Tag Archives: death

FPQ56: Drive Me Crazy

Fandango’s provocative question

Fandango provocatively asks…

What’s something you consider to be terrifying that you have come to accept as a fact of life?

It’s probably not going to surprise anyone who knows me when I say driving. This is not an irrational fear. Let’s begin with some data.

The U.S. leads the way (rah!) on traffic fatalities. We have 12.4 per 100,000 population, about 50% higher than other Western nations. (source) Check that link for some reasons why.

Daily, I see people running red lights. Not once in a while… daily. I never see a cop chase after them, not once. Red light cameras have mostly been taken away due to cost and also there was concern they were causing more accidents (like the way Trump “caused” the Iranians to shoot down their own plane).

People speed and change lanes unsafely because… well, it’s all about them. They assume everyone else is paying close attention to the road. And whatever they have to do is more important than being safe. If they’re late, well, now that becomes our problem. God forbid people learn to leave enough time for appointments.

They tailgate because they are late and they are frustrated. Driving unsafely makes them feel better, I guess. Or they’re just not paying attention because they’re texting, chatting, eating, daydreaming, whatever. Or their judgment is impaired from drugs or stupidity or lack of sleep. Then there are the drivers who are armed, ready to shoot you over who knows what…

So, I “share” the roads with these maniacs and idiots and rage-filled criminals and hope every day not to die or get mangled in a car wreck. In 2018, about 40,000 people died in vehicle crashes ~ forty thousand (source) ~ not to mention all the injuries.

It’s weird how we’re supposed to be scared of molesters hiding behind trees in the park and bad dudes sneaking across the border to steal our lunches, but me… I’m terrified of driving, and yet I accept it as a fact of life here in Southern California. If you live in an area with great public transportation and don’t have to drive, consider yourself lucky!🍀

~*~

Image from Fandango himself.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Ten Year Report

Di of Pensitivity101 tagged me for this introspective challenge. I’ll begin with the high points of the past 10 years, followed by the low, and then answer her questions. I’m not going to tag anyone else. 🙂

High Points 2010 – 2020

In 2011, my sweet kitty Gatsby came into my life via the Orange County Animal Shelter. 😻❤️

My daughters both graduated from college (and did extremely well too), one in 2012 and one in 2015.

They also both got married to awesome guys (2017, 2019)! 💖💖

In 2018, a wonderful little granddaughter arrived! 😍✨🤩

I have published many books during these 10 years, and while they may not fly off the shelves, the fact that I have actual finished novels and other books out there gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Low Points 2010 – 2020

My divorce was final in 2011, and while this was a necessary step, it’s still sad.

The relationship I had through my 2-year divorce process ended badly in 2011.

The entire 5-year dating debacle that followed was a depressing, and at times frightening, mess and continues to have repercussions to this day.

My dad passed in 2013 (my mom in 2008).

My cat Cocoa died in 2010 or 2011… my memory is a bit fuzzy right now. 😢

Di’s Questions

Is there any year in the past decade that stands out as the best?

-This last one (2019) ended up on a positive note because I moved into a new place with a good friend and got away from my old rundown apartment. I also spent quite a bit of time with family and friends and began writing a fun story. 🙂

Has your taste in music changed in the past ten years or do you think music in general has changed?

-I don’t listen to much new music, but in the last several years I’ve found myself liking more country and folk songs. Hard rock is a bit of a bore sometimes lately.

Are you heavier or lighter than you were ten years ago?

-I’m about the same, up maybe 2-3 pounds. But in the middle of these 10 years I was much lighter ~ I got sick from sushi (will never have it again) and could hardly eat for a month. Then a certain relationship stressed me out so much, anxiety kept my appetite away. I was 10 pounds lighter than today and so right now I feel “fat” because I liked the way I looked then. I’m hoping to get back there, but via exercise and good habits. 😇

How many cars have you owned in the past decade?

-Two.

Fun prompt! 🥳

~*~

Image snagged from Rory!

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ55: PolitICKY!

Fandango’s provocative question

I thought about skipping this FPQ because I don’t like to do politics here, but I hardly ever pass ~ I did once because I couldn’t figure out how to answer honestly without revealing too much personal detail. But anyway, I’m gonna tackle this one. 🥳

Before I start, I will mention that I’m sure people will disagree with my opinion, which is fine… however it is not okay to be nasty to me or other commenters or to troll my comments in general. And any racist, antisemitic, or other hateful comments will be deleted. That is an ongoing policy, btw.

Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you feel that Donald Trump was justified in ordering a drone strike that resulted in the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an airstrike in Baghdad last week?

Do you think Trump’s decision will lead America into a hot war with Iran?

Do you think Trump’s motives are political and self serving?

I will start by saying that I can’t stand Donald Trump. I think he’s a liar and a con man, a buffoon, a narcissist, a racist (or at least panders to them), a misogynist, and an overall jerk who shouldn’t be POTUS. Needless to say, I did not vote for him and would never. However… that does not mean I am incapable of rational thought and must criticize every single thing he does as a Pavlovian reaction. I am not going to list the few things he’s done that I agree with because they are irrelevant to this question, but suffice to say they exist.

Was he justified in taking out Soleimani? I don’t know. You won’t see many, if any, people giving this answer, because social media is crammed full of intel specialists. I confess I am not one. I have read about the supposed reasons why Trump made the decision, and these reasons could be true or they could be lies, or a mishmash of both. We know that our Presidents have lied to us in the past in order to justify military actions… could this be another one of those times? Dunno!

Moving on from that… no American should be mourning Soleimani. He was a terrible man. And he will be replaced with another terrible man. Should we assassinate the next Iranian military leader if we discover a “plot” against us? What about the North Korean dude, Trump’s buddy ~ he’s always threatening us, and he already murdered one of our tourists. There are loads of bad guys… Putin, Assad, Erdogan, et al. Some would say Trump is also a bad guy…

Once assassination is on the table as a legit tool in the box, who knows where it will stop? Since I’m an American, I’m on board with protecting our interests and being tough with anyone who would hurt us. I’m not a martyr; I’m also able to grok other points of view however.

Second question… do I think this will lead us into a hot war? Again, everyone seems to have foreknowledge on this. Liberals think we’re doomed, but they’re always saying this, and eventually they’ll be right. Each of us will die, so at some point we will all be dead. Probably a catastrophic event will occur soon, as they do, like a massive epidemic or an enormous earthquake or an asteroid strike or wev… Perhaps it will be a big war, with Iran or some other player/s. Trump supporters all say this assassination will prevent war cuz now the Iranians are scared of us, or something, even though they aren’t acting scared, given that they just struck our bases in Iraq.

Me, I don’t know if we will end up in a hot war with Iran. I think it’s fine not to know. After all, we’re trying to predict the actions of a deranged demented lunatic regime and also those nutballs in Iran. Trump said he was going to attack 52 sites in Iran, one for each of our embassy hostages, which I thought was rather poetic, if Iran retaliated for Soleimani, but they did and he didn’t. So, now what? Are we done?

Finally, do I believe that Trump’s motives are political and self-serving? 😂😂😂 Well, duh! When aren’t they? Dude’s been running for re-election since the instant he became POTUS. It’s funny how his fans still act like he’s not a Washington insider and will “drain the swamp.” Newsflash for ya: after being POTUS for three years he is the swamp. Welcome to reality, folks.

~*~

Image from Fandango hisownself.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Moonglow [socs]

When shadows fall on the meadow

And snowflakes powder the willows,

She hears the owl call to the crows.

Behind her window she vows

To leave this town when the wind slows.

But deep in her marrow she knows

She is but a ghost in a gown,

Doomed to prowl in moonglow forever.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Chocolate Lady’s Eight Candle Book Tag ~ Day 3

Menorah

To celebrate Chanukah this year and my friend the Chocolate Lady, I am accepting her challenge to participate in the Eight Candle Book Tag. This is a fun game and very easy to play ~ just visit her link for the options. I am of course doing the most complicated version. 😀

One of my favorite books, The Great Gatsby, has a few triangles. Daisy is married to Tom but having an affair with Jay, her old flame. Tom is seeing a woman in town, who ends up in an accident ~ her husband blames Jay for it and shoots him.

Disclosure: my cat is named Gatsby. 😻

Happy Chanukah!

~*~

Images from The Chocolate Lady’s blog

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

One Last Afternoon [fiction 742]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that the Queen wanted to make Liana’s son the heir to her throne..

