A Few Clues

August 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm (Writings) (, , , , )

Today, have a story I wrote. It is completely pointless, sappy fluff, but I had fun with it. Like this one, it’s an alternate universe with characters some friends and I created.

The title comes from this absolutely adorable song:

 

After dropping several books in the return bin, Clara headed straight to the Staff Picks shelves in her favorite library. A new book stood in Derrick’s section, and she snatched it up, barely glancing at the title as she hugged it happily. The title and content didn’t matter; she would read it.

For the past year or so, she had read every one of Derrick’s staff picks. It had started with a book about The Lord of the Rings, and after that, she discovered that he had great taste. Only a few times had she not liked his recommended books.

She had never met him. She came to the library on Tuesday mornings, and he apparently worked some other time. She half wanted to meet him so she could tell him how much she appreciated his indirect book recommendations. But at this point, she suspected she would be a bit starstruck, because if you could develop a crush on someone based solely on their taste in literature, she definitely had that problem. It would be awkward.

But as she approached the checkout desk half an hour later, carrying too many books, there he stood.

Clara froze.

He was even more attractive in person than in his picture.

In vague panic, she almost turned toward the self-checkout station. But no. She could at least meet him. She didn’t have to say anything, but she should give herself the opportunity.

So he’s tall, dark, and handsome and has great taste in reading. So what? she told herself as she walked to the counter.

So what?! herself screamed back. She did her best to ignore it.

Derrick was polite enough as he scanned her items, if not talkative. But he paused when he reached the book Clara had pulled from his shelf. He quickly resumed his work, saying, “That’s a good one. I hope you like it.”

“I’m sure I will,” Clara replied. “I always enjoy the books you pick.”

He paused again, looking at her curiously. “So it’s you.”

“W-what?”

“My friend Alex has been telling me for ages that there’s a girl who checks out every one of my staff picks and that I should meet her. Apparently that’s you.”

“Oh.” She knew Alex. Sometimes they chatted while he scanned her books. He seemed fun. Absurdly, she felt a bit betrayed. She swallowed and, aiming for a lighthearted subject change, asked, “You don’t normally work this time, do you?”

Derrick shook his head. “I work evenings. But Alex had plans with his brother for the day, so we swapped some shifts around, and I ended up here. I’m sure that was completely coincidental.”

Clara had no idea how to respond to that. She started to slide books into her bag instead of replying.

“Clara, right?” Derrick asked.

Her head shot up. “How…?” He gestured toward his computer screen with a slight, amused smirk. “Oh. Yes. Clara.”

Derrick nodded. He tore off her receipt, grabbed a pen, and printed a phone number at the bottom of the slip of paper while Clara stared, mouth agape. “There,” he said. “You can text me and let me know how you like the book. If you want to.”

“Okay. I will.” Somehow she had just committed to that? Hopefully she could make herself follow through.

Derrick slid the receipt into the last book and handed it to her. “Have a nice day.”

“Thanks. You, too.” Clara smiled. Derrick smiled back, and it was adorable.

Clara practically floated to her car.

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Have Some Smiles

August 16, 2016 at 6:05 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , )

In which I looked through one of my Pinterest boards for fun things. Because I don’t feel like writing anything today.

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For Your Whale-Being

August 9, 2016 at 11:24 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I spent last week visiting three wonderful friends. GG and I took our annual road trip into warmer regions to visit D and Gaby. We had so many fantastic adventures.

On the way down, we got stuck in traffic. We went about eight miles in two and a half hours. Because of maybe a quarter mile of construction where there was one lane. That was a bit boring. We were thankful we had filled up the gas tank not long ago. But we still managed to have lots of fun. In spite of/because of introducing each other to lots of depressing music, because that’s what we do. Also we played Crack the Case, a game that is difficult to explain that lives in my car for these situations. An angry fortune teller woman sawed through the supports of a wooden bridge so it would collapse when a certain man drove over it. I don’t even know.

We finally arrived at D’s house and had lots of hugs and moved in. As usual, D promptly began taking notes on all the funny things anyone said. She filled up an entire notebook while we were there. If you’ve never had someone giggle hysterically and dive for their pen in reaction to something you said, you’re really missing out.

Due to D being D and having an entire notebook of, well, notes, she will have a much more organized blog post about the week, I’m sure.

