’re still goin’ to that meeting tonight right?” Lori asked as she put J.J.’s Incredible Hulk lunch box into his back pack.

“Yeah” Jimmy said swapping J.J. shoes. “I think I’m just gonna pick him up and go over to Clint and Lauraen’s. Is that alright with you?”

“Yeah, that’s fine I just wanted to be sure of who I needed to make dinner for, that’s all.” She said zipping the backpack closed.

With his shoes now on the correct feet and double knotted Jimmy released J.J. and he rounded the kitchen island and maneuvered himself into the shoulder straps of his bag. “Let’s go!” he said looking at his Blue’s Clues watch which Lori noticed happened to be upside down.

“You’re a mess” she said with a laugh and slipped the watch off and then back on facing right side up.

He grinned his father’s grin, the one with the dimple on the left cheek and then bumped his forehead gently against hers. “I love you!” he said with the smallest hint of the baby lisp he’d almost outgrown and it caught her off guard. She found herself swallowing hard to keep herself there with him in that moment.

“Love you” she managed to whisper back to him.

“Love you both,” Jimmy said bending down and kissing J.J.’s head then Lori on the lips, lingering just a moment longer than usual.

“Gross,” J.J. said pushing himself between them.

“Gross” Jimmy said flipping J.J. over his shoulder so that his back pack listed to one side and said “I’ll gross you!”

He picked up his duffle bag and kissed her again. “Bye Granger. Good days!”

Bye Mommy!” J.J. said waving with his feet. :Good days!”

“Bye J.J.’s behind” she said with a laugh

Jimmy spun so that she and J.J. were face to face. She kissed him on the forehead “bye baby.”

She watched as Jimmy put him in the back seat of his truck, and watched as he climbed into the driver’s seat. She closed her eyes and herd the engine start and felt it’s rumble deep within and then she was moving out the door in her pajamas and bath robe hair still in a towel and feet bare.

The cool concrete stung her feet and the chill of the morning took her breath as she ran as fast as she could down the driveway after them.

“What’d I forget” Jimmy said when she’d reached his window.

She shook her head. “Nothing” she said pulling for breath, holding tight to the window frame. “Nothing,” she said again. It’s just…” she paused, digging for the courage. “Buy it.” She said and he looked at her with confusion. “The land, the baseball field.”

Her words hung visible in the cold of the morning and he stared at her

She couldn’t help but smile “we’ll figure it all out” she said.

“Are you sure?”

“Go before I change my mind!” she said laughing.

He leaned out the window and their foreheads touched and she smiled. “I love you.”

“You’d better.”

She stepped back from the truck and when they’d eased to the end of the driveway, turned left, and were out of sight, she reached into the pocket of her bath robe and felt the real piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters’s office that she’d had with her every moment since he’d handed it across the desk less than twenty-four hours before.

She pushed it deeper into the corner of her pocket and started back up the driveway to the house.

Note to Reader: It’s your turn again. Use the comments section to let me know which path to choose. You have till Midnight on Tuesday August 18th to pick-a-path.

Path A: Jimmy finds the piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters in the pocket of Lori’s robe before she has the chance to tell him.

Path B: J.J. finds the piece of prescription pad paper from Dr. Walters in the pocket of Lori’s robe before she has the chance to tell him.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 9, 2009

Pick-A-Path Section 2 - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

IMPORTANT NOTE TO READER: If your just tuning in, you'll want click HERE to read Pick-A-Path Section 1 First.

And the readers said.... Path 'A'! Here we go!!!

Dr. Walters closed Jimmy’s file and pushed himself back from his desk. Lori watched unable to breathe as he stood, removed his glasses, and walked to the window.

He took a deep breath and without looking at her asked “Are you sure you want to do this Lori?” Still not looking at her he rubbed the skin above the bridge of his nose. “I’ve had to be the barer of bad news for so long and it’s a heavy load to carry.” After another long moment, he finally turned back to her. “Do you really understand and want what you’re asking for?”

She could only nod.

Dr. Walters had nodded back at her and said he’d need to see Jimmy again in a week. Now, as the interstate mile markers flew by and her husband slept in the passenger seat beside her, the magnitude of what she’d so willingly taken on began to churn in her stomach.

Four weeks… Twenty-eight days... Six hundred seventy-two hours... It didn't matter how you worked the math, there was no way it could be made to sound good. Each time she’d broken it down further, the task of telling him had grown larger and more impossible.

She gripped the steering wheel just as she’d gripped the arms of the chair in Dr. Walters’s office and wondered what in the hell she’d gotten herself into. How was she supposed to tell her husband he was going to die?

