Monday, July 27, 2009

Treasure Hunter Part Deux

After being long awaited, here's more of Rhea, you're favorite treasure hunter. And some new characters!

Finally having a break to breathe, she took a look at the artifact she had been sent for. It was a curious object, all rounded edges and curved lines. She discovered that looking too closely at it gave her a headache and made her feel nauseous and dizzy. She put it away. Let her employer deal with it. That was his arena, not hers. She looked around, seeing the choppy waters glinting in the moonlight, noting the lights off the starboard of her boat, indicating a seaside city. Rhea looked around, searching for the bobbing lights she knew were out there. She scanned the horizon, narrowing her eyes against the sea spray.
There, slightly obscured behind a seaside cliff, she saw the tell-tale red and blue lights of her employer’s boat, dipping on the wavelets of the sea. Turning the boat, she headed toward them, grateful that she was drawing close to the end of her job, and that she would finally get paid. This was of course no more dangerous than jobs she had accepted in the past, but it was far more dangerous then she had originally been informed, that would cost her employer dearly. Of course, he could more than afford it. After all, he was one of the wealthiest men on the planet.
This was what made his hiring Rhea, one of the most well known thieves (though she preferred the term “treasure hunter”) on the planet, all the more odd. If he was so wealthy, couldn’t he merely have purchased the item, instead of stealing it? Though all of those precautions set in place for such a little thing…she glanced at it again, out of the corner of her eye. When she looked at it this way, it almost seemed pretty. She shook her head, and focused on her goal.
She pulled up alongside the boat, more of a yacht than a mere “boat”. “Ahoy the ship!” she called out, not raising her voice overly much. Voices carried well over water, why borrow trouble by alerting anyone else in the vicinity? “Rhea? Is that you?” A tousled blonde head peered over the rail. The head belonged to a 17 year old boy, her nephew actually, who was also related (in some distant fashion she didn’t entirely fathom) to her employer. “No, it’s Donald Duck. Of course it’s me, now let down the ladder!” she half scolded, smiling. It was hard to be serious and grim around the infectious joy that Aeries inspired. The fact that her adrenaline was still spiked from near death experiences lent some giddiness to her as well.
There was a clatter, and a rope ladder was tossed over the side of the yacht. Tucking the strange artifact inside a satchel, not quite looking straight at it, she tucked the satchel close to her body and shimmied up the ladder. “I’m so glad you’re back!” he cried, still keeping his voice down. He threw his arms around her and hugged her tight for a moment. Then, remembering himself, he coughed and drew back, his face a brilliant scarlet, just barely visible in the moonlight. “I mean, um, I’m glad you’re safe.” He muttered. She grinned, safe in the knowledge that her face was still hidden in the shadow, but kept the laughter out of her voice. “It’s good to know someone was keeping a lookout for me. Oh, and you better not let Mr. Thomas see you covered in all that ash, he might think you disobeyed his orders and came with me like you wanted.” Aries looked down, dismayed. In his enthusiasm, he had hugged his aunt before checking the state of her clothing, and a great deal of the ash and dirt that covered her from head to toe had transferred to him. Then he looked at her, and took in the grey ash, turning her already grey camouflage even darker. Her light-brown hair was grey and brown with ash and dirt, her face was streaked with it.
Her light green eyes danced with amusement at the dismay in her nephew’s face. “Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you. Just go wash off, and get changed. I’ll meet with you and Mr. Thomas in fifteen minutes in the briefing cabin.” She strolled off, looking as calm and collected as ever. She always looked calm and collected, even when she was panicking inside. That was one of the things Aries admired most about her. That, and who wouldn’t admire someone who went off into danger, on grand adventures at the drop of a hat? So it was dangerous, as he had been lectured many times before, but like any teenager, he thought he was immortal.
Aries cleaned up as thoroughly as he cared to, and threw on a new t-shirt and cargo pants. He just hoped Mr. Thomas wouldn’t do a very close inspection. Sticking his hands into his pockets, he wandered over to the briefing cabin, though he knew he’d be the first one there. HE didn’t mind though, there was always something good to eat waiting for him in the room, no matter what time of day or night. Pushing open the door, he sniffed the air appreciatively it was his favorite, fried mangoes. Settling down in one of the big plush chairs around the table in the center of the room, he grabbed one of the sticky treats from a platter on the table. Just as he was about to take a bite, Mr. Thomas, walked into the room and Aries started guiltily.
Mr. Thomas was not a tall or imposing man. In fact, he was rather short and round, with a neatly trimmed red goatee, and his red hairline rapidly receding from his forehead. Despite the fact that he typically had the aura of a favorite uncle, he could be incredibly intimidating when he chose. Fortunately, now was not one of those times that he chose to. He smiled indulgently at Aries, and made a sweeping gesture. “Help yourself. I had it specially made for you and Rhea-“
“Did I hear my name uttered in vain?” Rhea asked, sweeping in, looking a bit more presentable then when she had been pulled over the side of the yacht. Her hair was up in a bun, her face was clear of ash, and she wore a clean t-shirt and jeans. “Oooh, fried mangoes, my favorite!! See, this is why I love working for you Mr. Thomas, the effort is well worth the reward.”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Path Taken

