Scary Tale

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I mean, anything that involves make up and candy has got to be a winner in my book! I've had some rather memorable Halloweens over the years, but none quite as exciting as LAST year as we anticipated the arrival of our own little goblin.
In the spirit of the holiday, I'm going to tell you one of the scariest tales [with a happy ending] you will hear this Halloween (while moms might appreciate it the most, don't worry, it has been edited to be rated-G for everyone) is Matilda's birth story, as recorded just a couple weeks after her birth:

It was Halloween night (cue eerie music now) and we had just been over at a friend's house. They have a little girl, so we all took her trick-or-treating, hoping that the walk would do me some good (and hopefully spur on labor). Many people had questioned whether I was hiding a giant pumpkin under my shirt or not - many jokes were made about the "great pumpkin Charlie Brown" and with good reason - I was downright enormous. I had walked miles that week, trying to induce contractions, but to no avail.
We went home, having eaten spicy chili and way too much Halloween candy. We started to watch "Dracula" on tv, and I mentioned to Josh that I was determined "Scare this baby out of me!"
I was technically due November 3rd, but people had been commenting for weeks that I looked overdue - even my own doctors. I still believe I was a couple of weeks past due, though I was truly thankful for every minute of pregnancy. I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy and enjoyed every little movement, little kick, little amazing hiccup that Matilda made in the womb. In fact (and this is not romanticized - you can ask my husband) I worried that I would just miss her once she was delivered. I am one of those crazy ladies that most other pregnant women hate - the one wearing the smile right up until the end. But, in God's perfect timing, I did finally feel ready to actually meet her that week. I had recently had extra swelling and itchiness all over my body that was signaling to me that this time was needing to come to a close and it wouldn't be long before she would be out.
So, we were watching "Dracula" at home (thankfully) and at 10pm exactly I was laying on the couch watching the movie when I hear a POP and felt like a kick in the pelvic bone from the inside. I was like "Whoa" and ran to the bathroom cause I knew it was unlike anything I ever felt before. It was seriously just like out of the movies (even though they warn you "it will be nothing like it is in the movies", haha). I yelled from the bathroom "I think my water broke!!" I was so shocked and instantly felt giddy and excited and nervous all at once. Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow. 
Luckily I had just showered before we hung out with our friends, so I was feeling good and we were already all packed. We got out our Bradley book (the birthing method we chose and had taken a 12 week course in preparation) to review what was ahead of us. We knew we'd be having a baby within 24 hours!! I called my parents and started to get my first contraction, just 10 min after my water broke. Josh hopped in the shower, and the contractions started to pick up.
 By the time Josh was dressed, we started timing the contractions and they were 5 min apart. It was so weird. They definitely hurt and were already lasting 50 seconds each.
 We knew since my water broke if we called L&D they would want us to come in immediately, and since we were planning on a natural birth we wanted to wait and labor at home as long as we felt it was safe. I sat on the birthing ball and bounced and rotated my hips to try and stay relaxed and get her down. By midnight the contractions were easily 4 min apart or less and about 1 min long. So, we went ahead and called L&D and they told us to come in. We packed up and headed out! I couldn't believe we'd be returning with our baby girl!
 We arrived at L&D at about 1am.
The contractions did not slow down as I anticipated they might when you check in and get settled. They allowed me to be intermittently monitored, 20 min on, 20 off. We walked around when I was off monitor, roaming the halls and the contractions were very intense! They were about 2-4 minutes apart and 60-90 sec long. Josh was an amazing coach and we truly got to use our relaxation techniques and breathing we learned in our Bradley classes. He would talk me through each contraction and I was mentally able to completely go "somewhere else" (I was either on the Laguna beach or at the top of the Eiffel Tower!) and of course I was praying a lot as well. Funny enough, I kept having the song "Confidence" from the Sound of Music pop in my head so I kept thinking "I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain…" haha. Also, we brought the birthing ball with us, so when we weren't walking I was at least on the ball. It was very helpful because it allowed me to move but I knew I had to conserve some energy so I didn't want to walk every time. Being monitored and staying in bed was horrible. I would have to lay on my side (laying on my back was even worse) and every time I contracted it seriously felt like my abdomen and hips and thighs were paralyzed. The only good thing was that I could see the contractions on the monitor, so it helped me to see when one was ending and I would know I could make it through.
 At 4:30am they checked me for the first time. They don't want to check you very often when your water has already broken, so not to introduce the risk of infection. I was at 5cm and 90%! I thought we were well on our way to babyland.