The next day (and most of the others), we abducted Gaby. She came quite willingly. She shared weird food with whoever wished to partake. Lychee gummies. Green tea Oreos. She had me try sushi. This was a first. It was surprisingly okay. We also went to a tea room one day. They had a whole trunk of hats you could wear. You should see me in a crown. There’s a picture of it somewhere.

We played lots of Apples to Apples. As fictional characters, of course. It’s much more fun that way. There’s one of D’s characters we especially like to torment. Poor Jason puts up with a lot.

There was also the annual taking fictional characters to therapy. We’ve reached the point where we actually manage to help characters sometimes on top of it being hilarious role play. This year, I ended up being Professor Plum, the character I always choose to play in Clue, who had been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of Mr. Body. He was definitely framed by Mrs. Peacock. D, the therapist at the time, didn’t have much to work with, as Professor Plum did not want to be therapized, so I don’t think he’s one of the ones we helped.

One night, we went on a walk with D’s sister and the family dog (I love that dog). These walks are always so much fun. And somehow it happened on the night when the weather was actually nice instead of oppressively hot and humid, so that was refreshing.

We filmed a recreation of the best scene from Captain America: Civil War. GG and I also filmed one from the second Thor movie on our drive home. And of course we filmed the therapy sessions. AND MY LITTLE PONIES.

We use My Little Ponies as characters from our epic fictional-characters-in-Boy-and-Girl-Scouts story. This year there was a wedding. The Boy Scouts crashed the wedding, complete with a “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” flash mob. I think the most notable quote was, “The officiant matches the unity tea!” Unfortunately, it was probably much funnier in context and late at night.

I feel like I could go on forever, but I still have reading I would like to get done tonight. On Friday, we played one more game of Apples to Apples. Then we had to do funny things so D could finish the notebook. GG stole it, and she and I had a conversation by writing in it. Then we told funny stories. Then there were more hugs before GG and I drove away.

And came back two minutes later to retrieve something we’d forgotten.

We stopped at Gaby’s house briefly(ish). There we played Gloom and yet one more game of Apples to Apples. Also, more hugs.

We hit a bit of rush hour traffic, but there were no major delays on the trip back. We got very excited when the temperature dropped into the 70s AND STAYED THERE. We listened to more depressing music. For about two hours at the end, we plotted a FABULOUS story. And by FABULOUS, I mean ANGST. It was so much fun. We laughed a lot.

It was a wonderful, wonderful week. God has given me some lovely friends, and getting to be in the same room (or car, or whatever) with them is a joy.

Oh, I suppose I could explain the title. It came from a series of ocean puns. Most of them provided by Gaby. This is the one that stuck and became a recurring phrase throughout the week.

If you would like to read about previous annual visits:
2012
2013
2014
2015

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Overjoyed

August 2, 2016 at 10:32 pm (Christianity, Life, Thoughts) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

“Overjoyed” is my favorite Bastille song, and it’s because of the first few lines:

Oh, I feel overjoyed
When you listen to my words.
I see them sinking in.
Oh, I see them crawling underneath your skin.

Someone genuinely listening to me thrills me. I’m not always good at making timely comments in conversations or expressing thoughts the way I wish to, so when I do and someone hears me and is interested, it’s wonderful.

Because I appreciate it so much, I try to genuinely listen to other people. I’m certainly not perfect, but I want to be the person who notices when someone starts to say something and is cut off by the conversation or the person who will listen when someone wants to talk about how terrible or excellent their day was beyond the usual, “I’m fine.”

One phrase from the Bible known even by those who are not familiar with the Bible is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or, in slightly more modern phrasing, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). I think this is something most people naturally want to do with those they care about. Being listened to makes me feel loved, so I want to listen to those I love so they’ll feel the same way. I have touchy-feely friends who give lots of hugs because they love receiving hugs.

Where this command becomes difficult is with people you don’t like. Listening to a person who annoys me is difficult. And who wants to hug their mortal enemy?

There’s a quote I really want to use here, but I cannot find it to give the exact wording or attribute it properly. It goes something like, “All the things God commands are difficult for us to do, or else he would not command, but endeavor to persuade.” As Jesus points out, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46). Even people who have no interest in Christianity do not need commanded to do nice things to those they love. What makes Christians different is that they (should) strive to treat people they do not naturally love the same way.

