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May 31, 2019

April Gale 14

So far: April Gale comes to Windy Shadows with her Aunt, Josephine Tyler, meets her grandfather Harry Tyler, a few ghosts, a few odd servants, gets dropped onto the roof by a dragon named Tim, got healed by Grandfather Tyler, now has recovered. New visitors came to Windy Shadows - Winifred/Wini, distance cousin to April, and Vincent/Vincy who came with Wini. Then April discovered a wolf in the garden and got hurt by him.


April Gale 14

April winces as Mrs. Summers uses a wooden spatula to apply another layer of the strange green-tint mixture on April's three slivers of wounds. April sits on the bed while Mrs. Summers sat in one of the chairs. She keeps a placid face as she works. The mixture smells like fertilizer. April holds her breath and then lets it out to ask, "What is this...thing that you are applying to my arm?"

Mrs. Summers drops the spatula in one of her apron pockets. She twists the cap on the jar containing the mixture and places the jar into the white tin box on the bed beside April and retrieves a small pair of silver scissors and a roll of white cloth from it. She doesn't look up as she begins to wrap it around April's arm. Mrs. Summers have not lifted one eye up at April since she came in a moment ago. "It is a mixture Master had made. It heals open cuts quickly. Do not mind the scent."

"But what is it exactly?"

Mrs. Summers pauses for a second in her work but then she resumes. "It is dragon's blood combined with a few herbs and spices."

"Dragon's blood? Do you mean Tim's blood? How do you get it? I mean, Tim's unlikely to just let you...well, you know how fussy he is."

Mrs. Summers shakes her head. "I do not. It is Master that knows. He came into the kitchen and handed me the jar and instructed me to go to you."

"Grandfather gave you the jar? I suppose he would be the only who can talk to Tim. I noticed Tim's shed is no longer in the East Garden. He hasn't left Windy Shadows has he?"

"I would not know, Miss. But the shed is now in the West Garden behind the forest. We servants never sees Tim but Master gave us instructions not to go near the shed no matter where it appears."

"Have you seen... Did you see me and Grandfather in the East Garden just now?"

"No. I never venture out of my room at night. It is a house rule for all the servants."

"It is? I didn't know." April wonders why such a rule exist. But the stank of the mixture is making her stomach turn but her arm is starting to feel warm and nice.

"It is done." Mrs. Summers drops the roll and the scissors into the box and closes it. She gets up out of her chair, lifts it up and places it back near the table. Then she puts the white tin box on the table. "Now, you have to apply the mixture once a day and change the bandage. Everything you need is in this tin box. I will leave it here on this table. You will have to do this yourself. We are short-staffed."

April surveys her newly bandaged arm. The bandage is snug but not too snug.

Mrs. Summers stands beside the bed with her eyes on April and hands in her apron pockets. "Miss April, might I tell you something?"

April nods. "Yes, of course, Mrs. Summers."

May 19, 2019

Seven Things: random ramblings & some stuff

the reading tree (click on the image for a larger view)

01/ See how many things you can find by looking at the above art.
Click on the image for a better view.

02/ I've finished the April A-Z challenge so now I can slack off from posting... that's what my brain seems to think. I don't seen to be as active or as creative during the rest of the other months as I am during April. I think something about completing a certain task all at once makes me more likely to do it then when I just randomly think up random things to do. Maybe the rise in temperature is making me think less. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

03/ I've offically quitted instagram or rather, I have stopped posting there and now I have no desire to go near it. For reasons that I just don't get, everyone's there. It's a shame because instead of posting on their blogs, some of my favorite bloggers now just post at instagram which pretty much means I wouldn't really be enjoying their posts because, well, I just don't go there anymore. I was thinking of deleting my instagram page (? not even sure what to call it) and then I thought I might go there one of these days so it's still there if you can find it. Also, because instagram is more of a phone oriented type of media, I suppose that makes me more oppse to it as I really don't like using phones at all.