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan
A Cup of Tea?
Liana’s House
Strange News
Waves
The Monkey Jungle
Betrayal
Drama at the Royal Court]
The Boy Who Would Be King

Ten years had passed since that fateful day when the Queen told Liana of her plans for Kenju. Liana had felt a mixture of joyful pride and fluttering fears during the ceremony in which the Queen adopted Kenju as her own Royal Prince and Heir.

“He will always be your son,” the Queen had reassured Liana at the celebratory feast. “This was just a formality so I can have a worthy heir. I find it fitting he should be one created by the Storm God.”

And it was true: Kenju had remained the son of Liana, and the Queen had not usurped her role. Except now that he was heir to the throne, Kenju needed to be educated properly, at good schools, first in Fiji, and now in Japan. His guards were always with him to ensure his safety, but discreetly. It was best the other students perceived him as a normal boy. Kenju was brilliant though, skipping grades, and would soon start university at age 16. Then he might return only once a year until he finished the Masters program the Queen had in mind for him.

Liana missed him so much! She led a lonely life on the beautiful isle, as a companion to the Queen, more than a servant, less than a friend. And she hadn’t allowed herself to love a man again, despite the Queen’s encouragement. Liana couldn’t imagine being with anyone but Kenju’s real father, and the more time passed, the more determined she became to wait until they met again in the land beyond. Maybe it would not be that long…

Liana hadn’t been well, despite her usual robust constitution. Another virus had hit the island, passed to the people from a trading ship, and this time Liana had fallen desperately ill. None of the usual remedies had helped, and she’d been in a weakened state for months, only managing to rally a bit when the time for her son’s visit had approached. She was so happy to have him here in her pretty apartment at the Royal Court. Other women had been attending the Queen since Liana’s illness, but her position was secure as the mother of the future ruler.

“Mama, you should come to Japan and see a proper doctor,” Kenju told her as they relaxed in her lounge. “These backward island people don’t know what they’re doing. Did you even get an X-ray for your cough?”

Liana didn’t know what an X-ray was. “I’m much better now. The body sometimes needs to take its time to heal slowly. I’ve been resting. Have some mango?” She pointed to the tray a servant had set on the table.

Her son shook his head. “I don’t think you get enough protein. Why do you only eat fruit? You are not a monkey!”

She laughed. “Oh, my clever son! How I’ve missed you. Your smile, your eyes… an exact image of your father.”

“My father?” Kenju frowned. “Tell me about him. And not the Storm God nonsense. I learned how babies are made a long time ago.”

Feeling reckless, Liana told him the truth. She recounted the story of the other island, his father Ken, the prophet Benji, the volcano, and her narrow escape from the fiery death that claimed the lives of her family. And she also told him of her capture by the people with whom they lived now, the Queen’s subjects. Liana was exhausted when she finished talking and collapsed on a pile of pillows, coughing and gasping for breath.

“Wow!” Kenju stared at her. “I’m not sure what to make of this tale. A disappearing island, pirates, a crazy plot to kill you…”

“And now,” Liana waved her hand weakly. “Look. You’re heir. To the throne. The Queen would… like you to choose a bride.”

“What?” Kenju appeared horrified. “I’m starting at university next month. I can’t get married now. It would be–”

“Not now.” Liana interrupted. “Not a wedding now, just choose a girl for later, so the people… can have a celebration. That makes them happy.”

“Bread and circuses,” Kenju muttered. “Forget having jobs and decent medical care. You need to see a real doctor!”

Liana didn’t understand what he meant by all that, but she was so tired and her eyes were closing. These cushions were so soft and comfortable, there was a lovely breeze outside the window, and the afternoon was perfect, now that Kenju had returned.

[the end]

~*~

Images from Pexels and Pixabay.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Sadje’s Sunshine Q’s

The lovely Sadje 💖 tagged me to answer these. Thanks for thinking of me! Congrats on your Sunshine Award, Sadje… I don’t post awards here any longer, but I will still answer questions when I have time. 🌻

Why did you start blogging?

-Originally (in 2004) because my writing friends were doing it. Over the years I’ve found blogging to be my favorite form of social media and kept at it even as those original blogger pals faded away.

