Sunday, November 28, 2010

I "herd" it's Microfiction Monday (#59)

I decided to "mooove" in a different direction this fine Microfiction Monday, even though the picture struck me as funny at first. I mean, all I could think of were a stream of one-liners and quite a few cow puns, so "udderly" ridiculous-okay, that was the last one, I promise. Here are my serious takes on today’s picture:

I am like you bull, betrayed by a trusted caregiver-my father sees me as an object for barter, but will my new husband view me as such? (137 characters)

Thirty heads of cattle
That’s the price to pay
Thirty heads of cattle
Nothing more to say
Just thirty heads of cattle
For my wedding day
(138 characters)

Just head on over to Susan's blog, Stony River and check out all the other submissions. Remember, you can have no more than 140 characters, and that includes spaces and punctuation-quite a challenge I can tell you!

I know I have been a bit absent on my blog lately, but I decided to really relax with my family this holiday, and that meant no computer time. But I will be posting at least two more times this week-one will be a review of educational but still fun DS games, and the other will be a jocular post centered around the funny things my kids have done these past few days, so I hope you'll be back!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A writing we will go (#58)

Good evening everyone and welcome to Microfiction Monday, where Susan, over at Stony River, challenges us to look at a picture and write a story in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation). This week's picture finally struck my funny bone a bit. Here is my first entry:

Mom warned him about danger in the woods, and said to never eat rotten berries. Uncle Buck did, and now he’s modeling sportswear. (132 characters)

I struggled more than I care to admit on getting a poem out of today's picture. Nothing sounded right and every try was way over 140 characters.  (I think my record was 223...)   This is what I came up with:

What’s hanging in the hall
Deer Cape mount on the wall
This is no cabin in the wood
Yet there it is and I could
Make no sense of it at all!
(140 characters with the addition of an exclamation point at the end-I really felt I needed some form of punctuation for emphasis, although I'm feeling a little guilty for not putting it elsewhere.)

Anyway, I can't wait to read all of your posts-to me this in itself is pretty exciting about this exercise. I can't believe how many different points of view there are! If you are new to my site, try a Microfiction out for yourself, but be sure to link up at Stony River as well.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sustantivo (Story) #57

It's that time again-microfiction time that is. Susan, over at Stony River, challenges us to look at a picture and write a story in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation). Here is this week's picture, my story, and a couple poems because I enjoy a challenge...

Eduardo contemplated his next move; finding shade was a priority, but keeping an eye out for rattlers was second. A stick won't help much. (138 characters)

The sun,
Searing, scorching,
Burning my head and feet,
Until I look up and she’s there,
With me...
(Cinquain, 99 characters)

The air is so deep
It hurts to breathe.
The blazing sun
Has a hold on me
But I don’t have far to go,
I know,
I don’t have far to go.
(134 characters)

So what do you think? My husband asked me why I was doing this (I was struggling with my word count at the time), and my answer? Because it's fun-I love trying to come up with a unique account from just a picture, and you might too...

“An optimist laughs to forget, a pessimist forgets to laugh.”

Life is funny, it really is, and if you can learn to laugh at some of the small annoyances, in the great perspective of things, they become even smaller. My muse for tonight’s post is my paper wars, and I decided to share it with you because, well…because I want to. But although this post may dwell in the land of the potty, rest assured that my discussion only involves the tools used to complete the process and not the process itself.

I know you’re curious about the war I’m raging, and I know you’re wondering just what makes this annoyance funny. Within the past year, the teacher bathrooms and the teacher’s lounge have undergone a slight change-the purchase of new paper towel and toilet paper dispensers. The reason for the change, I haven’t a clue, although at first the new toilet paper dispensers seemed a logical solution. You see the one predicament that can strike fear into even the toughest bruiser is casually glancing over and seeing an empty toilet paper roll, and even though our wonderful custodial staff often kept spare rolls on a shelf above the bathroom mirror, you still had to figure out how the heck you were going to reach that shelf!

