Sunday, December 26, 2010

A little birdie told me... (#63)

Merry Christmas everyone! I was a bit down on my b-day, but we had a fantastic Christmas so my emotions are on an all time high (however, we are off to visit our families for about four days so that emotional lift may be temporary...LOL!)  Anyway, if you're new here, it's Microfiction Monday where Susan, over at Stony River, posts a picture and asks us to compose a "story" in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation).

My stories seem a little elementary this week (especially my stab at a poetry piece), but I'll let you all be the judge. Here is this week's picture and my first story (I used some good old Irish names since Susan took this picture in Ireland):

The epitome of cool, Casey sat motionless, waiting for his chance-Devlin always got the prime roosting spots, but today would be different. (140 characters)

I worked and reworked (and reworded) this poem throughout the day-even burning a pan full of nuts I was roasting for candy. Anyway, I landed on that 140 marker finally and this is what I came up with:

Two pigeons at odds
Atop an old rail
Each sitting still
Not moving a tail
He is wrong
I am right
And there they sit
All day and all night
(140 characters)

You know, it's funny what pops into your head when you sit down to write a passage. After some family events a couple days ago, I can't help thinking I'm like one of the birds in my poem. Maybe I need to heed my own warning? What about you-did your writing this week resemble anything going on in your every day life? Just curious... See you all next week, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy birthday to me...

Christmas Eve is very different for me-not only is it the last day before all the hoopla of the Christmas holiday, but it’s also my birthday. Over the years I’ve learned to live with it, but when I was little and trying to plan a birthday party, I had to worry about snowstorms and people canceling due to family holiday plans. I don’t have to worry about that now, but my birthdays are either fantastic or just one of those days, and there is no predicting how they will turn out.

Today turned out to be one of those humdrum birthdays, although things started out promising. My husband let me sleep in (it was glorious!) but things turned sour pretty quickly after a phone call from my mother. She wished me a happy birthday then we talked for a little bit about my plans for the holiday.

First some background knowledge. We don’t live near family-my parents and sisters are around 4 ½ hours away, and my husband’s family is about 5 hours away, so we celebrate Christmas with our kids at home and travel between the two families a few days later. Because my sisters and I are not close (and never have been due to someone always getting upset with someone else about something), the time spent at my parents house has dwindled down to only one day-my nerves can’t take much more than this. Unfortunately I have usually been the one someone was mad at (and I do admit that I am not entirely without fault in these situations), but it happens every time all of us get together (it’s funny because a one-on-one visit always goes well…) This year, despite my mother’s objections, I decided not to partake in all the drama of a group visit, and asked my mother if the visit could just be with my older sister and the grandparents (my older sister and I get along the best.)

Now how I was going to pull this off I didn’t know, but since I talk to my two younger sisters once in a blue moon, I didn’t think it would be a problem, that is until my mother started scheming ways in which my sisters would innocently pop over the house. My mother kind of let things slip when she was talking to me this morning, and I nearly went ballistic. I mean, I just want the kids to be able to visit with their grandparents alone without the other grandkids there and without all the arguing that always follows-it’s not even Christmas and I’m already arguing with my mother! Why should my kids have to witness this? And this whole affair bothers my mother more than anyone-my youngest sister and her husband said it would be fine with them-I think they don’t mind skipping what has become a custom either. I feel badly about arguing with my mother, but she never really listens to me-and believe me when I say that this has been going on my whole life.

From there things sort of nose dived-my kids weren’t listening to me, my husband had a headache and nausea, and I sat alone staring at my Christmas lights. My husband did pull through by late afternoon, and he did his best to salvage what was left of my day with dinner out. My kids started arguing at the table (even threats to my youngest about Santa watching did no good) and my response was, um, to laugh. I started laughing, saying in between guffaws, that this year’s birthday really stinks and then my husband started laughing! Oh well, thank goodness for my odd sense of humor, and thanks to a few of you bloggers out there who corresponded with me today (MOTPG, Nichol), and a very happy birthday to Laurie! Thanks for letting me vent-I'm off to watch The Christmas story. I hope you all have a wonderful, "pain-free" Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Walking in a winter wonderland... "

