The King’s Assassin

dijonSwords flashed in the noon day sun as three men in blue gave chase to one in black. “All for one and one for all!” The black clad figure darted through columns with unmatched agility and swiftness. The assassin was lost from sight around a corner. The three skidded to a stop. The assassin was cautiously stepping backward, sword raised defensively. A fourth man carefully pursued the assassin, each waiting for the other to lunge. Suddenly, swords clanged, dust rose. The assassin, cornered by four swords, stood sweaty and breathless and nervous. One  removed the assassin’s hood and all stood speechless. “Your Majesty?” “Yes,” she replied. “And if your brains work half as well as your swords, you’ll let me go.”

This is a story in 100 words or fewer for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle-Wisoff-Fields based on the photo above. Click the blue frog to read more stories inspired by this photo!

The New Reader and Page Views

Here is how to keep readers from reading your whole blog post through the “Reader” and help you better track your view count. You know, for scientific purposes (and to keep from getting more likes than views.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Some of you may have noticed that the WordPress Reader has changed again. This time, it gives you fewer options to view blog posts on the actual blog. This is a problem for those who run blogs and want to keep track of view and visitor stats. I know I do.

As a default, the Reader allows people to read the full blog post in the Reader. This does not count toward the views, so you never know if someone actually read it. Also, you may notice that a lot of short posts tend to have more likes than views. Why? They just liked it through the Reader.

Well, there’s a way you can force your readers to visit the post on your blog. What you want is this:

visitYou see where that red arrow is pointing? If that appears in the Reader, that means that you cannot read the…

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Gaining Rank in Parenting

I’ve finally been promoted. After eight years (12 with their combined age) I’ve gained the rank of “Mean Dad”. Crash promoted me a few days ago when I wouldn’t let him walk to McDonald’s with the neighbors kids (as it turns out, the neighbors kids weren’t allowed to go either). He desperately wants to be independent and on his own and away from us parent types. However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of responsibility. Continue reading

When ya gotta go

So the other day Crash and Bang had friends over. They happen to be sisters. The oldest is a grade behind Crash and the youngest is Bang’s age. They’ll be in class together in September. The four of them played and had a grand time while DW and I chatted with their mother about camping, and work and stuff. Continue reading

According to Plan

We made an overnight trip to the city on Monday. We had to get passports done but we had to do it in person so we could get them expedited. Plus, Crash’s had to be done in person because he’s getting another American passport they require children under the age of 16 to be done in person at the nearest US Consulate and they require you to have an appointment. July 7th was the only date open when I checked 3 weeks ago.

So we left Monday to get DW’s and Bang’s passport done at a Canadian passport office. This would be the beginning of amazing trip for two kids who don’t get out much. First, we had to ride an escalator. Bang wasn’t too sure about them. He’d never seen them before, poor soul. But after he was on, he was loving it. DW noticed that he kept moving his hand up as it slid past so she told him to put his hand on the black rail because it moved with the escalator. He was amazed.

Then came the elevator ride. They’ve been on plenty of elevators before, but none like this one. It had a tall, vertical window so we watched ourselves rise to the 15th floor. They were amazed.

An hour and half later we were back on the elevator and then back down the escalator with two passports set to arrive next Monday. Bang was looking for more escalator rides, but we just headed to the boy’s cousin’s place (technically, it’s DW’s brother and sister-in-law’s place) where we would be visiting and spending the night. The boys got to have a sleepover with one of their cousin’s in his bunk bed.

By 8:15 we were up and at ’em and back on the road to attend Crash’s 9:00 U.S. Consulate appointment. Getting into the consulate was no easy feat. It very much resembles crossing the U.S. border. We needed to prove our identities and Crash’s. Then, two at a time, we proceeded through security. He scanned our bags (or he would have had we brought any) and we walked through a metal detector. He kept our truck keys because they had a fob on them (the remote to lock and lock the doors). The boys were unusually well behaved. Crash sat and read books while Bang played quietly with a matchbox truck we had brought. 45 minutes later we were walking out of the Consulate having completed the application process. Badda bing, badda boom. Everyone’s passports were completed with no hassle!

Before leaving, the boys wanted to ride the elevalator to the top floor to look out a window so we went up to the 19th. No window in this elevator. The 19th floor was a bank and a kind receptionist overheard us looking for a window to look out and she offered to take us into the bank to a conference like room. From there we had an awesome view of the the city and harbor.

We had parked in a parking garage before going into the Consulate. Once we were back in the garage we noticed a sign that said “Please pay inside”. Slightly confused, as there was no where to pay inside the building we had gone into, we asked a few gentlemen where we should pay. Apparently, they were working on the gate that lifts up after you insert your paid ticket. He told us, “We’re working on the gate so it’ll be free for you today. Just drive down and we’ll lift the gate for you.” This made the beginning of the day a bit surreal. No hassles at either the Canada passport office or the US Consulate and now free parking in the city? Could our trip really be going this well?

