Tag Archives: story
Video

It’s Going Great! – A Flash Fiction

27 Nov

“Let me hear it.”

“Hear what?”

“The whining and complaining about your current project.”

“No whining… And I can’t think of any complaints.”

“Uh-huh.”

Really. Everything is working quite well. My main character is playing nicely with the rest of the cast. The central plot hasn’t bullied any of the littler sub-plots. And the plot holes are healing nicely from last week’s surgery.”

“You mean we’re going to get through lunch without the usual sob-fest?”

“Yeeesss.”

“Huh.”

“Why is that so hard for you to believe?”

“Because it’s never happened.”

“Well there’s a first time for everything. The only thing I have to add about this book is that it’s going great. Now pass me the dessert menu, I need some chocolate cake.

…And maybe some pie.

…And I hear they’ve got a wide variety of stuff to put into milkshakes.”

“Going great, huh?”

“Shut up.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRbBegjoLU8

One of my favorite movies.  😀 

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An Isolated Birthday

19 Nov

“Matthew, they can’t hear you. So please stop yelling.”

“But, Mamma, Penny said we would all go to the crick together.”

“I know, baby, but sometimes people don’t always remember what they said. She probably just forgot.”

“She didn’t forget.”

“Instead of pouting, how about you and I make some cookies?”

“I don’t want… can I lick the spoon?”

“Tell you what, we’ll leave the eggs for last, and put a couple globs of cookie dough on top of ice cream.”

“Really? Wow!”

“It is your birthday.”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t look so sad, Matt. You can only get the chicken pox once. We’ll do something really fun next year, okay?”

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A Couple Thought Inducing Quotes On Writing

2 Nov

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life.  ~James Norman Hall*

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.  ~Burton Rascoe*

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Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.

Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.

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It’s interesting how much time is spent just thinking about your project. Before a pen is put to paper, or fingers poise above the keyboard, the mind has spend at least a little while contemplating where the story will go.  Sure, a few of my flash fictions came out of my imagination as I was writing them. But for the most part, a story needs to percolate for a while.

Rushing the process usually turns into a disaster, because the ideas are not fully formed. You spend so much time trying to put your thoughts together that what you end up writing is more like a stilted conversation with yourself. Believe me, I have pages of the stuff in my novels. And that’s ok sometimes. There are times when the ideas don’t come smoothly and you need to do some hashing out. You need to write it out so you can see it all, and rearrange things so the story flows.

However for the most part you want to let your thoughts wander all over the story. Get to know you main characters. Invite them over for a big round table discussion in your mind. Or have each of them over for a quiet cup of coffee, as you sit in your favorite chair, looking as though you’re peacefully asleep. In a way, that is the best kind of dreaming.

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*I found these quotes at http://www.quotegarden.com/writing.html

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Video

Be Careful Who’s Thoughts You Ask About

25 Oct

How about a dialogue only little story?

Let’s see…

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“What are you mumbling about now?”

“Nothing. Just thinking out loud.”

“That’s what I just asked. What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, just some things.”

“Like…”

“Like how come when it’s Halloween it’s all “Oh, look at all the cute kids in their little costumes.”, but then the rest of the year we’re just pests in their way?”

“We’re not exactly little anymore, ya’know.”

“You know what I mean. It’s just… what’s with the duplicity?”

“Ummm, I don’t know.”

“It’s the same kind of thing with Thanksgiving. All year long our culture is full of gimme-gimme, then we take a day or two to suddenly remember all the good things we have. Celebrating all the things we normally take for granted. We get together with all kinds of people we normally dodge, eat four thousand calories each, and then pass out on the couch. It’s almost exactly like Christmas.”

“What about Christmas?”

“That’s another time when we’re all supposed to be happy and stuff. Everyone is in a good mood because it’s the season of giving, but what about the week after that? It’s like the instant Christmas is over everyone is already worried about their New Years resolution and who they’re going to be kissing at midnight. All that fluffy, happy, glowy feeling is just poof gone.”

“Uhhhhh-huh. And your point is?”

“I don’t have a point. You asked me what I was thinking about, so I told you.”

“You sure did.”

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Now, hand me my share of the candy, some pumpkin pie

and assure me you’re getting me something awesome for Christmas!

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(No, I didn’t set out to preach. All I did was sit down to a blank screen and let my mind barf words all over it. There’s no intention of toe-stepping, or guilt trips.)

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Here’s a little Halloween fun from The Muppets:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc1iIRKZE9w

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I think as long as the Carve-O-Matic was used correctly it could really come in handy this time of year. Too bad Beaker got it.

