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Writing Challenges

Post A-to-Z Road Trip [2013]                        http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2013/05/want-to-join-us-for-ultimate-road-trip.html

The wonderful rush of the A to Z Challenge writing process has been completed, and I felt guilty that I was not able to get to as many blogs as I wanted to.  Thankfully, the co-hosts have a road trip planned and I am on board. I look forward to seeing the more than 1600 particiants blogs as I hope they all sign up for this trip. If not I can still go over to the original sign up sheet and find them there.

Even if you did not participate, have a look at the ones that tickle your fancy  as I am sure you will be surprised by some of the things you will see, feel and learn!

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Thank you to Patricia at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?viewMemberFeed=&gid=4435830&memberID=122589528 for turning me on to this website/blog/challenge.   For more information you can go to their website     http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ .

I have chosen the miscellaneous section to write on because I would like to keep the children’s thought patterns in mind. As one never knows where a child is coming from, some topics cannot be categorized by the choices presented.

THis  has been challenging, amazing, a great learning experience. I am so thankful for learning things from the other blogs involved.  Thanks again Patricia for sparking my interest!

And finally… “Z” is for Zillions

There are so many things have come into my life.  I cannot count them all.

I shudder to think what I let slip by through self-abuse and alcohol.

Those days have passed, most thankfully. Not sure how I made it through.

If I look back, through that tiny crack, I see a zillion faces like you.

Faces filled with sadness, faces hiding shame. What weakness was this?

Faces that urged me to carry on, “Try this one, it will give you bliss!”

A zillion hard old bridges that I  did not need to cross.

Could have turned out like so many who lay covered now in moss.

The steps I starting taking  seemed like a zillion long.

The faces looking brighter and me just playing along.

Twenty thousand steps go by and a candle shines the way.

Still something lurks and weighs me down like sedimentary clay.

“Step higher, honey, raise the bar.” they called out now to me.

I had to burn the contract held to a tolerable degree.

More steps are mastered one by one, the end not quite in sight.

But surely now the signs are pointing to a life of  less contrite.

Although I live a life that I must always keep in check.

I thank the zillion faces that were tough with no regret.

I send a zillion apologies and a zillion thank yous too.

To the zillion faces, who lifted me  while I tried to  eschew.

From my heart – thank you.

“Y” is for Yurt

Jamie’s Journal – Keep Out!!

My yurt has been my happy home for as long as I can remember. I share it with my parents and our dog. I have a little room that I can call my own, but the really cool thing is that it’s outdoors where I roam! Our yurt is by a bush that surrounds a small lake.  It is built with canvas and poles that hold it up just right. There are windows all around it and a big old wooden door.  I have a rag rug, a friend made, placed on the wood floor.

The snow has piled up around the yurt on this cold day. The wood stove is working a little hard to keep us warm.  The dog is curled up in front of it, so I just lay beside him. When the snow stops I’ll get my snowshoes and go for a walk with the dog.

I don’t know anything that is different about living in my circle home. I don’t know why kids laugh at it when they come by either. I have some friends that think my house is cool.  I have gone to friends houses and I really don’t like the square walls and straight walls and small windows. I like the big windows and the wall poles and roof poles and all the wood that we polish. I like the canvas on the outside because it looks like a tent. I like the deck that goes around it to because I can run and run and never reach the end.

I like to see whatever the windows show me each morning. The deer and moose play hide and seek  chase each other around. I see the babies in the spring. I watch the rabbits color change from winter white to summer brown and back again.  I see the caterpillars curl up in leaves and turn into butterflies.  I watch the flowers jump up from deep in the ground and show the sun their face.  The skunks are really silly and they tumble around the ground.  Have you ever seen the likes of a baby beaver, or porcupine? So cute, they are. You’ll never guess how many birds have flown through the yurts front door.  We’ve chased them out and then turned around to chase out another four.

I can’t think of anything else that I could compare this to.  I don’t know if I could ever possibly live in the city or small town.  I am not afraid of people, but I like it better when they’re not around.

I love my yurt!

Thank you.  Jamie’s journal  – over and out!

yurta_interior3 yurta_exterior12

“X” is for Xhosa

pulled the an alternate “X”  story out of the web search.  This is an educational tidbit for your viewing pleasure.

The Xhosa are part of the South African Nguni migration which slowly moved south from the region around the Great Lakes, displacing the original Khoisan hunter gatherers of Southern Africa. Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-17th century, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban.

The Xhosa and white settlers first encountered one another around Somerset East in the early 18th century. In the late 18th century Afrikaner trekboers migrating outwards from Cape Town came into conflict with Xhosa pastoralists around the Great Fish River region of the Eastern Cape. Following more than 20 years of intermittent conflict, from 1811 to 1812 the Xhosas were forced east by British colonial forces in the Third Frontier War.

In the years following, many Xhosa-speaking clans were pushed west by expansion of the Zulus, as the northern Nguni put pressure on the southern Nguni as part of the historical process known as the mfecane, or “scattering”. The Xhosa-speaking southern Nguni people had initially split into the Gcaleka and the Rharhabe (who had moved westwards across the Kei river). Further subdivisions were made more complicated by the arrival of groups like the Mfengu and the Bhaca from the Mfecane wars. These newcomers came to speak the Xhosa language, and are sometimes considered to be Xhosa. Xhosa unity and ability to resist colonial expansion was further weakened by the famines and political divisions that followed the cattle-killing movement of 1856. Historians now view this movement as a millennialist response both directly to a lung disease spreading among Xhosa cattle at the time, and less directly to the stress to Xhosa society caused by the continuing loss of their territory and autonomy.

Some historians argue that this early absorption into the wage economy is the ultimate origin of the long history of trade union membership and political leadership among Xhosa people.   That history manifests itself today in high degrees of Xhosa representation in the leadership of the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling political party.

Language is mainly Bantu origin that encompasses about 18% of south African populations but can also be understood with Zulu speaking people. Among its features, the Xhosa language famously has fifteen click sounds, originally borrowed from now extinct Khoisan languages of the region. Xhosa has three basic click consonants: a dental click, written with the letter “c”; a palatal click, written with the letter “q”; and a lateral click, written with the letter “x”. There is also a simple inventory of five vowels (a, e, i, o, u). Some vowels however may be silent. In other words, they can be present in written language but hardly audible in spoken language. This happens especially at the end of the word. This is because the tone of most Xhosa words is lowest at the end.

Folklore and Religion

Traditional Xhosa culture includes diviners known as amagqirha.This job is mostly taken by women, who spend five years in apprenticeship. There are also herbalists amaxhwele, prophets izanusi, and healers inyanga for the community.

The Xhosas have a strong oral tradition with many stories of ancestral heroes; according to tradition, the leader from whose name the Xhosa people take their name was the first King of the nation. One of Xhosa’s descendents named Phalo gave birth to two sons Gcaleka, the heir and Rharabe a son from the Right Hand house. Rharhabe the warrior wanted Gcaleka’s throne but was defeated and banished and settled in the Amathole Mountains. Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile Aa! Zanesizwe is the King in the Great Place in Mngqesha. The Zwelonke Sigcawu was crowned King of the Xhosa on 18 June 2010.

The key figure in the Xhosa oral tradition is the imbongi (plural: iimbongi) or praise singer. Iimbongi traditionally live close to the chief’s “great place” (the cultural and political focus of his activity); they accompany the chief on important occasions – the imbongi Zolani Mkiva preceded Nelson Mandela at his Presidential inauguration in 1994. Iimbongis’ poetry, called imibongo, praises the actions and adventures of chiefs and ancestors.

The supreme being is called uThixo or uQamata. Ancestors act as intermediaries and play a part in the lives of the living; they are honoured in rituals. Dreams play an important role in divination and contact with ancestors. Traditional religious practice features rituals, initiations, and feasts. Modern rituals typically pertain to matters of illness and psychological well-being.

Christian missionaries established outposts among the Xhosa in the 1820s, and the first Bible translation was in the mid-1850s, partially done by Henry Hare Dugmore. Xhosa did not convert in great numbers until the 20th century, but now many are Christian, particularly within the African Initiated Churches such as the Zion Christian Church. Some denominations combine Christianity with traditional beliefs.

