Category Archives: Daily Prompt

Minnesota is the Place for Me

I am a true-blue Minnesotan, born and raised here, and I have lived here all my life. I absolutely love the changing of the seasons.

Yes, I agree that sometimes the winters can be hard, with temperatures sometimes reaching the sub-zero mark winterand the wind chills dipping to 30 and 40 degrees below zero. What do we do on those days? We have learned that piling on layers of clothing works best. It’s definitely a life style that we have learned to live with. And drinking hot liquids such as hot chocolate and snuggling underneath quilts do help, that’s for sure. But then again, watching the big fluffy snowflakes fall gently from the skies above is quite a sight to see, and it’s a sight that I would truly miss if I lived somewhere that didn’t receive snow. I think I would definitely miss that lovely sight.

spring timeAnd then there’s the spring time, when all the snow finally melts away, and the green buds peek their heads above ground and begin to bloom – the daffodils, tulips, and iris. That’s when you know that spring has finally arrived. It’s truly such a joyful time. The birds finally come home and begin to sing their happy bird song high in their nests in the trees. The squirrels are scampering in the branches above us, fighting over their nuts once again. And at our house, we know that spring has finally arrived when the apple tree which hangs over our deck blossoms, just in time for Mother’s Day. Who doesn’t love the spring time?

The spring gives way to summer, with her warmer days and summer picnights. We celebrate those days with family picnics, days on the beach, fishing and camping trips, hikes, family get-togethers at my sister’s lake home at Mille Lacs Lake, lazy days on our deck, and just being together outside. Granted, we do have our share of summer storms and some tornado warnings, but we place those in the “excitement” category, and we’re used to it.  It just means another trip to the basement, as far as we’re concerned. Besides, I don’t mind a good summer storm every now and then, as long as my family is safe while the lightning flashes and the thunder booms.

autumnAnd then comes my favorite season of all – autumn. I absolutely love autumn. I love the way that Mother Nature paints the leaves on the trees with splashes of red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, and tan. It’s such a beautiful sight. And I love the way that the autumn air smells – crisp and bold to the nostrils. And I love the sound of autumn. I love the way the autumn leaves sound as you walk through them with their crunch and crinkle beneath your feet. And to me, autumn is the perfect temperature. All you need to wear is just a light jacket. Yes, I love the feel of the light autumn breeze on my face. Sometimes I wish that autumn would go on forever because it’s so beautiful. I’m always a bit sad when the first snowfall comes and I have to say good-bye to autumn.

So you see, there’s really no other place that I’d rather be than Minnesota. There’s no beach, no mountain, no forest, no island, no place else that can compare. Just Minnesota for me. Give me Minnesota and I will be happy. Only Minnesota for me. Minnesota. That’s my home.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  ”

I grew up in Minnesota and everyone is so nice there. It’s like Fargo. Everyone’s so chipper and you make friends just grocery shopping. We kill each other with kindness.”  ~ Seann William Scott

 

 

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My Best Event

I’m Going to Miss “U”

I positively love every single word that we speak, and as a writer, I know it’s going to be a very demanding task to write this blog post and eliminate a letter of the alphabet at the same time, especially a vowel; however, I’m going to give it a whirl. Let’s see how I do!

It seems to me that every letter of the alphabet is as important as the next one; otherwise they’d not have been allocated there by the creators in the first place, right? Well, at least that is my modest opinion.alphabet

Here’s a little history. Please let me inform everyone that the alphabet goes all the way back to the second millennial B.C. It can be traced to ancient Egypt; however, the first real alphabet comes from the Greek alphabet, which was adapted from the Phoenicians. The alphabet which is practiced mostly today is the Latin alphabet. As one can tell from reading the sentences which have gone before this, I adore history, so I can’t help myself by mentioning a few facts!

As for myself, in writing this blog entry so far, I have been laboring over my laptop trying so hard not to type the vowel that I will not type; however, it has been very hard, to say the least. I have been looking at words in the book that gives synonyms (I’m positive that one knows which book I’m speaking of) so that I will be able to not type that certain vowel. Is that cheating? I hope not!

I am finding that I am very limited in my writing by not being able to type that certain vowel that I’ve been trying to avoid; it has been very trying, indeed! I don’t think that I like being limited in this fashion, and I certainly hope that this vowel is not eliminated from the alphabet, for I think that if it is, it will be a sad day, indeed.

And think of how sad it might be for the children when they sing the “Alphabet Song.” Why, the entire song will have to be revised! They’d have to skip over that letter, and I don’t think the song will ever be the same again.