Again.

Poor little guy.

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I wonder if he’s just like Kenny and they have a huge lab of clones just for such a purpose?

Huh.

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Video

How To Write A Book? Who Knows?!

20 Oct

This video pretty much describes my feeling on the subject.

You can learn all the technical stuff, but if you don’t love your story through and through there’s very little chance that you’re going to stick with it long enough to actually finish writing it. And if you’re bored with it in the first draft, who else is going to be interested enough to finish reading it?

So first and foremost, you must be in love with your story.

After that, it really just falls to what kind of writer, person, personality, worker you are. The little details of How you write are not quite as important as whether or not you Want to write this story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs6EUwE9YVQ

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Video

Knick-Knack Overlords – A Guest Post By ReGi McClain

11 Oct

    A few weeks ago I asked ReGi McClain to write a guest post about writing, marketing, social media, or something. Yeah, I was pretty much that vague.  With that jumbled request, she came back with this lovely post (she even chose the video. Nice!).

So, without further jabbering from me, here’s ReGi.  😀

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    It was my favorite housekeeping guru who pointed it out. We like to think of ourselves as gods. In his book, Clutter’s Last Stand, Don Aslett viciously confronts the human tendency to create and control little worlds by collecting knick-knacks and arranging them just so. My grandmother is a prime example of this phenomenon. By the time she and my grandfather moved out of the home they owned for 30 years, she collected hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of trinkets from around the world. Nothing interesting there, right? Millions of people do that.

So why do I bring up my grandmother? Because, unlike most people who amass armies of gewgaws, my grandmother remembers the stories behind each and every one of her treasures in vivid detail. Not only can she tell you where, when, and why she got them, she can usually tell you what materials and methods were used in making them, the cultural significance of those materials and methods, and possibly even the name of the artisan and his aunt’s husband’s cousin’s new boyfriend. Okay, okay, so maybe not the new boyfriend. I assume the girl in question would have married the fella or moved on by now.

Writers are a lot like collectors. We take our little baubles, our characters and conflicts, and arrange them until we like what we see. But do we, like my grandmother, take the time to get the story behind each? If you don’t write speculative fiction, as I do, perhaps you don’t think you need so much backstory. Not so. Maybe you don’t need to decide whether the dragon likes his maidens medium-rare or well done, but at least know why your story needs to happen in London instead of any other major metropolis. Perhaps the anatomical location of the alien’s nose is of no importance to you, but do you know why that character is mind-bogglingly shallow?

Mind you, I don’t think you should start any collections. I’d have to spend weeks with my grandmother to get every story. Sadly, with all those ornaments competing for space with each other, all of them lost value. When I visited to pick out the things I wanted to keep, I passed up many costly, beautiful things because they held no importance to me. Instead, I kept an ugly metal pig. Why? Because my grandmother told me its story. I know it’s real value.

Don Aslett believes in ruthlessly giving away everything that doesn’t hold true significance for you. Not just marginal  sentimental value or potential usefulness someday. No. We’re talkin’ actively-contributing-to-your-current-well-being importance. The same principle can be applied to writing. When you look at your literary knick-knacks, do you  remember why you kept them? Are they truly important? Then put them out where we can see them! Toss the rest. You don’t have to give us your reasons for keeping each treasure unless it’s important to the story, but if you’ve done it right, we, like any fascinated guest, will ask you for more details.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCq20AC__B4

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Thank you, ReGi!  I’ll have to ask you back again.  😀

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If you’re curious about today’s guest blogger, you can go over to her blog: www.regimcclain.wordpress.com

Chat with her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/regimcclain

And find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RegiMcclain

I would recommend all three, really. She’s a lot of fun.  😀

And she just informed me that she has a Pinterest page as well: http://www.pinterest.com/ReGiMcClain

She’s practically everywhere!  lol

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Have a Great Weekend!

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Video

These Hands – A Short Story

6 Aug

A young man walked through the front door of a VFW hall. For a moment he looked around, confused, then kind of sidled to his right and sat down in a chair just on the other side of a large shadow box holding half a dozen folded flags. Sitting there, turning his ball cap around and around, he seemed fascinated by the movements of his hands. After a few moments he kind of shook his head, balanced his hat on his knee, and leaning back in the chair, closed his eyes.

An older gentleman had observed his entrance, and had watched his movements closely. While the young man seemed to wrestle with a couple thoughts behind the curtains of his eye lids, this man, maybe 55 maybe 60, walked over and sat beside him. Folding his hands across his chest, he too leaned back, and waited.