I continued to labor and it was very intense as the contractions built up and remained consistent. I knew if we could keep them coming that I should be nearing transition by the time they check me next time. They returned about 9am to check me...and I was still at 5cm. WHAT? Ugh...I couldn't believe it. They seemed surprised also since my contractions were happening so consistently and VERY intense...but not progressing me. This started the talk of Pitocin. I knew that it would be extremely difficult to remain unmedicated if they intended on using Pitocin. I asked that we be given at least an extra hour to walk around and keep the contractions up and see if it didn't make a difference. They "didn't recommend" this, but we were going to do all we could to have a natural birth and didn't want to wimp out without even trying to continue this way. So, we went ahead and started walking (our nurse just found us when it was time to get monitored). Wow - what a PAINFUL hour! As I walked the halls with Josh this time, I literally had to stop every few steps. The contractions were less than a minute apart and lasting almost 2 minutes long and extremely intense by the time we got back to our room. They wanted to check me again and I just KNEW we had made progress. Contractions were nearly on top of each other and I asked to use the bathroom before getting checked. As I was in there the contractions would just not stop. I broke out in a cold sweat and then threw up (nightmare!) I was confused and shivering and I knew these were all the tell-tale signs as Josh said to me "I think you're in transition". I HAD to was so horrible. In the moment this was great news to me because if I was in transition I knew we would have progressed and would be able to continue naturally. I got to the bed and they checked me again....STILL AT 5cm. 
No way. We couldn't believe it. We felt somewhat defeated, but at the same time we had told ourselves "Let's try the walking and if there's no change we'll know action needs to be taken". So, after there was no progress again, we made the decision to get the Epidural and have Pitocin started. I considered only getting the Pit, but I knew that if I wanted the energy to be able to push her out, I had no choice but to get the epi so I would be able to rest and regain some strength. I knew I wouldn't be able to endure it all without rest - not after having been up for over 24 hours and in so much pain already. 
I had endured 15 hours of completely natural labor, and I felt I had quite earned my gold medal for the day.
Getting the epidural was terrible in and of itself...they had to stick me 3 times because he said "I'm sorry, your joints are so close together I just keep hitting bone". (Which is just what you want to hear as they are putting a needle in your spine) UGH - as if I even wanted it in the first place. It was painful, but tolerable until a contraction would come. And, Josh had been so supportive of me the whole time, he hadn't eaten or taken care of himself - so he nearly fainted when they gave me the epi! One minute he's there holding my hand, the next thing I know he is on the floor with his shirt off and they are giving him oxygen! Poor guy, he was white as a ghost! Finally they got the epi and after it took effect and they start the pit, I felt much better. Josh was able to sleep and I was able to rest for at least a while. They kept saying they just needed to "kick start" me and make sure my contractions were intense enough to keep me progressing - that after that I would have a baby by that afternoon.
But the pit was not progressing me. They decided to insert an intrauterine line that would measure the intensity of the pit needed. The contractions were perfect, very often and very intense...but not progressing me.
Thank goodness, the entire time this was happening, Matilda's heartrate remained strong and steady. By 4pm I was only at barely 6cm. The clock was ticking because it had been 18 hrs since my water broke and they were concerned about infection. They were also concerned about the baby's position and size. We had known she would be big and they were guessing about 8 lbs (which ended up being right!). Her head was transverse and I had been rotating sides to get her lined up correctly. Also, she was only just now at -1 station. She didn't seem to be getting any lower, and possibly unable to at the angle she was at. 
This is when the talk of c-section became serious...and I knew it was truly inevitable. We always knew it could come to this. I had always prayed that God would make it very very obvious that we wouldn't be left with any other choice if that was what was supposed to happen. I had to just surrender it to God and believe that He was ultimately saving us from a dangerous route by backing us into a corner where c-section would be best. So, I was very grateful to have gotten to experience true labor! The water-breaking- going-into-spontaneous-labor experience was a true blessing I believe God let us experience since we had asked Him for letting us have a natural birth experience. At this point I felt like I was going into labor number 3 (natural, medicated, and now surgical). It had been SUCH a long day, we were emotionally exhausted and ready to just get this baby out.
 Within 20 min, we were in the Operating Room. It was very surreal and I was feeling kind of woozy and trying to remain calm and keep my eyes open. I just wanted Josh by my side and so I was very glad to see him, in his white zip-up suit and hat. (He looked like a haz-mat worker!) Lots of pressure and tugging and pushing on my belly and just minutes after that, she was out!!! Josh said later that she was so wedged in there that the doctor had to move from one side of the table to the other just to maneuver her head out. Matilda cried and we just burst into tears! She's here! She's ours!! It was so magical and spiritual and a rush of peace came over us. 
And, in the end, it turned out to be a huge blessing to have gone with the c-section. Afterward in recovery with Matilda and Josh, I ran a 103+ fever. Turns out I was fighting off infection from having lost my water so long ago. My blood pressure and heart rate were up and they started me and Matilda on antibiotics right away. They kept me on antibiotics the next 48 hrs and a day later my temp was finally normal. 
It all worked out! I feel so blessed and truly not disappointed. I feel really REALLY proud that I labored naturally for so long! Even though we had hoped for a natural birth, I stuck to my motto that "as long as you leave with a healthy baby (that's yours) that birth was a success!" and that is truly how I feel! Josh and I both cried when we made the c-sec decision (also both wrought with emotion and tiredness!) but we knew as soon as we saw her it just wouldn't matter HOW she arrived. And it doesn't - we just LOVE HER!!!!