It's Microfiction Monday, my favorite time of the week (and that's saying a lot because otherwise I loathe Mondays!)Susan, over at Stony River, posts a picture and asks us to compose a "story" in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation). This week's picture was a good choice for the season and only served to remind me of how little time there is before the Christmas holiday. (Do all of you have your shopping done? We drove past one of the large malls this afternoon and it was packed, and I thought how glad I was to have everything done...) Anyway, here is the picture and here are my stories (I actually took a stab at humor with my first):

Tiny Tim boasted about carrying the pig, so the others decided that a little strategically placed snow would wipe the smirk off his face. (138 characters)
And a Cinquain poem to get you looking forward to spring:

Lowers her head,
On downy white pillows,
Until the sun’s warmth rouses her
(89 characters)

I can't wait to come around to see what everyone else did with this picture, and I'm sure I'll get a good laugh or two because some of you have a very quick wit! And as always, if you are coming my blog for the first time, why not join up at Stony River too-the more the merrier!   Oh, and tune in later in the week for a book review and a tale or two...

One more thing, please make sure to have your monitor's properties set at 1024 by 768 pixels because this is the best way to see everything on my blog clearly. I'm going to be tackling some bubbles in my background over the holiday-maybe even changing the background completely-so that it's easier to read.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rumble at the choral concert

I finally feel calm enough to write about the "incident" I have been referring to in my past couple posts, plus, most of my friends and co-workers have helped ease my conscience considerably (they're telling me that I am not an evil person.) I am going to try to keep this short, but we shall see…

Last Wednesday was my daughter’s 6th grade choral concert (I found out Monday that her black shoes were too tight and her black Capri pants were a little too short but that’s another story entirely.)

Anyway, we were all dressed and ready to go about 45 minutes ahead of schedule, which is rare, so we thought we should take advantage of this and get to the school early. (The choral concert also includes the band and jazz band performances, and because there are so many kids in the 5th and 6th grades, they do each grades' concert on separate days.)

As we were walking through the parking lot, we passed a sweet mother daughter moment where the mom was giving her daughter a quick hug before the girl ran into the school. But you know the proverb, "Never judge a book by its cover?" Well, this saying played out about five minutes later inside the auditorium.

My husband and I walked into the auditorium and I noticed that we weren’t as early as I thought-there was quite a crowd already seated and as my husband ushered my daughter out towards the music room, he gestured over at some empty seats about three rows from the front on the right side of the room (my daughter assured us that she would be standing on the risers facing this section of the room.)

I walked up to two people on the end of the row and asked if any of the seats next to them were taken. Since they answered "No" I quickly glanced down the row-there were three women sitting at the other end but quite a few empty seats in the middle, so I took my son’s hand and started walking in.

I was just putting my things down when a woman walked up to me and said in a terse tone,

"How many seats do you need?"

Without looking up (I was taking off my son’s coat at the time) I told her I only needed three seats. Her reply was that she needed four but I really wasn’t paying attention to her to realize that she was not happy. Irritated she said,

"Well this isn’t going to work,"

and her tone of voice finally caught my attention and I turned to look at her. Guess who I saw glaring at me? Yep, you guessed it-that same loving woman I saw only five minutes earlier in the parking lot.

I was more than a little startled because I didn’t understand why this woman was still talking to me and why she was angry-the only thing I can say is that it had been a hectic day at work and I had quite a few things on my mind, so the obvious wasn’t obvious. I shrugged my shoulders and started to sit down and that’s when the full fury of this woman was unleashed. She started screaming at me at the top of her lungs saying a lot of things like

"How dare you!" and "Don’t you know that I got here first?" 

and insinuating that I had no moral character whatsoever. (I also want to add that this woman was huge both in height and girth and she was towering over me as she screamed. She also tried to get everyone else to notice my apparent insensibility by addressing the people in the rows around us and wildly waving her arms.)

At this point I looked to my left and noticed that there were only three available seats and the whole scope of this situation hit me at last-this woman was accusing me of stealing seats. A lot started going on in my head at that moment-a part of me wished madly for my husband to get back, a part thought I should get up and get the heck away from this woman, and the other part (the one I am totally baffled by) decided to just stay seated. You see, I am not one to draw attention to myself, and my friends and co-workers all know me as the "peace maker"-I try to get along with everybody. (Okay, I might still argue with my husband but that doesn’t count.)

