25 December, 2005

1st Annual

[note: until after Christmas Day, this post will remain at the top.]

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! [Insert your favourite seasonal greeting here]] It's hard to believe it's December already. Everyone has been so busy with various activities that 2005 has just flown by. Here, for your enjoyment, is a recap of this year's occurrences in my family:

On 14 May, I was born to two proud [and rather elated, I think, but I'm biased] parents. Unfortunately, I can't say much more from before that. I know Mom helped me to grow, encouraging me to come into this big world, the blogosphere. Since then, I've survived prom, graduating high school, and starting college. Finals loom over my head, but I enjoyed the friends I've made, the reading and film viewing and writing that I do. But enough about me -- onto the family:

Mom remains as busy as ever. She left us for a short while, and came back with a new makeover. It's really nice, and requires less maintenance on her part -- she can be just Christina. We're glad she's still with us. She continues to preside over the Ones -- both Wee and Sweet -- whilst working with more boxes of rocks than I'd like to imagine. Fortunately, all were safe during hurricane weather, and she was able to go get her classy mother. Also this year, she initiated a delightful game of Fictional Friday, and allowed me to take over the 25 word challenge. She remains the "delight of our eyes."

Fa has had to deal with a lot of mockery from others this year, but dishes it back just as well. Work's been hectic for him as well, even if the coding is fun. He enjoys spending time with his cats, his mullet, his mother, and fellow bloggers at various meets. I rhink he was shocked when I appeared, but he seems to be used to having a daughter now. My fa is always good for a laugh -- a dose of Zonker is oft just what you need to brighten your day.

Aunt Sadie is ever the wit. Just classic -- in her words and her web designs. That's right, she and my uncle Phin, another wit in rare form and a father-to-be, opened a successful business together in August. Sadie and I oft commiserate over our homework and studying, or reminisce reading Kilgore. Sometimes the lovely lady Sadie needs to get away from it all, and flies off to Majorca. But, thankfully, she hasn't yet been abducted, and always finds her way back to the family's loving arms. [The carrot cake helps.]

And speaking of travelling aunts, sweet 'n' sassy Silk went to Africa earlier this year! She had a blast, and met a very cool monkey... in other meeting news, Aunt Silk met da Godfaddah Nugget, an ever-classy gentleman many of us adore. Needless to say, she was starstruck, and I do believe the feeling was mutual. Quite delightful. In other news, Silk's been kept busy lately with a grand opening at work, and quite recent hosted Fictional Friday 2.0: the Picture Edition, whilst Nuggets been entertained by the antics of the little addition to his household -- quite the adorable cat.

The Phoenix Coz has been busy as well -- and will soon hold her treasured household addition in her arms. She became a champion of FF 2.0 with her SpySistah Chronicles, which left us just astounded. She also joined the ranks of Diva, and gives grand advice. I personally think she will make a great mother.

The Dashing Brother still has posts which won't allow me to stop laughing! More recently, he's been occupied by all sorts of work projects, and more especially, the joys of hunting. Hopefully he'll bring something good home to the dear wife and kids.

Rather abruptly one day, a branch of relative I'd never before had the pleasure of meeting came to visit. I gained a granddaddy, an aunt, and an uncle, and I always enjoy hearing from them and going to their places to listen to their great speeches.

In other news, close friends who are practically family have, for example, visitied Taiwan and made plans for Australia in the case of Mark, survived hurricanes [both weather and small boys] in the case of Bou, travelled to Europe recently [with the little Puffy expected] and charmed us with music in the case of Stiggy and Va-va, and kept us up-to-date on flyfishing, sports, entertainment, and family in the case of the Wiz.

Fortunately, all seemed to survive weather conditions, other complications, and life in general with only scrapes and bruises thus far. I hope and pray that this continues, and also that you and yours are well. From all of us,

Merry Christmas!
Love, Amelie and family.

[crossposted here]
[[I apologize for the massive amounts of linkage.]]

18 December, 2005

Just because fa asked so nicely...

I'm posting this quotation which I shared with him:

"Sometimes conversations are like dentistry, and I get sick of pulling teeth all the time."


28 October, 2005


I am really going to miss these stories. All were delightful, and a wonderful perusing for the weekend. I eagerly anticipated Fridays for exactly that reason. Granted, I was not always able to contribute, though I would have liked to do so. I really wanted to get something up for the finale, so my afternoon consisted of walking, writing, meeting the Princess's boyfriend, and going to a friend's swim meet this early evening. When I got back, I wrote the last paragraph and trimmed to 1000 words.

I'm not even sure if I like what I've written yet, so let me know, honestly, your feelings about it. That would be much appreciated.

So, my end to the glorious brilliance began by one classy lady and ended by another [with a twist to the prompt]. Thank you, dears, for letting and getting the rest of us into this.

And speaking of the rest of us, I encourage you to read the literary offerings of Phoenix, Silk, Nugget, Rina, and Dawn. Each one is well worth the read. [UPDATE: Jeff has written to delight us as well.]

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:

Daughters of Mnemosyne

Head in hands, Rue couldn’t believe Thalia had gone. Thal had been her friend when she was first struggling to survive out in the world alone. That woman had comforted her, shaped her, and had always been there for her when she was struggling to find the right thing to say. Poof! Just like that, she had vanished without a trace.

Rue glanced around the room. It was bleak, stark, pristine, so utterly unlived in. To what place had her imagination disappeared? She used to be able to fill such places with a warmth in which other people found delight, but now she just felt like an empty shell; the words were gone.


A bus crossed the intersection, and in that disturbance of the bright neon lights, a woman appeared, silhouetted.

“Clio? Is that you?” The young man shifted uneasily on the street before her. “I’m sorry I didn’t make enough time for you, doll. I –“

But she cast a silence upon him with only a glance. Johnson knew. He knew that if he’d wanted, she could have given him the world. But he’d been too wrapped up in the job to let her nurture his talents, too wrapped up in the now to record the history of his mind and soul.

And now she was going off into the night. He wished her could say something, anything, to try to explain to her why he had not pursued his dreams, why he had neglected her. But the words wouldn’t come; they stayed choked up inside, jumbled in a mess, and fading along with her footsteps. His eloquence was gone.


An unkempt man sat on the park bench. He looked at the stale bread crusts in his hands. His stomach rumbled, but he broke one of the crusts into pieces for the pigeons nearby. He placed the other in his lap, and was about to toss the napkin in which he had found them into the water, when an unusual feeling came upon him.

He saw the world in a whole new light. Descriptions tore across his soul, wrenching emotions from him. He badly needed an outlet, but how, with what?

“Here.” She handed him a ballpoint pen. He scrambled to write, pouring stream after stream of words onto the napkin, when they suddenly stopped. Exhausted, he dropped the pen. On it were the faded letters “C-A-L-L-I.” He glanced around for the woman, and noticed no one was there. The mysterious woman had gone.


“Honey, you have to snap out of it! You can still write – look at the bestsellers you’ve produced! Why, they’re gems of society. Everyone’s been delighted, just delighted, with your work. You can’t stop now! Your contract says [blah blah ….],” the woman kept blathering on and on.

Head once again in her hands, Rue wished she could just go away. Unfortunately, she was stuck in a mandatory meeting. She’d missed deadline after deadline, and she couldn’t seem to do anything about it.

The door opened after a quick knock. “Ah, there you are! Rue, honey, I’d like you to meet your new secretary, Mel Pomene. We’ve hired her for you,…” the woman kept talking, but Rue wasn’t listening.

She stared at the girl, just briefly as she sat in the chair next to her. As words poured back into her soul, she snatched a pen from her purse. She immediately started writing – not the light humour of her previous work, but of a darkness, a sadness. This is going to be good, she thought as she scribbled away…


“Johnson, what is this?” His boss handed him a sheet of paper. On it was written a poem to the goddess of starlight. He suppressed a grin, and said, “It appears to be a poem, sir.” He thought of the lovely girls who had moved into the flat next door. Rania and Poly were delightful to be with, and he felt as though his eloquence had returned to him in a new form. He was abruptly awakened by the words, “Johnson, you’re fired. I want you out of this office complex in an hour.”

“Yes, sir,” he muttered absentmindedly. He left the office, and wandered around the city, taking in the scenes. He was detached from the job, at long last, and on his way to better beginnings.

As he walked down a lonely street, two figures emerged in the bright lights. Rania and Poly linked their arms in his as he sang their praises. They were more delightful, more sacred than the stars twinkling high up above. His golden words warmed them as they snuggled closer, winking at each other.


The unkempt man trudged down the path. He no longer found inspiration by the waters of the park, and needed a new place. He found himself at a beach, lone but for two figures. One young lady was dancing an interpretation according to the rhythms of the other, who was playing upon a ukulele. He stood transfixed, taking in how perfectly they had captured the scene, the elements of the day, with their art.

The one beckoned him to approach, and as he moved closer, he felt himself swaying. He reached their spot by the water’s edge, and dropped to his knees in awe of their talent. Slowly, he pulled out his old ballpoint to write words to match the music’s mood.

He gazed at it fondly, remembering the frenzy of words he had written when he first received it, and suddenly dropped it as though it were on fire. It no longer said, “C-A-L-L-I.” The letters, bright and new, were stranger. They read, “E-U-T-E-R-P-S-I-C-H-O-R.”

He picked it up gingerly, and began to write. He wrote as the music faded away, along with the footsteps in the sand as the women left him. Slowly he fell into a tranquil sleep.


A voluptuous lady sashayed down the aisle. She’d make sure the groom spoke the best love poetry possible to his bride. The lady's name? Erato.

19 October, 2005

Thought for Today II

"Many of us have heard opportunity knocking at our door, but by the time we unhooked the chain, pushed back the bolt, turned two locks, and shut off the burglar alarm -- it was gone."

27 September, 2005

Seeing Red

This past weekend, I saw an old friend [as mentioned in #5 of the previous post]. Jocco and I were relatively close friends, although he and I were never quite as close as Seamus and I. The Age of Seamus was beginning just as the Age of Jocco was ending, because they were only both here with me for one year before Jocco moved away.

Jocco was often over playing with my brother, and when we moved to Minnesota, his family moved at the same time. Our parents were good friends, and our fathers were both professors at the same college. He lived on the other side of the football field from us when we lived in a campus house. Hence, we saw a lot of each other.

Jocco returned to the hometown area this year, to attend the college where our father had taught together for 6 years. When I was home this weekend, and attending a volleyball tournament for colleges [mine and his included], I spotted him, and had the chance to chat with him briefly.

I already knew that he was in the pastor track there. This means that, inevitably, he would have my father for a professor. The question merely is, how soon and how many classes total? Jocco informed me that he will have my father next semester -- for Latin -- and he's scared out of his mind.

My father has the reputation of being the toughest professor on campus. He also has the reputation of being the smartest professor on campus. He's also certainly very helpful to his students, and they all have utmost respect for him. They learn a lot from him, and he expects them to do so. ... He reminds me a bit of Chips.

Nevertheless, almost any time I meet a pastor-track student there, and they find out I'm HIS daughter, I hear about all the things they've heard about how tough his classes are, but how good, and how they just hope to PASS them! [And some have even heard things from fathers, uncles, and other professors about how my father may be tough and very intelligent, but my grandfather was impossible! Yes, my family has quite the academic reputation..]

Considering it was Jocco, I decided to clue him into a secret. Some students have picked up on it before, other years, but not all of them know about it at first. So, explanation:

My father is very specific about his ties. Whenever he gets a tie for a gift, it's not allowed to be too expensive [he thinks all ties should cost $2-3]. Also, it can't be too wild, or too geometric. There are only so many colours he'll wear, and only so many colours that can be on one tie. Typical absent-minded professor type. His favourite colour is grey. He wears a suit every day -- very classy.

Now the secret is that, whenever AT LEAST one of his classes has a quiz, he wears a red tie. He does this faithfully. Sometimes, it's almost all of his classes that have quizzes. He's very faithful about it. Now, as I mentioned, some of the students have picked up on it. They try to find out his tie colour early in the day, so that they can study frantically if need be.

Occasionally, though, when he's feeling mischievous, he will wear a regular, non-red tie during most of the day, and then change to a red one in his office before the beginning of whichever of his later classes has a quiz.

A good man, my father.

09 September, 2005


Unfortunately, I am late with this, but blogger's also been down for about an hour. That's right, I am partaking in the genius of my darling blogmother, whose work in this particular case is being carried on by a lady of equal greatness, my blogaunt Silk. Silk changed the premise to three inspiring pictures. For once, I actually used two of them. This Friday only, ladies and gentlemen, my blogmother is hosting it again for Silk at Silk's whilst the dear adventurous blogaunt goes on safari, so to speak. Limited supplies, so be sure to stop by!

This idea started creeping and crawling through my brain on Tuesday, and I began to write it then, but college took over until this afternoon. Here is my contribution:

Crysten dusted off the old trunk with her fingers. Slowly, she uncovered the words Theatrical Productions, worn as they were. She was in the loft of the carriage house she had just purchased. It was located behind an old theatre mansion of great renown, which still held an air of past glory about it. Here, the real estate agent had said, many brilliant works had been performed in all elegance and splendour – masterpieces at every turn. No one ever entered that building anymore. It was said to no longer be structurally sound, and visited, so to speak, by those who know no use for doors.

Her fingers traced the letters on the trunk. Gingerly, she unlatched the lock and carefully opened the lid. Moths flew out at her, stirring the dust around. The insects did not faze her. She stared, awestruck, at the contents of the trunk. Inside was a treasure trove. Silks of regal colours lay before her, faded yet still magical. Beaded gowns, intricate sashes, frilled shirts. A wide array of whimsical costumes lay before her. She felt as though she knew the exhilaration Howard Carter had known at Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922.

She brushed against the fabric, and as it rustled, she was transformed entirely

the sensation felt like she was drowning. All around her was darkness as she gasped for breath, reaching out and around until she was –

suddenly a floor dancer. It was evening, and she was entering a great performance hall – seemingly of the theatre mansion, but in days of yore. The room was brightly lit, and full of guests in high dress. All around her were members of her troupe, dressed in similar rich and lustrous attire. She glanced down, and gasped. She was wearing the fabric she had just touched, but it was in mint condition. Crysten noted the headdresses of those surrounding her, and felt the top of her head. She was dressed just as they were, from head to toe.

And then they were rushing forward with the start of the music. She leaped, she pirouetted, she danced as all the others danced. Inside, Crysten panicked as the tempo picked up. She had no reason to be frazzled, however; her feet seemed to know all the steps already. Her body flowed with the music as she whirled around the long sash she hadn’t been holding until a moment ago. Or had she?

She twirled and swayed as

– she found herself in darkness again. Swimming with the swirling nothingness around her this time, she found herself swept away. The fabric ripped away from her, leaving her empty, and then she

was in the arms of an unfamiliar man. His kiss was so sweet, his grasp so strong. Music danced about them, Music and its masked partner, Time. A masqueraded meeting, and a forbidden one? It felt that way to Crysten. But why did he have such a heavenly glow about him? She resisted his clutches, and started to run. Yet she could not escape. He held her by the black angel wings on her back. She looked back, and his eyes pleaded with her. As much as she wanted to stay with him, to be his, instinct told her that it would be wrong. There was something against her laws here. Her laws, or the laws of her family. No ‘fallen angels’ for ‘heavenly beings.’ She flung his hands away as she raced from him. Once outside, Crysten hid her face in shame and sorrow as the mists enveloped her.

The mist gave way to a tranquil, lonely beach. And as she looked down, she noticed

– the colours churned about her, pinks and violets and mosses mixing together, a rainbow scene before the darkness fell upon her again, and then she –

was a nereid. She was robed in the elements of the sea. Its spray kissed her skin and she dove into its waves. Its colours covered her body. Her pores opened to the sea’s caressing touch, and she began to sing its praises. Crysten did not recognize the voice, nor did she understand the words coming forth from her lips. Her mouth seemed to know what it was saying, though, and the sea found it pleasing. She sang about the joy of the sea, its power, its gentleness, and the creatures came from the deep to listen.

By the light of the moon, she beckoned them forth, embracing them. She nurtured their young, laughed at their spunk. The old she soothed. She swooned at the acts of the mighty males, and their praises she added to those of the sea. The mothers she greeted as sisters, and her words spun a golden light about them all.

They nudged at her hand gently, hoping for the favour of her touch. And once again, her hand slipped from that fabric, and she

saw the stars bursting forth. Beautiful streams of light were emitted, bright and clear. And the sun came blazing toward her, warming and drying her skin, --

turning her into a bronze goddess. She leapt onto the passing chariot, pulled by four majestic, fiery horses. The god driving the team smiled, greeting her as old friends do. Then, stepping aside, he let her guide the team as they traveled across the sky. Crysten gulped, fearing she would lose control. But her hands were firm and strong, and she guided the team well.

Far below, she could see the people of the world, toiling away at their duties, interacting with each other. To her, this view was a beautiful thing. Smiling with satisfaction, she passed the reins back to him, and as her fingers left the smooth golden leather, she

– found herself once more spinning in darkness. Now, though, the darkness was comforting to her, like an old friend. She wished for it to continue, and

it took her back whence she came. She found herself sitting in the carriage loft, before the trunk; her fingers had fallen to the floor.

05 September, 2005

The perfect scenario.

She was his go-to girl. He could always talk to her about his problems. When he liked a girl, or didn't know what to do; when he was lost at the bottomless hole of homework, or his family was having problems, she would listen very patiently and would help him sort it out.

She always had the best advice on what to do and how to handle it. He routinely updated her on the status of his relationships, and what was going on in his life. When something went wrong, or relationships went awry, she was the first person to hear then, too. She carried him through those situations every time, and quite willingly. She genuinely cared about him.

Whenever he worried about her getting sick of hearing that sort all the time, she'd laugh it off. That's what friends are for, right? she'd say. She wasn't just his go-to girl, though. She helped a lot of her guy friends in the same way. Some girls, too, to be sure, but it's more striking to the guys to have a girl that they can talk to about this. She enjoyed being useful to her friends, as they found someone special. She just sometimes wished someone would find her.


Here he was, again, telling her all his woes. He described his problem. There's this girl, he seemed to be saying, and I really think it's love this time. She listened once again as he described this girl with whom he held such fascination. The girl he was describing seemed just perfect for him, and it was obvious he cared more for this one than he had for other girls. It was someone she didn't know, someone with whom he had already long been friends. A relationship of the nature that he wanted was a subject that never came up between them, and he wanted to know how to get that to happen.

Happy for him, she prescribed that he go to the girl, right now, whilst he was still confident, whilst he was in a moment of knowing exactly what he wanted to say and how to say it. He should go and ask her right now. He thanked her with a hug and departed.

She shut the door, and slid her back down it till she was sitting on the floor. She held her head in her hands, crying. Would none of them ever see her? Abruptly, she heard a rapping on the door. She stood up as she rubbed at her eyes and opened the door a crack.

Standing there was the guy, one and the same. He shifted awkwardly, briefly, before saying sheepishly, I'd like to ask you a question.

And then she was in his arms, finally found.

22 August, 2005

Inexcusably Late...

Asking once more for my Aunt Silk's apology, and promising her that, next time I sign up for one of these things, I won't be nearly so late.

Here it is, my sophomore effort. [But will it prove me wise, or foolish?]

Focus in on a young man, my friends, a young man in Paris, starting out in his career. His name is Nino, and he takes pictures for a living. He scrapes by, finding work wherever he can, dreaming of someday becoming a photographer of prestige. The fame, the honour – and the money wouldn’t hurt, either.

The fledgling artist leaves his hovel early one sunlit morning. He walks across the city, dodging early morning traffic. He finally finds and enters an advertising firm, in the hopes of finding a job. After a brief, suspenseful wait, he is taken to an interview room.

The pretty director of affairs looks in depth at his portfolio, glances at his resume, and hires him on the spot. He grins in appreciation and relief, as she leads him quickly out of the room to his new work zone. He hurries after her, trying not to get lost in the maze of cubicles.

At last, they arrive at the back of the building, where she opens a small room. Inside the dark, cramped quarters are a few desks, some equipment for photography, and a few extra chairs – Nino’s base for operation from now on.


The phone rang shrilly in the middle of the night. It was three months later, and Nino was still working at the firm, slowly saving up money to start his own line someday. He shook himself awake, and grabbed at the phone. Nino listened for only about five seconds before he hung up the phone, bolted out of bed, and, fumbling into his jeans and pulling on a shirt, raced out into the night.

There she lay, her breathing monitored by machines – kept going by machines. Her heart had always been weak. He certainly had done nothing to hinder that, what with all the near-death experiences he had gone through. She had always watched over him then, and when he was sick, and now he returned the favour to his mother.

She’d had a massive stroke. Chances of her coming out of this alright were minimal. She needed surgery, numerous scans – the medical bills were piling up.

Nino looked the doctor in the eye, swallowed the lump in his throat, and told him to go through with it. Tears welling up in his eyes, Nino held back the thought of his own business; his mother meant much more to him than that.


Blinking, Nino trudged bleary-eyed into the office complex. Waiting in his office was the director of affairs. There was a big commission, she seemed to be saying, that could make or break his career.

One of the major jewelry companies in France wanted a new image, and wanted it fast. The amounts they were willing to pay for this new image would put the firm on a new level – would provide Nino with enough money to pay his mother’s medical bills and place him as head of a department of photographers, with a corner office in the complex.

He was provided merely with a copy of a necklace, one of the most popular pieces coming out at this time. Other than that, he received nothing. No hints as to what the company was looking for. No direction whatsoever – the rest was left up to his ingenuity.


Nino wandered around the city, gazing at the beauty around him, hoping for inspiration. He had his camera in a bag over his shoulder and the copy of the necklace in his pocket. He pulled up his collar to shield his neck from the cool breeze blowing.

All around him, people were rushing to get indoors, away from the cold and the imminent storm. Nino looked up, seeing the swirling clouds above him. Such weather suited him, but he did need something to keep him going.

He opened a door, trudged up a flight of stairs. He came to a rooftop café, and he sat at the nearest balcony table. Straight ahead of Nino, off in the distance, was the Eiffel Tower. Any image for a French jewelry company ought to include the romantic Tower, right? He looked around for opportunity to come knocking.

As he ordered his drink, he spotted her. Resplendent in a little black number that offset her ivory skin, her dark hair pulled back in a classic bun, she was perfect. Just what he needed for the job. Sitting with her was a young man, attired entirely in a black-on-black outfit. Hopefully, he wouldn’t mind having his lady borrowed for a short time.

Nino stared as his mind raced with the possibilities. She was breathtaking – an ideal image of French elegance. Nino needed her, and quickly. It would do no good to allow the approaching storm to rain out his dreams. He gulped down his drink, threw some shrapnel on the table, and moved toward theirs.

His hand slipped into his pocket and pulled out the copy subconsciously. Its glistening caught her eye as he approached. She stood, put a finger to his lips, and delicately took the necklace from his hands. Clasping it behind her slender neck, she placed one hand lightly on her companion’s shoulder. He glanced up into the tranquil pools of her eyes, then followed her as she backed slowly, gracefully, toward the balcony.

She winked at Nino, who came out of her trance and leaped into action. He ran back to his table, the balcony and Eiffel Tower in view. Quickly, he unpacked his bag, set his camera up, ready for the shot. Somehow, he knew he’d be given only one take.

She positioned herself without a thought, and, leaning back, placed a hand on the railing behind her. Her companion came toward her slowly, calmly, still gazing into her beautiful eyes. He reached her, and, as she angled her head back, he leaned in, and kissed her.


As Nino gazed at the perfect image, lightning struck – and the couple vanished. The copy lay on the rooftop ground, glistening in the rain.

03 August, 2005

Harper Lee's Sequel?

Last night began with the lovely movie Amelie, which Li enjoyed immensely, despite the fact that Chase and I would break out laughing before some of the scenes even started, just remembering. Chase got up, stuck The Sting into the VCR [the other two movies were on DVD], and discovered the tape was broken. It was twisted inside. Li also refused to watch Spy Game because "Brad Pitt's hair looks too stupid," which was really that she felt more like having some competition.

Trivial Pursuit ended up being th
e game of choice. I got to play with people who wanted to play and who didn't give up, AND it was the first time I'd actually played where we've finished a game! [And.... I won. : )]

One of the questions was about a Quentin Tarantino movie, and, though I've never seen any of his movies, I got it right. The answer was Reservoir Dogs, and I credit any knowledge I have of it to Aunt Sadie.

My favourite question, however, was one I gave to Chase in the Arts and Entertainment section. We had already had a question involving Atticus Finch from
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and as such I was relatively sure he would get my question lickety-split. My question was, "According to Atticus Finch, what is it 'a sin to kill'?"

Chase didn't immediately jump on it, though. He rolled over on the floor, pulling at his hair, saying repeatedly, "I know this! I. Know. This. I've read it a couple of times -- you'd think that line would just pop out at me!" I thought he was just putting on theatrics for our enjoyment, as it was incredibly amusing. Finally, though, Chase sighs, and says, "A Cat."

I was stunned. I just leaned down and said gently, "Chase, what's the name of the book?"

"Oh my gosh! Oh. My. Gosh. I can't believe I got that wrong!" Chase was rolling around again, kicking his legs in anger, and covering his face in humiliation.

Li, of course, says sweetly, "Chase, dear, it's to kill a mockingbird!" She was smirking at him, and he looked ready to smack her; it was perfectly obvious that he knew that NOW. At this point, I flippantly threw out a comment, "That'd make a great sequel, Chase!
To Kill a Cat, by Harper Lee. C'mon, let's go check it on the internet!"

28 July, 2005

Small Children

During work today, the family of coworker E. stopped by. E. has a little niece of three, who is absolutely adorable. She performed little dances for us, singing her favourite songs. In fact, we discovered that the entire family is musically talented.

As we were talking, the cd player was at it behind all of us. We kept our eye on E.'s sweetheart. She seemed to be listening quite intently to the song playing. Suddenly, in the middle of a discussion among the rest of us, a small voice proclaimed triumphantly, "There! Its chain!" She pointed at the cd player, and explained, "I found it, Aunt E.! I found it! -- Aunt E. told me," she solemnly spoke, "that every song has a key chain!"


My friend Annie, a dear sweet girl, just told me about her work day. She works with a number of small children. One in particular, a boy named Peter, always wants to be in her group. He's her buddy, and as many children do, he mistakes Miss and Mrs. Thus, he always calls her "Mrs. Annie."

Today, at the end of Annie's time with the children, a friend of hers [a guy] came to pick her up. As he approached the group and got Annie's attention, Peter ran over to him and demanded, "Are you MISTER Annie?!"

... Annie had a little explaining to do after that!

22 July, 2005

Cafe Amelie

Summer 2005 102.jpg

A shot from New Orleans for the lovely Amelie!

05 July, 2005


I had my first Coldstone Creamery ice cream tonight. It was very, very scrumptious. The cute guy behind the counter who was helping me was very amiable, as he has to be. I ordered the Birthday Cake Remix, though they were out of Cake Batter Ice Cream, so I substituted French Vanilla.

The coworker all suddenly burst into song because someone left them a tip. It was a short little song, but cute.

Whilst he was working on it, he needed to add fudge. Now, the fudge is kept in a squeeze dispenser bottle. He reached to the side, tossed it into the air, where it flipped for a couple of rotations, and then caught it in his hand -- pointing down -- right above my ice cream. His coworker, who was helping my friend Zesch, said, "Now THAT deserves applause, don't you think?" And the three of us congratulated him.

I then mentioned that this was my first Coldstone experience.

He replied, "Wow, and you get your fudge flipped your first time!" Then he paused, and said, "I should probably be careful how I say that..."

All three of us ladies began laughing hysterically. He kept begging us to forget he said anything. Needless to say, we left them tips to hear singing as we walked out the door, still laughing.

17 June, 2005

Take Two: Week Two

Well, it's week two for this brilliant project, imagined by this brilliant lady. Last week's participants were outstanding, incredible, captivating, hauntingly good, and exemplary. Those of us up this week can only hope to maybe come close.

Our premise: "A person gets on a subway, then nods off only to waken just before the appointed stop. When this person exits the station, the surroundings are completely unrecognizable. Individual then realizes he/she had not seen another human since getting on the train."

[As a warning, I have never made any claim at having a hand at fiction. Also, this has me somewhat nervous, but I prefer brutal honesty in response rather than false flattery. Thank you.]

Here it is, my maiden voyage, which, if I counted correctly, is exactly 1,000 words long [if I miscounted, 1,000 apologies!]:

Liam hurried along the streets of the METROPOLIS. He glanced to the left, sweeping his gaze to the right, across the street, the cityscape looming over him. Stopping at a shop window, he cast his glance to the concrete path he had just traveled. Nothing. No one behind him. The young man couldn't help but feel watched. He walked on more quickly, and darted down the steps to the underground.

He raced ahead, boarding the subway just as the doors were closing to leave. "NEXT STOP, SOUTH DISTRICT. EAST QUADRANT TO FOLLOW," the cold, impersonal voice of the computer announced over the speaker system. Liam nestled into a corner seat, keeping his eye out for other travelers encroaching on his space.

The seat was well-worn, patched in many places with tape. The floor held small bits of litter and dust creatures in the shadows. The lights slowly dimmed as soft music began to wisp its way into the car. Liam's body succumbed to the regular vibrations of the subway like a kitten to its mother's heartbeat. Slowly, his eyelids closed, as he drifted off...

"Subject is sleeping on train S137, in car 11, sir," Karen reported, her fingertips dancing over the keyboard. She focused on four small screens in the control center as she spoke to the tall, greying man standing before an enormous screen. Dr. Zahn, director of this operation, cued an attendant with just a few finger movements to pull up the view of the subject. Turning, he beckoned Karen to join him.

"Now, my dear Miss Hastings, observe how the subject responds to the environment at this, his next stop. I believe you will find it quite intriguing...."
"ATTENTION. APPROACHING EAST QUADRANT. PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE." That voice again, booming over the system woke Liam so abruptly that he fell out of his seat, hitting his arm against the metal pole in the aisle. Wincing, he jumped up, looking around, noting with relief the lack of people around him. He preferred it that way, what with where he was.

The doors screeched open, and he crossed to them, staring out, his jaw agape. He was above ground, and the magnificent house was no more. Where it had stood were charred remains, grey rubble.

He stepped out of the train, glanced down at the puddle beside him. Mallory's pale, white face stared up at him, silently pleading with him to help her escape her watery prison. As he reached down, she vanished, and only the murky water of the puddle remained.

He looked at a half-burned oak tree standing in the yard. Wasn't that Mallory's limp corpse hanging from a rope attached to a prominent limb? He stepped forward for a closer look. The wind sounded a set of chimes higher in the tree, and when he looked back from this distraction, the corpse was gone.

Sobbing, he reboarded the subway. He noted again, with relief, that no one else was on the train....
"He does that everywhere he goes. It doesn't matter which place it is; they're all the same to him," explained Dr. Zahn as he and Karen Hastings watched Liam cry himself to sleep again in the sleep-inducing car. His breathing kept halting as he shuddered, slowly coming to a peaceful rest once again....
"NORTH END. ALL THOSE FOR NORTH END, DISEMBARK NOW." Liam woke to the sound of the doors screeching open, and hurried out the door. He now stood in a park. There had never been a park here before, to his knowledge. Where had their home gone?
And he saw her again; Mallory, sitting on a park bench, smiling, beckoning him to come closer. He started toward her just as she fell forward, blood spraying everywhere from the gunshot wound to the back of her head. He cried out, stumbling toward her as she disintegrated before his eyes.

And suddenly, blinking back tears, he whirled around, and there was the church. The park had faded away, and in its place was a cathedral, its bells ringing as a couple descended the steps. Liam's heart constricted. He could see himself, attired in a tux, very sharp, and there, on his arm, was Mallory, resplendent in an elegant wedding dress. She looks so beautiful as she goes ahead, looking back up at him over her shoulder -- and then, the knife is thrust into her chest, and he watches in horror as she slowly crumples to the ground, lying in a pool of blood, the look of shock frozen on her face, the white dress becoming redder and redder as he rushes to her -- but it's too late; she's dead.

Now the church is gone, too, but that doesn't matter; he remembers. He remembers losing her, and as the tears stream down his cheeks, he wishes yet again that he could hold her just once more....

"He just keeps following this subway loop. It's all psychological. He can't get her out of his head," Zahn concluded, pulling up file after file of Liam on record.

"South District, East Quadrant, North End, West Landing, Harper Street, the Docks -- he's been everywhere, hasn't he?" Karen queried.

"Yes. He just hasn't been able to pick life back up again and start over. All he sees is her." Zahn pointed to the screen, where they saw Liam looking back over his shoulder and heading on toward another subway. "Still, it's an interesting study in which to partake, isn't it, Miss Hastings? How often do we find anyone that emotionally involved anymore?"

"Hardly ever, sir. It's a good thing we have him isolated from the general populace -- wouldn't want them all to end up like that!" she replied...
He couldn't help but feel watched as he hurried down the street. He looked to the left, sweeping his gaze to the right, across the street, the cityscape looming over him. Stopping at a shop window, he cast his glance back to the concrete path he had just traveled. Nothing. No one behind him. The young man couldn't help but feel watched.....

25 May, 2005

w00t! go Latin!

I just finished watching the final day of the JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions! And Brad Rutter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, beat Ken Jennings! w00t! I watched all three days of the finals, and loved it. Today, there was a Latin category. My [nonblog] dad and I answered all the questions. ... though JEOPARDY! had a questionable one with pando...

I took three years of Latin in high school -- the maximum amount available. I love that language. Last year, I was in Latin III and Deutsch I. Now I'm just in Deutsch II. I love languages in general, come to think of it. Couldn't bring myself to do Spanish, though.

And speaking of Deutsch, one of my friends and former coworkers just stopped by. [He has graduated from college, and is getting married this summer.] I used to bring homemade chocolate chip cookies to work all the time during break, and he loved them. Thus, when I baked this weekend, I dropped a bag off for him. He got home just the other night, and found them there. He stopped by to thank me and give me an envelope, in which I found a thank-you letter --- written auf Deutsch! My favourite lines: "Ich hab mich vollgestopft. Ich hab den ganzen Inhalt des Beutels in einen Abend gegessen, so gut waren sie."

In fact, maybe I should go find some...