Thursday, March 31, 2011

Short Story

Amanda ran out to the mailbox just like she had been doing everyday for the last month. She wrenched the metal door open and froze. It was here! She snatched the thick white envelope with an Illinois return address. Ignoring the rest of the mail, she sprinted back inside.

“Mom! It came!” Amanda slid into the kitchen, grabbed the scissors from the knife box and jumped onto one of the kitchen stools. “Mom! It’s here!” she screamed.

Fighting the urge to rip the envelope open in less than a second, Amanda carefully slipped the scissors under the flap and gently sliced open the top of the envelope.

Her mom came shuffling into the kitchen. “Honey, be quiet. Your dad is having one of his bad days again. He’s asleep upstairs.”

“Oh.” Amanda tried to act and look concerned, but she was too excited, so instead she whispered, “Look! It finally came!”

“Good! Open it.” Her mom started acting excited, like she should be.

Amanda set the scissors down and pulled out a big stack of folded papers. Her eyes flew across the first page. “‘Congratulations.’ Mom! I got in!” Amanda jumped off the stool and started waving her hands in the air. “I am going to Chicago!” She started dancing, the papers flapping like a victory flag.

“Let me see,” her mom said. She took the papers and skimmed over the words. “Good for you, Amanda,” she said. She stuck her arms out and Amanda stepped in for a hug.

“Can I go tell Dad?”

“Don’t wake him. But if he’s up, sure.”

Amanda raced up the stairs, taking them two at a time. She slowed down when she reached her parents room at the end of the hall. “Dad?” she whispered as she pushed open the door.

“I’m up,” her dad said from the king sized bed. “I couldn’t sleep with all the ruckus going on downstairs. Congratulations. I knew you’d get in.”

Amanda ran over to the bed and sat down. “I’m so excited, Dad.”

“This will be a great opportunity. I’m so proud of you.”

“I got in, Vicky!” Amanda was sitting on the front porch, talking on her cell phone with her best friend since kindergarten. “It says, ‘Congratulations! You’ve been accepted for the Chicago Youth Symphony Summer Program.’ I fly out in a month, right after school gets out! I’ll be there all summer!”

“All summer? I won’t see you at all?”

“Well, I’ll be back about two weeks before school starts. We’ll just have to party it up a lot then.”

“I guess.” There was a pause. “But, really, I am way excited for you. It’ll be so cool.”

“Thanks, Vicky. I’m so excited. They only pick about forty kids and, like, over a hundred audition.” Amanda was holding the information papers in her hand, glancing through all the things she needed to know.

“I’m really excited for you. But don’t have too much fun on this awesome adventure without me.”

Amanda was practicing her flute a few days later when her mom knocked on her door.

“Amanda, can you come downstairs?”

“Mom, I’m practicing.” Amanda whined a bit. She really needed to practice. She wanted to be one of the best in the symphony this summer.

“Amanda, this is important. Come downstairs.” Her mom’s voice had that no-argument tone, so Amanda set down her flute and followed her mom downstairs.

They walked into the family room and Amanda was surprised to see her Aunt Lindsey there. Lindsey was her dad’s sister and the only relative who lives somewhat close to them. But even that was a pretty long drive.

Her dad was sitting on the couch with a blanket over him. Amanda didn’t think he looked so good. She went over and sat by him.

Her mom sighed. “Amanda, we went to the doctor today…” Amanda nodded. Her dad had been not feeling well for a while and she knew he was going to the doctor today. She waited for her mom to continue. “And…” Amanda looked over at her mom. She had her mouth over her hand and was silently crying. Amanda got scared. Her mom was usually really tough; nothing made her cry.

Aunt Lindsey leaned forward. “Your dad has cancer, Amanda.”

Amanda stared at her dad. Her heart was pounding and her head felt heavy. “What? No. You just…You’re…You can’t…” She didn’t know what she was trying to say, she just knew it couldn’t be true.

He nodded. “It started in my leg. I should’ve gone in ages ago, but I thought I’d be fine. It’s spread, though.”

Amanda heard her mom making a weird coughing sound. She saw Lindsey go over to comfort her out of the corner of her eye. But she just continued to stare at her dad. “Well, you’ll get better, right? They can cure it, right? You’ll be fine.” This couldn’t be happening. Not to her.

Her dad was shaking his head. “It’s in my kidneys,” he said. “All through my leg, in my kidneys, and it’s still spreading. They think it got into my blood stream.”