Do your friends and family support you in blogging?

-They are indifferent.

What would be your dream job?

-Getting paid a lot to write what I want.

What are your ambitions for the coming year?

-To have healthier habits.

How do you think the world is going to cope with the challenges we are facing?

-There will be mass extinction events to restore balance.

What would be your ideal holiday vacation?

-Stay home and chill.

What is the quality you admire in yourself?

-Discipline.

What is the quality you admire in others?

-Spontaneity.

What is your pet peeve?

-Everything.

Are you a book reader? If so how many books you read in a month?

-One to three.

What aspect of your personality you would like to change?

-Overthinking.

~*~

Images from the Bitmoji app.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Cocoa in Black and White

Cocoa the cat

I’m thankful for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, since it gives me the opportunity to post this pic of my kitty Cocoa (RIP).

Cocoa showed up in my life in the fall of 2004, just when I needed her. My neighbor had been feeding her, a stray, but she had 3 other cats, and Cocoa was all… the heck with this scene, I’m going to check out the accommodations across the street. Cocoa simply strolled into our garage and then on into the kitchen… deciding hey, nice place ya got here, would be a shame if it didn’t have a cat living in it. Now it does. Boom.

Cocoa was a large and lovely lady kitty, lots to love, and we all loved her a lot. She had a super sweet and interesting personality, and soon we adopted a lil sister for her cuz I liked having two of everything back then. Cocoa was probably 6-8 years old when she arrived in our lives and unfortunately already had a limp from arthritis.

By 2011, the arthritis had progressed to the point that Cocoa could no longer walk without pain. We tried some medications but to no effect. After she stopped going to her food dish, she lost a bunch of weight, and we said goodbye. 😢

I like to believe Cocoa was happy with us for those 7 years. We were lucky to have her. 💖💖💖

~*~

Image mine

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

My Visitor [flash 300]

Bare trees in fog

The first time he visited I immediately recognized him. I was here because of him, and yet I had done him worse. The area surrounding me was vacant, so I figured he’d strayed too far on his dog walk. But the next morning he appeared again, strolling around as if this were a park instead of barren land at the end of an ancient railroad line.

When he came the third time, I knew it was not a coincidence. He walked past the leafless trees to where the crumbled stones rested.

“Hello, friend,” he said.

I of course said nothing. I waited.

His dog seemed disinclined to explore and stood by the man as he spoke again. “I’m sorry I did not come before. I wasn’t sure where you were. But I know you’re here. I can feel it. A kind of… electricity.”

He pulled a penlight from his pocket and directed it at the stones, but none had names. He switched off the light. The dog made an anxious whimper.

“It doesn’t matter. I know you’re here,” he repeated. “And I wanted to tell you, if it makes any difference now, that I forgive you. That’s my purpose in tracking you down.”

I didn’t do anything, not that there was much I could do.

He made a noise, possibly a laugh or a sob. “Anyway, I just wanted to say that, odd as it may sound with me still alive and you… well, whatever. If you need that to be free or something, you have it.”

Maybe I did need it. I felt even lighter as he walked away, the dog trotting briskly ahead. My last ties to this place felt as if they were dissolving in a pool of mist and I could float up to the stars…

~*~

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 44

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Drama at the Royal Court [fiction 954]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Liana and Sura were at the Royal Hall presenting Kenju to the Queen when Adoka began ranting that Liana murdered Miko.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan
A Cup of Tea?
Liana’s House
Strange News
Waves
The Monkey Jungle
Betrayal]

“Silence!” the Queen commanded as the crowd erupted in a crazed frenzy of chatter. “Sura, state clearly for the Royal Court what happened to Miko, our prized warrior, whose soul now awaits the flames of purification.”

Liana silently observed this spectacle as Kenju nursed at her breast. Though their lives hung on the outcome, her mind had floated off from the immediate danger. She felt apart from everything, as if she were back on the tiny canoe, drifting in the waves, after a volcano had destroyed her home and family. There was nothing she could do…

Canoe at sunrise

Three old bald men stepped forward from behind the dais where the Queen sat on her throne. They wore plain white robes and carried simple wooden spears without ornamentation. “We are ready to do our duty, your majesty,” the tallest one said as they bowed to the Queen, but only slightly.

