Writing101: Day 3…

Today’s assignment was a one word inspiration. I chose secrets from the list provided.  It jumped out at me because of a recent conversation I had with someone about keeping secrets.  He insisted that the only to keep one is to not tell a single person.  While I partly agree, it just doesn’t seem healthy to me.  We all have secrets: good, special, embarrassing, joyful, shameful.  We choose what to share with select others and what to keep to ourselves.  The worst secrets will eat away at you if kept inside.  The good ones should be told.  We should celebrate with each other.

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Communication in a modern world…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

How have we changed our communication methods to adapt to our constantly changing world and how can we stay connected to our friends, family, colleagues, others?  This is something I’m always asking myself.  I was never a huge “communicate by phone” person before all of these other methods became available and popular.  To be honest, outside of my work, it took me a long time to really catch on to communicating by email with friends or family.  I had always put this pressure on myself to write a certain amount and if I didn’t, I worried what the other person thought.  Texting, chatting, etc, are much easier.  No one is offended by a one or two word response.  Hey, it’s almost preferred!

However, it is much more challenging to convey the right emotion.  I’m notorious for misreading email.  I love when people include emojis — helps to make the message clearer.  I’ve had some funny exchanges when I ask for clarification.  😉

Lists of lists…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”

What a perfect prompt for me.  I love lists and have been known to create lists of lists.

Favorite places to create lists:

  1. Paper
  2. Todoist
  3. Evernote
  4. Email
  5. Rattling them off to other people

Most common lists I create:

  1. Grocery
  2. Home to-do items
  3. Work to-do items
  4. Short-term goals
  5. Long-term goals
  6. The ever famous lists of lists!!

It’s getting hot in here…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ring of Fire.”  Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

hot sauce

This is my idea of a little slice heaven.  I took this picture at a store in Boulder, CO a few summers ago.  I couldn’t even get all of their wonderful varieties of hot sauces into one picture.  I wish I could have brought all of these amazing bottles of goodness home with me.  This doesn’t even include fresh chilies, chili powders, wasabi, etc.  Throw those in and I’m truly in heaven.

I go out of my way to have spicy foods. It is a staple in my house and lives right next to the salt and pepper on the table.  I love it all from the mild heat that brings a layer of flavor and depth to foods to the intense heat that leads to a slight burn in the back of my throat, the beads of sweat that form on my forehead, the runny nose.  I have to admit, I just don’t understand people who don’t like spicy food.  There was a study recently that men who like hot food have high testosterone.  They really need to do a study on women too.  And heck, there have been studies too how spicy foods speed up metabolism.  Hot sauce is just another part of my weight loss plan.

High noon…an end to a memorable vacation.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “High Noon.”

It was high noon and I was boarding my flight back home. The end to our California vacation has come, but we will return. It was my son’s first time to visit and we truly packed it all in. Friends, family, hiking, Universal Studios, Santa Monica Pier, and of course time at the beach. I’m sure the locals thought we were nuts to be in the water (well…just our feet), but even with it in the mid-60s and windy, it was a heat wave to us. The New York winter has been a rough one, even getting some snow the last week of March. I had stopped trying to warm up. I’m now looking to the rest of April as a time for spring renewal, and I plan to spend as much time as possible outdoors, soaking in the sunshine.

Whoa!…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Whoa!.” (What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?)

So, for weeks, I’ve been meaning to write about A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner, one of the books I’ve read to meet my reading goal for the year.  This prompt reminded me that I have been procrastinating this post.  Why?  Because the most surreal experience I’ve ever had was Sept. 11, 2001.  I was working at the upper end of Manhattan at the time, just about 7 miles north of the World Trade Center. I had a perfect view of the towers from my office.  I was always there very early and was so that day enjoying the perfect weather.  As reports started coming in of what was happening, we looked out the window and could see the smoke coming from the buildings.  We went back to our desks to call friends and family who we knew were downtown and then go back to the window to see first one and then two towers missing.  As the day went on and I got myself home to my apartment in another part of Manhattan, the day became less surreal and more real and nightmarish.

How does all of this relate to the book?  Well, it takes place in two distinct time periods: in 1911 and 2011.  It beautifully weaves together two love stories, one of a women deeply affected by 9/11 and one during the height of Ellis Island.  The descriptions of 9/11 transported me right back to that day and the days and weeks after.  The smells in the air that lingered, the articles in newspapers and magazines.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:  “The person who completes your life is not so much the person who shares all the years of your existence, but rather the person who made your life worth living, no matter how long or short a time you were given to spend with them.”

Mint chocolate chip…

Really, is there any flavor better than mint chocolate chip?  I do love plain chocolate, vanilla, and anything with peanut butter, but mint is my all time favorite.  It’s cool and refreshing with bits of chocolaty goodness.  My enjoyment runs the gamut of fresh mint ice cream to my childhood favorite of Baskin Robbins – food coloring and all.  It reminds me of getting ice cream with my grandparents and sitting outside in the sun eating.

mint choc chip

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “32 Flavors.”

My little bit of mountain…

My plot of earth would be in the mountains somewhere — my happy place.  I wouldn’t do much with it as I would want to enjoy all of its natural beauty.  A log cabin – a fancy one, but not too big – would need to be built.  Maybe four bedrooms to accommodate guests, but small enough to feel cozy.  Most importantly, it would have front and back decks to be able to sit outside and breath in the fresh air.  I could enjoy all seasons in my mountain sanctuary, watching the leaves change colors and spring flowers bloom.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Plot of Earth.”

Only five foods…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Five a Day.”

You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

  1. Chicken: Preferably live so I can have eggs too.
  2. Greens:  Spinach, kale, etc.  I can’t live without salad.
  3. Chocolate:  It’s one of the main food groups, right??
  4. Hot sauce:  It makes everything taste better.
  5. Oatmeal:  I can make it for breakfast, grind it into flour for bread, etc.

The year was 1993…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

So, I dug through my bag and pulled out a quarter from 1993.  This was a year of endings and beginnings — highs and lows.  It was the year of my high school graduation.  So much excitement and anticipation of new things to come.  But I was so painfully shy at that age and didn’t have a lot of self-confidence.  My first semester at college was extremely challenging.  I had picked a very large state school, mostly for financial reasons.  I was just swallowed up in my 300+ person classes.  I had gone from having great relationships with my teachers, and dare I say a bit of a teachers pet, to being too nervous to even approach my professors or have more than just a quick conversation with my TAs.  I knew what I wanted to major in, but was convinced by my dad that another, albeit similar one, would be better for me.  For the first time in my life, I failed miserably.  Tough lessons and hard decisions came early.  A change of schools and majors, a graduate degree from an ivy league school and I am now doing what I love and exactly what I should be doing.  Thank goodness for personal growth and discovery in my 20s and early 30s.