Pinterest Roundup #2 – Disney

I really enjoyed yesterday’s post. I think I’ll try to include more creative writing/fiction posts in the future. I also can’t wait to get more into Tori Anderson’s story! Tonight, however, it is time for my second Pinterest round up. And since there has not been nearly enough Disney appreciation on this blog lately, I am going with a Disney theme. (Don’t forget to read the captions for my thoughts on the pins!)

Such a beautiful representation of Rapunzel!

Another artistic Disney piece. This time of Merida. Beautiful! I wish I had just a portion of this talent.

Not what you were expecting? Neither was I really, but it is Disney and I feel like Riley as the best sidekick ever deserves some appreciation.

Possibly one of the best hugs in any Disney movie Ever?

I know this one is super long – but it is so pretty. How many Disney movies can you identify?

It all started with a mouse.

And one more mickey post.

Mickey. A Self Portrait.

I can’t imagine a time when I will no longer enjoy a Disney movie

Keep Smiling!

 

Taking up a Challenge

I was so stuck on an idea for a blog post today that I seriously considered quitting Nablopomo. Yes, with only 12 out of the 30 posts left to write (definitely over half way done) I was going to let a lack of ideas stop me. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have plenty of ideas written down in a notebook. The problem is, that all of those ideas take a bit of effort. And I seem to have a lack of motivation to actually work out any of the ideas. So, if I’m honest, not so much an ideas problem as a motivation problem.

Before giving up, however, I decided to scroll through my daily feed to see if any prompts or writing challenges jumped out at me. Go figure, one did. So I will not be walking away just yet (ask me how I feel tomorrow). Today I am going to take up The Daily Posts’ weekly writing challenge: “Characters that Haunt You.” The challenge is to bring to life a character that has been floating around in your imagination for the last little while. And then after including a description, you have to write that character into a scene. Now, I feel like this challenge requires a bit more than an hour or two of contemplation, but that is all I am going to give myself. It won’t be super polished but I think that’s how I want it to be.

So without further ado I would like to introduce you to: Historia [Tori] Anderson. <Note: I actually haven’t fully settled on her name yet, another possibility is Evvie Anderson. For the purposes of this exercise I will use Tori]. Tori is from a fantasy world (as yet unnamed) where stories are born, hunted and created. This world is populated with elves, dwarves, goblins, etc. but not humans. I haven’t yet figured out what type of character Tori is, though I’m leaning towards something along the lines of a cross between an Elf and a fairy (an Elrie?)

Historia ‘Tori’ Anderson (Character Profile)

Height: 5′ 1′ (just on the shorter size of average for a female Elrie)

Weight: 90 lbs (she’s tiny but not abnormally so for an Elrie – though they do feature a diverse array of body sizes, shapes and weights)

Gender: Female

Age: 23 next month (which month is next month you ask? not sure yet)

Hair Colour: Deep Chocolate Brown (medium/long length)

Eye Colour: Emerald Green

Other identifying features: Tori, like many members of her (species? race? not sure the right word here) has slightly pointed ears. She is slightly built but is in good shape and is more muscular than she appears. She has a tiny birthmark or freckly on her cheek just under her left eye. She has long, delicate, tapered fingers.

Brief Bio: Tori Anderson is a young Elrie just out of Finder college. Tori has a life long dream of becoming a Story Finder. You could say that “finding” is in Tori’s blood as her family history is peppered with famous finders such as non other than H.C. Anderson himself (and you thought he was a human writer of fairy tales). Though she has a family history of finders, neither her parents or grandparents went into that profession. Her mother is a caretaker specializing in fantastical beasts (where some girls dreamed of riding ponies, Tori dreamed of riding unicorns and griffons). Her father is an academic whose life goal is to write a definitive history of the “break between the worlds.” (Just what exactly is that, you may ask? I’m not telling. “Ha, I bet you don’t actually know.” Wrong. In this instance I definitely do know. But that story has the potential to be a major plot point which I am not going to give a way here.) Tori excelled in her classes at the college but, unfortunately her good grades haven’t been quite enough  and her family history doesn’t give her any advantages. She is currently working as a “cultural understanding facilitator” (a.k.a tour guide) with ‘The Agency’ – the organization that employs the most freelance Story Finders in the world. She knows she can be a top notch finder, she just needs to convince The Agency to hire her and give her a chance. At this point she’d even take the position of intern (which everyone knows means ‘the girl who gets the coffee.’

Now for the scene. I have elected to write up one of the selected scenes instead of coming up with one unique to Tori’s world.

———

The Scene: The public Library. On a Wednesday.