 

 

Besides that, I rather like that there are 26 letters of the alphabet. I was born on the 26th day of the eighth month of the year. So as anyone can see, I can’t name the month – it has the vowel that I can’t name, right? And I like that it is even, not odd.

Okay, I think I’m finished. Finally. Thank goodness. Now give me back my vowel. I rather like my letter . . .

“U”

Ah, yes . . . I’ve missed you so much!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “The alphabet begins with ABC, numbers begin with 123, music begins with do-re-mi, and friendship begins with you and me.”  ~ Author Unknown

Simple Pleasures

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Isn’t it funny how everyone does seem to have their own particular drink that they fancy? As a matter of fact, there are even some people who cannot seem to live without it; or at the very least, start their day without it, especially when it comes to drinking their morning cup of coffee!

I think this must have something to do with the fact that as humans, we absolutely are creatures of habit.

Did you know that about 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the United States, which averages out to about three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups? As a matter of fact, the United States is the world’s biggest consumer of the beverage. I mention these statistics because I knew it would be the most popular drink for the average American adult.

I used to drink coffee in my early adult years, when my mother was still living, and I was still living at home. I cherish the memory of many mornings spent sitting at the breakfast table across from her, sharing a cup of coffee together, chatting about everything, just the two of us. But I don’t drink coffee anymore, so I’m not included in the statistics cited above. We do own a coffee maker; however, which is used only whenever our children or company visits our home.

My favorite beverage is tea, hot tea. I do not care for iced tea at all. But I love steaming, hot tea. What kind of tea, you ask? Ah, that is my favorite part. I love all different flavors. Green tea, green chai tea, apple cinnamon, holiday dream, florence, coconut cabana, chocolate peppermint patty, chocolate cherry bomb, chamomile, peach … there are just so many that I love!

I am a little picky about my tea; however. I do not like to use tea bags. I prefer to use tea from tea leaves because I think it tastes fresher and better. I also use filtered water and a French press to make my tea because I have found that the French press makes a perfect cup of tea! I also use a little milk and sugar to make my tea taste just right. Tea relaxes and soothes me. It is one of the comforts of life that I enjoy.

Could I live without my tea? Yes, I suppose I could. But why should I? It’s just one little pleasure in life that I think I deserve, so I think I’ll keep on enjoying it. After all, life is short. We must enjoy it while we can.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Pleasure is the Divine seasoning in the diet of life.”  ~ Lewis F. Korns

 

 

 

 

Written From My Heart

As we all know, it is probably the wish of every writer to write a book which will be read by millions of people, right? And since I am one of those writers, I am no different.book heart 100

I have always wanted to write the “great American novel.” As a matter of fact, did you know that there’s even a definition for the “great American novel?”

Oh, yes. I looked it up, and according to Wikipedia, the “Great American Novel” is defined as:  The concept of a novel that is distinguished in both craft and theme as being the most accurate representation of the spirit of the age in the United States at the time of its writing or in the time it is set. It is presumed to be written by an American author who is knowledgeable about the state, culture, and perspective of the common American citizen. The author uses the literary work to identify and exhibit the language used by the American people of the time and to capture the unique American experience, especially as it is perceived for the time. In historical terms, it is sometimes equated as being the American response to the national epic. 

Therefore, if you go by that description, it’s easy to see why a writer would want to write such a book.

Just think about what writing such a book would do for a person; namely: Fame and Fortune.

First, there’s the fame that goes along with such an achievement. As the author of this book, people would recognize you wherever you go. Crowds of adoring fans would gather, with everyone clamoring for your autograph on the book that you’ve written and that they have purchased. You’d probably be asked to appear on television programs like The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, or any of a number of other television programs, just to be interviewed about your bestselling book. As a matter of fact, these shows would probably be involved in a bidding war over who would be lucky enough to have you appear on their show.

And then there’s the fortune that comes with it. It only stands to reason that if you write a bestselling novel being purchased by millions of people that you are going to make a good deal of money from those sales, right? And all those television appearances – I wonder how much a person is compensated for making those appearances? I’m sure that it’s no small amount. And if those shows are in a bidding war, as I described above, then you would be compensated even more handsomely, right? And just think of how a person’s lifestyle would change after making all that money. A person could buy a bigger house, a more expensive car, etc. The possibilities are endless.

But I wonder . . . would a person truly be happy?

Perhaps someone else would be, but I don’t think I would. These two things – fame and fortune – have never mattered to me – ever. You can ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that this is true. I don’t care about having a big house or a brand new expensive car or any other luxury items and I never have. I happen to know that it’s not having “things” in life that make a person happy. And fame? I only care that the people whom I love and care for know me – my family and my friends. They’re the ones who matter to me, not the entire world.