Then we went to the mall and this is where the real fun began. DW needed a bathroom, but the first bathroom had a big line up and DW couldn’t wait so we headed up to the bathrooms on the 2nd floor. ESCALATOR! Upon reaching the 2nd floor, DW spotted some friends. So while we chatted with them for about 10 minutes, Crash and Bang rode the escalator like it was an amusement park ride. Up one, down the other. They did that for the entire 10 minutes.

Of course, this is all Bang now wanted to do. Our main goal at the mall was to find burnt orange shirts for the boys to wear during family picture time when we go to visit family in the States. After a few stores and not finding anything, we opted to change colors since we found nice pastel, lime color shirts for Crash and Bang. Now we just needed to find that color for DW and I. Into Gap we went. There was a Children’s Gap attached as well and we found ourselves there even though we already had shirts for them. Good thing we went in there… we found exactly what we were looking for. AND they were 1/2 off! Win, win! So we returned the green shirts.

After lunch at the mall we headed over to another mall, more like a HUGE strip mall. They boys had gift cards to spend at Toys R Us from their aunt and Uncle and cousins. We split up, me taking Crash to look and DW taking Bang to look. Crash picked up a few small things, not wanting to spend all his money one big item. Bang apparently wanted one big item because when we caught up them he had a large marble race. He later changed his mind when he spotted a large garbage truck. Nevermind that he already has nice garbage tuck. He wanted this one. Crash found a coloring book that, according to the cover, “Comes Alive” with a free app on a tablet, a small lego set, and a Wolverine mash-up. We also picked up new sunglasses for the boys. We finally found boys purple sunglasses for Bang (his favorite color) and grey one’s for Crash. Their haul cost us a grand total of $8. Thanks Uncle B and Aunt Sara and KK and Owen!!

Then I spotted a Sport Check and I’m glad we decided to go because more hilarity ensued. We weren’t in the door 2 minutes when Bang pulls down the shorts of a male mannequin and loud enough for the surrouding area to hear says “That’s his pee pee”. We had caught Crash earlier looking up the dress of a mannaquin in a women’s clothing store. Ugh… the embarrassment!


Things don’t usually go so according to plan for us. Our plans are often thwarted by hassles, lost luggage, getting us lost, not finding what we’re looking for or any other numerous other things to cause hiccups in travel plans. This trip went smoothly with a few lucky bonuses besides. And Bang is still telling everyone about the “moving stairs”.

Have you ever had a trip go exactly as you planned it? What were you expecting to go wrong that didn’t? 

Eight, 8, VIII (and 238)

happy-birthdayEight years ago our first born came into the world. It wasn’t exactly a grand entrance. It was a forty hour labor and he was born at 3:27 in the morning. I wrote about it my “With An Open Heart” post about his heart surgery when he was five days old.

Flash forward eight years and you would never know he went through what he went through. He only needs to see his cardiologist once every two years. Whenever he goes to a new doctor they’re amazed when they listen to his heart. “He’s got quite a heart murmur,” they tell us as if we didn’t know. His heartbeat sounds more like the swishing of a washing machine than the clear boom boom we’re used to hearing.

He’s also full of business. He enjoys arguing. Really enjoys sometimes. Especially if it’s bedtime and it’s still light outside. Anyway, he growing physically (an inch in the last 3 months) and mentally (he’s reading above grade level). Though he is smart, I swear he is, he still does dumb stuff. I’m fairly confident “the do stupid stuff” gene is on the Y chromosome.

So now he’s going into third grade (or as they say here in Canada, grade three). He’ll be in a new part of his school (or at least new to him) which is just down the hall from the pre-school room his brother will be in.

Today will be celebrated by cleaning up Legos. Or, Crash will be cleaning up Legos while his mother and I clean the rest of the house. We’ll be visiting our park and splash pad later for Family Fun activities. Then we’ll be home to decorate and have a pizza party with a bunch of Crash’s friends. This will be followed by ice cream cake and presents.

Here’s to another 584 billion mile journey around the sun. Here’s to whatever 8 brings us. Here’s another to protecting our sanity.

Oh and …


Authors Answer 35 – Movie Tie-In Novels

People always say read the book before you see the movie. But have you ever read a book that was written after its movie counterpart?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

You know how everyone says that the book is better than the movie? Or you should read the book before you read the movie? What if it’s the other way around, and someone wrote a novel based on the movie? Those are some interesting books (take that as a good or bad interesting, however you like it).

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 35: How do you feel about movie novelisations?

Allen Tiffany

Movies and novels are such different mediums. This is something that too often gets lost in this discussion. But to the question: I’ve read very few novels based on movies. As I recall, I read a few when I was a kid, and they seemed flat and boring. If memory serves, they were more like a description of the movie than anything else.

From the other direction, like all of us, I’ve read a number of books that I later saw as…

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Live Dragon

Never laugh at live dragon.

~ Bilbo Baggins

I read Ann’s post about her live dragon moment when her son some how managed to erase everything off her phone and she went wild. The trick do this is complicated, yet her three year managed it. Naturally, she unleashed her wrath. Afterward, I realized we all have these moments. Something that just sets us off, the straw that breaks us, when we simply lose our shit minds. Continue reading