Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday Magic

There is magic in the air as we all get ready for Microfiction Monday #72. If your new, Susan, over at Stony River, delivers a challenge once a week-we are to write a story about a picture she posts in 140 characters or less (including punctuation and spacing)and then link up back at her site.

I loved this week's picture, and let my mind wander about it for a while before trying to formulate my entry. For some reason the poetry flowed much easier than the prose, although I'm pretty happy with both (I can't wait to hear what you think.) Here is the picture:
And here is my first entry:
The fairy floated down, resting her staff inside the little boy's shoe-one silver coin for one small tooth, and she would be on her way. (135 characters)

And here is my poem

Pixie dust, fairy wings,
Knights, castles, noble kings,
Pretty pink polish,
And plastic rings,
My little girl's world,
Is my everything.
(138 characters)

I am looking back tonight, so this is probably why the poem came much more easily. My little girl is not so little anymore-she turns 12 next week, but I still remember those early days like they were yesterday.  Sigh... I see the link isn't up yet, so I will come by your blogs tomorrow!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

I haven’t been feeling well lately, and since I’ve been spending a lot of time at work and home on the computer (doing work related things), I haven’t felt like jumping on for fun. I also haven’t been sleeping very well (at least for the past two weeks), but I’m not entirely sure why. I always seem to rewind a lot, just like a tape recorder-thinking about something, then something else, then going back to the start of my thoughts again. I think this might be a woman thing, but I’m not sure-I do know that I've been trying to read the most tedious stuff right before I close my eyes so I can fool my mind into turning off.

This lack of sleep is affecting me during the day, although this week hasn’t been as bad as last week. For instance, I have always had a problem with keys, where I would put them down while in the middle of doing something, and then not know where they were. This literally would drive me crazy, until I found ways to minimize the problem-I have one key chain now with all car, house, and work keys, because the more key chains I had, the more I was prone to leave one somewhere. And I got into the habit of putting them back in my purse as soon as I got home from work and keeping them with me at all times when I was at work.

For the most part this key habit has worked fairly well, with the exception of this week. After my first period class I could not find my keys (no keys meant I couldn’t unlock my desk drawer), and I had spent the morning going back and forth between my studio and my classroom- the only thing I could think of was that I might have left them in the studio door. Did I mention that every key that I own is on one key chain? Three sets of eyes looked for my keys-the front desk secretary, one of my students, and me-and we all came up empty handed.

I was starting to panic and thought the worst, so I sent out an e-mail asking all my co-workers to be on the lookout. I then tried to retrace my steps once again during my free period, and not finding anything, considered myself lucky to at least be able to get into my large cabinet. I needed a cable from in there, so I opened a drawer in this cabinet, and there were my keys! I must have had this same thought about the cable earlier that day and got distracted!

Now this isn’t the only weird event attributed to my lack of sleep. I instinctively pick up my kids clothes that don’t make it down the laundry shoot in our bathroom (okay, some battles I just don’t feel like fighting at the end of the day), but for some reason, I walk over to the garbage can instead. I've tried to throw away just about every item of clothing that I get in my hands, and I don’t realize my mistake until at least something drops in!

I can’t drink coffee because of how it affects my stomach, and I swore off caffeine a year ago, so trying to pep up in the morning has been hard. I’ve been trying to chug down a cup of decaf tea with loads of sugar to try to get a jump-start, but I’m only fooling myself. My mouth was on some sort of autopilot today getting the same message from my head three times-I actually repeated an explanation three consecutive times, until the students started snickering and so did I-you have to laugh at stuff like this!

And apparently I have to be careful with nighttime routines. Last night I reached for my face cream when I should have been reaching for the toothpaste (I am so glad I didn’t get a mouthful!), and when I sat down to take off my socks, I noticed that one was blue and the other black. Now I could tell you that I mistakenly grabbed the socks early in the morning, but the fact is I lay out all my clothes the night before…

My conversations with my husband in the morning have been reduced to just grunts, (as well as my conversations with him right before bed), so he is now grunting back at me whenever I do actually try to talk to him, just to get a rise out of me-um, it hasn’t worked though because I’m just too tired. Goodnight every…ZZZZZZ………………

Ok, I couldn't help myself-I decided that I had to have a little pick me up, so here's a link to a little Santana and Michelle Branch with The Game of Love-just a little bit of this to help you out this evening.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Past and Present

It's that time again, Mircrofiction Monday #71-this is where Susan, from Stony River challenges us to write a 140 character story (or less, including spacing and punctuation) based on the photo she posts. I should be doing work on the computer, but I took a short break to post my entry. This picture was haunting, but I didn't know it was a building still being used until I read Susan's description on her blog-somewhat unnerving, to say the least!

