SoCS – the 5 Ws and a How

Who, what, when, where, why, and how…I remember learning early on that one of the tenets of storytelling is answering these questions.  Not all in a row or anything, but that a strong story will have all facets.

Oddly enough, I never took much to fiction writing (especially strange when you consider how much I enjoy a good novel) so this lesson might seem to be lost on me, but I’ve found it extrapolates to much in life.  If you don’t have most or all of this information then you’re kind of flying blind on your decisions.

And then the kids came along.  Holy cow, these questions took on a whole new level of importance.

You enter a room to find the floor littered with shoes, pillows in disarray, a shredded envelope on the floor, and a glass of old milk on the table.

**  Who needs to come get their shoes?  What was in the mangled envelope?  When did this happen?  Where are the dogs right now?  Why didn’t I hear any of this going down?  How on earth did that glass of milk manage to stay undisturbed among this mess?

A crash comes from the kitchen and you enter to find eggs scattered across the counter, Gracie snarfing what she can off a plate on the floor, two kids screaming at her from the other side of the room, Phoebe hiding under the table, and a can of Pam slowly rolling across the counter.

**  Whose breakfast is being devoured by the dog?  What were the kids thinking, leaving food unattended with Gracie in the house?  When is this freaking dog gonna stop stealing everything?  Where is BrightSide in the mornings, anyway?  Why can’t I pee in peace for one lousy minute without breakfast going to hell?  How am I going to wrestle an 85 pound dog away from those tasty eggs?

We’re having a (much deserved) lazy afternoon – two dogs and one mama napping before diving into the after school schedule – when someone hits the silent alarm.  One dog jerks upright, turning to the door and letting out a bark a half second earlier than her sister.  Phoebe charges around the couch to the door, hair on end, barking like Cujo on a feeding frenzy.  Gracie throws her considerable heft over the back of the couch and slams into the door beside Phoebe, adding her rowdy bark to the noise.

**  Who triggered the primordial instinct in these creatures to attack the door?  What could possibly be worth all this drama?  When will they learn that the occasional truck drives down our street and is not an actual threat to us?  Where will I take this couch to get it repaired when Gracie finally rips through the leather hurtling over it?  Why do they insist on doing this five times a day?  How have they not gone crashing through the window yet?

Interestingly, despite the fact that “how” is one of the things I ponder most, I’ve found it’s often the question I have to let go since it’s the one I’ll never get answered.

  • How did we get that giant black spot on the ceiling?
  • How did I manage to save the toast and bacon but lose the eggs to Gracie?
  • How do folks at the 8:00am basketball game manage to have their hair and makeup done?
  • How am I supposed to dress when it’s 50 something when we wake up, 70 something in the afternoon, and my internal body temperature fluctuates between ice cube and inferno?


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “how.”

SoCS – that Sam-I-Am!

We sure do love us some Dr. Seuss in this house.  I have a number of favorites.  (Can someone even have “a number” of favorites?)  They’re all books that I would happily read over and over again.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Horton Hatches the Egg, The Sneetches, and The Lorax – all terrific books we read more times than I can count.  But Linda’s prompt can only bring one book to mind – the classic Green Eggs and Ham.

“That Sam-I-Am
That Sam-I-Am!

I do not like
That Sam-I-Am

Do you like
Green eggs and ham?

I do not like them,
Sam-I-Am.
I do not like
Green eggs and ham.”

For someone who’s not a fan of tongue twisters, this is probably one of the last books you’d think I’d love.  The rhymes tumble and twist, rumbling around in my mouth like a couple of marbles as the pace picks up, and I couldn’t help but smile as I barreled my way through the bevy of situations in which the character would not like green eggs and ham.

Nothing would move him to try them – not a house or a mouse or a box or a fox.  Not on a train, in the rain, with a goat, or on a boat.  The illustrations became more and more ridiculous, as did the character’s refusal to consider even the possibility that green eggs and ham might be worth trying.

