Help Me Nail It


Help Me Nail It

I was born without nails…

Nailtique Nails

Break The Bottle


Break The Bottle

#blogging #writing #NicholasSparks #BeTrueToYou



I’ve managed to perform a magic trick. And, because I’m not a good magician, or a magician at all for that matter, I won’t be breaking any wizardish ways when I tell you what I did and how.


It happened, somewhat, by accident. I was just kicking back, playing my enchanted flute as one does and suddenly, you all stood up, as if in a trance, and followed me over to my new website. It was, after a few clicks, a couple of downloads, an export, an import and a generous dousing of fairy dust, as easy as rattling off a few spellbinding lyrics in the shower.


Now, don’t be shocked. As I said, it all just happened so quickly and sort of, unexpectedly. Oh, I admit it had been on my mind lately because, well, you may have read that I attended a Blogging Conference at the beginning of this month. That is where I sat in on a “microsession” with a WordPress expert and it was her advice that put the idea in my head. She told us that at .org we are much more in control of our site, much less restricted and, as a result, able to have a lot more fun. (This is yet to be determined)


So, as I say, the decision was definitely already brewing. My cauldron was bubbling and steaming, however things weren’t fully seasoned yet. But this is where the surprise comes in. The spell overtook even me. I became light-headed and when I came to, PRESTO KAZINGA & POOF, we were all under one roof, kneeling at the great org’s feet. (You should be taking notes, people. I just morphed from a magician to a witch right under your nose)


Anyway, that’s my big news. All of you are now following me on hazyshadesofme.orgunless you just followed me on .com in very recent days. That’s right. Eight of you were, through no fault of your own, a little late to the under-advertised party. Yes, there are eight of you little stragglers left hanging all by your lonesomes over at .com

This is because you followed me post mystical import and, as we know, no good mamma wants to leave even one precious duckling behind. For this reason, I’d love it if you made the mortal (now that the spell has ended) effort to swim over to my (apparently) much brighter side.


I know it’s a lot to ask and if the mere thought of this is exhausting for you, I will look into stoking the fire under the now cold pot of water and see if I can’t conjure up another batch of magic to fly you over here myself.


Although is still in need of a good scrub and polishing, I will be posting here from now on and hope we can all continue the pretty cool bond we currently have simmering over the coals.


And now, in case they have no idea they’re home alone, the last eight to make the leap are as follows:

Write With Warnimont

by Joe Warnimont

Affiliated Mindset

by Drew Iaconis

The Public Blogger

by Kendall F Pearson

Man of Many Thoughts

by Keith Garrett

Nutrition & Wellness

by Stephanie Eusebi

Business Solutions

by smilyking1976

The Amazing Adventures of Abigail Andrews

by Nickie Brooke

Remora Philippines

by Remora Philipppines



Bippity, boppity, boo!





A Dream Is A Wish

I dreamt all three of my children before they were born.


Now don’t click that little x. I am the most skeptical, non-hocus-pocus person you’ll ever meet. Promise. It comes standard with my RBF. (That was for a special friend, but I figure you may as well enjoy a laugh at my expense too.)


So, sanity aside, I did dream up all three of my kids before I ever met them. At three different stages of pregnancy, I had three different dreams about three different babies, at three different ages. My oldest was a newborn in my dream, my middle, three months and my daughter was just shy of a year.


Of course I dream all the time, but these dreams were different. They were tangible. In them, I could see, hear and taste as if awake. I could feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck as the downy silk of their cheeks brushed mine, I understood their dispositions and knew who I’d be meeting when the day finally came.


I would wake changed from when I’d gone to sleep. I’d come to know the tots forming in my belly. I’d been privy to what my future held. I’d been blessed with an extra day of their lives.


I can tell you there were no surprises. My first came early, slipping into our world as quietly as any living, breathing thing could. Our second, on his due date, with a head full of ebony hair and enough breath in his lungs to make up for his brother. The third, our daughter, swooped in on a magic carpet large enough to carry her and her big personality.


And I’d met them all before.


I am reminded of this because I was given another gift last night. Again, an extra day. Needless to say (I hope really hope it’s needless to say) I am not pregnant, but I had one of these dreams. Different, tangible, unmistakable.