The new toilet paper dispenser seemed to solve all that. It could hold five rolls of paper, and if one roll was empty, you could turn a dial and a full roll would drop down. I remember a lot of "oohs" and "ahhs" when they put this baby in, and it did take away everyone’s biggest fear, that is until we had to use the thing. You see, now the roll didn’t spin freely on it’s holder-it had a much smaller space in which to move, so getting an adequate amount of paper was a daunting task. And for those people, such as myself, who "build a nest" prior to taking a seat, the ability to get enough paper from the roll to do this was nearly impossible. Factor in the fact that the birth of two children has adversely affected my holding ability, and now the situation of feathering my so-called nest is downright scary. There have been times that I didn’t think I could make it, but did so with only seconds to spare.

Let’s not forget that we need enough paper to finish the job. The situation goes something like this:
rip, swear, rip, and swear some more, rip, rip, rip, rip, swear, swear, and swear…
Confidence in a job well done is certainly not something I feel when I am through, but I move onto the next task at hand, washing up. It’s simple; you wet your hands, lather, rinse, and then head for the towel dispenser. Gone is the push-the-lever-down- and-the-paper-comes-out machine, and in its place is a seemingly trouble-free container where you are to grab a two-inch section of towel and pull. But you have to pull with both hands or you will get just that two-inch section of towel, and you spend another two minutes trying to retrieve the rest of the towel. It’s gotten so bad that I actually repeat a new mantra, "I will pull with both hands," over and over as I head for the towels.

Now an annoyance is still an annoyance until you share it with somebody, and after sharing my plight with my co-workers at lunch, I found I was not alone, and we all got a stress relieving chuckle over the whole thing. In fact, things took such a hilarious turn that I shouted, "I just want a piece of paper, a square to spare!"as the period bell rang, just so my point was made clear. (If you were a loyal Seinfeld junkie, that line should bring back memories of Elaine in a public bathroom begging the stall next to her for a spare square-a classic...)

I am currently raging a similar battle on the home front because I came face to face with an empty toilet paper roll on two occasions (thanks to my children) and both times were almost back-to-back. The remedy? All spare rolls are now occupying the towel basket, minus the towels of course, but I am willing to trudge out to our hall linen closet for a towel-toilet paper retrieval is another story…

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ready for Mocrofiction Monday (#56)?

I couldn't wait to do this week's microfiction post. For those of you who are new, Susan, over at Stony River, challenges us to look at a picture and write a story in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation). I thought I would challenge myself, and I'm glad I did because this exercise helps me tighten up otherwise overly wordy posts. Here is this week's picture and my stories:

I watched her, aimlessly shuffling through fallen leaves, deep in thought and purpose, unaware of what I would soon do for her-for us.  (134 characters)

Once again I wanted to go beyond my comfort zone and try a little poetry, just to see if I could do it. I am following no known rules of verse here, mainly because I can't remember any, and my last line seems very cliché, but I still want you to tell me what you think.

Flash of pink amid orange and brown
The brightest spot in my life
I'll be here 'til' the day she’s grown
And she spreads her wings to fly
(137 characters)

I couldn't use any form of punctuation between the lines because that would put me past the 140 mark, so the breaks in thought and voice were done with spacing alone. I'm not sure a professional would approve but I'll check: is this alright septembermom?

Why not take up the challenge yourself? Put your story in a comment or write a post of your own. (Just be sure to link up at Stony River)  Now for some reason I'm craving apple cider, so until next week...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bad Chi

Have you ever heard someone referring to his or her "chi?" Well, essentially this is the word for life energy, and Chinese philosophy states there is a life force in all things, and it is essential to have a balance of both negative and positive in the body to have good health. You have probably heard of chi, but just don't realize it. In Japan it’s ki, in India it’s Prana, in ancient Egypt it was known as ka, the ancient Greeks called it Puma, Native Americans name it the Great Spirit, Christians call it the Holy Spirit, in Africa it’s known as ashe, and Hawaiians call it mana. Anyway, the Chinese say that if anything affects that balance, you will suffer in terms of health problems and discomfort in your environment.

So why am I quoting Chinese philosophy tonight? Well, I am convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am suffering from the effects of "bad chi." Alright, now I can picture the looks on your faces right now, and a few of you are probably rolling your eyes as you read this-I have not gone off my rocker on this one, and I can prove it.