Anyway, I did both prose and poetry again, but my poem is sort of "out there"-I didn't want to do just a rhyming version of my first take... So here is this week's picture and my first story:

Our feet echoed in the grimy hallway-this had been our school, once teeming with life and promise, but now a hull holding only memories. (138 characters)

And here's my poem:

I look for you,
Knowing you're not there.
I call for you,
Refusing to care
That you are only,
In my mind,
Just a memory,
Love left behind.
(138 characters)

I want to thank all of you for your lovely comments, especially those encouraging me in the poetry realm. This was a challenge I gave myself, and I really enjoy it! I look forward to reading your takes this week too-would anyone see any humor in this? I wonder...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The "tween" years: the good, the bad, the ugly

I’m getting an education in how to deal with my "tween" daughter, but it’s happening at a snails pace, one day at a time-isn’t that a song title? And as the countdown is slowing to just a few weeks before my daughter turns the ripe old age of 12, and the battles of "who's the boss" continue, I can’t help but remember some of the battles I had with my own mother at this age, and I hope time won’t repeat itself.

Do all mothers and daughters disagree when the teen years start, or are my control issues driving a wedge between us? I‘m coming off a real low point right now, in part because of an argument I had with my daughter before school on Friday. It had been a trying week for me, mainly because I hadn’t been feeling too well, and I hadn’t been getting much sleep at night-my body was dead tired, but I just couldn’t shut my brain down.

Anyway, I was off on Friday, but my kids still had school, so I was the one who would have get them on the bus (my husband usually drives the kids to school because the bus gets to our house pretty late.) Things weren’t going too well with my daughter, and speed was the issue-there seems to be one speed for getting things done anymore, "slow!" I was watching the clock and trying to get her to finish getting ready, but she was still in front of the mirror fooling with her outfit-no shoes on, and hair and teeth not brushed, so I was a basket case! They had a teachers vs. students basketball game that day, and all of her friends had decided that they would dress a certain way

The bus would be here in ten minutes so I shouted my last warning, and headed outside with my son. With five minutes left to spare, she meanders outside carrying her winter coat, and decides that she needs her light coat instead. Back in the house she goes, and comes out with a very thin hoodie-now I know the temperatures were to get into the 60’s later in the day, but it was still in the 30’s, and with the wind blowing it felt like 20’s!

So I headed back in the house in search of a light but a bit heavier jacket, but when I came out I knew by my daughter’s face that I was in for an argument. You see the shirt she was wearing was pretty long, and it didn’t look right hanging out from under her jacket. Back into the house I went in search of another jacket, coming out with one that I bought her last spring. She refused to try it on to see if it would fit. I had my doubts too, but I mean she actually flat out refused and that brought out the control freak in me-I gave her an ultimatum-either try on the jacket, or lose her iPod for a week! She tried on the jacket but even though it still fit her in the sleeves, it was now much too short, so back into the house I went for the winter jacket again!

That’s three trips into the house and back, and I was livid-my daughter wanted to go back into the house to retrieve her jacket, but like I said before, the only speed she knows is slow, and the bus was due any minute.

Now a smarter person would have just let the matter drop with only two minutes before the bus, but since my education in tween isn’t complete, I did not stop. My daughter’s hair (or more like the lack of a hairstyle) has been a point of contention between her, her father, and me for some time now-I had wanted her to browse the web until she found a style she liked, and then we would go the beauty shop this weekend. She hadn’t done this yet; I told her that I was taking her this weekend and the style I wanted her to have would be the one she would come home with. This didn’t go over very well, and there were some tears and some angry retorts-apparently I have ruined her life, and she was going to make sure I never saw her grandchildren.

Okay, I was so hurt by the "ruining her life" comment that I didn’t laugh at the grandchild comment (um, I would be dead so I wouldn’t see her grandchildren)-she must mean "children" but I didn’t correct her. And I got no wave or acknowledgment (although I rarely do anymore) when she walked on the bus.

