Thursday, August 23, 2007


My fantastic and talented friend Jessie (A Thousand Words, Keeping Up With the Evans) tagged me. So here's 10 random things about myself.

1. I'm the youngest of seven children, by a ways. I'm spoiled, and I don't care.

2. I can (and often do) read a book in a single day. All day.

3. I've always wanted to have red hair, but I'm too scared to dye it. It would probably turn orange or something.

4. I love love love Jennifer Crusie. I have read everything she's every written, except for her old novels, Sizzle and The Cinderella Deal, and her brand new novel, Agnes and the Hitman. In fact, I own all her novels except those three. I wish I could write the way she does.

5. I dance and sing in my kitchen when I'm alone, often to the music in my head. And not just in the kitchen.

6. I adore birthdays. I love my birthday, and I try to make a big deal about them for other people. I mean, come on! It's a whole day just to celebrate the fact that you were born!

7. My pet peeves: People who leave their blinkers on, and people who mispronounce words. I had a roomate to said "liberry" and "fustrated." Drove me crazy.

8. I have a nasty temper and can make people cry with pure rhetoric. Luckily, it takes a lot to get me that mad.

9. I'm a total Mama's Girl. My mom is my best friend and my hero. I would be lost without her.

10. I spent four months in New Zealand, the most beautiful country in the world. Lots of green, lots of rain and lots of sheep.

There's my ten random things. Now I'm tagging Cara.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Power's Out

From Electricity is a recent discovery. Think of 12 things to do when there's no power.

1. Play Hide-and-Seek
2. Star-gaze
3. Roast marshmallows
4. Tell scary stories
5. Have a sing-along
6. Make out
7. Clean out the refrigerator
8. Eat all the ice cream
9. Play Truth-or-Dare
10. Hide in the bushes and jump out as people walk by
11. Write in your journal
12. Play with the dog

*Not necessarily in this order

Monday, August 06, 2007

Character Development

From Open a magazine or newspaper and find 3-5 pictures of people. Then write a 300-500 word profile on each individual.


Anita is 38 years old; too young to be a widow. She was 25 when she married Philip; he was 46. She was 36 when he went for his morning run and never came home. He had a massive heart attack at 57, leaving Anita behind to bear the whispers alone.

Everyone always said she married Phil for his money. True, she enjoyed his money; she always dressed well and loved throwing lavish parties. But the guests of those parties who called her a gold digger, well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. She knew it was difficult to understand, but Anita loved Phil. It didn’t matter to her that he was 21 years older, or that he had a bald spot and a slight paunch. He was a good man, a remarkable man, and she loved him.

They met when he gave a special lecture at her college. She was young and starry-eyed, impressed with this man who had been given so much, and who made it a point to give so much back. She approached him after the lecture, to inquire about his work. He agreed to pass along some information to help her with her own studies.

They spent more and more time together, their relationship eventually evolving from student and mentor, to friendship, to love. It took seven months to convince Philip to marry her. He was convinced he was too old for her, refused to hold her back. Eventually she made him understand what with him by her side, she could go farther than she would ever be able to alone.

But she’s alone now. Phil left her enough that she doesn’t have to work, but she volunteers at the library and the children’s center she and Philip helped to create. She’s desirable – a rich young widow – and men often request the pleasure of her company. She always politely declines. She dresses well and attends parties. She shops and donates to charities. But in her quiet moments, she’s just a widow, too young, who aches for the lost husband who she loved so dearly.


Everyday, after coming home from his job as a buyer for Kaufmann Department Store, after taking off his suit and tie, George takes Daisy for a walk. Daisy is a floppy eared, floppy jowled St. Bernard. She’s the only woman in George’s life. He tells her that a lot, “Daisy, you’re the only woman for me.” It’s not because George can’t meet a girl; he just doesn’t want to bother with the dating scene. He had enough of that in his twenties, he tells people. If he hasn’t found anyone by know, well, he’s happy with his job and his dog.

Daisy is pretty sure this is a pile of soggy dog treats. She knows George gets lonely. Daisy knows she’s good company (she is, after all, Man’s Best Friend), but she thinks George needs a woman of his own species in his life. So Daisy keeps a big brown eye out for the perfect girl, thinking she’ll know her when she smells her.

On this day, Daisy and George are going for a walk in the park. The park is their favorite place. Daisy like it because she can bark at the ducks and watch them flap away. George likes it because the meandering paths and cozy nooks with benches where he can read his latest book.

The two reach the park, and Daisy stops to do her business (with dignity, of course. She’s a lady). They’re walking towards the pond, Daisy already anticipating the flight of the ducks, when she smells something unusual. She stops to take a closer sniff. This smells a lot like . . . the perfect women. Daisy looks around, following her nose until she spots her. She’s sitting on a bench, wearing a fluttery skirt and with her nose buried in a book.

Daisy pulls George along until they’re in front of the bench. She sits down in front of the woman, facing the ducks. The woman never looks up from her book. George barely notices her, just says, “Come on, Daisy, lets go chase the ducks.” He tugs on her leash, but Daisy just blinks at him and settles in. George continues to pull on the leash, and the woman continues to read. Annoyed, Daisy decided to take things into her own hands. She lies down, right across the reading woman’s feet.

