A word from Rachel Carrera …

Thank you to everyone who has worried and/or wondered about me. I hope and pray to be back to my regularly scheduled blog station on Monday, June 1. Have a wonderful weekend, friends! I miss you! ❤

Mark Bialczak

(From rachelcarrera.com) (From rachelcarrera.com)

Let us take a moment today to solve a small mystery about one of my favorite mystery writers, shall we?

There are certain folks here in BloggyVille whose absence of an uncommon length raises a chill in my soul, a pause in my thought and an investigation of some sort on my part.

Rachel’s been missing for more than a week, I realized again yesterday, checking again her place in this online world where she delivers stories and wisdom and all sorts of things, usually every Monday through Friday.

Yes, the writer of chilling short stories that keep you guessing, the two-parters that make you rush to reading on the second day. The supernatural sniffer who can predict things that will make your hair stand on end. The woman from Florida who’ll write about her personal antics with her sister Michelle now as well and their relationships and…

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The Monthly Report – Four Down, Eight to Go…

Well, April slipped away before I knew it.  It’s time once again for my monthly report.  I’m pleased to tell you all that for the first time this year, I am FINALLY not coughing anymore!  After my last monthly report, I went back to my doctor, not actually expecting him to find anything, when lo and behold, he said I had acute bronchitis!  I ended up with twenty days’ worth of antibiotics (500 mg., four times a day!), as well as two bottles of prescription cough syrup.  Ugh!  It was actually quite a pain taking all those meds, but, wow, I feel so much better!  (Thank you again to all of you who sent me your warm wishes.)

Caring for my birth mom is tedious to say the least.  All that big talk I had last month about forgiveness and putting the toxic relationship behind us is a thing of the past now.  It’s still toxic.

The job is going well.  Soon, the attorney will be hiring someone to take over all the case files I’ve been working, and I’ll be doing only the marketing which is the part I enjoy.  The downside is that I still don’t have much (if any) free time once everything else is done, so sadly, my blogging as well as my writing are suffering.

I’m slowly but surely still working on editing the various stages the seven book drafts I’d written previously.  I hope that at least before summer ends, I can be done with those and get back to working on my current WIP and get that first draft finalized.

And best of all, because I’m finally not sick any longer, this month, my sister Michelle and I are going to be able to start our running program at last.  In fact, by the time this pre-scheduled post is live, we hope to have been at it for three days.  (However, if for some reason it has not happened as planned, I’ll have to consider it a bad omen to have mentioned it, and I’ll be giving up the monthly reports altogether.)

So that’s all for me this month, folks.  How about you?  Is your year going as planned?  Can you believe 2015 is one-third gone already? 

Beware Your Wishes – Part Two

Today, we learn the fate of our friends introduced to you in yesterday’s Micro-Fiction Monday.

BEWARE YOUR WISHES
(Part Two)
By: Rachel A. Carrera

Two hours later, Samantha and the kids ambled through the art supply store.  Samantha pushed a cart filled with numerous boxes of clay.

As they rounded a corner, Macie stopped short and excitedly pointed at a display.  “Look, Mommy, paints!  Can we get some?”

The other two kids chimed in.  “Yeah, Mommy, please!”  The three of them began jumping up and down around the display.  Moments later, an easel came crashing down and knocked over dozens of glass baubles stacked across the aisle.  SMASH!  Bits of glass flew everywhere.

Samantha rolled her eyes and blushed.  “What did I tell you three?  Now look what you’ve done!  Is anyone hurt?”

The days when Michael was alive and they spent every waking moment together was a distant memory.  She could barely remember a time when she wasn’t both mother and father to three active children who demanded every moment of her attention.  Ever since the funeral, life became more hectic by the day, and she had less and less time to relax.  I just want seventy-two hours alone so I can sink my hands into some wet clay and forget about the world.  Just one weekend with no kids and no responsibilities.  Is that so wrong?

The kids all started crying as the store manager raced over to them.  “Is everybody okay?  I told that stock boy to stack these things better.  I’m so sorry, ma’am.”

Samantha shook her head and waved her hands.  “No, it was our fault.”  She narrowed her eyes at the children.  “Apparently my kids don’t know how to behave.  I’m sorry.”  She shook her head.  “I swear, sometimes I’d give a million dollars just to have a whole day to myself without these three underfoot.”

The manager ignored her comment and helped guide the cart around the mess.  “Well, don’t worry about this.  If you’ll head on up front, Clarisse will check you out.”

She nodded.  “Thank you.  Kids, don’t touch anything!”

After they checked out, they headed  across the parking lot to the car.  As Samantha loaded the clay into the trunk, the triplets played by the driver’s door.  Soon, they each pressed their hands on the window and their faces against the glass as they peered inside.

Samantha closed the trunk and huffed loudly.  “Aww, what are you three doing now?  I just had this car washed!  Look, you got handprints all over the glass.  Just, just… get inside.”  She took a deep breath and rubbed her temples.  After she buckled the kids in the back seat, she started driving.

Moments later, Macie grinned.  “Hey, let’s sing the Teddy Bear Song!”