Liana watched Sura take a deep breath and continue. “Miko came to Liana’s house to ask her to marry him. I was there helping her get ready for the babe’s arrival.”

The Queen nodded. “I heard rumors Miko wished to wed the mother of the Storm God’s child. It would make sense for a great warrior such as he to desire this strong connection.”

“Liana was of course pleased at the idea–” Sura smiled and put an arm around Liana’s waist. “She had tears of joy in her eyes when she told me of why Miko had come.”

Tucking a blanket around Kenju now that he had finished nursing, Liana smiled sadly at Sura, trying to appear appropriately heartbroken over a man she despised. She thought of Ken, Kenju’s real father, taken by the volcano, and a tear rolled out of her eye and down her cheek.

Lovers in silhouette

“Lying witches!” Adoka hissed. “Burn them both! They killed my nephew. Sura’s family has always plotted against ours, ever since the first blood moon murmuration.”

Sura shook her head. “Truly, your majesty, she is mad. When she showed up to help, I went to care for Liana, and Adoka began mixing berries into juice. I… I did not know it was poison!”

Adoka screamed and ripped at her own clothing. “She’s lying! May the crows tear out her tongue!”

The Queen held up a hand. Her dark eyes sparkled with excitement; clearly she enjoyed this drama. Liana however wished she herself could disappear with her sweet baby to a deserted isle and never see any of these people again.

“Liana, mother of the Storm God’s child,” the Queen said, “what have you to say? I see the love for our great warrior Miko shining in your eyes. As a Queen who lost her King to an enemy pirate, I know this is true. You will never love a man again.”

Her confidence boosted by her acting skills, Liana found a calm speaking voice. “As the infant grew larger within me, I developed a dislike for mango juice, so I never drank the mixture Adoka prepared. But Miko loved it and swallowed every drop. Then he left to seek your majesty’s blessing for our wedding.

Mango juice

Adoka fell to the floor weeping. “It’s all lies! I didn’t arrive until after Sura left to tend to her father. Vuo injured him as he slept to make sure Sura would return home.”

The crowd gasped. Sura’s grip tightened on Liana. This was horrific–her father had been deliberately hurt? Poor Sura! And all to help Liana.

“I didn’t–” Vuo protested as all eyes turned to him. He edged toward the exit where there was a sandy path toward open water.

“Seize him!” the Queen commanded her guard. “You struck an innocent villager for personal gain? You broke your warrior’s oath!”

Vuo hung his head as the Queensguard held his arms behind his back, two men on each side. “Yes, my Queen.”

“The penalty is death without purification,” the tall jurist intoned.

“Noooo!” Adoka screamed as Vuo quietly accepted his fate. “Both brothers will be gone in the same week!”

The Queen waved her hand. “They have two younger brothers. This will be a good lesson for them in warrior honor and oath keeping.”

“What about her?” Liana said, pointing at Adoka with her free hand. The other firmly clasped sleeping Kenju to her chest.

“Inadvertent death,” the tall jurist said. “She will be banished from the island.”

Unsatisfied with this outcome, since she assumed the resourceful Adoka might find a way back to cause trouble for Kenju, Liana stated, “She murdered Sura’s cousin Nami.”

Fireworks

The crowd immediately burst into a frenzy until the Queen commanded their respect again. “Liana,” she said. “It is a serious crime to bear false witness in front of the Royal Court. Think carefully what you say.”

Ignoring the pressure of Sura’s fingers digging into her ribs, Liana told the Queen, “I woke in the night as I did frequently near my time. As it turned out, Sura’s cousin had come to help. I didn’t know who she was at that point, but I saw her in the kitchen with Adoka. She had caught Adoka with the poison berries and Adoka had a knife at her throat. Adoka gave her a choice to drink a cup of the juice or be slashed with the knife. Nami drank the juice. Then she left my house. I woke Sura and she snuck after her.”

The Queen turned to Sura. “Where did she go?”

“Nami went to the monkey jungle,” Sura said. “She thought there might be a cure for the poison in there.”

The Queen pointed to a guard. “Send two runners into the monkey jungle to look for Nami. If she is dead by poison…”

Liana gazed at Adoka and smiled.

[to be continued]

~*~

Images from Pexels and Pixabay.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.