Ava was about three years old. Her hair was cut into the short bob she used to wear and she wore a baseball cap. I could only see the back of her. Her squidgy little feet were covered in sand and she was struggling to get across a rocky patch. I asked her if she wanted me to pick her up and she said; “Could you, mumma,” in that tiny little voice she used to have.

Ava in her "Ash" cap
Ava in her “Ash” cap


My heart skipped and as I scooped her up, she melted in just like she was a part of me. It was one of those good holds. My arms wrapped under her teeny tushe and air could not have come between us.


“You’re the best mumma. I love you so much.” She whispered. And with the bubbles on her lips popping in my ear and the warmth of her comforting breaths, I felt the hair, once again, stand on the back of my neck.


I used to chalk my unique imaginings up to the whacky hormones of pregnancy, but after last night I know, dreams are just wishes your heart makes.





In A Rich Man's World

Do I have to come out?


I admit I’m sort of comfy here in my hiding place. I mean, it’s soft and warm and I know that just outside of it lies the prickly and confusing.


I didn’t realize that’s what it was at first. A hiding place, I mean. Hiding wasn’t my intention. Honestly, all I wanted was to decompress. Absorb, grip and wrap…it all around my little finger.


But that hasn’t happened yet.


I attended a Conference the first week of October. My first one. Ever. I went with a friend to test the waters, be inspired and learn. Man, did I learn. It was for Blogging, much different, I imagine, than a Writing Conference. Writing was of course touched on, in the way of, no matter how much promoting is done, none of it will matter if a reader lands in on spelling mistakes and poorly structured sentences.


This, I knew.


What I didn’t know is how much promoting is possible. A blog can be saleable! Yes, I get that you’re all laughing right now, chuckling about my naiveté and rolling your eyes at my childlike misconception. Imagine. I’ve been using this platform as a simple journal. Silly me. Tsk, tsk!


At this point you’re probably hoping you won’t start seeing banner ads for preemie diapers and adult depends hovering above the short stories that have come to call my site home.


Heaven knows I support making money. I can even say I feel I should, in a world made of cotton candy clouds, be paid for my musings on this blog. And, why not? It takes me days or at a minimum, hours to compose a post. I even believe, that at the very least, I’ve managed to be somewhat entertaining. (Should you think differently, feel free not to leave a comment below)


But this seminar brought together two minds under one roof. Those that advertise loud and proud and those that either feel advertising is wrong or out of place on a personal blog.


Now that I know this dilemma exists, I can say that I don’t think it’s wrong.


If that opportunity comes your way, you should grab it. Obviously, I don’t display ads here, but let it be heard by the financial Gods, I’m open to it. I write for my heart and yours, and being paid for doing so does not make that any less sincere. I do think the ads you choose to place should be a good fit for your blog’s theme. So, if your blog is unfocussed, or, ahem, hazy like mine, I guess you’ve hit the proverbial pot of gold.


Money must be funny...
Money must be funny…


Really though, when we write a novel or paint a masterpiece, notice I said when, we’ll hardly be looking to give it away. Writing for unmonetized pleasure, and this does bring much, much pleasure, is wonderful, but deciding we’d like to pay for things with it, doesn’t make it tacky or low. It simply makes it lucrative.


I don’t know if I’ll ever run ads or make money from what I do, but what I do know is that every time the word writing was mentioned at that conference, my heart skipped a beat. That’s gotta count for something.


– – –


Post Script:


I’d like to mention that I really have been stuck for a couple of weeks, so if you’re still following me, bless you. And, if you’ve followed me in recent days, know that you are a big part of what dislodged the stick from my spokes and I’m truly grateful to you.



A solution for nothing and not a thing to be solved, death loses him.

From the top of the hill, the tall fawn grass waves in the wind like the fringes we used to cut into the bottoms of our brown-bag puppets. We’d slice deep into the paper openings, my sister and I, making long hula skirts for the girls and stunted choppy shorts for the boys. Our stage, a bent up box, fashioned a Broadway buzz we’d only ever heard of, with its wide-open flaps draped in red.

