Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader

This is Real Life #33

August 29th, 2015
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Weekly Check In

My shoulder has been feeling better. Minimal grinding, no thunks and clunks. Small clicks only. I was super careful with it all week, but I made a mistake on Thursday. I’m hoping I didn’t destroy all the good that the prolotherapy seems to have done.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Reading

The Songs of the Week

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

The coolest thing that happened this week is that I held a graduation celebration for one of our clients. He gave a great speech, and it was an honor to be able to give a speech written for him as a return gift.

Round and About

Inspiration for the Week

 

You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace. – Frank McCourt

 

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

I have enjoyed doing the mindfulness practice this month. It incorporated many of the previous practices. It helped me get through the first anxiety and pain of the first prolotherapy treatment without suffering and it’s helped me deal with a lot of change at work. In September, I’ll be focusing on simplifying my life. That will be a real challenge!

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists. 17 - Les Genatches - Di Undici Foglie © Dino Olivieri (low res)
Multi Sky LayerSmall Things journal page
lightroom_971Soft Heart
Owl Be Seeing You

New Wallpapers

Well, Hello There from National Geographic
Rising Up from National Geographic
Painted Pink From National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! Leave a comment and tell me how your life was this week.

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Redemption – Flash Fiction

August 28th, 2015
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Shibuya Nights are Empty and Meaningless

The coupon read “You may redeem this coupon for __________________________.” Alice looked around to see who may have dropped the coupon, but the sidewalk was empty. She thought it funny that there was no store name on the coupon. And who leaves a fill in the blank space on a coupon? That was a unique gimmick to be sure. If she knew which store it went to, she would check it out. Maybe even fill in that blank. She shrugged her shoulders and pushed the coupon into her pocket.

The night was chilly, and the parking lot deserted. She shouldn’t have stayed so late after work using the computer for personal tasks. She checked over her shoulder that the security guard was still in sight. Not that he’d be much use in a dangerous situation. The overhead light glinted off his head, not his gun. She smiled and waved. Hal was an OK guy, just not Captain America.

She took a deep breath as she climbed into her car, locked the doors, and get the heater blowing. She sat for a moment, rubbing her hands, waiting for the frigid air blasting out of the vents to turn lukewarm. As soon as she could see out the windshield, she pulled out of the lot and headed home.

The stress of the week followed her on the drive. Some wine and lasagne at Vincent’s Italian Bistro might help her leave it behind. A sickening thump broke her reverie. She jammed on the brakes, her heart performing acrobatic leaps in her chest. What had she hit? She hadn’t seen anything, but if she was honest, she couldn’t even remember getting to this block. ”Too much daydreaming, Alice,” she muttered as she slid out of the car.

As she rounded the front of her car, she realized that she hadn’t hit a cat. A small child lay in front of her front bumper on the passenger side. Alice stifled a scream and ran to the child.

“She’s not breathing,” she announced to the night. No pulse either. Damn. She saw the blood seeping out to create a halo around the child’s head. It grew bigger and bigger. Alice held her breath in horror. A sob lodged in her chest. She collapsed onto the pavement next to the child.

“This is a sticky mess,” a deep male voice said behind her.

“I know…. uh, where did you come from?” Alice lifted her head to see a youngish man in jeans and a leather jacket. He leaned against the street sign that read Cabrera and Pine.

He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. I’m here now. Anything I can do to help?”

Alice scrambled into standing. “No, I’m afraid she’s dead. My phone’s in the car. I’ll call for help.”

“You could just leave. That’s what most people in this God-forsaken neighborhood would do.”

“We need to find her parents. They must be so worried.” Alice realized with a start how difficult it would be for them to learn the child was dead, not lost. She cried, keeping her back to the young man as she reached into the car to find her phone. Silly, she thought. Worrying about him seeing her cry when he’d already seen her commit vehicular manslaughter.

Then he was behind her, reaching around her, squeezing against her. She screamed, until she saw that he had pulled the ticket out of her pocket. He backed away, hands up.

“It’s a lucky thing you found this coupon today. I’d say even a blessed thing,” he said.

Her mind raced. How had he known the coupon was in her pocket? What difference could it make to a dead child? How could it change her life, now ruined by a moment of inattention?

“I’ll bet you’ve never seen one of these. Most people haven’t and never will. These coupons are, well, they’re special.”