Clan Names

Xhosa clan names (isiduko (sing.), iziduko (pl.) in Xhosa) are family names which are considered more important than surnames among Xhosa people.[citation needed] Much like the clan system of Scotland, each Xhosa person can trace their family history back to a specific male ancestor or stock. Mentioning the clan name of someone you wish to thank is the highest form of respect, and it is considered polite to enquire after someone’s clan name when you meet them. The clan name is also sometimes used as an exclamation by members of that clan.

When a woman marries she may take her husband’s surname, but she always keeps her own clan name, adding the prefix Ma- to it. A man and a woman who have the same clan name may not marry, as they are considered to be related. (Which I found interesting.)

There is a long list of names availble at this link.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xhosa_clan_names

Food

The Xhosa settled on mountain slopes of the Amatola and the Winterberg Mountains. Many streams drain into great rivers of this Xhosa territory including the Kei and Fish Rivers. Rich soils and plentiful rainfall make the river basins good for farming and grazing making cattle important and the basis of wealth.

Traditional foods include beef (Inyama yenkomo), mutton (Inyama yegusha), and goat meat, sorghum, milk (often fermented, called “amasi“), pumpkins (amathanga), Mielie-meal(maize meal), samp, beans (iimbotyi), vegetables, like “rhabe”, wild spinach reminiscent of sorrel, “imvomvo”, the sweet sap of an aloe, or “ikhowa”, a mushroom that grows after summer rains.

Please check out this link for an interesting array of food choices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_cuisine#Typical_South_African_foods_and_dishes

Arts and Crafts

Traditional crafts include beadwork, weaving, woodwork and pottery.

Traditional music features drums, rattles, whistles, flutes, mouth harps, and stringed-instruments and especially group singing accompanied by hand clapping. There are songs for various ritual occasions; one of the best-known Xhosa songs is a wedding song called “Qongqothwane, performed by Miriam Makeba as “Click Song #1″. Besides Makeba, several modern groups record and perform in Xhosa. Missionaries introduced the Xhosa to Western choral singing. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika“, part of the National anthem of South Africa is a Xhosa hymn written in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga.

The first newspapers, novels, and plays in Xhosa appeared in the 19th century, and Xhosa poetry is also gaining renown.

Several films have been shot in the Xhosa language. U-Carmen eKhayelitsha is a modern remake of Bizet‘s 1875 opera Carmen. It is shot entirely in Xhosa, and combines music from the original opera with traditional African music. It takes place in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha.

More on this aspect can be found here:  http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Rwanda-to-Syria/Xhosa.html

The Xhosa People of Today

This section did need verification according to Wikikpedia.

Under apartheid, adult literacy rates were as low as 30%, and in 1996 studies estimated the literacy level of first-language Xhosa speakers at approximately 50%.  There have been advances since then, however.

Education in primary-schools serving Xhosa-speaking communities is conducted in isiXhosa, but this is replaced by English after the early primary grades. Xhosa is still considered as a studied subject, however, and it is possible to major in Xhosa at university level. Most of the students at the University of Fort Hare speak isiXhosa. Rhodes University in Grahamstown, additionally, offers courses in isiXhosa for both mother-tongue and non-mother-tongue speakers. These courses both include a cultural studies component. Professor Russel H. Kaschula, Head of the School of Languages at Rhodes, has published multiple papers on Xhosa culture and oral literature.

The effects of government polices during the years of apartheid can still be seen in the poverty of the Xhosa who still reside in the Eastern Cape. During this time, Xhosa males could only seek employment in the mining industry as so-called migrant labourers. Since the collapse of apartheid, individuals can move freely.

After the breakdown of apartheid, migration to Gauteng and Cape Town is increasingly common, especially amongst rural Xhosa people.

Resources are from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xhosa_people   , http://www.africanholocaust.net/peopleofafrica.htm#x

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of history brought to you by the letter “X”.

“W” is for Web

I have a pesky spider that will not leave me alone.

He’s invaded every space that’s within my little home.

His webs are in my face each morn when I leave my bed.

They’re in my mouth, my ears and bear that I call ol’ Ted.

I found them in the covers, but I don’t know how come,

He found a way to web the bedpost where I stash my gum.

I asked for help the other day to chase it from my room.

We cleaned and swept only to find its webbery did resume.

I may seem tired of trying and you’re right would be my guess.

I cannot seem to squash this little bug, nevertheless.

So I will have to ponder about what I will do next.

I feel I’m overpowered, alas, a little vexed.

Perhaps I shall observe him, stare quiet as a mouse,

Or maybe just give up and build for him a little house!

“V” is for The View From My Room

“It’s time for bed, sleepy head”, I heard my mother say. “Off to your room and I’ll come soon to tuck you in goodnight.”  I brushed my teeth and flossed them too and did some other things. I climbed into bed and grabbed my book that I would like to have read.

As I lay there, with the side lamp burning bright, I saw some things I’d never noticed.  I never saw the spider that made a home in the corner of the ceiling.  I sure hoped he would stay there all night! I wouldn’t like to know that he moved about the room and crawled into my bed!

I really never noticed the books that line the shelf. But they are quite colorful and lighten up the room.

I never saw the way the light dances off the ceiling bumps before.  They look like little fairy huts with fire-pot glowing here and there.  I do not mind these visitors, in fact they bring me peace.

I never saw the tiny crack above the window before.  Was the house falling in around me? I sure hope that it would not spread more before I able to tell someone. I would not want to having the house come crashing on my head!

I never noticed the smile that was on the face of the clown my mother used to own.  It sits up on a shelf with more friends both young and old. The porcelain doll that Grandpa passed to me, is watching like an angel brave to keep me safe.

I never noticed that there are too many toys in the box. They seem to spill up and over their home without a purpose or thought.  I might have to give some of them away to someone who needs a smile too.

I never noticed how soft and warm my blankets are on me. The patchwork quilt, the flannel quilt, the cotton sheets, the feather pillows wrapped with  sweet lavender satchets.

My eyes are feeling heavy, but I hear the footfalls coming. I never noticed how soft the rug is that protects the floor. As Mother draws closer, I know the end  of day is near.  She reads to me so softly, soothing my mind.

As I drift off to slumberland, I float above my room.  I never noticed just how full it is. It’s full of life and happiness and tears that fall some days. It’s full of art and dreams and special things.  I see that I am loved and kept protected as best can be.

I sleep… so soundly… not even noticing… that spider is curled up with me!

“U” is for UFO

I heard somebody talking to a friend the other day.  What they were talking about kind of took my mind away to the world of possibilities where maybe dreams come true.  This tale is of the journey that my mindscape took me to.

I saw that there where funny things that flew up in the sky, and they dipped and dove all over the place, like birds around a lake. As I looked closer I saw that they were shiny bright and glowing from the sun.  They pulled their craft over me and came down for a closer look. I trembled and shook and then  – swoop – I was off!

The beings that were in the craft looked funnier than me. I had to laugh, a little loud, when their pet came up to inspect me.  It looked like a little unicorn with a horn that glowed bright green. I startled and fell backwards when it started barking like a dog. The creatures that were in the room doubled up in laughter.  Their laughter was hilarious and I joined them in their tune. One of them took me by the hand and led me to an area that was full of flashing buttons, levers, computer screens (well sort of like them), and more UFO-ians in chairs (well sort of like chairs), some plates that held little snapping, colored things. What a weird setup this was. Although I couldn’t understand what was said, as they spoke in quips and whistles and clucking-clicking sounds, I knew this was the control area. I could see,  on one of the screens, my neighborhood, and the friends that were still talking.  I saw that Dad was mowing the grass and Mom was picking flowers.

On another screen, I saw the stars and planets with their moons. I knew that they were showing me the land where they came from. It was a funky little planet with pastel colored rocks that formed skinny peaks reaching for the limits of the  universe. I could not understand how they did not fall over. One of the beings zoomed in on a peak and showed me a small opening.  Suddenly a body  sprung out and it was waving to us.  How was that possible?  They were able to know where each other was no matter the distance.

I was thinking about how awesome that was when I felt a pain in my thumb. I glanced over to have a look only to find seven or eight little fuzzballs chewing on it. I shrieked and jumped back shaking my hand wildly!  The beings started their laughter again, but I did not join in this time. What were these things?  They returned to their plates and snapped at the air. One of the aliens sprinkled some type of dust over them and they gobbled it down like pigs eating chop!