Therefore, I’d much rather write a book that is meaningful, a worthwhile book that is studied and admired by a few, a book that I can be proud of. And if that book is studied and admired by people for decades, then that would be the best part of all. This means that I would be remembered for my work long after I am gone, and that is indeed something worth striving for.

So, you can have the fame and fortune. They are but fleeting commodities. I may never write “the great American novel,” but I will be happy doing what I do best, and that is writing from my heart.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth

 

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Worst Enemy

writers-block-tipsThe most frustrating thing that can happen to a writer is when a writer gets writer’s block. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even want to type that word, because I can’t remember the last time that I had this dreaded condition, and I was a little afraid that if I even thought about it, then I might be tempting fate, and the next thing you know, I might come down with it! And we all know that having writer’s block is awful.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had this condition, thank heavens, but I do remember what it feels like. The words won’t come, no matter how hard you try. You sit and stare at a blank screen, willing your fingers to type the words, but nothing happens. Your mind is a total blank. And no matter how hard you try, not a single word comes to mind. Not a single thought, not a single idea goes through your head. It’s as though everything is disconnected. You feel as though you will never be able to write another word as long as you live. It’s very frustrating.

I do remember how I managed to get past it the last time I had it, though, because it’s the same thing I always do when I get writer’s block. I do anything else instead of writing. I will take a walk, go to a movie, go shopping, do some arts and crafts, do quilting, play the piano, etc. But I will always have a notebook with me because while I’m doing those things, an idea might come to me.

I wouldn’t wish this condition on my worst enemy of a writer (not that I have any). It’s terrible to have your creativity stifled.

And so now I think I’ve written enough about it, and I’m going to stop. I think I’ve tempted fate enough for one day.

 

 

 

 

No Excuses

The seven cardinal or deadly sins are: lust, gluttony, avarice (or greed), sloth (or laziness), wrath (or extreme anger), envy, and pride. This classification of sins has been used since early Christian times in order to instruct and educate Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. They were guidelines by which Christians could lead a virtuous life.

To tell the truth, I don’t think I would even want the job of adding a new sin to the list. That’s an awfully big responsibility for just one person, especially me! But if God gave me a commandment, saying: “Cindy, you WILL decide what the eighth deadly sin will be,” then I guess I would have no choice. And I know exactly what the eighth sin would be.

white rabbit late 1I have one pet peeve that I would elect as the eighth sin and that would be tardiness. As far as I’m concerned, unless there is a true emergency, there is no excuse whatsoever for someone to be late. Seriously. Especially if you are chronically late.

For instance, if you arrive at work five minutes late every single day of the week, isn’t that your queue that you should be leaving five minutes earlier? And what about those people that you make a dinner date with, say another couple, and they arrive twenty minutes late. But you knew they were going to be late because they’re always late. What is up with those people? Do they like making a dramatic entrance? I’m sorry, but I think it is rude and disrespectful. After all, everyone’s time is valuable. And I’m sorry if it hits a little too close to home for anyone who may be reading this, but that’s just how I feel.

Everyone’s late now and then; even I’ve been late here and there. And there are occasions when it can’t be helped. But for heaven’s sake, there is no excuse for habitual tardiness, not in my book. I just think it’s inconsiderate. We need to start thinking more of each other when it comes to these situations.

And we must try to remember that we will only be treated in the same way that we treat others.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “People count the faults of those who keep them waiting.”  ~ Proverb

 

 

 

Music is the Key

Let’s face it. In today’s world, life can be stressful. There is just no way that a person can have a stress-free day every single day of their life. There’s bound to be something, somewhere, sometime during the week that is going to cause tension in our lives. Maybe it will be a stalled vehicle in the middle of rush hour traffic which causes the commute to work to be even slower than usual. Or maybe you didn’t get the contract that you bid on and were counting on getting. Maybe the kids have been acting up lately and you just can’t seem to be able to deal with them. Or maybe you just had a bad hair day. Whatever the cause, we all should be able to have that one thing to do, one place to go, or one person to talk to that will make us feel better. Right?

Whenever I’m stressed out, there’s one thing that has always helped to make me “feel human again,” and that’s music. The reason for this is that I can listen to the kind of music that will fill my needs at any given moment. If I need music that is uplifting, then perhaps I’ll listen to a dose of spiritual music. If I’m feeling sad and blue, then maybe some rock and roll music is in order to cheer me up. Music can transport me into another world. It can take me away from all the stress and all the worries of life. It can soothe and comfort me. Music makes me feel better.

If the weather’s nice, I might sit on my deck in the back yard and listen to my music. Sometimes it’s great to take a bubble bath with the music playing. At other times, I’ll lie in my bed and listen to my music there. And I’ve also taken walks with my music playing through my ear buds (my dog loves it when we do this).

