VJ’s Weekly Challenge #114: What’s in the Box?

“What’s in this box?”

“Good question. To be honest every time I look at the contents, I just…”

“… glaze over?”


Turns out there were pens and lightbulbs and notepads, and something Ric’s been looking for. Likely the contents of a junk drawer – you know, the stuff you put out of sight because you don’t know what else to do with it.

This week, I challenge you to open one of those boxes, or drawers, and write about what you discover. Have fun. Be creative.

Look forward to your responses. All are welcome. To participate, create a post and then link back here, or leave your comments below.

When the Unravelling Started

It was a neighbour girl that started it. We played together one day – a rare occurrence, as she seldom came outside.

“How do you know you’re not adopted?” she hissed at me, as if to say: You don’t know everything.

I started to answer, but then, the words got stuck. How did I know?

Sleep wouldn’t come that night, the question echoing around in my head. I’d try to reassure myself – I look like Dad – but then there were glaring differences between my sisters and I.

“I need to talk,” I told my surprised parents as I snuck downstairs against house taboos. We were forbidden to get out of bed once night came, but I couldn’t contain myself.

“Am I adopted?”

The glance between Mom and Dad told me that there was more to this story.

“You are not adopted. This is your father. I am your mother…”


“It’s not something I’m proud of,” Mom began. “What I’ve done is looked down upon. People would judge me if they knew. You must promise to never tell.”

“Never tell what?”

“Your mother was married before,” Dad cut in. “They divorced. I adopted your sisters so that we would all have the same last name.”

“So my sisters are not my sisters?” I’d never heard of divorce before.

“They are your half sisters. You all share the same mother.”

Naturally, I asked what happened. Where the ex-husband was now. Why I’d never seen him. And then Mom dropped this…

“You have two brothers also.”

“What? Where?” The house I lived in was conspiciously overrun by women.

“Probably time we had this conversation,” Dad said shaking his head. “The boys have been asking to see you girls.”

Eleven was the age it all started – the untangling of the lies. Learning about halves, and brothers proved only to be the beginning.


This week we explored the beginning of the universe, of love, of passions, and so on. Thank you to all who participated. As always, I thoroughly enjoy your input.

In The Beginning, I Write Her
My geomythology, Bilocalalia
The Write Fighter, MMA Storyline
Another place, Eugi’s Causerie
The Soul!, radhikasreflection
So Sly, parallax
A dream house, Heart to Heart
From Camp to Kites, one letter UP
Earthly Addiction, Sgeoil

To read our lively discussion, click here.

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #113: How It All Started

The meeting was both exciting and a letdown. Exciting because it was my first attempt at a social event in over three years, having been bed bound all that time. A letdown as soon as the participants talked about early morning walks as the best way to spot birds. Mornings were still tough for me, and walking out of the question.

“You don’t have to walk to see birds,” a man approached me at the end of the meeting. “My wife and I would be glad to take you around tomorrow morning, in our car.”

“You’ll need a camera,” Ric said later. He loaned me a small point and shoot. I had never bothered with photos before certain that I lacked an eye for it.

The man, it turned out, was a retired professor of ornithology. We started early and by the time my energy had waned and I could no longer hold up the camera, I had been introduced to thirty new species of birds.

The setting was Rio Valley, Texas. It was 2017. Birds and photography continue to enthuse.


We all know that life can turn a corner at any time – for better or worse. This week, think back to those moments that changed your life. No need to use the prompt; just demonstrate how “it” started.

To participate, create a post on your own site and then link back here. Look forward to your responses.

Rachel Sunshine

“Tell me a favourite memory from your travels,” my golden-haired nurse asked me as she scoured my bruised arms for an accessible vein. I’d blown another IV and options were limited.

Rachel Sunshine I called her, this wisp of a young woman who, at first hospital-glazed glance, glowed a with a yellow aura. So I told her about Arizona, and the Salt River where the wild horses roamed. She listened with awe, her expert hands painlessly setting up a new life line.

“Promise me, you’ll sleep tonight,” she scolded me, “and tomorrow I’ll braid your hair if you like.” And then: “But only if you tell me a story.” She wrote it on my care board so we’d both remember: story and braid

We’d bonded that first moment, when chastising herself for being a dummy. I blurted out: “Thank goodness you’re a dummy, then that makes two of us”.

I arrived in hospital the day before, delivered in what we oldies affectionately call “the bus”, with sirens ablaze. Steady hands worked diligently, plugging in machines, inserting needles, asking well rehearsed questions. There were tests and a lot of uncomfortable jostling and then admittance to this room around midnight. It hadn’t been quite forty-eight hours post surgery when everything had taken a turn for the worse.

The disgruntled ER doc mumbled something about why anyone would have sent me home post-surgery in my condition, and then kindly advised that my problems were caused by an obstruction in the intestine:

“Nothing can come in, and nothing can go out,” she explained. “No more food or drink orally until we know the cause.”

We never did get the story or the braid, Ms Sunshine and I, as overnight my body started to respond to interventions. By 7:00 am, I was sitting up, eating jello when Sunshine reappeared.

“I’m in IV prison,” I told her, raising my arm to indicate a stiffly wrapped hand.

“I heard,” she frowned. “I also heard you didn’t sleep. But there is progress and that’s good.”

The thing about Rachel is that she doesn’t just practice her craft from a textbook; she takes in all the cues being fed her, and listens. She is, in fact, no dummy.

When I again showed her my swelling arm (another line blown), she sighed and suggested we give the IV a break for a bit. And when she saw that rest would be the greatest healer of all right now, she pushed the doctor to reconsider my stay.

By 2:00 pm I was released; Sunshine at my back wishing me a speedy recovery.

