Focused – A One-Act Play to Lighten Your Day

SEARS SMALLER BOX CHOCO - edited

Place:  A city street
Time: Present
Conversation:

Friend:   “Wow!  Did you see that?”

Sandra:  “I’ll say. That box of chocolates must have been at least 10 pounds.

Friend:  “The girl who gets that must be over the moon.”

Sandra:  “Mmmmm. That much chocolate candy would definitely make me one very happy lady.”

Friend:  “What?”

Sandra:  “What do you mean, what?”

Friend:  “I’m talking about that drop-dead gorgeous hunk who was carrying the box of candy, you dope.”

Sandra:  “Oh, was there somebody carrying the candy?”

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‘The Daily Post’ 10-Minute Free-Write # 2

MAGNIFYING GLASS  - BOOK PREVIEWHmmm. “The Daily Post” suggests that we free-write for 10 minutes again this week – about anything. Okey-dokey (Is that the correct spelling?). I think maybe I’ll take advantage of this time to introduce you to the delightful heroine of my newest book – now in progress. Her name is Priscilla Covington, and she is a 71-year-old amateur detective. She stars in my story, Prissy On The Prowl.

Her best friend, Magdalene Mitchell, and she are widows who have recently started dating again, but Prissy (whether fortunately or unfortunately, we do not yet know) is going steady with the chief of police. Now, you can probably guess that he does not approve of her getting involved in crime, but, committed to being true to herself before she can be true to anyone else, Prissy just cannot comply with Chief Andrew’s wishes all the time.

Prissy’s best companion in her forays into crime-solving is her beloved Basset Hound, Jemimah. Now, Jemimah is a sweetheart, and absolutely loves Washington Cherry ice cream – by far her favorite treat. She would never stand in Prissy’s way when there’s any sleuthing to be done. In fact, as the story progresses, she seems to be headed for the job of leading her mistress right into the midst of the felon’s lair.

Now, even though I am nowhere near finished with this book, we do know that Prissy and Jemimah will most assuredly come out of the story alive. After all, how can there be a series if we lose the heroine in the first book, right? So I’ll just leave you with this little teaser about the new novel, and I’ll try to give you little updates as we go along.

In the meantime, why not treat yourself to some Washington Cherry ice cream and start getting into the mood for a good cozy mystery. Time has run out, so I must be done.

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Share Your World, 2014 – Week 38

GLOBE - PIECE OF THE WORLD W. TEXT. - green - pink“Share Your World” invitational, hosted by Cee Neuner, gives bloggers an opportunity to get to know each other better. Follow the link to join in the fun.

Question # 1: If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

I think I would love to be a huge Maple tree.

Question # 2: If you could have a servant come to your house every day for an hour, what would you have them do?

I would request an experienced carpenter, and I’d have him spend that hour every day installing floor to ceiling cabinets and shelving in all the room except the kitchen. (It already has plenty of storage space.) When you live with thousands of books, cassette tapes, CD’s, VHS tapes, manuscripts, and art supplies, you MUST have shelves and cabinets — and more shelves and cabinets — many of which have doors that close.

Question # 3: If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Well, since I would feel terribly guilty choosing chocolate, I’ll choose my other favorite food: Cheese.

Question # 4: What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery).  

Actually, I never did any babysitting or newspaper delivering, so I don’t have to consider those. One of my first jobs that made me significant money was working in an ice cream stand, and that was followed by working as a waitress in a bowling alley restaurant. I waited tables, but the most fun was waiting on the counter, being a grill cook, and making old-fashioned sodas and malts. That was undoubtedly my favorite job as a teenager.

Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that one of my cousins made a huge pork roast and insisted in bringing me some of it, along with all the trimmings.  Mmmmm. I do love pork roast, but I almost never do one myself.

Next week, I will be helping a gifted, anointed friend create her first blog so that she can feature many videos of her music and ministry in order to bless the world through them. I am grateful to get to be a part of this brand new adventure with her.