Our young man slowly opened his eyes, and said, “My doctor wants me to take sleeping pills. My therapist wants me to talk about my feelings. My wife…” He swallowed hard, “she just wants me to be able to sleep beside her.” He gave a shuddering sigh, “I’ve been home for six months. I found a good job, we got a good house, our little boy is growing like a weed. But, I just can’t…” His voice broke.

Holding up his hands he turned them this way and that. “These hands, they held the gun I used to kill a teenager wearing a suicide vest. These hands, they pulled pins on grenades that killed entire rooms full of people.”

Opening his arms a little wider he said, “These arms, they carried small children out of wreckage. They…they held my best friend as the medics did their best. They held his wife when I attended his funeral. She couldn’t stop crying. He hadn’t even seen their baby girl.”

His tears, held back with a herculean effort, fell now.

He closed his eyes, and took a few deep breathes.

“I just want to know that it will get better. That the nightmares, and the memories…stop chewing away at your soul.”

He wiped the tears off his face, and stared at the floor.

The older man cleared his throat, a couple times. Then lifting his own hands, said, “These hands were trained by the Air Force to repair and maintain just about anything that moves on the ground. I made it through my part of the Gulf War without shedding any blood but my own. Most of my scars are from sharp edges, and tool mishaps.

It wasn’t until I’d been home for two and a half years, and been a city cop for a year that I took my first life. A domestic disturbance. He was on PCP, tearing the house apart with a crowbar. His wife wouldn’t leave, she thought she could talk him down.” He shook his head. “Thankfully the kids were at the neighbor’s house. They got shipped off to an aunt in the next state.

I guess it was the adrenaline of the situation, but it wasn’t until the Sergent arrived that I puked my guts out. I was shaking so bad they had to drive me back to the station, and it was hours before I could put a pen to paper.

These hands have been in several more of those situations, but it’s always that one that wakes me up at night. Over ten years now, but still, every few months I have to slip downstairs and watch old John Wayne movies until it’s time to go to work.”

A few moments passed in silence. Then our older man looked across the room and said, “See the old fart chalking his pool que? His hands worked a flame thrower in the Korean War. To this day he jumps a little when someone flicks a lighter. After the war he finished college and went on to become a stellar used car salesman. His wife’s a peach, makes the worlds best blue berry turn-overs.”

See the guy in the camo jacket sitting in the easy chair? His hands worked an M-60 in Viet Nam. He lost his left leg at the knee in his fourth chopper crash. The V.A. just gave him a new prosthetic. We can’t keep him off the dance floor now.

Jake, over there getting coffee? His hands held a scalpel in Korea. Saved countless lives, but still, a couple times a year, he wakes up screaming the names of the boys who didn’t make it. He and his wife have had separate bedrooms since they got married. He doesn’t want to take the chance of hurting her while having a nightmare. They burned him out over there. Couldn’t even hold a stethoscope without getting sick to his stomach. Went back to school, became a teacher. He still subs now and again.”

He glanced at the young man, then dropped his eyes to the floor between his feet. “There is life after. It’s not ever going to go away. There will always be a tiny part of you that has trouble with the memories. But life goes on, the nightmares become fewer, and slowly, your thoughts will start to think more and more on other things.

The biggest thing is to remember that everyone is different. Your road to a new normal won’t be the same as anyone else’s. Well meaning people will try and tell you how they dealt with traumatic things. And that’s great for them, but don’t follow another’s path. Find your own.”

The younger man nodded his head, and picked at a scab on the back of a hand. “How do I find my path?”

“Keep seeing your therapist, try talking about your feelings…but don’t be afraid to reach out for more help.” Gesturing around at the room he added, “There’s almost always someone here. Most of us have been through one kind of hell or another. Even if you don’t feel like talking, just being reminded that it’s possible to laugh again is a big thing.

You might mention to your wife that the Women’s Auxiliary meets here weekly. She may need someone to talk to about…well, dealing with you.” He gave a gruff chuckle. “We’re not easy to live with. And women need to talk a whole lot more than we do. Having a place where she can talk with someone who has lived with one of us for years could be a big help.”

“Can I…would now be a good time to just hang out?”

“Sure! You want a recliner, or a pool que?”

“Let’s start with coffee.”

“Well, that’s a given.”

A loud rumble filled the room for a moment. The older gentleman looked up as another man walked in the door. Standing up he shook hands with the bearded man in black leather chaps and jacket. “How’s it going, Bill?”

“Not bad, Joe. Not bad.”

“I see you got the hog running again.” Joe smiled wide as he pointed toward the door his friend had just come through.