I was passed a beverage that smelled like hot chocolate.  I wasn’t sure if I should drink it, as thoughts of Alice in Wonderland danced through my head. I touched it to my lips, but it went down my throat on its own. It felt warm, but not heat warm, tingly. I was not sure what happened next,  as I fell back to the ground.  I woke to find my friends about me and faces showed concern.

They said that I was babbling, and made no sense at all, and the laughter, if you wanted to call it that, they said, was just plain scary! I told they that I drifted off and saw the things they were talking about, the UFO’s and all. But I couldn’t explain why my thumb was so sore and bleeding slightly.  It looked as though someone punctured it with a handful of needles.  My throat still felt numb, too.  Now was that weird, or what?

“T” is for How Many T’s Do You See?

My name is Tulia Tukluk and I live on Terribly TemperamenTal Terrain.  I’ve learned many Things abouT my world ThaT I ThoughT I would share with you.

I’ve learned To eaT Tofu while Tip-Toeing across a TighTrope. Would you like To Try?  Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned to Twist my Torso and Tumble Through a Tube.  Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To Tackle Terns when They Take off To Turquoise skies. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned to Tuck my Tummy in when my T-shirT fiTs Too Tight. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned ThaT Taking picTures on The back of Tack my dog, doesn’t work. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned ThaT hiking mounTains is good for my hearT and lungs.   Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To dream good dreams That will guide me Though my life.  Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve found some Treasures Tucked beneaTh brighT  sTones on a shoreline. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To Tuck my knees up TighT as I jump on The Trampoline.  Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To place Ten seTTings of our Tableware ouT righT. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To Tie Two balls of Twine inTo arTwork for a Tree. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To pass my Ticket To The conducTor of The Train.  Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To help my Grandma move her Trolley full of Turnips from the garden.  Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To Tie a Thread and sew a sTuffy doll. Would you like To Try? Maybe when you’re older and your guardians are your guide.

I’ve learned To love all living Things because They love us back.  Would you like To Try?  You don’T have to waiT unTil  you’re older buT your guardians are sTill your guide.

How many T’s are in This sTory?  Can you counT Them all ouT loud?  How many “T” words can you Think of?

“S” is for Static

Why am I full of static cling, when I wake up each day?

It fills my bed and stuffies.  I’ll hire military attaché.

He’ll have to stand up for my rights when I rise in the morn,

And pull that sock off from the spot that it seems to adorn.

When it comes to tame the hair that springs out ’round my head,

I’ll have him use that stuff that makes your hair feel like hard lead.

As I walk about the carpet in my bright red fuzzy socks,

He’d help me get to the point that I could just outfox,

That zap –  zap –  zapping pattern that happens when I touch,

The walls, my jacket, or my hairbrush that I use so much.

I hope that he would also show me what to do in case

The shocks I get from static make me sport a big wry face.

If only winter would go away and spring  give humidity,

I’d be so happy to walk about with no fear of rigidity.

The only other problem with static in my house,

Comes from my baby brother,  a real live felis chaus!

I think that I could write a book on things he does each day,

To cause such static in my place, we’re always in disarray.

But that will be in some future time,  maybe when we’re static,

As things that change will always come , yes, they’ll be automatic.

zap

Picture courtesy of :   http://www.bing.com/images/

“R” is for Reek

Track and Field Day was held every fall at Memorial Elementary School. every, I mean EVERY , student had to take part.  There was no room for “I’m sick!”  “My dog ate my running shoe!”  “The wheel on my chair is wobbly!”  ” I have to study for the test on Monday.”

There were hurdles to jump, bars to leap over, races to challenge and shots to put.  A lot of the kids were nervous, really nervous, including me. I think we started to reek a little because of it.

The sun beat down on us, that physically challenging day. The more we tried to complete the challenges, the more we sweat.  The more we sweat, the more we reeked. It wasn’t smelling pretty out there.

As the afternoon drew to a close, some of us took off our shoes.  Whew – phew!   Did our feet reek!  The smell from the cheese  that Dad buys from the deli could not compare to this at all!  We were coughing and sputtering!  Finally  someone pleaded for us to put them back on. We obliged rather quickly,  but it was difficult.  The winds were blowing the rotten  smell right around our heads.

The last congratulations were given and we were free to go home.  Ahhh, a nice shower, clean, fresh, perfect!  After gathering our bags,  my friends and I walked home, but we gave each other plenty of personal space!  Was it my imagination or were we being followed by a swarm of flies?  I wasn’t sure I would even be let in the house, smelling as bad as I did.  Thankfully no one was home when I arrived.  I stripped off my clothes in the laundry room and ran to take my shower.  Oh ya! That was the best feeling in the world!  The suds were everywhere as I scrubbed and took in the smell of freshness!

Once I got dressed, I went to the family room and relaxed on the couch.  I feel asleep.  I must have been in a very deep sleep, as I did not hear a thing until Mother exclaimed, “What is that awful smell?  It reeks in here!”

What could I say?  I sheepishly walked to the laundry area and let Mother know the culprits  were my clothes and running shoes.  “Whew!  Phew! I think that we have to air them before I even wash them!”

So out to the clothesline I went.  I was hanging them on the line to air when a swarm of flies circled about and landed on the stinking, gross, reeking clothes.  No matter how I tried to swosh them away, they’d circle around and plop right back on them. I swung my arms and spun in circles trying to get them to fly off.  I got dizzy and fell down, with all that stinking mess landing right on my head. The flies followed the clothes of course and they were crawling all over my face! Gross!! I jumped up as quickly as I could and swung my clothes in big circles around me.  It was like magic – the flies seemed to be dancing in perfect rhythm with the movement of the stinking clothes.

Mother must have wondered what I was doing as she peered out the kitchen window, as she tapped on the glass firmly, signalling that I should stop horsing around and complete the task I was to do.  I guess she couldn’t see the flies that were dancing about me.  I gave up and kept swatting at them as I continued the chore.  I huffed  a couple out that tried to get up my nose.

Mother was busy making dinner as I returned to the kitchen.  I looked outside to see if the flies had left, but I think they were moving in for the night.  I offered to help make the meal, but mother asked if I could take out the garbage.  I grabbed the bin and walked towards the garbage can.  Man did that reek! I coughed and sputtered and tried to cover my nose with my arm.  Wouldn’t you know it…I dumped the garbage just outside the door.  Oh the smell!! I ran back into the house to grab the dustpan and another bag.  I came out to clean the debris only to find the flies were everywhere.  I tried to scoop the mess as quickly as I could. Coughing and sputtering and spitting out more flies,  I took a deep breath, wanting to hold it for as long as I could, but I inhaled a fly!

Yeeeuuucckkk! I dropped everything and ran into the house.  “Ma…Mom….Mother!!!” I yelped as I continued to cough.  She spun to watch my display , and jokingly asked why I was turning purple?  “The garbage stunk, but aren’t you being a little dramatic?”  I tried to tell her I swallowed a fly, but the words would not come.

After taking a drink,  I finished cleaning up my mess, angrily swatting at the pesky insects.  Oh how it reeked! I think that I had my fill of stinky scenarios for the day.  I put the garbage into the receptacle, and started walking towards the house.  Was that the smoke alarm?  I ran to the door, and sure enough, mother was fanning the billowing smoke away from the smoke detector.  Supper had burnt accidentally, and the rancid smoke was thick. Did it ever reek! It took a while to make the smell go away, but thankfully,  it was cleared up by the time Dad came home.   What a stinking day!  Well, maybe it wasn’t too bad, I did win a couple of ribbons!

smelly sneakers

picture courtesy of: http://www.bing.com/images/

“Q” is for Queasy

I feel queasy,   I feel blue.   My tummy hurts. What should I do?

I feel queasy, I feel sad. My head is woozy, I feel quit bad.

I feel queasy,  I feel blue. It’s hot in here,  I have the flu.

I feel queasy, I’m freezing cold.   My tummy boils  if truth be told!

I feel queasy, I feel blue.    Grandmas’ in the kitchen,  making witches brew.

I feel queasy,  I’m just a mess.   My nose is running.   I’m a damsel in distress.

I feel queasy, I feel blue.  My mattress is lumpy, or it’s my angle of view.