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22 “Interesting Things” You Can Do When You Retire

Thinking about retiring? Looking for something to fill your days? Here’s my list of “interesting things” you can do IF you retire:

Count Your Fingers: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”
FINGERS

Count Your Toes: “11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.”

FEET, CLKER.COM 2

21. Twiddle Your Thumbs: “Twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum, twiddle-dee …”
TWIDDLING THUMBS - PINK

22. Contemplate Your Navel: “Hmmmmmmmm …”

NAVEL AND CHEST


I guess you’ve figured out that there is some kind of deep-seated, hidden message in this article. And you’re right. Here it is: I believe men and women should not retire. The very word retire – although we frequently use it to refer to leaving our paying employment – has inherent within it the meaning of pulling back, retreating, and becoming more secluded. And the root of the word – “tire” – means “to grow weary, diminish in strength, lose interest or become bored.” I just don’t like that word “retire.”

Now, If you have an 8:00 to 5:00 drudgery kind of job that you have had to work at for decades just to pay your bills, and you have an opportunity to trade it in for activity that you can enjoy more, certainly, say good bye to drudgery and try something new. But DO NOT retire. Stay involved in life to the fullest. Keep renewing your energy and your interests all your life. Be daring; try new things; experiment with activities that will challenge you and perhaps bring to light gifts and talents that you never realized you had.

And, above all, do things that positively affect other people. Be a giver. Expend your time, your energy, your abilities – yourself – in making life better for someone else. When you do that, your own life will continue to grow and thrive. Instead of retreating, you will be going forward – and really living – all of your life.

 

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Image of feet, thanks to Clker.com
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Post-A-Day, 9/18/14 — Chestnuts and Plagiarism

Post-A-Day Challenge:  Write about anything for 10 minutes.

CHESTNUTSUnder the spreading chestnut tree, the village —– Oh, no. Wait. That’s already been written. Okay, let’s just talk about chestnut trees. Or rather, let’s talk about the nuts themselves. I’ve never seen a chestnut tree in real life, but I have seen chestnuts. They hold a special romanticism for me, primarily because I LOVE Christmas, and I’ve always connected roasted chestnuts with that wonderful holiday. But I’ve never been able to successfully roast chestnuts.

I bought some one year and was all excited about roasting them. Of course, not having a fireplace in my home, my only choice was to roast them in the oven. I found instructions for doing so, but somehow, my nuts didn’t look right when they came out of the oven. I’m not sure I did it right.

Well, laugh-out-loud — you’d think someone with a college degree and experience teaching school, running a home, and writing for a living would be able to figure out how to roast chestnuts successfully. But I didn’t. I think it’s partly because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take off part of the covering before I roast them. The instructions didn’t say anything about that, but mine certainly didn’t pop open a little the way they were supposed to, so I thought maybe I was supposed to remove a part of the outer shell first.

Anyway, as part of my 10-minute writing exercise, I’m confessing my failure as a chestnut roaster, and I’m also asking if anyone out there is an expert – or is even mildly successful at roasting chestnuts in an oven. And if you are either of the above, would you pass along your advice to me. It’s coming on towards Christmas —- well, wouldn’t you know it — I think I’ve plagiarized again. Didn’t a song by Joni Mitchell have that line in it somewhere?

Writing for 10 minutes and plagiarizing two people must be some kind of record. But, hey, let me know if you have advice about chestnuts before Christmas, would you please?

My timer is down to one minute and 19 seconds, so I’ll just add this: Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas!

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Daily Post Writing 101 — My 20-Minute Stream of Consciousness

HANDS AT KEYBOARD  SHORT FOR BLOGI’m a big fan of writing exercises, but I haven’t actually put myself through any in quite a while, so when the Daily Post started off this new term of Writing 101 with a 20-minute exercise, I decided I should go for it. Here’s their instructions:

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write. Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.”