“They can’t…fix it?”

Her dad looked at her, made eye contact. “No, Amanda. They can’t. It’s too late.” He paused and put his hand on top of hers. She looked at their hands, his big and strong; her’s small and calloused from playing the flute. “They’re giving me to the end of August to live.”

Amanda knew what suffocating felt like now. She felt like someone was stuffing a black pillow against her face. Black because things seemed to be closing in on her. She shook her head and realized there were tears in her eyes. “You…it’s too late?”
Her dad nodded again and Amanda knew she had to get out. If she stayed in this room any longer, the pillow would smother her. She lurched up from the couch and bolted out the back door.

“Amanda!” she heard her mom yell. It was followed by her Aunt Lindsey’s calming voice saying something about letting Amanda be alone for a while. Amanda didn’t hear it all and she didn’t care and she didn’t stop running until she thought she would collapse.

“Congratulations! You’ve been accepted for the Chicago Youth Symphony Summer Program.” Amanda was sitting on her bed, staring at the acceptance letter and information papers. The dates seemed to scream at her. “June 20th – August 16th.” She thought of her dad’s words, “They’re giving me until the end of August to live.” She jumped a bit as a tear splatted onto her hand. She set the papers aside so they wouldn’t get ruined, then she flopped face-down onto her bed. She let the tears soak into the pillow as she hit her fist against the mattress over and over, trying to pound out the frustration, anger, and sadness that she felt.

Neither her parents or Aunt Lindsey had said anything to her about this, but Amanda knew. She knew she couldn’t go to Chicago anymore. She knew that she had to call the Youth Symphony people and tell them no. She knew that all her hard work – all her hours of practicing and lessons just to make one simple audition tape – were for nothing. Because how could she fly off to Chicago, and be there for months, when her dad was sitting here, dying. She couldn’t.

Amanda sighed, wiped her eyes, and dialed the number on the information sheets. “Hi, my name is Amanda Rogers. I’m calling to let you know that…” She pushed back a sob. “I won’t be able to participate in the Youth Symphony this summer…”

Amanda looked at the calendar. August 17th. She would have arrived home the night before. She would have been doing something with Vicky today, like going out for smoothies, and telling her all about Chicago. She shook her head and wiped away a tear. It had been a very different summer than she had expected. She slipped her feet into her black flats and slowly walked down the stairs.

Amanda stood in front of the coffin, thanking all the somber people for coming. It was a little consoling to see all the people who had cared about her dad; he had been a great man. Vicky was seated near the back, sending Amanda small, sad smiles every few minutes.

Later that day, Amanda stood next to the gaping hole. She let tears smear down her cheeks as the coffin was lowered into the ground. Amanda reached for her mom’s hand. It was real now; her dad was gone.

Amanda thought of her dad that night while lying in bed. She hugged her old teddy bear as tight as she could. Her dad had given her the bear for her sixth birthday. “I miss you dad.” Amanda whispered. She looked over at the calendar again. The sixteenth was circled in bright purple marker. She had done that when she first saw the acceptance letter from Chicago. She thought of all the things she would have done in that big city. It would have been so exciting and she would have learned so much. But, looking back, she knew she had made the right decision. A summer with her dad was worth a lot more than a summer playing the flute.

Her dad’s last words to her were the last thing she thought of before finally slipping into sleep.

“Thank you Amanda. I’m glad you stayed. I know how much that program meant to you. It means a lot to me to know that you gave up your dream to be with me. Keep practicing. I know you’ll be great.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peace and Truth

One of my favorite places is Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It is so peaceful and reverent there. I got to go up last week while my friend was visiting.

One of my favorite things is this statue of the Angle Moroni. I'm pretty sure this is the real size of the ones on the Temples.

The weather was really good for pictures. "I love to see the Temple; I'm going there someday."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

In my British Literature class we've been talking about and reading stream of consciousness narratives. Example: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolf. We had to write our own. Here's mine, based on my real experience from earlier today. Enjoy!

Walking home this way is definitely faster. I should do this more often. I should’ve worn my sunglasses; it’s not as overcast as I thought. That guy behind me has the weirdest laugh. It should not be this cold, its spring. I really should’ve worn my sunglasses.

“Are you headed home for lunch?”

Who is talking to me? “Yup.” Why is this random talking to me? Ugh. I hate talking to strangers. He’s in Men’s Chorus, that’s awesome.