“Yeah, it wasn’t cheap. But worth it.” With a nod at the young man who had stood up during his entrance, he held out a hand. “Bill Asher.”

Taking his hand, our young man said, “Mike Blair.”

“Fresh back from the sand box?”

“Still obvious, huh?”

Bill shook his head, “I’ve only been back eighteen months.” Stroking a hand down his six inch beard he said with a smile, “I haven’t shaved since.”

“Sure don’t look like a chaplain anymore, that’s for sure.”

Bill laughed, and then turned when he heard his name called from across the room. He waved at someone playing pool. “Be right there.” Offering his hand again to Mike, he said, “Will I be seeing you around?”

Mike looked over at Bill, “Yeah,” he nodded, “I think you will.”

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I feel the need to apologize for not posting a couple nights ago. This story was brewing in my head and would not let anything else occupy my thoughts. I sat in front of my computer until my head started to nod, and Lonnie sent me to bed. The sleep worked. My unconscious worked on the story as I slept, and it was almost too easy writing it out this morning.

I had a little trouble with tense, so if you see a point where something doesn’t quite jive, give me a heads up.

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Keeping with the soldier theme, here’s something to lighten the mood.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzK6I-IEIpc

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Video

Surviving Camp Moose Creek pt. 4 – And An Overload Of Cute

2 Aug

You guessed it, here’s the fourth installment of the story I’m writing to share with you while my schedule spins at a wonky angle this week.

(Thankfully I only have another two days before the craziness ends and things get back to a more normal schedule. My husband has already declared that Sunday will be a total rest day for me. I’m not arguing. Had a headache since about 11:30 this morning. Grrr. Needless to say, I’m heading for bed the moment this post is scheduled.)

Let me know what you think so far!

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Dear Diary,

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At my breakfast snack shack visit I discovered why the girl wasn’t there yesterday evening. She got braces. They are pink and purple. She says they really hurt, and she hates how they make her look. I told her they aren’t that noticeable. She smiled, winced, and said thanks.

There wasn’t anyone behind me, so I asked her what her name was. Maria.

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The kid I played soccer with yesterday afternoon said hi to me in the lunch line. Then when I was looking for a quiet corner to hide in, and push my food around, he waved me over to sit at his table.

His name is Devon, and he is here with his twin brother Darron. They don’t look that much alike, but still finish each others sentences. Devon asked if it was OK for his brother to kick around with us that evening. He seemed intelligent, so I acquiesced. A few minutes later another boy came to the table. It turns out his name is Almonzo and his only hobbies are Dungeons and Dragons, and soccer. He also joined us for our evening game.

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Playing two on two soccer is a very pleasant was to pass that annoying time between what they call dinner and the campfire torture session. Seemingly endless rounds of Row, Row, Row You Boat could be used as an interrogation technique at Guantanamo.

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Now it’s your turn: What should happen next?

Should he get discovered tapping into the WiFi? His cousin leave something strange for him in the hollow log? Should he ask the snack shack girl out for a walk? Lead a revolt during arts and crafts?

Or will aliens attack and steal the soccer ball after vaporizing the mess hall?!?

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Now for the cuteness! A baby elephant trying to figure out this whole walking thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InCUx_Z3AYo

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Video

Surviving Camp Moose Creek pt. 3 – and Something Completely Different

1 Aug

Alright, here is the 3rd installment of the story I have been writing to post during this busy week.

I hope you like it.

Don’t be afraid to let me know what you think!

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Dear Diary,

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The morning bike ride was grueling, and my backside may never be the same, but Wilbur came through for me. The moment we arrived back at camp I took a very winding path to the bathrooms by the lake. After ensuring the three stalls were empty I opened the antihistamines and took the first dose. It was a little awkward trying to cup enough water with my hands to swallow a pill, but it did the trick. I cannot actually smell yet, but just being able to breathe without making gurgling noises is a blessing.

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I am not entirely certain, but I think the girl at the snack shack winked at me today. This makes me feel confused, and somewhat giddy. I think I will just wait and see what happens tomorrow.

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Concerning the coffee: I have given up on obtaining a sample, it is just too heavily guarded. One hypothesis is that they fear that if the camp inmates were, in general, caffeinated they would loose all semblance of control.

I am still certain the camp workers are being dosed with something. It’s the end of the sixth day and they are still maintaining a ridiculous level of excitement, which must be extremely wearing on the typical human body.

