xlovebecomesher: (Bats)
Regency London
1810


Beatrix was raised to by her mother to be afraid of "The Garden."

Not the fancy one in the back of their country home (that would be silly) but "The Garden."

The Garden of ruined reputations, lost futures, and horrific marriages (Or so her mother proclaimed in whispered horror).

All of her life, her mother would tell her stories of girls who would be lured into the gardens at various balls with false promises by men who simply wanted to take advantage of them. If they were caught (and her mother pointed out haughtily that 92.8% of girls were caught...where her mother got that number, she'd never know), they were RUINED just simply RUINED! For the unlucky girls who the men would refuse to marry, they were deemed to a life of spinsterhood and living at home for the rest of their lives. If they were "lucky" enough to get married (her mother would make a face here and use air quotes around lucky), her mother then told her stories of women who had to marry beneath their station (oh, the horror) and lead miserable lives where everyone whispered about them behind their backs.

Never mind that her older sister, Arabella, who wandered into "The Garden" with a Duke was now happily married and a Duchess to boot. The ton whispered about her behind her back, falsely kind to her face, but to Arabella, the experience was worth it.

Or her best friend, Eugenie, who followed an Earl into "The Garden", and was now a Countess. Sure, everyone whispered for months about how scandelous it was that she was found in The Garden with her dress to her waist and how exactly 9 months later to the date, little Andrew came into the world. Eugenie didn't care what the rest of ton had to say - she found her happily ever after.

Beatrix's mother didn't care about that. Her mother liked to scoff and remind her that was the exception when Beatrix dared to bring them up. Beatrix was to have a proper marriage - one that involved her not going into "The Garden." She was to be a proper lady at all times, quiet, submissive, and kind, a lady with an impeccable reputation. The kind of lady that would never dream to go There.

But oh, how she dreamed of being one of those girls and to be brave enough to simply go after what she wanted. She would gracefully wrap her arm around the man's proferred arm and the two of them would sneak out into the gardens where he would stare into her eyes and kiss her under the moonlight, reputation be damned.

However, with every dream, came the fear and her mother's voice bursting her bubble. So Beatrix went to the balls and stood against the walls watching the other girls flirt and dance and make their way out into "The Garden." To her mother's dismay, she never danced with any of the men, despite the numerous offers, in fear of being led astray (even though her mother would remind her not so gently that she'd never meet her future husband this way). She would demur and point them towards other girls; the girls more willing to take a chance on life and men.  She preferred to stay in the corner with the other wallflowers, watching and daydreaming. This way she was safe, beyond reproach.

And if she was never to find her husband and live at home as a spinster (which she feared could easily be the case)... well that was the price to pay to not be ruined and keep her spotless reputation.
xlovebecomesher: (Snoopy Novel)
“I can’t do this anymore.”

He turned around from where he was standing and looked down into her worried eyes.  She had seemed out of sorts all day and he couldn’t figure out why considering he had an exciting night planned for them that night. “What can’t you do anymore?”

She stood up, meeting him face to face. “This. You and me. This just having sex thing that we having going on. Whatever you want to call it. I can’t do this anymore, sleeping with you and pretending it means nothing to me.” She paused, fighting back tears – she swore she wouldn’t cry in front of him. There would be plenty of time to cry after she left, and was alone again as usual. “Because it does mean something to me.” You mean something to me, she thought to herself, but the words remained unspoken.  “If I continued this anymore, I’m going to hate myself, and eventually I’d end up hating you. I can’t…”

He wanted to touch her, just pull her closely to him and wipe away the single tear he could see making their way down her cheek. He wanted to see her smile again. Didn’t she understand that she was his world? Yes, it had started out as just sex but it quickly turned into something beautiful.  This wasn’t just sex to him, but how could he tell her when she was so determined to end this? “Have you thought this through?” he asked inanely, wishing like hell he knew what to say to make her stay and stop his own pain.

She bit her lip. She didn’t want to leave him. If she could, she’d stay here forever, marry him, have his children, love him with all her heart but he didn’t want that. He told her that enough times as it was. This was about sex, not love, he reminded her often.  He wasn’t capable of love, wasn’t capable of relationships, and she thought she could handle being in such a relationship. She couldn’t. “Yes, I thought this through. I can’t keep pretending anymore … pretending that this is just sex, not when I’m in love with you. If I stayed, I’d be on my knees waiting for whatever scrap you threw at me. At least this way I’ll have my pride, my dignity.” She turned and made her way to the door, praying that the tears wouldn’t start falling till the door closed behind her.

“Will your pride keep you warm at night?” he called out, anything to prevent her from leaving.

She glanced back at him, watching him lean against the wall so stoically, with his hands in his pocket. “It’s going to have to,” she murmured as she opened the door and walked out, shutting the door softly behind her.

He stood there without moving or making a sound till he heard the sounds of her car driving away. He sank down to the floor, still gripping the small black velvet box he had in his pocket. “It wasn’t just sex…” he whispered.
xlovebecomesher: (Calvin)
This is the second half of a story titled Perspective is Everything. My topic was intersubjectivity. You can find the first half written by the awesome [livejournal.com profile] penpusher who was my partner for this week's intersection (his topic being shibui):
---------------------

Eve thought she knew everything about her fiancé until she ended up being her fiancé.

She stared down at her…wait no…his hands. It was one thing to hold his hand when they went out together; it’s another to actually have his hands attached to her along with every other part of his body.

She should have listened to him when he had originally said they should just go to a generic big brand jewelry store and find their rings there. But no, she had to have something different than anyone else, something unique that no one else. She just had to go antique shopping which somehow led them to the mysterious Antiquated Sundries Shoppe and now their current predicament. Somehow, she had a feeling he’d be yelling “I told you so” if only he wasn’t stuck in her body. It would seem weird for him to be yelling that in her voice.

Now they were stuck in this apartment thanks to Not Martha Stewart and nothing to do.

The interesting quirk she discovered in their switched bodies is that she had access to his thoughts…almost like having two brains! Most times, she could only hear her own thoughts but every now and again, his thoughts and feelings would sneak in.

Like now, she realized as she felt his body tighten. Really, is this all what men think about? She was staring at his (or rather her) butt and oh, the things she’d like to do at the moment to her body.

“I guess that means he really is attracted to me and not just saying so,” she murmured under her breath. She stood back to appreciate her body. “Huh, all those times I’ve asked him if I look fat in this and he said no, maybe he actually meant it.”

“What did you say?” He turned around. It was jarring to see her face staring back at her.

“Nothing, just thinking out loud.”

Adam watched her as he (or she, damn this is confusing) paced around the room. His petite fiancé was always a pacer and watching her habit while in his 6”3 body was interesting to say the least.

At first he was frustrated with the body switch. With the wedding in less than two weeks, there was so much to get done that there was simply no time for freak occurrences like this. However, after he finally calmed down, he decided to take advantage of the situation. How often do you have the chance to literally get inside someone else’s mind and read their thoughts? He couldn’t access every single thought but there were thoughts and memories, he seemed to be able to find with little effort.

Adam thought back to a fight they recently had over her writing job. He had made the off hand comment out of frustration that her writing seemed to be more important to her than their wedding planning. Everytime he seemed to talk to her about wedding stuff, all she wanted to focus on was her writing. She didn’t say much in response then; she had just simply walked out of the room with a hurt look and went to go work on wedding planning. Since then, he hadn’t seen her writing much and he hadn’t given it another thought until now. He had no idea she was still hurting over the comment and he never meant to take the joy out of her writing especially since she had such amazing talent.

Perspective is everything, he realized. Maybe he should stop and think about what he’s saying more often before actually saying it.

Eve had come across that same thought at that moment.

The little things that drove him nuts about her suddenly became clear. She could never understand why it drove him nuts spent so much time on the computer. It’s not about the computer itself or her writing or but to him, it seemed at times that she preferred the computer to spending time with him. If the roles were reversed, she would hate to feel that she came second to his video games. He would never verbalize the way he felt (it would have been so much easier than switching bodies had he just spoken to her) but she knew from now on, she was going to make more of an effort to balance out her schedule so they could spend time together.