And now we are excited to celebrate her VERY FIRST HALLOWEEN!
Happy Halloween to our lil Stinker! Matilda is a Skunk for Halloween! :)

Marmalade (The Short Story!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

As promised, I have completed the short story!
Here was the contributed criteria for the story:
A girl named Marmalade
A tree
The name Buzby
A magical, albino turtle
A mysterious box that hadn't been opened in over 100 years
A Thunderstorm

Without more than a few minutes forethought, I read the criteria and plunged right into writing the story. A couple hours later, here's what we have! Thanks for the challenge and the creative journey - if you like it, we'll do it again soon! Enjoy...


It hadn't rained in nearly eight months. The grand oak tree in the front yard had all but died when the clouds started to form overhead. The pillows of clouds soon turned into dark, shadowy blankets, and the first drop of rain hit the window of the old farmhouse like a fat mosquito slapped on a hot summer day. Splat!
The lightning crept across the plain, first silently, and then followed by echoes of thunder in the distance.
Granny lit the old kerosene lamp just a few seconds before the power went out. This wasn't her first thunderstorm, after all. She always knew when a bad one was on its way, if not for the telling clouds in the sky, then for the achey creak in her left heel when she climbed the steps up to her bedroom. That sore heel was more of a soothsayer to her than any weather man on the transistor radio.
Can only trust em as far as I can throw em - and that ain't far at my age. They're all in the business of selling umbrellas if you ask me.
Granny was nearing her eighties, though she couldn't be sure of her exact age. She had lost track somewhere around seventy-two, and no one who knew her well enough was around to debate her if the subject came up. She really wasn't a true "granny", in fact. She had grown up in the same house her entire life, never married. The years had passed her by as she quietly tended to her gardens and her chickens, while the nearby town had grown from rural community into bustling metropolis. She didn't even know her own mailman's name anymore. The world had seemed to speed up while she only grew more tired with each passing day.
There was a knock at the door. Or was it just thunder? She paused at the top of the steps and squinted down into the foyer. Was that a shadow outside? Was someone there? Lightning pierced the sky and lit up the windows as if God himself had turned the lights back on outside her home.
Her heel ached and she took a deep sigh. Better safe than sorry, she thought.
As she creeped down the stairs, there was a sudden cry outside. A shriek that shook the screen door as it rattled in the wind and rain. A cat perhaps? That's just what she needed - some old wet cat scratching up her recently repaired screen door.
She wrapped both her hands around the doorknob as she yanked it open.
Thunder bellowed as she looked down into the basket in the middle of the doorway.
The baby had the face of an angel and the cry of a demon. A baby!
Granny caught her breath as the wind howled and rang the chimes hanging above her porch. In an instant (though it felt to her like time had altogether stopped) she scooped the child out of the basket and brought her inside.
"Why darling, what are you doing out there?" Granny spoke as if an old friend had stopped by for a piece of blueberry cobbler.
The baby stopped crying as soon as she was in Granny's arms. She looked up at the old woman, studying each groove in her aged face, blinking as if she had finally found the answer to a riddle.
"Now, let's have a look at you."
Granny unwrapped the baby just enough to get the chill off of her and take a peek at her face. She snuggled into the dusty sofa in the parlor room that went untouched day after day, and grabbed an afghan off the quilt rack by the fireplace. The light from the kerosene lamp cast long shadows against the walls of the parlor. The wall paper was curling at every seam and the ceiling was weathered from years of various leaks and makeshift repairs.
The baby curled her fingers around the edge of the warm afghan as Granny craned her neck back, giving way to the light of the lamp beside her. The baby blinked and slowly smiled. She was pink now, retaining the color she had screamed out of herself earlier. Her eyes were vibrant blue, even in the dim light Granny could see that they were like wild blueberries floating in fresh cream. Then there was that hair! Just a tuft. A soft sweeping of it straight from the crown of her head and curled up in front. It was citrusy orange, so bright and beautiful that Granny could nearly smell the scent of freshly squeezed oranges straight from her brow.
"Why, your hair is the color of marmalade!" The baby let out a soft squeal of delight.


