Tag Archives: cross-country skiing

Cold Days and Sneezy Nights!

I like winter.  I know, I know, a lot of people hate winter, the sub-zero weather, and snow etc. accompanying the season, but I enjoy many aspects of the season. Wood burning in the fireplace, hot cocoa, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and frost covered trees are all reasons I love this time of year.  Except for one thing–it tends to be the cold and flu season, too.

I’m a nurse who isn’t a stranger to nursing sick individuals back to health.  I’m also a big, ol’ whiny baby when I’m not feeling well.  I hate wearing hats even on the worst days and last week I headed out the door on a fairly nice day for this time of year without hat or scarf and proceeded to go on a long walk.  Five plus miles later, I returned home feeling energized, but by bedtime, I was starting to feel cranky.

Sneezy, stuff;y, scratchy throat and all the other joyful symptoms of a cold descended during the night.  I croaked out my good mornings, took a boatload of analgesics and searched for cold medicine.  Nope.  None to be found.  I could have walked to the grocers but I remembered suddenly that I’m a whiny ol’ baby and I was SICK!!  Instead, I sent a text to my hubby and put in my order for orange juice, nighttime “coughing, sneezing prevention so you can rest” medicine and something quick for supper.

My man provided.  Thank God!  Now, three days later and I’m on the road to recovery.  I’m ready to go out and shovel the walks without a hat and scarf or snowshoe (if only it would snow a little bit more…)  Yeah, I know.  I’m crazy, but I guess that’s why I love winter!

Birthday Wishes and Dreams

I started writing this short story for the One Million Project’s writing group’s Weekend Write-In Challenge.  This week’s prompt was “Birthday”. I wanted to do something different with the current chapter I was working on for my current work-in-progress — Never Show Your Hand.  The following is the result of my efforts.  I hope you like it!


Over a year has passed, and my heart still bleeds without him. Why didn’t I realize he never felt the same love for me as I did for him? 

Clare’s skis skimmed over the crusty snow as she pushed her body to its limits.  She initially used the intensive training for the Birkebeiner cross-country ski race as a way to burn off all of the anger, frustration, and pain from a broken heart but it became much more than a fitness goal.  It became a challenge to keep her promise to fulfill her destiny, to not look back, and to savor the feeling of being complete.  Not because a man was by her side, but as a result of loving the flawed, stubborn, fabulous woman that she’d become.

Her birthday was around the corner, and although Clare hadn’t celebrated her birthday for several years, she planned to make this year’s a memorable one by participating in the Birke and moving forward without her husband, Wyatt.  She dug into the hillside with her poles as she pointed the tips of her skis out putting her body weight on the inner edges of her skis as she climbed the steep slope, making a herringbone pattern in the snow.

By the time she reached the top, her forehead was beaded with sweat under her stocking cap and her pants formed frosty clouds of mist with each expired breath. The tiny hairs in her nostrils, now frozen, prickled inside her nose, and her lungs ached with the effort of breathing.  She pushed on knowing the actual Birke would be punishing in the extreme and she couldn’t quit because it was too hard.

When she reached the top of the hill, the sunshine reflected off the snow-covered countryside blinding her, and she squinted behind her sunglasses.  It made her a bit homesick and reminded her of the last time she’d cross-country skied with her twin brother, Noah. That day had been sunny and brisk much like the current one.  He would be so proud of her for pursuing this goal.  It had been something they’d talked about doing together.

Shit! Clare wished he could participate in the event with her.  Instead of wishing for things that could never happen she began her strong skating stride and pictured him skiing next to her — her skiing guardian angel — urging her to move faster and taunting her that he was going to whip her butt. Before she realized it, she’d reached the end of her practice run.

Bundling her gear into the Jeep, she headed for home. Clare let her yellow Lab, Max, outside as soon as she opened the door.  She’d finished removing her boots and padded across the floor to warm her hands by the radiator.

Her forehead creased with surprise at the sound of rapping on her door. The hairs on her neck raised when she realized Max hadn’t alerted her to someone’s arrival. Maybe it was Loretta or Dave checking on her. She couldn’t help the sense of trepidation as she walked towards the door. Her body was beginning to tense as her heart rate picked up. Freaking great. It wasn’t the best time to lose it.

Should I ask who it is? Or go for it and be ready to kickbox their ass into yesterday?
Clare went for it swinging the door wide as she positioned her body into a defensive position. Her hands trembled and black spots danced into her vision.
“Clare, babe, are you okay?” Wyatt stood in front of her. He was the last thing she saw before she passed out cold.