“I didn’t know you love when I do the dishes,” Adam interrupted her pacing.

“I do. You hum and sing while doing so and it makes me smile. I didn’t know that you appreciated it when I pick up all your white socks that you leave everywhere and put them in the hamper.”

“I do…I’m too lazy to do it myself!”

“I’m sorry for being a jerk over your writing. I may not always get your writing but you’re an amazing writer and I don’t think I tell you that enough,” He (or rather she) sniffled.

Eve smiled. “Thank you and I’m sorry that I haven’t been as helpful planning the wedding with you but with deadlines and work and planning, I’ve been struggling just to stay afloat.”

“I didn’t realize. Apparently it took a body switch for me to understand.”

“No one’s ever going to believe us, you know.”

“What? That Not Martha Stewart gave us some rings and now we’re stuck in each other’s bodies for an indefinite amount of time?"

“Still want to marry me now that you know every little thing about me?” Eve questioned with a half smile.

“Of course!” He wrapped her arms around him. “You know everything there is about me and you haven’t gone running away screaming.”

Eve laughed. “Though if I did, I could at least get far with your legs running than with my own!”

He stuck her tongue out. “Haha, very funny! I love you, no matter what body you’re in...though you do make my body look very good! You love me?”

“I do…including your body! I have a whole new appreciation for my body!”

“Is that all you can think about?” he sighed.

“That’s all you think about! I can't help it!” Eve retorted.

“Fair enough!” They intertwined their fingers together and slowly kissed. Despite this whole crazy experience, both suddenly had the overwhelming feeling that their marriage was one that was going to last for the ages.
xlovebecomesher: (Dreams)
            “Did I just hear you correctly? You want me to be your date for the charity event tomorrow night?” Isabella questioned, her eyes clearly showing her astonishment. She was enjoying her weekly lunch with her best friend Ryan, talking about tomorrow night’s event that the third member of their group, Anna, was throwing to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, when he threw her completely off track with his question.

            “What’s the big deal?” Ryan shrugged. “You don’t have a date and Tiffany and I just ended things so I don’t have a date to this event. What harm could it do for the two of us to go together?” He smiled charmingly at her, hoping his grin would win her over. His best friend had never let him down before, and the more he thought about it, the more he realized it would be fun to spend time with Isabella. She would be much better company than Tiffany, because while the voluptuous brunette was a beauty, too bad she didn’t have a brain cell in her head to spare. On the other hand, Izzy wasn't classically beautiful but she was intelligent beyond belief. His best friend since childhood had been one of the smartest people in their high school and graduated top of her class in college.

            “But…but…” she sputtered.

            “C’mon, Izzy, please? It’ll be more fun with the two of us together! If you were by yourself, you’d just sit at the table talking to those stodgy old businessmen or sit there by yourself taking mental notes of people for your research. You have a dress already, right?”

            She nodded, unsure what to say. She wanted to go with him; she would have more fun that way. That he was right about. Anna would be happy as well, since she would be able to focus more on the event she was hosting rather than worrying about her having a good time.

            “So if you have a dress, and we both know that you’re going because neither one of us would disappoint Anna then why not go together?”

            Why not? she wondered. Hmm, could it be because she was absolutely head over heels in love with her best friend who had no idea whatsoever. Could it be because she was eating her heart out every time he went on a date with another gorgeous leggy model, waiting for the day he told her he was getting married? Or maybe because she hated the idea of getting her hopes up from one simple platonic date, only to crash and burn again the next morning when she faced the same old boring Isabella “Izzy” Taylor in the mirror, the one who would never get the guy no matter how smart she was. It was hard enough to stop the kindling in her belly when she let herself daydream of what it would be like if he would see her the way she saw him.

         Then again, she pondered, it’s simply two friends going to an event to support their friend and her dress did make her look stunning if she did say so herself. And Ryan really did seem to want her to go with him…maybe he'd enjoy checking her out in her dress. Maybe it would lead to something more? She shook her head. Stop daydreaming and letting yourself want what you can't have, she chided herself.

            “Izzy?”

            “Sure, I’ll go with you. You’ll pick me up, right?”

            “Of course, I’ll pick you up around 6:15, if that’s okay with you? That way we will avoid traffic and still get there in time.” Ryan inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn’t sure why, but taking Isabella to this event felt right to him. Lately, even though him and Izzy spoke every day and saw each other several times a week, he found himself realizing that there seemed to be a spark between them but too afraid to actually explore where it could lead them. He wasn't sure if she noticed; Izzy tended to go for doctors and lawyers and not a former athlete turned high school coach so there was no way he would be her type even if he was to make a pass at her, right? Besides, why would he ruin a perfectly good friendship with his best friend?

            “Sounds good,” She glanced at her watch and stood up. “I should get back to work, I have a new client coming and I need to get ready.”

            “Another crazy one?” he smirked.

            “Yeah, you can’t live with them; you can’t live with out them. It’s part of my job. I guess I should be happy for the crazies. Otherwise I wouldn’t make a living.” She smiled and grabbed her purse. “I’ll talk you later on or see you tomorrow.”

            “Looking forward to it,” Ryan grinned as she walked out of the restaurant. He leaned back in his chair, mentally reviewing what he needed to do to be ready for tomorrow’s event. After a couple of minutes, he left money on the table for the tip and left. Somehow, he mused, as he made his way to the car, despite all his previous thoughts, he had a strange feeling that tomorrow would change everything between him and Izzy. Once a match is lit, nothing stays the same. Yet, somehow, even though he wasn't sure if the change would be for the better or for the worse, he was looking forward to his date and seeing how the possibilities played out.
xlovebecomesher: (Oh no you didn't!)

Pallywood: A portmanteau of the words Palestinian and Hollywood. It's used to describe by some pro-Israeli media watchdog advocates, among others, to describe alleged "media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and other Arabs and it's designed to win the public relations war against Israel."

Alleged or not, whatever the Palestinians are doing to win the public relations war, they're doing it right. Israel's downfall will not be Hamas but it'll be its poor public relation skills.

I'll see on Facebook posts:  "Free Gaza" or "End the Occupation" and hashtag "#GazaUnderAttack.  I'll see pictures of blood, of destruction, and warfare. Pictures designed to break your heart (mine included) and anger you to the point where you're reposting said articles for all of your friends to see the cruelty of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Never mind the fact that Gaza has been "freed" and "unoccupied" since 2005 thanks to the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law which states that the army must withdraw from Gaza and all settlements must be dismantled. Never mind the fact that Hamas for years has been sending rockets daily into southern Israel. Never mind the fact that many of the pictures that are posted have been proven to either be from a) the Syrian Civil War or other events in the Middle East or b) posed purposely to gain attention of the media. Not that it takes away from the heartbreaking images but let's at least attribute it to the right conflict.

Public relations for the win indeed since no one is screaming #StopTheRockets or #saveSdorot. Public relations for the win when many are okay with the rockets until they have to wonder what would it be like if Mexico or Canada was sending rockets into the U.S. But since that will never happen, it's not the same, I've been told.

I'm not saying Israel's innocent in this matter nor do I agree with every action that the Knesset (Israel's parliament) has taken. But there are both sides to every story; especially this one. What I am saying is the next time you read an article from either side, stop to think critically about it and check the sources before you spread information. Because in today's social media world, a simple act of hitting share can spread news like a wildfire whether true or not and at the end of the day, disinformation is helpful to no one.

