Advertisements

WRITING CHALLENGE: Ellen Mulholland’s Extra Fun with Words

Through a fortunate chain of events, I stumbled upon a delightful author, Ellen Mulholland, with an amazing website sure to inspire budding writers.  I can’t say that I’ve read her books yet, but will report back when Amazon delivers the books to me this week! *(YAY!)*  Still, part of becoming a writer involves writing and she offers a wonderful section on her website called “Extra Fun with Words!”  This month she held a writing contest with a variety of writing prompts.

While I’m not between the ages of 12 – 18, I have a thing for writing prompts and accepted the challenge for my own practice. Since I am at least twice that age, I allowed myself twice the amount of words too. Below you’ll see the writing prompts I chose (In Purple) and the story that filled in the gaps. I welcome your feedback and for sure, share any additional writing challenge websites that I should try!

Photo borrowed from www.glamour.com

Photo borrowed from http://www.glamour.com

     She never loved winter, but it was different now since the events of the past summer. After feeling guilty for lying to family and friends, and being protective of the reason for it, she and her husband had announced her pregnancy.
     Due to her family history, her regimented summer and fall monitored everything she did or ate. She embraced the journey, carefully logging everything. Her husband provided unwavering support and, together, their confidence and excitement grew with each doctor appointment.
     Reaching the 36-week “full-term” milestone, on the winter solstice, gave her goose bumps. They found themselves in uncharted territory having never dreamed of making it this far. While hospitals urge parents to create one’s “Birth Plan,” she never put it in writing, so as to not jinx things. She rode this wave of energy like a chariot, pre-washing baby clothes, assembling bouncy seats, and decking the halls for waves potential visitors.
     Though their large family holiday celebration kicked off Christmas morning, they cooked a special multi-course feast together for their own Christmas Eve.
     “Babe, it’s our last Christmas as a couple!” She smiled to her husband, while artistically placing rosemary on the roast. “Will you still dream up meals like this after the baby comes?”
     He proudly held up her special celebratory juice spritzer. “Sleep deprivation may force me to buy a cookbook. An easy one with 3 steps or less.”
     “Delicious plan!”
After a relaxing dinner, and cleaning up together, she sent him to start the fire. She slipped into her nightgown, adding a large red satin bow around her tummy. She tried to massage out the stiffness in her back from the active week. Before leaving the bedroom, she mused at her reflection, draped in the nightie that had gone from short to scandalous as the fabric tried to cover her belly.
     Rejoining him in the warm firelight, one motive drove her. “Have you ever wanted something SOOO badly that if you don’t get it you may die?” She sat with her back to him on the couch, moving her hair aside, inviting a massage.
     “Keep talking.” He put the remote down, now that the screen displayed the warmest crackling flames. Gently, he worked on her shoulders.
     “Lower back, Baby, please.” She fanned herself with one hand while rubbing her belly with the other.
     He blew lightly on the back of her neck, to cool her off and heat her up. “What do you want me to do?”
     Her breath quickened and she leaned forward. As she threw her head back. “I need ice cream,” she exclaimed to the gods.
     “But it’s snowing…” As he wrapped his arms around her, a kick from the bottom of her belly punctuated the urgency.
     A low moan escaped from her lips. “Unh, I think the baby wants out!”
     “No fair ganging up on me!”
     “I mean it, we need to go!”
     “Fine! I’ll go!”
     “Us! To the hospital! Now!”
     He jumped off couch, immediately into upright position. “But what’s our plan?!”
     Between patterned breaths, she briefed him, “You get the car, we drive down Magnolia – there’s a 31 Flavors, and we go have this baby!”
     He raced to the bedroom, grabbed his wife some pants, and scooted her down the snowy path to the car. He ran back, grabbing his shoes, wallet and their suitcase, already packed. Nerves tied his feet together, stopping him at the door. Seeing his wife sitting in the car, still tied with the bow, he knew the gift of a calm husband was better than a plan for any new directions.
“Rocky Road!” She exclaimed from the car!
     He took a deep breath, exhaled, and walked out the door.

Advertisements

MY MICHELLE PHELPS PHANTASY

Every few years, people inspired by fantastic feats of athleticism, underestimated underdogs, and sensational skill dream their own Olympic dream! These dreams send herds of people signing up for gymnastics and cannonballing into the pool!

Welcome to the Olympics! What’s your dream? Everybody has one!

For me, I’m convinced that I’m Michael Phelps’ twin, Michelle, and had I not moved from Baltimore as a child, that he’d have been drafting off of me in a pool.

Fierce competition!

SIMILARITIES:

  • Birthdays – he’s June 30, I’m June 03 – mistake on my birth certificate?
  • From Baltimore and Towson
  • Competitive Swimmers – me in high school, as a senior they had to put me on Varsity

My high school swim team photo – what is that, hay in my mouth? I did swim for Poway after all.

IT’S A STRETCH:

  • He’s 6’4”, I’m 5’3 ¾”
  • I’m Asian, he’s Cauc-asian
  • He swims 200m Freestyle in 1:42:96; I take 4:00:00 – different training regime

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

OK, you non-believers, call it what you want, but the Phelps phenomenon got my butt back in the pool today after a year – or two!  After summoning all the strength from my shoulders and giving my abs fair warning, I put my toes over the edge of the pool, one foot over the water and slipped in gracefully (from what I could tell underwater).

Minimal splash or cannonball – your call.

STARTING TO SEE YOUR POINT:

  • Barely managed 100m straight – after training my son 2 weeks ago to do so
  • Innate skill to damage myself standing still – I don’t drown while swimming so fast that churning water surrounds my face, I choked when I sucked in water still holding onto the pool’s edge. I pushed off to cough underwater so nobody can hear me drowning (from what I could tell underwater)
  • Dizzy brunette – While rocking the backstroke (my edge over Michael – he hasn’t dominated that stroke!), I arched my head back, chin up to enjoy the view from under the water but returning to proper position caused some sort of whirlpool in my ear that went straight to my nausea center. I tried to swim past it and thankfully didn’t puke in the pool.

First time back felt that good.
*My cats were not harmed for this photo

STILL A WIN-WIN SITUATION:

  • Best exercise for your heart and body!
  • I love tan lines
  • Fellow swimmers – I’ll take meeting some dude with endless abs in swimming goggles over meeting some guy in beer goggles.

Loving Lochte!

What’s your Olympic fantasy? How will you fulfill it?

What?  Phelps is retiring and Nathan Adrian is half-asian and a swimmer… so am I…

Not only did he have a great year, he helped Michael win his final medal!

RICH COFFEE – a FUNTASY STORY

She opened her eyes, simmering in the silence of her dark apartment.  Kicking the blankets off her ankles, the cool morning seeped into her bloodstream. The clock’s ticking jogged her memory of the calendar she must keep. As the fog lifted, the sound of water caused her to bolt up! She turned a bionic ear, afraid to cross the border of pillows to see what lied in wait for her!  Living in the only ground floor apartment meant anybody else’s plumbing issues become hers since, as is just her luck, it rolls downhill.  As her brain surged to squeeze the Comaquil oiled cogs, she recognized the rainstorm she’d been expecting.

After traversing the pillow mountain, she walked down the hallway, honed in on Mr. Coffee.  The floor creaked announcing her reentry to the land of the living, alerting her cats. Her grouchy old cat sat by the wall heater scolding,
“Turn on the heat!” He thanklessly curled into a ball when the heater clanked into action.
Her younger cat danced about with his huge inquisitive eyes and question mark tail,
“I don’t know what this means, but we’re surrounded! By WATER!!”  She rubbed his ears and he retreated to his bed protected in the deepest basement of his play structure. He covered his eyes with his tail and catnapped.

Tasting the coffee already, she blindly opened the fridge reaching for the coffee can and filters that sit side by side. The empty spot shocked her awake!
“Just my luck!” she cursed as her cold haze parted enough to recall the supermarket decision to buy green tea instead for her cold.  She stomped back to the hallway to retrieve a jacket to dress up her sicky uniform of sweats. In the reflection of a framed picture on her wall, the outline of a person with matted caveman hair walking up behind her scared her until self-recognition scared her more.  Gathering her hair into a black elastic band, she grabbed the keys, flip-flops and headed into the rain.

Thankful for others staying indoors, she made a beeline for the 7-11 counting down the seconds until her hands wrapped around a warm coffee.  From her perspective at the last red light standing between her and caffeine, she grimaced at the full parking lot. She scanned the street next to it for a spot, with no luck, noticing a collection of news vans. Making a mental note to check the headlines online, she silently hoped for nothing too crazy as this area suffered from a few uncharacteristically bad headlines recently. Her light and her luck changed and a spot right in front opened up!

She scanned the store from her car, planning her route to get in and out without encountering anyone she knew. The owner, now a friend thanks to her frequent visits, would forgive her appearance. The coast looked clear and as she entered without seeing a soul!  She pulled up to Coffee Paradise Island, rashly throwing any flavored creams and sweeteners into her cup. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the never-seen passageway to the inner workings of the store open and for a split second considered abandoning her coffee and fleeing if foul play were the cause of the empty store.  Vowing to boycott headline news, she continued without deliberating what combination of coffee to fill her cup to the rim.

She walked to the register, glad to see a second-in-rank smiling cashier waiting for her.  The owner then emerged from the back room tailed by the media. She whispered to the Vice Cashier,
“Everything ok?”
“We were notified that a winning ticket came from this store.”
“No way!  How exciting for you!”
“Did you buy one?”
“Yeah, but…”
“You should check it!”
“That’d be my luck to share my news with the world looking like this!”

He persisted so she retrieved the $1 ticket and stuck it under the scanner. The press and the owner, hearing the machine’s beep, stopped talking and leaned in eagerly. While waiting for the verdict, she grabbed a pen from the counter and signed the back of the ticket in case hell broke loose.
“Sorry, not a winner” flashed on-screen and everyone exhaled.
“It’s fun to dream!” she smiled and paid for her coffee.
“There’s always the Mega Lottery… it’s up to $241 million!”
“Alright, $1 quick pick please!”
“Good luck!”

NOTE: Since I didn’t make my 365 words Friday night, this made up for that plus interest – 730 words this morning!   Just a fun story as a result of too much cold medicine and not enough caffeine.