The audience, made of the few neighborhood kids we’d manage to rope in, would wait while we tried desperately to remember our lines. More often than not, we’d end up filling the theatre that was our backyard with unplanned garbles and hysterical giggles ⎯both theirs and ours.

I look down at him now, from my perch on the hill, and although his feet are firmly set in the dark tousled dirt, he doesn’t know where he stands. He can’t fix this, so his hands are lost at his sides, compulsively ducking in and out of his trouser pockets. Weight shifts from one side to the other, but stays with him. Unable to shake it, he glances uphill, towards me.

We’d fought this morning⎯today of all days. Awakened from my fitful sleep by haunting catheter fuck-ups, I was tired and beyond sensible words, dreaming of broken needle tips, embedded and unreachable beneath her veiny skin. I’d envisioned the consequential surgeries and probable infections they would cause and the nightmare had stirred my sleepy heart, sending it stampeding through my ribs.

My eyes raced to find his for comfort, but as soon as he’d seen my sweat-glazed face shrouded in twisted sheets, impatience had crossed his own.

“You don’t have to worry about this anymore, Syd,” he’d said. “No more long days or late nights. We should move past it. We can move on.”

I’d looked away, sobbing. Crying until my softened soul frosted into a hard shell, like melted chocolate over ice cream.

“We?” We can move on?”

“Syd, I…”

We can’t do anything, Mark. Including care for my sister. That was me, not we.”

“That’s not fair, Sydney. I was here.”

“Yeah, here. Not there.”

I’d wanted to run. Put a literal distance between us, but I couldn’t. The day had different plans.

He became unrecognizable through my tear-clouded gaze and I’d dug my heels deep into the mattress, pushing against the headboard as tight as I could.

He’d sighed.

I’d buried myself in the useless warmth of the duvet, hoping he’d slide under and hold me, but when I heard the shower running, I’d dragged myself out to face the black buttoned blouse and matching skirt that darkened my closet door.

The stalky grass tickles my legs and I lift my bare feet up in the air. My toenails, normally primped and polished, are chipped and ragged⎯the skin on my shins, dry and scaly and suddenly, I can’t remember the last time I’d had more than a sip of water to wash down a Valium. My mouth is as dry as the Sahara.

“Do they make me look fat?” Stacey had joked as she slipped them over her long, twiggy fingers. I’d spent hours picking them out. Trying on pair after pair, imagining how they’d feel if my fingers were half the width. Finding a pair slim enough had been a challenging task and I’d taken great care so as not to stretch the fine black leather. But when she’d pulled them over her own hands, they’d fit, quite compassionately, like a glove.

“Well, they’re beautiful, but so are your hands.” I’d said. “I don’t think you have anything to cover up.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Stacey had balked. “I could be a hand double for Skeletor.”

As dramatic as she was, she’d earned it.

And, it was the truth.

I hold my hands up to the sun and study the opaque bones nestled inside the tangerine translucence of my own plump flesh⎯like Stacey’s hands are a part of mine. I slide back into my shoes, slap my sister’s well-worn gloves across my palm and for the first time in months, I’m light as I walk down the hillside.

After all, death is a solution for nothing and not a thing to be solved.

I can move on.

hands holding the sun at dawn

Crappy and You Know It

Well, as often happens, I’m writing a post I didn’t plan on today. All right, if we’re splitting hairs, I don’t really plan any of them. However, I do dream of each one and fantasize about what I’m going to write before I write it, so that’s something, isn’t it?

I thought today I’d be penning some kind of sassy short⎯punchy and poignant, complete with a catchy, soul-shaking moral. Ideas came to me all week. Tricky ideas fooling me into thinking I’d remember them without jotting them down. Slippery ideas that slurped their tendrils back in as quickly as they’d appeared, stirring my creative juices.

Nope. No stories today.

Today, I am being inspired by crappy content. Yup. The crappier the better.

If you’re an aspiring writer, you may already know what I’m hinting at. You may know, without me having to explain, because you’ve been here. You are here. You live here.

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book and thought, how on God’s green earth is this out there for all to see? Who thought this was a good idea? and then, been shocked when you came up with the answer…two people. At least two people on the ground floor had to think this was a good idea⎯the creator and the buyer.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

I know you’ve had these very thoughts. And not only have you marveled (and lamented) at the acceptance of these at best questionable works, but you have sworn that even your most embarrassing first drafts are better than them.