Marmalade ran around the giant oak in the front yard. The tree had been there since before the civil war and it's branches extended over the lawn like a giant green umbrella. Marmalade pulled up her knee socks and bent down to tie her shoe - a skill she was quite proud of mastering just last week, still ahead of the curve for a five-year-old.
She licked her thumb and rubbed a ruddy scab on her knee, no doubt from the tree-climbing feat she had attempted last week. If Granny had allowed her to wear shorts instead of this silly dress, that never would have happened. Still, Granny took such pride in every stitch of the dresses she sewed for Marmalade. They were simple and plain, really. A yellow calico, a green seersucker, a lavender rosebud print. But Granny had thought her days of sewing dresses had been long past, so she savored every strand of thread, even if the needle did prick her finger now and then. Her hands weren't what they used to be.
Marmalade ran into the house, bounding the stairs on the porch two at a time. She was overdue for school, Granny knew, but she couldn't bear the thought of her darling taking that abominable deathtrap of a school bus all the way into town each day and Granny's eyesight was even more of a risk than the bus when she got behind the wheel. What was the harm in waiting at least one more year?
She knew if she asked the neighboring farm family to pick up Marmalade that they would be happy to do it. The Buzby family was kind and generous, with two ornery boys just a little older than Marmalade. Mrs. Buzby often brought by surplus from her garden, which Granny was very pleased with and in return would create magnificent stews and cobblers from them, offering them back to the Buzby clan which would immediately get turned down to ensure Granny and Marmalade had sufficient food for their own table. It was a sort of tug-of-war of the most delicious kind. Sometimes the Buzby boys would watch the back and forth of the food with their tongues hanging right out of their faces, sweating with appetite at the scent of the scrumptious duel. But Mrs. Buzby would always win, and Marmalade would smirk with concealed delight at the defeat of their having to devour garden stew for the next several nights.
Most days Marmalade stayed home, reading aloud to Granny as she sat in the rocking chair and sewed new dresses for Marmalade, or repaired the ones she had recently snared on her adventures the day before. Marmalade was a fairly advanced reader for her age. Granny had taught her many words before her eyesight had declined, and Marmalade would slowly sound out even the most difficult words while she spelled the ones she could not decipher so Granny could interpret and teach her the difference between "in-sur-moun-ta-ble" and "in-spir-a-tion-al".
In fact, when Marmalade wasn't out chasing foxes in the meadow or gathering dandelions for Granny, she was reading. Book after book, they would sit and sip fresh cider on the porch and slowly, word by word, devour towers of books. Marmalade would walk into the old library, clear at the back of the farmhouse where Granny's great-grandfather had started collecting books, filling shelf after shelf with pride. They were dusty and worn and smelled of mildew, but their print was intact, as were the stories they wove.
"The End." Marmalade shut another book with a giant "clop!" and smiled up at Granny who raised her eyebrows as if to say Congratulations, what now? Granny swayed in the rocking chair as a cool breeze swept across the porch. The air was warm, but the breeze had a crisp chill to it, reminding her that autumn was just a thunderstorm away. She was mending the hem of Marmalade's latest victim, her red dress with the eyelet trim had lost a battle with the thorns on the rosebush by the ditch creek. Granny jerked her hand as she pricked herself, giving her fingertip a nibble to stop the pain before it gave way to a drop of blood.