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

So – set the timer – punch the button: GO!

Matthew couldn’t breathe. Well – no – that wasn’t right. He could breathe, but he felt as though he were being pushed through a very narrow tunnel, and it was squeezing the breath right out of him.

Whooooosh! Ah — now — now he could breathe normally again. But what had just happened? He looked around him.

Holy cow! Where am I?” Surrounded by buildings taller than anything he could have imagined, with traffic rushing past him just to his left, he felt a little dizzy and disoriented. He shook his head to try to clear it, and that’s when he noticed the girl standing about four feet way from him.

Hi.” she said, almost bashfully.

Uh … hi yourself. Uh … do I know you?”

She giggled. “Not yet. But you will.”

What does that mean?” He looked around in all directions as if trying to locate something. “And what on earth is that racket?”

“What racket?”

That incessant tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.”

She cocked her head to listen and a moment later, she grinned again. “Oh, that. I have learned to just close it out after all these weeks. It’s the sound of the keys on the keyboard.”

What keyboard?”

Melissa’s, silly. She’s the author.”

What’s an author?”

Oh, I forgot that you couldn’t know all that yet. It takes a while to figure things out once you get here, but I’ve been here so long that I’ve pretty well gotten acclimated to everything.”

Matthew tried clearing his head with a shake again. “Wait … what? … What are you talking about? What’s going on? Where am I anyway?”

The girl let out a huge sigh. “Okay. I’ll start from the beginning. Melissa Pendergast is an author, and she writes romance novels. She’s writing one now. I’m the heroine. My name’s Abigail, by the way,” she said, extending her hand to him.

He shook her hand but eyed her suspiciously. “And just what does that have to do with me?”

Why you’re going to be the hero of the story.” She paused, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “And — the love of my life.”

You’re crazy! I don’t even know you.”

Abigail sighed again. “Of course you don’t — yet. You just got here. Melissa has just now decided who you will be. Well, just a couple of days ago anyway. I heard her talking to her best friend, so I know what the plan is now. She decided to call you Matthew because her very first boyfriend – in sixth grade – was named Matthew, and she did it in honor of him.”

Whoa — wait — start over, will you?”

Abigail began to get a little irritated. “I don’t need to start over. You just need to pay attention. Melissa is writing a love story and you are my lover. We are supposed to meet on the street right in front of that store over there on the corner. I’m supposed to get my heel caught in a grate at the edge of the curb, and you come to my rescue before a horde of people practically mow me down in their hurry to cross the street in the short time the light says ‘Walk.’

So I’m in a book?”

That’s right. And I understand it’s supposed to get a little steamy.” She smiled broadly now. “But I have to say that I’m not at all sorry. You’re quite a hunk, you know.”

Well … thanks … but … I’m not sure I want to be in somebody’s book – even this Melissa’s.”

Oh, don’t worry. She’s a great writer, and thousands of people love her books. We’ll be two of the most popular people in the world before too long. At least — I hope it’s before too long. She had a hard time sticking with this story. That’s why I’ve been around so long – waiting for you. She hit a block of some kind, but now everything seems like a go, and I can hardly wait.”

So, when I felt like the breath was being squeezed out of me, that’s when I was being birthed into this story, so to speak?”

That’s right. That’s exactly how it feels! But you’re okay now, aren’t you?”

Matthew looked himself over, took a nice deep breath, relieved that he could, and answered. “Yeah, I think I’m okay. But what do we do now?”

Just relax for a few minutes. I think Melissa just finished the second chapter, and she’s about to have us meet. This is so exciting. I think I’m falling in love with you already.”

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(As soon as I decided to write for this challenge, the first line popped into my mind, and I went from there. My understanding was that we were not supposed to edit these pieces to any extent, so I did type slower than usual to try to avoid as many mistakes as possible.)

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Words are not just building blocks; they are my favorite toys.

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