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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In The Ink--Flash Fiction

I wrote this silly story in 2016 as a visitor to my friend Dan’s blog. After re-reading it, I thought it funny enough to share on my blog.

In the Ink

“So what happened?”

“Not so sure because everything had become pitch black. Frightening at first, the sound of my heart thumping in my ears, my throbbing head, quivering limbs and my mouth spitting up something I took for blood. But as you can see, I’m fine. It wasn’t blood.”

“Yes. And then what happened?”

 “I heard the laughter of children playing outside. I dropped my pen and couldn’t see my hand. A loud mosquito buzzed my left ear. I heard the rustle of trees in the wind and the sound of water cascading over boulders. Even though I love dogs, there was a continuous and annoying barrage of bad dogs barking and filling in all the quieter moments. I heard cries and screams of sorrow. Later, I heard an ambulance and some more sobbing. Footsteps-- hectic and hurried--macabre steps scurried around with important things to do. I heard screams and squeaking wheels. I felt nothing.”

“Did you smell anything?”

“The mild smell of ink maybe—but don’t forget I’m a fiction writer.”

“Interesting. Do you buy your ink at the warehouse club store?”

“Yes, writers need to be prepared. It comes in these large vats. I go there for great deals on mayonnaise too.

“The ink--blue or black?”

“Jet black.”

(Amazon photo)
“A-huh. Do you drink?”  
“No sir.”



“Mr. Johnson, please don’t be offended at my diagnosis. The hospital insisted you speak to me and the only thing I can see is that you fell into your ink.”

“What? $200 an hour and that’s the best you can come up with?”

“I’m afraid so. Get some sleep. Your characters must be keeping you awake. Be careful next time and good luck with your writing career.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Amazing Grace

I Once Was Blind but Now I SEE

The other day I related a story to some friends about something that happened during my daily walk. As a person who enjoys poetry, I’m always looking for that symbolic connection and the mysterious meaning behind the vague metaphor. Especially when I’m alone and it feels like a personal message. My friends called this a “God Story.”

Corvids of some sort looked like they were squabbling over a small bottle. At first, I thought it was a Christmas bulb but the bird who won possession flew across the street in my direction. He landed on a tall lamppost that I’d soon be approaching. He made sounds and seemed excited. I’m glad I kept an eye on this wild looking crow, because at this point, he eagerly flapped his wings and even went to the bathroom before I wandered near. At the exact moment I passed the lamppost, he dropped his prize into the gutter, which, had I stopped, would have landed directly next to me. Wondering what type of bottle it was and what it contained, but not curious enough to stop, I continued my journey. Thinking back, it seemed the bird wanted to communicate something.

 Once home, I told the story to my husband. He had a flurry of interesting questions about this somewhat unimportant event, but suggested it needed a conclusion. He asked what I thought was in the container and I said it might be nail glue. Discussing it made both of us curious, so I decided that if the bottle would be there the next day, then I would take a better look in order to answer some of our questions.

There it was in the same place the bird had left it, under the same lamppost. I bent down to see the label and it said: Sterile Eye Drops. And that’s when it hit me. Tears. A bottle of tears.

To me, with so much sadness in the world right now, it sounds important.
Is it a cry for help from the other side?
Could it be a gentle reminder to focus or to keep my perception clear?

What about you?

What if you experienced the same thing? Would you think this means something? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year--Stay Warm & Safe

Finally, there’s some rain in California. Normally this is exciting, wonderful news, but after all the fires, there are now mudslides threatening homes all over the place. And, while I can poetically dive into my daydreams that wax on about the promise of spring around the corner and the flowers that will cover everything in happiness, the television news reminds me that winter still has a few tricks up his or her cold, wet sleeves.

How can I complain when my friends in the East are bundling up like Inuits and snow is covering everything in white?  I have to admit, it looks beautiful from my heated living room. Even nicer when I’m holding a cup of hot cocoa with whipped topping. Sorry.