Marmalade stood up and positioned the book on top of her head as she started to walk into the house, failing to balance it beyond two steps at a time. She made her way to the library and managed to bend over, tipping the book into place on the shelf by only using her head to lower it and scoot it into its rightful slot.
What to read next... she thought as she hung her head low, bending to see the books on the lowest shelf. The shelves were thick mahogany, built in against the wall with a little more than two inches gap underneath. Marmalade often wondered what could be lost under that gap in between the floor and the lowest shelf. No doubt there was years of dust and most likely a crowded cockroach cemetery.
She gazed into the crack. She lowered herself onto her belly to have a proper look. As her body mopped the floor, she gained the courage to stick her hand into the unknown and see what treasures (or terrors) she might find.
Reaching, reaching...she held her breath. It was dry and dirty, but there wasn't....wait...that was something. There was something there. Long, maybe a corner to it? Two corners? And hard? She waved her hand and heard something scoot across the floor. She pulled it forward and out came a small box, about the size of a jewelry box, but not full size, maybe it was for a doll.
Marmalade sat up. She held the box in her palm, as it wasn't much bigger than the surface of her whole hand. It was covered in a thick layer of dust, so naturally she used the edge of her dress to wipe it off.
The box was wooden, intricately hand carved, and had a design on its top. She spat on it and wiped it off some more, now thoroughly preparing her dress for next day's laundry. The lid had an inlay of mother of pearl. There were diamond shapes in the four corners and a row of triangles across the bottom. In the middle, there was a cluster of triangles and diamonds, positioned to look like the silhouette of a sea turtle. She traced the outline of the little white turtle with her muddy fingers. It was smooth and lovely. There was only one problem. It wouldn't open. There didn't seem to be any latch or any lock, but the lid would not move.
Granny was smoothing out the new hem of Marmalade's dress when she came back out to the porch and plopped the box onto Granny's lap.
"My goodness. What did you find?"
"What is it?" Marmalade inquired.
"What do you think it is?" Granny held up the box, examining it in her hand.
"I think it's a riddle."
Granny raised her eyebrows.
"It won't open," Marmalade explained.
"I see."
They paused and looked at each other. They examined each other's expressions as much as they examined the box, just to see if there was a hint of knowledge the other hadn't given way to yet. Both suspected the other knew something she wasn't saying.
"This box is more than one hundred years old, Marmalade."
Her eyes filled with wonder. She had never known anything to be that old, except for maybe that giant oak in the front yard.
"It belonged to my grandmother many years ago. It used to sit on the shelf of her vanity, next to a jar of pennies that me and my grandfather would collect from the train tracks on our long walks. I haven't seen it in a very long time. She used to tell me that the box had a secret in it. That the turtle on see the turtle?" Marmalade nodded as Granny continued. "...the turtle was a sign of good fortune, and that if you believed in that magic turtle, he would protect you with whatever was in the box."
"So what's in the box?"
"I don't know. I never got it open. I suppose I was never quite brave enough to really believe a white little turtle could be that lucky."
Granny stood up. She laid the little box in Marmalade's open hands and turned to walk inside.
Marmalade studied the box. She traced the outline again and again, making the little turtle shiny with the oil from her fingers.
She shut her eyes as she held the box close, and a distant roll of thunder hummed across the field in front of the house.