I anxiously looked over at my son who was staring at this woman open-mouthed, and once again I told myself to get out of there, that any decent mother would leave, but I couldn’t move. I guess I was silently protesting, just sitting staring straight ahead until this woman either hit me (and I really thought she would), we would be asked to leave, or she gave up.

Thankfully she decided to move on, and would you believe that she found four seats together in the front row-right in front of me? She turned around shouting (just like she was on stage),

"Now here are four seats together and these people have no problem with my family sitting here."

She stopped rather abruptly and sat down and I looked to see why-my husband was making his way down the row towards me. He started asking what was going on and I whispered back that apparently I am a seat thief and for him to just sit down. He did so but not without shouting, "Is it that big mouth there?" Let’s just say that if I could have sunk into the floor I would have, and after giving him my death stare he sat down.

I had to watch this woman be-bopping her head during the entire concert, and when my daughter took the stage, I couldn’t see her because this woman’s daughter decided to stand fully turned to face the audience! She smiled at her mother while her mother sang along (I am not exaggerating), and I just hoped for an end to this evening.

My daughter saw my face after the concert and asked what was bothering me, and let’s just say I never walked as fast as I did that night-I just wanted out of there! As we headed for home, I gave a slimmed down version of the "incident"while my husband laughed-he still thinks it’s funny and is now referring to me as "the bruiser." I also covertly asked whether my daughter was friends with the girl who stood in front of her-her response (thankfully) was no, so I am hoping that I will never meet this woman again (at least not until next year’s concert-wish me luck…)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

#61 and counting (Microfiction Monday)

Well it's that time of the week again-Microfiction time. It's where our host Susan, over at the Stony River, posts a picture and we write a story about it in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation.)

I'm still reeling from an incident that happened at my daughter's chorus concert so seeing the "merry" in this picture was not to be, and believe me, I tried. The thing is, each one of us will see something different in the picture, and the resulting post may depend on our mood at the time. (Plus I am still, at this moment, finishing my own laundry, so this also adds to my jaded outlook...) So, here is this week's picture and my two rather moody stories:

Mabel thought that if she could just keep smiling, she could pretend the chore at hand was fun and the weather around her foul. (129 characters)

Now, before you read my verse, rest assured that I'm not running away-the picture just reminded me of housewives of the past and how their joy out of life supposedly came from how well they kept their houses. Here's my verse:

I’ll adorn my bonnet with flowers,
And smile throughout the day,
But I’m waiting ‘til I’m brave enough,
To turn and walk away.
(128 characters)

Now if you are visiting here for the first time, why not join the meme and write your own story. (Just be sure to link up at Susan's site.) And those of you connecting from Stony River, I can't wait to read your stories!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soothing the Soul

I was going to tell you a tale of woe involving an incident at my daughter’s school choral concert last night, but I dallied too much with other stuff so there really there isn’t time to tell it.  Let’s just say that the whole thing kept me tossing and turning last night, so I really need to get a good night’s sleep (I almost fell asleep looking at my e-mail with my cell phone!)

What am I going to do instead?  Well, I feel a song coming on, so I will follow septetembermom’s lead whenever she needs a pick-me-up and offer you a peaceful end, or beginning, to your day.(Plus I could really use a big dose of calm this evening because my nerves are still a little raw because of “the incident”-curious aren’t you?)

Well, without any more delay, I offer you:

“Sailing…that takes me away to where I've always heard it could be.
Just a dream and the wind to carry me and soon I will be free.”

There is nothing like the melody of Christopher Cross’s Sailing song for total relaxation.  I haven’t heard this song in ages, but cranked it in the car ride home this afternoon and it still has the same effect-that haunting melody makes me think of the ocean and instantly I’m at peace! I wonder whatever happened to him? Just look at the beautiful pictures, then close your eyes and allow the music to float around you...I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"I'm as silent as the grave," except on Microfiction Monday!

