Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Answers in Pictures

Here is something fun and entertaining to try. It's a blog idea I got from Joy's Updates. She got it from Chris who, in turn, got it from someone else.

It's called Answers in Pictures.

Here's how it works:
1. Go to
2. Answer the questions below
3. Type your answers into the Photobucket “search” box
4. Use only the first page of results to choose your picture
5. Insert the pictures and questions into your Blog

Here goes:

Who is your favourite band/artist?

What is your favourite movie? (I don't have one particular favourite. This is only one of many I like.)

What kind of pet do you have?
(I don't have a pet. Even non-answers came up with pictures!)

Where do you live?

Where do you work?

What do you look like?
(I kept getting "no matches" to my first few answers. Finally settled for this one.)

What kind of car do you drive? (I don't have a car, but I get to drive my husband's.)

What is your favourite TV show?

Describe yourself.

What is your name?

What is your favourite candy?


Please post a link if you choose to do this. I'd love to see what your "answers" are.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Smorgasbord - for Sunday Scribblings

(Look -> here <-- to see what this is all about. 92 prompts in one story.)

When we were wee
, life was like a chocolate sundae. Sweet, yummy and blissful. Perhaps I should say blissed out. Because I don't think childhood is rooted much in reality. At least, not the adult version of reality.

Fantasy was a mainstay of my childhood. Bedtime stories allowed my imagination to sprout wings and fuelled inspiration for secret identities where I could be the wicked stepmother or monster one moment and hero the next. No masks necessary.

I always met bedtime with anticipation. Bed was a place to go on a dream journeydestination; unknown. The following morning, I'd sit in the kitchen where I regaled the family with another new tale.

These stories always troubled my grandmother. They gave her goosebumps because according to her old-world superstition, she believed that retelling dreams was like bringing a fortune cookie to life. It would bring both punishment and reward, but most likely the former. A powerful force, that could change the course of an already slippery life.

My earliest memory of real storytelling was with my best friend, Dana. We had an ongoing storyline called the "Chronicles of ED" (our initials). The chronicles always began with the words, "I have an idea" or "I have a secret". They ranged from silliness about my shoes to the weightier issues of first love and the spicy details of a date. Anything was fair game and went on until one of us said the words, "the end". It didn't matter to me if Dana had done most of the talking in the past hour, as long as I got my 2 cents worth in, I was okay with it.

It's still a mystery how Dana and I became so close because we came from totally different backgrounds. I was The Town Mouse to her Country Mouse. Yet we were like two peas in a pod. We shared everything: our deepest darkest secrets, skin and hair tips, music; we even had our first crush on the same guy who approached us with the lame pickup line, "Hi, my name is Larry. What's your sign?" We shared a collector personality – collectors of quotes and snippets of overheard conversation – invaluable for our storytelling.

After college, as one last fling before beginning real life as adults, we went backpacking in Europe. We continued our storytelling tradition as fellow travelers by keeping a journal titled, "Hotel StoriesWith (or without) Baggage".

If I could stop time or go back with a Time Machine, it would be to this part of my life. Alternatively, if I could be an omnipotent monarch, my first act as Queen of the World would be to banish all greed and pettiness.

Dana planned to be a writer. I wasn't so sure what I would do. My own writing began with simple Dear Diary entries and I had continued keeping journals throughout school, but writing as a career was something else. If money had been no object, I would have made the decision to become a writer after our European trip. As it turns out, we said our goodbyes, Dana gave strict instructions to keep in touch, and we went our separate ways.

My first job was also my worst job. I was organizer of a hospital fundraiser and Christmas dance. I carry holiday memories of tuxedoed strangers kissing in boozy embrace and helping guide (carry) tipsy socialites back to waiting limousines. I'll never view society pages the same again. I couldn't continue.

I realized that my dream job was writing. So, I got hired on a news-talk radio station writing a little of everything. I got very good at summarizing what was in the news. Heck, I even did a piece about the inner life of pets.

I continued to do my own writing on the side and began submitting pieces to various online magazines. Through Google magic, Dana found one of them. She sincerely congratulated me on the publication. She, too, was doing okay with her writing. Then something happened – it became a competition between us. Who had the most/latest published piece; was it syndicated? I suppose not an uncommon phenomenon – but she became more nemesis than friend. The last straw was when she called me a thief for using an anecdote from our Hotel Stories journal. I snapped. As a child, I had dreamed of the books I would write. I didn't need her approval. I was a writer, period.

I don't want to be a passenger in my own life or fall victim of a misspent youth. There is no second chance. I've decided that rather than dream about who else I might have been, I should think about who else I can still be.

Every now and then, I get that sinking feeling I'll never write anything worth reading, but then it brings me back to my three wishes I shared with Dana way back in childhood.

That's why I live where I live - next to the ocean, pen, paper and laptop at hand.

Life is good.

If you made it to the end, congratulations!