Sources:
Pallywood
Israeli Disengagement 2005
Hamas using photos from Syrian Civil War

Note: This was written for LJ Idol Season 9 Week 18: Disinformation. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is something I've been following very closely this summer and this topic hits home for me especially as my father lives in Tel Aviv (so you can probably tell at the end of the day where I side).  I'm open for discussing this topic in comments as long as you keep it respectful. I do implore anyone who's going to read into this subject to keep an open mind as there's plenty of disinformation on both sides so please think critically about what you're reading.

xlovebecomesher: (Snoopy Novel)
Let me set the scene: It's 4 AM and I'm in Atlantic City for my bachelorette party. I just spent the night having a fancy Italian dinner (complete with lobster and shrimp ravioli), seeing male strippers with my friends and cousin thus accomplishing one of my bucket list items that I've been wanting to do since I was 12, I danced on stage with a stripper, I performed Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball on said stage (with all my clothes on, of course),  wandered onto the beach at 1 AM, took pictures on the lifesize Monopoly board outside of Bally's Casino, picked up strange guys on the Boardwalk and had fun conversations with them, met a basketball player who plays for the Washington Generals, met an Irish guy at a bar, and won $20 at roulette which I've never played before.
pic one
Me happy with all of my ones for the strippers along with a $20 that Stephanie gave me before the show.

pic 2
Reenacting the Titanic scene with my cousin on the lifesized Monopoly board at 2 AM!

Some could say I had a packed night! I could even say that! I was ready to call it a night. At 4 AM, I could go to sleep easily knowing I had an awesome night.

My cousin had other plans.

The conversation went something like this:

"Hillary, why would you go to sleep? It's your bachelorette party!"

"So? I'm on 3 hours of sleep! My feet are killing me! I'm done!"

"But what about all the guys we met! We could go back on the boardwalk and meet more guys!" Mind you, she's married. "Sleep is for the weak! You're almost 29 years old - who goes to bed at 4 AM?"

"I do!"

"You can sleep when you're dead!"

"I don't believe in that quote. I enjoy sleep, thank you very much and I might be almost 29 but I've done this crazy shit already. I want to sleep! It's 4 AM!" My best friend is watching us go back and forth in amusement. "Besides, I've done this all before. I've stayed up all night before, I've gambled before, wandered the boardwalk, I'm not missing out on something at 4 AM!"

"Then why did you even want to come to Atlantic City them if you did it all?"

"FOR THE STRIPPERS!"

"Seriously, Hillary... You're getting married! Stay up!"

"Thanks, Sherlock for pointing that out."

"No, really! You need to take this seriously! You're getting married and when's the next time you're going to be able to pick yourself up and go out to bachelorette parties and go away with your friends anytime you want? Soon enough, you'll have kids and then what? You're going to look back and say 'why did I go to bed at 4AM at my own bachelorette party?'"

"Actually, for your information, the next time I'm going to a bachelorette party is this coming Thursday in Chicago." I stuck my tongue out at her.

My best friend decided to chime in. "She'll also go away on vacation whenever I get married because I want to do something like this for my bachelorette party!"

"And besides, I'll do this when I want to. You can't scare me! If I have kids and I want to go to Atlantic City or Ocean City or Vegas or what have you for vacation with friends, that's why I'll have a husband to stay back and watch the kids!"

I've always been very adamant that when I have kids one day, I'll still continue to do fun things and not claim "oh, I can't do that anymore." My own mother was the mother that made sure to take me everywhere with her because she figured if she was going to have an experience, I should too. My sister had she not just given birth last month would have been at my bachelorette party despite having two little kids at home; same with another close friend who is 7 months pregnant.

"You say that now, Hillary, but just watch."

I gave in much to my cousin's delight.

pic 3
My 4 AM tongue out face surrounded by my cousin and my best friend before going back out (I changed into my PJs after this pic was taken - because if I had to go back out, I was going to be comfortable!). We were out until 5 AM when I finally put my foot down and said I'm going to sleep!

She thinks it's because her tactics worked.

Nah.

It's because at the end of the day, exhaustion and all, I'm never the first to leave a party and it's hard to go to sleep when I know my friends are out doing stuff!

(Besides, it took 16 years for my best friend and I to finally execute a plan to go spend a night at a hotel and go to the beach - who am I to miss out on this experience with her?)

xlovebecomesher: (Bats)
For all of her young life, she was bullied mercilessly. It was merely a fact of her life. Her name was Gertrude Ann Miller, daughter of one Patricia Jane and Bobby Joe Miller, the third youngest of eight children, and she was a victim (or statistic as she thought in her mind) of bullying. Never mind that she was the kindest of souls who loved everyone - people and animals alike. Never mind that all she wanted was a friend.  No one cared about kindness where she was from. It was all about the image and that she didn't have.

Her parents couldn't afford much in the ways of clothing and shoes. With eight kids running around, she was often forgotten about. Another fact of her life. Ashamed, she would go to school every day with hand-me-downs and beat up Mary-Janes. Her clothes didn't even come close to comparing to her peers and her peers made sure to inform her that every day.

She was bullied for her name. Gertrude wasn't a popular name (she loved Grandma Gertie but couldn't Momma have chosen a better name for her?) but even worse was being called "Dirty Gerty." It didn't help that they didn't always have running water so she lived up to that name more often than not with her frizzy, unwashed hair and dirt under her fingernails.

Her vision didn't help her any. Unfortunately every single one of her family members had myopia - hers being the worst. She spent much of her time blocking her face from the bullies on the playground in fear that they'd break her glasses. The last time her glasses broke, the teasing about her duct taped glasses was almost worse than actually having broken glasses. That was the last straw in her mind.

However, despite all this, Gertrude refused to let herself be beaten down. She had a plan.

The one thing that everyone overlooked in Gertrude was her brain. She was okay with that because if they noticed, her plan wouldn't work as well.

It started with a simple makeover magazine the summer before high school. She needed a new image and while she couldn't afford to buy everything the magazine suggested, she read up on every single tip they had to offer. She intended to apply all these tips once she had her hands on the tools she needed. Because what she couldn't afford...she stole. Who would ever expect "Dirty Gertie," the girl with no backbone, to steal something? She figured it was simple payback for all the store clerks who whispered about her and her family. Lipsticks, hair straighteners, curling irons, nail polish, clothes. She found a way to get her hands on what she needed. Beauty was all about having the right tools and no one was going to stop her from getting the tools she needed.

At one point, she overheard a clerk whispering about her older sister "Klepto-Mable." They blamed poor Mable for everything that went missing around town. She knew she should feel guilty and stand up for Mable and admit her wrongdoings, plan be damned. Then she thought about her pain and suffering and she shrugged her guilt aside. It was the price to pay to be beautiful. Slowly, that summer she learned how to straighten her hair and how to create beautiful, bouncy curls just like the curls that Sabrina Sawyer, the most popular girl in school had. She put her younger sister Henrietta, also known as Henrie, to work revamping her old wardrobe and incorporating her new clothes. She bribed Henrie not to share her secrets by sharing her goodies. This way Henrie was now an accomplice. If she was ever caught or Henrie decided to rat her out, she was bringing Henrie down with her. She thought she would feel guilty about her rationalization but as she slowly realized, as her plan to beautify herself came to fruition, she found herself thinking in a whole new way. If being cruel was the price to pay for beauty, she was willing to pay it and more.

That fall, she started high school. She quickly became the most popular girl in school that year with her bouncy curls and new fashioned clothes. She even changed her name, simply going by her more classy (in her mind) middle name, Ann.  She refused to wear her glasses, quickly garnering the attention of young boys who were willing to be seen on her arm and lead her around the school. Boys fought to be seen with her and she relished the attention. Ann wasn't known for being kind anymore or simply wanting a friend - Ann slowly became known for being the queen of the school, cold and cutting. She had a small clique, including one Sabrina Sawyer, who followed her every word and those who didn't follow her, paid the price. She was unmerciful in her cruel remarks, leaving many a peer in tears. While Gertie would have been quick to comfort a fellow victim, Ann didn't care. She spent her young life being bullied; it was only fair, she rationalized, that they had a taste of what she experienced. As she became more beautiful, she realized the less and less kindness and empathy she had for others.