It all started with a fateful misstep (or two) when I went down to my basement laundry room on July 16. I am thinking that a normal person (a person with a large amount of good chi I’m guessing), would have carried the empty laundry basket with one hand, and grabbed the handrail with the other. Oh, and did I happen to mention that flip-flops, well known for their slippage ability, were also worn that day? And don’t forget the fact that this was the day before we were to leave for vacation… And what about the end result-my Peroneus longus tendon (yes, this name is for real-it's the tendon that runs from the ankle to the side of the foot) was damaged so badly that it tore a piece of my anklebone off. One broken bone plus a badly damaged tendon is equal to wearing a boot until the middle of October, several weeks of physical therapy, and the inability to wear cute shoes or heels! Those of you taller than five feet one (and a half) wouldn’t understand my pain.

And speaking of pain, now I understand why some people say it would have actually been better if I had just broken my anklebone. I still can’t lay my foot on it’s side or place the top of my foot flush with a surface when I kneel down, not to mention the pain from walking, and the doctor said it would be a year before my foot gets back to business as usual-UGH! I need to go shopping for some comfortable, but still hot, flats-is there such a thing? I refuse to wear anything with orthopedic in the name-heck, I don’t plan to wear anything with orthopedic in the name when I’m orthopedic!

Now I know what you’re thinking-this is just one isolated incident, and you are wrong! Like I said, I just got into sort of "regular" shoes a few weeks back, and things were looking good chi wise that is, until the incident of October 24. It was a beautiful Sunday with temperatures in the high 70’s, and we were outside the whole day working on our pumpkins. I had just sat down in a lawn chair and I was enjoying a glass of iced tea when the kids decided to play a game of hide and seek-so far so good, until my husband decided to join in. We had the dog outside with us on a really long lead, and my husband walked over to me and looped the lead around my left wrist-he didn’t want the dog following him as he ran around to the front of the house. The next few moments are still sort of a blur-I remember lifting the glass to my lips as my husband ran off, and then without notice the dog took off running. He pulled my left wrist down onto the arm of the chair, and shattered my iced tea glass.

I vaguely remember my daughter and husband calling out to me, but I just grabbed my wrist and started making my way to the house-I was in that much pain. And since I’m a full-blooded wimp, the tears came down in buckets as my family hovered around me, and then I started laughing-I mean, what the heck was going on here? With a lot of ice and an ace bandage I felt a little better by that evening, and I decided on a wait and see approach before going back to the doctor because frankly this was just a little embarrassing. Things were decidedly worse on Monday, so Tuesday I was back in the doctor’s office at 8:15 AM and scheduled for x-rays.

Well, my good chi and bad chi must be doing battle, because I didn’t break any bones but I still had a nasty wrist sprain-I mean I couldn’t move it up or down or twist it back and forth, so driving was real fun that day. The result of sitting in a lawn chair that wonderful Sunday afternoon-a beautiful wrist splint that I have to wear for two weeks. I have a tentative appointment for a recheck November 10, but already the swelling has gone down and I have been taking the splint off periodically as instructed, and movement is improving. My husband says only I can get injured while sitting in a chair, and he yells, "Don’t hurt yourself," every time I leave the house.

Turkey vultures watching me after the doctors visit
Now those have been my health issues, but what about that "discomfort in my environment" symptom I mentioned earlier? Things at work and the home front are spinning out of control. The kids in my classes have been especially unruly the past few weeks, and I have had to make office referrals for issues relating to immaturity and how many of my students don’t seem to know what is acceptable behavior in the classroom. Were talking incidents involving pretty crude humor that I can’t even write about. All I can say is that my student’s response has been, "I didn't do anything that bad…" And my own kids?  My son is getting reprimanded for calling out and not listening to the teacher, while my daughter is only showing us her good schoolwork-the rest she keeps to herself.

And then there are the daily agitations that seem like bigger problems when they are lumped with all the others. Last night I hit an all time low when I went to the bathroom and saw this after I finished doing you-know-what! I had to carefully tear small bits and hope for the best as I ventured out in the hallway where our linen closet is, and our toilet paper supply…

So here I sit, worried that I still haven’t balanced all my positive and negative parts, and hoping that a co-worker who is experiencing some bad chi right now doesn’t send it back my way-I mean, how much worse can it get? Uh oh, if I knock on fake wood does it still count?