Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie Contest

courtesy Google Images

Children's author Susanna Leonard Hill has braved the 'Frankenstorm' to host the  Halloweensie Contest. The entries must be one hundred words or less and include the words witch, bat, and "trick-or-treat." Everyone is welcome to join in through the rest of today. However, Susanna is willing to extend the deadline until Friday if anyone needs extra time due to power outages. Just let her know.

On a serious note, my thoughts and prayers go out to our East Coast friends who have had to endure the devastating path of Hurricane Sandy.

Which Witch Switch Hits?

The witch was up to bat,
She took a swing with her broom.
The ball was struck so hard,
It could have reached the moon.

The other team was outraged,
She must have cast a spell.
But she practiced hours everyday,
Surely they could tell.

Next the witch stirred a hearty brew,
And sprinkled horn of toad.
But the hex was not complete,
Without pumpkin pie ala mode.

Hence the team of trick-or-treaters,
Were transformed into a larvae of roach.
As the witch served the Bad Sport Potion,
Disguised as their disgruntled coach.

-Julie Kemp Pick

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Losing It



Recently, my husband and I took the train downtown for an appointment. Afterward, we purchased our return tickets, and proceeded on a walk. When we passed the hotel where we were married over twenty-five years ago, my husband realized that he had lost one of the tickets. Apparently, when he took his cell phone out of his pocket to track our miles, the ticket had fallen out.

One moment we were blissfully reminiscing about our wedding day, and the next we were out in the blustery wind retracing our steps from the train station. The crowded sidewalks offered little hope of regaining the lost ticket, but my husband soldiered on. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel, we came to a little plaza off of the beaten path. Then he reached down, and picked up the missing ticket. Remarkably, it was in perfect condition; unsoiled by man or pigeon. The most amazing part is that my husband was able to spot the tiny slip of paper though he only has vision in one eye.

Throughout the years, I've misplaced keys, phones, and various things around the house. Unfortunately, when our kids are away I have no one else to blame. However, my mom wins the award for having lost the most unusual item.

Once I walked into my mom's apartment to find her frantically searching her refrigerator. When I asked what she was looking for she told me that somebody stole her half of hamburger. It was leftover from the night before and she was looking forward to having it for lunch. I told her that I doubted someone would deliberately steal her hamburger, and rummaged through her fridge. After I couldn't find it, I made her a half of turkey and cheese sandwich instead. Then I asked her if she could have accidentally left her doggie bag downstairs in the dining room, and she assured me that she would never have made that kind of mistake.

Later that night my mom called me with surprising news.  Miraculously, she found her beloved half of hamburger. It was inside a butter dish. We both checked the refrigerator, but I never would have thought that even a small hamburger would fit inside a butter dish. My mother was thrilled to find it, and now she could finally get a good night's rest. But I didn't want to take any chances so I suggested, "Maybe you should sleep with it under your bed in case the "Hamburglar" strikes again!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sibling Comaraderie

(source; Zimbio)

Growing up my older brother and I didn't always get along, but that all seemed to change when he started college.  Suddenly, I was transformed from an awkward high school sophomore into a worldly college freshman. Because I was tall, and always looked older (which is thrilling now), he took me to fraternity parties, football games, and even bars.

The drinking age in Wisconsin was eighteen, and all I had to do back then was to say that my birthday was three years earlier. Once he even tracked me down when I naively left one party to go to another with someone that I had just met. Fortunately, he and his girlfriend split up and knocked on doors until they found me.    

Later that year, a high school senior befriended me, because she was interested in attending the same university. She wanted to visit the campus, and knew that my brother was well-connected there. After we arrived, she started acting like she owned the joint, and my brother quickly put her in her place. He said, "This is my room, and my sister is in charge here. You are her guest, and what she says goes." Those were very powerful words at the time. Come to think of it, they would still be powerful today.

Last weekend my older son began his fall break from law school. Instead of coming straight home, his friends picked him up from the airport and they drove to spend the weekend with his little brother.  My younger son acted as tour guide of his college campus, and the young men happily complied. They cheered on his football team to victory, and even played football afterward. 

No college visit would be complete without bar and party hopping, but of course I was not privy to any details. It did give me peace of mind that my older son was travelling with his two close friends, and one of them happened to be in medical school. I tried to warn them about his rundown house, and asked him to bring his medical bag just in case. I also suggested that they all be up-to-date with their shots. He assured me that he was bringing masks, gloves, and a hazmat suit. 