When Mable ended up arrested one night midway through the school year, taking the fall for the jeans she stole, Ann thought she should say something to the police. Maybe she should take some of the blame. But what good would it do if the newly crowned most popular girl in school was in jail? So she remained quiet. And when Henrie decided to voice her concerns, seeing her sister change for the worse, Ann quickly shut her up with threats of blackmail. "How can one play the high and mighty part when you're just as guilty? Didn't you benefit from this?" she reminded Henrie. In fear, Henrie stayed quiet after that moment.

As time passed and she become more entrenched in her life as Ann, distancing herself from her previous life, she found herself looking back at her old life and wondering what her life would have been like had she simply stayed "Dirty Gertie." Sometimes she wished she could simply go back to being the kind, overlooked, bullied Gertrude. She then thought about her life now, the power she had with her beauty along with the cruelty she wielded like a sword, and realized a simple truth. By paying the price for beauty, she couldn't turn back nor did she want to. There was no way she was giving up on her plan and she had no regrets despite the number of people she hurt along the way. Regrets were for the weak, and that she wasn't.  Ann was here to stay.
xlovebecomesher: (Nap!)
5 PM Monday; Bathroom

One might scoff at the idea that chairs need support groups. At the very least, his owner sure did. The only reason John even found out about the never before heard about support group was because of the advertisement his owner found in the magazine he was reading. His owner spent a lot of time sitting on him and reading. "Marcie!" he hollered while sitting for the millionth time. "Get a load of this!  Some wackjob out there has created a support group for chairs! What kind of support would a chair need? It's their job to support my butt while I sit down!" He could hear Marcie tittering from the kitchen. His owner got up, threw something inside of him and walked away. Luckily, he left the page in the magazine open to the advertisement and he committed the information to memory:

Are you tired of:
being sat on?
Being taken advantage of?
Kicked?
Crawled on?
Dirtied?


Do you find yourself:
Depressed?
Sad?
Frustrated?
Resentful?


There's help for you!
Come to the first Chair Support Meeting and meet other chairs just like yourself!
Exchange stories, get advice, and relax!
First meeting will be held 5 PM Friday at the Civic Center

He intended to be there; if for nothing else, to save his sanity.

5 PM Friday; Civic Center

John made his way in slowly into the room. He never moved fast unless he was running but that was never a good thing if he was running. There were 4 other various types of chairs standing around in a semi-circle along with one recliner who seemed to be the leader of this group. It seemed awkward to him to see chairs in a room without people sitting on them. Coach, the sofa in his owner's living room, always told him that's because he's oppressed by the people and needs to change his mindset and stop letting people take advantage of him. Actually his words were as he left was, "man, you should stop letting people shit on you!"

He joined the group nervously. Chairs normally didn't like hanging around him depending on the day or smell but he refused to work today in order to prevent any smells. There was a rocking chair, a loveseat, a stool, and a computer chair. It seemed like a good group of chairs to talk to.

"Welcome," the recliner said, stretching himself out. "Make yourself at home for the next hour. Don't worry about people sitting on you here! What happens in this room, stays in this room. You should feel free to speak your mind and not worry about the people. We're going to go around the room and introduce ourselves and tell everyone one thing that bothers you. I'll start. My name is Ricky Recliner and I'm the organizer of this group. I started this because I was tired of feeling alone. People think I have an easy life because I'm a recliner. I'm big, no one messes with me.That's not true though. I hate being a recliner. Everyone expects that when they sit in me, they should be able to recline on me and make me stretch out. What if I don't want to stretch out?"

"Uh, hi," the rocking chair stopped rocking. "My name is Rocko the Rocking Chair. Rocking makes me dizzy but no one cares how I feel. And now, I've gotten in such the habit that it's hard to stop rocking."

The computer chair nodded in agreement. "I have that same problem except rather than rock, people spin me and I get sick. I'm Cora the Computer Chair. I get spun in circles so often by adults, by kids, by the pets and I hate it. Speaking of pets, the cats in my owner's house seem to think I'm a scratching post! I have threads hanging out because of those cats and no one seems to care about how I look! I feel so beat up and ugly! And meanwhile my owners talk about getting rid of me because I look so 'ugly'!" Cora burst into tears. "I try to speak up,"  she sobbed, "but no one hears me."

"I'm Luna Loveseat," the loveseat began but Cora's sobs got increasingly louder and the chairs scooted closer to support her. She tried again. "I'm Luna Loveseat and my problem is everyone forgets about me and never sits on me. They always sit on the sofa!" No one heard her over Cora's tears. "HEY!" she yelled, getting everyone's attention. "I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED!"  Luna looked startled after her yell. "Huh, that felt good to be heard."

"I'm Barry the Bar Stool. I deal with a lot of drunk people at my owner's bar. I hear all their sad, pathetic drunken confessions and then I get puked on. It's not fair! I'm stuck listening to these stories and this is how they treat me? Sometimes, when they make me mad enough, I'll find ways to knock them off their seats. My owner has no idea. He thinks it's because they're too drunk but I'll trip people when they're sober too especially the short people whose feet can't reach the ground and keep kicking me!"

And last but not least, the chairs looked over at him. "Um, I know I'm not the normal chair that comes to mind but my couch friend talked me into coming. He's all about 'power to the chairs' and 'start a revolution' so I'm here."

"Where is he then?" Barry asked.

"Yeah!" Cora cried. "He should be here too!"

"Um, he thinks support groups are stupid." Cora and Barry started to speak up but John interrupted.  "But he thinks it would be good for me because I take a lot of crap and he thinks I need to stand up for myself."

"Well, he's entitled to his opinion," Ricky said, "but I'm glad you're here and you're welcome here anytime. What's your name and your issue?"

"I'm John the Toilet and I think I have it the worst here."

"This isn't a competition!" Luna cried, stomping her leg.

"I wish I wasn't remembered so much!" he retorted. "I'd rather be you! People use me day in and day out and it gets to a point sometimes that I smell so bad that no one wants to be around me! I don't know what to do! True story: sometimes I stop working purposely just so that I can get a break but they keep finding ways to fix me! I can't get a break!" He stopped to catch a breath. "I never told any one that before, you know. Not even Coach."

"It won't leave this room,"  Rocko said and the others agreed. Cora spun around to agree.

"Hey, I get why they like spinning me around! This is fun!" Cora cried happily as she spun around again.

"It seems like you guys have a lot to say. What say, we meet weekly?" Ricky asked. The chairs nodded. "Remember, nothing leaves this room and remember that you are not alone." Ricky passed out his phone number. "I'm normally at home by the phone. That's where my owner leaves me all day. If your owner leaves you by a phone, call me anytime."

As John made his slow trek back home, gripping the number in the seat, he realized for the first time in his life, he really was not alone in the world. And somehow to him, knowing that there were others like him, left him with the most amazing feeling in the world.
xlovebecomesher: (Take Me)

She used to sit in class and stare at the back of his head and wonder what was going in his mind.

It wasn't like it was a spectacular back of the head, just your average back of the head with admittedly gorgeous hair,  but something about him drew her to him. The front of him was even better but she rarely got a good view of him from her spot in the lecture hall. She wondered where he came from, what he had seen of the world, who he knew. She wanted to know it all. Every class, she would tune out the professor and wonder if he would think she was stupid for repeating this class again or if they could be friends regardless. She would watch him and try to imagine conversations that they would have - if they'd be silly and irreverent, serious and thoughtful, or somewhere in between. She even pictured herself being ballsy enough that one class period, she would go and grab a seat next to him and they'd strike up a conversation and she'd say something so witty that he couldn't help but wonder about her the way she did about him. She never did have that kind of nerve though. She stuck to her spot in the lecture hall staring at the back of his head and dreaming of what ifs.

What she didn't know is that he noticed her. Oh, not in class. Sitting in the front row, he never did pay attention to the others around him. However, he'd sit there at the front desk of their dorm doing his work, and watch her as she'd walk in and out of their dorm with her friends smiling and laughing. Her smile captivated him. He'd wonder what it would be like if that smile was directed at him. What did he need to do to make her smile? He'd imagine himself striking up a conversation with her and she'd laugh at one of his jokes and he'd leave such an impression that she couldn't help but think about him the way he thought about her. He couldn't do it though. What if she didn't like his jokes? What if she didn't smile? What if she hated him?  He was relegated to simply sit at his desk job and watch her.