“I’m Devon. What’s your name?”

“Allie.” And now we’re going to be stuck walking and talking together till one of us has to go the other way. I should’ve called mom.

“It’s nice to meet you.”

Oh shoot, he wants to shake my hand. Why do people always want to shake hands? Great, and now he’s looking at his hand. Well that’s just super. I’m outside, why are my hands still sweaty? This is dumb. It’s your own fault, bud. You wanted to shake my hand.

“Where are you headed?”

Please don’t be going as far as me. “Glenwood. Where are you going?”

“The Riviera.”

Dang. Basically as far as me. I have to come up with things to talk about the whole walk home. I really should’ve called mom.

Typical BYU get to know you questions. Where are you from? What year are you? What’s your major? Sigh. We should walk faster. I’m so hungry. And I really should’ve worn my sunglasses. And I should’ve called mom. I think I’ll eat that pasta for lunch. At least this guy is keeping the conversation up. Oh good, he’s leaving. “Yeah, nice to meet you too.” Whew. That was awkward. I’m glad it’s over. I am so making this light.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

I first heard about this book last semester. Kristen Chandler is LDS and so I heard about it in my LDS Literature class. But it didn't catch my attention at the time, so I didn't read it. MISTAKE!

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me is another one of the books I checked out with my brand new library card. My friend recommended it to me. And let me just say, This Book Is Amazing! This is Chandler's first novel and I am in awe. It is well written, creative, funny, thought provoking, intriguing, and I learned a lot about wolves. This is definitely one of the best works of Young Adult Fiction I have ever read.

The novel's heroine is KJ Carson who doesn't quite fit in in her tiny home town of West End, Montana, right on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Wolves have been reintroduced to Yellowstone which has caused a bit of an uproar in the town. KJ starts writing a column in the school newspaper following the wolves but she doesn't realize the fire she is helping to feed. Things get ugly during a town Christmas parade and KJ is quickly involved. Of course the new guy in town gets involved too (in more ways than one). KJ is a girl that a lot of teenagers can relate to. She's got school problems, parent problems, friend problems, and self-image problems. But she is also passionate and learns to not just keep her head down when it comes to something she believes in. This novel was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone. I'm a little sad it's over and I look forward to any other novels by Kristen Chandler.

Writing Sample for Creative Writing

I am excited to go home in a month, so I wrote about arriving at the Portland airport. Remember, a Writing Sample is a sample - not a completed work. Enjoy!

Jess saw the van creep around the corner and her impatience grew even more. She bounced a bit on her toes as the van slowly crawled its way up to her and the curb. She smiled when she saw her puppy, Murry, in the passenger seat. He was looking straight at her and barking up a storm. She dragged her luggage to the van as her mom hugged the dog to keep him from bolting out the open door.

“Hey mom!” she said as she hauled her suitcases into the back of the van. She shut the door and hurried to the passenger side. Making sure Murry was securely held, she opened the door and climbed in.

“Hi. How was the flight?” Mom let go of Murry and he scrambled onto Jess’ lap.

“It was fine. I’m so glad to be home!” Jess scratched Murry fondly. He was the best dog in the world and she was so excited to see him.

“Murry’s excited to see you.”

Jess smiled. “Yeah he is.” She kissed the top of Murry’s head. “How’s my cute little puppy?” She said in that ridiculous only-for-pets-and-babies voice. Murry jumped down and headed to the back to sniff out Jess’ bags.

Jess looked out the window and smiled contentedly. It was raining, just like it should be. Good old Oregon. Murry came back and she lifted him onto her lap again. “Let’s stop at Burgerville,” she said. It was time for some great Northwest in a cup.

Mom laughed. “Okay,” she said, and turned the window wipers up a bit.

Date a Girl Who Reads

I came across this as a note on my friend's Facebook. I loved it! I hope you do too!

An article by Rosemarie Urquico:

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review: The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

So, good news! I finally have a Provo City Library card! Woohoo! So with my brand new card (it has a frog on it!) I checked out three books. The Secret Life of Prince Charming was one of my selections. It wasn't until the book was in my room that I realized I have read another book by Deb Caletti. That one was called The Nature of Jade in case you'd like to know.

The Secret Life of Prince Charming was a good read. WARNING though, it had a TON of swearing. And that makes me sad, especially in YA stuff. Anyways, it's about a girl Quinn, her sister, Sprout, and their adventure to return items their dad has kept from all his past girlfriends/significant others/wives. You get the idea. He's had plenty of relationships and Quinn figures out that he keeps items that belong to each woman after their relationship ends. So Quinn and Sprout contact their half sister, Frances Lee, and they embark on a quest to return as many items as possible to all the women.