And I’m sure they are.

You can see where I’m going here. The very thing that deters our belief in the system can also be an open door. It may not be well-marked or easy to find, but there is clearly a way in.

No, the published crap might not seem fair, but we can certainly use it to fortify our faith.


Not If, When

When my daughter was four, I made her a promise. She was distraught over her dad leaving for a business trip and I told her she could sleep with me anytime he was away.

From. Then. On.

And. She. Did.

She has slept beside me, over the past nine and half years many, many times. More times than I can count. She kicks, punches, head butts and talks. She grinds her teeth reminding me the stresses she’s under and in short, freaks me right out.

But I’m sure you know what I’m going to say. I love having her with me. I love her with ever fiber of my being and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Because one day, she won’t be beside me.

Before I know it, my girl, the last baby of my brood will be off and out on her own, learning, living and leaving. Breaking free from the nest I have so carefully constructed around her.

I’ve been trying to write this post for a week now but it’s been difficult. Sure, I’ve been busy. In fact, I’ve barely had a moment’s peace. It’s been one job after another⎯never short of something to keep me busy. Which is weird, because I’m down one kid. You’d think I’d have at least a third more time.

Clearly, that’s not how it works.

My boy sailed off to University last week, and I don’t know how to feel. I know what I’m supposed to feel, but how do I really feel? Sad? Forlorn? Deserted? Happy? Proud? Excited? Broke.

Please note⎯that last one isn’t a question.

Truth be told, any mere mortal who reaches this stage in life will undoubtedly feel a cocktail of these emotions but hopefully, will be graced with one overwhelming standout⎯elation. We did it! We raised a child that not only meets the requirements of an excellent school, but one that also wants to go.

Rah, rah us!

Yes, it’s inevitable. Our kids will leave us. They may be eighteen. They may be older. They may be younger. Or heaven forbid, we might have to throw them out by the collar, but eventually they will leave.

In the meantime, I wonder if Ava and I can squeeze into that twin extra long…


A Measure

She moves through the office of pencil skirts, short shorts and barely-there bottoms, feeling like her very walk is an apology on behalf of women with thick ankles and swaying backsides everywhere. She hugs the files to her chest, hoping they cover what should probably be the least of her worries and tries to hold her head high.

She gets as far as the third cubicle.

Sure that Monica produces a snicker, certain Shelley looks up from her ledgers and giggles, mortified that Terry might’ve just let out one big howl⎯she looks down at her feet.

And walks on.

She endures growing consciousness with every step. Aware that the fabric in her own knee length skirt bunches with every movement, mindful no one wears hose anymore as her own cause her to sweat right through her high-wasted undies, regretful of the tightish blouse she’d questioned herself on twice this morning before eventually locking her apartment door with a sigh.

Today is no different than yesterday or the day before or the day before that. Her clothes never fit right. Never look right. Never, ever, feel right. She doesn’t walk the aisles with the ease the other women do. She doesn’t head in early to stand at the Keurig allowing everyone to acknowledge her new, may as well be painted on, skinny jeans.

Why did she chose an office where every day is Friday?

No, she comes in early to clamber into her chair and hide behind her desk before anyone else gets in. She waits well past much needed bathroom breaks, hoping for a clear coast and sits parched long after everyone else is off to be fed and watered.

“Hey, Dot. Sitting in again?”

Her boss is a tall man⎯thin and wiry, looming over her desk like a flag at full-mast.

“Oh, yeah, I guess. Just finishing these last reports.”

He glances at all the other desks sprinkled with open files, papers askew, clearly nowhere near completion.

“In a dream world, your co-workers would do the same.” He laughs.

“Well, we can’t all be perfect,” she jokes nervously.

She’s good at her job. Gets her work done. She’s thorough, accurate and always on time. She works through her lunch and stays late without complaining. She is perpetually professional and despite what she feels is a less than desirable façade; her appearance is unfailingly tidy.

“So true.” He smiles. “Ah, well I hope you get time to eat at some point today. I wouldn’t want you fading away.”

