Category Archives: Humor

Ladybugs and Rewrites

Ladybug

I had company earlier today. This little lady and a few of her friends have managed to find their way into our house as they seem to do every spring. I thought she displayed an amazing degree of bravery, though, marching across my notebook the way she did. Don’t worry, she did not meet her demise. I escaped her, as my four-year-old grandson would say.

Unfortunately, this was yet another diversion to keep me from the dreaded rewrites. Am I allowed to say that I am so tired of this story that I want to remove all references to the thing from my desk, my hard drive, and everywhere else?

I read this quote from Ernest Hemingway:

I read my books sometimes to cheer me up when it’s hard to write and then I remember that it was always difficult and how nearly impossible it was sometimes.

While I’ve never been a Hemingway fan, his words are so true. Today feels like one of those nearly impossible days. I wonder what it is that makes me think I can actually write something that people will want to read. Am I kidding myself? Are my dreams too big?

I know what the acceptable answer is. I’m just not feelin’ it.

So, from the desk of a very honest and discouraged writer who is avoiding the work of rewrites on a story she doesn’t want to look at anymore, it is what it is. I know this will pass. It always does. I know the exhilaration of a really good writing day will come again. I am confident that whatever creativity lurks in the recesses of my muddled brain will make its way to the surface eventually. I will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Right?

RIGHT . . . ?

I’m going to go outside and re-pot my ferns now.

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The Writing Course

I am on the tale end of a week-long online writing course, for which I paid good money and had high expectations.

I’ll cut to the chase.

It’s been a huge disappointment. Well, maybe not huge, but definitely sort of.

Each day, we were asked to submit an excerpt of our work-in-progress (WIP), rewritten to follow the instructions as outlined by the moderator. These were posted on a forum which was open for comments from our classmates and from the course moderator (who happens to be one of my favorite editors).

While I greatly value the constructive feedback from the moderator and most of my peers, there are always some in the crowd who wreck it for me. And for everyone else. In this case, there is one that stands out.

Let’s call her “Miss Massacre”.

I truly believe that this woman couldn’t crank out a compliment if her life depended on it. She’s trashed every single person’s work, on every single day of this course. And the kicker here is that her own work really isn’t very good. Oh, believe me, there are things I could say about that. But I have refrained from stooping to her level and I just don’t post anything at all where her stuff is concerned.

Why do people do this?

Maybe her boyfriend just broke up with her. Maybe she has a splinter in her – um – foot. Maybe she lost her job. Maybe she’s just like this all the time. Who knows? Unfortunately, Miss Massacre made the whole online course experience very unpleasant.

So what now? I take the constructive stuff and rework my own writing to make it better. I thank God for a great connection with a fellow writer from the land of Far-Far-Away. I forget about Miss Massacre’s massacre and move on.

Thanks for reading. Come again.

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The Library

The library has changed.

Oh, there are still lots of books and frumpy librarians, but it’s not the same. Gone are the reverent whispers of book-lovers. Gone are the muffled sounds of volumes being shelved. Gone is the quiet.

Rustling papers and turning pages have been replaced by the tapping of computer keyboards. Sacred silence between the stacks has been replaced by cell phones ringing and loud conversations. Children’s story time has disappeared and a library visit is now an opportunity for kids to run and shriek while their parents shout at them from across the room.

I came to the library to write. Should be a good place to concentrate, you’d think. Perhaps it is. When it’s closed.

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My New List of Favorite Things

Don’t you find that your list of favorite things changes as you chug along in your life? I do. So, on a completely random note, I will dedicate this, my 555th blog post, to my new list. Here it is, in no particular order.