If they had it their way, the two would have have never met and this wouldn't be much of a story.

Luckily though, fate decided to play a role here.

One Saturday night, rather than being out with her friends, she chose to stay in and watch TV and recover from her long week of classes and work. She didn't think much of this moment then but later on would reflect on fate and timing. It so happened that as she was watching her show, she noticed that she never did pick up the package from the front desk that she received a week before. Shrugging her shoulders, she decided to make her way downstairs to the front desk and see what this package was all about.

Meanwhile, he was stuck on Saturday night working the front desk. He had plans to go drinking with his best friend but that had to be put on hold to be able to cover the desk shift. Luckily his friend was understanding and didn't mind waiting for him to finish his desk shift.

As she got to the front desk, there was instant recognition on both if their parts. They stared at each other for a moment wondering what to say, what to do. Do they let the moment pass them? She didn't know about him but she couldn't. She knew instantly if she didn't take that moment to say something, she never would.

"You're the guy in my Psychology of Learning class!" Way to go Captain Obvious!

"I am?"

"Tuesdays and Thursdays?"

"Yeah, that would be me. I didn't know we had a class together." She figured she wasn't that noticeable but having it pointed out to her hurt. He must have caught the expression on her face because he was quick to add, "I wish I had known but I don't tend to pay attention to people in class."

Knowing that made her feel a bit better. "Do you watch Scrubs? I'm in in the middle of watching it right now." She asked inanely. Way to be witty, she thought. Out of all the things I could talk about, it has to about how pathetic that I am that I'm watching Scrubs on Saturday night by myself.

"No, I never did. Is it any good?"

"It is. I'm really into this show right now. You should definitely watch it!" She gave him her package slip and he searched around briefly before spotting the huge envelope and passing it to her. They stood awkwardly staring at each other. "I, uh, guess I should go back upstairs. It was nice talking to you."

"Wait!" he called out as she started to turn away. "What are you doing tonight?"

She smiled and he couldn't help but smile in return. "My friends are out tonight so I'm just chilling and watching Scrubs. Exciting life, eh?"

He had to take a chance. He needed another smile, another moment with her. "I know I don't really know you yet but when I get off work in an hour, do you mind if I come upstairs and watch Scrubs with you? I promise I don't bite!"

She laughed; normally she used that line with her friends. It amazed her that someone like him thought like her.  "That sounds good! My dorm number is 215. Just knock!" She waved as she walked back upstairs before jumping up and down like a little girl. All of a sudden, she couldn't wait to find out what goes on his mind!

He grabbed his phone and sent a text to his friend as soon as she left. "Change of plans. Hope you understand!"

This entry was written for LJ Idol: Season 9. Topic: Open topic. This is based on a true story of how I met my fiance. Yes, I was actually watching Scrubs and struck up a conversation about Scrubs on our first conversation...but we never did watch Scrubs that night, or ever actually. We ended up watching The 5th Element and hanging out until 6 AM with two of our friends. I took liberty with the conversation we had as well as his thoughts - he did though spend 4 months watching me coming in and out of our dorm and couldn't find the nerve to speak to me. This is dedicated to my fiance, aka, the boy who I spent half a semester staring at the back of his head. I'm really lucky that I get to spend the rest of my life figuring out what goes on in that head of his!

xlovebecomesher: (Snoopy Novel)
INTERVIEWER: Good afternoon, everyone.  I'm Mira Monkeyston here with MNN Channel 5 News at 5 here today with the descendants of the famous Monkeying family. For those monkeys not in the know, on June 19,1873, the phrase "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" was coined thanks to Morris and Magdalena Monkeying who were the first monkeys to travel with their children, Miko and Millie, via barrel over Niagara Falls successfully. Since then, the Monkeyking family has established a competition every year to challenge other monkeys to outdo them and have more fun than...well... a barrel of monkeys! Some have succeeded like last year when Maddy Monkeysea and Mitch Monkeydue did a synchronized swim routine in a tub full of kool-aid. Others have failed miserably. I'm here today with Mona and Marco Monkeying, grandchildren of the late Morris and Magdalena. Tell us, how does it feel to be a part of such a legacy? It must be amazing to be part of such a famous family!

MONA MONKEYING: To be honest...

MARCO MONKEYING: As much as we love our family and we're proud of our ancestors...

MONA: We also hate it!

MARCO: Everyone expects so much of us! Oh, just because he's a Monkeying, he's gotta be so much fun to be around!

MONA: And we are fun to be around, we are as much as the next barrel of monkeys. But monkeys expect so much of us. 'Oh, you should be partying every day, hanging off chandeliers, dancing all night, bungee jumping,  flinging bananas...'

MARCO: And let's not forget the poop! Do you know how unhygienic that is? (Both monkeys shudder)

INTERVIEWER: (nods) So are you guys saying that you're not fun?

MONA: Not at all! I mean, we've done everything that we could to live up to our name but we enjoy the quiet life too. For example, I like staying at home and watching Law and Order: Monkey Unit and I like making new banana recipes. Just last week, I made an amazing banana smoothie with kale!

MARCO: Sometimes, I just like to read a good book. I find a good spot in a tree and just chill.

MONA: But no one lets us just...be. We're expected to be the life of the party! The other night, my friends wanted to mud wrestle in a giant barrel! They expected me to start....but can you imagine trying to get mud out of your fur?  I don't mind watching but it takes a lot for my fur to look this good! I got called a partypooper and a monkeyhater among other not so nice names! It hurt my feelings!

MARCO: Just because our ancestors were the original barrel of monkeys, doesn't mean we're all as fun as them but that also doesn't mean that we shouldn't be accepted just the way we are.

INTERVIEWER: (looking confused) I never thought about it that way but that's true. Is that the message you want to send to the young monkeys out there?

MARCO: Yes. (Marco turns to face the camera) Don't feel you have to be somebody you're not just because of your name or because other monkeys expect something of you. Just be your cool monkey self! If you're a quiet monkey who just likes to hang out around other quiet monkeys and eat bananas and talk about monkey news, so be it! If you're a partying type of monkey, go on and party with your bad monkey self! But don't let others expectations that you have to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys stop you from being you!

INTERVIEWER: Well said, Marco! (Mira turns to the camera and the cameramonkey who was signaling frantically to end it there). Well, that's all the time we have this evening. I'm Mira Monkeyston with MNN Channel 5 News at 5, signing off with an interview with Marco and Mona Monkeying that completely did not happen the way I expected (Shakes head and walks away muttering about fluff pieces and one day being on the real world news).
xlovebecomesher: (Bats)

The first rule of wedding planning: you don't talk about wedding planning to just anyone.

Marissa discovered that rule of thumb soon after she was engaged as she attended a holiday party crowded with friends, coworkers and acquaintances that she was familiar with. People swarmed her immediately tugging on her hand to see her ring. As they oohed and aah-ed over her ring, the questions kept coming:

"When are you getting married?"

"Where are you getting married?"

And of course the inevitable, "I'm going to be invited to your wedding, right?"

It was that question that always got her. No, she wasn't going to invite Greta, the 60 some year old secretary, who smelled of mold and talked to her flowers like they were her children on a daily basis. And no, she wasn't going to invite Tawni, her former sorority sister, who spread rumors about her in college. And she definitely wasn't going to invite Billy, her 3rd cousin, who confused her with her sister and half the time tried to flirt with her! It seemed just because she was getting married, people expected her to invite them to her wedding like she was their best friend!

She learned quickly only to invite people that she talked to regularly (that were sane of course) and make sure to only talk about her wedding to those people!

The second rule of wedding planning: pick your bridesmaids wisely.