Marmalade shut her suitcase. That was the last of it. Her entire life fit into one small bag. She would have to come back for the books from the library, but she had no where to store them for now. The Buzby house wasn't nearly the size of her farmhouse, and there were twice as many people living there. It didn't matter too much though, she decided. After all, she would only live there a few years before leaving for college anyway. And then she could get her hands on all the books she wanted.
Granny's funeral had been short and plain. The Reverend had quoted her favorite Psalms and some of the local farmers had even put on their best overalls to come by and offer their condolences. Not that any of them had known Granny very well. Marmalade knew that they were more interested in scoping out the plot of land south of the house than truly sympathizing for her loss. Still, the ones that brought hot apple muffins or fresh pumpkin pies were at least going out of their way a little bit, and the company helped distract her from her loss, even if it was fleeting.
She took a look around her room. There were blank ovals left on the wall from where pictures had hung over her bed. She thought she would take them with her, at least a little something to make the room at the Buzby's feel like home. They were crosstitched portraits that Granny had made when her eyesight was still good and when Marmalade was just a baby. "Right after the angels dropped you off," Granny used to say. One picture was a little deer with a blue bow around it's neck. It was a cheerful fawn, speckled with white spots on its rear and it was sniffing a little yellow daisy. The other was a tree, not unlike the giant oak that stood in front of the house, and Marmalade knew it would always remind her of those summer days she would run around barefoot for hours, leaping under the great shade of the oak. That tree would be there forever, even if she never saw it again.
The rest of the room was bare for the most part. She would leave the furniture for now. She had no need (or room) for it at the Buzby's and it was sure to get a good price in the estate sale. College money, she reminded herself. She suspected that was Granny's intent all along when she had suggested the selling of the farm to Marmalade in her will.
Marmalade lifted her suitcase in one great heave, and started to turn toward the door when she heard something clammer and break. She looked at the floor and saw the small wooden box.
"Now, how did that..." as she knelt down she realized the box had broken.
The box was open.
She picked up the pieces and discovered that the lid had cracked right down the middle of the turtle. That little white turtle! She ran her thumb over the top of it, remembering how she had traced it again and again as a small child, making wishes and hoping they would come true. She had never found the turtle to bring her much luck, but still it had comforted her and distracted her through many stormy nights when she needed to believe in something.
Now, the lid was cracked and the box was destroyed. For a moment, she was glad Granny wasn't there, thinking how heartbroken she may have been to see the little treasure in pieces.
And then Marmalade looked closer. Something was inside. Stuck. What was that?
She shook the box, and out tumbled a little object, dropping like a marble onto the hem of her dress. She ruffled her skirt and there, tucked along the edge, was a little pewter thimble.
She held it up. The little thimble held protection, indeed, just like Granny had said.
Marmalade left the farmhouse that day, thimble in her pocket, and Granny in her heart. She passed by the great oak one last time, and never looked back.

The End.