I close my eyes.
I stand at a crossroads, which road to choose?
So many to choose from, but where do they go?
To decide one path is to rid myself of any other choice.
But what if it's wrong? I can't go back.
I look down one path, I squint down another, trying to figure out which is best.
As I stand there undecided, one path disappears.
Wait! But...what if I had chosen that path?
It's too late. I can't take the time any longer.
I choose my path.
I open my eyes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another E-mail My mother sent me

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged, and the mother said, 'I love you, and I pray you enough.’
The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.'
They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'
Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'
'Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away & has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is - her next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.
'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I pray you enough.' May I ask what that means?'
She began to smile. 'That's a prayer that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I pray you enough,' we wanted the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.'
Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more
I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
Then, she began to cry, and walked away.
They say, it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but an entire life to forget them.
To all my friends and loved ones,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She sat alone in the dark room, motionless, as the tears dripped down her cheeks and off her chin. She occasionally sniffled, staring off into the shadowed corners of the room. She wondered why she was crying, why she felt so miserable. She recalled that earlier that evening she had beeen her carefree, easy, cheerful self - in the space of a few short minutes, all of that changed. She now sat alone, as miserable as could be, wishing she had the courage to stand up and face what she had to. But she couldn't, she just stared into the dark with large tear-filled eyes, not yet willing to put aside her fear and tears. Finally, she uncurled from her position, and went in search of paper. After tearing out a sheet of paper from an old school notebook, she wrote down the events that had taken place a half hour ago. Perhaps that would ease her pain and she could get on without the burden - perhaps it would help her to understand why she cried. In the course of writing, her tears dried up and her nose unclogged. The mere act of getting the words down on paper had a soothing effect. No longer were they inside, unspoken. They were now on a page, visible to anyone who cared to look. Even if locked away, they were free. She looked up, wiped the last tears from her eyes, and decided to go out the door. She would not let anything hold her back any longer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mariner Goes Swimming

My mother and brother took Mariner to the dog beach today. He liked the beach and the dogs, but he was too scared to go in the water. So when they got home, they decided to take him into our pool. I just got home from biking when they decided to do this and I took some pictures. He wasn't too thrilled about being in the pool, but he looked VERY cute.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Driving, Directions and Getting Lost

Typically, when I'm driving I have a fairly good sense of direction, especially if I've gone to my destination at least once before. If I've gone once, I can find my way back ther with a minimum amount of mishap. If I've never been there before, I rely on Mapquest or my brother. (We had a GPS, it broke, haven't gotten around to replacing it yet.) In any case, it's all fine when I'm the one drving. However, stick me in the passenger seat, and then ask me for directions, even to a place I know WELL, and I will manage to get us lost. CJ has finally learned this after many many repeats. She's learned to question whether I'm absolutely certain...I'll say yes, and then around 3 seconds later I say "oh....wait...oops" That is generally the point where she threatens to kill me for getting us lost...AGAIN. Last year in Myrtle Beach, I got her a magnet that said "We've been through so much...and most of it was your fault." However, as she said, most of it was actually MY fault. So, never listen to me when I'm giving directions from the passenger seat, even if I insist I'm right. I WILL get us lost.