Wait a minute; I don’t need the television news to remind me of rain and cooler temperatures when I have two pooches telling me to switch channels immediately. What happened to the sunshine they seem to ask with pleading eyes? Where are the patches of warm soil and the cool grass that tickles our underbellies? And what's with the weird sweaters?
 What have you done MOMMY?
Fiona and Pinky 

 Poor pups.

Happy New Year and trust me even with my first name being Eve,
 I have nothing to do with the weather. 
PSA: Please remember, if you're cold outside, then your pets are cold too. Try and take them inside or at least into a garage, shed or barn. They will appreciate your kindness.

Friday, December 29, 2017

15 Ideas for Staying Home on New Year's Eve

Why drive? You can create New Year memories at home.
Here are 15 fun and seriously sober ideas

1.       Watch the ball drop on television while drinking beer or soda. Order pizza, make sure to tip and wish the driver Happy New Year. Tell him to drive safe. Yawn. Proceed with pity-party or go to step two.

2.       Dress up warm, go outside and look at the sparkling stars. Find a constellation or at least the belt of Orion which is an excellent starting point. There are many online sites with maps. You don't need a telescope but if you have one then use it. If you have a fire pit then roast marshmallows and make s'mores. This could be super fun and romantic too. You can find your own maps or go here:

3.       Impress your friends by taking a selfie with a paper New Year party hat. Throw confetti in the air at the exact moment you snap the photo. Share with everyone. Then play online video games and later you’ll have tons of wonderful comments. If you don’t have an old party hat lying around, well here’s a link for some easy instructions. Have fun!

4.       Drink champagne and take a nap. In fact, sleep until the morning. Dream nice dreams about all the exciting things that will happen in 2018—If you want to read about setting goals you might want to start with this link but if sleeping is your goal then count some sheep and we’ll see you next year.

5.       Read a book and write a review about it. Post the review on Amazon. You can order eBooks for your kindle or print copies of books by going here:

6.       Play an actual board game or two. My favorites are Jenga, Scrabble or Pictionary. Everyone might enjoy Twister or Battleship. This might not be the time to play the game of Life or Monopoly unless you’re planning to stay up until morning. I remember New Year’s Eve chess championships going on at our house every year. If you’re going solo, try Sudoku or Solitaire.

7.       Dance to your favorite You Tube video. Watch videos on how to dance and make up better moves. You can do it. My parents used to dance the waltz or the Tango around midnight which makes for some lovely memories. Here’s a link for a beginner’s waltz:

8.       Go in the kitchen and bake something delicious. Create delicious New Year’s Day snacks. Make it a family affair and have everyone make something special. Here’s a link for some incredible recipes:

9.       Put on a sweater or jacket and walk the dog. Try going around the block while your mind goes back and forth about New Year’s resolutions. Should this be the year you finally do what you always wanted to do, or not? Of course it is. If you don’t share your abode with a canine, then walk anyway but carry pepper spray. Walking is the best time to clear your mind and think. It’s a special sort of meditation for me that helps me organize my goals, my thoughts, my moods and my relationships. Everything seems a bit clearer after a walk. What better time to get mentally organized, than the Eve of a New Year? It's also a good time for praying. Twelve months of gratitude have passed and twelve months are waiting for your steps. Your talents. Make your mark. Google maps have walking directions with the distance mapped out for any points of interest or streets in your area. There’s a small walking icon that you click on that will immediately tell you how far it is to walk to your destination. You might also want to make sure you have a flashlight App on your Smartphone.

10.   Pack your bag for that breathtaking vacation you’re planning to a warmer climate: January in the California desert for example, or maybe some island in the middle of nowhere. Don’t forget it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Do it. Pack up the sunblock and the swim trunks. Go. Check out this amazing link with 31 warm destinations:

11.   Give your cat a bath. This sounds complicated and it also sounds like it would take several hours. Pretty soon, it’s a new year, your cat smells wonderful and it’s still better than just sitting on the couch doing nothing but watching that ball drop. Once the cat is clean, it’s the purrfect time to sit by a cozy fire and drink some warm milk or cocoa. Here’s a video from Petco with some pointers regarding the cat:

12.   Write a poem. If there’s no one else around then think of the blessing of being able to use this time constructively. Create a moment. Listen for the firecrackers. Reflect on the past year and think about the future. Inspire hope. When you’ve finished, consider writing a longer, epic poem or going over the first one with revisions. Read it aloud until you like the cadence or the sound of the words. Type the words poetry submissions into a Twitter search and see if there’s a magazine or anthology that might publish your poem. Maybe you’ll want to enter it into a contest. There are many poetry contests looking for good writing. One of my online friends writes a spectacular blog filled with submission suggestions and here’s the link for the contests:

13.   Create a monthly calendar from photos and your printer. Knit a hat or a scarf. Learn a new craft from a how-to video. Crochet Chihuahua sweaters or doll clothes. I’ve never used Smilebox, but the calendar templates look easy to use. Here’s a link:

14.   Reorganize your closet. This is one of those things no one wants to do because it takes time. If you do it before the New Year, you’ll have streamlined at least one important step regarding your morning routine. I did this a month ago and even had a few boxes of clothes and books to donate. Now, when entering my closet, I know where the blue shirts and the red shirts are located. I also freed up some hangars so I can buy new stuff in the coming year. I’m fairly sure that the Salvation Army, the Goodwill and the Vietnam Veterans all have a truck and will come pick up your boxes in the New Year.

15.   Call a friend and have a nice chat. Perhaps your friend is busy standing in Times Square, waiting for that crystal ball to descend. No matter how busy your friend is, he or she will be happy to hear a ‘Happy New Year’ from you. If you have older relatives or parents who don’t live with you, I bet they’d love to hear from you before ten in the evening. Let them know you care. What about those crazy friends who take huge risks, party hard and then fall into depression? Maybe you can cheer them up, even save a life. Be the person who reaches out at the end of the year to make sure everyone remembers you. If you call someone having their own pity-party, you can give them at least these fifteen ideas on how to improve the evening. Offer to meet up in the coming year. Attempt a joke. Listen for a smile.

Happy New Year to all my friends and family members! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thank You For Being A Wonderful Friend.

Remember Zuzu?

December Whys 
( A poem by Eve Gaal )

Sunshine paints December flowers,
in Hollywood tones of lilac and lavender.
Tumbleweeds blow across the state.
Fires sparkle and burn,
spread by wind that churns.
Makes me want to fly above the smoke,
douse it with my tears.

I hear bells and ask why?

Emergency vehicles,
courtyard chimes gently ding.
Mission bells ring,
as if a flurry of angels are receiving wings.

Families huddle together in shelters.
They will relate to a baby in a manger.
A cold desert night with mules and sheep
instead of fancy jewels or a rugged Jeep.
They might look at the stars and wonder why
they were chosen to tell the tale,
thankful they didn’t die.

Why do some flowers poke through asphalt,
despite incredible odds?
Why do the myopic insist on driving?
why is the runt often a favorite?
Why is California so beautiful and painful at the same time?

Eve Gaal
Merry Christmas to all my friends and followers from Intangible Hearts.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Intangible Greetings

Choosing Laughter

The days are shorter and the air cooler now.
 at the top of the hill,
 is our warm,
 comfortable home.
A place we nurse wounds,
shed tears,
laugh if we can.
Sheltered from rain,
we read books,
write stories and play board games.
We’ve grown to appreciate the way the birds sing.

We’re grateful hospitals send us home,
because we’ve known young people
sent to hospice.
Yeah, young ones.
Believe it.
And fresh faces who passed while sleeping.
It happens.
They looked healthy....
We might complain on a sofa asking for a tea.
Flowers entertain our aching bones.
Trees sway near the window,
the dogs make a fuss,
visiting grand kids giggle on the stairs.

there’s the promise of a better place.
I’m bundled up imagining it.
filled with love,
and those traveling before us.
much, much higher,
with expansive panoramic views.
No tears,
or pain.
We won’t need doctors anymore
probably not even tea,
              and complaining will be a thing of the past.