Rebekah shook her head.  “No, let’s sing the Ducky Song!”

Marcus furrowed his brow.  “No, I want to sing the song about the toy soldiers!”

Samantha grimaced and attempted to put her looming migraine out of her mind.  Her knuckles turned white as she tightened her grip around the steering wheel.  I’m never going to get this sculpture finished in time if they keep going at this level.  Why can’t I just have some time to myself?

Macie clapped her hands loudly.  “I know!  Let’s sing all three songs together!”  Soon, she and her siblings started singing three different songs at the top of their voices.

The muscles in Samantha’s neck tightened as she looked in the rearview mirror.  “Would you three please be quiet!  I swear, I’m so sick of all your noise and mischief all the time!  Why can’t you just be quiet?  You’re giving me a headache!”  She momentarily squeezed her eyes closed, then CRASH!

*     *     *

Three days later, Samantha’s eyes groggily fluttered open.  The bandage wrapped around her shaved head did nothing to keep out the cold.  As she struggled to sit up, the sound of various machines, as well as the low, methodical sound of a ventilator, informed her that she was in a hospital.  She attempted to speak, but the oxygen mask on her face prevented her from making a distinguishable sound.

A flash of pink caught her eye when a tall nurse in cotton candy scrubs bent over her and gently grabbed her shoulders, holding her down in the bed.  In a cloying tone, she said, “Just calm down, ma’am.  You’re in City Hospital.  You’re going to be just fine.  You were in a car accident.”

Samantha blinked her eyes, and the nurse removed the oxygen mask.  Samantha struggled to take a deep breath, and her voice was raspy.  “What…  What happened?  My children?  Where are they?  Are they okay?”

The nurse blushed, and her face grew grim.  “Uh, I’m so sorry, ma’am.  But, uh, they didn’t make it.  All three of them died instantly on impact.”

Samantha gasped and felt herself grow faint.  The room spun as she tried to digest the surreal news.  “What?  No!  Not my babies!”  Tears welled in her eyes, and she instinctively threw off the covers to raise her hands to her mouth.  But as she did, she realized…  Bandaged stumps were where her hands once had been.

THE END

Let’s chat:  Have you ever experienced a “be careful what you wish for” moment?  If so, what happened?

Beware Your Wishes – Part One

It’s time for another Micro-Fiction Monday.  Because today’s story is a little longer than normal, I’ll be dividing it in two.  You can find Part Two here tomorrow.  Now don’t be afraid…  This is only fiction…

BEWARE YOUR WISHES
(Part One)
By: Rachel A. Carrera

Wet clay smeared on Samantha’s forehead as she wiped her face with her forearm.  She stood back and tilted her head as she examined the sculpture she was creating, then she sighed.  “Something’s just not right.  The eyes are too far apart.”  Just then, her studio door burst open, and her triplets ran in.  She spun around and gasped.

Rebekah scrunched her face.  “Mommy, tell Marcus to stop chasing us!  He’s ruining our game.”

Marcus scowled.  “I am not!  Besides, it’s a stupid game anyway!”

Macie narrowed her eyes.  “Yeah, well you’re stupid!”  She stuck out her tongue.

Marcus bowed up his chest and lunged at his sister.  “I am not!”

The girls held hands as they stood side by side.  “You are, too!”

Samantha swiped her hand over her face.  “Kids!  That’s enough!”

Marcus yanked a fistful of Macie’s hair then ran to the other side of the sculpture.  “I am not!”

The girls chased him.  “You are, too!  Marcus is stupid!  Marcus is stupid!”

Samantha felt heat rise to her face as her cheeks flushed.  “Kids, stop it!”

The triplets raced around Samantha and the sculpture two more times until Marcus bumped it.  He stopped in his tracks and jumped backward as it fell to the floor into a wet lump.  His chin quivered as he choked out an apology.  “I – I’m sorry, Mommy.”

Rebekah folded her arms and smirked.  “See.  You wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t so stupid!”

Samantha scowled and clenched her hands into fists.  “Look what you’ve done!  I want every one of you to go upstairs to your rooms and take a nap!”  She gestured to the open door.

Macie poked out her lip and pouted.  “But Marcus started it.”

Samantha knelt by the mess and clutched two handfuls of wet clay.  She tried to compose herself as she narrowed her eyes at the children.  “Yeah, well, I don’t care who started it!  I’m going to finish it!  I have a deadline in three days to have this piece done in time for the grand re-opening of the cancer center where your daddy died, and now I’m going to have to start all over again.  I don’t even have enough clay.  I’m going to clean this mess up and take a shower, and as soon as you three take a nap, we’re going to drive to the art supply store, and you will behave.  Do you understand me?”

“Yes, ma’am.”  The triplets remained somber as they headed out of the studio.

Samantha stifled the urge to sob as she began cleaning the mess.  She knew if she allowed herself to cry, she might never be able to stop.  She mumbled as she pulled the garbage can closer.  “I swear, sometimes, I wish I didn’t have kids at all.  When Michael was alive, he could keep them entertained while I worked, but it seems like every time I turn around, they’re getting into something–”

CRASH!