In high school, when she used to doodle hearts and stars all over her homework assignments with the words "M.T.+ C.H 4eva" (Marissa Turner + Caleb Hobbes, her high school crush who never did go anywhere with his life and now was a father to 6 kids all by different mothers - she knew this from the Maury episode he was on!), she had planned out her bridesmaids. There was Callie and Mollie, her best friends as well as Naomi and Alison from her volleyball team who she just adored, and of course her sisters, Susannah and Alexa because they would kill her otherwise! This was her set list throughout high school and college.

Now, she was 28 years old and of course, Susannah and Alexa were still going to be her bridal party because quite simply, she didn't want to die! And she was still best friends with Callie so there was no question about that. Mollie ended up becoming a drug addict, Naomi moved to Argentina, and Alison and her had a falling out after she walked in on Alison in bed with her ex-boyfriend. There went her bridesmaid list!

Now besides Callie, Susannah, and Alexa, her bridesmaids included Leah, a friend who she met at work as well Sophie and Izzy, her sorority sisters. It's all about who's with you now, she learned.

The final rule of wedding planning, she discovered: after seeing a million and one dresses and meeting with even more vendors, the dresses and numbers and images will blur together until you can't remember if you're coming or going.

She didn't realize until closer to the wedding that all the vendors that she chose as well as the dress she chose: were all the ones she met with or saw last. The first vendors and dresses never stood a chance which was kind of a shame because she vaguely remembered liking the first cake she tried! It was red velvet...or butter cream...or chocolate. Okay, maybe she didn't really remember.  .

The sad thing, Marissa wondered as she stared at the invitations, if in 10 years from now if she were to redo her wedding day all over again, would she end up making the same decisions? Would the same people be invited? Would she still be in touch with Sophie and Izzy and Leah or would she wish the new people in her future life could have been in her bridal party? She knew from talking to Callie that Callie didn't speak to her maid of honor anymore and Alexa didn't talk to half her guest list anymore and it scared her to think she could very well not have the same people in her life.

She realized a new rule at that moment:

The first rule of life: It's all about the here and now.

xlovebecomesher: (Calvin)

"And now to present his work on his new findings about alien life on other planets, I'm pleased to present Dr. Josh Shapiro."

Josh nervously stuck his finger under his tie and tugged as he got up to present. Little known fact about him: as much as his work was his passion, he hated having to get up in front of everyone to speak and discuss his work. He would sweat and twitch and occasionally stutter. It embarrassed him to no end - he was a well known and respected man in his field, and he couldn't even express himself in front of his peers without feeling foolish. He slowly made his way to the podium, feeling everyone's eyes burning into him. Luckily, he made it to the podium without falling on his face. That was one of his biggest fears. He looked out into the crowd, catching a glimpse of his wife's smile. Unlike most times, her smile didn't make him feel any better.

"Hi, I, um, uh, I mean - my name is Dr. Josh Shapiro." He paused, staring down at his notes and speech. All the words seemed to blur together until he couldn't quite make out what he had typed. The crowd waited expectantly as he wiped his face. Could the lights be any brighter?

"I, um, have been working on, discovering what kind of life if any could exist on space. Re..Recently, my team and I have discovered evidence that...that there might be evidence that life could exist....." The words were dancing on the page.

"On...?" Somebody from crowd prompted.

"On Saturn...or at least on Saturn's moon. The moon is named Enceladus."

"And?" Another person prompted from the audience.

"And, what?" He stuttered. "Ummm, there might be a gravitational love triangle that involves Saturn and another moon, Dione that uh might be causing this but we think we have found a lake on Enceladus*."

"Huh?" The crowd wondered in unison.

"Yes, uh...sounds hot right?" He joked awkwardly. The audience started at him confusedly. "Our theory is..." His notes slipped out of his hands and magically disappeared. "Is it just me or is it getting hot in here?"

"Yes, it's hot," someone shouted. "And?"

"So that means take off your clothes!" He yelled as he started ripping off his clothes, The audience gawked as his wife slowly snuck out her iphone to record this.

"Dr. Shapiro! I've never!" The professor who presented him huffed in horror.

"Well, I've never tap danced naked!" He called back as he tap danced on stage now naked.

"You know, you're supposed to imagine us naked when you're up on stage to get you through your speech - not actually get naked!" his wife hollered in laughter as audience tittered in shock.

"This is more fun," he said. "Besides! You want to know how I really know about life on Saturn?"

"Yes!" The audience shouted in frustration.

He slowly shed his skin, revealing his true blue and purple skin of his home planet. "Because I am from Saturn here to take over your planet!" The crowd gasped as blue and purple Saturians invaded the conference hall armed and ready for attack.

Josh woke up all of a sudden, drenched in sweat. He stared around the dark room, noting he was back in his room next to his snoring wife. "I really need to lay off the vodka and twizzlers before bed," he muttered before falling back to sleep.


http://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/04/science/la-sci-enceladus-water-20140405 is where I took that quote from (as well as the idea of his speech). I just thought was a hysterical line and needed to include that into the story! This story completely is different than what I had planned out so I hope you like!

xlovebecomesher: (Heart on)

If you were to hear me speak, rather than typing, you'd note that for an American, I don't have much of an accent. I don't drawl my words like a southerner, I don't drop my r's like someone who lives in the Northeast, I don't have a midwest twang. I don't even have a true Marylander accent - I can even say wash correctly (ask many Marylanders and they'll tell you they "warsh their clothes in wooter").  In fact, I probably sound like any other typical American besides that I don't pronounce the words "Maryland," "Baltimore," and "County" the way they were meant to be pronounced. I can easily put those three words into one true sentence for you.

"I graduated from the University of Merlin, Bawlmer Counny." (translated: I graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

I also believe that the word aunt should be pronounced "awwnt." Otherwise you're saying ant, and my aunt is not an ant! That's neither here nor there.

You probably couldn't tell from my voice alone that I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Maryland.

You probably also couldn't tell from my voice alone that I'm bilingual. Nothing about my accent would give that away to you.

I was born to Israeli parents and I grew up surrounded with native Hebrew speakers. Little known fact: my first word was in Hebrew and my parents didn't speak English to me until I was 3.  I've spoken Hebrew my entire life and yet, I've never acquired the skill of speaking Hebrew with an Israeli accent. I'm blessed (or cursed) with my typical American accent. Growing up though, I struggled with the intricacies of the English sounds due to my parents. Until I was 10, I couldn't pronounce "birthday" correctly because "th" doesn't exist naturally in Hebrew. I sung "Happy birsday to you!" To this day, when I see a shopping cart, I refer to it as a "carriage." In Hebrew, the word "agala" can refer to a baby carriage or a shopping cart. While nothing about my accent would give anything away, speak to me long enough and you might pick up on hints that I was raised by non-native English speakers.

Interestingly enough, if you were to hear me speak Hebrew and if you're a native Israeli, it's glaring to you that I have an accent. One that probably makes me sound like the dumb American trying to practice basic vocabulary despite my fluency. My accent makes most Israelis rush to reassure me "Oh, don't worry, I can speak English." No true Israeli would sound as atrocious as me speaking the language. Some are quick to laugh at my accent. "Look at the American trying to speak our language, how cute." I get a kick out of proving people wrong because their reactions never fail to amaze me.

"How can you speak Hebrew?" I'm always asked in shock when I open my mouth to converse.  When I explain that my parents are Israeli, the next question undoubtedly is "Have you lived there?" and "How often do you visit?" The shock grows when I inform them that I've never lived there and I've only been to Israel once in my life and that was on a Birthright* trip back in 2006.

But then they'll turn away from me and continue speaking amongst themselves, effectively cutting me out of conversation. Despite my language skills, I'm never truly accepted as one of them. A native speaker who converses as easily and fluently as they do with vocabulary that certainly surpasses mine. I'm never seen as one of them but as an outsider who just happens to speak Hebrew.

They have a term for people like me in Hebrew: "chetzi chetzi" or half and half. This means:  A person with a mixed identity due to growing up with the influence of at least two different cultures, one of them being Israeli. Most days, I love having a mixed identity....