So even though I only learned how to ride a bike last night, I went to the park with CJ and SSC and went bike riding for 2 1/2 miles. I KNOW I'm going to regret it a LOT tomorrow, but I totally think it was worth it. Fell off the bike once, because I can't really do turns so well. CJ tried to go down one of the nature trails with the bikes. But I told her a few feet in, that this was like putting a rookie through mountain bike terrain. So we left, but not before SSC got all bitten up by mesquitoes because she forgot to spray her legs with the OFF. I love riding the bike, but I was SO hot by the time we were done. 90 degrees with about 95% humidity = HOT.
Can't wait till the next time I ride though. Now I just need to get a bike, though that's not happening till I get back from Hilton Head.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you probably remember that one of the things that I've mentioned is that I couldn't ride a bike. Well, last night I went to meet a friend who had come to Florida for a few days. SG was one of my roomates in seminary, and she's the only one i hadn't seen since seminary (about 4 yrs ago) So we went to dinner with her grandparents, who paid for the meal (we had steak - which made me very happy) and afterwards I drove with SG and her grandmother back to the house that her grandparents own - they're one of the winter snowbirds - only down this summer to ship some of their stuff to Isreal. But anyways, SG said why don't we ride the bikes around. I said I couldn't ride a bike, so she decided that she'd teach me. At first she tried holding onto the bike (like you would for a little kid) but then she gave up. After all, I'm a big girl, it was a big bike...I fell off a few times, but within half an hour I learned how to ride a bike!!!! I'm SO happy about that. On the other hand, today I am SO sore, but it was totally worth it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mitten-Kitten in the Sink

Pet's Nicknames

Mariner: Mah, Mah-ri-ner, Ner-Ner, Marinara Sauce, Mari

Boots: Boot-boot

Mittens: Mitten-Kitten, pussycat, Mrrrr kitty

Diamond: Little Bird

Suki: Sukster, calico tiger

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My First Day of Class

Never finished this, but it was started the first day of class. Hope you enjoy anyways. Oh, and there are pictures!

I walked to the building and looked up. *sigh* Yes, this WAS the right building, unfortunately. Somewhat daunted, I pushed open the door and entered the building. OK, my classroom was 209 so that meant…I had to go to the second floor. Where were the stairs? Turning to my right, I saw the men’s room, and across from that, the well-worn grey stairs. I trudged up, taking my time. After all, class wouldn’t start for another fifteen minutes. I got to the top of the stairs and saw a glass door in front of me, over the door, there was an emblem that said “South Florida Juvenile Correction Center”. Huh? Am I in the right place? I mentally shrugged there was no other building with a big number 10 on it, so maybe this was left over from when this building was used for something else. I pushed open the door, and entered a small hallway. To the right was a door with 218 over it. Ok…looking for 209…hmmm. Oh, there it is! The door to the room stood wide open. I looked inside and bit back a groan. Something told me this class was not going to be what I had expected. The room looked like an aerobics room, complete with mirrors, stepping stones and a laminate floor. The desks and whiteboard currently taking up most of the space looked completely out of place. Walking to the front of the class, I chose one of the desks near the teacher’s desk. I always sit near the front. It used to be because I had a hardtime seeing the board, but I no longer had that problem. Now I sat in the front so the teacher would know who I am, and would be more likely to be lenient with me. I was also more likely to actually pay attention when sitting at the front of the class, if only because I knew it would be obvious to the teacher when I wasn’t. I sat down and took my iPod out of my purse, but didn’t even get a chance to turn it on before the teacher and the first of the students came into the classroom. The teacher was chatting away with the student, who clearly must have been in one of her classes before. I listened with half an ear to the conversation while I took stock. The teacher looked nice, a mother-ish black woman probably in her early to mid 40’s (though I am notoriously bad at guessing ages so I could be WAY off the mark). Despite that, she looked fit, which made sense for a teacher of a wellness class. I decided I could like this teacher, and she would probably be receptive to the fact that I’d be missing the last day of class. Slowly, more people trickled into the classroom and took seats.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

An E-mail that my mom sent me

Haven't verified if this is true.
And I don't care.
Pictures are cute anyway.
Could you imagine coming home from work to find this tiny creature napping on your couch with your dog? Guess who came home for dinner?
It followed this beagle home, right through the doggy door. This happened in Maryland recently. The owner came home to find the visitor had made himself right at home. This hit the 6 o'clock news big time.