I thought the idea was very unique, and the book continued to be unique in every aspect: the characters, the dialogue, the events... Caletti's writing style is also unique. Basically, the whole book is unique. This book had a lot of really good quotes. One of my favorites was this, "We should not give away a moment to anyone who does not deserve it" (129). Maybe it's sort of got a bad attitude, but there is also some truth to it. So I recommend this book, but remember, the swearing is not part of the recommendation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

I had to read Mrs. Dalloway for my British Literature class. It's not a very long novel, but it was hard to read because Virginia Woolf writes in the stream of consciousness style (writing the way people think; random thoughts all strung together). It made it hard to follow who's point of view I was reading and transitions were basically nonexistent. The story takes place in one day and jumps from character to character. The different points of views sort of came together at the end, but I am a bit confused as to why some characters were in the story at all. But over all it was an interesting read, and I can add it to my list of Important Books I Have Read.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Haiku for Creative Writing

Haiku don't have titles. Each one is it's own individual piece. Enjoy!

English fluently
Now studying ASL
Bi-lingual, the goal

Three valves, one mouth piece
Shiny gold finish, oh so clean
My trumpet has value

Blank sheet of paper
So many possibilities
Pen touches paper

Camera flashes, smile
Picture uploaded to Facebook
Tag, Like, Comment, smile

Notebook filled with thoughts
Paper into envelope
Stamp, box, send to you

Overcast, raining
Tall trees, soggy grass, wipe boots
I love Oregon

Full skirts, bow ties, dates
Prom, an important event
I chose Taylor Swift

Building full of books
My eyes light up, heaven on earth
Border’s bankruptcy

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Poem for Creative Writing, Pantoum style #2

Delightful Dish Room
The dish room welcomes me with spraying water
The dirty dishes stack higher than my head
I pull on gloves, tie on an apron
Get ready dishes, here I come

The dirty dishes stack higher than my head
I scrape away baked-on food
Get ready dishes, here I come
I spray down dressing boats and goblets

I scrape away baked-on food
The water ricochets off and hits my face
I spray down the dressing boats and goblets
Food debris spatters up my arms

The water ricochets off and hits my face
Pudding, ranch, mashed potatoes
Food debris spatters up my arms
It’s a very wet job

Pudding, ranch, mashed potatoes
A growing plethora of dirty dishes
It’s a very wet job
So many forks to rinse

A growing plethora of dirty dishes
My apron is filthy, covered in gunk
So many forks to rinse
I think I just got scraps in my hair

My apron is filthy, covered in gunk
Time to switch gloves – again
I think I just got scraps in my hair
The dish room welcomes me with spraying water

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poem for Creative Writing, Pantoum style

Starburst Jellybeans
Bright, happy colors all gathered in a bag
A rainbow of happiness to snack on
The flavors flood through my mouth
And I can’t help but smile with delight

A rainbow of happiness to snack on
I pop them in my mouth one by one
And I can’t help but smile with delight
Cherry, orange, strawberry, green apple, grape

I pop them in my mouth one by one
Their fruity taste makes the day brighter
Cherry, orange, strawberry, green apple, grape
They make my taste buds happy

Their fruity taste makes the day brighter
Such a delicious treat on a cloudy day
They make my taste buds happy
An explosion of yum on my tongue

Such a delicious treat on a cloudy day
I try to decide which flavor is my favorite
An explosion of yum on my tongue
The bag is emptying way too fast

I try to decide which flavor is my favorite
I’ll have to buy another bag
The bag is emptying way too fast
I am crazy for these tasty treats

I’ll have to buy another bag
I can’t decide on just one favorite
I am crazy for these tasty treats
The flavors flood through my mouth

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Writing Sample for Creative Writing

Writing Samples are a page of whatever. So this story's not done. Enjoy!

Alyssa smudged the pencil with her pinky finger and leaned back to look at the effect. It gave a foggy look to the piece. She smiled, please with the outcome. She gathered up her art supplies and headed to her locker.

“Hey Alyssa.”

Alyssa looked up, brushing her long hair away from her face and at the same time smearing pencil across her cheek.

“Hey Stuart. What’s up?”

