Thursday, May 27, 2010


The past few weeks have been somewhat trying for me. My oven doesn't work. We were without gas for three and a half days (read: no hot water), the ac wasn't working, the children were cranky, and everything else that could go wrong, did.

There were times I broke down and sobbed. Not because of one particular thing but because it all added up to a lot of stress.

I like to think of stress as a glass and water. You can hold a glass without any trouble. You can turn it over and toss it in the air. You can spin in on your finger tips. But stress is like water being poured into the glass. Now you can't spin the glass. You can't toss it into the air. But still, it's just a glass of water. But then more water gets poured into the glass until it's full. You can hold that glass for a minute without any problems. But after two minutes your arm starts to ache a little. After five minutes you're looking around for a place to set it down or longing to switch hands. But you can't. No, you have to hold the glass of water in the one hand with no where to put it and keep it from spilling. After an hour your arm starts to twitch and what was just a little glass of water suddenly feels like the weight of the world. Gosh that's a really long explanation, but it's simple in my head.

Book characters don't deal with no heat or air conditioning and hot water. They deal with murder and mayhem and mysteries of life and death. But they're all challenges and these challenges and how we deal with them add up to our character.

So I thought to myself, if I'm going to be the heroine in my own story (as is Catherine Morland's quest in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen) what kind of character am I? I don't want to be the whiny character that can't do anything for themselves. I want to be that strong character that goes out and solves the problems all by herself, well, maybe with the help of a few friends along the way. Now, I'll be honest, I did whine a little bit. I've already admitted to crying as well. But I kept my head on my shoulders. I tried not to pass blame on to anyone else as my problems were no ones fault except my own. And now that I'm through the worst of it I look back and think, it wasn't so bad.

So, what's your character like? Do you find yourself wishing you could change something about your character? It's ok if you do, that's called character growth and is needed in any good novel (or I guess we could even say movie, tv series, etc). I like to think as a character I'm growing. And someday I will be the heroine of my story!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Memory Box

When I was in high school my upon my request, my daddy made me a wooden box. This box is about eighteen inches long, ten inches wide and twelve inches high. A good size box. He stained it and attached a plain silver handle. The box is simple and to me it is the most beautiful thing he has ever made.

For nearly 15 years I've keep odd and end little things in the box to remind me of yester-year. Today, I decided to prepare the box for the next generation. It will still be a few years before I actually hand it over but I wanted to go through it today anyway.

Inside I found cards I had recieved as a small child from my grandmother who passed from this life in 1998 and my favorite aunt whom I don't see as often as I should. The cards from my grandmother were especially hard to read without crying.

There was the medal I won at a regional drama competition as well as the remark pages we were given, the tassel from my graduation cap, and several pictures and mementos from my senior year inside my box.

I found cards from Nickel for various holidays, a couple of invitations to our wedding that was in 1999 and Mother's Day cards from my daughter. Poems that I like.

A little brown piggy bank that if I remember correctly was my great-grandmother's. My mother's senior year picture was still in an old frame along with a picture of my dad long before he knew that name.

After Nick's grandmother passed away I saved a few of her momentos like a book young Nickel wrote when he was maybe 6 and a picture of Nickel with long curly hair (if you know my husband you'll understand why this picture is important!).  And a host of other memories from along the way.

Staring at these memories I want to laugh and I want to cry. Laugh at the fun I've had along the way and cry for the people that completed their jouney ahead of me, including the children two of my dearest friends have lost.

I'm not ready to turn over the box to Peanut, but already I've stored special art project she's made. Soccer pictures from the three seasons she played, the program from the ballet recital we were in, some blog posts that I printed out as a reminder of the funny things she said or the things I wanted her to know about me and my life. My hope is that she will cherish these memories in the Memory Box as much as I have cherished her.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Writing Exercise

I have a writing program that gives me various writing prompts. Then I'm to write for 15 minutes. That might sound easy but isn't when you're not use to doing something like that.

This particular exercise was fun because I've gone back to school off and on several times working towards a random degree. Please note that this piece has not been edited. There are more than likely misspelled words, bad grammer, and puncutation errors. It ends where it ends. You don't exactly write a novel in 15 minutes so I did the best I could to write a whole scene.

Please feel to make comments about good or bad. After all, it was just an exercise.

Character: Bill Teets

Goal: To get a degree

Obstacle: A former girlfriend

Bill Teets walked into the science room. He was just 4 hours from finishing his degree. The only class he lacked, Chemestry. It was a lower level class but he had managed to avoid it the whole time. Until last spring when he applied for graduation and was denied. Seems some colleges, ok, most colleges wouldn't let you graduate without these four little credit hours.

Bill was not looking forward to Chemistry. He had failed it in HighSchool when Mrs McGowan taught it. The periodic table was just a bunch of letters and numbers to him.

Bill chose a seat about half back in the third row. His eyes functioned better in the front but he didn't want to seem eager. He was anything but. Kids piled into the class and took their seats and gossiped with one another.

Bill closed his eyes for a moment. Maybe this class wouldn't be so bad. "Are we already boring you, Mr Teet?" a saucy voice asked.

Hearing his name Bill quickly opened his eyes to see where it was coming from. He groaned to himself when he saw the body that went with the voice. It was none other that Veronica Hut. The girl that broke his heart ten years prior at the senior prom.

"No." Bill replied.

Veronica turned around and picked up a dry erase marker and began to write on the white board.

This is going to be a long semester, Bill thought to himself. After class Veronica asked Bill to stay a moment while the other students left.

"How have you been?" she asked as he walked up to her desk, slinging a backpack over one shoulder.

"I've been good, V. Yourself?"

She smiled and looked him up and down. "I've been good. So tell me Bill, what brings you to my class."

"Just looking to graduate, this is my last class."

"I see, and exactly how well do you think you'll do in my class, Bill?" she asked.

"Well, I'm hoping to do alright. I've got a decent GPA and I'd like to keep it. But I never was any good at this sort of thing."

"Hmm" Veronica packed up her things into a briefcase. "I suppose I could help you." She looked back at him with fire in her eyes. He knew what she was proposing. He thought about it for a moment.

He made his decision. He grinned at her. "Mighty fine offer there Veronica," he paused.

"It's not one I give very often, in fact, you're the first."

"Well, I do feel honored to be given such attention."

Veronica walked around the desk so that she was standing next to him. She ran a hand up and down his his arm. "I could make this class very easy for you,"she whispered, "or very hard." she grabbed him and squeezed.

"Oh, I know you can."