Thursday, January 28, 2010

Short and Stout

I've been fighting a cold for a few days.

But by the end of Tuesday's class
I started feeling worse.
When I woke up yesterday,
I was feeling pretty craptacular.
Hence my FaceBook status update.

My friend, Carrie, suggested I get a Neti Pot.
I've been thinking about getting one
for a while.
And thanks, Carrie, for reminding me.
My head is pretty fuzzy right now
and I can barely remember how to get home.

If you don't know what a Neti Pot is,
check this out:

Now, before you ask ...
and I know ya'll are thinking this ...
I am NOT going to video-tape myself doing this.
Don't even bother asking.

It wasn't uncomfortable at all,
just ... an odd sensation.
I have to admit that
it did clear out my sinuses
and I was able to breath again.

The entire time I was doing it, though,
I had "I'm a Little Tea Pot"
running through my head.
Mine does look like a wee tea pot.

This is the one I bought:

Sadly, it doesn't cure the cold,
and I feel like several heaps of crap today.
I can breath, but I'm coughing like crazy.
GTB got a glimpse of that on the train this morning.
It's worse now.

I already told Boss #2 I'm going home early.

The real stinker in all of this
is that I booked tomorrow off
so I could hang with my sisters.
We're meeting for breakfast at Cora's,
then some serious retail therapy.

BJ mentioned that she wanted
to pick up something
(I don't remember what it is now...
give me a break...I'm sick!)
and I know that I want to pick up some books.
Alex is always up for the bookstore!

I hope I don't make them sick.
And if I do,
I'm really sorry, girls,
but I need me some girl time
and I'm not cancelling.

Oh ... we got homework, by the way.
Basically we have to start writing our stories.
I finished my 'Postcard' story.
Go check it out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's a School Night

I starting my writing class tonight.
It was supposed to start January 12,
but was postponed to tonight.

Our instructor is Richard Scarsbrook,
author of
The Cheeseburger Subversive,
Featherless Bipeds,
Destiny's Telescope, and
The Monkeyface Chronicles.

I've read Cheeseburger--
twice, in fact--
and it was great.
A wonderful coming-of-age story.
I kept picturing TH
the entire time I read it.

I'm beyond excited about this class.
Rich sent us the course outline.

We are expected to write:

A 'Postcard' Story - 250 words
A 'Short-Short' Story - 750 words
A Short Story - 2500-5000 words
one final, edited and revised version
of one of the assignments
to be included in a class anthology.


I hope we get homework tonight.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Man Rules

Thanks to Courtini
for sending me this.
I’ve read it before
but it makes me laugh every time.

Note that all the rules are numbered 1.
I’m guessing it’s either
they deem them all to be equal, or
whoever wrote this can’t count higher.
Probably both.

And, for the record,
I’m almost positive that TH
has uttered each of these phrases
at least once.
ESPECIALLY the commercial rule.

The Man Rules:

1. Men are NOT mind readers. (FIRST & FOREMOST RULE)

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon, or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after seven days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something. Or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions. Neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors--like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...Really.

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as Football or Hockey.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I AM in shape. Round is a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Nummy Treat

Robi, Courtini and I went to Starbucks yesterday.
It's an addiction, I know.
Don't give me a hard time about it.

So Robi places her order
and walks over to the Barista counter
to wait for her Caramel Macchiato.
I order my Skinny Vanilla Latte
and as I wander over to the Barista counter,
my eye catches something yummy behind the glass display.
Oooh! Shiny!!

Three of them.
Vanilla with white icing.
Strawberry with pink icing.
And ... wait for it ...

Chocolate. With. Chocolate. Icing.


I walk up to Robi and whisper:
"There's a delicious cupcake over there."

Robi nods and says, with meaning,
"I know!"
But she's not looking at the cupcake display.

Robi has nodded her head towards the Barista counter.
My gaze follows her line of vision and I understand.
Behind the counter is an Italian god.

"Oh yeah," I say, in complete agreement.
"That is delicious cupcake."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Rejection

I've entered a few writing competitions.
I try to enter ones that will give you back a critique.
How are you supposed to improve, otherwise?

I really like the Abbey Hill competitions.
They give you a prompt
and basically tell you to run with it.
The catch (if you can call it that)
is that the story MUST begin with the prompt.
Or you're disqualified.

My first submission received a good critique.
They made positive suggestions,
which I incorporated into my next submission.

Although I didn't win,
I received another great critique:

"This was a compelling story with a crisp, surprise ending that was well hidden by the author over the course of the narration. Several sentences, paragraphs and descriptions were particularly attention getting, especially as related to Venom’s appearance, gross and/or threatening actions, smell, etc. The author transports the reader to the dark, dangerous streets, and never allows Venom and the narrator to fall out of character – keeps the pressure on until the end. This story, in fact, was a finalist that was included in the group sent to the primary judge."

Can you believe that?
I was short-listed.
That's as good as winning to me.