“It doesn’t even say what store they are from. And what kind of coupon lets you fill in the blank for anything you choose?”

“This kind of coupon lets you do that. And it’s not from a store.”

“Then how does it work?”

“Fill in the blank and it will be clear.” He held it out to her and she took it.

“I should be calling the police instead of talking to you about this thing.”

“She’ll be just as dead either way, right? Fill in the coupon.”

Alice sat in the car and pulled a pen out of her purse. She thought for what seemed like hours before she finally wrote ‘redemption’ on the line.

Blinking, she saw the overhead light glinting off Hal’s head. How had she gotten back here? She lifted her hand to wave, then hurried through the lot to the front of her car.

No damage to the bumper. How?

Alice climbed in the car and drove until she reached Cabrera and Pine. Slowing, she looked around. There was no child in sight, no blood on the pavement, no young man leaning against the street sign.

She crossed herself and began to drive. She passed Vincent’s and pulled in to the church next door instead. As she hurried up the steps, a young man came out, holding a young girl in his arms. They rushed past her, laughing and talking about stopping for burgers on the way home.

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This is Real Life #32

August 22nd, 2015
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Weekly Check In

I finally had the prolotherapy, which turned out really to be prolozone. They used testosterone and ozone instead of sugar. I was good and sore for a couple days. I lost range of motion and had trouble sleeping. But after 36 hours, the discomfort eased rapidly and everything seems better. I think this is going to work for me.

My Instagram Post of the Week

#collage #digitalart #artjournalemporium

A photo posted by Liz Shaw (@toastmasterliz) on

Reading

        • I finished Wool by Hugh Howey. In the middle of the night, I accidentally fat fingered an ad and signed up for a Kindle Unlimited Trial. So I’m going to quick read the next two books in the series while they are free for me, then cancel. Oy. I should not be allowed to use a Kindle in the middle of the night!
      • I did very little reading in The Devil on Chardonnay by Ed Baldwin after signing up for the Kindle Unlimited plan by mistake. I did read a little. Still not digging the characters, but want to see where the plot goes.
      • I finished Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster and loved it. It did get preachy/profound at the end, the way sci fi sometimes did back before people lost their attention spans. I highly recommend this book.
      • I’m about halfway through The Great Convergence by Joseph Lallo. It’s a pretty standard sword and sorcery book. I’m enjoying the characters and am interested in seeing how the conflict is resolved.

 

 

The Songs of the Week

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

      • I had a lot of fun making painted papers this week.

 

 

    • I finally got to have the prolotherapy and I think it’s working.

 

 

    • Had a good exec comm after Maverick Toastmasters. I think this is going to be an awesome year.

 

 

    • Discovered the joy of refrigerator oatmeal.

 

 

Round and About

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration for the Week

 

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray

 

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

This week mindfulness got me through the big needles of prolotherapy and the pain after. I particularly practiced living in the breath. It’s amazing how effective that is for dealing with anxiety and pain.

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists. Her first day at school
Tenaya Lake Milky WayDocumented Life Project - Week 32
Sunset RockEisvogel (Alcedo atthis)
Fischerhuder Wümmeniederung SonnenaufgangNew Mexico LP
15 - Numphedoron - Di Undici Foglie © Dino Olivieri (low res).jpgWe have been in John chapter 8 at church the past few weeks. "The truth shall set you free" made me think of this song. #artjournal #allsonsanddaughters #freedominchrist #mixedmediaart #mewithmyheadinthecloudsblogspot
Feels so good to be playing again.The Light in the Darkness of Yosemite
Big #white #daisies #flowers #summer #gardenPutting the finishing touches on my newest series for #enormoustinyart #eta18

I hope you enjoyed this! Leave a comment and tell me how your life was this week.

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This is Real Life #31

August 16th, 2015
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Weekly Check In

I made an appointment for a second try at the prolotherapy – it’s this coming Tuesday. I can’t wait. I’m very tired of the pinchy pains every time I move.

My Instagram Post of the Week

#collage #digitalart #artjournalemporium

A photo posted by Liz Shaw (@toastmasterliz) on

Reading

I’m about halfway through The Devil on Chardonnay by Ed Baldwin and I still don’t have any real connection to the characters. I’ll keep reading, but this isn’t going to be a favorite on my list.  