It’s not easy. But it is important.

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Tuesday at Camp

July 26, 2016 at 10:55 pm (Christianity, Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I got my camera back! So now I can do the post I had planned for last week.

Quite a while ago, I found a list of blogging prompts that included, “Your day in photos {take a photo every hour from wake to sleep}.” I’ve wanted to do it, but for most of my days it would be rather repetitive. I decided camp might have more variety, so last Tuesday I took pictures all day. (What you cannot see is how incredibly hot and humid it was.) Some were on the hour; some were not. So have an example of a day at church camp.

 

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Good morning, alarm clock. You’re useful, but also obnoxious.

 

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Breakfast! Well, my tea. One of my favorite parts of being staff is that I am now allowed in the kitchen, so I can make tea in the mornings.

 

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At 10 we were singing during chapel. We sang this song ALL. THE. TIME. It got old. (And I have it stuck in my head now, unfortunately.) But usually the song we sing ALL. THE. TIME. is Heaven’s Road, so it least it was some variety from that.

 

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On Tuesday, they gave out shirts. I am actually okay with the almost-lime green. It is much better with the yellow they had for about three years.

 

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Noon! Sports time! Which I have claimed as my shower-and-then-relax-a-bit time, because they usually don’t need my help. I was sprawled on the hill reading. It was a good book.

 

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After lunch. Heading to the village for Rest in Cabins. Which is not long enough to be restful by the time you walk down the mountain, gather up what you need, and then walk back up the mountain.

 

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Pool time! I didn’t swim that day, but I did stick my feet in the water.

 

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Eating a Reese’s Cup, as you can see. Probably a frozen one. If you’ve never tried them that way, you should.

 

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At 4, we were in the middle of memory work. The theme this year was Philippians, so the kids were memorizing verses from that book.
This is a Bible I got from camp. They give them out every year to new campers, and I got one the first year they did it. When showed it to some of the middle schoolers, they were duly impressed.

 

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5 was singing on the hill, so I took a picture of the classic view from the hill.

 

I completely missed 6 o’clock. That was Bible Bowl time, so I was pacing around the dining hall watching the campers answer questions and answering them (correctly!) in my head.

 

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At 7, we were playing Capture the Flag. (Somewhere on the ground in this picture is a flag.) I actually played most of the time. And by played, I mean that once in a while I attempted to get someone out of jail or chased someone who was invading my side. Most of that was not successful. I am not fast.

 

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Canteen. I don’t remember what I ate, but this was the menu. They had Cream Soda this year, which made me happy, as that is about the only pop I like.

 

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Campfire devo. We had some nice fires; this was an especially good one.

 

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My favorite camp game: Right Town, Left Town. Each team straddles a bench. Everyone is given a profession. If you are a firefighter and the announcer says, “Right Town needs a firefighter,” you get off the bench to the right, run around the bench, and sit back down. The team whose firefighter sat down first gets a point. For Middle Town, you can choose which side to get off. For a catastrophe, everyone runs. Once in a while there’s a catastrophe in Middle Town, and then it’s pure chaos.
I am in the minority for loving this game, but I think it’s tons of fun. This year I got to play because they needed extra people. I got some impressive bruises, and it was completely worth it.

 

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By 11, the girls were in their cabins and (hopefully) settling down. I was finishing up my reading for the day. And then going to sleep, though not as quickly as I would have liked.

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Apparently It’s Time For My Annual Music Shuffle Game Post

July 19, 2016 at 11:51 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Last week I was at church camp. No internet, so no blog post. But last Tuesday I took a bunch of pictures to prepare for this week’s post.

Then I left my camera at camp.

A friend found it and is going to mail it to me, but I don’t have it back yet, so that post will have to wait. I have no other ideas ready to be written. I’m tired. This is easy and fun and requires little effort and I’ve done it twice already (here and here), so why not make it a tradition?

To quote myself: “If you’re not familiar with this game, it consists of these (or similar) questions, and you put your MP3 player/iPod/computer/music playing device on shuffle to get the answers.”

1. If someone says, “is this okay?” you say:
Vale Decem – Murray Gold

2. What would describe your personality?
The Cat and the Moon – The Lord of the Rings Musical soundtrack (Ha! This amuses me.)

3. What do you look for in a guy/girl?
Five Becomes Four – Yellowcard

4. How do you feel today?
Fix You – Yellowcard

5. What is your life’s purpose?
Quiet – Lights

6. What is your motto?
Shadows Dancing – Celtic Thunder (But… why?)

7. What do your friends think of you?
Friends in Low Places – Celtic Thunder (Thanks, guys…)

8. What do you think about very often?
Night Changes – One Direction

9. What is 2+2?
Buachaill ón Eirne – Celtic Thunder

10. What do you think of your friends?
Rough Draft – Yellowcard

11. What do you think about the person you like?
Huron Carol – Heather Dale (I’m not sure what that means.)

12. What is your life story?
Overjoyed – Bastille

13. What do you want to become when you grow up?
Tears of Hercules – Celtic Thunder (O.o)

14. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
New Day Dawning – Celtic Thunder

15. What do your parents think of you?
Hello Again – Celtic Thunder (So much Celtic Thunder. I also have other things, honest.)

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?
Beauty and the Beast – Diamond Rio (Could be worse.)

17. What will they play at your funeral?
Tuning Out – Bastille (Again, but why?)

18. What is your hobby/interest?
It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

20. What is the worst thing that could happen?
One Bedroom – Yellowcard

21. How will you die?
History – One Direction

22. What is the one thing you regret?
Green Eyes – The Hunts

23. What makes you laugh?
Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons (Um… XD)

24. What makes you cry?
You Raise Me Up – Celtic Thunder

25. Will you ever get married?
Grey – Yellowcard (That’s a very vague answer.)

26. What scares you the most?
Weight of Living, Pt. 1 – Bastille

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A Fiction Cliché I Love

July 5, 2016 at 11:08 pm (Thoughts) (, , , , , , , , , )

Credit for this blog post idea goes to my friend Gaby, who is a wonder and started spouting suggestions when I complained that I had no clue what to write this week.

Think Middle Ages. Probably fantasy, but not necessarily. But something that takes place in a castle.

Big disaster. Like, something huge. The castle is under siege. Someone important – probably a beloved general – has died. The gate isn’t going to hold up much longer. All the remaining important people are walking around with serious expressions. No one expects to live through the night.

Then the main character goes to the kitchen to check on food preparations, because the soldiers still need to eat just in case the plot swings in their favor. The mood in the kitchen is completely different. There’s a lot of bustle. Everyone’s in a hurry. And everyone is slightly exasperated.

Especially the chef, whom the main character talks to. The chef complains that all the fighting has completely messed up their schedule. No one wants to sit down for a meal. Everyone just wants food, lots of it, now. Their efforts and the fine dishes they create are completely unappreciated. Here, you try this soup, tell me it does not deserve some appreciation!

Of course the main character does not dare. They leave significantly less hungry and probably in better spirits.

Yeah. That slightly exasperated castle kitchen staff when disasters disturb their schedule? I love it.

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Opinions

June 28, 2016 at 7:31 pm (Life, Thoughts) (, , , )

I have recently realized a cool thing about growing up: I respect my own opinions a lot more.

Sometimes I don’t approve of the way others handle situations. I’m not referring to times when someone is obviously doing something sinful or unkind or that sort of thing. Smaller things. Where they didn’t necessarily do anything wrong but I disagree with their method.

For most of my life, I brushed this off with, “Well, they’re an adult, maybe they know something I don’t.” But I have realized, “You know… I’m an adult. And I know some things.”

Do I know everything? Certainly not. I’m still learning. But so is everyone else. So it’s possible my opinions might actually have value, too.

This has been quite freeing.

Next goal: Reach the point where I expect other adults to believe my opinions have value. (Not saying that’s not the case now. But my feelings on the matter tend to doubt it.)

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Gender Inequality

June 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm (Life, Thoughts) (, , , , , )

Let’s discuss a serious issue.

Pockets.

So many pants in the women’s clothing department have no pockets.

This is not okay.

I don’t understand it. I have been told that pockets are left out to give the pants a more flattering shape. Okay. So I guess I can understand that in clothes for nice occasions, though personally I would still prefer to have pockets. But you know what? I own sweatpants that have no pockets. Sweatpants are intended for comfortable, not attractiveness. Has any woman ever put on sweatpants and thought, “Oh, these don’t have pockets, perfect! Exactly what I wanted!”

I don’t think so.

Men never seem to have this problem. It’s really not fair.

You know what else is not fair? A man can put anything in the inside pocket of a suit jacket and you cannot tell it’s there. It does not matter the size and shape of the man or the item. It just vanishes.

How does this work? Are those pockets bigger on the inside or something? Can we take this technology and apply it to women’s pants pockets? Because that would solve the whole issue.

End of I’m-only-partially-joking rant.

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The Golden Flower

June 14, 2016 at 11:17 am (Writings) (, , , , , )

So. For various reasons, I wrote a fairy tale. And by fairy tale, I mean the very old-fashioned sort where logic and depth aren’t even considerations. I’ve been reading a volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales so that I could imitate the style. If I do say so myself, I think I pulled off the imitating excellently. It’s very, very different from my usual style, so it’s hard to tell if it’s actually good, but it was a fun exercise, and posting it here gives me an excuse to not think up something to write for my blog this week. Hopefully it’s enjoyable.

 

Once a long time ago there lived a young storyteller who loved the forest. He was handsome and good, but he had misfortune enough to anger an evil witch. In her wrath, she cursed him to wander the earth forever, finding neither peace nor death.

For two hundred years, he wandered under the witch’s curse. One day, he came to a kingdom far from his home, and there he found that the King of that land had promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to the first suitor who could persuade her to carry on a conversation. The princess found her books much more interesting than people, so as yet no suitor had succeeded.

Seeing the maiden’s beauty, the storyteller decided to try his luck at the challenge. Unlike the suitors before him, he did not attempt to interrupt the princess’ reading with conversation. Instead, he sat beside her with the book in which he wrote his own stories until the princess’ curiosity overcame her and she asked to see it.

The King was not pleased with the prospect of a mere wandering storyteller for a son-in-law, so he gave one more condition, a task he thought could never be fulfilled: “Before you marry my daughter, you must bring me a golden flower from the golden tree that grows in the depths of the forest.” Because he loved the princess, the storyteller willingly set forth on the journey, though no one could tell him where in the forest the golden tree could be found.

After traveling for several days, the storyteller passed a lake. He stopped to quench his thirst, and nearby he saw a swan whose wing was pinned beneath a fallen branch. He took time to free the swan, who asked him, “What is your errand in this forest?”

“I seek the golden tree to collect a golden flower,” the storyteller replied, “though I do not know the way.”

“Because you helped me,” said the swan, “I will help you. I will guide you to the garden where the tree grows.”

The swan flew through the trees, and the storyteller followed her. She left him at a walled garden, saying, “Within these walls grows the tree you seek, but I can help you no more.”

The storyteller circled the walls, searching for an entrance. He found none, but he found a fox whose paw was caught in a trap. He took time to free the fox, who asked him, “What is your errand at this garden?”

“I seek the golden tree to collect a golden flower,” the storyteller replied, “though I do not know how to enter the garden.”

“Because you helped me,” said the fox, “I will help you. I will show you the entrance.”

The fox led the storyteller away from the walls to a nearby hill. In the side of the hill stood a golden gate. “The tunnel beyond this gate will lead you into the garden,” said the fox. “I must warn you that any flower plucked from the golden tree by human hands will wither and die, but I can help you no more.”

The storyteller continued into the tunnel, wondering how he was to complete his task. Once in the garden, he found the tree, and he tried to pluck a flower to see for himself what would happen. Sure enough, it withered and died in his hands. He searched the garden, seeking a way to solve his dilemma. He found none, but he did find a cat trapped in a well. He took the time to free the cat, who asked him, “What is your errand in this garden?”

“I came here to collect a golden flower from the golden tree,” the storyteller replied, “but I do not know how to pick one so that it lives.”

“Because you helped me,” said the cat, “I will help you. I will pick a flower for you.”

The cat climbed the golden tree and returned to earth with a golden flower clutched gently between her teeth. The storyteller took the flower from the cat, and this time it did not wither away in his grasp.

As it was a magical flower, it began to undo the curse the witch had laid upon the storyteller so many years ago. As he carried it back to the king, it continued to work, and when he kissed the princess upon his return, the last remnant of the curse was lifted. The King was now obliged to allow their marriage. They were wed with great joy and lived happily together for the rest of their days.

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