1. Baby girls. Well one three-month-old named Adelaide.

2. Moleskine notebooks. This has made the list for years.

3. Acrylic artist paints. Oh, the possibilities.

4. Hamilton Beach BrewMaster. Makes a pot of coffee on one side and takes a K-cup on the other.

5. Downton Abbey Season 4. Except for Edna.

6. Monday night prayer meetings at the church.

7. Cooper’s grocery store in Chilliwack.

8. Samsung S4 Mini smart phone. But I still miss the Blackberry keyboard.

9. J.J. Abrams. Some of you will get it.

10. Scentsy.

11. Tupperware.

12. Bath & Body Works. All of it.

13. Wednesday morning bible studies with my friends.

14. Grandchildren. Lots of them.

15. Ice cream. Always on the list.

16. The view from my living room window.

17. God’s words.

18. Cheez Whiz. Even though there are those who claim it is not real food.

19. Crossword puzzles. The hard ones. Sometimes.

20. The ice maker/dispenser in my fridge. Best invention EVER!

Well, folks, that’s it for today. What’s on your list?

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The Toddler Rules

Being the grandmother of eight – several of whom are toddlers – I regularly receive the play-by-plays of their escapades. I can sympathize with their parents. Sort of. I just can’t help but smile and think to myself, “Haha! It’s payback time!”

This article in today’s Huffington Post is for all the moms and dads with toddlers.

The Toddler Code of Conduct: 20 Rules Toddlers Live By

By: April McCormick
After observing my toddler, and talking with other parents of toddlers, I am convinced that toddlers have the following Code of Conduct hardwired into their DNA.

1. You are the family alarm clock. It is your job to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn every day.

2. ALWAYS crap your pants AFTER leaving the house. Your best bet is to clench those cheeks together until you have left your street, and then EXPLODE!!! To achieve Legend status, do this when your parent is in a huge hurry to get somewhere very important.

3. Do not be content doing anything for more than two minutes. You have to constantly keep moving. NEVER SLOW DOWN!

4. If you are not interested in being picked up, get as low to the ground as possible. Think dead weight. Feel free to flail and cry for added difficulty.

5. If someone tries to take something from you, teach them a lesson by first throwing it, then jumping up and down while making your best “oh you are going to be REALLY sorry,” face, then falling to the floor and starting to spaz out, screaming and crying extra loud if you are in public.

6. If you do not like the food that is served to you, throw it on the ground in disgust, then at your parent, then at the cat/dog. For extra credit smash the remaining food into your hair and clothes. When you are given something to drink immediately dump it in your lap.

7. Whenever possible terrorize the family pets so they know who is in charge.

8. NEVER EVER let your parent get the house clean. EVER! Once something is picked up off the floor, put something in its place. A good rule of thumb is dumping out the cat/dog food daily. Feel free to snack on it as well.

9. You are in control of your sleep schedule. If you do not want to go to sleep, then don’t, and if someone really wants you to go to sleep, then definitely do not do it. Do your best to get so tired that you become an evil miserable crying mess. That will show them!

10. Always do your best to be in the way, including but not limited to: playing at your parents’ feet while they are cooking, cleaning, fixing something, talking on the phone, getting ready for work, or doing anything that looks remotely important.

11. Take ALL of your toys out of the toy box before playing with any of them. This goes for books, too — rip all of them off the shelf before reading one. Your job is to make a huge mess. Hint: To keep things interesting, never ever play with the same toy or book for more than one minute.

12. Under no circumstance will you make diaper changes or potty training an easy venture. If poop does not get everywhere then you have failed.

13. Every time you leave the park throw a fit big enough to make it look like you are being kidnapped. If you are lucky, this will buy you five more minutes on the slide.

14. The minute you learn to walk, refuse to be held. Insist on walking EVERYWHERE!

15. The minute you learn to talk, DO NOT STOP! Do not be discouraged if you are not understood — talk away anyway. It is not your fault if people are too stupid to understand you.

16. EVERYTHING in this world belongs to you. Feel free to touch it, take it, hide it, throw it, smash it, break it and completely ruin it. HINT: ALL of the telephones in the house belong to you — store them in the toilet.

17. Your mantra is, “Catch me if you can you silly fool.”

18. “No!” means, Good job! Keep doing that!