              Until that time--
              each time I drive
              or walk up that little hill--
              my heart fills with immense anticipation,
              bubbling with appreciation,
              for stucco walls,
              a tile roof.
             Where I can cry if I feel like crying,
             or choose to laugh.
             Where I can be thankful,
             for another cool day--
             in Autumn.

Eve Gaal
Copyright 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Top 10 Canine Truths Proving It's the Heart and Not the Brains

Yesterday I saw another one of those videos where the dog helps around the house and seems to be able to do everything. Of course, most of these short films are created to make us laugh, but this particular clip was about a service dog that held the shopping basket and ran up and down aisles in a supermarket. This brainy dog could do it all. Made me think of my little mutts, who can’t do anything, except shed hair, make a mess and bark. So the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important they are and all the various things they do to make me happy.

1.       Good Security
No one had better come within twenty-five feet of our property, even though the houses in our neighborhood are standing about twenty feet apart.

2.       Mail Alert System
It’s like a sophisticated App you can download for your Smartphone. Want to know when the mail arrives? Ask Pinky and Fiona because they will let you know! In fact, they will let the entire neighborhood know. 
3.       Comfort
If I’m tired or sick, they like to snuggle. If I’m angry, they’re on my side. If I’m crying, they will lick my tears away. This alone is worth the price of admission.

4.       Laughter
I love comedies, variety shows and most comedians. I even have a good friend who does stand up. But these two fur-babies, Pinky and Fiona, can make me double over in laughter just from a silly expression. Most of the time, they crack me up.

5.       Exercise
There are several types of exercises associated with Fiona and Pinky. Generally, there’s a daily walk for Pinky. Fiona doesn’t obey anyone so I have to go chasing her around the house or the backyard if I want to find her. There’s also exercise obtained by cleaning up the mistakes. As inside dogs, they get confused about optimal places for doing their duty. I think all this confusion adds a couple of years to my life. Which is a good thing, right? Sometimes I dream of being that sedentary writer who can focus on her manuscript instead of the aroma coming from the hallway.

6.       The Economy
Indisputable proof:
See the big heart?
With pets, it’s hard to save money but spending it helps the local economy. Not only is there some sort of foreign collusion in the dog-toy business but the kind-hearted vets dish it out with a smile. Plus there’s that city license, puppy pads, snacks, leashes, sweaters etc. When a Chihuahua can chew through a fifteen-dollar toy in one day, you know there’s something wrong with this world. Recently, Fiona had a bout of stomach flu and we took her to the Emergency Pet Hospital. Six hundred dollars later, they sent us home with a fancy X-ray and said she’d be fine. I’m proud to say, both dogs are a boost to U.S. capitalism and sadly, cheaper toys are not an option.

7.       Listening
      One major problem with the world is listening. Almost everyone has an opinion. Even the nicest folks go around telling other people what they think without listening to their friends. There are enough people in the world to trade in friends for new ones if they don’t agree. It’s like people who dump their dogs at the animal shelter when they move.  I have high school and college friends who have left me behind for new friends because I may not have immediately rushed to agree with their political viewpoints. Makes me sad but at least Pinky listens to everything I say. Fiona may not always listen to me but she hears me. Her ears move like antenna trying to find meaning in my words that her tiny little mind cannot process but her heart tells her to keep still and keep listening because her mommy loves her very much.

8.       Foot Warmers
There’s nothing better than reading a book and having two very cute friends keeping your toes warm. The downside is that they too are relaxed—leading to not-so-adorable emanations--commonly referred to as Chihuahua farts.

9.       Crumb Catchers
Forget the vacuum. I have built in little sniffers who find every fallen morsel.

10.   Love
There are few places in the world to find unconditional love, that’s why I recommend the Animal Shelter. Both of our pups were rescues and every once in a while, with tails wagging, they come and place a paw on my chest, and look me straight in the eye. That’s when I feel the overwhelming thank you and the love. Of course, it might also mean, give us a snack or we’ll piss in your bathroom, but honestly, I feel the gratefulness.  

Understandably, those clever videos with the smart dogs make my dogs look like dummies, but these two cuties have underappreciated talents and are sweet enough for me.

Do you have super intelligent dogs or lovable dogs like mine?