It really doesn’t matter where I go or what I do. The key to relieve my stress is music. And who is one of my favorite artists? Take a listen:

 

 

All I really need is music. Music makes my world go round.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”   ~ Berthold Auerbach

 

 

 

Age is a Work of Art

There are some people who worry about getting older. There are even some people who lie about their age and pretend that they are younger. But I think that age is just a number.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this:

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that about says it all. It’s true that while you’re young, you have the whole future before you, unless you run across some unforeseen circumstances. But as we grow older, as we mature, we have so much more within ourselves than we had when we were younger.

hourglass 1We have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter than when we were younger. We know what to do because chances are we’ve been in similar circumstances before.

We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and our children’s children.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and we usually can deal with them better (not all the time, granted, but usually).

We can enjoy other people’s company more because we know how to do that from our past relationships. And in this way, we can get more out of life.

And I think we can appreciate those we love even more, and this means that we can love more fully, more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

So I think we get better. Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I think it’s true.

Therefore, I don’t think a person should be concerned about numbers when it comes to their age. It really doesn’t matter whether your driver’s license says you were born in 1950 or 1993 because age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”  ~ George Burns

 

 

A Friend For Life

I believe that everyone should have the pleasure of knowing that they have a best friend, at least at one time or another in their life, and I’m so fortunate that I can say that I have. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who has been a lifelong friend. Her name is Laurie. I met her in 1960 and we are still friends to this very day! We were only five at the time, and she was my very first friend.

There have been periods throughout these many years – actually, decades – in which we have not had a chance to communicate with each other for two to three years at a stretch, but when we do, it’s as though we had just seen each other the day before. The fact that we can do this is a testimony to our friendship. It shows that the sands of time have not broken our bond of friendship, and I am forever grateful for this blessing. There’s a song make new friends 10that the Brownie Girl Scouts sing which summarizes how old friendships should be compared to new friendships, and it’s called: Make New Friends: 

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long I will be your friend. A fire burns bright, it warms the heart. We’ve been friends from the very start. You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, we have each other. Silver is precious, gold is too. I am precious and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you, and together we’ll see it through. Across the land, across the sea, friends forever we will always be.

And speaking of Brownies, I will tell you my favorite story about the two of us when we were six years old and in the first grade together. Laurie belonged to the local Brownie troop. I remember every Tuesday she would wear her Brownie uniform to school. I was so jealous of her. I wanted to be in the Brownies, but my parents could not afford the cost of the uniform.  So I had to settle for Laurie’s accounts of every meeting. One day she came home with her Brownie handbook and showed me a story about Brownies. Now these Brownies were good deed-doers, and in the middle of the night, when everyone was fast asleep, the Brownies would come out and do good deeds.  When the people arose in the morning, the good deed would be apparent, but of course, no one knew who did the good deed.  The most important part of doing a good deed was to never reveal your identity. If you told anyone it was you who did the good deed, then the good deed would be erased out of the Book of Good Deeds.

Of course, Laurie and I, being six years old, were quite impressionable and wanted to be Brownies. So Laurie arranged for me to sleep over at her house one Friday night. Laurie knew her parents went to bed at eleven o’clock every night. The plan was that at midnight we would sneak down the stairs and into the kitchen where we would set out breakfast for everyone—bowls, spoons, glasses, cereal boxes, orange juice and milk. Since we were only six years old, we didn’t think about the milk spoiling or the orange juice getting warm. We were just concerned with the task at hand—to be Brownies.

So that evening, I went to Laurie’s house at suppertime. I remember we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I can still smell the fresh tomatoes and the toasting cheese sandwiches. Naturally, the meal which I ate at my friend’s house tasted so much better than it did when I ate the same meal at my house. Mrs. Larson even brought out an apple pie for dessert. Mrs. Larson made the best apple pie. I can still taste the sweetness of the brownie dollsugar and cinnamon mixed with the apples and the flaky light brown pie crust. It makes my mouth water just to remember it.

After dinner, Laurie and I played the usual game we always played: make-believe. We took turns playing teacher. We even managed to have her brother David and her baby sister Valerie sit in as students. We were allowed to stay up until nine o’clock since it was not a school night. But at nine o’clock we ran up the stairs to Laurie’s bedroom. We were so excited that we were going to be Brownies in just three hours.