I called my husband up when I got back inside, and he promptly welcomed me to his world-he has daily altercations with my daughter about the speed issue (I believe the "I hate you!" is uttered by her to him quite frequently), but he says he tries to back off before things get too intense, sort of signifying that once again I had a lot to learn about tweendom.

Things are better between my daughter and I since Friday morning-we talked, and I listened, and I started to remember how hard school and life is at this age. Everything is changing for her-more responsibilities at home, harder work at school, and friends and their opinions taking a bigger role. I’m not saying that we’re not going to have any more battles (she lost her iPod today after I asked her three times to get into the shower), but I’m going to work on listening a little more and talking a little less, that and looking for a book on this stuff-I hate being the slowest kid in the class!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two's company and threes a crowd...

Happy Valentine's Day everybody! It's time again for Microfiction Monday #70 where Susan, over at Stony River, challenges us to write a story in 140 characters or less (including punctuation and spaces) based on a picture she posts. Susan was right-on with this week's picture because of its "love" theme. For some reason, I didn't have much trouble doing verse or prose, and I'm attributing this to the anticipation and excitement that goes along with this holiday. Now I know I said that I could live without Valentine's Day, but my kid’s excitement is rubbing off on me, and my husband is acting very strangely… Anyway, here is this week's picture and my first story:

Cedric kept his eyes on the countryside, trying hard to ignore his friends-if he had known it was a lover’s picnic he never would have come. (140 characters)

And here is my poem:

As I sit beneath this tree,
A thought doth occur to me,
Wherever I go,
Or aspire to be,
I am but a tiny speck,
In a world of uncertainty.
(140 characters)

Hmm...the poem maybe a little on the depressing side, but I kept thinking that if I was that fifth person, I wouldn't be the happiest of people. I look forward to reading all of your entries, especially since I know a lot of you may address the fact that some of the boys look a bit like girls-I'm hoping for some good laughs! Take care!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Tech Valentine's Day Gifts

Well after my down-on-Valentine’s-Day post, I thought I needed to redeem myself a little. I decided to put a little more effort into making this day special, and I thought I would pass on some interesting gift ideas to you.

Now what to get a man on Valentine’s Day is always puzzling, but I recently read some statistics that were a real eye opener. IOGEAR did a poll where they asked men what their preferred gift on Valentine’s Day would be. 61% said that they would like a tech gift, but only 19% said they ever received this. Since IOGEAR is an audio/video manufacturer, their clientele are going to be men and women who like technology gadgets (my polite term for geeks), and this might slant their survey just a bit, but speaking from experience, men do like toys, so maybe, just maybe, you should consider a tech gift when it comes time to pick out your gifts.
VH1 on Chumby1

Penguin cam that the kids like to watch
First on my list is a Chumby1 (check out my review here) because of the cool factor, and because they're running a special for Valentine’s Day. The device normally sells for $129.95, but if you use the promo code VDAY11 when you check out, the price drops down to only $69.95! My husband has his sitting on his nightstand, and it’s the last thing he looks at before he goes to bed, and it was his favorite gift this Christmas.

There are also a number of smaller gift ideas (some under $10) that are both geeky and funny, and who doesn’t want to laugh and save money? Some of my students at school turned me on to a very unique site called ThinkGeek-some of the stuff is a little out there, but there are others worth a look. I found these in their section for Valentine’s gifts: give him your heart and a little extra heat with this heart hand warmer ($5.99), or tell him how much you care with an I Love You bean plant ($4.99). Maybe the two of you could dabble in the ancient art of chocolate making with the Mayan Magic Chocolate Making Kit ($24.99)? Or if your sweetie has a hard time staying awake, why not supercharge him with Shower Shock Caffeinated Bubble Bath ($14.99)?

