Flash Fiction Friday: First Love

The slamming of the back door screen and the shrieking of the girl as she tore across the yard woke Bob from his nap. Folding his ears back as he yawned and stretched, his front legs then his back. Reluctantly he slunk to the edge of the yard to crouch beneath the lavender bushes, leaving his warm corner of the patio in the sun. His old joints were stiff and he was on no mood for the crushing hugs and rough play the girl would force on him if he stayed in the open. 
The screen thumped closed again, calmer this time. Bob saw Leigh moving a plastic chair. She sat, and opened a book in her lap, but watched the girl for several moments before looking down to read.
Bob remembered how he and Leigh used to spend the whole day together sometimes. He would sit in her lap as she worked at the computer or pounce on the laundry as she folded. Since the girl had been big enough to move around though, Bob had slept hidden under the bed most of the day. He learned quickly that that was the only way to stay safe from being poked or his ears or whiskers pulled. Now he only came out after the girl was in bed. To get a short precious time in Leigh’s lap again for proper, gentle ear and chin rubs.
He looked at Leigh reading , then at the girl who was now at the far end of the yard screeching some sort of song as she ran in circles. He stuck his head out from under the bush. Then crept a little further. Before he’d thought things through he had covered half the distance to Leigh. He found himself airborn, swinging in a circle. The girl held him under his front legs, his back feet dangling as she flung him around in her dance. 
“Caroline! Stop that!”
The swinging stopped, but he dangled still, his spine screaming for some support. Then Leigh had him against her chest, one arm under him, the other rubbing his ears. She carried him to her chair, and then set him in her lap. He thought about jumping down and back to his hiding spot in the bushes.
“Caroline, come here. You pet him gentle, like this.”
Leigh ran her hand down his spine. Then a smaller hand hit him, pushing him down, and followed the same path. “Gentle, gentle. See, he likes that.” The second time, the small hand was softer, but it plucked at his fur before departing.
“I’m sorry buddy,” Leigh said, scratching his chin in the spot he loved. “She’ll get better. I’ve got you now though.” 
Bob curled up and settled into her lap, purrs overflowing out of him. Like old times.

Getting Back in Shape – Abs Edition

The pounds have flown back on since my ileostomy reversal. Some of that I expected – the weight I lost from being very, very sick for example. That was not healthy weight loss and I didn’t expect it to stick. But then, I admit, I let the holidays carry me along their happy cookie filled journey without a struggle. That’s showing up now in clothes that are a little snug, and a heavy sleepiness that hits me in the afternoons the way it hasn’t in a long time.

So it would be time for me to get back on my healthy eating, regular exercise bandwagon even if it wan’t the time of year for that sort of thing. I’ve been at it a few days now, and am already feeling better. The snug clothing part will take a little longer.

One struggle has been abdominal exercises. I’ve never had ‘abs of steel’, or even abs of anything remotely tough. Since the reversal though, any abdominal exercises I try hurt the scars (mainly the huge one where the actual stoma was, but even a little at the colon incision site). If you have an ab exercise you love, this is the place to share it. I’d love to try out some new exercises since I’m just not up for crunches yet.

A friend posted a workout video on Facebook that included a couple ab moves that were merely uncomfortable, not painful, so that’s what I’m doing for now, but I’d love to see what else is out there.

Happy New Year all – here’s to a healthy and happy 2017!


2016 Christmas Amigurumi: Ashoka Tano and a Blue Minecraft Sheep

Ashoka Tand and Blue Minecraft Sheep Amigurumi crocheted and photographed  by Kara Hartz

Every year, I crochet a gift for my girls. Traditionally, it has been a pokemon. This year my oldest daughter had been obsessed with Star Wars (she makes her mother proud), and the younger is all about Minecraft (another amazing kid – how did I get so lucky!?). So I decided to try to make something to match their current passions. 

I made the sheep first, and am not super happy how it turned out. If you look at the pattern, it was supposed to use something called ‘iris’ yarn and a 0.9 mm crochet hook. That hook is so small it’s difficult to see, and I’d never heard of iris yarn before, but from the picture I’d say it could probably also be called ‘thread’. So I wimped out in tacking something so tiny, and I just made the sheep with plain ole Red Heart yarn and a G hook knowing it may not turn out right,. I knew that was a risk I was taking. The kiddo says she loves it, so I guess I’ll be happy with that even though it isn’t quite as blocky as I wanted it to be. I’m half tempted to try the thread version – but not yet. Must rest the hands from the marathon crochet session getting ready for Christmas.
The Ashoka Tano pattern is actually what gave me the idea to make something different this year. I don’t remember what I was looking for at the time, but when I stumbled upon the picture of a crocheted Ashoka, I knew I had to make it. She is one of my daughter’s very favorite characters, and she is now rewatching the Cone Wars series with me to bring me up to speed about Ashoka so I can read the recent book featuring her. One of the cool parts of this doll is the wire inside her limbs and lightsaber that make her pose-able. Plus, she looks fairly complicated, but I found that she made up fairly easily and quickly. The most important thing though – the kiddo loves her. I’ve seen her holding her off and on over the past few days since Christmas. That’s what a maker wants to see. Yea!