Now Laurie’s parents had this beautiful wooden cuckoo clock hanging on the wall in their living room. Every hour on the hour, the little cuckoo bird inside would come out and announce the hour by his cuckoo. If it was nine o’clock he would cuckoo nine times.  If it was nine-thirty he would cuckoo only once. This was the way we were going to know when midnight came. We decided that once we could hear the little bird cuckoo twelve times, the coast would be clear, and we would be free to sneak down the stairs and into the kitchen.

So to pass the time, we whispered to each other so her parents would not hear. We whispered all kinds of things that little girls whisper about. I also remember Laurie had a flashlight and showed me how she read underneath the blankets. This was a new trick to me. So we read stories. I remember our favorite book at this point was a book that Laurie owned: The Big Book of Mother Goose. There was one more book which Laurie owned and was also a favorite of ours: The Fairy Tales of Grimm.

I remember listening for the cuckoo clock and sure enough, just as Laurie had promised, we could hear it in her bedroom. The time seemed to drag by. We were so anxious to do our good deed that there was no way we would fall asleep.

Then finally, the time came. Midnight. We crept out of the bedroom, tiptoeing past the other bedrooms, hoping the wooden floor would not creak. We reached the top of the stairs. We had decided beforehand that the best way to get down the stairs quietly was if we sat on each step and then slip down to the next one, using our backsides instead of our feet. I remember counting those stairs as we descended—there were thirteen stairs exactly. I remember sitting side by side with Laurie, sliding down those stairs. Because of the darkness it was difficult to see, but we managed by holding on to each other’s hand. When we reached the bottom of the stairs we tiptoed into the kitchen. Of course, we had to do our good deed in the dark because Laurie’s mom and dad slept in the downstairs bedroom.brownies 6

Into the kitchen we tiptoed, as slowly and as carefully as we could. Finally we reached our destination and began to whisper into each other’s ear about what to put out on the table. We set about our work, knowing that one day perhaps our good deed would be rewarded. I admit that it was hard not to giggle as we set out the bowls and glasses. We were having a wonderful time being Brownies.

As a matter of fact, we were having such a wonderful time that we didn’t notice Laurie’s mom walking down the hall. Laurie saw her mother first and darted underneath the sink. There was no cupboard under the sink, so it was the perfect place to go.  When I noticed my friend hiding beneath the sink, I knew something was up. I turned around and there she was—Mrs. Larson in her pink nightgown with her big fuzzy slippers. She was standing there looking at me with her hands on her hips. Now when I think about it, I know she was suppressing a smile. As soon as I saw her, I hurried to where Laurie was, but it was no use; the jig was up. Mrs. Larson flipped on the kitchen light and said, “Girls, it’s not time for breakfast yet. You still have about eight hours of sleep time left. Go on now. I’ll finish up in here; you two get to bed.”

We scurried out of the kitchen and upon passing the cuckoo clock in the living room, Laurie pointed it out to me. It showed the time to be only 11:15. I guess we had miscounted the cuckoos! We giggled all the way up the stairs and into Laurie’s bedroom. We never did try to be Brownies again. But I think our good deed counted, anyway.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”   ~ John Leonard

 

 

 

When You Wish Upon A Star

I absolutely love today’s prompt because it’s all about my absolute favorite thing in the world: MUSIC. Not only that, but so far, this has been a very good summer for me, and the main reason has been because of music, so I am more than happy to share it with you. And the song which reminds me of this summer of 2014 will have to be the following song, a Disney classic, When You Wish Upon a Star:

 

 

I’ve chosen this song because I have been spending my summer immersed in learning how to play the piano. Yes, that’s right. In case you don’t know, I am a 57-year-old woman who is just now learning how to play the piano. But even though I’m just learning how to play the piano, I’ve always loved music and it’s always been a huge part of my life. I knew it the very first time that I discovered what singing was and that I could do it. From that point on, I have never stopped singing, a fact which annoyed my big brother to no end while we were growing up, I might add!

I dreamed of playing the piano ever since I was a little girl, but we could never afford a piano. And then came marriage and after that came motherhood. There just never seemed to be time or money for my piano. But I never forgot about my piano dream. And in February of this year, my dream finally came true.

And now, every Tuesday morning, I drive to my piano teacher’s house for my weekly piano lesson (which will explain to you why it is that on some Tuesdays I don’t submit a blog entry). I practice on my piano at least twice, sometimes even three times a day, for an hour each time. This shows you how much I love playing the piano. Not only that, but after all, I do have a lot of time to make up for! When I play the piano, it’s as though I am transported to another world. I can let all my emotions and feelings drift through the music. It’s almost difficult to explain. It just makes me feel good.

I only wish that I hadn’t missed out on this amazing opportunity for so long. But now that I have it, I am going to make the most it. And I thank God that I am so blessed.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”  ~ John Updike

 

 

 

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