He was sitting in her spot. Second floor. Corner furthest from the stairs. Small desk. Right in front of the only window with (in Tori’s opinion) the best view of Grimm park. Far enough away from the washroom that you weren’t annoyed by the sound of the toilet flushing through the ancient walls. But close enough to allow for an iced tea habit that always got a bit more extreme during a long day at the library. And most importantly, right in the middle of the fantasy and fairy tale section. The best desk in the entirely library. The spot she sat in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. And he was sitting in it.

Not only was he sitting in her spot. He was sleeping. Sleeping! If he were using the desk to read, or work on research or writing, or… or anything else really. But sleeping?! It’s not as if she was irrationally attached to the spot. It was a public library after all. Which meant that members of the general public (who were not familiar with the occasionally peculiar habits of library regulars) were welcome at any time of day. She often came up the stairs to find people sitting in her spot. But, today of all days. And to have to relinquish her spot to him of all people.

Jared Bartholomew Hinkle. Theo to his friends. (J-Bart to me). Pretentious, spoiled, son of one of the most wealthy and prominent families in town (or the world if you choose to believe the multitude of family history plaques scattered around town). Voted most popular, best looking, and most likely to succeed in every single school yearbook ever (and he knows it).

And The Agency’s newest golden boy. Hired right out of college. I out-scored him on every single Finder test (but one). He gets a finder job right out of college. I get to work as a tour guide. Yes, I should be grateful. Not many other new graduates get such a good starter position at The Agency. But I don’t want to be a tour guide. I want to be, have always wanted to be, a Finder.

If I did better than him on the tests then why did he get the job? Was it because I’m a girl? Or because he comes from a rich and well established family? I wish. At least then I could be filled with righteous indignation. In truth, that one test I didn’t beat him on? It was the most important one. The one that proves you not only have the book smarts but can put them into practice. J-Bart aced it. And I choked. I didn’t fail or anything. I got the second highest grade in the class. But the one thing I missed was crucial. It’s the one thing I can do in practice but always miss under pressure. And the one thing J-Bart never misses. And, if I were to be honest with myself, it’s probably the biggest reason why I can’t stand him.

And now he is sitting no – sleeping – in my spot. The place I came to forget about my failure. Could this day possibly get any worse?

———

Okay – so that was incredibly fun. I’m feeling like I should spend more time actually writing the fiction that is brewing in my mind. Thoughts? Did you like it or should I stick to other topics? I would love to hear your opinion!

Keep Smiling!

November NerdBlock

So, today’s post comes to you primarily in the form of a vlog (with this bit of an explanation of course).

As I mention in the video, I signed up for something called NerdBlock about a week or so ago. I enjoy monthly subscription boxes and have been wanting to try out the American based Loot Crate for awhile now, but I couldn’t decide if the cost of shipping to Canada made it worthwhile or not. Then, while searching around, I discovered Nerd Block, which is a Canadian service. I think it works out to a similar price, but I decided that it was worth a try (and the fact that a t-shirt is included each month makes the price very reasonable).

I liked this months Block, so I think I’ll stay signed up for next month and we’ll see how it goes from there! I hope you enjoy the video I made of the “opening.”

Keep Smiling!

Christmas Craft and Gift Sale

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today I had a Christmas Craft and Gift Sale with a group of other people (mostly from my church). There were people who sell from catalogue/house party companies such as Epicure, 31 Bags, Stampin’ Up and Steeped Tea (that one would be me). There was a travel agent and a person who sells amazing trays and other art made from re-purposed materials such as wooden pallets. We also had various crafty, handmade items such as Bath sugars, Warm/Cool wheat bags, crocheted items etc.

Though I didn’t sell as much as I could have (or probably would like to have) it was lots of fun. It was the first year we’ve done it (maybe there’ll be a repeat, maybe not) and it was a fun afternoon of socializing and, for me at least, talking about tea which I love to do. I did make a few tea sales and have the potential for a party or two in the next couple months. Lots of fun!

I also bought myself a gift (even though my moneys should be going towards Christmas presents and other stuffs). Remember those trays and artsy items made out of re-purposed pallets? I bought a tray. It is beautiful. I have always loved trays and I’ve always been on the lookout for one that fits the idea I have in my mind. I don’t know if this one is exactly it, but it is pretty close. It is Red and has beautiful Black Handles that look like they may have been taken from an old piece of furniture. I can already picture it sitting on my coffee table (or maybe dinner table) in my future apartment or home. I’ll try to post a picture of it in the next couple of days (either here or on my Facebook page – which you should go like if you haven’t already)

Overall it was a long, but good, day. And I am that much more ready for it to be Christmas!