She cringed and looked over her shoulder.  “What happened?”

“Macie did it!”

“I didn’t mean to!  It was an accident!”

Samantha squeezed her eyes closed and took a deep breath.  “Go get in bed, all of you!  And don’t touch anything!”  She huffed and cracked her neck, then stood.  When she made her way out to the corridor, she found her favorite vase in pieces on the floor.  Her hand covered her mouth, and tears welled in her eyes.  Why can’t you kids just leave me alone?  I just want some time to myself to get things done around here.

*     *     *

Time to talk:  Can you imagine raising young triplets all by yourself?  Have you ever known triplets?  How about twins?  Have you ever sculpted anything?

More on Autism

A lot of people don’t realize just how limited the range of interests can be in an Autistic person.  Some adults with Autism can teach themselves to “fake it” just so they can get along socially, but autistic children are pure honesty.  You can love ‘em or leave ‘em, but they aren’t going to change who they are to please anyone.

When my son was small, long before he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, I knew there was something “not right” about him.  Before he could even talk, he was obsessed with doorknobs.  He loved everything about them.  At only two years old, he loved to open doors, close doors, lock doors, unlock doors, and play with doors.

As Jeremy got a little older, his interest expanded to include weather.  By four years old, he was fascinated by anything weather-related.  He collected the weather page out of the newspaper every day, and The Weather Channel and weather reports on other local TV stations were two of the only three programs he would ever watch.  (The third was Bob Villa on the Spanish channel, which was odd because no one in our family speaks Spanish, but I digress.)

By the time Jeremy was six, he still loved the weather, and he left his love of doorknobs behind.  But he fell in love with Volkswagen Beetles, both old and new.  He not only loved yelling “punch buggy” every time he saw one on the road, but he could name every part of them inside and out.  I went to a Volkswagen dealership and was able to score a poster book for him, and we used the posters to decorate his room.  My sister found some Beetle fabric and made him a comforter and curtains, and I made a Beetle stencil and painted a colorful “punch buggy” border around his walls.

When he was eight, we moved and left his Volkswagen bedroom behind, and though he still loved them as well as the weather, he was also becoming interested in wrestling.  (Finally, something “normal.”)  I made him the coolest bedroom by painting two of his walls red and two walls black, then I painted a glow in the dark WWE logo and a John Cena “You Can’t See Me” logo, and I bought a black light to help them glow.

After that, though he still loved the weather and Volkswagen Beetles, he was obsessed with wrestling.  He would still say “punch buggy” every time he saw a Beetle, and even to this day, he’s still fascinated by weather-themed disaster movies.  But he became a wrestling fanatic in every sense of the word.  By the time he was in the sixth grade, he even had his entire class, his teachers included, believing that John Cena was his uncle!  (Boy was THAT an embarrassing parent-teacher conference!)

At first, it was easy to shop for him because all I had to buy was wrestling dolls (okay, action figures!) and the amenities such as the ring, the announcer table, etc.  But as he got older, he wanted real folding metal chairs and tables so he could crack his friends over the skull with them just like the wrestlers do on TV!  (The sucky thing for me and the rest of the household was that none of the rest of us cared a thing about wrestling, yet we got to hear about little else, morning, noon and night.)

At about fourteen years old, he became interested obsessed with mixing audio.  He also YouTubed and Googled everything about music engineering, and then he found a local studio that was willing to allow him to intern there.  He learned so much that he was soon mixing music better than men twice his age who had been mixing for years.  I believe it is because of his Autism that his ear for mixing is so keen.

And now, Jeremy is twenty-one years old, and he still loves wrestling.  His dolls (okay, action figures!) are in a box in the garage, and though he doesn’t play with them any longer, he won’t let me throw them away.  The scary thing for me is that as he got older, his research skills got better.  He has YouTubed and Googled how to do just about every wrestling hold there is, and he can execute them perfectly.  (Usually, whether I want to participate or not, I end up being his test dummy.)  And because of his Autism, he has an exceptionally high pain tolerance, and as such, I believe he could literally fight to the death.  He is also very strong and doesn’t know his own strength (kind of like Lenny in Of Mice and Men).  He still loves the weather and Beetles.  (Though, thankfully, he no longer watches the Spanish Bob Villa channel.)  And he also still mixes audio.  In fact, he has quite an impressive soundproof studio in his bedroom, and he’s not only mixed and arranged some impressive artists’ albums, but he’s also mixed audio for several radio and television commercials.

The point is, over the years, a lot of people have seen my sweet son and raised an eyebrow at his interests and obsessions.  But I don’t think it’s ever bothered him.  In fact, I don’t believe he ever even noticed.  People with Autism can’t help that they’re attracted to certain items or activities or that they become obsessed with such things.  So, rather than just assume someone is “weird,” the next time you meet someone who prefers talking about how tires are made, or the history of the coffee bean, or the various types of dinosaurs, maybe you should wonder if they could be Autistic.

That’s all for today, folks.  I’ll be back the first Sunday of next month with more about Autism, and I’ll be here tomorrow with my regularly scheduled post.