Or, as my old mentor and boss, Bob MacKinnon, used to say,
That's as close as damn is to swearing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Writing Workshop

I signed up to take a short story writing course.
It was supposed to start last Tuesday.

Unfortunately--or perhaps, fortunately--
the start date was delayed two weeks.

You can imagine how excited I was to start this course,
and how disappointed I was when it was delayed.
So I decided to take a workshop on Saturday,
just to tide me over.

I wasn't going to take this workshop--
after all, I was already taking the Short Story class.
But I'm so glad I changed my mind.

The workshop was given by Ruth Walker.
It was on dialogue,
both internal and external.
Like I need more voices in my head!

It was an awesome class
and I had so much fun.
We were given assignments
then 15 minutes to write.
We read our pieces to the class,
who then critiqued our work.
It was very inspirational.

I posted two of the pieces on my
Monica Manning site:
An Untitled piece and
another titled Between Floors.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Holiday Greetings

As I've pointed out previously,
many people in our office
decorate their glass walls for the holidays.

Not to be outdone,
Robilicious bought some gel letters
and stuck them up on Boss #2's window.

Originally, it looked like this:

Festive, no?

But there are a few people in the office
who simply cannot resist temptation.
And I recently arrived at work
to find this:

I'm not sure what a Dipshy is,
but I'm guessing it's a derogatory term.
Or, perhaps, the 'Y' is supposed to be an 'IT'.
Since I know who re-arranged the letters,
I'm going with the latter.

On the plus side,
at least they said hello.

Right back atchya!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I made cupcakes.
They turned out a lot better than the last batch.
And they actually taste as good as they look!
There may be hope for me yet.

This is what they look like naked.

This is what they look like in their Sunday best.

Note the sprinkles.
That's 'bling bling' for cupcakes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some things don't change

Don't let it be said that you outgrow klutziness.
I'm living proof.

When I was a kid,
Children's Aid was beginning to have a large impact.
Teachers were encouraged to contact the organization
to report anything unusual with their students.

Imagine my mother's surprise
when a caseworker knocked at our door.
She introduced herself and told my mom that
my kindergarten teacher had noticed
that I was coming to school--quite often--
with bruises.

My mother was about to give this woman
more than just a piece of her mind, when
--with perfect timing--
I came tumbling down the stairs.
Head over heals,
landing in a big heap
right in front of the caseworker.

My mother looked at the woman,
raised an eyebrow,
and gestured to me with her hand,
in a 'voila!' sort of way.

The woman muttered an apology
and left.

Last Thursday,
the scenario was repeated.
Big heap, and all.
I missed the last step coming down the stairs,
and sprained my ankle.

As I screamed out in pain,
both the dog and TH came running.
One (perhaps both) of them
began licking my face,
making sure I was OK.

TH made it quite clear
that I was a walking disaster.
Crushing thumbs...
cutting limbs...
breaking bones...
I was relegated to the sofa
for the duration of the weekend.

I wonder where that caseworker is now?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hide and Seek

Do you believe in ghosts?
I do.
Without a doubt.
I've had far too many experiences
to think otherwise.

Case in point:
My Uncle Bob.

Today is the anniversary of Uncle Bob's death.
We all miss him a lot,
especially Cousin Alex.
But I must admit, it's hard to be sad about it.
If you knew Uncle Bob, you'd understand.

Uncle Bob was a mischievous soul.
He was always pulling pranks,
teasing us kids,
making life miserable for us,
but making us laugh the entire time.

One thing he was notorious for was
moving items when you weren't looking,
so that when you turned back to your task,
whatever it was you were using was gone.

Soon after he died,
my mother (his sister)
started noticing things would go missing.
Then they would turn up
in exactly the same place she had just looked.

In her house, there is a picture of Uncle Bob
that is often found face down.
No one in the house has moved it--
no one would dare dishonour his memory--
and there is no explanation for it.
We know it's him.
Just reminding us he's still around.

After she told me this, I started to clue in.
Suddenly, all the items I was misplacing
started to make sense.
So now, when I'm missing something,
I say in a stern voice
"Uncle Bob! Give it up right now!!"
The item I'm looking for usually shows up soon after.

So, it should come as no surprise,
that when I misplaced my memory stick,
I wasn't too upset about it...
despite the fact that
all my writing is on that stick,
and even though I have hard copies of everything,
I didn't want to re-type it all.

I searched the house,
several times,
and finally came to the conclusion that I had left it at work.
So I searched my desk yesterday.
Moved my keyboard,
checked under the monitor stand,
sifted through every drawer.

I sat at my desk,
letting my mind wander,
trying to remember where I last used it.

Then it occurred to me what day it was.
Of course.
I sighed.
"Uncle Bob! Not funny, you know!"

And I lifted my keyboard,
the one I had just looked under,
and there it was--
my little black memory stick.

"Very funny," I muttered.

When I meet him again,
I'm going to hide his wings.