This was Jimmy Moore for God’s sake, she thought taking a long look at him propped in the space between the passenger seat and door. This was not just the Jimmy Moore that had been her high school sweetheart and the only man she’d ever loved, this was also Jimmy Moore, the fire fighter, the charity softball star, the pee wee football and tee ball coach, and the builder of the church’s new play ground. As the boy Jimmy Moore, his antics had become legendary, and now, the man Jimmy Moore was their town’s and their son’s hero.

“You okay Granger?” She jumped at the sound of his voice as it broke through her thoughts and then smiled at his words. He was the only person on earth she let call her by her middle name. She’d hated it at first but now loved the way it rolled off his tongue. She loved the way he smiled when he said it and how it made the dimple on his left cheek appear. “You look lost over there.”

She shook her head smiling back at him, “Just thinking’ that’s all.”

He laughed and popped her thigh,” Well, don’t hurt yourself”.

She smiled back at him “I’ll try not to”.

“What’s for lunch?” he said through a yawn as he stretched. His right arm reached up in the air, and his left came across to the driver side and in front of her face and then through her hair.

She took it and placed it back onto her thigh. “A knuckle sandwich if you keep bein’ mean.”

He squeezed her thigh and grinned at her. “You’re a knuckle sandwich Granger,” he said settling back into his seat.

She felt the heat from his hand radiate through her jeans and onto her skin and in that moment she knew she couldn’t let anyone else be the one to tell him, but at the same time she couldn’t tell him either, not yet, because as soon as he knew, it would be real, and she wasn’t ready for it to be real.

She decelerated and took the Megan Springs rd. exit and turned left onto Darken Dale dr. She eased to a stop in front of her sister’s house and as though on queue the front door flew open and their four and a half year old shot across the lawn. With equally impressive speed Jimmy was out of the car and absorbing the full impact of their sons love and lifting him in the air.

Lauren and her husband Clint emerged from the house with their three children and met them at the bottom of their porch steps. Matthew and Mark, twins about a year older than .J.J., were hugging Jimmy’s legs and their eighteen month old Eve clung to Lauren’s hip.

“Boys!” she scolded “get off your uncles legs! Y’all act like a bunch of heathens.” She ruffled their heads. “Go get J.J.’s coat.”

Jimmy set him down and the three boys marched back to the house. “Was he alright” he asked.

Lauren looked over her shoulder watching them run back into the house, and then emerge seconds later with J.J.’s blue jacket. She shifted Eve from one hip to the other. “Yeah, you know J.J.’s the best behaved out of those three.” She looked back at Jimmy and Lori. “He was great.”

Jimmy loaded their wriggling child into his booster seat and shut the door. Then he and Lori climbed into the front seat, he behind the wheel.

Clint leaned into the passenger window and said “Did y’all hear about the little league field?”

They both shook their heads.

“That old man, Dalton Jolly owned it up until he died a couple months back.”

Jimmy and Lori both nodded.

“Well everyone thought he was gonna give it to the parks and recreation when he died, but it looks like he never got around to getting all the paperwork done. Now it looks like they’re gonna sell it. There’s a developer interested in it to build zero lot houses and shit. It’s fucking ridiculous!”

“Clint!” Lauren snapped, “Watch your damn mouth!”

“Sorry” he said and hung his head further into the truck so he could see J.J. in the back seat. “Sorry buddy.”

“It’s okay” J.J. said grinning at him.

“Anyway, there’s a meeting at the church tomorrow night at seven thirty to talk about what we should do about it, or really what we can do about it if you wanna go.”

Jimmy nodded and they agreed to meet and ride up there together with the boys.

Clint patted the truck before stepping away. They waved as Jimmy and Lori pulled away and she couldn’t help but think about how different their goodbyes would be in just a few weeks.

Later that evening, after dinner and after J.J. had been tucked into bed with a story and prayers, Lori stood at the sink working through the dishes and Jimmy sat at the kitchen island working on the computer and sifting through papers. He cleared his throat. “Hey Granger,” he said readjusting his baseball cap so that it sat backwards and his hair poked through the hole. “Can we talk about something?”

For a moment she froze where she stood and the glass she’d been working her sponge over slipped from her hand and back into the soapy water.

“Sure,” she managed to say as evenly as possible.

“What do you think about buying the land that the ball field is on?” He pushed straight through the place where there should have been silence before she could object. “I’ve been working through the numbers over here and it’d be tight for the first couple of years, but I think we could do it.” He looked at her back waiting for some kind of reaction. “It’d be an investment Granger.”

Her heart sank and rose all in the same moment and the truth ran like ice through her vanes. She shook her head slowly without turning to him, being careful not to give away too much. “Jimmy we can’t.” Even with the heat from the dish water rising up from the sink she felt herself begin to shake. “We can’t afford it.”