Isn't this adorable?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Treasure Hunter

She ducked and rolled, keeping her mouth shut and inhaling through her nose, trying not to inhale too much smoke. She slunk along behind the burning crates, staying close enough to the flames that her own body heat wouldn’t show up on radar, but far enough away that she wouldn’t be roasted. Her eyes were locked on the goal just 15 feet in front of her, only a short sprint away in normal circumstances. However between she and her goal was not only a blazing inferno, but a yawning pit, filled with spikes.
Who still uses pits filled with spikes? She thought, starting to panic. Then she mentally kicked herself. Get a GRIP, Rhea, you can DO this. Just focus on what’s right in front of you. Examine the situation calmly and without panicking. She glared at the deep pit, calculating it to be about 15 feet deep and 30 feet across, no way she could get across without some kind of tool. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a long piece of wood that was only mildly singed, but still serviceable and sturdy. She lifted up one end, grunting with effort, it was heavier than it had first appeared, which was all to the good as far as she was concerned, that meant it was more likely to hold her weight. Once Rhea got her board to the edge of the pit however, she realized she had a problem. The board fell short of the end by ten feet.
She groaned quietly. Why was nothing ever easy? Just once it would be nice if everything fell into place. She shrugged off her brief bout of self pity and got back to the situation at hand. Okay, so the board was too short, was there anything else around, and don’t just look at the ground but look…up. She craned her neck, and looked above her. There, in the rafters was a rope swinging, if she could only get to it. But once she got it, would it be able to support her weight? Were the rafters so weakened by the fire that she’d go tumbling to her death? It didn’t matter, she had to take the chance, there was no choice, and no other way out. Once she got past the pit and grabbed what she had come for, she’d be out that final door and on her way to freedom. Or if not freedom, at least on her way to getting paid, which was close enough.
She clambered onto a nearby crate and grabbed the rope as it swung past her. She tugged a little, making sure it was actually attached at the top, and not just hanging over a rafter. Having assured herself that she would not immediately plunge to her death, she took a firm hold of the rope, took a deep breath, and leapt from the crate. The hot air choked in her throat, and blurred her eyes, making it all that much harder. On the first swing, she saw that she wasn’t going to quite make it across, but if she made herself a human pendulum…maybe she could gain enough momentum and then jump for it. As she swung, the thought crossed her mind that she had watched Indiana Jones WAY too much as a child. One swing, two swings, three swings…at the top of the arc she jumped, launching herself away from the rope. For a brief second, she had the glorious feeling of flight, and then she landed, rolling in the ash on the other side of the pit. Coughing and retching, she stood up. Not even bothering to brush off all the ash that had accumulated on her hair and clothes, she took off running. The time was over for stealth, it was now time to grab the artifact and run like hell. Good thing she had lots of practice with that.
There, just in her reach, was the object she had come for. It was a peculiar looking thing, but she didn’t have the time to stop and look it over. She could do that once she was out of the burning warehouse, which even now was beginning to creak, the fire taking its toll on the already ancient building. She reached out and grabbed it from its alcove inside I small box. When her hand touched it, she felt a small jolt, like electricity. She tucked it in to her jacket, so there would be less likely to be damage to it. The less damaged it was, the more money she’d get.
Turning, she saw the open door and ran for it, once she got outside, she dropped and rolled, just in case any of the snipers had escaped the inferno. After looking around and seeing that no one was shooting at her, she ran for the pier, and jumped into one of the boats waiting tied to the dock. Feverishly, she untied it, and pulled the boat away from the dock. Then she headed out to the ocean, for the planned rendezvous with her employer. Right on time.