I also have some gift ideas for those willing to spend a little more. If your guy likes to read, why not take a look at the Sony Pocket reader (about $120) or the newly reduced Kindle ($139) book reader. I was at the beach a few years ago when I saw the Kindle for the first time-I kept trying to keep the pages of my book from fluttering in the wind and I happened to glance at a man near me holding a Kindle. I decided to look into purchasing one for my husband that Christmas because my husband is also a big book reader, and we don’t have any more places to store our books. When I started reading about the Kindle’s problems and saw how much they cost ($500), I started looking elsewhere. Sony came out with their edition, and the one in my price range was their Pocket Reader ($120)-plus, most reviews raved about this new toy, mainly because it accepted all downloadable book formats, including the .epub that the libraries use (you can "check" out books through library systems). You can also buy books from the Sony site for around $9, and get newspaper and some magazine subscriptions. My husband loves his, and it still works great after a year. So far we haven’t downloaded anything from our local library, but that’s because they are just adopting the system now. You can buy books and subscriptions for about the same price from the Amazon site for the Kindle, but you can only download from Amazon.

I also have a no-to-low cost tech option that you may want to keep in mind since time is limited and getting a gift to arrive by Monday will cost some hefty shipping and handling fees… Why not purchase a 2-4Gb jump drive and load it up with his favorite tunes? He can take it to work with him, plug it in his computer, and think how lucky he is to have such a thoughtful, loving wife like you. (It could happen-LOL!) Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's that time!

I thought I would kill a little time and do number 69, Microfiction Monday that is. Once again Susan, over at Stony River has posted a picture and dared us to write a story in 140 characters (including spaces and punctuation)or less. I was able to put together a prose piece pretty easily, but my mind was resisting any attempts at poetry as long as the game was still on. Alas, the Steelers lost, and I was able to come back and write one. Here is this week's picture and my first story:

Ann was shaking as she looked at the old clock-he was to meet her in 15 minutes, but could he give up everything so they could be together?(140 characters)

And here is my poem:
The stately building covered in grime
Sighed as the old, iron clock chimed
I was rather grand in my prime
If only I knew a way to stop time
(140 characters)

I know at least one Steeler player who probably wishes he could turn back time when his team was only down by three! I think I need some Rolaids...   (I'll hop by everyone's blogs tomorrow.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Day revisited

I am not a big Valentine’s Day fan, and I guess this dislike stems from the many times I was not in a relationship but had to endure those around me who were (I know you know what I mean...), but it goes further back than this.  In grade school, even though you were supposed to give Valentines to the whole class, the "cliques" decided that only their friends should get cards, so I didn’t really need a giant Valentine’s mailbox to carry cards home.  (Okay, here is where you're supposed to say, "Aw..."  )

In high school it was worse-student council sold carnations that you could send your sweetie, and they only knew it was you if they forked over another buck. The colors were red for "I love you", pink for "I have a crush on you," and white for "I like you as a friend." You can probably guess that I didn’t get many flowers from boys (I was a late bloomer of sorts), so my friends and I did what other girls did and sent flowers to each other-white of course, and maybe the occasional pink-just so we wouldn’t feel left out. College was better, but there were many times when a serious boyfriend was not in the picture.

Flash forward quite a few years-even though I have my sweetie, Valentine’s Day still comes back to bite me in the butt. The problem isn’t who my Valentine is, but what the heck do I get him? I used to buy all the gimmicky gifts, like kissing bears and other love themed items that Hallmark is famous for, but what do you do with the stuff after Valentine’s Day? I have several stuffed animals like a very cute gorilla hanging on a bar saying, "Let’s hang out!" but most are covering the top of our armoire in the bedroom. (My husband owns a pair of Valentine’s Day socks-yes I bought them for him-that play, "Let me be your sweetheart" every time he flexed his calf muscles-I know he still has them but they’re hidden deep in his sock drawer.)

Then I bought "sensible" gifts that my husband needed or wanted, like shirts, pants, and small power tools, but even though those gifts were nice, they weren’t what you would call romantic. So now it’s sort of a toss up for me (mostly sensible, sometimes not, and sometimes a little of both), and my husband has fallen back on flowers and possibly dinner out, and that’s all right with me. Is this what Valentine's Day is all about?  Maybe I’m still jaded by the past, and after 20 years of marriage maybe I'm less of a romantic, but I don't understand why we need a reason to do nice things for each other on just this one day.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the day and love flowers, but it just seems like a lot of needless pressure, and I like the "just because" types of gifts that come on an ordinary day the best.

Okay, I’m dying to know if you’re with me on this one, or am I totally not getting the whole "Valentine’s Day is for lovers" thing? Do you still give gifts on Valentine's Day, and if so, what do you get?