When my older son returned home, he said that they had a great time. Later that night, my younger son told me how his big brother always treated for meals, and even took care of the cab fare. He was sad that he had to leave. Although when my husband and I offered to visit, he said that he would get back to us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Under Cover in the Ladies Room



Last weekend my husband and I went to dinner and a movie. After he selected our perfectly centered seats, I proceeded to the ladies room. After playing Goldilocks until I found a proper stall with a working lock, and flowing toilet paper, I couldn't believe what lay ahead.

Though there were four sinks, there were only two soap dispensers lined up on each end. The soap dispenser on the left was empty, so I waited until the other one was free. While I was putting on my lipstick, I couldn't help but notice that women were continuing to use the empty dispenser on the left.

I couldn't believe my eyes as several different women of all ages were pretending to wash their hands with soap. During this time, I was rummaging through my purse looking for my makeup mirror, so as not to attract attention. I had to bite my tongue not to scream out, "There's soap in the other dispenser just a few steps away you idiots!" Finally, one woman actually walked over to the other end and soaped up like a surgeon.

I wanted to hug her and tell her about all of the other lazy unhygienic women. Though she was probably in her seventies, we were kindred spirits in cleanliness. I had so much I wanted to ask her, and I thought we could talk for hours about our cleaning rituals. Sadly, she left and I don't know if I will ever see those sparkling clean hands again.

This made me think of a conversation I had a few weeks earlier with my childhood friend. We both had coughs and colds around the same time. I don't know where I caught mine, but her husband coughed on her  and she was sick for a month; while he recovered the next day. My cough lasted about a few weeks, and I was worried that my husband would get sick. Fortunately, he was fine.

Thereafter, I surmised that our husbands' immune systems were stronger, because they grew up in normal households that had healthy amounts of dirt in them. Whereas, my friend and I both grew up in homes where you could eat off of the floors.

We both strived to make our homes as clean as the environments we were raised in, and coincidentally we each have children that either have horrible allergies or asthma. Maybe the women who didn't wash their hands with soap will live to be one hundred. I'm just glad that I didn't have to share my popcorn with them.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: Calling for a Quick Fix

When the creative juices start flowing, your adrenaline starts rushing. It's a feeling comparable to a girl's first kiss or a boy's first six pack. Then without warning you're staring at a blank page, the girl slams the door on her date, and the boy wreaks havoc on his high tops.

Before panic sets in, you surf the Internet for ideas, turn on the TV, or go outside for a breath of fresh air. When none of those things seem to help you call on your last resort. All you need is a quick fix to get you through the worst of it, and everything will be fine from that point on. You hate yourself for making the call, but you know that you'll hate yourself even more if you don't. You dial the number, and as you're about to hang up, she answers.

"Hello Mom?"

"Who else would it be?"

"I've got nothing Mom."

"Are you talking about that blog of yours that nobody reads?"

"Well he'll read it."

"Is it that Insecure Group for Waiter's?"

"You mean writer's."

"They're writer's, but you're a waiter. You wait to call me, you wait to get a good night's sleep, and you wait to get published."

"Actually, I've been published twice."

"Are you in People or any other magazine that I would read?"

"It's a literary arts magazine, but there's no reason you can't read it."

"You should write for other magazines too. A book would be nice."

"I would love to write a book, but I still have so much to learn. Not to mention all of the work involved. Maybe one day. Oh, I forgot to ask if you went to physical therapy today?"

"No, I'll go another time. The pain will still be there tomorrow, and the therapist keeps pushing me to practice the exercises at home too. Maybe I'll try it again one day. I have to start getting ready for dinner now."

"But it's only 3:00."

"Stop slowing me down. I have to make it downstairs by 5:20."

"Well, what should I write about?"

"Just blame everything on me like you always do."

"That's a great idea! Thanks Mom!"

"Glad I could be of help. Wait a minute, how do you hang this thing up?"

"Just press end. It's in the upper right hand corner."

"I can't see it. Where are my doggone glasses?"

"Did you check the cup holder on your walker?"

"That's where my iced tea is."

"Next to your iced tea."

"Found it!"

"Glad I could be of help."

"You're lucky I'm your mother."

"And why is that?"

"Because anyone else would sue you for stealing their best lines."

Be sure to visit   Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the other talented authors who share their stories in the Insecure Writer's Support Group.