Walker, Baby Ranger

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My baby girl is walking! She's a walker, she walks, she's walking. I can't get over it. She's been walking a little over a month now - though the first several attempts were more like her best imitation of a Buster Keaton comedy short. It was "early" for her to walk by 10.5 months, but it was actually a long time coming for her.
Weeks before her first steps she would stand up all by herself, let go....lean.....and then, plop! Again and again we would get out the camera, get all amped up and then giggle and groan with every failed attempt.
Everyone told us not to encourage it..."You won't want her to walk as soon as she gets going! She will be into everything!" But we couldn't help ourselves! Her little face would light up with pride as she would shift her weight to her tippy toes and reach out her arms, as if dancing with an imaginary partner.
Now, within just a few weeks, she can already get to a standing/walking position on her own without holding onto anything. (She's brilliant, I tell you!) This whole watching-live-development-as-it-happens thing about parenthood continues to blow my mind. It is like having my own personal National Geographic network in my own home.
In my best Aussie accent:
"Watch the baybee gurl...baybee gurls are indigenous to these parts. If you take a closah look into the wild habitat that suhrounds hur, you will see hur nahtural capabilities shoining through. Here she comes...up on hur tippies, ready to take a steppy and ohright ohright here we go...yessss! She is up! This baybee is walking! Isn't nature grannnnd!"
I would write more, but my baybee gurl has now discovered her opposable thumbs and is fixin to figure out how to unplug the outlet covers....uhoh....another success.
(We're doomed.)

Long Story Short...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The other night I netflixed the movie "Me and Orson Welles". It was fine, nothing too sub- or above-par about it really. However, there was this sweet supporting character at the beginning and the end that I particularly was fond of (and personally wished had shown up in the film more often than she did). Her name was Greta and she happens to meet the main character and informs him that she is a writer. She has this whimsy and eagerness about her as she tells him that she has written a short story she is going to submit to the New Yorker. She says she just wrote it for fun, it doesn't have any deep or hidden meanings, she just wrote it to write it and that it was a swell story she thought up and that was that.
That is..."Swell!" I thought. :)
It reminded me of when I was in elementary school (or, grade school, as we called it in Kansas). I would have an idea...write it...and that was that. Just for fun. Not to get noticed or to "force myself to practice the skill of writing" but for the sheer enjoyment of creating a funny character and seeing where in the world these words could take him or her. The possibilities were endless! I could write about ANYTHING!
It didn't matter if I didn't know enough about a certain era or industry. I had no qualms about researching the intricacies of a character's psychology. I felt no need to study motive or consequences. I just wrote! I just took an idea and let it flow, be it silly or obscure or downright terrible.

To make a long story short - I want to do that again. I want to write a little short story just for the heck of it. I have no idea what it will be about or if there will be any "moral to the story" at the end of it all. I just want to see if I can tap into that childish exploration of words and create a little novelty (pun intended) by simply sitting down and hammering out the first words that come to me.

But I want your help:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...Facebookers....lend me your...ideas.
Give me a topic, a character, a name, a setting - ANYTHING. Give me as many helpful and/or challenging objects and objectives as you wish. Let me see if I can take the random and weave them into something sensical...or at least entertaining. I will try to include as many suggestions as my creative allows.

Then I will see what comes of it and post the story on here for all to see/critique/enjoy.
Sound like fun?
Let's do it.

Monkey Love

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My daughter is in love with Curious George.
It started out innocently enough. We were flipping channels, looking for Sesame Street, and there he was - his little brown body, his charming little grin, his cheerful demeanor and irresistible lust for the inquisitive....and she was hooked. It was love at first sight.
I'll admit, the critter is pretty cute. I have always been determined to not allow my kid to not watch shows I can utterly not tolerate (I know this is something that you hear idealistic non-parents mutter in response to things like the "barney song"...*cringe*) and genuinely, I enjoy Curious George. He is cute and too clever for his own good, and, above all else, Matilda simply adores him.
It doesn't matter what she is doing, whether she is happy or sad or throwing a fit...when those bongo drums start pounding as the intro music starts...Fwhip! That girl swerves her head around and glues her eyeballs to the screen as a giant grin starts to seep its way across her lit-up face! True love.
And really, who can blame her?
George is quite the catch.