But some days? I wish I had that gorgeous accent and was truly accepted as one of them. Unfortunately, that will continue to be just that...a wish.



*Birthright Israel is a completely free 10 day trip to Israel for Jewish people between the ages of 18-26. I went to Israel for the first time when I was 20 years old.

xlovebecomesher: (Snoopy Novel)
The task: Create an over-complicated machine with multiple chain reactions that is designed to complete a simple job.

The prize: First place – $5,000 cash for each team member.

No one cares about second and third place.

It sounded easier than building a solar powered car or creating a portable levitating machine. Those were the tasks behind door number one and door number two respectively.

Step one: Find the team you believe will lead you to success.

Diana: Nerdy girl with frizzy hair who read romance novels like it was going out of style. Check.
Jill: A blonde, popular girl who couldn’t drink her soda and walk at the same time. Check.
Stephanie: An awkward, acne covered girl who giggled incessantly. Check.
Katie: One hot tempered girl without a kind word for anyone. Check.
Sophie (Elise? Sonia? Rachel? No one knows her name for certain): A quiet girl who blended into the woodwork. Check.

The dream team.

Step two: Find a task for the machine to complete.

For some reason, a team who had not a thing in common, quickly decided to create a machine that would feed fish.

Why fish?

Simple. A cat isn’t going to stay still long enough for a ball to travel through a maze to feed them, mice were scary to look at, and somehow they had the feeling that no one would let them tie a baby to their machine and let them drop a ball of food on them. Judges frown on child abuse. At least fish can’t escape, can’t cry, can’t really do anything besides swim and eat. They even named their team ‘Just Keep Swimming.’ It seemed appropriate.

What they didn’t take into account was fish abuse. Who would? They should have Googled ‘fish abuse.’ It seems PETA had a subcategory on their website to describe the horrors. Escaped fish told their stories little children sticking their grubby hands into their water and evil cats staring into their souls plotting their deaths. Such fish carried their scars for a lifetime and wanted to share their stories to prevent future generations of fish from being hurt.

But they didn’t.

Step three: Build.

Not one of Diana’s romance novels contained an engineer for a hero. They stopped to ponder that idea. Nerdy engineer sex, Stephanie giggled at the idea. Jill spilled her soda multiple times throughout the process. It’s hard to build something and drink diet coke at the same time let alone walk and drink. Forget talking and drinking. It takes more brain cells than Jill had as Katie was quick to point out. That one girl had some genius ideas but everyone forgot about her. They couldn’t even remember her name, let alone listen to her.

Step four: Compete

Amazingly, despite the odds, they built what was to be the most memorable Rube Goldberg machine ever in the history of the contest. 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, they created a veritable spiraling maze in which was triggered with a simple drop of a ball filled with food. A ball that traveled on a roller coaster of sorts through loops and turns while popping balloons on the way, ringing an alarm, triggering a miniature slot machine, shooting a piece of candy out of a toy cannon, and snapping a photo on a iPhone, before landing in the water and dissolving into a feast for fish. The girls were happy, the fish were happy; everyone was in awe of their creativity. It should have been a win-win situation.

Then the judges came.

They marveled over the construction. Stephanie and No name girl (Mary? Tina?) of the woodwork variety had a handy skill with hammers and nails. Jill, to everyone’s surprise, could make anything look eye catching. It did require putting down the diet coke. Katie was quick to make business cards and t-shirts so that they looked like a team. She wasn’t going to be seen with them otherwise. Diana pored over books that did not involve others happy endings and struggled to understand physics in order to help them create a design that would work for them. Money is a great motivator.

It worked. Of course it would work. They were set for success. The whispers rose in the auditorium that they were guaranteed to win the prize. The girls had their fingers (and toes and eyes and what have you crossed). Diana glanced over and noted all tens on the judge’s rubrics. It seemed all but set in stone.

Until that one judge pulled out his iPhone, an unholy gleam in his eyes…and not to take video of their magnificent piece of work. They didn’t like the look of him from the moment they saw him.

They should have read the rule book, the judge pointed out with a smirk.
Rule# 982.6: No team shall use live animals in their projects.

Rule# 1171.8: No live fish or pictures of fish allowed (as to not risk PETA’s wrath).

To shock of the crowd (and the fish, who for once, did not see this as abuse), they were immediately disqualified. The girls were frozen in their spots silent, their dreams vanished. Someone fainted. Sobs were heard from multiple people. Someone rushed to save the fish and in the process, knocked the bowl over. There was one fish casualty in the process.

First place went to the group who built a toy solar car. Boring.

After reconsideration of the rules in light of the fish casualty, the girls were awarded 3rd place –gift certificate for free ice cream for a year. No one cares about second or third place.

Step five: Try again next year. This time without the fish.

--------

Disclaimer: No fish were hurt in this process of writing this story. I fully support the plight of fish everywhere.

This was written for LJ Idol Season 9 Week 5: Build a Better Mousetrap. This is a fictional story based on a real life experience in which in 9th grade, my team and I were almost disqualified from a Rube Goldberg contest for creating a contraption that fed fish. We came in 3rd place after reconsideration and won a crappy CD case with the logo of our county on it. No joke.
xlovebecomesher: (Gangsta)
Every week, she wrote the school’s Quote of the Week (or as the school named it “Caring Message”) up on her board. Sometimes, she had the class discuss the Caring Message and enjoyed the conversations with her students. Other times, like today, she liked to leave the quote written on the board and have them analyze it on their own and come back to her at the end of the week with their interpretation.

Jose walked into the classroom with his headphones on listening to music. He glanced up at the board as he liked to do every morning. He would never admit to it but he got a kick out of the quotes. Ms. Malone didn’t know but he saved all of the quotes and spent time thinking about the words when he had a chance at home. This one though, he didn’t get.

“Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

He pulled his headphones off and stared at the words. “Ms. Malone, I don’t get it! What does he mean?”

“Yeah!” Corinne chimed in. “That sounds kind of weird.”

Gabby raised her hand. “Why would my back be bent? How do I bend my back? This sounds dirty somehow!”

“How can someone ride me?” Charlie spoke up and then stared in confusion as everyone burst into laughter. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. Don’t worry about it, Charlie.” Ms. Malone wiped a tear from her eye. “I want you all to think about this and when you think you understand the quote, you can let me know for extra credit this week.”

Mark came in and immediately Jose forgot about the words on the board. An hour later, he found himself in trouble along with Mark. Mark had convinced him to distract Charlie so he could steal the toy on his desk. “It’s not my fault!” he cried. “Mark made me do it!”

When Mark told him he should hit Gabby and pull her hair, he did. He wasn't sure why because he liked Gabby  but Mark said he should to get back at her for being a snitch and telling on them about the toy and as Mark's best friend, he had to do so. When he was given lunch detention, he shouted for all to hear: "It's not my fault! Mark made me do it! It was his stupid idea! Why am I getting in trouble? I didn't do it!"

During lunch detention, he made sure to cry out his innocence to anyone who would listen. “It’s not my fault! I didn’t take the stupid toy! I didn't hit her! It wasn’t me! I didn’t do it!”

After lunch, Jose came back in to the room and stared at the quote again. He still didn’t get it but something was nagging him about the words on the board. Mark came over to him and started talking to him and the words were immediately forgotten. Again, a half hour later, he found himself in trouble again along with Mark. Mark thought it would be a good idea to crawl under the desks to throw pencils and make fun of the other students and convinced Jose to join him. Jose hadn’t wanted to but Mark had reminded him that as his best friend, Jose had to follow him. “It’s not my fault!” he yelled again as Ms. Malone took him to the office. “I didn’t do it! Mark made me!”

“Just out of curiosity,” Ms. Malone questioned. “If Mark wanted you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

“No, that’s stupid!”

“What if Mark wanted you to try and fly off the roof?”

“I would never do that! I’d get hurt!”

“What if he wanted you to beat up someone for him?”

“Did that person do something to him?”

“No.”

“That’s stupid too! I wouldn’t do that?”