“Yes we can, he said turning the laptop screen to face her back. “Like I said, I’ve been going through the numbers and I really think we can if we did it as an investment property. We could lease it as a field to the city just like Dalton Jolly did.”

His excitement pushed at her insides and without warning she whipped around from the sink, her hands dripping soap onto the kitchen floor at her feet. “No Jimmy! We already have hardly enough to pay the bills we have and now you want to go adding to that. It’s not just a ball field. It’s the upkeep; it’s grading, and grounds keeping, and a utility bill, and building upkeep.” With each word she pressed down on another finger slinging even more water onto the floor. Then there’s a deposit, and payments, and insurance, not to mention your time, which you hardly have any of as it is, so No!”

Her face was hot and her arms were as out of control as her voice. ‘And you’re sick,’ she wanted to scream. ‘You’re sick and you’re dieing and I can’t do this without you!’ she said inside herself, deep in the places that only she could see and hear.

She turned back to the soaking dishes. “I mean… God… I can’t believe you’d even think of something like that right now, let alone say it out loud!”

She poured her frustration into a submerged casserole dish.

Jimmy pushed himself off the stool and stood with his back pressed against the refrigerator. “Okay,” he said folding his arms against his chest. “I’m gonna go to that meeting tomorrow night with Clint and hopefully something will come of that where the city will step in,” His voice was calm, but his tone was deliberate. He slid his back along the counter till he was only a few feet away from her. “But I’m not going to let some developer come in and build houses over the ball field.” He slid closer to her till they were almost touching. “I mean I kissed you for the first time in the visitors dug out. There’s no way in hell I’m gonna let some builder put a gated community over top of that.”

Lori’s head hung loose and her chin touched her chest as she started to cry “I’m just scared” she said through her tears.

He pulled her close. “I know” he said wrapping her soapy arms around his waist and pulling her all the way to him. He kissed the top of her head and breathed in the scent of her hair. “We’ll figure it out, just like we always do.”

Note To Reader: It’s your turn again. Use the comments section to let me know which path to choose. You have till Tuesday August 11th at midnight to pick-a-path.

Path A: Jimmy and Lori will step in and buy the baseball field.

Path B: Jimmy and Lori will not buy the land and let the town decide what happens to the field.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 2, 2009

Pick-A-Path Section 1 - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

"Lori, its cancer." He hadn't even padded it at all, just dropped it on her lap like a sack of shit.

“No” she said “Jimmy’s dad had cancer but, he’s just got that winter flu and can’t shake it. J.J. brought it home from his class and had it for damned near a month . . ."

"Lori”, he said interrupting her mid sentence. “It’s not the flu. It’s cancer, and it’s not good," Dr. Walters repeated slowly.

His words hit her chest hard and shattered in her lap. She dropped her head trying to piece them back together and make since of it all, but when she couldn’t she looked back to him for answers.

"How…?" she started, but the words trailed off without completion and she searched his face for answers.

He handed her a box of tissue embroidered with geese.

She took two and wiped away tears that she hadn’t realized were there. She took a deep breath and felt a sort of calm come over her. It was as though she wasn’t there, like she’d been replaced by a stronger version of Lori Moore, one that she'd never known, but also one that she welcomed. "How long does he have, and how bad is it?"

"There’s no way to know for sure, but we think six, maybe eight weeks." Dr. Walters said.

His words hung suspended in her mind as she knocked softly on the exam room door. When there was no response she pushed on the door and it swept into the room slowly, revealing the man she married seven short years ago sitting on the edge of the exam table in nothing but a white gown. He looked up at her and relief washed over his face.

"So what’d they say?”

The sun had leathered his skin and his hair was no longer the semi short ‘wild man’ look she’d grown to love when they were younger.

“Was it a respiratory infection like I thought?” he asked. He pushed himself off the table and began to put his clothes back on. She watched as he fumbled with the suspender clips trying to catch the fabric. He looked up at her with a silent plea and she came to his rescue.

She snapped the first clasp into place. They were so close now that when he exhaled, she could feel his warm breath on the top of her head. She was glad for the suspenders; because it meant that she could lie to him and not have to look at him. She nodded, "They won’t know for sure till all the tests come back, but yeah, that’s what they’re pretty sure it is, They said that it could last another few weeks the way that the weather has been changing, but he's going to give you some antibiotics."

"That's what I thought it was," he said shaking his head, "but nope, I had to come here and have the vampires poke me in seven different places in order for them to tell me what I already knew. And you know what the worst part of it is?"

Finished with the straps now, she stepped back and their eyes met. That was the part that hadn’t changed; deep green and wise beyond his years. "No Hun, what's the worst," she said handing him his coat, and turning for the door. ‘If she could just make it to the car she could pretend like it had never happened,’ she thought to herself.