I feel queasy.  Will this ever leave?   I’m tired of laying.   It has caused aggrieve.

I feel queasy, I feel blue.  I’m locked in a fortress,  under security review.

I feel queasy.    It’s got to get better.  I’m just a prisoner.   It is like wearing a fetter.

I feel queasy,  I feel blue.  I have a favorite room –  yes sir, it’s the loo.

I feel queasy Oh the toilet bowl…If it were not for porcelain, I’d be over some deep hole.

Oh maybe I am better, the sun came out today.  I think I smell jelly cake, oh no, that’s foul play!

sick boysick girl

Pictures courtesy of: http://www.bing.com/images/

“P” is for Passenger

We’re going to the city and we’re going by a train.  I’ve never been a passenger, I’ve never seen the plain.

Sometimes I wish that we could fly and see the earth below, but I’ve not yet been a passenger, though one day I’m sure to go.

We’re going to the country, but we will go by car.  I’ll be a quiet passenger because it’s not that far.

Sometimes I wish that I could ride upon a big old boat.  But my passage will be long away, I hope it will still float!

We’re going on a buggy ride, drawn by horses fair.  I’ve never been a passenger, ‘cept on my old grey mare.

Sometimes I wish that I could fly ’round that big old moon.  But I’ve only been a passenger in a blue hot air balloon.

We’re going to the mountains, with snow high upon the peaks. I’ve never been a passenger in a tour to hunt antiques.

Sometimes I’d like to see what lies beyond the deep blue sea. But I’ve not been able to convince someone to come along with me.

We’re going to a funeral, my pet frog died today.  I’ve never been a passenger, but we all end up this way.

passenger dreams

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“O” is for Olfactory

Today I am passing on a poem that I found about smell. This one encompasses almost every trigger that is involved in the olfactory receptor process. I think it is a well written stimuli.

The Sense of Smell

In a sense, it’s not the heart or the mind        That triggers memories so deeply confined

They only play a common role           In those mad moments that flood the soul

Vision and hearing have their tales           But I think the detonation’s due to…smell

That’s what I said, yet you probably oppose       That most of our memories come from the nose

The reason I hold this strong conclusion        Is because my smell brought on so many illusions

Walking outside, I encountered a breath of fresh air       And memories exploded, memories flared;

On the mountains on a day so breezy       On the beach with the tide uneasy

Opening a window during a clashing storm       Sitting by the fire in hopes to get warm

A doe swimming across the river brim       A prickly pine come falling from a limb

Playing in raked leaves in mid fall        Gathering a horse back into his stall

Drip drying in the summer wind        Chasing lightning bugs with my friend

Looking at the stars, oh what bliss        A little boy and a first kiss

Going to a baseball game in night fog       How the rocks roll during a jog

Knowing grass has just been mowed        Making an angel in the snow

A vision of a tire swing under a maple       A candle lit Christmas dinner table

Watching flowers sway on tops of hills        Remembering how God’s love feels

Volcanic memories explode and then again swell       Memories are pure madness when encountering a smell

Whitney Albright
Poem is courtesy of :  http://www.poemhunter.com/
olfactory 1Picture courtesy of : http://bingsearch.com/

“N” is for Neglect

“I think I’m in trouble,” Mary said to Katie Sue. “I neglected to tell my parents something.”

Katie Sue patted her friend on the shoulder and replied,  ” Just tell them it slipped your mind, but you’re telling them now.”

“This is big thought Katie Sue. It requires a lot of responsibility to pull it off and I just blew it.  They won’t let me go ahead now –  I’m sure!”

“Mary stop being so silly! They love you, and spoil you rotten, too, by the way!! They’ll forgive you.  Do you want me to be there when you tell them?”

“No.” She hesitated, thinking that maybe it would be good too have someone there, for backup.  “No, I’ll do it.”

“When?”

“As soon as we sit down for supper.” Mary hung her head, already playing out and dreading  the scene.

Six o’clock rolled by.  Mary  had warmed the meal and set the table.  She wondered why she had done that.  It was sure to set off alarm bells.  Her mom came home first.  She did a double take at the table setting.  “Someone must be hungry tonight! How was your day Mary?’

“Pretty good. How about yours?” she asked.

“OK.  Dad called me to say that he’s going to be late. Did you want to go ahead and eat?”

“Um, well, sure. ”  she replied, thinking that she may have bought some time. Maybe she could tell her mom first. She played with different way to say it:

“Mom, I have something that I neglected to tell you..”

“Mom I have something I wanted to tell you and dad  – together…”

“Hey, Mom, guess what?  I have a surprise I was going to tell you and dad about at supper…”

Which way should she tell her?  Being seven was tough! She wish that she would have said something when she first found out. The phone rang, taking Mary out of her thoughts. “Mary! it’s for you.” her mother said.  As she drew closer to the phone, her mom said,”It’s Katie Sue.”

“Hey Katie Sue, what’s up?” Mary tried to sound light.

“So – how did it go?”

Mary tried to muffle the phone. “Didn’t do it yet. Dad’s going to be late.”

“Well tell your mom. She’s cool.”

Speaking louder, Mary said, “OK, great, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

“Wha-” the phone went dead. “Really?” Katie Sue stood there looking at the phone, dumbfounded.

“That was short.” Her mom observed. Mary didn’t respond.

Dad, whistling, entered the door.  He was not too late after all. “Good evening, lovely ladies! I’m starved! It looks like I made it just in time.”

OH NO! Mary was going to have to ‘fess up. Chatter was light at the table during the meal.  However, Mary’s parents noticed that she seemed troubled. As she toyed with her meal, Mary was still trying to figure out the best way to ease into the story.

Finally, she started. “Mom, Dad, I…I have to tell you something.  I neglected to tell you, that, well I have been given something from school.”  Her parents immediately started thinking about  what would so bad to cause her to act like this, and not get a call from the school. ” I…I  should have told you as soon as I found out, but I was afraid.” The tension was starting to build.  ” I n-neglected to say…” Oh why wouldn’t she just say it already! ” that, well, that I am going to have a hamster.”

You could almost hear the air go whoosh, as her parents, breathed again. They turned to face each other and  chuckled softly. “Mary, Mary!” her father started, “A hamster! Of all the things that I was thinking, I did not expect the word hamster to come out of your mouth!” He pretended to be stern.  “Young lady, what made you neglect to tell us?”

“I know that I can look after it, Dad! I didn’t mean to wait so long. I was sure you would say no and I already told Mr. Fitzgerald I would take it and you said yes and…”  Her Dad interrupted. “You know Mary, that pets require responsibility, and your neglecting to tell us, does not go in your favour.”

Mary hung her head. She knew it. It was just how she thought it was going to happen.  Now what?  She had to tell her teacher that she lied. Oh, why did she do that?

While her head was down, Mom winked at Dad.  He responded.  “Well Mary, I hope you understand that if we agree. You will need to help with chores, no complaining,  keep your pet clean, watered and  fed. Most of all, you need to be sure that it does not escape!! I do not want rodents running through the house. Do we have a deal?”

Mary lit up! “Oh! Yes! Dad thank you – thank you! It comes with the cage and everything! Mr. Fitzgerald said that I can bring the babies back to school anytime!”

“Babies?” Mom and Dad chorused.

“Oh! Did I neglect to tell you she’s pregnant?”

hamster

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“M” is for My Mamma Wears A Mumu

When the soft winds blow across the land, I turn to face the caress. The smells that are carried along the way make me dream of everything beyond what I can see.  I smell flowers, sweet and spicy.  What colors would they be?  I smell animals, the barn smells of babies, manure and feed.  Wha kind of animals are there?   smell fresh laundry, drying in the breeze.  Could I hear the crack of th sheets as they snap back at the wind?  No, it is my Mamma. She wears a mumu and it flaps in the breeze.  The colors are bright and cheerful, like the flowers, like my Mamma.  She smells sweet and spicy too, like the flowers.  (Not at all like the barnyard, that smell is unique.)

Mamma has worn a mumu for as long as I can remember.  “She is one of the easiest people to give presents to.” My Dad said. I agree. The hardest part is deciding what color to pick.

We have used the old ones for many things.  I have made tents on the clothes line and in the house.  I have used them for a blanket to comfort me mamma was not about.  Dad has cut them up for rags when the sunlight would shine through the thinning fabric.  Grandma uses them for rag rugs that lay about the house.  Auntie uses them to crochet grocery bags that we fill when we go to town.  Our favorite, though, are the dolls that mamma makes for my sisters, my brother, my cousins, friends and me.

Mamma holds this family together and that is why she likes to sew.  I hear her singing or humming when she has a needle and thread in her hands. I think that with every stitch she makes, she asks for health and peace to follow the doll’s owner.  I know that each doll she makes, is made with love.  Everyone who receives one, holds a piece of mamma nearly every day. My dolls line the shelf in my tiny room.  They fill my heart with so much love there isn’t much place for anything else.  I have some that look like animals, other like faeries, yet more that look like family.

My grandma said that she would teach me how to sew. How I would love to learn.  The first thing I would like to make is a doll or mamma.  I would sing all the while as I stitched t with love, wishing her health and peace.  I would make a smile on the face that would light the room at night.  Most important of all, I would have to make a mumu.  A little mumu with flowers dancing bright. It would be great to have it ready for the special day that arrives soon.

There would be no mistaking who the doll is meant to be.  It is a lady that is happy to be a mother to her children and whomever else needs her hugs.  She is the best friend my father could ever have, because he told us that.  She is loved, my mamma in a mumu. I hope my doll is finished because we want to wish her a very happy Mothers Day.

needle and thread

“L” is for Luxury

I have no time for luxury, it always passes by,

I find my self in dire need to run till I ’bout die.

I run to get the laundry and pick up groceries too.

Then I run about the yard and pick up doggie poo!

Slow down, my children tell me, you need to have some fun.

We need to get some mud, make pies and set them in the sun.

Then we will kick our shoes off and run silly through the grass.

If  there’s still time, for supper, we can go and fish for bass.

“I have no time for luxury, dear children”, I replied.

“There’s sewing and then mending.” With that the children cried

“Dear mother we’ll be leaving soon, before you say goodbye,

Just think of all the fun we missed because you couldn’t try.”

“The mending will get done, when the skies pour down with rain.

But we must scoop that pile of poop from, Bud, our huge Great Dane.

The groceries you must still do, the dishes, they are ours.

So now let’s go and have some fun, and really smell the flowers.”

Sometimes the wisdom of the kids can really make you wonder,

Where did all the time just go to set your life asunder.

I have no time for luxuries, I often said aloud

I found that time, no matter what, we’re family and I’m proud.

running through grass

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r Luxury

“K” is for Knock About

I live in a small apartment on a medium block, in a large suburb of a big city in a huge province in the humongous country of Canada. I go  to a big school, with medium hallways and small rooms.  I have a small desk in a medium aisle and face a big blackboard.  Our teacher is a loud voiced man, with a big desk and a small computer that stores all of our assignments.

Our class is studying the world right now.  We have watched movies and clips and slide shows.  We have opened and closed more books than I think I will ever do for the rest of my life! If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I want to knock about the world.

I haven’t told my mother yet, I think that she would cry.  I haven’t told my father yet, he wants me to become a politician.  I haven’t told my brother yet,  he would just laugh in my face and punch me in the arm. (I hate that!)  So I think I will just keep it to myself until I pack my bags.

I think I’ll start with Scotland. I’ll raise sheep for a while and help with the harvest.  When the fog gets too thick, I’ll knock about the Netherlands.  When I’ve helped ship the last of the flower bulbs, I know my mom will buy, I’ll pack my bags for Japan. I’ll help rebuild houses that were knocked down from disasters.  When the blisters on my hands are too bad, I’ll stop for a while and go to Africa.

I think that I will stay here to help dig water wells. We’d use the oxen and turnstile to help penetrate the earth.  Once the water flowed for many villages, I would have to move along.  There is stuff to do in South America. The mountain peaks are filled with snow and travel would be hard.  The friends I would make would offer their burros to help carry the supplies I need.  Medicines and flowers and herbs, warm clothing too.  I could help them get through the winter, because I know winters!

I’d start anew the next year and knock about China, then on to the mountains of Afghanistan and the valleys of India.  There are so places I have to go; Sweden, Iceland and Spain, Dominica, Portugal and the Ukraine. My head is spinning, so now I will stop.

For now, I am me, just knocking about my little apartment, on this medium block of this large suburb of the big city in the huge province in Canada.  However…my bags are packed!

hobomap pictures courtesy of:  http://www.bing.com/images/

“J” is for Jacamar

“Oh! to soar on the wings of a Jacamar and glide from sea to sea.”

I am breaking away from the normal today to talk about the Jacamar. I like birds.  They live between Mexico and Guatemala.  I found out that there were also on the red list of endangered species. They have a unique way about catching their favorite food – butterflies or dragonflies.  There is an audible snap of their beaks when they capture the dinner. They then perch on a branch and pound the insect on it before eating.  Apparently, this aids with the ingestion.  There are a variety of colours that dance on the species. I have included some below for your viewing pleasure.

That’s it for today folks!  Enjoy your day!

purplish jacamar paradise jacamar jacamar

“I” is for Itsy-Bitsy

The tale of the old spider,  has been told a million times.  Getting washed out in the rain, as told in nursery rhymes.

The itsy bitsy bikini, that the lady wore, was a fun tune that people used to dance to on the floor.

When Horton heard the cry for help, it came from a small flower.  The itsy-bitsy little speck with a voice that did overpower.

Itsy-bitsy has more strength, more than a moving train.  For itsy -bitsy didn’t quit, he went up the spout again.

spider1

picture courtesy of: http://greennature.com/article2499.html

“H” is for Harmonica

My name is Phil Harmonica.  I come from a family of talented musicians that travel far and wide.  They play for the amazing, spectacular, one and only acts to ever hit the big top!

Their job is important. My Mom and Dad sit off to the side and watch each performer carefully, but watch the conductor too.  His back is turned to the acts so he cannot see what happens when someone tumbles or stumbles or a horse doesn’t trot quite right.  The orchestra has to make up some music on the spot to make it seem like they are on cue.

When I was just a baby, I sat in my tub, beside Mom, who played the flute.  I listened to quietly and often fell asleep. She played like an angel.  Then suddenly the tuba would toot-toot his bass and wake me from my dreams.

As I grew older, i stayed in the back to help performers get prepare for their debut. I’d ruffle feathers, tighten strings, zip zippers and hold the hand of a mischievous monkey.  Whenever it was quiet I would pull out the gift my dad gave me – a harmonica.

At first people around me would ask me to put it away.  That was fine.  Whenever the caravan started moving I would ask to ride with the animals. I would practice and play for hours.  They didn’t seem to mind.  Well, except for the dogs, they would cover their ears.

Time marched by and we travelled across the land working, playing, packing up and moving on.  When I turned eight, the ring master asked if I could play a song for the clown act. “Me?” was all I could say.  He said that he had listened to me and I was one of the best harmonica players he had ever heard.  He mentioned that I would have some back-up musicians to help me along.

I was dancing with excitement as I ran to tell mom and dad.  They smiles oh so gently like they were hiding something.  “What? What?” I asked, knowing that they knew a secret.  “We will see what tomorrow brings, son.” my dad said to me.  “Off to bed, but you need to be at practice for seven o’clock!”

Sleep – how could I sleep?  I must have eventually because I remember dreaming. Dreaming of being the conductor, standing in my fancy suit. Bowing to the audience as the fun was about to begin.  The tent was filled to capacity.  Children and their parents dressed up so prettily and dashing.  All eyes were upon me as I turned to meet the orchestra.  I raised my hands in anticipation  of the ring Masters’ mighty call.  “Ladies and gentlemen…”.  My hands drop and the drummer begins his soft roll, growing increasingly louder as the Ring Master continues his repertoire.  I raise my hands once more, to cue the next instruments to ready and …

“Phil – Phil Harmonica! Wake up, it’s time!”

I stretched and smiled.  What a perfect dream. I told mom and dad about it as we ate our meal.  They smiled gently.

I took my harmonica out of its special case, wondering what song I would be playing. I could play every one of the performers special songs, but the clowns were always different.  Ring Master met me outside the tent. He asked me to watch the act for a bit and see what music played in my head.  So I sat on the bench watching them tumble and fall. I didn’t notice that I started to play. “Again!” shouted Ring Master to the clowns in the ring. “He almost has it!”

They repeated the gestures and made me laugh. Suddenly, the spotlight was on me.  “We’re just keeping you on track Phil.  Don’t worry, don’t be shy. Keep playing!” I heard mom in the background saying that I would be fine. I picked up that tune – the one playing in my head, and played with all my heart!

Soon I heard the other instruments come in on cue. I turned my head to see whoo was there. I played with a smile, my heart was filled with pride. Mom was on the flute, Dad on the trombone and my best other uncles were in on it too! I felt giddy as the clowns fumbled along.  Watching every movement they made turned into our song. Once the clock passed two hours, we stopped and took a break.  Mom and Dad were beaming.  Their son, little Phil Harmonica, was a performer.

No matter where life took me, I always remember that day.  Though Mom and Dad are gone, I know they watch over me every time I take the stage. As I bow to the audience, my wand in hand, I remember the miles, the smiles and people who raised me in this company – the amazing, spectacular, one and only acts to ever hit the big top!

And the Ring Master begins.

harmonicapicture courtesy of: http://www.bing.com/images/

“G” is for Grockle

The season was upon us, it was Christmas time again. Time for visits from Aunt Nellie, Uncle Peter and Aunt Gwen.

Oh what me must endure, we kids, when they come to stay. We’re made to sit in the parlour, when we’d rather romp and play.

We are told that they are grockles, merry as can be. But grockles sound like big fat birds that live up in the tree.

Grockles come, my mother said, for the grand par-tay. Merriment, bellies content, it’s always been that way.

Despite the many presents laid unopened ‘neath the tree, it wasn’t always pleasant for my sisters, brothers and me.

Pinching of the cheeks started when the grockles did arrive. You never knew which way to turn or if you would survive.

As the songs, dance and food would flow, the grockles got so loud.  They sang way low then high again, my head was in a cloud.

We begged to have our baths, the bed and read a story too, but papa said to stay a while – my sister cried, boo-hoo!

The dawn it was approaching and the merry makers crept – away to lay their dancing feet to bed and then they slept.

My brothers and my sisters, who were squished all in together, had had enough of them and plucked out a big bed feather.

We snuck into the grockles space, giggled and snorted too. Quite carefully we tickled their toes, Aunt Nellie began to coo.

Her coo turned into laughter and woke up everyone. “We came to get some breakfast and play out in the sun!”

Mama and Aunt Gwen, with their hair in disarray, commenced to cook some sweetbread and put cheese upon a tray.

Then fruits of every colour glowed nicely in a bowl, but then we noticed something black – it was a piece of coal.

Uncle Peter said we must think about those who haven’t much to eat.  the coal was to remember them as we ate our breakfast treat.

The family tree has many limbs that stretch from sea to sea. Despite my claims, these grockles here, remain most fond to me.

Christmas Cheer

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“F” is for Floss

Miss Jenny woke this morning with her jaw throbbing! Her tooth was really going to town today.  It was time to make the call that she really did dread.  She went to eat some breakfast and have a cup of tea.  Whatever caused the pain was gone now, so maybe she could put it off just a little longer.  As she glanced at the morning paper, the reminder came back once more. That was it!  She opened up the phone book  and looked slowly inside the bright yellow pages. Dentists. There were so many to choose from, but she had one in mind.

Miss Jenny dialed quickly, not wanting to chicken out. The receptionist asked some questions, then set the appointment date. “Tomorrow, then at two o’clock, and please do not be late.” She asked just one more question before hanging up the phone. “Do you floss, Miss Jenny?”

Miss Jenny could not answer that question right away.  She didn’t want to tell her that she threw her floss away.  All she could think was the fact that those containers of loss held a lot of string!

Her mind went back to that stormy day she returned from work. She tried to open the door to get in from the rain.  It kept pushing her back no matter how she struggled. She stuck her hand inside the opening, as far as she could reach. There seemed to be nothing that had fallen against the door that would make it so difficult to open.

Miss Jenny went to the front door, and met with the same challenge! It opened just a little more though allowing her to s-q-u-e-e-z-e through the crack. She tripped and spun and hit the floor. Her foot wrapped up instantly in a ball of thin white string.  She sat there looking, blinking – there was string on EVERYTHING!

It wrapped around the sofa and underneath a chair. It looped up through the lampshade and continued to the kitchen.  She  untied the string around her foot and followed where she could. Unreal! she thought to herself. Where did it come from?

She saw that in the kitchen, it wrapped around the teapot, the coffee pot, the dishes in the sink.  It seemed to go on down the drain, but it must have been the end of the string – she hoped! Miss Jenny walked to the back door and saw why she could not get in. The string had found its way around the broom, that was suspended in the air. It continued around the banister heading up the stairs. Miss Jenny’s jaw was open wide as she crept upwards. How could it be wrapped around so many things?

The string was tough and a little waxy so it was not easy to break. Miss Jenny stopped. Dental floss! She ran to the bathroom and met disaster. The cabinet was opened and contents were everywhere – in the sink, toilet, tub and on the floor.  Miss Jenny stood there fuming!

Whoever did the damage that she came home to, couldn’t really be confirmed.  She has a cat named Alfred, and he is rather bored. He can find things that are under lock and key.  It could be that her pet racoon, Herbert, would help too, mind you. Perhaps Twyla, the parrot,  or Jack, the dog, or Popo the pot-bellied pig worked together. ANIMALS – one, two, three…..she counted.

“Where are you guys?’ she said, speaking each word loud and clear.  She looked in the guest room and in the office too. She walked into her bedroom to find them asleep on her bed.  Her heart melted slowly as she saw them snuggled together. Who would have ever thought this group of misfits would end up like this.

It took close to two hours  to clean up all that mess. She could have explained it to the receptionist who was waiting for a reply, but Miss Jenny decided to tell a small white lie. “Why, yes, I floss each and every day.  I just have to run out and get some more, as it is on my list.”

floss

“E” is for Effort

I tried to tie my shoelace – but then it broke in half!  I tried to make it work regardless, but that wa just a laugh.

I’ll give you e for effort, my grandpa said to me.  I sat right there upon his chair, and smiled weak-l-ly.

I tried to pur a cup of milk and dropped the whole darn jug! The cats came running in from where? Oh, bless their little mug.

I’ll give you e for effort, my mama said to me. I sat right there upon her chair, and smiled weak-l-ly.

I tried to water my sweet flowers, but the nozzle was too hard. It sprayed the water over my plants and wrecked Joe’s house of card.

I’ll give you e for effort, my brother said to me.  I sat right there upon his chair and smiled weak-l-ly.

I tried to eat spaghetti, twirling it upon my spoon. It flung my scrumptous meatball and sent it to the moon.

I’ll give you e for effort, my grandma said to me. I sat right there upon her chair chair and smiled weak-l-ly.

I tried to get my jammies on, just in time for bed. They got twisted and tangled, then I fell and hit my head.

I’ll give you e for effort, my papa said to me. I sat right there upon his chair and smiled weak-l-ly.

I tried to go to sleep that night, as I lay in my bed, I thought about the ones I love and this is what I said,

“I’ll give you e for effort, for trying to comfort me. You’re all too big to handle, so please get off my knee!”

grandmas lap

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“D” is for –  My Daddy Has Doubloons and I’m a Dynamo

My Dad and I were finding ways to pass Saturday afternoon. The chores were done and it was snowing out, so we sat and watched TV. It was boring. I had an idea! I asked Dad if we could look at his coin collection. With a finger to his nose, he thought, he pondered and jumped up.

The basement held the truck with treasures deep inside. It took some time to sort through the things that had piled up in front of the trunk. When we finished Dad called me a little dynamo.

We opened the trunk and I glanced inside. A box with golden engraving was tucked in the corner.  Dad rubbed his hands together, briskly, before reached in to grab it. I was feeling anxious. I had been a long time since I had seen the contents of this box. Dad seemed to move slowly as he pulled it back out.  I started to fidget.  Finally, dad tucked the box under his arm and motioned for me to follow.

He walked to the sofa and plopped down.  I slid in beside him, rubbing my hands together this time, waiting, none too patiently.

The lid  opened and the light caught the glimmering doubloons that lay within. I asked Dad to tell me a story about them.  He leaned back into the cushions and the stories began.  He spoke of pirates and marvelous galleons, of fortunes that stolen. The tales continued spreading across lands far and wide.  Then he mentioned that at times, the ships would end up being torn apart  as they ran into rocks hidden below the ocean’s surface.  In time,  all the remains would be hidden from the shore. A resting place for these ghost ships.

There were people, he continued,  who go looking for these relics. When they are found, divers go hunting for treasure. Sometimes they would find nothing, but then they strike gold!  Things like these doubloons, candlesticks, jewels and pieces of art.

All the while as Dad spoke, I acted out the stories. I slayed the dragons, rescued fair ladies from pirates of the sea.  I sunk my worst enemies ships and laughed as they sank out of sight.  I dove into the waters, fighting sharks,  to find untold treasures!

My Dad called me a dynamo – I guess that he was right. I grabbed his doubloons and offered him mercy if he became my cook!

Grilled cheese and soup finished off the day.  I passed the coins back to my Dad and he put them away until the next time we needed something fun to do.  He coaxed me to take a bath so I could wash off the seaweed. We snuggled on the sofa,  afterwards. I sat there warm and sleepy but  I swear I heard Dad say – “My son, my little dynamo, has had enough today.”

imagesCANCTK8E

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Consomme

My friends and I sat down one day and thought we’d have some tea. We waltzed on over to Grandmas’ house to see if she’d agree.

The china was set out to show the table at it’s best. Grandma had just started it and we did all the rest.

When we thought that we had everything a tea party should need, Grandma came and took a look but in  her voice she’d plead.

“This will not do one little bit. The treats are out here first. The consomme must touch your lips or the party will be cursed!”

We had not know of consomme before Grandma had it said. Those words of magical incantation that we may come to dread.

“What’s consomme?” asked Gertrude. “It sounds like it’s divine!” “My Grandma’s a bit kooky, it could taste like old swamp pine!”

“I think it’s soap.” Daniel offered. “We’re supposed to be all clean.” Then Grandma entered, holding tight , a pot full of some steam.

“You’re right, Daniel.” said Molly, pushing up her dress sleeve. “Now sit down all you little ones, soup bowls I will retrieve.”

The liquid did evade us, but the smell was in the air. The scent was quite intriguing, there was nothing that could compare.

Grandma swiftly scooped a bowl full and placed it carefully – in front of each one of us,  then she clapped her hands in glee!

Tip bowl and spoon away from you, in case you cannot guess – This is to keep the soup intact and not make you a mess.

So we copied every movement that Grandma issued us. And she sat there very proudly, watching all of us.

“I have a tip to offer you, and this is how it goes. You set the spoon down by your bowl and lift it to your nose.”

She demonstrated slowly and then to our surprise, she gulped down that consomme, leaving us to surmise –

This isn’t really  proper, but it’s so much fun!  With chuckles and laughter, our tea party’s begun!

Not with cakes and jellies, but with consomme. Our memories are happy when we think about that day.

tea party

“B” is for BARNSTORM

Brook and Bobby were tapping their fingers in unison at the kitchen table.  Dad was flipping pancakes in his comical way. Mom was

waiting for the one that would get away from him and hit the floor. Dusty Tales, the dog, was waiting for that too. A trough of anticipation was in the air. As a matter of fact, the whole town was buzzing.  There was going to be a Barnstorm that very day!

The posters had been up for almost a month announcing the upcoming performance. It was not very often that this small town of Brookside got a visit from the likes of a travelling theatrical group! They were even going to have some of the town people in it! Brook and Bobby wanted to perform on stage, so they were in a bit of a hurry to chomp through the breakfast Dad was creating, and head down to the old Keller barn to audition.

“More syrup.” muffled Brook.  “More juice ,please!” choked Bobby.

Mom and Dad tried to remind them about manners and eating too fast, but they understood the two were in a rush.  It was not every day one had the chance to try out for a performance! The twins headed off after being reminded to brush their teeth.

“Do you think we’ll have to dance? How about sing?’ Bobby asked.

“Dunno brat. Won’t know ’til we get there.” was the reply.

When they arrived at the barn, they were surprised to see half of the townsfolk there. Well it would never do! There was only a two hour window to complete all auditions, and there was no way they would make it ot the front of the line at this rate. What to do…what to do??

“Seems to me that Crawley and his bunch are afraid of mice, right?” Brook spoke softly.

“Yup!” Bobby said, looking slyly at his sister. “What ‘cha got planned?”

“Well, usually when you muck around in the hayloft, there’s bound to be a few run out.” Off they went to the hayloft to scare out some mice.  The amount of shrieking and rukus they heard suggested plan A worked. As they nonchalantly emerged from the barn, they saw only about ten people had left. Not enough and the auditions were getting underway.

“Seems to me that Smith family hates snakes, right?” Brook spoke again.

“Yup!” Bobby said, looking at his sister with a smirk. “What ‘cha got planned?”

“Seems to me the stack of bales by the creek should be plum full of ’em.”

They slipped off once again to see if they could dislodge any more people using the snake plan.  They thumped the bales and moved what they could, until they managed to get about twenty snakes to slither towards the line. Once again, the screeching told the tale of fearful participants running away.  This time when they came back to the line, their hearts sank when they saw only a handful left.  The auditions had started nearly 35 minutes ago and they knew the line was not going to be processed in time.

“Seems to me that most of these folks are afraid of getting sick, right? Brook said, coughing slightly.

“Yup! That’s for sure.” Bobby stared at her, quizzically. “What ‘cha got planned?”

” I don’t feel so good, Bobby! Maybe that plague that is coming our way has already started!” Brook spoke a little too loud this time. She had a few heads turn to face her, mind you, and that is just what she wanted. She faked a few more nasty coughs and pretended to puke.  She nudged her brother who clued in and started to mimic her.

Before long people were covering their mouths and noses and scattering to make way for the ‘infected children’. “GO HOME!!” “Get away from me!”  “Cover your mouth!” were only a few of the comments being yelled at the pair. However, without anyone really noticing, Bobby and Brook were nearly at the front of the line.

They were hacking away when the man in charge of auditions popped his head out the door. “What is going on here?  Who’s next?  What is wrong with these kids?” People were all trying to talk at the same time. It was chaotic. The twins slipped past the man and into the area where the auditions were being held.

“Hi! Brook and Bobby here, to be in the play!” Brook said proudly as she pointed to themselves.

Meanwhile, the man came running back in yelling. “We gotta get outta here – something about a plague and flu and mumps and measles, lice and rabid mice and snakes that bite!”

“Oh!” the director shouted. “Don’t unpack the bus! We’re outta here!”

The commotion continued for another five minutes. When the dust finally settled, Bobby and Brook were standing in the middle of the room surrounded by an angry group of townspeople.

“U-uhh, I g-guess we were just too good of actors for them and they left, h-h-huh?” Brook said sheepishly.  This was going to be a long summer vacation.

Starting with the letter “A” I have chosen Armadillo as my subject today.

 Ralph was an armadillo who hitched a ride on a train. He found a nice hot spot and rolled out to the plain.  He slowly stretched out of that armour he wore, and realized before him there  stood a  grand door.  The door was brilliantly painted plum red and bright yellow.  He heard sounds from within by a youngish type fellow.  He said that he heard a bump at the door and wanted to see what it was por favor. His Mama asked that he just step aside, and she skipped to the door and flung it open wide. ” There’s nothing here, my little son. Why don’t you go out and have some fun?”  The little one bounded outside to play, when he saw little Ralph looking up his way. At first he thought that he should run, he’d never seen bugs as big as this one! But something made the little one stop. Sure enough little Ralph did hop!  He spun and tilted on a leg to dance, and soon the boy was held in a trance. Ralph danced and he jigged for a while he thought, I wonder if this is all for naught. The boy yawned immensely and turned to go in, looked over his shoulder, and said with a grin, “Armadilllo, you can come inside for a drink, and maybe a bath, ‘cuz you really stink!” Ralph thought of he would and entered half way, thought better again and just rolled away. This was the first stop of Ralph’s great adventure. Next may be fun or a real teeth clencher!

armadillo-coloring-page-04

picture courtesy of  http://www.colormegood.com/animals/armadillo.html

77 comments on “Writing Challenges

  1. Oh Liz – I LOVE this!! You did such a GREAT job!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!! I wish I could participate as well. But right now I’m drowning in work… HAHA…
    Love you!

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  2. Thank you Raani! I wish you could too. This is my first big challenge and I hope that the scheduling allows me to do it. I also hope that work is not too overwhelming. Crap..where are you? Climb into the light!. I love you too!

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  3. So cute! Welcome to the challenge 🙂

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  4. Good morning and Welcome to the Challenge!
    I have just read the letter A about the armadillo, Ralph and love it. This is not just something for kids. We older kids called adult can also learn a lot. I look forward to tomorrow.

    So nice to have you participating Lady. Your presence on the challenge is special to me.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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  5. Just wanted to say hi and I’m also doing the challenge (hopefully,time and all) loved your story, will enjoy reading more.Thx.

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  6. Liz, this was so charming! I felt like a kid reading it! Lovely rhythm – and very imageful as well! I look forward to ‘B’ … and I ditto Patricia above!
    First time for me as well!

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  7. Fungelling. .. Love the word!

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  8. Very fun stories! Can’t wait for more!

    (Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge)

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  9. Liz, how much tenderness and beauty in your writing! Thank you for filling so many people’s day with such joy!

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  10. I love the way you’ve taken on the challenge. Very creative. I’m really going to enjoy this.

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  11. Hi,
    I love your Barnside story. I am still chuckling about this one. Too bad the kids didn’t make the play but I loved their ingenuity on getting up front. Got to try some of those tactics myself with agents. (chuckle)

    Great story, Liz,

    Love you Lady,
    Ciao,
    Patti

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  12. Hahaha…I could see you doing something like that. Patti! You would have your group of kids cheering you on too! Have a super day!

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  13. Consomme, what a lovely story, like your writing a lot.

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  14. Great stuff Liz, I might have a go next year. Book four is nearing the end of its first draft and my mind is definitely in adult mode. Love the Armadillo and the consumme.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

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  15. Very nice daddy story. It was very cute and you can picture them both entering a different world.

    Nancy, newly appointed Spunky’s Soldier A-Z Challenge

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  16. Lovely story, I miss my dad so much, thanks for the memories I have just remembered.

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    • It is great to remeber the good times! I miss my dad too! His parting words whenever we left, was- “and watch out for those idiots!” . I find myself saying that now – 11 years later. 🙂

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  17. Liz, this is really cute! I’ll definitely keep reading. I particularly like your illustration of the armadillo.

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    • Thank you for stopping in and reading for a bit. I certainly enjoy your blog too! I cannot take credit for that Armadillo, but he is a cutie! I haven’t the time to get back to drawing yet, but it will come.

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  18. Dynamo Duo! Lovely tale thank you Liz – was unable to comment underneath this particular post so I hope you receive it. Keep on fungelling! The Consomme was such fun to read as well – how anyone manages such rhythm and rhyme is beyond me!

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  19. Hi, Liz! I love your posts, maybe especially the one about your dad, the doubloons, and the dynamo. I could picture you sitting with Dad, getting “educated”! Thanks so much for sharing this special day with us! I hope you’ll check out my posts at http://foreveryoung279.blogspot.com. I found out about the challenge too late to be an official participant, but I’m playing catch-up and getting memories posted.

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  20. Are you doing a entry for each day on one post? I am not sure how to leave a comment on one post (specific letter?) I apologize if this is a strange question. My blogs : http://genealogyocd.wordpress.com/ http://ketabgirl2.blogspot.com/

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    • Yes I am . The reason is because I am not using standard equipment to post, as I am on the road, and I can’t view the tabs fully on the phone. If you leave a message it just goes to the general inbox, so I am able to answer. I hope to be able to fix it when I get home. Thank you for stopping by and mentioning this!

      Like

  21. Hi,
    I love your E for effort. It brings back so many beautiful memories of my relationships with my grandparents.
    Lovely job, Lady.
    Ciao,
    Patti

    Like

  22. Hi, Liz! I thought that I wrote something to you earlier today, but obviously I didn’t. I love your posts!! You are one talented lady. And thanks so much for commenting on mine!

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  23. Silly me . . . I was looking for my photo. I did write earlier today. What a relief!!

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  24. Enjoyed the Floss, really good 🙂

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  25. Hi Liz, I absolutely love your post, they brought a smile to my face as I was reading them. E for Effort was my favourite, a poem and a story all-in-one! I can’t wait to read more this week and thank you for all your kind words and support on my blog too!

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  26. Hi Sweetie,
    I have just read floss and loved it. In fact, I am still laughing. Just love this story.
    Great job! I feel like a kid again.

    Ciao,
    Patti

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  27. Dearie,
    You just brought back the wonderful memories I have of my own grandparents and what a treat it was to have them visit us on Christmas. There was singing, playing, talking, and we always got into some kind of mischief but my grandmothers were always there to keep mama and daddy for giving us a pat on our behinds.

    It was a joyful time. Thank you for Grockle. Those are some of the days I have stored in my treasure chest.

    Love you, Lady.
    Ciao,
    Patti

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    • I can only imagine how your home must have been, Patti. We moved a fair bit as kids and when the move out west happened, most of our relatives were left behind. We still enjoyed the holidays, but there is nothing like a boisterous houseful make you laugh. Thanks for your comments!

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  28. Fun! Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

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    • Hi Juliet! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I think I am hooked on this challenge. I have seen some great writers so far, with so many more to explore! I am going to your link too!

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  29. Liz, thank you for taking the time and sharing your work, I think that it is great, you describe so well the feeling of having to get stuff done, before we know it the kids have grown and wish we spent more time with them having fun! Blessings for the weekend. Amanda

    Amanda – Realityarts-Creativity
    Art Blog

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your comments Amanda! I hope this week has been a good one for you. It is hard to believe that we are in to the home zone for another weekend. I have to take heed of the things I write sometimes!! Thank you for dropping in!

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  30. I have shared your posts in my L word for the challenge today!

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  31. Commenting on your luxury post, I too have to remind myself to STOP sometimes and take a moment to appreciate what I have. It’s a nice feeling.

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  32. ive neglected to keep up with the A-Z challenge! ah!
    but ive done a few posts X_X

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  33. Interesting rhythm to your work. Thanks for rising to the challenge! 😉

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    • It has really been fun, Kate! Sometimes I feel a little rushed, but that is par for the course, as I know I am not alone in this. I am seeing so many new and challenging faces/blogs that I would not otherwise probably come across! I’m hooked! Thanks for stopping inand commenting.

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  34. […] forget to check out some of these other excellent AtoZChallenge participants: Liz Blackmore: Writing Challenges Pass the Sour Cream Arlee Bird: Tossing it Out Margaret Almon: Margaret Almon Mosaics Rhonda: Laugh […]

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    • I like the artwork on your site! You have been doing a fantastic job during the A to Z Blog Challenge. I have to go back and read some more. Thank you for the comments and for mentioning my site.

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  35. Terrific job. I loved reading this and you explained static electricity in a fun and innovative way. I just dropped by from the challenge to say hello.

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  36. Hope you enjoyed the A to Z challenge from your yurt
    enjoy the writing community they are great people

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    • I am overwhelmed, almost, by the cailber of writers I have had the pleasure to encounter during this challenge. I appreciate the blog for the A to Z Challenge keeps the list of bloggers up so I can still continue to read more, as the list is long. I really enjoyed this. Thanks for stopping in and warming my yurt!

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  37. Fabulous. Congratulations on your story, your poem, and reaching the end of the challenge!

    I’m doing (oh! I WAS doing!) animal poems. http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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    • I was able to pop over to your site tonight. Amazing work lies there, Liz. I am glad you completed the challenge and by doing so, we were able to connect! I look forward to reading more. Thank you for stopping in.

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  38. Forgot to say – don’t know where my head is, I write for children too.

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    • That is awesome, Liz! I love letting my imagination run wild as I pen for the younger ones, and sometimes the older ones too. They keep me young, or maybe when I go senile, they will not notice because I’ll still be “just silly”! 😉

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  39. Whew…….was about to give up, thought maybe there was no place to leave a comment. All the blog posts in full, not just link you’re a first.
    I’m onto the roadtrip, fully gassed.

    Like

  40. I didn’t know about this a-z road trip, I’ll have to check it out.

    Congrats on completing the challenge. 🙂

    Like

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