Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks for all the well-wishes, guys! I'm not back up to 100% just yet, but I'm getting there. If only I could just stop coughing........

But anyways, it's MONDAY! And you all know what that means...



The name of the game is "Make It Up Monday," and the rules are as follows:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stefers the Great and the Horrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Sniffles

So sorry that I have been remiss in my posting duties. Not only did my life go absolutely crazy with business this past week, but I also got sick and have been trying to quell the person who has decided to open the faucet attached to my nose on at full strength. Post nasal drip is a bitch, guys.

At any rate, my fever has now broken, and I'm feelind well enough to post the winners for this past week's Make It Up Monday!

Belle wrote...
Mr. Lee's wife started menopause six months ago. He now sits beside his apartment building watching the traffic and people go by. He enjoys it so much he wishes she had acted crazy years ago.
 M.A.S. wrote...
     “You think he’s as old as he looks?” I asked her. “It’s a hard life out here. He’s probably thirty.”
     “I think he’s a thousand years old,” she replied. “He’s as old as the earth.” There was something disturbingly cosmic in her tone.
     “Sixty?” I tried not to let the concern squeak out in my voice. But it did.
     “I know this is a lot for you. I know it’s more than you bargained for. But the spirituality of this place will melt our souls together in a bond stronger than the moon and the earth.”
More than I bargained for? Pretty much. Twenty seven hundred miles from home with my Internet girlfriend that I just met and just happens to possess a cultish insanity. And I’m stuck here in some Tibetan Deliverance. I half expect this shaman dude to drop his pipe of I don’t even wanna know and break into Dueling Dramyins.
     “No honey.” I had taken a lot of time to gather my thoughts, but I still had no idea what I was going to say. “It’s just so much energy here. It’s hard to wrap my head around.” Energy? What the hell am I talking about? That’s when he gave me the pipe. He just handed it to me.
     “She’s not what she seems to be,“ he said with the most practiced English and complete annunciation I had ever heard, as he pushed his smoking cigar stick thing into my palm.”
If you mean she’s not crazy, I beg to differ. And then, a long inhale. What the… I feel kinda.
Thud!
     “Get his shoes off. We don’t have much time.”
 Lolamouse wrote...
Old man sits and grins
He has secrets you don't know
Laughing, he won't tell.
Yay!!! You guys are great! Keep it up!!

Peace.
Stef.

P.S. Send good health vibes my way... I need to get better!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Exercise #179 : Grocery Store Customer Comment Bulletin Board

My grocery store has a bulletin board for customer thoughts, and I love seeing the emotion and the quirkiness in so many of the comments. Here are a few I jotted down in my ever-handy notebook:
  • I adore the chicken pesto sausage. Please keep them until I die.
  • Please put a Whole Foods Market in Tampa, FL.
  • Why are your bathrooms always disgusting???
  • The decision to discontinue the sale of live lobster and crabs is RIDICULOUS
  • etc......
So the 5 minute writing exercise is this: in one to two sentences, what might the following characters write on a customer comment card in your supermarket?
  1. a harried young mother with twin toddlers who suffer from an allergy
  2. a retired diabetic on a strict budget
  3. an avid amateur chef
  4. an avid and extremely adventurous and accomplished chef
  5. someone who just found out that the favorite TV show has been canceled
  6. someone who just found this morning that they have won a law suit, and the settlement will add to their already substantial fortune
  7. a strict vegan and animal rights activist
  8. someone who knows she needs to get divorced but she just can't seem to get around to dealing with the paperwork
  9. a man who cooks for his pet poodle puppy
1,2,3, GO!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Exercise #178 : Only the Top Ten

June 27 "Only the Top Ten Nouns"
According to Oxford University Press researchers (view the article HERE) the top 10 nouns in the English language are:
  1. Time
  2. Person
  3. Year
  4. Way
  5. Day
  6. Thing
  7. Man
  8. World
  9. Life
  10. Hand
The exercise is this: write something --- anything -- that incorporates these and only these 10 nouns.

1,2,3, GO!!!
Ok, folks... I'm going to need a little bit of time on this one. So I'm going to post this early in the morning and then work through this throughout the day, posting my response as an update at the bottom of this post sometime in the evening.