Keep Smiling!

p.s. If you’re wondering – here is the facebook page for the person/company that made my pallet.

Christmas Sale Prep

I spent the day today prepping tea and other sale items for the craft/catalogue and other miscellany sale I am having with a few friends tomorrow.

This is an idea of what these preparations looked like:

Today's Worstation

Today’s Worstation

After finishing up preparations and getting my things ready for church tomorrow I snuggled in to bed… only to realize I’d forgotten to put some sale items at the front door. So downstairs I went (the church orchestra is playing tomorrow so I have to be up really early and can’t be trusted to remember anything tucked away in the closet).

I then snuggled back into bed… only to realize I’d forgotten to post this blog. I decided earlier today what I would say today and then I guess I just counted it off as done. That was a close call.

Keep Smiling!

Austen Adaptations

What do you think of Jane Austen adaptations? There have been many over the years, and some that may not be technically adaptations but seem to bear a lot of similarities. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Clueless, that episode where wishbone does Northanger Abbey, that episode when Wishbone does Pride and Prejudice… More recently of course there are Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Now, I admit that I haven’t read all that many Austen books. I have read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. And I haven’t read any of the modern Zombie and Monster adaptations (I’ve been kind of refusing on the principle that they are basically the same with just a few words changed. Feel free to try and convince me otherwise). I do like movie adaptations of some of the books, however, and I have enjoyed the Graphic Novel adaptations I’ve read.

This summer I discovered a YouTube adaptation (produced by Hank Green) of Pride and Prejudice and I absolutely loved it. So, this is me recommending that you go and watch the series. I will even put a link to the first episode right here.

Now, you may be wondering, if I discovered this adaptation in the summer why am I mentioning it now? That is a good question. There is a new adaptation of an Austen novel began recently. I am thoroughly enjoying it. New videos in the series are posted every Monday and Thursday and it’s currently 12 episodes in. The series is called Emma Approved and, as you might have guessed, is an adaptation of the novel Emma. I can’t comment on how close it is to the book or whether it has the same feel since I have not yet read Emma. But, as someone new to the story, I’m happy with it and find myself making sure I check every Monday and Thursday.

So – here is a link to the first episode of Emma Approved. I think you should seriously consider checking it out.

Keep Smiling!

 

Pinterest Faves #1

Okay, so I haven’t really been on pinterest much these past couple weeks, but I thought I would open up my “Random Things I like” board and show you some of my favourite pins. Ideally I would like this post to be a “things I like on pinterest right now” but maybe eventually I’ll work towards that. Maybe I’ll also do a “geeky pins I’m loving.” (Also feel free to come over and follow my boards on pinterest, then you can see all the things I pin. Be warned I go through spurts of heavy pinterest activity followed by spurts of next to nothing.)

So… from my “Random Things” board (in no particular order). <psssttt… see the captions on the pins for why I like them>

I have seriously felt like this a few times the last couple weeks.

Because villainous Disney women sitting around a table playing poker together that’s why. Your argument is invalid.

Would you be standing there waving if that many dinos were quickly approaching? I think not! Then again… maybe that guy is a dino trainer and he keeps dinos for pets like we keep dogs, cats and hamsters…

I live in a world of discoveries… my family calls it messy. I disagree (most of the time… not when I really need to ‘discover’ my car keys and can’t…)

Living in anticipation of the day I do a gravity check and gravity fails. I can’t wait to be the one that discovers the art of flying in this way. Because as we all know (or you would if you had read any Douglas Adams and you really should go do that) that flying is throwing yourself at the ground and missing.

The number of days when I think these types of thoughts. Sometimes I even feel that I would be more productive working in a blanket fort. I mean, you spend time creating your shelter/work space for the day, bring into it only the things you will need, add some comfy pillows and such to sit on, some cozy blankets, a pot of tea… mmmhh… on second thought, forget the productivity and just read a book or take a nap!

This was fun! As I was selecting pins, I skipped over so many others that I thought would work better on a “themed” board. So stay tuned for those. As always, I did not create any of these pins, to find the places I pinned them from click on the picture and (hopefully) it will direct you to the original source!

Keep Smiling!

Retail Who

As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts, as of the end of October I am back working in retail. I work at a ladies clothing store. It’s the same company and manager I’ve worked with in the past but a new location (which I am enjoying). One of my tasks today was dressing some mannequins. I had finished dressing three of the four mannequins on my to-do list and was nearing the end of my shift when I started in on the fourth mannequin. Now, the other mannequins came together alright but by the time I started the fourth, I was completely out of ideas (also it was the end of the day so I was getting tired).