“I was wondering if you were going to go to the art show at the college tonight?” Stuart rubbed his shin with his foot and fiddled with his backpack. He tried not to grin at the pencil line.

“Well, I wanted to, but I never got tickets.” Alyssa felt the familiar disappointment wash over her. She had wanted tickets so badly but got stuck babysitting her little brother and didn’t get to the college before they were sold out. She had been so mad.

Stuart smiled. “Look!” He pulled two bright green tickets from his pocket. “Want to go with me?”

“Oh my gosh! How did you get those? Of course I want to go!” Alyssa was practically bouncing she was so excited.

Stuart’s smile grew. “I stood in line for like two hours,” he said proudly.

“Stuart, you’re awesome! I would love to go!” Alyssa went up on her toes and kissed him on the cheek.

“Great!” said Stuart, blushing. “See you at seven.” He smiled with excitement.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Writing Sample for Creative Writing

Remember, a Writing Sample is a page of whatever. :)

The pressure left her lips and she felt the difference. This wasn’t sleep anymore, she was finally awake! She laid there, focusing on each sense.

She was holding something. She could feel something long, and firm, but it also gave when she pushed against it. She could feel smooth fabric, silk maybe? She could also feel warmth on her face. It felt like afternoon sunshine. A slight breeze blew across her cheeks. She must be near a window.

She gave a forceful, but silent sniff. Flowers. That’s what she was holding. She could smell them now. Roses, her favorite. They smelled fresh and clean. They reminded her of ball gowns and parties. She could also smell fresh air; there had to be a window.

She listened hard. She could hear birds, probably outside. She was sure of a window now. She could also hear someone’s breathing. It was quiet, but rapid. Whoever had woken her up was anticipating something.

Slowly, very slowly, she opened her eyes. Bright sunlight flooded into her them and they sparked with pain. She shut them again. It had been so long since she had seen anything. Carefully, she opened her eyes again. She squinted against the sun and her eyes slowly adjusted. She was right; there was a window, right by the bed. What a glorious bed! There was a draping canopy and the woodwork was beautiful. She looked down and saw bright red roses. A bird landed on the windowsill and she smiled at it.

“Princess?” She turned her head and her vision was filled by a very handsome face. Strong jaw, sharp cheek bones, light brown hair, deep brown eyes. And rosy lips. She reached up to feel her own lips. Yes, those two sets of lips had touched. This was her prince.

Short Story for Creative Writing

Banana Bread

Brittany trudged home, dragging her feet through the muddy puddles. She didn’t bother putting her hood up or grabbing her umbrella from the side pocket of her backpack even though the sky was flooding like an upstairs apartment into the world below. Dirty water was seeping into her Nike’s and her feet were going numb. A car raced by, hitting a puddle just right so that filthy water sprayed up and drenched Brittany in a wave of misery. She hardly flinched.

She looked at the bananas on the counter and sighed. Once again, she had bought too many for just the three of them and they had gotten old. She still wasn’t used to only shopping for three. She looked at the phone, wishing for it to ring. She’d answer and smile when she heard one of the twins’ voices on the other line. She turned back to the bananas and held them in her hands. The twins would’ve gobbled these down in a few days. She set the fruit back on the counter and pulled her worn cook book from the shelf. “Banana bread….” She mumbled to herself as she flipped through the pages. It was Brittany’s favorite.

Brittany shifted the weight of her backpack while she waited for the light to change so she could cross the busy street. The disturbance made her water bottle fall out of a side pocket. It seemed to fall in slow motion but Brittany didn’t have the motivation to try to catch it. It smacked into the pavement and shattered into tiny pieces. Brittany just sighed and bent to pick up as many shards as possible. She missed the light and had to wait another three minutes.

She carefully measured out the appropriate amount of salt and added just a pinch of cinnamon. She scooped the creamy batter into two loaf pans and stuck them in the oven. She checked her cook book to make sure she got the timing right. The bread would come out just in time. Smiling, she looked at the last few bananas. She didn’t know what to make. She opened the freezer and discovered some frozen berries she had forgotten about. It was time for some smoothies. She pulled out the blender and started rinsing the berries. The phone rang shrilly as she dumped the berries into the blender. Wiping her hands on a towel, she hurried to answer.
“Hey Mom! What’s up?”
“No Mom. It’s Trent.” She could hear the chuckle in his voice.
“Oh well, you boys just sound the same.” She threw the towel back onto the counter. “How are you?”
“I’m doing alright. Just thought I’d call as I walk back to the dorm. How’s everything at home?”
“Things are fine. Brittany should be home soon.” She glanced at the time left on the oven. Yes, it’d be done just in time.
“How is that little squirt?” She could hear the smile in Trent’s voice.
“She’s okay. She’s been having a few crazy weeks lately. Lots of tests, a concert, you know, typical high school.”
“Yeah. Well, hey, tell her hi for me, okay?”
“Sure Trent. Have a great afternoon!”
“Thanks Mom. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Bye, Trent. I love you.” She hung up the phone, a few tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Turning back to the blender, she started chopping those berries up and mixing in the bananas.

