Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fun and Embarassing

As the title of the blog post says, this is a fun and embarrassing at the same time. I wrote this story when I was twelve years old on October 16th, 1994. The two main characters are based after my friend Charlie and myself. We spent a lot of time in a very small town called Olga. It basically had a few houses, a bar, church with cemetery in back, church hall, and a former priest's house. Family lived in the priest house, and that is where we met. We were fortunate to have such a wonderful family to watch over us and to bring us together. To me, they are the fondest of my childhood memories.

Here's my story. I figured you all would get a kick out of it. I made a few changes, but not many. If you chose to critique, be gentle! (Remember I was twelve.)

The Full Moon


The sun laid at rest in the sky, which turned red above the rest and clouds scattered above the nest.

Two stars twinkled in the sky. The grass kissed by dew on the summer night.

Something powerful and yellow shined in the sky. The moon.

The full moon.

Two children walked through the small town.

The girl older, the boy younger.

They walked past the priest’s house no more, the side of the church to a new world.

Suddenly, the wind grew cold.

The moon, full moon, shined over the cemetery.

Elizabeth stopped. Her eyes rested on the moon.

“It’s full,” she whispered. Mike followed her gaze.

“Yeah, so?” he asked.

“Don’t you know?” she asked back, putting her hands on her hips, eyes flashing.

“No, tell me,” he begged.

She dropped her hands and eyes, and then stared at the moon once more.

“It is better you don’t know,” she whispered.

The wind stirred the trees, making the place seem colder.

“I’m cold. Let’s go,” he said, grabbing her arm.

“I’m not cold,” she argued, following him.

“Well, I am.”

“It’s the grass,” she told him.

The wind blew fiercely now, howling.

“Let’s go to the abandoned dance hall,” he suggested.

“No, we must go inside,” she ordered.

“Take risks,” Mike said, following her to the house.

“It’s not my month to take risks,” she answered.

“Well, it’s mine,” he said, stomping away to the dance hall.

“You are an Aquarius, like me,” she yelled after him.

Danger.

“Mike, don’t go! Beware the full moon,” she warned.

The wind howled in his ears, sucking the last words away.

“Beware the full moon,” Elizabeth repeated.

He put his hand on the secret door.

“No turning back.”

“No!” cried Elizabeth.

Bloodshot eyes appeared in the window.

Mike screamed.

“Mike!”

The wind howled.

“What’s going on?” asked her uncle.

Mike started running, his face as white as a sheet.

“Mike?” asked his grandmother.

Elizabeth made a fake laugh. Mike followed.

“Got ya!” they said.

Elizabeth’s uncle swatted her with the newspaper in his hand.

“Sorry,” they mumbled.

The two adults left.

“I warned you,” Elizabeth said.

“From what? Who did those eyes belong to?” Mike demanded.

“The werewolf, he comes out during the full moon is alone in the sky. Werewolves are loners,” she explained to him. “We better go in before-“

The words were stuck in her throat. She suddenly screamed and ran to the door.

“Open it!” Mike cried.

“I’m trying!”

It was hopeless.

“Run!” She grabbed his arm without thinking. She ran to the graveyard.

The werewolf was near. So close.

Close enough to kill.

He lunged for Mike who was feet away.

The wolfman got Mike’s feet and both collapsed on the ground.

Elizabeth stopped and turned.

She grabbed a huge branch and ran to the werewolf and let him have it.

The wolfman howled in pain, letting go of Mike.

She grabbed Mike and pulled him up and they ran to the church.

Her uncle was on the house’s steps, gun in hand.

Elizabeth felt in her pocket for it, but it slipped away-

“I have to go back,” Elizabeth told her uncle and Mike.

“No, you can’t!” Her uncle tried to grab her, but she was too quick for him.

There it was, shining in the moonlight by the wolfman’s feet.

He stood there. Feet away.

His bloodshot eyes looked evil and hard to her. His teeth glistened ready to sink them into her flesh.

Hmmm…

She started to run and turned the corner. She stood there.

She signaled Mike and her uncle to go on the other side of the church steps and hide.

Please have him run after me. Please don’t notice me.

He ran past her. She tip toed around the corner and sprinted to the bullet.

The silver bullet.

She ran back.

There around the corner waited the werewolf.