If you'd like to do the same, go for it!

The great thing is that, even though we're all using the same prompt, we're all going to come up with starkly different things. Exciting, eh??

So, go! Write!

You're pulling out your pen and paper now, aren't you?

...

Aren't you??
Good luck, and have fun!

Peace.
Stef.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Winners!!!

Here are my lovely winners for this week's installment of "Make It Up Monday!"

Our Life in a Caravan wrote...
Margo and Tilly couldn't watch as Lucy made herself into the shape of a bike rack and awaited her first paying customer. The things that girl will do for money!
King of New York Hacks wrote...
FLATULENCE...Always has its ups and downs.
(SIDE NOTE: I'm a sucker for a good fart joke.)

e.gajd wrote...
Let me just say that, well, I'm not sure how to say this.
I love my sisters. But... Do you have sisters? No? Well, then you probably won't understand how I can write that 'I love my sisters, but...'

Let me start by saying, you can't tell by looking at them, but they're twins. Being twins means that they always seem to have a secret connection. Well, that is annoying enough, but even worse, they love to laugh. They laugh at just about everything. And always they laugh, together, usually just after they look at me and then at each other. I haven't done anything, and they don't say anything, they just laugh at some secret thought. And what really bugs me about that, is that I'm a couple of years older than them. And I keep thinking that that is supposed to be enough to get some respect. Instead, they laugh.

One day, for example, I came home from the library. I had spent the morning reading all about yoga. It is wonderful! I was surprised to learn that not only does it help heal and fix the body, it also creates energy in the mind that improves IQs. When I read that, and saw how simple the exercises were, I knew that I could help my younger sisters. I mean, isn't that what the older sister is supposed to do? Give them help, whether they wanted it or not?

And so, that afternoon, I shared what I had learned with them. Of course I didn't tell them that I was going to make them smarter! That would have just made them mad! I'm not that dumb! I simply told them that if they learned some yoga from me, they would look prettier and feel healthier.

Now, you'd think that they would be happy to let me help them. But no. I had to argue with them! And even after twisting their arms, Alice wouldn't think of putting on exercise cloths. 'I will not go to the park, in public in exercise cloths! That's just rude. OMG!'

OMG?!

Anyway, in the end I gave up on Alice. I did get Joan to agree to wearing a bathing suit instead of her jeans, but she'd do that only if I wore one too. They know how much I hate that, so of course they both laughed!

And so, there we were in the park. Joan in her ugliest, mom-bought, bathing suit because, 'Why would I wear a nice one to swim in the grass?' she said. Alice in her dress, clutching her ribbon-tied letter paper and note book. She won't go anywhere without it because, as she always says, 'A good writer doesn't let a lack of paper lose a great idea. Anywhere or anytime!' As if!

I started to tell them all about what I'd read. The didn't seem impressed. Their eyes quickly glazed over. And when I told them what to do, they stood still for a moment, then looked at each and laughed!

'Okay!' I snapped. 'Okayyyyyyyyyy. I get it. I'll show you.' So I quickly got myself into the proper form to do a forward bend and stretch. Next, well, let me just say that it looked easy when I read it, well I lost my balance and fell forward like drunk cheerleader. And, I don't know how it happened, but somehow I wound up with my chin digging into my chest, my arms stuck out like I was some kind of bug. My butt was in the air, and I couldn't move. Alice and Joan laughed.

I tried to say 'This is a serious stretch.' But with my head planted into the grass the way it was, my words came out sort of like 'Iiiisssss sssrrrrsss strrrrrttttch.' And they both looked at my ass, as if I was a butt ventriloquist. I couldn't tell for sure, but I think I could see them look at each before they began to laugh. Alice laughed so hard that she dropped her papers and journal. And as she laughed she rocked back and forth, looking up into the sky and then back again to me. And Joan laughed so hard that she began clapping, which was something until that day no one had seen her do since she was a baby.

After several minutes of them laughing, they stopped in unison as if on a timer. Then they turned and left. 'Hhhlllpppp!' I tried to call out help. 'Hhhlllpppp!' I was scared that they would leave me, stuck in yoga.