This post isn’t really about dressing mannequins, but the setup is necessary for the story I am now about to tell. The story about the most amazing interaction I had in the store today (I would say interaction with a customer but that description doesn’t quite fit for reasons you will soon see).

So, I am in the middle of dressing a mannequin and it really is not going well when… up comes a young boy and his brother. Now, I had seen the two of them come in with their mother and the oldest had come right up to our front desk to ask if someone could help his mom pick out an adult, woman’s winter coat (his words not mine. As you will see, this kid new his stuff). I mostly forgot about them since another associate was helping with the coat search, but after awhile the oldest came over to see what I was doing, and apparently, chat. What did he want to talk about you may ask? Doctor Who.

Picture this. I am over to the side of the store dressing a mannequin and the boy comes over and asks “have you seen the episode of Doctor Who where the mannequins like that one come to life?” I kid you not, those were pretty much his exact words (give or take word order etc.) I responded, “Yes I have actually. ” Now, I’m pretty sure my response shocked him a bit (I wonder how many other store clerks he’s asked this question only to receive a “no” in response). After that we talked about the mannequins in the episode for a bit. Me: “Didn’t those mannequins have heads though?” Him: “Well…” Me: “Oh, I guess some didn’t.” Him: “No some did but some didn’t. There were different kinds. And what about when the one mannequin got it’s arm torn off?” Me:”And then later on tried to kill the Doctor?” Him: “Yeah that one. And then later her boyfriend turned into the living plastic.” Me: “Yeah Mickey.” Him: “Yeah, from a garbage can that had the arm in it.”

The Doctor Who related part of the conversation pretty much stopped at that point and we started talking about what I was doing. And, since I was having trouble putting together an outfit for the manni, he began offering suggestions. Now, you may be thinking that the suggestions of a 10 (or so) year old boy could not have been that great. In that you would be wrong. Other than the fact that I couldn’t do some of the things he suggested (didn’t work with the table etc.) he had some great ideas. The best was after I told him what I was trying to match the colours with and he said, “this outfit would look great with a green do up the front sweater but you don’t seem to have one in the right colour here.” Um…yes kid that is exactly what I was thinking before you came over.

I seriously wish I could have taken his (and his brothers) suggestions. Then I could have told everyone that two young boys helped put together the best outfit!

Altogether, the conversation was pretty much fantastic. Made my day.

Keep Smiling!

Taking Applications?

I work in retail. I did ballet for 10 years. Some days I wish I could fire my feet and hire new ones.

I mean seriously. Though my feet technically do everything in the job description: stand, walk, balance etc. They no longer do the job all that well and they definitely do not work well without copious amounts of complaining. Now, to be fair, when I am not working in retail they do their job not too badly with minimal amounts of complaining (I say minimal because it is rare that they are complaint free). But as soon as I start working retail again…

I got to wondering what a job posting for new feet would look like (yep, that’s where my brain goes). Here’s what I came up with.

Wanted: feet, size 6.5 (with ankles). (full time). Must have experience (walking ability required). The job involves large amounts of standing and walking. Dancing ability non-negotiable. Must be willing to commit to 24 hours a day (overnights generally “free” but overtime may be required and must be available at a moments notice). Must be willing to do the job with minimal complaints and with as little pain as possible (those with tendonitis or plantar facititis or really anything that ends with “itis” need not apply). Must be willing to work with or without socks and shoes depending on the circumstance. Ability to work in heels preferred. Other tasks may include biking, swimming, running (small amounts), jumping (also small amounts) and standing on tiptoe (the rest of the body is not super tall). Must be flexible and willing to take on new responsibilities as needed. Non-smelliness an asset. Job begins immediately upon hire.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I may complain, but I am thankful for my feet. I am thankful I can walk and swim and bike and stand and balance (for the most part) and dance. I am so thankful for the ability to dance. I love that I can buy lots of cute shoes for great deals because I have relatively small feet. I just wish they wouldn’t hurt so much at the end of the night.

Keep Smiling!

(Crossposted to Blogher)

100 Years Ago: A Post for Remembrance Day

"Tending to a Grave" "Two Canadian soldiers care for the grave of a fallen comrade. White stones, a wooden cross, and the deceased's helmet act as grave markers." George Metcalfe Archival Collection. warmuseum.ca

“Tending to a Grave”
“Two Canadian soldiers care for the grave of a fallen comrade. White stones, a wooden cross, and the deceased’s helmet act as grave markers.”
George Metcalfe Archival Collection.
warmuseum.ca

I look out my window and wonder what this world was like 100 years ago.

There were no computers, fewer cars, no cellphones, no internet, no televisions. Letters were popular, as were newspapers and radios. Snapshot cameras were just beginning to make an appearance in the general population.