Her face is a fiery inferno. Fading away? Is he making fun of her now too?

With shaky hands hidden below the desk’s surface, she tries desperately to smooth out the fabric covering her belly. She pulls her body out of its slouch and shifts in her chair.

“No chance,” she replies uneasily. “I’m hardly that fragile.”

Mr. Brig looks her up and down and then directly in the eye.

“Don’t underestimate yourself, Dot.”

tape measure images


Unearthly quiet fills creeks and crevices. Swings sway loosely in the intermittent wind, their rusty chains straining against the tongue-tied backdrop. They make their way through littered streets, Luna’s fingers loosely curved around Elian’s palm like the branches of a wallowing willow.


“My feet are so sore,” she says sadly, stooping to poke a finger down the back of her slack boot.


He knows they’re too big, but a good score nonetheless. There they’d been, waiting for him it seemed, on the red and gold foyer rug. He’d swung open the heavy double doors and their soft leather had slouched, making them look half as tall, their laces still strong and intact.


He’d found them in a house, clearly once cozy and comforting, now forlorn and deserted. Unable to face a childless life, many had fled the outbreak thrust upon them, running in search of a life restored. Luna had long been wearing sandals that barely clung to her feet and with winter approaching, he’d known that despite the size difference they were meant for her.


Anything left behind is fair game as far as he is concerned.


They come upon the market with its soaped out windows now caked in dirt. A yellowed newspaper lounges on the cement, lazily waving in the breeze.


“Won’t be much in there,” she smiles a little. Her hair, lit by the cold sun, looks like the soft caramel he used to eat.


Panic had ensued as missing person reports increased by the day. Hours had dissolved into a myriad of search and rescues, candlelight vigils, prayers and séances. Confusion and chaos became a way to survive and finally, angst and torment, depression and mourning, a way of life.


“It’s boarded for a reason.”


Elian has always been wise but has had to hone his wits since this all began. He is responsible for Luna and will protect her with his life. However, he needs to ensure it doesn’t come to that. He must remain with her and avoid any risk that might separate them.


He walks Luna over to a dormant vending machine and has her lean against it while he checks the perimeter of the market. Once he decides it’s safe, he returns and begins prying off the boards that have been haphazardly slapped over the entryway. They come off easily enough but he feels Luna watching him intently and is again reminded why he needs to maintain his strength.


As he wrenches the last board, she is at his side, wiping imaginary sweat from his brow, anything to stop the useless feeling that often overcomes her.


She coughs as a billow of grime hits them in the face.


On the second day of what they now call The Salvage, Luna’s younger brother and sister had disappeared. Like so many others, gone without a trace. After months of searching and hoping her parents had decided to journey on in pursuit of peace, maybe to the next town, perhaps across the ocean, they didn’t know, but Luna would not go with them.


She and Elian had taken over the family home, but were forced to leave when it became overrun with drug-toting squatters. Again, Elian had been wise in realizing it wasn’t worth the fight. He’d had to pull Luna by the arm for miles while she sobbed, devastated her siblings might return to the nightmare she’d left behind.


“Normally, I’d say after you, but in this case…” Elian steps inside and bats away the cobwebs that immediately engulf his face.


There had been many town meetings in which ideas were thrown about. Terrified mothers worried there’d been a mass killing and the bodies just hadn’t been found. Fathers held their shotguns at the ready, waiting for whoever had taken what wasn’t theirs, to return.


It was a long time before sense was made, but bit-by-bit, the town’s people had little choice than to admit the children now gone were conceived without love. They were the ones that had grown from desperation or greed – a marriage that needed repairing or a hole that had to be filled. At times, money had been the motivator or sadly, some were born an appointed whipping post.


The women, eager to replace what had been lost, tried to conceive through despair but their loveless attempts were no longer fruitful.


Luna follows behind Elian as he clears a path. Once inside, they stop in awe. Canned goods and jars of jellies practically glow on the shelves.


Elian opens a package and spreads a thin plastic tablecloth over the dirty floor.


“You’re my everything, Luna.” He says watching his wife stroke her pregnant belly.














Mere moments of clarity are all I can promise…

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