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I’m also about halfway throughWool by Hugh Howey and I am absolutely entranced. I will definitely keep reading this series.

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I am almost to the end of Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster. This is a great book. I’ll probably bring it in from the car and finish it this weekend.

The Song of the Week

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

      • We had spectacular monsoon storm on Tuesday. Nothing damaged at my house, but I sure enjoyed the light show.

 

 

    • We enjoyed a wonderful speaker-evaluator exchange this week. I gave an “interesting” speech and I won an unexpected award.

 

 

    • I had the privilege of attending the farewell party for a man who worked 37 years for my agency. It was so inspiring to hear the stories of all the things he did for kids and staff.

 

 

Round and About

Sci-Fi Gadgets You’d Regret Wishing Were Real Birds by Abby Diamond Boooooooooks! More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 8/9/15. My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1456 On a Journey.

Inspiration for the Week

 

Dear Peace-Seeking Girl, Worrying changes NOTHING. Sometimes our worrying becomes a bigger problem than the problem we are worrying about to begin with. Please, beautiful friend, set your worries aside and step firmly into this very moment. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself that from this moment forward you will stop filling in the blanks with scary details. Let life surprise you a little. No matter what, worrying doesn’t help anything…it just keeps us from feeling peaceful when we have the power to choose peace all along. Don’t forget that everything has always always always worked out somehow. Always. And almost always everything works out beautifully for our growth and our wisdom. Let yourself go where the peace is. It feels so much better there. You are so loved. Everything is going to be ok. xoxo www.bravegirlsclub.com

 

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

One of the benefits of a mindfulness practice for me is that I’m not as clumsy. I’m becoming aware of how much time I usually spend in the past or future and the price my toes have paid over the years because of this habit. I felt myself slip out of mindfulness several times this week, and the giveaway was that I went from feeling content to feeling irritated or hurried or annoyed or angry. It’s amazing how contentment feels so wonderful when it’s the norm. I’m really enjoying this month.

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists. Mixed Media Flowers
DSC_3319Corn Moon
Let Go - Everything-artThe bird choir
the One StoryCRUDECold Morning Majesty at Hot Creekmistakes

New Wallpapers

A Night at Deadvlei from National Geographic
Sand Waves from National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! Leave a comment and tell me how your life was this week.

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This is Real Life #30

August 8th, 2015
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Weekly Check-In

The prolotherapy was a no-go. Dr. Fred believes he can help me, but because of my sugar cane allergy, he was afraid to use the dextrose solution. He’s researching alternatives and will give me a call. In the meantime, I wait – grinding, clunking, and clicking every time I move. Oy.

The severe cold I came down with last weekend is still with me, despite having thrown more vitamin C at it than I think I’ve consumed the entire rest of my life. I’m at the tail end, I hope, but still pretty droopy.

My Instagram Post of the Week

#prettypaper layer 3. I think I should stop now LOL #stencilgirl

A photo posted by Liz Shaw (@toastmasterliz) on

Reading

I finished a delightful devotional, Best Friends Forever: Me and My Dog: What I’ve Learned About Life, Love, and Faith From My Dog by Rebecca Currington. This is a delightful collection of stories about dogs that shows us how we can be better people. It’s interspersed with Bible passages, but it’s not at all preachy. It’s really a lovely little devotional that I would recommend for anyone who loves dogs.

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I finished The Terran Gambit by Endi Webb. Only 3 of the planned 10 books are complete in the series. Although I enjoyed the book and it ended with a great cliffhanger, I don’t believe I’ll continue with the series. Maybe I’ll pick it up later when more of the books are written.

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I started The Devil on Chardonnay by Ed Baldwin. It’s a thriller involving weaponized Ebola that has given me a couple nightmares, even though I haven’t really gotten into the book yet. The chapters bounce around from one place to another, and so I haven’t really developed a relationship with any characters yet. And that’s what usually draws me into the story. I’ll see if that changes as I keep reading.

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My Kindle Lending Library loan for the month is Wool by Hugh Howey. I’m absolutely loving it so far. I didn’t get much read at work this week in The Great Convergence by Joseph Lallo. I was out Monday and Tuesday with medical issues. We had auditors in the rest of the week, so no reading for me. I’m anxious to pick it up again next week.