The hill her house stood on had never seemed so daunting. Brittany glared at it as she stood at the bottom. She really did not want to hike up that thing today. Lurching forward, she made her feet start moving. One house, two houses. Mailbox, tree, bike. She tried to distract herself from the steepness of the sidewalk. She looked up towards her house. Today it seemed like it wasn’t getting any closer. Brittany grumbled under her breath and continued to fight back the tears that had been attempting to wash her cheeks all day.

She was pouring the thick, delicious looking smoothie into some tall glasses when the oven timer went off. She set the blender on the counter and snatched her hot pad off the table. There was a wave of heat as she opened the oven door and peered in at the golden brown loaves. They looked perfect. Smiling, she pulled them out of the oven and carefully set them on some hot pads with a happy daisy print. The bread smelled divine. She glanced at the clock. Brittany should be home any minute. She finished pouring the smoothie into the glasses, then turned to the sink to let the blender soak in soapy water. The water was running when she thought she heard Brittany’s key in the lock. She turned off the water and rushed to the front door. It was still locked. She looked out the window and saw Brittany trudging up the sidewalk. She looked absolutely miserable. She was drenched, her shoes and pants were muddy, and her hair hung in stringy chunks.

Brittany looked up when she heard a noise. It was her mom, opening the front door to their two-story, light blue house. She gave her mom a feeble smile as she stomped up the steps.
“Brittany! What happened? Why aren’t you using your umbrella? You’re soaked!” Her mom reached to take her backpack from her. Brittany stepped into the foyer and slipped her muddy shoes off onto the mat. She let her coat drop from her shoulders and splat onto the mat as well.
“Why don’t you go change? Then come back down; I have something for you.” Brittany could hear the excitement in her mom’s voice.
She stumbled up the stairs and changed from her dripping jeans in to sweatpants. She pulled a sweatshirt over her head, and slipped her feet into her fuzzy slippers. She deposited her soggy socks and clothes into the hamper, then headed back downstairs.

She sliced up the warm bread and set it on Brittany’s favorite plate, the random lime green one that no one could remember buying.
She heard Brittany on the stairs, so she hurried to set the glasses on the table. Then she sat down in one of the chairs.

Brittany realized on the stairs that she could smell banana bread. Her head snapped up, smelling the air to make sure that’s what it was. She rounded the corner into the kitchen and saw her mom sitting at the table with warm banana bread on a plate and smoothies to top it off. Brittany sat down in her designated spot.
“You made banana bread and smoothies?”
Her mom was smiling. “Just for us. Banana bread is your favorite.”
Brittany smiled and felt one of the suppressed tears slowly sneak out of the corner of her eye. She reached for the warm banana bread and bit into the heavenly goodness of it. Another tear snuck down her cheek, but at least she knew it wasn’t because of the failed math test.

Monday, March 7, 2011


So I have this need to read "classics" to make myself seem well read and knowledgeable. And I can now officially say that I have finished a book by Dickens. I was a few weeks late for the credit in British Literature, but I finished Hard Times. Dickens was not as hard to read as I expected. I think that I should continue to read his stuff. I liked Hard Times even though it was not particularly happy. I have also now read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. It was quite hilarious and I really enjoyed it. I also then watched the movie (not the new one with the Mr. Darcy from the 2-hour version of Pride and Prejudice). My book club just finished Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which I also throughly enjoyed. And next we are reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is currently already on my book shelf. So I am on my way to being a well-read person. Woohoo for me. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

The Juliet Club was...Amazing. I read it very quickly because it pulled me in and I couldn't put it down. It follows the story of Kate, a high schooler, as she heads to Italy for a month after winning a essay contest on Romeo and Juliet. Her best friends think she will fall madly in love and have a romantic adventure in Italy, but practical Kate is convinced that love is a waste of time. So she heads off to Verona, Italy with only studying Romeo and Juliet on her mind. She spends the month with other American high school students: Lucy, a bubbly girl from Mississippi, and Tom, who didn't really write an essay. Along with three Italian high schoolers: Silvia, a moody girl who thinks she knows everything, Benno, a happy guy who wants a bit more out of life, and Giacomo, a flirty, self-assured Romeo and Juliet expert. But, of course, Kate's plans end up way off course.
I really enjoyed this book because it was a cute, fun, and clean! love story. I loved each character and their unique personalities that added so much to the story. I now have a slightly different opinion of Romeo and Juliet. I highly recommend The Juliet Club, especially to high school girls, or anyone who loves some good YA fiction.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Woe of Tuna Sandwiches

In my British Literature class, we had to write a 20 line monologue as a creative assignment. Mine is based off Jeannie in The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary. Enjoy!

These tuna sandwiches, they are so dull,
And half the time, they don’t make me full.
I wish for elegant lunches served on a tray
Where I could eat whatever, and have my say.
I’d select little shortbread cookies on frilly cloths
And dainty rolls that would make my guests pause.
“How perfectly delightful!” they would proclaim
And because of my lunches, I’d have much fame.
People would hear of me for miles around
And to my table, with invitations they’d bound.
Their expectations the lunch would surpass
Maybe they’d be served crab or some fresh bass
I’d pick each item with attentive care
And serve delicacies, including drizzled pear.
My friends and neighbors would all agree,
“How lucky we are to have a friend like thee!
Your beautiful lunches are the talk of the town,
Each time we visit we shan’t be let down!”
Ah, those lunches! Of them I dream!
If I eat more tuna, I will scream!

Writing Sample for Creative Writing

For this writing sample I asked Allie to give me some random topic. Her idea was Giraffes. So that's what I wrote about, sort of. Tell me what you think, cuz I think I could extend this one and get a pretty neat story out of it! Enjoy! (Oh, and remember, writing samples are only a page of writing, so there is no ending.)

Jenny strutted into her apartment, ear buds in, smiling as she mouthed the lyrics to the newest Brooks and Dunn song. She set her bag down and swished her hips as she pulled out her cell phone, notebook, and laptop. She set them on the scratched kitchen table, and turned to the fridge, looking for a snack.

Her roommate, Betty walked in. “Hey, Jenny…” She stopped talking when she noticed the ear buds. Instead, she sat down at the table to wait for Jenny to notice her. She picked up Jenny’s notebook and rolled her eyes. “Jenny!” she yelled.

Jenny turned, pulling out the right ear bud. “Oh, hey, Betty. What’s up?”

“Another giraffe notebook?” Betty waved the notebook in the air. It was yellow with a comical orange giraffe on the front.

“It was too cute to pass up,” explained Jenny. “Plus, look at the inside!”

Betty opened the notebook and couldn’t help smiling. Each page had a small cartoon giraffe in the bottom corner. They were doing silly things, like ballet and surfing.

“And it’s made with recycled paper.” Jenny added proudly. “And here, look at the pen that came with it.” She pulled a yellow pen out of her bag. It had the same cartoon giraffes from the notebook on it. “Isn’t that fun?”

“Oh Jenny. You’re so funny.” Betty propped her feet up on one of the other kitchen chairs. “So how are the plans coming?”

Jenny turned off her ipod and sat down at the table with a handful of blueberries.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: Leap Day by Wendy Mass

I bought this book at Border's because it sounded interesting, plus it was like $3.00 and I had gift cards! :) Anyways...
Leap Day is a novel about a plethora of students in a high school in Orlando, Florida. The main character is Josie, a sophomore who's birthday happens to be on Leap Day. so it is her 16th and 4th birthday. The book was cleverly written - it starts off from Josie's first person point of view, but then every other chapter is from an omniscient point of view and goes into the heads of Josie's friends, family, classmates, and teachers. As a reader, you get an original outlook on the story and understand why certain details happen. The book follows Josie throughout her 16th birthday as she handles school, friends, the scary driver's test, tryouts for Romeo and Juliet (she'll die if she's not Juliet), the Sophomore Scavenger Hunt, and the traditional 16th birthday initiation at the lake. This novel was funny, clever, and a quick read (I finished it in one day).
"Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Though February's underdone
With twenty-eight - hold the line! -
Leap Day makes it twenty-nine."