Saturday, August 17, 2013


Posted by Melissa Baumgart
All I could see was the smoke all around me.  It was like a thick, gray-blue blanket that was laid on an invisible plane, twelve inches above the ground.   I looked toward the door, but I knew that was where the fire was coming from.  Trying not to panic, my eyes darted around the unknown territory of the hotel room.  Did the window even open?  What floor was I on again?  I couldn’t tell if I was starting to feel disoriented and delusional from the smoke inhalation, or if there really were sounds of fire trucks and people coming to save me.  

I knew I’d never fight for my life after what I had already lived through.  In fact, most of my adult life I have felt like I’d rather be dead and knew this day would come and find me.  As I passively gave up any attempt to get out of the smoke filled room, my mind drifted to my baby.  He was so sweet.  Always smiling and making the cutest little baby sounds.  I remembered how sharp his fingernails were and how I was too afraid to cut them, so I would just nibble on them while he nursed.  I remembered how his blue eyes had a thin dark ring around the outer rim of his iris, just like my own eyes, and how I could get lost in his stare.  I could almost smell his skin and feel his soft, chubby body in my arms as I held myself on the hotel room floor.

When the escape from Holland was happening, there was hardly ever any time to think.  You just did.  You ran.  You hid.  You stayed as silent as possible so the soldiers would never find you.  It’s impossible to keep a baby quiet though.  There were so many of us in that tiny crawl space under the house.  All the other kids were older and had already been frightened enough to know to stay silent, to not even move a muscle if they heard the clicking of the boots growing louder.  But my sweet baby boy, I couldn’t keep him quiet.  Why wouldn't he just stop crying?

All those eyes were looking at me, with a quiet despair I could never erase from my memory.  So many lives I could save, so many possibilities racing in my mind that maybe, just maybe, we could stop running one day.  But only if we made it past today.  I grabbed my soft, dark blue bag that carried what few clothes we had.  I held it over his face, hoping to just muffle his cries.  Everyone looked away.  I can only imagine they must have been profoundly grateful and yet completely horrified.  My mind went blank.  His cries stopped.  The clicking of the boots slowly became quieter, until they too were gone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Photo a day 15: The Best

Posted by Amy Baranski

I'm jumping ahead to #15 on the FMS August photo-a-day list since I'm a bit behind. I'll make up the other photos I'm missing (#6-14). I just wanted to get in-the-moment with you all. Today my son and I found ourselves in a local P-patch garden and we helped ourselves to a couple of berries. I was impressed to observe that he knew to remove the green stem from the strawberry before consuming it. I was also impressed that he seemed to enjoy an under-ripe berry with equal pleasure as a ripe one.

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Photo a day 5: Early

Posted by Amy Baranski

I'm trying to catch up but had to wait until morning to snap this.

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Posted by Melissa Baumgart
She answered the door with a smile sloppily outlined in red lipstick.  “Hi, Welcome.” She said in an upbeat, slurry tone.  “Did you know my brother is dying?  Oh yea, his cancer has just gotten worse and worse.”  What the fuck was this lady talking about?  I barely knew her, and I certainly had no idea she even had a brother, nor did I really care.  After she walked me arm and arm into her huge kitchen, I made eye contact with another mom and exchanged an unspoken look of  "WTF is going on?"  She never again mentioned her dying brother, but moved on to other random topics like her getting in trouble for looking at her husband’s private files in the basement and creating a rhyming game with a circle of moms to try and remember our names.  It never worked, and honestly, I don’t know how the rest of us kept a straight face.  She was the kind of person, though, that you could laugh at and they would never know.

I only know her because our daughters play sports together.  I remember the first time I saw her.  We were at a softball game and I could hear her from the other teams’ bleachers.  She spoke a little louder than most, but it’s also that I am an involuntary eavesdropper.  It’s sometimes the only thing that makes my life worth living, making up stories about other people’s lives and adding them to my petri dish of hate for humanity.  So, I was listening to her and she was embarrassing.  I mean, her family had to be so embarrassed.  She could barely speak actual words and when she did it was inappropriate and sounded like she never developed mentally past Kindergarten.  She had a plastic, lidded cup in her hand that she drank from through a straw.  What was in there anyway?  And why was I kinda jealous of her lack of self-judgment?

Here’s what I found out that day at the soccer team party in the richest, most gated, part of Seattle: her husband (who oddly never seemed at all bothered by her lack of awareness or intelligence, and in fact, acted like she was totally normal!!!) was a psychiatrist.  He must keep her medicated, I thought.  But why?  Was this just another intriguing short story I would never sit down to write, or could it really be the sick and twisted, amazing truth?  How could I have done anything else but launch a full-blown investigation?

Photo a day 4: Fresh

Posted by Amy Baranski

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Photo a Day 3: Skyline

Posted by Amy Baranski

GLWT iPhotography month challenge.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

iPhotography Month!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Well it's iPhotography month! I chose this as kind of a repeat from last August's photography month. It seemed an easier bite to chew. Plus I've been really into my iPhone and all the different photo apps since I got one. In fact, I decided to invest in a new iPhone just for this month after I was ROBBED in a restaurant in Cleveland. But I digress.

I really enjoyed Melissa's photo a day project last year and was thinking of doing something like that. But instead of taking a picture at the same time each day I'm keen to follow a suggested subject list like this, plus exploring other subjects at my own whim.

Let's get our iPhoto on. #photoaday.

Photo a day 1: Something that begins with the letter N.