I’m pretty sure this book resonates with all parents of young picky eaters.  Besides that, though, it is just plain fun to read.  The tongue twisters weren’t the hardest part…that was managing not to say I told you so when green eggs and ham turned out to be delicious.


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “ham.”

SoCS – measure twice, cut once

Boy, my mama could sew.

I remember going with her to pick out fabric for a new jumper or dress, running my hand down the row of bolts, looking at patterns and colors for something I’d love.  We didn’t have a lot of money then so Bee and I had to be sure before we made our final picks – there was no turning back once mom began cutting and laying out the pattern.  No “eh, I don’t really like this after all, the blue would have been better.”

Mom poured her time and talent into making those clothes for us, though I doubt I was as grateful as I could have been.  There were always kids who had brand name jeans, but whatever…we’ll call that character building.  She’d take the scraps, too (waste not, want not) and sew clothes for our dolls.  That made them extra special to me.

So with a talented mom like that you’d think I could manage more than a hem or button, right?  Except not so much.  Not for mom’s lack of trying – I seem to recall her trying to teach me how to work the sewing machine, but I just didn’t have the patience for it.  Probably best in the long run, really, considering how accident prone I turned out to be.  If it’s possible to sew two fingers together, I would have managed it.

No, Bee got all the crafting talent in the family and, as far as I know, can run an actual sewing machine.  If you’ve ever worked with one you know this is an achievement.  They have moving parts my brain just can’t seem to reconcile.

I have fond memories of my mom, though…meticulously laying out the fabric, patiently pinning on the pattern, carefully cutting it out piece by piece.  She put her love into everything she made for us.


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “so/sow/sew.”

SoCS – sometimes even options aren’t enough

Hair!  Down to there!

Okay, that’s all I remember, some snippet of a song about hair down to there and now it’s stuck in my head, thank-you-very-much-Linda-for-that-prompt.

It’s funny that “hair” came right after yesterday’s post about, well, hair.  Sure, cultural standard of beauty, too, but also hair.  You might be wondering why that’s popped up on the radar lately.

Bear and I have been through quite a few hair stages, from the very beginning puffs to cornrows, box braids to french braids to twists and more.  I’ve always told her how lucky I think she is to have so many choices.  To decide if she feels like going curly or straight, having her hair up or down.  Since my hairstyle choice is ruled by two conditions – frizzy or non frizzy – I know that of which I speak.

Options are a good thing.

But there’ve been a few times now when Bear has asked for extensions.  At first I thought it was just a whim, something she’d seen on a friend or admired on the college players who coached her basketball camp.  But then the request got a little more…intense, for lack of a better word.  I could tell it was more than just a wish to experiment with style.  She actively wanted the extensions themselves; she wanted the long hair.

I realized how much it meant to her when she broke down in Sally’s.  You see, we told her we wouldn’t pay for them (because BIG TIME MOOLA) so she did her research.  Bear found extensions on Amazon that she could afford, so I took her to Sally’s to feel the difference between “affordable” (aka synthetic) extensions and the ones that are Big Time Money.  That was when it all really hit home.

Shortly thereafter the walls came tumbling down.  Wanting to know what it’s like to have long, straight, beautiful hair.  Cruel comments made at school about her hair, months ago…comments that still festered deep inside.  How the pain of even talking about it was almost too much to bear.

All this over hair.


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “wood/would.”

SoCS – the terror of tongue twisters

I hate tongue twisters.  No, I don’t just hate them.  I despise them with the white hot flame that burns like a thousand suns.

It’s a big thing with me.  Maybe it’s just that I hate tripping over my own tongue (which I do every single time) or that I don’t handle frustration well (because despite my track record, I’m always convinced I can do it this time).  Either way it’s resulted in an entirely irrational hatred of what’s supposed to be a fun word game.

When I read Linda’s prompt for today, one of those freaking verses jumped right into my head.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Ironically, this is the only tongue twister I can actually say without sputtering myself into nonsense.  But seriously, it’s the only one.  And what kind of rational adult gets highly irritated when someone says, “Okay, try to say this one three times fast”?

Well, apparently that would be this adult.