"The worst part is that we have to pay for them to tell us what I already told them it was," he said throwing his hands into the air with a crazy grin. "You know I should have gone to medical school. I would have if I'd had the money.” He said pushing his arms into his sleeves as he crossed the room. “If I had, I wouldn't need the damned white coat needle people to steel my blood and make me pay them for the shit I already know."

They’d reached the door and he took her hand and spun her around and his face softened,”but I knew you were worried, so I'm glad we know I’m fine. Now you can stop worrying”.

Their eyes met again, and she had to use every ounce of energy in her body to keep herself from losing it right there in the doorway. "I know, and I should have listened to you." They kissed and she tried to saver every moment without it seeming out of the ordinary.

They left the office hand in hand. If you'd been a bystander you would have thought they were newlyweds just starting out, with their whole lives ahead of them, but that couldn't have been further from their reality.

He hadn't felt like driving, so she did, and as he slept in the passenger seat her thoughts rolled back to the rest of her conversation with Doctor Walters.

After his prognosis they’d sat in silence for a long time neither wanting to break it. Lori felt her heart pounding in her ears and the smell of alcohol made her feel faint. She gripped the arms of her chair to steady her body as well as her mind.

Dr. Walters had not only been the doctor that had put twenty-six stitches in her leg after she’d fallen out of a tree when she was nine, he’d also been the doctor that had, after two miscarriages, delivered their son into the world. And now, four short years later, he was telling her that her husband was going to die.

“Hey,” Dr. Walters said resting his hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get through this. The hardest part is going to be telling him. It will get better from there. The two of you can plan for it, you can be ready, and not many people get that chance.”

She shook her head realizing that her tears had returned, “I’ll never be ready for that” the words broke in her throat and barely made it through her lips. She sat for a long moment with her eyes closed and her chin to her chest, praying for strength and praying that she could wake up from this awful place, but when she opened them and lifted her head the room was the same. The diagnosis was the same and there was only one way to go, out.

“Can I,” she started but then changed course. “Will you let me tell him, please?”

Note To Reader: Now it’s your turn. Use the comments section to let me know which path to choose. You have till Tuesday at midnight to pick-a-path.

Path A: Dr. Walters agrees to let Lori Moore be the one that tells her husband Jimmy he has cancer.

Path B: Dr. Walters does not agree to let Lori break the news to Jimmy.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 1, 2009

My Old Life / My New Life - Baltimore, MD - August 2009

For those that don't know, a couple of weeks before our move date, I found out that I'd be able to transfer with my company and work in the Baltimore, Washington, DC area. Due to my company's structure, I wouldn't be able to keep the same job, but they were very enthusiastic about my moving up to the area and happy about my joining the Washington, DC region.

In my old life, I got to wear cute clothes. I worked in Training and Development. I traveled a lot, but still had a very project oriented, corporate driven job. Lunch was almost always at 11:30am (never later than 12:30) and I ALWAYS has someone to eat with. My job was one where you think and rethink, check and double check, analyze and often times, over analyze everything. A lot of my development over the last 2 years has been to become a better critical thinker and be able to put multiple lenses over the same project. I LOVED almost EVERYthing about it.

In my new life, I wear a uniform and clock in and out. I manage one of our retail stores. I have 13 people reporting to me in some capacity. I open and close, manage inventory, I work 10+ hours a day, at least 5 days a week. I imake store schedules, I Interview, I issue corrective actions, and I try to nip gossip and drama in the bud. I set and reset planagrams and my new best friend is the RF Scanner gun you see to the left. My feet hurt, my back aches, I usually don't get to eat lunch till after 2:00pm and I almost always eat by my self. I have not yet been able to get through a day without crying on my lunch break when no one was around or in my truck on the way home, listening to all the songs Anna, Ashley, and I used to listen to on Zero Limits Radio.

I talked to Ashley this week and found out that they are in the process of filling my old position and that was hard to hear. Someone will be sitting in my old desk, talking on my old phone. Someone else will be traveling around the country working with the people I've grown so close to in the last two years.

Note To Reader: I don't want you to think I'm miserable, because I'm not. I don't want you to think I hate what I'm doing, because I don't. It's just that I'm sad. I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss my job, and I miss the comfort of my routine.

I'm ready for things to feel better, to feel more natural, to feel comfortable. I'm also ready to not feel so hollow. A good friend suggested that I need to keep writing. Work through the hurt with words. put everything onto the page. so I will.
Tomorrow I'll post the first section of the Pick-A-Path project. I can't wait to see where it goes. I can't wait to see where you all take us. Thank you all for reading!!!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!