Well today marks the big '60' for the Microfiction Monday Meme. Our host Susan over at Stony River posts a picture with a challenge-to write a story about it in 140 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation.) Here is this week's picture and my two takes:

Rambling weeds and creeping moss,
Wrap around the crumbling cross.
A name and date once graced the stone,
Marking a life that now is gone.
(138 characters)

She stared at the massive gravestones blackened by time and neglect-their purpose was to mark the end, but life had gone on around them. (136 characters)

I was struck by the sadness of the scene so no humor in my entries today, although it does almost look as if the one stone is trying to lean away from the other. I am anxious to see if anyone else picked up on that in a comical way.

And if you are new here, why not try a passage out yourself? Just be sure to link back to Stony River.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gifts you won't mind giving them (DS games review)

First let me hop on my soap box...  Now even though I consider myself to be a technophobe (my term meaning "geek", not to be confused with the term "nerd"), I am vary wary about my kids exposure to technology, especially at too young of an age. I decided that eight was a good age for a first hand held gaming device, and I came up with this age based on my experience as a teacher, and knowing my kids. The brain is tangled messes of neuron activity at ages 1, 4, 7, and 11, and these are critical brain development years when the brain is primed for new learning. Language develops from ages 1-2, and reading skills develop from ages 4-7, so books, pretend play, and different experiences are crucial-hand held games, not so much. (An easy explanation can be found here Family Education)

Sometimes the decision to buy the hand held unit is the easy part-there are so many games at so many different price levels, (nobody wants to dump $40 on a game that sits on a shelf) that I thought I might steer you toward a purchase that was both fun and educational, so I’ll get off my soapbox now and give you some of the best bets for DS games-some of my choices are also those by other Internet review sites, such as CNET reviews, and

My number one pick is Scribblenauts, and it’s the very first DS game I bought for my daughter three years ago-my son is now interested in it. The game won numerous awards for its creative approach to problem solving, and the awards are well deserved. The premise is similar to other games-Maxwell must collect game pieces (in this case the pieces are called "Starites") that are hidden among the different difficulty levels. However, in order to collect these pieces, he has to solve a series puzzles, and the puzzles are anything but ordinary. Maxwell is given dilemmas that start out easy (How can you get past a bee?) to more difficult (How can you exterminate ants without upsetting a hippie?), you type or write things that may help, and the game creates them. For example, type bee catcher for the first scenario and see what the game does with it. The game stimulates problem solving, encourages vocabulary development, and helps kids with their spelling, although your child won’t realize this at all.

The game did have some problems, and one is the reliance on some of the same objects to solve the problems, and there were some movement difficulties, so get the newest version, Super Scribblenauts, because it not only addresses all of the first games shortcomings, it now lets you add adjectives to things you ask the game to create (i.e. Exploding volcano, not just a volcano). The game will also create just about any non-trademarked object (with notable exceptions that keep the game kid friendly), and it really is one game that you yourself would enjoy. This game was number one on 

And if you want to solve puzzles and enjoy more of a story with your quest, then why not add one of the Professor Layton DS games to your gift bag. My son will be getting the latest version, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, although the other games play out in the same manner: Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke are trying to solve a mystery, but along the way there are smaller puzzles and riddles to be solved. The games are like interacting with a mini-movie, with added conversation and 3-D effects that really make it enjoyable. This game was number two on 

For older kids (10 and up) you can’t go wrong with any of the Zelda adventure games. The latest, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is said to be the series best, and again you are helping the main character, Link, problem solve. Take note that there is some swordplay with "bad guys" involved, although nothing I would consider too graphic. This game has made the top ten list on many gaming review sites, and it is also recommended on the site.

And then there are those games that are classics for fun like Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, and who doesn't love Mario? My daughter enjoys the DS Cooking Mama game that let’s you cook different recipes along with mama, and although I don’t think it’s particularly educational, sometimes a good game is great because it's fun to play.  Happy shopping!

All game screen shots were used for the sole purpose of review and fall under the fare use act of the copy write law.  The opinions expressed are my own and were done without compensation of any kind, including the receipt of any games for review.  And although was referred to and used as a resource, I do not agree with many of the games listed as top children's games on their site.