04/ I just read yet another bloggers or rather a pair of bloggers switching from their Blogger blog to a Wordpress blog. One of the reason they stated was that they didn't think Blogger is stable which is pure nonsense because Wordpress might not be stable either. When you try to find fault in something, you will usually find it or at least, it seems that way to me. So I thought that was a lame excuse to switch. Couldn't they just say they were lured to the dark side and wished to go there? Or that they just don't like Blogger anymore? Is it so hard to be honest about that? (I like to think Wordpress is like the dark side and Blogger is like the force and I'm more for the force.) I've never liked Wordpress (& yes I have blogged there briefly & found their interface a bit on the unfriendly side) so I guess I just don't understand the urge to switch there. So maybe I'm so used to Blogger that I really see no reason to change. Plus when I think about it, my switching to Wordpress means I have to relearn everything because I have not been keeping up and don't know how to use wordpress anymore. Honestly, I'm too lazy to relearn it.

05/ Why do I feel old for not doing new things? Sometimes I just feel like I'm behind everyone because I don't like trying new things. I mean, I do try new things but it just takes me longer to get to them. And sometimes I quit too easily but I'm also one of those people who does the same things again just because I think I might like that thing again if only I try it again.

06/ TV Shows Watched:
Naked Fireman (more info here) – an unfortunate title (and no, there's no naked man here except for some shirtless scenes) but it's a good mystery that is only four episodes long. Though I really hate the fake-out ending in which they make you think something happened but didn't, honestly a straight-forward ending would have been better but at least, we got a happy ending.

Signal (more info here) – this is the Japanese remake of the Korean version and it feels like I'm watching a duplicated of the original but with less humor and faster storylines. There are some little differences but I think it's too exact. They could have changed something but no. I think the actors are much too emotional at times as if they are trying too hard or maybe I'm just not used to waching Japanese shows. It's a decent show but the original is still better.

Books Read:
Scarlet in the Snow by Sophie Masson – the beginning is a little like Beauty & the Beast (which is really the only reason I read this book), the middle is just someone running around, the ending is like Snow White except in reverse. I really like the beginning of this book but then it became kind of dull and the ending cheated the reader somehow with explanations instead of actual happenings. They could have switched narrator and I wouldn't have minded that. I suppose when you tell a story using the first person and only show that person's point of view, it means you get a one-sided story and if the person is not awake to events, they can't tell the happenings in their sleep, can they? This is not a bad book but it could have been better. I don't hate it but I don't like it that much. Perhaps I just hate endings in which all the happenings happen while the lead character is sleeping.

Second Kingdom: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling by Rebecca Reddell – this is another that I got into reading because it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I don't like the synopsis - they gave the whole story away. The cover is beautifully designed and yet, I think they should change the title because the kingdom that the story is set in is in the first kingdom if I remember correctly so I don't get this title.

The first part of the book is full of conversations that gave a lot of expositions so it's hard to get to know characters when all they do is talk and they even talk out loud to themselves. What's wrong with internal dialogues? - they used that also. But mostly I just think the first part of the book is a little bland. It does get better but only when we are with Beast or the beast or Erza, somehow the names get switched here and there and that bothered me a lot. There are some outburst from Beast (which I will call him) but basically, he's a calm beast. And I don't like the way he is described like a vampire. I mean, blue skin, fangs, red eyes? What the hell? But I suppose he is not suppose to be likeable at first glance but I didn't find anything to like about him though. Technically speaking, he's over 100 years over and she's just 17. To think someone would wait 100 years to cure their curse just for a 17-year-old is pretty lame and yet I accept this because destiny and all that crap. But Beauty aka Roz is nothing special - a little stubborn but nothing to really stand out. There are some fun dialogues between Beast and Roz but I just don't see how they could have fallen for each other at all. And also, he basically stalks her through a magic mirror and they clearly states he can't watch her during private moments like when she's inside her house, only in public places which is just weird anyway.