And there was no memory of the events we think about on this day. War itself was not new. But people had no knowledge of what “modern war” entailed.

100 Years Ago.

Was there conflict in the air? Were the signs all there? Did they recognize the signs at all? Maybe.

Perhaps they worried that war was coming. Perhaps they watched the developments in Europe with a sense of unease.

If they could have seen the new realities the war would bring…

November 11, 1913 – what did you know?

100 Years Ago.

You could not know that over the course of the next 5 years, millions of men would die. Millions more would be wounded. Fathers, brothers, sons, friends. They would leave your homes; never to return again.

You never imagined that in 1 year, or 2 or 5 you would lie cold, alone and scared in a field in France. Far from your family. far from your sweetheart. Would they be alright? Would they remember you? 

You planned to become a scientist. A writer. A Father. A teacher. You can’t know that you won’t live to see your 20th Birthday. Let alone 30 or 50 or 60.

In less than 1 year, 1914, a war will start that will forever change Your World. Your men will never be the same (even those who make it home). Your women, your children? They may not have fought with guns and shells, but there World is forever altered.

The lives they could have had, should have had, lie broken and abandoned in the muddy fields of France. What do shattered dreams look like? I’ve seen pictures; read accounts. You soon will know firsthand.

But 100 years ago nobody knew.

Nobody knew that in a year, “Home by Christmas” would be a hope and dream quickly fading as the reality of trench warfare began to set in.

Do you know of Ypres, have you heard of Flanders? Dear friends, in just one year these names will begin to haunt your thoughts and your nightmares.

Ypres, Arras, The Somme, Passchendaele, The Marne. Right now these are places you may have heard of. In a matter of years I can almost guarantee you will have heard of them. They stole your hopes, your dreams, your future, your men, your boys.

Within 5 years you will wish you had never heard of these places. You will wish you could go back. You may have conflicting feelings about the war you signed up for. Camaraderie felt and even enjoyed, coupled with loss of friends, family and innocence on a scale few experience in their lives.

You dreamed of being remembered, by your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Maybe you dreamed of your legacy. You never dreamed that in 100 years strangers would hear (or see your name) and remember. But only  your name. As a combination of letters etched in a stone.

You aren’t remembered for the book you wrote or your contribution to science. We will never see your paintings. Never hear your poetry. You never became the great leader you dreamed of. You never made an impression on the lives of countless young people through your talent as a teacher.

You are remembered because you fought for your country, for your children, for your ideals. Maybe you fought because you had no choice. Whatever your motivation before you left, whatever kept you fighting once you were there. Whatever the last thoughts that crossed your mind. You are remembered because you fought. And you didn’t come home. Now your name is etched on a monument of remembrance.

You never dreamed that this form of remembrance, that of only your name, would be more than some of your fellow soldiers would get. That boy in your unit, you know the one, he signed up under a fake name, a fake age, so that he wouldn’t be sent home. He died under that name. His family never got the telegram. Will never know where he lays.

Or what of the grave I am viewing right now? The one that is labeled “unknown.”

100 years in your future, I am a historian. I sit in the comfort of my home and I think about you. We speak of remembering. We ‘remember’ the day in November 1918 when the guns were finally silent. We ‘remember’ but we’ll never really know. The relief you felt? The sadness? The grief for your friend who fell hours before (or after) the guns officially went silent? The hope that maybe you had achieved the impossible?

You had survived. And maybe, just maybe history would see what you hoped. That this hell you had survived would be the war to end all wars. Never again was the cry heard. The desperate hope of your heart.

But it wasn’t to be. In less than 25 years the guns would begin again. You remember as you watch your children don their uniforms. Familiar and yet unfamiliar. Normandy, Dieppe, St. Nazaire, the Falaise Pocket. New names etched onto old monuments. This time, there are no allusions that the peace will last.

The wars continued to this day. And so, for two minutes, one day a year, we ‘remember.’ We think about all you did. We think about why you fought. We pause ‘lest we forget’ that you fought and you died for a hope of freedom and a ‘never again.’  What do shattered dreams look like? The fields of France in 1918. The beaches of Normandy in 1944. The single casket that travels down a highway in 2009.

We remember a century of war speckled with brief moments of peace. November 11, 1918 what did you remember? Who did you remember? Who did you mourn?

Did you remember what you were doing November 1913, before the Great War came and ushered in vast fields of shattered dreams.

Lest we Forget.

(Note: in this piece I mostly talk about the men who fought – I am also aware of the women who have fought and served in some capacity in both on the war front and the home front. This is just the way I chose to focus the piece today.)

(Crossposted to Blogher)