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Dear Diary,

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Today I did something completely out of character. Upon getting into line for the snack shack I observed the girl smile, and while the camper in front of her tried to decide what they wanted, she gathered up my meager lunch and set it aside. I was still fourth back, so had plenty of time to watch her movements. What I saw was astonishing. Every one of her movements was fluid, measured, no wasted energy. Just graceful efficiency. This by itself was enough to gain my attention, but then I saw the most beautiful thing…she was wearing a Dr. Who t-shirt. This required more research. So upon arriving at the ordering counter and observing with satisfaction my awaiting order, I asked for a chocolate bar as well. This made her smile and she said, “Changing things up, are we?”

I responded that it was just a whim. She smiled again and got it for me in one swift motion. While she worked the register I asked which Dr. was her favorite. Do you know what she said?! Tom Baker. None of the Whovians at my school seem to even be aware that there was a Dr. before this last renewal of the series, but she not only has a favorite, she knows the actor’s name, and has a Dr. Who t-shirt!

I must have looked as flabbergasted as I felt, because she laughed and said, “Yup. I’m a geek.”

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At my dinner run I was most disappointed to see that she was not there for the first time all week. I really hope our conversation this afternoon did not scare her off.

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Oh, yeah, my cough has gone away, and I slept really well last night.

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This afternoon the idea of sports took a positive turn when someone discovered a soccer ball at the bottom of the basketball bin. A boy with glasses and a retainer took the manual air pump to it. I asked him if he played soccer. He gave me an odd look, but said that it was the only sport he could stand. I told him that I felt similarly, and asked if he wanted to play a little one on one.

We went out onto the flag football field and kicked the ball around for what felt like just a few minutes. It surprised us when the bell for the evening campfire was rung.

We agreed to meet the following evening. Things are finally starting to not suck!

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And now for something completely different!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcOEHvWi1rY

Piano, dancing, kids, it’s like they took a bunch of my favorite things and threw them in a blender!

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Video

Surviving Camp Moose Creek, pt. 2

31 Jul

Here’s the second installment of the story I’ve been writing:

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Dear diary,

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Today’s food was even more disappointing than the previous three days.  The baked eggs with breakfast were gray and spongy.  Lunch consisted of pigs in soggy blankets and limp carrot sticks.  Dinner was…  I’m not sure what that was.  It looked like beef stroganoff but smelled like severely overcooked Brussels sprouts.  I got a glare and an eye roll from one of the counselors when she saw me taking a photo of tonight’s dinner.  What they don’t know is that I have discovered that the main office on the campground has an unsecured wifi signal.  This discovery was made as I hid among the buildings pylons to escape having to play softball again today.  I had no sooner gotten comfortable than my phone chimed in that there was a wifi signal available.  So I spent a comfortable hour updating my blog.

I believe this will become something of an oasis for me.

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About the coffee, I had almost made it out the front door of the mess hall with approximately 4 ounces in a Styrofoam cup when one of the dangerously hyper active staffers waylaid me and said that caffeine would not be good for me.  She then proceeded to pour a tablespoon of sugar, a ¼ cup of cream in it and drink it herself.  I’m coming to the conclusion that perhaps they do not wish to be here anymore than I do.

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Dear Diary,

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Today (day 5) has gone a lot better, with a quiet hiding place I have not been subjected to playing any sports, or participating in their creativity crushing version of ‘crafts’. Why one is not allowed to make a lanyard for their identification badge instead of the mind-meltingly simple bracelet I have yet to understand.

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My cousin, Wilbur (he and I are convinced that yes, his parents do hate him), has the car for the weekend. He was a little surprised to discover through my blog that I had been dumped in the middle of nowhere without any allergy medication. He will be swinging by on his way to the lake, and we have made plans for him to hide a box of antihistamines in a hollow of a log just outside the camp entrance. This means that tomorrow morning I must go on the bike ride, but it’s a worthy cause. Adequate rest has been illusive these past several nights due to congestion, and I am developing a cough. Hopefully the second will clear up a day or two after starting on the pills. My one fear is that it may become apparent that some of my discomfort has been abated, and they will attempt to remedy the situation.

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The food has not improved. However, due to my regular purchasing schedule one of the young ladies who works in the snack shack has begun assembling my purchases the moment she sees me in line. This is somewhat surprising. I had not realized that I was ordering the same things for each meal. However, after only three days she has picked up on my pattern and has put another small measure of comfort in my otherwise torturous experience.

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That’s it for today! Let me know what you think.  🙂

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Speaking of moose:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNy9jTeolUk

They are sooo cute!

And mama would stomp you into mush in you got anywhere near them.  lol  Strictly a “Yup, they’re cute, from way over here” thing.

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Enjoy your Wednesday!

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