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I read a lot in Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster and I am loving the direction this is going in. A standard cop story set in the future suddenly became about fractals as a gateway to a vast alien database. I do love fractals!

The Song of the Week

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

We were audited at work by our main payor, and we came through with flying colors. It was especially nice that a vice president took me aside after to say that he knew that I deserved a lot of the credit for it.

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I slept really well this week.

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Gumbo has had a good week and is doing well. Every day I have with him now is such a gift.

Round and About

The 3 Worst Things You May Be Doing When Setting Goals

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More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 8/2/15.

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My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1448 Animal Empathy.

Inspiration for the Week

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. ~Buddha

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

This is the way I decided to practice mindfulness this month. I have to report that having a severe cold is probably not the best time to start. On the other hand, I didn’t spend any time being angry or irritated about having it. I’ve just plodded through. So maybe that is something.

mindfulness practice

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists. Untitled
... a caccia di nuvole (b/n - 02) ...no 001
wanderingpeace
Once Upon A Time......Peaceful
let in

New Wallpapers

Big Baby

I hope you enjoyed this! Leave a comment and tell me how your life was this week.

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Gelli of the Week #2

August 5th, 2015
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This is another print from my first time playing with the Gelli Arts 8″ x 10″ gelli plate. Here you can see some layering and some stamping. Still pretty unsophisticated, but it’s a nice background.

These are all stored at Flickr at a size where you can print them out and use them for backgrounds in your art journal or cut up for collage pieces. If you use this in your journal, I’d love it if you’d share with me.

Gelli 8

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This is Real Life #29

July 31st, 2015
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Weekly Check In

I do seem to be sleeping better, because I’m dreaming every night. Even so, my energy level is really low and I am dragging through the afternoons. I made an appointment to get some prolotherapy done for this crazy clavicle. I’ll do that on Tuesday. I am hopeful this will help relieve some of the pain.

WordPress was messing around with the spacing on this post. Was there an update recently? Even fixing the HTML manually didn’t work. WordPress just kept putting back the bad spacing. So if this ends up looking weird, I apologize. WordPress was just more stubborn that I was today.

My Instagram Post of the Week

#fractal #digitalart #justmessingaround

A photo posted by Liz Shaw (@toastmasterliz) on

Reading

At home, I’m about 85% done with The Terran Gambit by Endi Webb. Although I’m enjoying it more than I expected, I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to a 10 book series. I’m in the middle of the climax now, so I’ll have to see how the author works this out before I decide.

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I finished The Book of Deacon by Joseph Lallo at work. Now I’m on the second book, The Great Convergence by Joseph Lallo. I didn’t make much headway, because even though I get a 1 hour, unpaid lunch break, people talk to me about work during it. I just want to read, people!

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In the car, I’m carrying Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster. This is an art theft set in the future. Parts of the story line deal with traditional Navajo sand painting and a police investigation on the rez. That part reminds me of a Tony Hillerman novel. On the other hand, the mag levs and spinners are really cool, and I want them now! Love that part of sci fi. I’m about halfway through the book and enjoying it immensely.

The Song of the Week

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

    • Good massage on Monday. Got some kinks out of the deltoid and rhomboids.

 

  • I learned how to make a card disappear at Toastmasters Tuesday night. So… I know how, but I can’t actually do it. Something about practice?

 

 

  • It was very nice pool weather this week, until Friday when Arizona remembered that it was supposed to be the monsoon and dumped on my evening swim.

 Round and About

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Inspiration for the Week

  Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without. – Gautama Buddha

  Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

I have enjoyed this month’s practice of meditation. It was very liberating to realize that meditation does not have to mean that you sit quietly in a lotus position and empty your mind. I practice breathing meditation, chanting, and walking meditation this month. All of them were very effective at lowering my stress level and creating inner peace. I will continue doing them. The practice for August is mindfulness, so tomorrow, I will be working on how that will look in my life.

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists. IMG_1241
Lola carried music with her - 8 inch square oil on woodTime passes
7G2A92952015 ICAD-55
HORSE ON THE HILLGhost Ship I
2015 ICAD-54Garden (July 19, 2015)
Yesterday's #monoprints; today's collage inspiration #gelliplatea wet summers night
Untitled

I hope you enjoyed this! Leave a comment and tell me how your life was this week.

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Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader