26 December 2011

Dystopia Utopia

Yeah, I know it's the holiday season and all that, but this is my week for Reading Monday and I've been wanting to do a dystopian list so here it is!

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Had to start with this one, of course. If you haven't heard of it, you've probably been in a media-proof hideout for the past 4 years or so. The main premise is that in a future USA, the country has collapsed and been rebuilt into a Capitol surrounded by twelve districts, each of which must provide two "tributes" each year to take part in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death that's sort of like Survivor meets Lord of the Flies. Katniss takes her younger sister's place in the Games in order to protect her... and that's when everything starts going pear-shaped.

Declaration - Gemma Malley

What if scientists actually figured out a way to live forever? Massive overpopulation, right? Well, not if people are forbidden to have children... This chilling British trilogy takes off from this starting point and focuses on Surplus Anna - a girl (just one of many) living in a Surplus home and told that because she was born illegally, she has no rights as a person and the best she can hope for is a post as a servant to a rich Legal. Enter Peter, who tells her, among other things, that she IS in fact legal, that her parents DO want her back, and oh yeah, he's descended from the man who discovered the immortality formula...

Birthmarked - Caragh O'Brien

16-year-old Gaia Stone trains with her mother to become a midwife, delivering the children of their small settlement outside the walls of the wealthy Enclave near the edge of what used to be Lake Superior (now called "Unlake" - it has clearly dried up). Every month, the first three babies delivered are "advanced" into the Enclave, to be adopted and raised by families within... but a lack of record-keeping has resulted in unintentional incest and a generation of children born with hereditary defects like hemophilia. There are currently two books available in this planned trilogy (Prized being the second one) - I'm very much looking forward to discovering where the author takes the story in the final volume.

Chemical Garden Trilogy - Lauren Destefano

In this trilogy-opener, which starts very much in media res and then fills in the details, faulty genetic experimentation has resulted in an entire generation of children in which all the men die at 25 and the women at 20. Polygamous marriages are common among rich families, scientists are desperately trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it, and Rhine Ellery is kidnapped from her home in Manhattan and transported to Florida to be forcibly married off to a wealthy 21-year-old. Technology is at a high level, and as anyone watching the news lately could predict, the rich have only gotten richer, but the luxurious house and personal servants can't entirely disguise the fact that it's a prison for Rhine and her two sister wives. Second installment (Fever) is due in February - can't wait!

1984 - George Orwell

The classic, of course. I first read 1984 IN 1984... the week before I started kindergarten. Yeah. My grandfather thought it'd be funny if my teacher asked me what the last book I read by myself was and that was my answer. He had a strange sense of humour. Anyway, many if not most of the dystopic tropes find their origins here - totalitarian government, Big Brother (no, not the TV show...), and the intriguing use of language as a control tool (I remember being hopelessly confused by "doubleplusgood" as a munchkin - luckily it all made much more sense when I came back to it at the age of 20). Winston Smith is just one cog in the massive machine... but he's a cog we come to care about. It's one of those "required reading" books that really needs to stay on that list - because while 1984 has come and gone, the situations described in Orwell's future are, to a large extent, happening now...

Matched - Ally Condie

Arranged marriages, mysterious pills, lives which all end at 80... This one doesn't seem all that bad at first, but the further into this world Condie takes us, the more off-kilter it becomes. Cassia thinks life is pretty much perfect, in this world where everything is controlled and streamlined, from job selection to the 100 items in many categories which were deemed all that anyone would need. 100 poems, 100 songs... no more than that. (That bit terrifies me, frankly.) When she is matched with her best friend, it's just one more piece falling right into place - until, upon reviewing the data she was given, another boy's face flashes onto the screen... Also the first of a trilogy; Crossed is already out in hardcover.

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

If love were classified as a disease - and we're talking DSM-style here - would you want to be "cured" of it? Yeah, me neither. Most people in this odd future society DO want the cure, though - and it doesn't matter if they don't, because it's mandatory. 17-year-old Lena is counting the days until she turns 18 and is eligible to be cured herself - after all, her own mother committed suicide out of despair after the death of Lena's father. However, since it's a novel there must be a twist - and in this case, his name is Alex. Like Oliver's previous novel (Before I Fall - also highly recommended), the ending is not what you'd call happy, but it really couldn't end any other way. Fortunately for us, it seems this too is destined to be only the first third of the story.

Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde

Ooookay, so up front let me just say that I adore Fforde. His off-the-wall style, oddball allusions, and utter disinclination to explain ANYTHING make me ever so happy - I've even met him twice, so all my copies of his books are signed and stamped and spiffy. This one is rather a departure from his usual BookWorld adventures, but it's a fantastic read. Eddie Russett is a young Red living in a strictly-controlled Colourtocracy which classifies (and stratifies) the entire population based on their ability to perceive colours. Most people can see only one, or at most two, of the primary colours, and some not even that much (they're the Greys). Everyone has a colour-based surname, there are some very strange societal rules (like the "no manufacturing of spoons" one), and no one is quite who they seem... Supposedly there will be two more here as well, though with Fforde also publishing books in two of his other series this year, I have a feeling it'll be a bit of a wait still for the others.

22 December 2011

Procrastibaking In Practise

There is no escaping it - Christmas is approaching. Okay, I'll admit, it's not even approaching anymore - it's here!!! In just a few short days, the superstar of the holidays, the diva, is upon us. With all its stress, commercialism, tacky decorations, stressed out housewives and sugar-high children.

I find, though, that it is important to remember that there is a reason Christmas is the diva. There are some redeeming factors. Family gatherings, great food, the joy of - not just receiving, but - giving. Christmas is all about traditions, and it's important to find your own; traditions you are happy with, traditions that don't just stress you out, but also ensure that you can enjoy this time of year.

One such tradition, to me, is baking. Unfortunately, this year I won't have the time to do much of that. Thus, instead I will share with you a great recipe I've come across, so that maybe you can enjoy it, even if I can't:

Fruitcake recipe


1 cup water 
1 cup sugar 
4 large eggs 
2 cup dried fruit 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup brown sugar 
lemon juice 
1 gallon whiskey 

Sample the whiskey to check for quality.

Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again to be sure that it is of the highest quality.

Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer; beat 1 cup butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon sugar and beat again. Make sure the whiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break two legs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt. Or something. Who cares. Check the whiskey.

Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window. Check the whiskey again.

Go to bed. Who the hell likes fruitcake anyway?

(Borrowed from http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/bljoke1.htm)

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Whatever Greeting Makes You Feel The Least Offended!

21 December 2011

In Praise of the Writing Sprint

Before I get started, I FIRST want to throw out a HUGE happy birthday to Jan! Happy Winter Solstice, sister, and a very magical Birthiversary!!! (and welcome back to the light, eh)

And NOW for the blog... I have a new game I play. I discovered it during the most recent NaNoWriMo. It had always seemed a strange thing to do before, but I've come to love it.

What is it? A Writing Sprint is designating a starting and stopping time and writing with abandon... as fast as you possibly can... Often (usually, even) it is done with a couple friends. I have used Facebook (in fact I created a Facebook Group for it: Writing Sprints R Us), though during NaNo, Lynn Rush told me they ran them on Twitter, too. Somebody calls it and times it (anybody, really).

What does it DO for me? It gives me permission to put everything else off. This is huge. I have a family who can be demanding. I have chores I feel guilty not doing. I can get distracted with the best of them by facebook or my blog (or somebody else's blog)--heck, my religion is digression. But this start and end time says 'this is only for this time. You can get to the other stuff later'. And somehow, magically, I CAN. I can psychologically turn the other stuff off.

HOW do you do it? Well most importantly, you need to turn OFF your notifications. No phone, no email beep, no facebook open, no chat. Then you need to practice THIS phrase: “Not until my writing sprint is over!” Your spouse and children need to get used to this. The first time I said it my son said, “What's a writing sprint?” so I had to define it. “I write as fast as I can for a full hour with no interruptions.” his response? “And you think that's fun?”

Man, oh, MAN do I think it's fun!

Then you need to learn to IGNORE doorbells, phones, drier buzzers. Probably you shouldn't have LEFT anything with a cooking timer going... go get it out of the oven, but FAST. Don't put anything else in until you're done.

Does it WORK? Boy Howdy, does it?! This November, rather than the 51K-56K range of my past I managed 68K. And I managed with WITH Thanksgiving duty (hubby had to work—other years I have that off) and WITH a couple editing SNAFU obstacles. I think I had 6 days over 5K. In the past I might have 2 or 3...

And I've kept going in December—I am committed to finishing my 3rd (and as far as I know final) cozy mystery first draft before the year is out. I've been trying to do sprints about 3 weeknights and then at least 4 over the weekend and I have written 33K in 15 days. (I finished my NaNo on Dec. 5 at 80K)--holy heck YEAH, that means in 50 days I've written 113,000 words. Seriously. Oh wait... less the 2K from before November... so 111,000... STILL! So say YES to the writing sprint! And if you are looking for company, PLEASE join us on FB. (it's open, but it seems people still have to request--don't worry, I will approve you)

If you have trouble fitting writing in, you can do it for shorter spurts too... time twenty minutes. Half an hour. Put the time aside—such a SHORT time, really. Heck, you could lose that much answering a single email. And if you are in a different phase, the SAME thing works for editing—the permission to turn off everything else is pretty universally handy.

I challenge anybody to come up with ANYTHING that works quite this well for fitting words into a schedule.

20 December 2011

Topical Tuesday - Lotus Outreach

Today I'm nice and toasty in my home. My sixteen year old step-daughter is moody and surly and then happy and ecstatic - pretty normal in other words. She is safe too. But lots and lots of sixteen year old girls aren't safe. Lots and lots of younger than sixteen girls aren't safe. So today - in the midst of Christmas baking and little things making and dog-walking and writing with my pal Gwen - I gave money to Lotus Outreach. For many girls and women every day is full of one topic - how can I survive? Lotus Outreach works with girls and women in areas where there isn't a lot of anything and girls are vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
Here in there own words:

Originally established to support refugee education, Lotus Outreach now also helps rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking and keep at-risk students in school. We support this mission through effective grassroots projects, particularly among the rural poor. 

What We Do

Lotus Outreach supports the development of effective grassroots projects in vulnerable communities. We aim to build the capacity and sustainability of our local project partners and aspire to raise awareness in our home countries of the problems presented by poverty throughout Asia. Our mission is pursued on several fronts:
  • We promote and provide education for children previously denied this right due to extreme poverty or discrimination
  • We provide basic healthcare where it’s needed most
  • We provide trauma counseling, education and training to children and young women rescued from human trafficking and sexual slavery
  • We advocate for social change through informational grass-roots programs
  • We provide non-formal and alternative forms of education and basic job skills training
  • work to identify and prevent the causes of trafficking and sexual slavery through outreach work, public education campaigns and advocacy.

Today I wanted to post about this program and ask everyone who stops in here to think of young girls who are at risk - either here or abroad - how can you reach out to help them. There is a current belief and I think a well-founded one, that if the 12 year old girls of the world are educated - world poverty will be eradicated. What could be more topical than that?

19 December 2011

Reading Monday: My Christmas Wishlist and More!

This is my Christmas Reading list and I hope Santa (aka my husband) is reading:

    • Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I have read all of the other books in the series and would love to see how this saga ends. The story of Eragon, and his dragon Saphira, has been a roller coaster of a ride. It's got a young man trying to save the world and all of its inhabitants from the evil, omniscient wizard, Galbatorix. I cannot wait to see what new adventures they encounter. Plus, dragons rule!
      • Fire by James Patterson. This is a great young adult book and again, I've read all of the other books in the series. What I find most interesting is about this tale is the tight bond between Wisty and Whit Allgood, brother and sister who try to defeat an all powerful wizard, The One who is The One, in a chaotic New World Order. Those in power don't have names. I suppose this is a spoof on Voldemort, He Who Must Not Be Named. I find the Shadowlands most intriguing. But I'm not telling the story. Go read it.

        • The last books of The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle. I have books 1-4 and would love to read 5-7. Awesome series and keeps me sharp and guessing! Clare Cosi, the protagonist and coffee expert barista, plays detective when bodies start to drop. I like that I have correctly guessed who the killer is only once in the four books that I have read so far. Very good read.

          • The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. I have been watching Sci-Fi's TV series Haven and it is based on this book. I would like to know the back story to such a wonderful show. I love the mystery behind the sleepy little town and its two gossiping old men who report all the paranormal occurrences in their newspaper. Interesting to see if the characters currently on the TV show match up with the characters in the novel.

            • And because I have been on a Stephen King kick, I would like to have his short story "Mile 81." I've been in the mood for suspense and the paranormal. This book should take care of both of those cravings! Every time individuals stop at this milepost, they end up missing. Their belongings clearly indicate that something terrible has happened but we don't know what or by whom. *scary*

            What's your Christmas Wish list? Perhaps Santa (your loved one) is reading . . . :D

            15 December 2011

            Doot doo, doodoodoo...

            Mahna mahna!

            Okay, so I originally just stuck that in here as a placeholder so I wouldn't forget to write my post, but what the hell, it's Delusional Thursday and I want a mahna mahna!

            Whatever that is.

            It was a regular random insertion into conversations when I was a kid - boring car ride? Mahna mahna! Awkward silence? Mahna mahna! Sister getting on my nerves again? Mahna mahna!

            It has recently resurfaced with the new Muppets movie, and you know what? That makes me very happy. It is a piece of silliness from my childhood brought forward into a new millennium, it is my obsession du jour (de la semaine?), and it is so off-the-wall that it can be added to nearly anything.

            Then there's the fact that it's the holiday season and I work retail in addition to my more artistic pursuits, and sometimes nothing expresses my feelings about a particular customer or situation better than a heartfelt MAHNA MAHNA!

            And for those poor benighted souls who have somehow missed out on the whole phenomenon, here you go - the original Muppet Mahna Mahna!

            (I picked this one 'cause it's 2:26 long... and that's my birthday, so you know what, it's like, a sign, man! Right? Right!? Oh... mahna mahna! :-P )

            14 December 2011

            Keeping creativity alive

            “…. and then, you know what, the monster came and said, “I am going to eat up your sandwich”, and I said, “No, no, no. you cannot eat my sandwich. Please don’t eat my sandwich.”. But the monster, he did not listen, and he grabbed my sandwich, and I tried to pull it from him, and the sandwich fell down, and it fell on my leg. And you know what, thousands of germs went from my leg to the sandwich, and started eating it, and …..”
            I was struggling to keep the smile off my face as my nearly-six year old launched into a long story on how the sandwich that he should have consumed came to find itself on the floor. “… and Mamma, now the sandwich is full of germs. If I eat it, I will fall ill. So I cannot eat it”,he said, before concluding triumphantly, “and now that I have finished my snack, can I watch TV?”
            It was a difficult decision to make. On the one hand, I did not want to appear a pushover and allow my son to get away without finishing his snack yet again. But, didn’t his last-ditch creative effort deserve some credit?
            “Okay”, I said finally. “Today, you may watch TV. But the next time that monster troubles you, call me before he does so much damage, okay?”
            “I love you, Mamma”, he squealed rushing off to claim his reward. But he had the presence of mind to pop his head around the door, “but if it is another monster, I will not tell you, okay?”

            I know I should be a stricter mother. I know I should enforce rules better. I am sure other mothers would have nipped it in the bud,and ensured their kids did not walk over them. But, in addition to being a mother, I am a reader and a writer, and I can’t help being impressed by the stories my son spins. If I cut his stories short, wouldn’t I also be killing creativity and stifling imagination. Discipline is necessary, but doesn’t the world need writers and other storytellers as much as it requires the people who keep the machinery of life running?
            My son may or may not grow up to become a writer, but at least his imagination will ensure that he is never lonely or sad.


            I swear, the title of this post is extremely accurate. It reflects *exactly* what is going on in my head at the moment. What went on in my head yesterday, when I was supposed to post this. Topical Tuesday. I even had a topic (St. Lucy's Day), or exams (very topical for me, since I am going through them at the moment, albeit in a very different way than I've ever done before because I'm not taking them this year, but rather grading them... I swear, I'd rather take them!), or even the weather (we're having spring, I'm sure - all our lovely snow seems to be melting! Drat!)

            But no. Before I had the chance to transfer my ideas to paper (or, more accurately, screen), they ended up in fhegiakfiutygihbhjgilwdjafgyg and *poof* I forgot the whole post. Until now. When I write it, it will still be up for an hour and a half before the next one (and much better one, I'm sure) ticks in. Not that it is a huge loss. I'm sure today's actual post will be much more thought-through and well-written than this one, not to mention the topic will not be lkhjefiudshfjkhfuiryifkdghfshdgfj.

            In the meantime, though, let me muse a little over cbnsdjkghdgcsdcuhjasdgj:

            Papers that need to be graded, need to be graded.

            Jobs that need to be done, need to be done.

            In English, you cannot write "they claims" and expect to get away with it. It are annoying!

            Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Sometimes they suck.

            Friends are essential.

            Suck it up!

            Can you have your cake and eat it too? Won't we always try?

            What's in a smile? When a person lights up when seeing you, should you draw hasty conclusions?

            We want what we can't have, we hold on to what we don't need, and sometimes it's impossible to see the difference.

            It doesn't matter what you believe in. Believe.

            Yoga and boxing.


            11 December 2011

            very late on Friday...OK it is Sunday afternoon but I'm sure it is very late on Friday somewhere...

            OY! I flubbed again. I thought I'd written all my burrow blog dates in my datebook but alas alack - I did not. When I didn't see a post for Friday I went looking and sure enough - it was me - gone!

            And it is a Friday Free For Fall - so here goes.

            Ten Reasons Why I'm Not Ready for the Holiday Madness

            10. As a certified conquistador of chaos (that's CCofC to you) I can't find my embroidery thread. I can't find my scissors. I don't even know where to find a vanilla bean. I can't finish my many holiday-type projects cuz I can't find anything.
            9. Almost everyone I know has a birthday in the holiday period - my brother, three out of 6 Canadian Babes, several other buddies and myself. This means birthday breakfasts, birthday lunches, and birthday dinners.
            8. I'm not a Christian. I'm not a Jew. I'm not a Pagan. All of these have established celebrations at this time. We Buddhists have a sort of fake one but everyone knows it isn't real. So...what am I doing with a Christmas tree (Pagan with Christian covering), candles (Jewish, Pagan, Christian) and so on...well. I live here don't I?
            7. The revisions for my novel are at a tricky point.
            6. I am busier as a therapist than I have been for years - everyone else needs assistance this time of year dontcha know?
            5. It is sunny, dry and warm out. I don't believe in winter any more.
            4. I don't have my snow tires on, my teeth cleaned, my bills paid and all sorts of other adult responsibilities are undone too.
            3. My sweet patootie and I cannot miss even one night of watching endless West Wing episodes. Ones we've already seen mind you.
            2. Trying to have a simplified non-commercial holiday is VERY complicated.

            and the number one reason I haven't gotten ready for the holiday madness yet...


            08 December 2011

            Delusional Thursday: Delusions of Affluence

            If I won the lottery . . .

            My husband and I have discussed this in great detail.  It would help if I played or participated in any way shape or form in the lottery- but that's neither here nor there.  Here is how it would go down. . .
            1. Open up trust funds for my kids so they don't blow through it all.  They can't touch it until they are 26 (with the condition that they each graduate with a bachelor's and master's degree).  Yeah, I know- a bit harsh but I want them to understand the value of money and good credit.
            2. Take a leave of absence and go with hubby to Bora Bora.  I have always wanted to go to the Tahitian Islands.  An over-the-water bungalow preferably so I could snorkel and enjoy the sea life. 
            3. I would not resign from the Department of Education, but there would be some serious changes at my school.  I would buy the parking lot behind Chelsea High School and build a state of the art physical education facility.  I would also have an art studio installed with all types of machines (kilns, pottery stations, etc.).  There would also be a music studio and I would ask the principal to hire a music teacher.  As you can tell, the high school in which I teach does not have any of these luxuries.
            4. I would NOT work summer school and write to my heart's content.  I would be able to write in any setting in the world while sipping on cosmopolitan's.  This is a biggie for me since at the moment, I do not have enough time for my writing.  I'm too busy being mom, wife, teacher, daughter and everything else under the sun. I would probably be able to finish an entire book in a year.  *gets teary eyed just thinking about it*
            5. I would donate a large portion to the AIDS Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.  
            6. I don't know if it's possible but I would get my loved one a spleen transplant so that he would not have to take insulin anymore.  I suppose it may be possible since in this technologically and medically aged, doctors can transplant hearts lungs kidneys and livers.
            7. I would buy a house and make it eco-friendly.   I want everything from wind turbines for clean energy to water barrels filled with rain water (to be used for the lawn or toilet water).  

            What would you do if you won the lottery?  It's nice to dream a little dream from time to time.

            Don't forget to visit The Burrow for our December Advent Calendar!

            Image courtesy of Public Domain Images.

            07 December 2011

            Do's and Don't's When Writing A Wednesday Post

            DO try to get out of it if you are stumped.
            DON'T rely on getting out of it if you are stumped.

            DO think of a few subjects and strategies for helping you to compose a post.
            DON'T think that leaving it to the last minute will help in any way.

            DO remember that this is supposed to be a helpful blog to aspiring writers.
            DON'T forget that you are an aspiring writer too.

            DO try to think of something that is both useful and hasn't been covered before.
            DON'T resort to tried and tested means (or fall back on Taffing, even if youknowzitmakezsense like, innit?).

            DO try to write something in advance so that you have time to tweak and perfect at your leisure.
            DON'T  look at the time and think Crap! I have to get a post up in the next hour or I am doomed!

            DO try to relax and take a few calming breaths.
            DON'T freak out and start typing the first thing that comes to mind.

            DO remember that the post doesn't have to be earth-shattering, and your readers are generally nice people.
            DON'T get paranoid and start thinking that your readers are rolling their eyes at your stupidity.

            DO remember that as long as you get something - anything! - posted, you have done your job.
            DON'T think that the 'anything!' part of the above sentence means you can resort to a silly Do's and Don't's list.


            Image borrowed from here.

            06 December 2011

            How to be a Good Customer

            The holiday season is upon us - that time of year when, contrary to the general feelings supposed to be induced by the myriad holidays celebrated during it, everyone seems to get stressed out and is pulled tighter than the laces in a fat lady's corset trying to get everything done. It's natural to snap at some point and want to take it out on random people you encounter during your whirlwind of preparation, but on behalf of retail workers everywhere, I'm here to beg you pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease don't be nasty to the poor soul trying to help you out.

            We all know the economy sucks rocks right now, despite the noises politicians are making about "recovery". You're probably making less money than you did a few years ago, so of course you want to stretch what you do have as far as possible. Coupons? Go for it. Discount cards? Absolutely. Comparison shopping? Makes sense to me. You know what doesn't? When people yell at the person behind the counter for not accepting their expired coupons. Or their 3-year-old return (when the receipt clearly states a vastly shorter window). Or for not being able to find what you want, when YOU don't know what you want.

            Remember that retail workers are people, too - and due to the aforementioned sucky economy, they're more likely than ever before to be highly educated and underemployed. The person you're talking down to probably has a master's degree, but is still grateful to have a job at all. And even if they are some lazy high school dropout who only got hired 'cause their uncle knows a guy, they're still a person.

            If you legitimately need help with something, ask. Don't hover. It's creepy. Do read signs and stickers - they have the info you need on them a good 90% of the time. Don't act like it's a great moral failing on the part of the employee helping you when the store is sold out of what you want - somebody got there before you, and there's not a darn thing the employee can do about it. Do put things back where you found them if you decide not to purchase them, or at least give them to someone who knows where they belong. Don't holler at someone from halfway across the store, especially if they've got their hands full or are on the phone - they're clearly busy and are unlikely to hear you anyway. Do wait your turn as patiently as possible - stores definitely value your business, but also that of the three people in front of you who have been waiting longer.

            And while I've read countless articles about and personally witnessed many acts of incredibly bad behaviour and entitlement among the generation coming up the ranks (those tweens, teens and twenties everyone is so worried about), it's the older folks who come up with the most breathtaking rudeness, every single time. I don't care who you are, how old you are or how much money you have - treat people like people, not like something nasty you stepped in, and everyone will have a much happier holiday season!

            Pass the egg nog...

            05 December 2011

            Advent Calendar

            That time of the year, when that already scarce quantity becomes even more scarce. You know what I am talking about- TIME. The holidays just soak up so much of your time, you are forced to put everything except the absolute essentials in the backburner. When you don't have time to do anything, least of all put your feet up, and READ!