< Spolier >
And the ending kind of sucks because it simply returns everything to the beginning, to 100 years ago and if that is so, then Roz doesn't exist. They are basically not in the same time period and don't tell me Beast gets his 100 years again until Roz gets born because that's stupid logic unless they say Beast is an immortal which nowhere does it says that. If he haven't been cursed, then 100 years wouldn't have passed and I can keep on going in circles but basically, when you returned a character back in time, some things and people shouldn't exist. Nothing have been solved instead they have been erased and we didn't get any explanation for the sickness or how the people's lives changed. Not an ending I want and certainly, I do feel it's a bit like an easy way out and I have seen this done in other books and movies and tv shows and they all sucked according to me because you're basically resetting everything so whatever happened, didn't happen so this story doesn't even existed and I have not wasted days reading this book. < Spoiler Ends >

Silver Woven in My Hair by Shirley Rousseau Murphy – a Cinderella story that is slightly ordinary and slightly charming. There are good things in this book most of which I have forgotten since I read this in January. I only want to read this because a few people (book reviewers) gushed about it and I thought to check it out and see what the fuss is about. I didn't really like it all that much. I found it a bit dull and unsatisfying and I guessed what would happened at the end without much effort. I would have appreciated and enjoyed this book much more if I was still ten or twelve.

Great Expectation by Charles Dickens – the words 'great expectation' gets repeated a lot and it irritated me so much each time it gets used together or separately. There are a bit of humor in the beginning which I thought there would be more of throughout the book but no, it's all seriousness all the way to the end. I didn't even care if Pip ends up with Estella or not, I believe they will make each other unhappy since they both seems to have different ways of thinking and I don't know, no matter how pitiful Estella or Pip's lives had been, I just find myself not caring. I did enjoy reading this just not the whole book.

Middlemarch by George Eliot – I tried to read this several years ago but somehow I didn't think I got it. Read this just a month ago and I find all the references to greek gods, events and such is a little too much since I really do not know most of them. I think this is a book for the smarter people which to say I am not one of them because I don't completely understand this book even this second time reading it. The long writing weighted it all down and made my mind drifted away because I find some of the writing quite boring and if I'm the editor, I would cut them all out and the book wouldn't be over 800 pages long. But I'm still glad I read it because, well, it's 800 pages long and I don't usually read such long books.

07/ New art at my society6 shop:
After all my promises to myself to promote the shop more, I didn't do much. I suck at promoting it and I just don't have the motivation to do much and I'm always thinking of deleting/removing the shop but I'll keep it open for now. I only posted one new art which you might have seen it if you read my blog but I have changed it a little bit. Go here to check out the shop or click on 'buy me tea' at the top of the blog.

So what are you doing these days?

May 11, 2019

Fiction: The tavern at the end of the ocean

This month's Words for Wednesday are provided by Margaret Adamson and her friend Sue Fulton and is hosted at Elephant's Child's blog here. This week's prompts are familiar phrases: Sun over the yardarm And/ or Going commando

Fiction: The tavern at the end of the ocean

Sun down is the best time for a drink at Sunny's Yard Den. Just walk down the road toward the ocean and at the end is what used to be a pirate ship and on the deck of this ship is the tavern.

On a Friday night, Arabella the owner, sits on a chair at the far end behind the counter. Her black-gray hair loosely plait hang down her back. An opened book lays on the countertop in front of her. She keeps her eyes on the book.

In the corner of the tavern, there is a tank on a platform all nailed down. The tank takes up almost half of the space where Arabella have placed a sign: Beware of Sharks. Do not stick your hand into the water. And indeed, the tank has two sharks in it - Jammy and Mushy though neither one of them are bigger than four feet wide. Arabella had gotten them as a payment after one of the patrons had too much brandy and redecorated the place with his fist. Since then, Jammy and Mushy became the main attraction for the tavern.

The bell at the door dings and Arabella looks up. Two men and a lady enters. One of the taller man laughs at the sign in front of the tank and then he takes a seat. Tourist. They get then now and then because of the sharks.

Jo serves the men and lady. Arabella returns to her book. She scarcely ever have to do any work but she likes to be there to keep an eye on everything and everyone. Her other employees Pat and Jingle, like Jo, serves the patrons. In the back Emily, Grant and Gilbert tends to the kitchen. Twins Quentin and Quirky takes care of everything else. But these people are not just her employees but lifelong friends.