19. NEVER EVER do anything the first time you are asked.

20. And last — the most important code of toddler conduct — for every five minutes you spend terrorizing your parent(s), sibling(s) and/or pet(s), provide one minute of pure sweet lovin’ to ensure complete forgiveness.

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The Introverted Extrovert

I frequently find myself in the middle of the introvert vs. extrovert debate. For some odd reason, it seems to be of the utmost importance for people to be able to slot themselves into one or the other of these labels. Personally, I don’t care. I’m an extrovert and that’s that. End of discussion.

Or is it?

I read an article from the Huffington Post that pinpoints 23 signs that you’re secretly an introvert. Then I got thinking. Perhaps I’m not the extrovert I thought I was. Maybe I am an introvert in disguise. Check this out:

Not sure if you’re an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

I have to give myself a point for this one because I despise small talk. I put up with it for so many years in the corporate world and there is nothing more annoying, boring, and phony than small talk. Cut the fluff and get to the point.

2. You go to parties – but not to meet people.

The older I get, the less I enjoy social gatherings for the purpose of meeting people. I go when I have to, but I would much rather spend time one on one with a good friend or family member.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

Boy, oh boy, this is so true for me – feeling like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings or group activities, even with people I know.

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Yup, absolutely.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

I’ve had people tell me that to my face on more than one occasion. Since I find small talk cumbersome (#1 above), I prefer to get to the heart of the matter very quickly.

6. You’re easily distracted.

I do have the classic extrovert tendency to get bored easily when I don’t have enough to do, but I also have the opposite problem of becoming easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation. And then I can’t sleep at night.

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

I definitely need my time alone. Give me a good book and a diet Coke and I’m good for the day.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy speaking to large groups of people, and I’ve done lots of it over the course of the past 30 years. But the post-talk mingling? Nope, not my thing at all.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench – not in the middle.

That would be me.

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Also me. I just zone out.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

Yes, very true. My husband loves to be with people. Loves small talk.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

Well, no, I’d have to say this is not true for me. I love to try almost everything.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

Absolutely true.

14. You screen all your calls – even from friends.

I admit it. I do this quite often.

15. You notice details that others don’t.

I definitely do notice details. And I remember them.

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

Yes and no. I don’t really know what that means.

17. You have low blood pressure.

No.

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” – since your 20s.

No for this one, too.

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

I’ve changed, I think. I used to like nothing better than huge parties and gatherings. They don’t interest me anymore.

20. You look at the big picture.

I am definitely a big picture person.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

No, never.

22. You’re a writer.

I’ve always been able to communicate better in writing.

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

Yes, that would be me.

Am I an introvert because I scored 18 out of 23 on this little quiz? No, I don’t think so. And most people who know me well would probably agree. But I’ve recognized that I do have significant introvert-ish tendencies, and I am satisfied with being an introverted extrovert.

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How to Start a Conversation

We’ve all experienced that awkward silence when no one knows exactly what to say. So, to help you out in these predicaments, I found a few useless facts ideas to get you going.

  • Coca-Cola was originally green. (You had to know I’d throw a Coke fact in here.)
  • The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters.
  • Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better.
  • City with the most Rolls Royce’s per capita:  Hong Kong
  • Percentage of Africa that is wilderness:  28%
  • Barbie’s measurements if she were life size:  39-23-33
  • Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again:  80%
  • Percentage of American women who say they’d marry the same man:  50%
  • Cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400
  • Average number of people airborne over North America any given hour: 61,000.
  • Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
  • The world’s youngest parents were 8 and 9 and lived in China in 1910.
  • Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.
  • First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
  • A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.
  • The only 15 letter English word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.
  • Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ candies?
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down – hence the expression “to get fired.”
  • “I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • Hershey’s Kisses are called that because the machine that makes them looks like it’s kissing the conveyor belt.
  • The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger that it’s brain.
  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.
  • Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
  • If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
  • The first toilet ever seen on television was on “Leave It To Beaver”.
  • Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
  • J.M. Barrie made up the name Wendy for his book “Peter Pan”.

Now wasn’t that fun?

Let me know how those conversations go . . .

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