Daisy’s bulk gets the woman’s attention. She looks down at the furry lump on her feet, up at the man straining against the leash, saying, “Daisy! No! Up! Come!” He sees her looking and says, “I’m sorry! Geez, I’m so sorry! Daisy!

The woman looks back down at the dog, which has now rolled onto her side, up against her legs, and is staring at her with adoration. She bursts into laughter, and looks back at George. “I don’t think she’s going anywhere,” she says. “I guess I don’t mind. Hi, I’m Lily.”

Right then, Daisy was sure this really was George’s perfect woman. Lily looked down at Daisy, and she could have sworn the dog winked.


In 1939, America was in the throes of the Great Depression. Millions of people had lost everything. People were living in their cars, selling everything they could, trying to survive.

In a small Midwestern town, things were mostly the same, but for one saving grace – Albert Allread. Albert was an old-fashioned man. He didn’t believe in being in debt, so he owned his land outright. He didn’t like banks, and he didn’t make much money anyway, so he kept what he had at home. He and his wife had managed to save a little money, but not much. They didn’t own a car – Albert still used a horse and wagon to get around, and still used his horse pulled plow on his fields. Most of the money he made went back into his farm, improving the land or trying new crops.

Because of his simple way of life, the stock market crash and run on the banks didn’t affect Albert the way it did his neighbors. True, things were more difficult, but he still had his land, his house, and his horse. They would get by.

Albert was known for his generosity. Many people in town had begun to give in to despair, only to find a basket of produce on their porch. Other’s received small amounts of cash, just as the electricity was about to be turned off. Albert never talked to these people, he never left his name. All the same, everyone knew who was responsible for the acts of kindness. There were few in the town that had not been touched by Albert’s generosity.

One summer night, a storm blew through the town. The citizens batted down the hatches, children squealing at the thunder and lightening. Albert and his wife were sitting by the fire in their little house when they heard a loud crack and smelled the acrid smoke. Albert went to the front porch and found his barn had been struck by lightening and was burning fast. He rushed inside and told his wife; they gathered buckets and tried to put out the flames. Neighbors arrived to help fight the fire, but to no avail. The barn burned to the ground.

After the flames had died down, one neighbor saw Albert, sitting on an overturned bucket, smoky and wet, with his head in his hands. “Albert,” the man said, “We will rebuild your barn. We will help you.”

Albert stared at the ground. “My crops,” he whispered in a hoarse voice. “My crops were in the barn. What will I sell? How will I harvest? How will I buy seeds? What will my family eat?” He looked up at his friend, tears making tracks through the grime on his face. “What will I do?”

After the neighbor had returned to his own home, he continued to ponder Albert’s situation. The man had himself been a recipient of Albert’s generous ways. He turned to his wife. “Something must be done.”

The next morning, the man sent his son to town with a message. “Albert needs help. Bring what you can.”

Later that day, as Albert and his wife sifted through the ashes of their barn, people started to arrive. Some brought seeds, some food. Others brought produce, bottled from the very gifts Albert had given them. Some brought strong backs and animals to help with the rest of the harvest. Still others brought money, and all brought words of comfort, love and support. No one brought much, for there wasn’t much to spare; but everyone brought something. There was no one in town who hadn’t been touched by Albert’s actions, either directly or through another.

By the end of the day, Albert and his family had enough supplies to sustain them until the next harvest. It would be a hard winter, but they would make it. The community Albert had continually helped had come to his rescue when he needed them.


Marianne is a mother of two. She has a son and a daughter, both in school, and a little yellow house. She loves being a mother and feels fulfilled in her life.

Her passion, though, is gardening. She has an immaculate flower garden, with winding paths, bird baths, benches and fountains. At the edge of her flower beds is a vegetable garden, where she grows a variety of produce and herbs.

To Marianne, gardening is a metaphor for life. You plant the seed, water it, nurture it, and watch it grow. It fights its way up through layers of soil, evades weeds, reaches for the light. Eventually, it bursts into bloom, unveiling its full glory.

That’s Marianne’s philosophy for raising her children. She plants them, feeds and nurtures them, tries to keep obstacles out of their way. One day, after the struggles of youth, they will emerge in full bloom. Until that day, Marianne treasures the time she has with them.

During the summer, she teaches her children about produce and canning. She shows them how much more flavorful home grown vegetables can be; how a salad from your own garden is so much more satisfying. They can tomatoes, make pickles, can beets, peaches, and berries. In the winter months, they’ll enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Sometimes, her daughter comes outside while Marianne is working in her garden. Marianne teaches her about planting and weeding, grafting and propagating. The day her daughter asked for her own piece of dirt was one of Marianne’s happiest.

Day by day, Marianne teaches her children, cooks for them, tends her house, loves her husband. She knows it may seem like a trivial existence to some, but it is the life she’s always wanted. She watches her children grow, smiles as she watches them play. She knows that one day they will leave behind the safe haven she’s created for them, armed only with what she has taught them. Until then, she tends her garden.