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “wood/would.”

SoCS – the dress shoes from hell

I think every little girl is fascinated by Cinderella and her glass slippers.

First, there’s that whole “slipper” thing.  You say slipper and I think soft, warm, comfy shoes you shuffle around your house in during wintertime.  It was a bit of a shock to learn that there was no comfy shuffling in Cinderella’s – those were fancy dress shoes.  With heels.  About as far from a slipper as you can get, in my opinion.

Then on top of that, the things were made of glass.  Frankly, there’ve always been a few things that stuck in my craw about having that particular material for her dancing shoes.

Her fairy godmother could have conjured shoes made of anything – jewels, glitter, sparkle of any kind.  Why on earth would she have made them from a material that could shatter?! Especially considering Cinderella had to navigate cobblestone streets, climbing in and out of a carriage, and dancing backwards gracefully.

I get it, she wants Cinderella to make an entrance and catch the prince’s eye, but all it takes is one little misstep…one trip into a ballroom column…one tumble down the stairs.  Suddenly Cinderella is surrounded by glass shards and needs twelve stitches in her right foot.  How’s she supposed to get medical care, make it back to the ball, kiss the prince, and make it home by midnight now?  Seems a bit shortsighted to me.

Then there’s the fact that there’s absolutely no give in glass.  As a Disney princess Cinderella has dainty, size 5 feet, but even little fairy feet start to ache after an hour of ballroom dancing.  The only saving grace to dress shoes is when they stretch just the tiniest bit, just enough to let your toes breathe through one more dance.  But with shoes of glass? That’s never gonna happen.  Sorry, Cinderella, you better learn to suck it up if you want to become queen one day.


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Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “glass.”

pajamas, oh my pajamas

An Ode To My Pajamas

So soft and smooth,
you feel like Saturday mornings
and rainy afternoons.
I cannot live without your
comfy drawstring pants
that never shame me
for late night nachos
and beer.
 We have a forever love.

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Linda’s weekly Stream of Consciousness prompt is open to one and all.  Click the link to check out its rules and participating blogs.  This week’s prompt is to choose a word that starts with the letter “p.”

SoCS – topics on repeat

We’ve got our first snowfall of the winter happening.  Many of you are from colder climates, places where snow begins in November and continues well into March, so this might not be a remarkable event for you.  Here in North Carolina a dusting is cause for frenzy – gas station lines snake on forever, grocery store shelves empty of bread and milk.

But we’re not looking at a dusting this time.  Predictions keep shifting, but the general consensus for our area (as of midnight on Friday, anyway) is that we’ll get anywhere from four to eight inches of snow and sleet.  Four to eight inches.  This amount of cold stuff on the roads will most likely shut down our happy southern county down for quite awhile, especially since temperatures aren’t expected to even get above freezing until Tuesday.

Tuesday.

But that’s not the point.  The snow forecast brought about several annual conversations we have with the kids.  One is Bear’s insistence that she needs a snowsuit.  Absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt must have a snowsuit.  To be fair, she usually announces this at the beginning of winter, at which time I remind her that we live in the ice belt where we’re lucky to get any snow at all and more often than not we end up with some sort of sleety ice mixture that’s no fun for play anyway.

The other conversation that’s inevitable once someone utters the word “snow” is always, always about winter coats and waterproof gloves.  Always.

Because despite our talking about winter needs every November…despite the fact that we literally quiz them each and every fall about whether coats still fit and gloves are still locatable…somehow it’s always the night before the snowfall that T-man and Bear start trying on coats and pulling out gloves.  And, shock of shocks, someone (or everyone) always starts running around like a chicken with their head cut off because, well, because it’s our annual tradition.

But the kids sure are gonna be excited when they wake up tomorrow because it is snowing boatloads of snow right now.  Coats or no coats, gloves or no gloves, we’ll find a way to cobble some outfits together so they can run around in their winter wonderland.


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Linda’s weekly Stream of Consciousness prompt is open to one and all.  Click the link to check out its rules and participating blogs.  This week’s prompt is “coat.”