Here's the list I used (original minus the 8 I've already used):
Real Life --- When we were wee --- Chocolate --- Why I live where I live --- My Shoes --- The books I would write --- Three Wishes --- First Love --- Earliest Memory --- Mystery --- Bed --- Music --- Two Peas in a Pod --- Hotel Stories --- With Baggage --- Thief --- My 2 Cents --- Who else I might have been --- Who else can I still be? --- The Inner Life of Pets --- Monster --- Fortune Cookie --- I would never write... --- Google Magic --- Instructions --- Skin --- If I could stop time --- Good --- Bedtime Stories --- Morning --- I don't want to be a passenger in my own life. --- Hero --- Nemesis --- In the last hour --- Punishment and Reward --- Anticipation --- Change --- Destination --- Kissing --- I have an idea --- Fantasy --- Chronicles --- Goodbyes --- Yummy --- Crush --- Troubled --- Superstition --- Dream Journey --- Inspiration --- In the Kitchen --- Deepest darkest --- In the news... --- Secret Identity --- Rooted --- Wings --- Ocean --- Second Chance --- Masks -- Simple --- The Town Mouse & the Country Mouse --- Spicy--- I have a secret --- What's your sign? --- Slippery --- Hair --- Wicked --- Phenomenon --- Decision --- Goosebumps --- Dear Diary --- I get that sinking feeling --- the end --- Writing --- Collector Personality --- Hi, my name is... --- Powerful --- First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job --- My first act as Queen/King of the World would be --- Hospital --- Money --- I Carry --- Misspent youth --- Competition --- Dance --- Holiday Memories --- Now & Then --- New --- The Date --- Fellow Travelers --- Passion --- Time Machine

Monday, March 10, 2008

Choice between writing and a million dollar site

I have an unexpected "work at home day" today, so I've been trying to make the most of it by taking forays into the blogosphere in between my real (making money for vacations) work.

Along the way, I came across some interesting sites.

The first one came via the Sunday Scribblings prompt this week and smtwngrl's post on her blog,

- Writing: My Life
- that led me to a post on her sidebar about Daylight Savings Time
- that came from a writing prompt on

*First 50 Words*
Somehow, today's prompt of "Arrogance" was irresistible and I had to jump right in with my own response.

Ever in need of creative inspiration, I have duly bookmarked the site.

The second site that I've bookmarked (but I'm not sure will be a keeper) came via a post on The Boomer Chronicles about a new site called wowOwow.

WowOwow launched this past weekend on International Women's Day. According to a New York Times article, it's supposed to be a site by and for women "of a certain age" (meaning over forty). The five founding members (Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Mary Wells, Joni Evans, Peggy Noonan) have recruited other high-profile media and showbiz names, including Candice Bergen, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Marlo Thomas and Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) to be regular contributors.

According to Ms Evans, in her welcome article,

WowOwow is a party — disguised as a website — where we meet for coffee (in our robes) and for cocktails (without any makeup) and even in the middle of the night (someone’s always up!). Here, we can talk to our readers, invite the most interesting guests, share experiences, tell tales out of school, exchange gossip and news — and make some of our own.

You can read the entire piece here.

From looking around the site, I'm not exactly sure how it relates to me. Nothing in the first batch of articles said anything new, revealing or all that interesting to me as an older woman.

Maybe, as Ms Evans said, it is just "a party disguised as a website" -- not something I'd be terribly interested in reading on a regular basis.

If I want celebrity gossip, I can find that elsewhere. Likewise, fashion opinions by the rich and famous and/or coverage of American politics.

By the way, the NY Times article states the founders put one million dollars into the startup of the site. I hope they get beyond the party image. Better yet, leave it for frat boys and sorority houses.

For now, I've bookmarked wowOwow and will be checking in to see how it evolves. But for my money, I haven't found anything to beat Ronni Bennett's, Time Goes By as an intelligent voice for older women (and men).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Experiment

Six billion people
Randomly placed on
Land masses
Separated by
Mountains, rivers, oceans and
Allow movement and contact.

Political beliefs
Difficult to control
Ever changing

One: Fear, hostility, aggression
Two: Curiosity, compromise, sharing, strength

One: War
Two: Peace

This bears further investigation. Notably: can the results be skewed to favour War or Peace by the introduction of other variables.

A Sunday Scribblings post

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Encylopedia of Me: Letters J through N

(Another Encylopedia of Me blog)

J is for

-- the month I was married thirty-five years ago

It was two months after I graduated university and one month before I got my first full-time job as a public health nurse. At the time, I had no idea the depth and breadth of my ignorance. I thought I did, but I didn't.

K is for

-- One of the qualities I value most in others -- along with sincerity, honesty and strength without bravado

L is for

- my maiden name (The word maiden sounds so anachronistic. Is there any such thing as a maiden anymore?). It's the name I use for my writing and for my online presence.

In Chinese writing, Lee looks like this:

or more traditionally,

L is also for Luna, my mother’s name (a loose phonetic translation from her Chinese name of Lahn Oy). Hence, she had the initials L.L. – just like many of the female characters in Superman (Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Linda Lee, Lori Lemaris, Lara Lor-van. . .). I know this because I used to read all my cousin Bob's Superman and Superboy comics.

M is for

Macadamia nuts
-- Something I'd never tried before I went to Hawaii. Along with papayas and pineapples, macadamias are inextricably synonymous with Hawaii in my mind.

N is for

-- the personality trait - not the city in France
I’m often accused of being too much of this (i.e. “you’re too nice” or “you shouldn’t be so nice”), as if niceness needs to be doled out in moderation.

This is not to be confused with sweetness, which I’ve also been accused of, but of which I heartily deny because too much sugar can cause tooth decay.

That's all for now.