            But this being Reading Monday, we are honour bound to give you a bunch of reading recommendations. And we shall not disappoint. However busy you are, however very, very, very busy, surely you have one minute to spare? Yes, just one teeny weeny minute. Of course you do. If nothing else, you can make those 60 seconds between sips of your chai, coffee, latte, vodka.......

            Click across to The Burrow, and enjoy one drabble a day, everyday in the month of December, as we count down to the New Year. There are drabbles that will make you laugh, drabbles that will make you cry. Drabbles that would make you sneer, drabbles that would make you cheer. There are even drabbles that will stay with you all day, forcing you to think. But every single one of those drabbles will be exactly 100 words long, and none of them will take up more than 60 seconds of your reading time.

            So what are you waiting for? Click on ahead!!!

            02 December 2011


            You know the drill. You *have* to pick one (and only one). All in good Friday Fun!

            You've been out dancing all night. Before going to work, would you rather have a shower and wear the same clothes you wore; or not have a shower, but get to put on fresh clothes?

            Pick one: no more hugs, or no more kisses?

            Would you rather never be able to wear shoes, or never be able to take them off?

            If you had to choose - blind or deaf?

            You wake up one morning looking like Miss/Mr World. The only problem is you have to make a choice - either only you can see you as this while the rest of the world will see you as ugly; OR the rest of the world will see you as gorgeous, but you will see yourself in the mirror as ugly. Which one is it? (And yes, your "regular" looks are gone forever.)

            This should be a piece of cake for any Twihards, but still.... You can either only ever read the Twilight series over and over again for the rest of your life; OR never pick up any book ever again.

            Would you rather eat the food you absolutely don't like at least once every week for a year; or go without your favourite food at all for one year?

            Your house is burning, and you only have the time to rescue one thing. Will it be the laptop with the ONLY copy of your nearly-finished novel; or will it be the album with the ONLY copies of your family photos?

            Would you rather be stuck in a (literally) eternal line at customer services (but get actual help); OR be forced to always ask "Microsoft Help" on your computer whenever a problem arises?

            And a classic at the end: Your partner is a mermaid/merman - would you have the top or bottom half be the fish-part...?

            01 December 2011

            December Drabble Dance

            Welcome to December! December for the Burrow is a month we've managed to create a bit of a tradition. We have a website where we publish group projects, now and again. And each December, we do a sort of Advent Calendar. It isn't Advent in the religious sense of the word, as we don't stop at Christmas, but each day in December, we reveal a new Drabble related to images that have been chosen by the author. It's a fun little 'new surprise each day' venture and we'd like to share it with you. To get you in the mood, I've got a couple drabbles here. BUT... it's possible I'm insane. It IS delusional Thursday after all... so the drabbles on our Advent Calendar will assuredly be better and more thought out... (even mine).


            Delirious Dream Drabble*

            A girl is asleep, she's dreaming of pompons
            A boy is asleep, he's dreaming of longjohns
            It's all well and good, when a girl jumps and struts
            And nothing goes wrong when a boy warms his butt

            But when boys start pomponning and girls start longjohnning
            The rest of us sure better get long-gone-goning
            Because boys with their pompons, then act like sluts
            And girls who try longjohns can't cover their butts**

            Before you decide to ignore this as fluff
            And think I've come up with it off of the cuff
            I'm telling you now, I know about this stuff!

            *Inspired by Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
            ** inspired by an episode of trying to wear my husband's longjohns under my running pants. Boys have more belly. Girls have more butt. Nuff said.

            Delusional Drabble

            Once upon a time, there were four score young blondes and brunettes, all between ages sixteen and nineteen and a half... strike that. The Burrow is a Bustling Band of Beautiful Babes who love books and erm... what's a writing word that starts with B? Damn. Tell them I have a PR background and they all want to put me to work. We write. We critique. We support. And now we're famous. Every last one of us has published alone, and as of December 1, 2015, we have officially published our Coffee Table book of images and accompanying drabbles. Erm.

            (did I mention drabbles are usually fiction? We DO though, talk about this from time to time...)

             So now don't you have a REALLY strong urge to go read a BETTER Drabble?  Come on. I'm sure you do...