But about ten long minutes later, my mom came with Alice and Joan, After they had all stopped laughing, mom spent the next several minutes getting me unlocked. She then took me to the hospital, where I was given x-rays, a neck brace and muscle relaxants.

I haven't done yoga since then because doing it is very definitely bad for my health.
And those are the winners!

Thank you all so much for your submissions. They were epic and wonderful in every sense of the words.

See you tomorrow!

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exercise #177 : A Drink of Cool Water

This is an exercise in making up similes, that is, figures of speech comparing unlike things. For example, you might say, a cup of coffee is like a slap in the face. Or, a cup of coffee is like a cup of sludge. Or, a cup of coffee is like a hello from the donut. And so on. Come up with as many similes as you can for "a drink of cool water is like..."

1,2,3, GO!
A drink of cool water is like ...
  • a slap in the face after a long, hot day
  • a refreshing foot massage... for your tongue?
  • CPR
  • an oasis in the middle of an arid desert
  • a swift breeze right before a thunderstorm
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
And I'm completely out of imagery.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

Peace.
Stef.

P.S. Sorry for the uber short post. Homework beckons, and I've procrastinated long enough.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    9.11.01 - Where Were You?

    This post is to honor those that were lost, those that saved the people in danger of being lost, and those that united this country in a time of panic and fear.

    I salute you.

    http://etsp.k12.ar.us/technology/sample%20photos/9-11-flag-1024x768.jpg


    To my American readers, where were you when you found out about the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as well as the crash of Flight 93? 

    If you're not from the US, when did you hear about it? What was your response?

    I was in 9th grade, and I was sitting in Study Hall when my Math teacher from 8th grade came in, her face grave, and turned on the overhead tv, explaining that the Two Towers in New York City had just been hit by two planes in attack against The United States. The country was in a state of panic and crisis, and I was, I admit this shamefacedly, calm. I wasn't in New York. I wasn't in Washington, DC. This didn't affect me.

    It wasn't until, in front of our very eyes, the south tower collapsed. The reporter that had been talking in the background of the program cried out as the building crumbled, killing the people inside as well as those out in the underlying street.

    But the point of this post is not to dwell on the past. Yes, it happened and was horrible, but focusing on what happened doesn't help anything. It's how you move forward, how you respond and grow.

    Americans across the country banded together, joining to create a united front.

    Together we stand.

    Once again, I salute those affected, the souls that were lost, and those who went to the site to help. You're all amazing people, and our country wouldn't be the same without you.

    Never forget.

    Peace.
    Stef.

    P.S. To see today's writing exercise, go to the previous post, "Sprinkle in ze French!"

    Exercise #176 : Sprinkle in ze French!

    An American who was resident in Paris for many years gives a tour of the local art museum to some friends who are mighty impressed. Write the scene with dialogue.

    Impression: soleil levant by Claude Monet
    Ah, le français...Je l'aime. Vraiment... :) I'm actually taking French right now, and it's been nice to get back into it. I haven't taken it in several years and have, as a result, forgotten some of the grammatical rules, etc.

    But anyways... Let's get on with it, shall we?

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Make It Up Monday WINNERS!! Woot woot woot!

    Once again, there were some really great responses, and I had a really hard time picking out the winners. BUT! I came across a few that I honestly couldn't not list as the winners, and there they are!

    Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    The Elusive Mr. Perfect

    If you remember from my previous post, "Mr. Perfect Is Out There...," I mentioned that I might write a little ditty about the fabled "Mr. Perfect."

    Well, the time has come, folks, for me to unmask Mr. Perfect (or Mrs. Perfect, depending on who you are).

    Who is he? What does he do? Why the hell is he so hard to find?

    Ahem.

    drumroll, please...
    Notice the little key coming out of his back.
    Ah, the perfect man...
    He doesn't exist.

    I know, I know. Gasps all around, right?

    I'm sure most of you are probably going to think, "Man, this chick is totally jaded." But I'm not, really and truly. I am simply a realist.

    We are taught from day one by the media and so on that our perfect mate is out there somewhere in this land of beauty and opportunity, but the truth is that there is no such thing as a "perfect partner" or a "soul mate." In the words of Snow White, "Someday my prince will come..." except, he's not.

    Don't get me wrong; I would love it if soul mates existed. It would totally appeal to my hopeless romanticism. But I'd also love it if Santa Claus was real. Or the Easter Bunny. And we all know how realistic those are.

    Here's the bottom line: If you want a relationship to work with someone, then you make it work. It's that simple. Sure, there are people with whom a relationship might be easier than others, but at the end of the day it's all about making a commitment and sticking with it even if things get hard.

    I can imagine some of you are thinking, "Well, then why break up with anyone at all? Why not just 'make it work' with the first person with whom you enter into a relationship?"

    What if you decide you don't want to 'make it work' with that person? What if he (or she) decides he doesn't want to 'make it work' with you? That's what dating is for. As callous as this may sound, I have always viewed dating as a weeding process. You're finding out who best fits with your personality, who appeals most to your Love Languages, etc. If someone doesn't fit the bill, then au revoir. I can be picky, right? I mean, I am planning on spending the rest of my life with this person.

    This is how I figure it: there are a bunch of people in the world, right? I mean, come on, there are, what, 6 billion people on the Earth, and you're trying to tell me that only one of those people are my soul mate? That brings my odds of finding said soul mate down to dismal levels, and it's honestly depressing and makes me want to throw in the towel completely. It just doesn't seem worth it.

    What are your thoughts? Are you pro soul mate? Or are you, like me, disillusioned by the statistics and an overwhelming sense of realism?

    Peace.
    Stef.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    Exercise #175 : In the Dentist's Office : Stretching, Folding, Tilting

    In Dreaming By the Book, a path-breaking analysis of how novelists instruct us to form images in our minds as we read, Elaine Scarry devotes an entire chapter to stretching, folding and tilting. The exercise is this: In a dentist's office, what might stretch, fold, or tilt? Simply make a list of as many items as you can, and very briefly describe the way in which these stretch, fold or tilt.

    1,2,3, GO!

    There is nothing good about the dentist's office. Absolutely nothing. You sit in the little waiting room while your ears are tortured with the sound of drills and crying children. They try to cover up the horror with cheesy muzak, but it can't possibly mask the sounds of pure evil going on behind the examining room doors.

    But that's not what this exercise is about. It's about stretching, folding and tilting...
    • the scary chair, of course, folds and tilts
    • the overhead light does all 3, and quite menacingly, I might add
    • the mirror thingy that they stick in your mouth to 1) push your tongue out of the way or 2) look at the hard-to-reach places tilts
    • the elastic on the dental hygienist's face mask - the part that wraps around his or her ears - stretches
    Ok. This exercise is freaking me out. I hate going to the dentist's office. It's not because I've had a bad experience or anything. I have nice teeth. I take care of them. But there's just something about how sterile everything is. It's so clean and uninviting. And also, they're sticking foreign objects into my mouth, which has never been pleasant for me.

    Does anyone else hate the dentist's office as much as I do? Or am I alone in my pain?

    Peace.
    Stef.

    P.S. If anyone else can think of other stretching, folding, tilting things you can find in a dentist's office, please regale us all. I, for one, am not willing to delve back into that catastrophic mental place.

    Monday, September 06, 2010

    Sunday, September 05, 2010

    Exercise #174 : The Man & His Cat

    You see an odd-looking man in a bar in a strange town. He has a cat on his lap, and he orders a cup of coffee, slowly spooning sugar into it. He strokes the cat's black fur and says, "This contact is illusory. The cat and I are separated as though by a pane of glass, because man lives in time, in successiveness, while the magical animal lives in the present, in the eternity of the instant." What do you say back to him? And he to you? What does the cat do? What happened to this man before he came into the bar? 

    1,2,3, GO!

    Was it something you ate? & WINNERS!!!

    On Friday morning, everything was super normal and fun. I woke up at 7:45, took a shower, and ate breakfast: a Kellogg's breakfast bar.
    As I gathered my things for my class at 9am that day, I couldn't help but notice a slight tingling going on in my mouth. For some reason, my tongue was itchy. Odd...

    But it wasn't just itchy.

    Less than 20 minutes later, my tongue began to swell at an alarming rate. At first, I was just mildly disconcerted, but when I began to have a difficult time breathing I started to panic. So I hopped into my car and made my way to the Vanderbilt hospital emergency room.

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