So, I am back at home, having slept most of yesterday and last night. I am weak. I am battered. And I am a little bit better thanks to a nurse I’ve christened Rachel Sunshine.

It was warming and in some cases, cathartic, to wake today to your responses and posts. Paul, at parallax, challenged me to write about the caregiver who helped me through. Love you all, and missed our daily check-ins. So glad to be back.

Please check this week’s offerings if you haven’t had a chance. Thanks to all:

How Do I Heal, Blog of Hammad Rais
Homesick, I Write Her
Significance, Short-Lived, Eugi’s Causerie II
Take Care of the Old, Heart to Heart
Journey to Peace, Stuff and what is…
Take Care, parallax
How Some Take Care, Sgeoil

It will take me a bit to regain my footing, so there will be no challenge tomorrow, other than for all of us to take care this week.

(Image mine)

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #112: Take Care

Make sure you have lists for us when we come, my daughter messages me.

Checklists with a gong to hit every time we complete a task, my son-in-law adds.

We have no shortages of lists, in fact, every day or so, we are rewriting our lists: things to do, things to buy…

Nowhere in those plans is a outline for how to take care.

We are exhausted. The kids came on a Saturday and the next day, we carried on, but by Monday, neither of us could even think of lifting a hand. Tuesday we slept most of the day. Wednesday, we rallied a bit, but still felt overwhelmed. At this point, I am only managing to unpack a box a day. Hardly progress.

Today, we vow to stay focused and get things done. Tomorrow is my surgery, which while minor, means I will not be able to lift, pull, reach, or drag for a few weeks until the stitches have healed.

“Where will the best place be for you to sit after surgery?” Ric asked me yesterday, and : “What can I get in for you, food wise?”

Time to make a new list.

This week, please join me in considering what it means to take care. The words themselves do not need to appear in your post – just the essence of how and what you do to care for yourself. A photo, a poem, a quotation – anything that helps is welcome.

To join in, just create a post and leave a link in the comments below or create a pingback by linking back to this page. Thoughts left in the comments also count!

Looking forward to your responses.

Not Everything is “Stuff”

An apology, dear readers, if this week’s challenge came across as glib. By “stuff“, I was referring to the incidental: a broken foot, a set of stitches, a temporary setback. In no way did I intend to imply that trauma or loss is “stuff”. Some things, with a bit of grit, can be overcome. I recognize that not everything is this simple.

Thank you to Curating Thoughts, whose powerful write illustrated the difference. I am humbled by and grateful for your words.

Thanks also to those who participated this week, and for the many kind words.

Becoming, I Write Her
The countdown begins…, Heart to Heart
Transition, Eugi’s Causerie II
Artist, Transition of Thoughts
Message From the Universe, Sgeoil
Stuff Happens, Stuff and what if…
Stuff Happens, Curating Thoughts
The Last Day, one letter UP

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #111: stuff happens

“Just hang in till after the move,” I kept pleading with my body. Unrealistic in hindsight. Six o’clock, the morning before the move, I wake Ric with a request to drive me to the hospital. Turns out you can’t just pack chronic illness in a box and unpack it when convenient.

While they pumped fluids into me and awaited the results of testing, Ric decided to carry on with his to do list, pushing his own limits. He ended up in ER too. Guess it was a two-for-one day. Or a three-for week, as our son, who came to help us, ending up needing stitches when the heavy base he was carrying jumped back and punched him.

Stuff happens.

I read once (think it was Caroline Myss) that obstacles are the universe’s way of letting you know you are on the right track. We carry on; he with a broken foot and me fuelled by antibiotics. Guess this is the right path!

Oh, and did I mention, I am scheduled for surgery next week (minor), and he is booked for a total knee reconstruct at the end of the month?


Stuff happens to all of us. Let’s let that be the focus this week: not how rotten life can be, but how despite the bad, we pick ourselves up and keep going. You know: the everyday miracles.

To participate, publish a post on your site and then dropped a link below. All are welcome. Look forward to your responses.

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #110 – smell

“How long do you boil the corn?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?”

“It’s done when it smells right.”

This is why I can never replicate a recipe. I literally follow my nose.

What is your relationship to smell? (Don’t tell me you didn’t know this was coming, lol.)

Look forward to reading your responses. Just create a post and link back here. All welcome.

Currently an Eyesore

The boxes are piling up here. At the new house, the painters have been working diligently. Two rooms are completed and currently all the kitchen doors are off and strewn across scaffolding. The remaining walls are speckled with repair patches.

Both houses are a sight. I try to close my eyes for sleep but the endless to do list runs through my mind. In five days the move happens.

Your posts this week, focused on the visual, have kept me going: some evoking smiles, some tears, others a pause.

Please visit those you missed:

To the One In Sky, Blog of Hammad Rais
At the falls!, Heart to Heart
Dream Board, I Write Her
The Highlights of Life, Eugi’s Causerie II
Sights of Sunlight and Night, Hearing the Mermaids Sing
Gift, paeansunplugged
Birth of Dawn, radhikasreflection
An All Too Brief Pandemic Pause, one letter UP
When the Moonlight Fades, Sgeoil
What a Sight! Stuff and what if…
Off The Rails, parallax

Thanks all! See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #109: What a Sight!

Needing a break from moving house, I took my camera and drove along the river road looking for birds. Always hoping for that one shot to brag about later.

The river seldom disappoints. A family of wild turkeys crossing the road welcomed me. Ripples in the calm water revealed a female merganser – a thrill as they have been gone for a while. A Cedar Waxwing, serenading the setting sun, glowed in my camera’s site.

And then, the moment every photographer lives for…that rare and incredible sight…

…a rare and unusual bird indeed.


This week I’m asking that we focus on the visual. Photography is more than welcome. Look forward to your responses.