Every now and then, Arabella would have to get up from her seat and talk sense into men daring each other to stick their hands into the shark tank. There have been a few bloody incidents but no one died. The authorities are never called but now and then, a patron would complain but nothing to fuss over.

The bell dings again and Arabella lifts her eyes. A tall man enters. He have black hair slicked back, a blue-gray coat with black boots that appears far too clean to be in this tavern. Arabella have never seen this man before and she knew almost everyone who comes into her tavern. This newcomer could be law enforcement or worse - a hunter. Arabella have always hated hunters. They would capture anyone dead or alive that would yield them a reward. Arabella listens as the newcomer takes a seat at the counter to her right and orders a beer. He gives her a nod when he turns her way. She returns a small nod and then turns back to her book.

The usual crowd enters and brings in the noise that Arabella is grateful for. Arabella waves at three old men in gray uniforms - Bob, Bobby and Robert - three brothers that have been regular patrons since the opening of the tavern.

Four men approaches the tank and one taps a finger at the cloudy glass. They laugh and joke with each other. A tall, skinny fellow with straw-color hair poking out of his head picks up a chair and places it down in front of the tank. He climbs up on the chair and starts rolling back his shirt sleeves.

Arabella sighs. Maybe having the sharks here is a terrible idea. But the tavern have become famous for them and removing them might mean less business and Arabella cannot have that. "Quentin! Quirky!" Arabella calls. Quentin and Quirky appears from the kitchen. They tower over everyone at almost eight feet tall. Arabella tilts her head at the tank.

May 2, 2019

April Gale 13: A wolf in the garden, sort of

words for wed
This month's Words for Wednesday are provided by Margaret Adamson and her friend Sue Fulton and is hosted at Elephant's Child's blog here. This weeks words are: scuttle, rapper, drop, machine, flowery, button and/ or cashback, tipping, pizza, energy, unsubstantiated, clear.

Summary of what had happened so far: April Gales comes to Windy Shadows with her Aunt, Josephine Tyler, meets her grandfather Harry Tyler, a few ghosts, a few odd servants, gets dropped onto the roof by a dragon named Tim, got healed by Grandfather Tyler, now has recovered. New visitors came to Windy Shadows - Winifred/Wini, cousin to April, and Vincent/Vincy who came with Wini.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  

April Gale 13: A wolf in the garden, sort of

April sits cross-legged on her bed as she quietly turns the pages of a spell book spread in front of her. A howl breaks the silence. But she thought maybe it's Howl the cat but another howl tells her it's no lion's howl. She rushes to the windows, pulls at the curtains and peeks down to see a large creature moving about on four legs in the garden below. Since April isn't sleepy, she might as well have a look. She quickly pulls on her boots, takes out a shawl from her closet, wraps it around her and races down to the garden.

April spots the wolf quickly as he, it seems like a he to April, is the only moving thing in the garden.The wolf stops to peer at every rose, behind every shrubbery, and now he heads toward the back of the garden. Above, the full moon's light touches here and there upon the East Garden. Long shadows fall where anyone or anything can easily hide.

When the wolf stands on two legs to check the trees, he is almost as tall as them. His black furs and black eyes make him almost invisible when he is in the shadows. If it isn't for the moon, April would not have seen him all that well though the wolf doesn't seem to have a problem seeing in the dark. April ducks behind one of the trees.

Just that afternoon, April had taken Wini and Vincy to the East Garden and then the West Garden and at both places, Wine could not stop talking about how neglectful the gardens are. Even the roses that appeared so alive looked dull to Wini. Vincy had said nothing but his eyes kept wandering here and there as if he was looking for a certain something. Thank goodness Mrs. Summers appeared to announce dinner was ready. Dinner was a quiet affair. Wini talked and Vincy and April listened. Mrs. Summers appeared now and then to serve them but other than that April was left alone with Wini and Vincy. Only after April had seen them off into the West Wing guest quarters did she felt she can relax. April sighs. Relatives are hard.

The wolf sags down in front of a tree as if he lacks energy. He is almost in full darkness aside from the slant of moonlight on one of his paw. For a while, he stays quite still.

But as April watches the wolf, he starts to move. When he stands up, he seems to be looking straight at her. April quickly spins about looking for a place to hide. The wolf growls. She turns around and immediately freezes. The wolf stands on two legs and towers over April. Drool drips from his long fangs. His black eyes flickers as if he remembers something but then it flickers again and he raises his hand or rather his claw toward her. April holds up her arm to block the strike but the force knocks her down onto the ground. She feels the sting from her arm and wonders at the ripped sleeve of her gown. Aunt Josephine wouldn't have liked that since it is a new gown that she had made for April just last week. The wolf comes at her again. She wishes he would just fall asleep. "Sleep!" she shouts and the wolf's eyes roll back and then he falls to the ground with a loud thud.

May 1, 2019

A-Z 2019 Challenge Reflections

A-Z 2019 alpahbet collage

Some thoughts before, during and after the A-Z 2019 challenge:

01/ I didn't sign up for the master list. I don't know. I just didn't care. When I tried to think up excuses for doing this, I find none other than the fact that the master is a long list that requires more patience than I have to go through. I think there are way too many stuff on both lists. All I need is a name, a blog link and whether they post adult content or not (I don't visit any blog with adult content). What do I care about facebook or twitter or other things that really are no use to me? If I'm interested in a blogger, I can find these info myself. These extra info just makes the lists longer and not easy to navigate. I hate spread sheets so much that I'm forced to use the pdf format.

02/ But I did visited the almost 600 blogs on the master list minus the adult content to just to see if there are any interesting blogs. When I went through the master list, I found people have already quitted early and some didn't even start posting at all and I was visiting late like letter L or something.

03/ I used the theme list to make my own list of blogs to visit because you know those people are going to post. The master list is more about people signing up but not necessarily follow through with actually posting, at least that is what I think.

04/ I have no theme this year nor last year nor any year that I did the A-Z challenge. I find themes are a bit conforming plus we all know that xyz letters often ends up being like extra letters and never get used properly. So I honestly think using the alphabet is enough. Themes are okay but they sometimes drives me away because there are certain things I simply aren't interested in reading.

05/ My list of blogs to visit (that I usually make after I have seen most blogs) is very low this year – at about ten or more. I usually have less than twenty but even that is low. The numbers keeps going down each year and yet the participants stayed almost the same. It is a bit of a off year for me as I find most things dull.

06/ I did not prepare any of the posts in advance. They are written the day before or the same day I posted them. Most of them are last minute ideas which I thought were pretty good. Toward the end, I ended up with some repeated ideas that I have used in previous years but I think it's not so terrible to use old idea but with new content.

07/ I must admit, I didn't make as great as an effort as I did last year. It's not just that I only have a few hours to write each post, but that my brain seems to work a little slower than usual. Maybe I should have prepared all the posts in advance which would save me some nerve-racking moments. Maybe it's why some of my posts are kind of lackluster.

08/ I like to have more fun & entertaining posts which is my goal for the A-Z posts but I don't know, I think something just tilted toward the wrong way and my posts aren't as entertaining. I think I should have struck with just short stories. Any posts that aren't short stories, people don't seem to get. Maybe my humor is either too subtle or my posts are not as fun as I thought.

09/ I'm not sure I'll be doing this again next year. I did the challenge in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (no idea what happened in 2014 and 2015). Somehow the excitement is no longer there. It seems a bit like people are uninvolved, passive almost. I, too, felt a bit lackluster and didn't feel like visiting people as much as I usually do. Though I still like the idea of the challenge because in a way, I do learn more about words since I do a lot searching and finding definition for words I would not normally used.

10/ Of course just because I said I wouldn't do it again, it doesn't mean I wouldn't do it again because you never know what might provoke people to do what they admit they wouldn't do.


My List of A-Z 2019 Posts
• anecdotes
• breakdown
• compliment
• dog
• excuses
• flowers
• ghost
• horoscope
• idol
• joyous
• kindred
• lines
• musings
• news
• observations
• perpetual
• quotes
• reading
• strange
• three
• unruly
• vanished
• walking
• x words
• yada yada
• zephyrs
• theme post

April A-Z Challenge 2019