She backed up and threw the bullet to Mike, who was ready to catch it.

Elizabeth held her breath.

He caught it! He gave it to her uncle.

Elizabeth ran on the grass, the werewolf behind her only a foot.

She slipped…

The werewolf lunged and…

BANG!

The werewolf fell to the ground- its eyes looked into Elizabeth’s.

A cloud came over the yellow full moon and covered it up.

The night, now darkened.

For now.

And the werewolf’s eyes also had a cloud over them, it came over its eyes, now and forever with death.

The End

Natasha

For Evelyn and Uncle Durland

Picture: Our Lady of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Olga, North Dakota taken by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgardner/2289152551/

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where I've Been: Buttercup Valley

May, 2007

Another adventure while in California for Celebration IV and to see our friend Sue Dawe. She took us to the location where they filmed the sand barge scene in Return of the Jedi. How does she know? She was totally there. Right in front of us is where they buried the set and some of the pieces are still coming up out of the sand. This location is in a recreation park and has been picked over the past twenty-seven years. While we were there, we still found a few pieces of the fake sand dunes and the Sarlacc Pit. How cool is that?

This picture is one of my favorites with my husband, Joey. I love how it looks like we are in the Star Wars universe. There is more story to this day, but I am not at liberty to say anything. All I can say is that we had another very memorable adventure.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cooking with TVP: Mexican Hotdish Edition

I have this technique of finding random things around the kitchen, and then throwing them together. This recipe is no different.

Ingredients:
1 can refried pinto beans
1/2 packet of seasoning or 1 tbsp (I used McCormack's Fajita seasoning)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup of white rice
1/2 cup TVP
3-4 tortillas
1 cup tomatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese
Sour cream (optional)


1. Cook rice as directed. Mix with tomatoes and spread onto bottom of dish.
2. Mix refried beans with TVP, seasoning, and lime juice. Spread over rice and tomato mixture.
3. Cut up tortillas into squares. Place over bean and TVP mixture.
4. Top hotdish with cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot.
6. Top with sour cream and enjoy!

Natasha

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where I've Been: Orange Statue in LA


The year was 2007. We were in Los Angeles for Celebration IV catching a bus when this statue caught my husband Joey's eye. If you have seen the TV show Heroes, then you will recognize this statue. We were missed the Season 1 finale during the trip, and when we returned home, it was a surprise to think that days before we were standing in front of that very statue wearing super hero capes (meant for our niece and nephew) from Six Flags while watching it. It was a big surprise since the show actually takes place in New York City, not Los Angeles.

Indeed, even when you are running, you can still find the smallest surprises. Just make sure to stop and take the time to appreciate them if you can.

Natasha

Picture: Taken by Sue Dawe. Click on it to see the Google Maps view from the street and the address.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Learning about Writing

I'm a lifetime learner. If I could stay in college forever, I would totally do it. I love doing projects and researching all types of things (I'm not so crazy about math or science, though, since I am not very good at them!). Here are a few of my favorite books on writing that help give me reminders, tips, and exercises to keep that lifetime learner happy.

1) In my first semester of college at MSUM, I took an Expressive Writing course. The book that the teacher had us use was Writing the Natural Way by Gabriel Rico, Ph. D. It really breaks down how the the two sides of the brain, that she calls Sign and Design, work. Design is "the productive, generative, or 'unconscious' phase" and Redesign is "the highly conscious, critical phase, which edits, refines, and revises what it produces". The books teaches us to balance Design and Redesign by reaching back to the "attitude of wonder" that children exhibit.

2) I was in Barnes and Noble in college when I found Stephen King's On Writing. I loved reading about how he became a writer and his tips for fellow and future writers. One of my favorite tips that I like to remind myself about came from an editor he worked for at his local newespaper growing up, John Gould. He told King, "When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story."

3)Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic gives you advice, but wonderful exercises. I wrote one of my favorite short stories from one of her exercises (someday I will post). The book is written for young aspriing writers, but anyone who wants to write can pick this up and use the tips. This is one of my favorite parts I just rediscovered during this blog post:

The Writer's Oath

I promise solemnly:

1. To write as often and much as I can,
2. to respect my writing self, and
3. to nurture the writing of others.

I accept these responsiblities and shall honor them always.

Natasha

(Now to write!)

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