“Then why do you follow Mark and let him get you in trouble?”

“It’s not my fault!” he yelled again.

“No?” She arched her eyebrow.

He slouched down in the chair in the office and didn't respond. That quote was still bothering him and he couldn’t figure why. He was quiet for a few minutes as he thought about it. Several minutes later, he looked up, tears threatening to escape any second.

“I think I get it,” he whispered.

“Hmm?” Ms. Malone looked up.

“That quote…I think I get it.” He stood up. “I thought it was dirty first, like Gabby, but it’s not. No one can make me do things unless I choose to let them, right?” She nodded as he processed his thoughts. “I let Mark convince me that it was a good idea for him to steal the toy and I helped even though I didn’t want to help him. I let Mark tell me things I shouldn’t do and then I get in trouble. Am I right?”

“That’s right.”

Jose put his head down dejectedly. “I’m sorry, Ms. Malone.”

“That was really smart of you to figure out that quote. I’m proud of you for figuring it out. Remember Jose, you’re the only one who should be making decisions for yourself of what’s right and what’s wrong. Your parents and I can help guide you but at the end of the day, you need to choose what’s right and wrong. No one else can get you in trouble or make you do something you don’t want to do.”

“I know and I’m sorry.” He stood up to give Ms. Malone a hug. “Please don’t call my mom?”

“Not a chance, buddy!” She smiled. “I’m sorry but I have to tell her. However, I will tell her about the quote and how you figured out the meaning. At least you also got the extra credit for this week even if this was not the best way to go about it!”

He nodded. It was fair, he figured. Hopefully, his mom wouldn’t be too mad at him. After all, he understood the quote before anyone else! As he walked back to class to pack up, he decided he was going to write down the quote down and hang it up on his wall at home in case he forgot. Next time he was going to be in trouble, he decided with a smirk, he wanted it to be his fault!
xlovebecomesher: (Hug)

Despite all her attempts at setting multiple alarms, Anna still managed to oversleep that morning. She quickly brushed her teeth, washed her face, grabbed the first set of clean clothes she saw, grabbed a cup of coffee, and sped to work, praying she wouldn't be pulled over. Needless to say when she walked into her classroom, an hour late for work, she wasn't pleased. However, her students were happy enough to see her! A little too happy, she thought as she stifled a yawn.

"Ms. Malone! Why did the two penguins hang out?"

She set her computer bag down on her chair and pasted a smile on her face. "Why, Collin?"

"They wanted to duplicate!"

"What?"

"I said," Collin raised his voice louder. "They wanted to duplicate!"

Before she had a chance to formulate a response to that (and what would she even say to a 3rd grader talking about duplicating penguins?), Jose ran up to her. "Ms. Malone, your momma's so ugly that when One Direction saw her, they went the other direction!"

She cracked a semblance of a real smile as she sat down in her chair. "Jose! Gabby isn't going to like that you're making fun of One Direction!"

"I don't!" Gabby whispered to her.

"I know! That's what makes it funny, Ms. M.! Besides I'm making fun of your momma!"

Charlie danced up to her desk. "Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"

"Claws!"

"Claws who?"

"Santa Claws, that's who!" Charlie held his stomach and roared hysterically as if it were the funniest thing he had ever heard. It would be funny if she hadn't heard that one yesterday...and the day before...and the day before that. Charlie danced back to his seat singing about waffles, pineapples, and coconut llamas. That was Charlie for you.

She put her coffee down as her students brought their reading books over to her desk for their first rotation. As Corinne opened her book, she spoke up. "Hey, Ms. Malone! Did you know if you rearranged the letters in the word 'teacher,' you can make the word cheater?" Corinne pondered this thought for a moment and then smiled. "Does that mean all teachers are cheaters?"

Anna leaned back and suddenly found herself laughing at her students and their pure joy in telling her the jokes they memorized. They may not be the best joke tellers in the world and sometimes she wished her students memorized the rules of the English language as easily as they memorized their jokes but at the end of the day, she wouldn't have it any other way.

xlovebecomesher: (Zooey)
The other day, as I was unpacking my mother's room, I stumbled across a old piece of writing. It was dated November, 1993 and titled "An Addition to My Family." In it, 3rd grade me detailed about how I had recently been a flower girl at my cousins' weddings (which would have been May 30,1993 and September 5, 1993) and how I was so excited that I had new cousins in my family. I even outlined the order of my cousins. 3rd grade me loved naming us in order: Michael, Sandy, Brenda, Charles, Heather, Susan, and Me (3rd grade me might have also been a bit OCD!). I even illustrated my story...quite adorable! My mother started telling me then I should be a writer. This would be her refrain most of my life to this day.

In 6th grade, I had to give a book report. I don't even remember what the book was called or what it was about but it had a cat in it. I chose to present my book report dressed up as the cat...complete with cat ears and a cat tail that I made my friend, Shawna, walk with me to CVS to buy. It might of been my bravest presentation to date. I also wrote a story about an alien hedgehog in 6th grade that I remember being proud of. I did love hedgehogs and porcupines. In 8th grade, I wrote my own autobiography, illustrated and everything. I was going to be a writer one day, I thought proudly.

In high school, I attempted poetry like any other moody teenager. I even had my love poem published in the high school literary magazine so that I could profess my love for the gorgeous senior in my photography class. It didn't work unsurprisingly; however he was kind to me (probably out of pity). I then discovered the world of fan fiction and fell in love with the idea playing with characters and manipulating them to do what I wanted. I created alternate universes for the Days of Our Lives characters, diving into creating my first love stories and sex scenes. Sex scenes written by a 16 year old who had barely been kissed but spent her days reading steamy romance novels made for some fun writing and some awkward reading! I published my writing on EzBoards and FanFiction.net under the mature pen name of PrettyCoolPrincess (seriously) and waited with bated breath for reviews to come pouring in. I made friends, people enjoyed my work, and even for a time, helped to run a fanfiction review website where I anonymously reviewed stories. Those were the days. I was sure I was going to be a writer and people all over would read my novels one day.

Then college came and with that brought a move to Baltimore, new experiences, classes to go to (or skip), friends to make, a sorority to start,  papers to write (or not), and everything in between. I dabbled in writing Harry Potter fanfiction but relegated myself to mostly a reader. I kept a livejournal to keep me sane through everything but the creativity and the enjoyment I found in writing disappeared.  I would try to write and occasionally could churn out a short piece but nothing substantial. The closest thing to a story was my attempt at NaNoWriMo one year a couple of years ago - impressively (at least to myself) even though I never won NaNoWriMo, I churned out 41 pages telling the (incomplete) story of my father and his deportation. Most days though, I was stuck creating plots in my heads for stories untold.

Now, I'm 28. I'm a special education teacher who spends her days writing IEPs, progress reports, emails, papers, livejournal entries, facebook statuses, and Gchat statuses full of quotes from my students, while planning a wedding to a guy I call my Doofuslove, and still spending time with friends and plotting stories and character descriptions in my head and on scrap sheets of papers. I still tell myself that I'm going to be a writer one day. However, the first step in being a writer, I've learned...is actually to write...and writing is not something I do much anymore outside technical writing, academic writing, or journaling. Thus my foray into last season of LJ Idol to rediscover my love of writing and who knows what else along the way. I'm not sure who I am as a writer anymore - I'm not the same girl who illustrated her stories with such joy, the moody poet, or the fanfiction writer who enjoyed playing with her characters but I'm excited to find out exactly who I will be as a writer as time goes on.
xlovebecomesher: (Snoopy Novel)
I've seen this done over the years and I think every time "oh, this would be so much fun to do and it would be a great way to get back into writing." And then I never do it for one reason or another...oh I'll never win or what am I going to write about? Who's going to vote for me? I don't really have time for this. So I forget about it and I think well one day I'll do it or I'll just practice writing on my own.

Sign ups just opened for Season 9, last season. No excuse, Hillary. I always say I want to write...here's my chance.

Thus, I'm officially signing up for LJ Idol!

AHHHHH!

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