"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion

Welcome to Friday, a day worth celebrating if ever there was one. This week's prompt is devotion. If you'd like to find out more, or give Five Sentence Fiction a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Okay, here we go!

She knew what he was thinking, from the way he arched his eyebrow at her. He didn't believe she could do it, love him that much. She'd show him. 
No one had ever thought her capable of anything, especially murder. But they didn't realize that no one gets between her and her man ... no one.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into fiction, as it was fun to write. If you'd like to read more, just check out the links below to past weeks' editions of Five Sentence Fiction. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful weekend, and hopefully I'll see you back here on Monday. Happy Friday!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Word on the Street

I know you probably looked at the title of this post and thought I was making some kind of slang remark, but I'm not. This past weekend I attended Word on the Street, a literary festival here in Saskatoon. There are lots of cities that have them, and Saskatoon actually only started last year. Sadly, last year I was working and could only sneak out on my lunch break to catch one reading. This year, I had the day off and could spend as much time as I wanted wandering about.

If you've never been to this kind of literary event, they're great. They had tents set up all over the place, with authors giving readings, panel discussions and poetry slams. There were book and magazine sellers set up with booths, fun activities for the kids and music. It was a literary extravaganza! And I had a ball. I took in a reading from author Alice Kuipers, watched a poetry slam and saw a panel discussion featuring Yann Martel discussing his experiences with his book, Life of Pi, being turned into a movie (and got my copy signed). And do you want to know the honest truth? My favorite was the poetry slam.

I've never been one to enjoy poetry. I've written it from time to time, and there are a few poets I like (yeats), but I don't enjoy poetry books. I don't read them. This, I enjoyed. The poets were fantastic speakers. They made me split a gut laughing, almost cry with sorrow and made my heart swell up with happiness. They put on a wonderful show. And if they'd been scheduled for another show, I would have watched it again.

There's something about wandering around a place filled with literature, fellow book lovers and other writers. It's exhilarating and nurturing at the same time. I hope if you hear about an even like this near you, you'll find a way to make an appearance. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Case of the Missing Peach Pit

It began rather innocently, on a busy Wednesday morning. As usual I was running late, as is the habit of someone who loves sleeping in just a little too much, and therefore was sadly unobservant of the happenings around me. My husband had left for work before I did, and I was scrambling to get everything done and be out the door with a reasonable chance of getting to work on time.

My last task was feeding the bunnies in the office, and I was gone for only a few minutes. When I emerged, I saw with terrible fright, that the bathroom door was open. The bathroom door cannot be open. No, not the bathroom door, nor any door in our house can be left open and unsupervised, not with Maddie about.

Maddie is my Great Dane, and she has the most devious, mischievous streak when it comes to pinching things she shouldn't and gobbling them up to our great distress. This habit had already resulted in her very near death and a massive surgery that left us, for lack of a better word, broke. And as dogs are not especially astute at observing the rules of cause and effect, she never pieced together that eating a rag had resulted in her misery, and instead blamed it on the hero that saved her life, our vet.

So, when I saw the open bathroom door, my stomach plummeted down into my toes and I lurched forward around the corner to see a very apologetic and wide eyed dog, already aware that she'd been naughty and was in massive trouble. I looked down at the garbage and knew immediately something was missing. I just had no idea what it was. I'd been in such a hurry all morning, running about, I hadn't stopped and really looked at my surroundings. I knew that something was missing, and that it had been brownish, but I had no idea what she'd eaten.

I phoned my husband, already livid that he'd failed to close the door and demanded to know what he'd thrown in the garbage.

"I have no idea."

"Well, think! Because whatever it is, Maddie's eaten it!" My voice was shrill and full of accusation as I grilled him about everything he'd thrown away for the last thirty six hours. At last we came to the conclusion that it must have been a peach pit.

As Maddie seemed in good spirits and the vet's office didn't open until nine, I raced off to work. I would get all the mandatory, immediate work off my desk by the time the vet's office opened and then, if need be, rush home and deliver Maddie to the vet's waiting arms. Of course, I couldn't keep myself from googling about it once I was at my desk, and the results were terrifying. They spoke of bowel obstructions, cyanide poisoning, choking. My heart thumped in my chest as I thought about the possibilities.

At last, nine o'clock arrived and I called the office to beg their advice. They were surprisingly calm. Maddie had swallowed the peach pit whole, so cyanide poisoning was highly unlikely. She was a large dog, so bowel obstruction was highly unlikely. But as she'd had a previous bowel obstruction already, they told me to watch her closely and feed her canned pumpkin.

"It's full of fiber and will help her pass the pit more quickly." They instructed.

I finished what was necessary and begged off for the day. I picked up canned pumpkin on the way home and spent the rest of the day at Maddie's side, watching her, rubbing her tummy and feeding her pumpkin. It turned her bowel movements bright orange, and she was ecstatic that mom was home and feeding her a delicious treat all day, but alas, no pit. However, the bright orange bowel movements showed that she was having solid movements after the pit, so nothing was blocked, and she seemed in great spirits, so I cautiously returned to work the next day.

I have not found the pit. I'm beginning to think there never was one. She might have eaten something else entirely, something more digestible, I'm not sure. Perhaps she ate nothing and was merely guilty of being about to eat something, although I doubt that. But whatever the case, so far she seems completely fine, which is a relief.

Although I realize my panic is often an over reaction, and my attachment to my dog is a little over much, I can't help it. I almost lost her once, I wasn't going to underestimate a problem ever again. And at the very least, I now know how to turn her shit orange. So, there's that.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies

Welcome to Friday and another edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more, or perhaps give it a try yourself, please visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is zombies, and I have to admit, it was difficult for me. Not because I don't love zombies. I do. I greatly enjoy anything zombie related! (Although the subject of zombies does often give me nightmares) No, the reason I found this week's challenge so, well... challenging, was because I already wrote about zombies with a different prompt. So, I had to take a moment and really embrace my imagination to come up with something new and exciting for you. I hope you enjoy the result.

Her stomach gurgled, echoing loudly in the quiet study hall. A few people looked up from their books, gazing curiously in her direction as she placed a hand on her stomach. No matter what she ate lately nothing seemed to satisfy her... nothing, that is, except raw meat... dripping, bloody meat. Worst of all, her hunger was getting worse. It wasn't just raw meat anymore. Things were starting to look good... even while they were still alive...

Happy Friday, everyone! (inject evil laughter here) That was especially hard to keep to five sentences, there's a lot more story to be told. If you're still jonesing for more Five Sentence Fiction, just check out the links below. If you particularly liked this one, I hope you'll share it with friends. And if you particularly like me, or my blog, I hope you'll find me on twitter @MelanieKCole and/or follow this blog! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Orange (The other Zombie story)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seeing Orange

Fall has arrived and I'm seeing orange.No, I'm not talking about pumpkins. Although I do find the sight of them heart warming. (Seriously, what is it about pumpkins that fills a soul with such delight?) Instead, I'm talking about carrots.

I've been procrastinating with my garden for a while now, constantly forgetting or begging off the task of harvesting my vegetables. I dug up the potatoes a week or so ago, and I've been ever so slowly pulling out a few carrots, here and there in the meantime. But we've been getting some frost warnings around the province of late and today at work I declared that I would harvest the entirety of my carrots that very day.

Well, when I got home and set to the task, I discovered I had a lot of carrots. A LOT. I filled my large bowl until it was far past heaping, and I'd only dug up maybe a quarter of them. The washing and peeling took even longer, demanding far more of my time than I'd been willing to give. Looking down at my filling containers, I had to admit I had a lot of carrots. A LOT. How on Earth were two people supposed to eat four times that amount before they went bad?

I took a large container with me to a girlfriend's for coffee, hoping that my healthy snack would be gobbled up and I would be relieved of at least a few. My friends kindly obliged, as well as supplied me with a few suggestions for my carrot problem. What about carrot soup? Had I thought about pickling some? Oh dear. This was getting even more complicated. Their suggestions were great, but I'm domestically challenged. I'd love to pickle and stir, dice and boil, but all my attempts at homemade soup have thus far become chaotic burn fests resulting in lumpy greyish messes, unedible to anyone. And pickling? Didn't that require special jars? Precision? Skill of some kind or another?

Luckily, my sister has volunteered to guide me through the soup making process, so hopefully I'll be able to turn out something half way edible. And I've decided to rope my girlfriend into assisting with the pickling process. Because there are no heroes when it comes to garden harvesting. It calls for the helping hands of everyone you can rally.

I just hope I can still find love for carrots come next summer, From the looks of it, I might be all carroted out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vintage Books

When I was growing up, I knew a girl in elementary school that refused to read a book unless it smelled good.

"That's how you can tell it's good." She'd say smugly, plucking a book from the shelf, cracking it open and breathing deeply from its yellowed pages.

I don't think her theory on the smell of a book guaranteeing the readability of its insides really holds up, neither does the niceness of its cover. But there's something to be said for the musty, ancient smell of an old book, its pages yellowed with age, grown soft from multiple generations flipping its pages. Yes, I'll admit it. I love old books.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, watching the leaves begin to change, a flurry of yard sales popping up every where I went. That's when I had an idea. I'd start an Etsy shop. (For those of you who don't know, Etsy is a website for people to sell homemade goods (gorgeous homemade goods), art and craft supplies and vintage items. It's a great place to find unique items, and support small businesses). I already loved vintage books, this was a way I could turn it into a hobby, and maybe make a few extra bucks as well.

And so it began. I started raiding garage sales and basements, digging through moldy boxes and chatting with crazy old ladies at their yard sales. I came up empty a lot, but I found a great many treasures as well. I figured, I'd start the shop, see if anything sold and if it didn't, I wouldn't be out too much money and I'd have had the fun of finding them.

Last week, I started my shop. It's called Rare Finds Books, and I'm still in the process of adding all my merchandise. I haven't sold anything yet, but one of my favourite parts so far has been taking the pictures. Old books are so beautiful, and although I'm really not much of a photographer, it's been fun to try and show them in their best light.

Time will tell if I'm able to make any money from this endeavor, but I think it's a fun hobby to play at while I'm working on my writing. My office job is great and my boss is wonderful, but my goal is still to work from home and live off my writing. Maybe this can help.

If you'd like to check out my shop, it's called Rare Finds Books. I hope you'll also spare a minute and read my About page, I had fun writing it. If not, I hope you'll check out Etsy anyway. There's a lot of amazing, beautiful, completely unique stuff on there you don't want to miss. What about you? Do you have a love of vintage? What beautiful things call your name?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward

Welcome to Friday! Are you excited for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction? I hope so. This week's prompt is awkward. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, and maybe give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

They didn't see her. Not until it was too late. She stood just behind them, her face glowing red, her eyes filling up with tears. They coughed and sputtered vainly for excuses, for a way out, but there were none. Everyone shifted uncomfortably, sharing a single mutual thought: "awkward".

If you enjoyed that piece, I hope you'll check out the links below to a few other editions of Five Sentence Fiction. If you really like it, I hope you'll share it with friends, and perhaps follow this blog or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. As always, your comments are greatly welcomed below in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Night

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Leave the Cubicle Folk Alone

This morning I was driving to work, listening to the radio as I always do, when they started talking about workplace privacy. Specifically, they were discussing how employers are keeping track of what their employees are doing on the internet. Now, aside from the creepiness factor of having your boss read your emails, I have another bone to pick. Why is it so bad for employees to be on the internet?

Now, before I even start, I want to specify that if someone's internet usage is getting in the way of their work, that's a problem. But for everyone else, who are simply breaking up the monotony of their day, what's the problem? I work in an office, and I have great bosses. They don't mind that I have twitter open while I work, just so long as the work takes priority and it's done well and on time. In fact, using the internet has actually helped me do a better job. I know that sounds crazy, but most of my work deals with Invoices, and if I spent the full eight hours staring at numbers with no break or distraction, I can guarantee that the quality of my work would slide. How do you keep all those numbers from running together without a break?

Life in an office is a pretty dull. I don't see any harm in letting workers find a little entertainment here and there, so long as they're still getting their work done. I realize they're on company time, but I think it does more harm than good to police your employees. Leave the cubicle folk alone, I say!

What's your opinion? Am I out to lunch? Do I expect too much because my own bosses are so wonderful?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stolen Day

Oh Lord. It's Monday. What an uppity, irritable, over tired day. Oh wait, that's me on Mondays. Either way, they're unpleasant. The only good kind of Monday is a holiday Monday. I like those.

Lately, I've been feeling the need for a mental health day. Just a random day off when everyone else is working. Maybe I'd use it for writing. Perhaps I'd run errands while the stores are quiet. Or maybe, I'd just use it to laze about the house, napping and reading a good book, sunning myself in the window like a cat. Either way, I'm beginning to think it's called for.

It started out as a playful thought, a silly cure to the Monday blues. But the more I think about it, the more I'm warming to the idea. A random, single day off. A bonus day, just for me. Hmmmm, I could get behind an idea like that. At least it would save more money than my other idea, taking off for a weekend to Vegas, or somewhere with good shopping. It'd be an innocent game of hookie, a stolen day.

Yes. I've decided. Random day off it is. For the sake of my sanity, I shall pick a random day this month and book it off for absolutely no reason other than that I want it. What about you? What small ways do you preserve your sanity?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories

Welcome to Friday. Did anyone else get the song from The Way We Were stuck in their head just from looking at the word 'memories'? No? Okay, just me then. Ahem. Moving on. We've arrived at yet another Friday, and none too soon. I don't care that we just came off a long weekend and technically this week was only four days. It's been a long, freaking week, okay? And is there any better way to kick off the weekend than with Five Sentence Fiction? Probably. Scratching a winning lottery ticket, maybe. Or going home to a house full of adorable puppies, perhaps. Since I can provide you with neither, you'll have to settle for Five Sentence Fiction. As you may have guessed, this week's prompt is Memories. For more info on Five Sentence Fiction, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Here we go!

Why do these pictures look so old? 
She takes them out of the box one by one, smoothing out their wrinkled edges, gaping at the yellowing images. 
These were only taken a few months ago, what could have happened to them? 
She spreads them out on the coffee table, examining them one by one. She doesn't notice her hands, the way the years have aged them the same way they have the photographs.

I hope you've enjoyed this little piece of fiction, and I hope the weekend holds great things. If you're still hankering for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Night
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Distance

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Fall Book List

Well, I hate to say it, but summer's over. Fall has arrived and with it, it brings countless cozy evenings curled up with a book. I did pretty well on my summer reading list (did you?), so I thought I'd make another. Here is my new and improved fall reading list. (And yes, you'll notice I included a few of the summer reads I didn't quite get to).

1. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Mostly it's just curiosity that's got me hankering for this book, but come on! She wrote Harry Potter! You know, you're interested in reading her first attempt at a book for adults. Maybe it'll be good, maybe it'll be awful. You've got to read it to find out!

2. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

A book about Father Time? Say no more. I'm already there.

3. Speaking From Among The Bones by Alan Bradley

Another installment in the Flavia De Luce chronicles? Yes, please! Who wouldn't enjoy a story about a young, mystery solving girl obsessed with chemistry and poison? If you guessed no one, you'd be correct.

4. Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird

Maybe it's because it's fall, and there's that certain, slightly spooky chill in the air, but I'm going to try and read a horror. I'm particularly drawn to this one, not just because it's an award winner, but because it's a fresh and creative take on the whole zombie scenario. Of course, I'm sure zombie infested nightmares will follow...

5. Here I Go Again, A Novel by Jen Lancaster

It's true. I have a Jen addiction. Even though sometimes she's mouthy about really dumb stuff (Macey's discontinuing their plus size section, annoying political views...), I still love her where it counts; her writing. I thoroughly enjoyed her first foray into fiction (shaky start, but great once you got into it), so I'm sure her second attempt will be just as enjoyable.

6. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Just when you thought I wasn't going to include any books that had anything to do with late 1930's upper society in New York, I went and turned the tables on you. I think this books sounds immensely charming and witty. I can't wait!

7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

If the title hasn't already sold you on it, read the synopsis on Amazon. It sounds so wonderful it makes my heart ache.

And the repeats (can't believe I still haven't had a chance to read these ones)....

8. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

9. Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

What novels are you looking forward to reading this fall?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction, Better Late Than Never

First of all, my sister's wedding on Friday was amazing! So, thank you all for understanding my absence. It was my twin sister walking down the aisle, so needless to say, I got choked up more than once. She looked radiant and enchanting, the ceremony was lovely and everyone had a wonderful time at the reception. Over all, the day could not possibly have been any better. Now, I realize I should have posted this earlier, Monday is almost over already, but what can I say? It was the long weekend and I've been putting in some much needed and well earned R & R. But I haven't forgotten you, and without further ado, here is last week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. The prompt was Faces. If you'd like to learn more, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

They were all around her, hundreds of them. She felt as though she were drowning in the sea of faces, their hostile smirks and grimaces of embarrassment strangling the air from her body. Coughing and sputtering, she turned and fled for the exit, nearly tripping on the stairs as her papers showered down around her. It was only when the door was closed behind her that she began to breathe great shaking gulps of air again. She'd never get used to public speaking.

This may or may not have been inspired by my toast at the wedding. Just kidding. I did fine. Although I did cry. A lot. In any case, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you're hankering for more, I hope you'll check out the links below to read some of my previous editions of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd really like to make my day, you could follow this blog, or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush 
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Night
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Distance
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Victory