1. He is the only monkey in the city.
This is amazing if you think about it. The man in the yellow hat is able to not only keep him as a pet - but really adopt him as a child. I mean, it is socially acceptable for George to go into restaurants, museums, galleries, science fairs, and even ride the subway! These are privileges that some humans can't even experience.
2. He's got a sugar daddy.
For real. The man in the yellow hat has got it made. I rarely see him work. Yet, I know he has a home in the country as well as the city. I never see him opening any mail or signing any checks, so I'm guessing he has a financial advisor that handles it all for the "yellow hat estate".
3. He's innovative.
Being a monkey is only always to the advantage of George. No one ever says "you can't" because he is a monkey. You never hear anyone referring to his monkeyhood as a disability or handicap. In fact, many times George haphazardly gets humans out of pickles (albeit pickles often made by George) because he is a monkey in the first place and ends up using his monkey skills to invent new ways of handling situations. Plus, humans are easily impressed and continually offering him new challenges and opportunities because they feel that he, as a monkey, is better fit for them than a human alternative.
4. He's a leader
George is often the first monkey to ever attempt any of the feats that he takes on. It is sort of insane (ok, not sort of, completely) what humans expect of him. Many of the responsibilities that humans ask George to take on (managing a candy store, babysitting a chameleon, driving a subway train) are chores that most people I know (myself included) wouldn't be able to handle. Yet, George is always up for the task and often rises to the occasion and doing a par, if not satisfactory, job on his accomplishments.

All that to say, even though we are reluctant to allow Matilda to be infatuated with someone so unattainable (we do realize he is a cartoon afterall...oh yeah...and a monkey) we are pleased with her standard of prospect and I am proud that she is setting the bar high. Of course, her father is determined to love her so well that no man will ever be able to be good enough for her...but, if George showed up on our doorstep in a tuxedo with roses for Matilda (I'm sure he would if he could) then I think Josh would put away the tranquilizer gun... to meet him.

Why Not

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My writing and efforts keeping this blog afloat has, haphazard at best. Still, I persevere. It's not that I don't have content to write about. I'll admit I often second-guess whether my life or writing is of interest to anyone, but then I am quick to dismiss that thought with the confidence of my true it is...are you ready?
Why not?
That's it - why not write? I read many websites, articles, even facebook status updates that remind me that we are all in this together. This thing. This "life". Whew.
I get myself weighed down by the potential criticisms or the lack of interest or the downright haters of mom-bloggers that seem to be infecting the internet every minute. I think to myself how there must be a statistic out there somewhere like "Every minute, another mother creates a blog somewhere on the planet, hoping to shed light on a new topic that has actually been experienced by millions of women for thousands of years, when all she really truly wants is someone to fix her a cup of tea and genuinely acknowledge that they understand how she feels." And here I am...contributing to said statistic one lonesome post at a time.
Well, why not. I might as well throw my hat in the ring. I might not have anything new to shed light on. I might not even being saying it in a new way. Don't get me wrong - I don't feel bad or invalidated at all. Quite the contrary! I think it is because there are so many moms, so many blogs, so many topics out there that is exactly why we have got to keep the conversation going!
I will say...I think I will be posting more often, yet having shorter contributions to my blog. Maybe this is the new "style" I'm starting now. Maybe it won't work and you won't hear from me for another month.
Oh well. So, go start your own blog! :)

Ok, so that's my rant for the day.
1. I am going to continue the blog.
2. I am going to write about pretty much anything I want to and not worry about consistency of content.
3. I am going to write more often but not worry about the length of the blog.
4. I am giving myself an A+ for effort.

Bravo for mom blogs everywhere!
Now I'm going to go fix myself a cup of tea. :)
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