Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's Celebrate (all of the) Holidays!

The Annual Highlights Fiction Contest is coming up! Entries can be up to 800 words and the deadline is 1/31. This year's topic is Holiday.

While Christmas & New Years are top of mind right now, I thought a list of other holidays may be great inspiration for everyone, whether entering the contest or looking for a new idea to start the year.  

Love this photo of a traditional
Midsummer Dance!
(By Totte Jonsson via
Nature Holidays: Earth Day, Arbor Day, Groundhog Day, Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, May Day, Midsummer Day

Fun Days: New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, April Fools, Halloween, Festivus (for the rest of us), Talk like a Pirate Day, Chinese New Year, Leap Day

Thankful Days: Thanksgiving, Boxing Day

Holidays of Love: Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Children's Day, Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day

Religious Holidays: Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter, Dyngus Day, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan

Culture: Kwanzaa

Patriotic Days: Flag Day, Patriot Day, Election Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day & National Day of Service, Presidents Day , Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day

Worker Days: Boss's Day, Administrative Professional's Day, Labor Day, Take Your Child to Work Day

Women: International Woman's Day, Helen Keller Day, Women's Equality Day

Discovery Days: German-American Day commemorates the first German settlement, Leif Erikson Day honors the Norse Viking explorer, Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day           

Do you have any holidays in your region which I should add?  I'm sure there's an international donut day or other important day I've missed (though there are few things as important as donuts.)

Speaking of holidays - HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here's to high word counts in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Past and Present

I found a series of writing prompt responses the other day, probably from early high school, lovingly typed on a very large typewriter. I vaguely remember getting a magazine which offered writing prompts or maybe I found a "Learn How to Write" book at the library.

Relevant to the season was "Describe a street at Christmas:"

      Bright lights line the streets. Sleighbells jingle, hanging from a horse drawn carriage. The horses wear a thin blanket of snow. The driver huddles under his warmest coat.  Little girls in velvet dresses with hands tucked in white muffs flash smiles. The children's red noses clash with the white surroundings. Billows of white breath rise in the chilled air. The sweet smell of baking cookies fills me with warmth, and circles of smoke from Papa's pipe wrap me in comfort.

I recognized the staccato poetry I often fall into without thinking and my propensity to respond very literally to the request: describe. I must have been quite the romantic, opting to describe what could only exist in a Thomas Kincaid painting.  

Well, I ain't romantic anymore.
Ooh, you know that brown stripe will
be chocolate flavored....yum!
(Image by Pam Roth via

Describe a street at Christmas (2013 version): 
Everyone is in such a hurry they are missing the whole thing.
Slam on the brakes.
Exit the Christmas contagion stricken highway
To eat this entire candy cane,
Even if it takes an hour.

Okay, I made the mistake of entering a store to buy snow boots yesterday, and I'm still disgruntled.  But I also had an eye-opening experience watching my 3-year-old eat an entire candy cane. I honestly forgot they were for eating. And even if you did eat them, you only sucked on them until they got thinner, right?  But no, that little candy loving cherub made me realize candy canes are magical when you need life to slow down so you don't miss the whole thing. 

Merry Christmas! 
Now go eat a candy cane, or if you're inspired, add a comment with your description of a street at Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Confusion! (A Holiday Story)

Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting a Holiday Contest this week! 

To participate: Write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster, not to exceed 350 words and posted by Friday December 13th at 11:59 PM EST  Check out the full rules at her site.   Her site has the links to the 700 other entries (plus or minus a few hundred) which are full of holiday cheer and laughs!  Enjoy!
The idea came to me during PiBoIdMo, but the rest of the story had to noodle itself out the past few weeks while I've been shopping, wrapping, cooking and watching the Sound of Music for the 10th time. So on the last day... Here's my 349 word entry: 

Christmas Confusion
By Lauri Meyers

Cries of confusion filled St. Ive's Orphanage on Christmas morning.

"This strange sword has a hook on the end," Bobby complained.

"This nightgown is big enough for Santa," Maggie whimpered.

"Tsk, tsk," Sister Mary warned. "We are always thankful for gifts we receive."

(Image by Amy Burton via
Sammy shook his present and shouted, "Sounds like a puzzle!" But when Sammy held up a tin of pistachios, even Sister Mary raised a surprised eyebrow.

"Time for our morning stroll." Sister Mary gathered hats and scarves. The children grabbed their gifts, happy to have something, no matter how unusual.  

A gray-haired man wobbled along the sidewalk with a plastic sword. 

"Are you a pirate?" Bobby called.

"Bobby! Manners, please," Sister Mary said. "This is Mr. Robert Stone from Ivy's Retirement Home across the street."

"I hoped for a cane, but Santa thought I had one more sword fight in me," Robert said.  "En garde!"
Bobby raised his hooked sword for a duel.

"What a fine cane you have there," Robert said.

"Would you like to trade?" Bobby asked.  Robert nodded and found the cane to be a perfect fit.

"Strange morning we've had," Robert said. "Santa gave Samuel here a puzzle, even though he's been near blind for 20 years."

"Only thing still working is my teeth!" Samuel laughed.

"Santa gave me nuts, and I wasn't even naughty," Sammy sighed. "I'd love a puzzle." They traded with toothy smiles.

"And Margaret has some frilly thing on her head she says is a sleeping cap,"  Bobby chuckled.

"I think your hat is lovely," Maggie said quietly, remembering her manners.

"I'm not really sure it's a sleeping cap," Margaret whispered and held up a tiny nightgown.

"Oh!" Maggie exclaimed. "I hoped for a nightgown that size, but Santa got me one for growing into."

"Perhaps this one would be useful, so you don't have to grow too fast," Margaret said and traded with Maggie. "Now, you must come over for hot chocolate!"  

"Yes, Santa must have known we'd have guests. Our stockings were full of marshmallows," Robert said. 
"What was in yours?"

"Don't ask," said Sister Mary.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Birthday Partying like a Kid

It's my birthday today!

I was having a deep philosophical conversation with my 3-year-old this morning about how cool it would be if I became a kid again on my birthday. 

So when I was asked to play Cootie, I said "No! It's my birthday! And I want to play Cootie AND make puzzles!" (Sidenote: I won Cootie, not that it matters of course...)

I followed that with toast with butter and jelly which is a treat because my adult self usually skips the butter. 

And I showered! (that really wasn't the kid in me so much as the overworked mom who often neglects to care for herself.)
Happy Birthday to me! (Just be thankful
I didn't have any Easy Cheese in the pantry.)

We walked to kindergarten this morning, because I definitely would have done that when I as little. 

I did a happy birthday to me song and dance in the kitchen (does it go without saying that this was a silly dance?) twice, because my daughter said "Again!" and kid me said "of course!"

I suffered some disappointment when I realized I didn't have the ingredients or proper adult supervision to make pizza buns.But I recovered by skipping right to a delightful dessert of a large dollop of Reddi-whip squirted right into my mouth.

I was thirsty by then, so we made some Kool-Aid with 1/2 cup of sugar (because, hey, there's no need to go completely crazy!)

Now, I'm just sitting here with a full Kool-Aid mustache doing my best coloring with crayons.  (Have you colored with crayons recently? It's really hard to stay in the lines with a blunt waxy stick.)

And it's only noon! It's busy being a kid.

How would you spend the rest of your birthday if you were a kid again?  It's kind of rainy here today, so there very well may be some puddle jumping, worm chasing or (gasp!) a trip to Chuck 'e Cheese in my future!
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