Friday, February 29, 2008

Of Magic Cookie Dough and a Sick Toddler

So. Gluten free sugar cookie dough is magical.

No, really, it is. Dear Darling Mom made some cookie dough on the December 24, and she made cookies out of it last night. The dough wasn't even dry, despite the two months that had passed. That is some magic cookie dough. And tasty cookies. Yum. And then there was some minstreling going on over here, and there was a walk with Random, and some talking over my novel and making stuff better.

And then there was tonight. After having a great conversation with Heathen, I headed home. As I got out of the car, Random came bounding out of the house. "[bobtheenchantedone]!"


"[Siri] threw up!"

"Oh, great. Do I have to clean it up?"

Turns out Dear Dad took care of the barf, but I had to take care of Siri. Who cried for about the next hour, before she could finally fall asleep. And then she woke up just as vibrant, happy, and loud as usual. And she has a new topic to talk about: "I'm not going to throw up!"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Says I Can't Write My Own Fanfiction?

In an effort to get to know my characters better, I'm writing short stories involving them in the years before the novel happens. Okay, so since I'm the author, it's not really fanfiction. Whatever. I can call it what I want. Please, those valiant few who read my blog, find it in your heart to comment on my characterization or something.

Oh, and as I edit, I'll be keeping the story here. So don't assume it's all the same; I really am taking other's advice and making my story better. Thanks to ahem., Goober, and Random, who have helped me so far.


We’re something of an odd lot.

That’s the thought I keep having as I watch the antics going on under our oak. There’s pale, blue-eyed, black-haired James. His very movements, the way he sits, lounges, teases Mariel, betray the cat he was born as. And Mariel, loudly proclaiming her displeasure while twisting in a way that makes it look like she’s trying to get away without actually accomplishing anything. Her long, curly red hair has come undone – James, in his teasing, had removed the tie – and is now flying all around, obscuring her bright green eyes. Her skin, usually nearly as pale as James's, is flushed, making her few light freckles even harder to see. As she moves, at one moment half in James's lap, at another moment nearly out of his reach, she shows a surprising grace for one so tall (for she is the tallest of the four of us). Finally, she twists in such a way that she knocks James over, and they lie next to each other, panting and grinning, with the merest space between them.

Off to the side, Tarin is working on something in his lap, continually pushing his silky black hair out of his almond-shaped eyes. He occasionally glances at Mariel and James out of the corners of his eyes and shakes his head slightly in annoyance, forgetting that if he was not in between girlfriends at the moment, he would be doing the same. Instead, he is bending over something that seems to be constructed mostly of wires. The sunlight glints off of metal surfaces, contrasting with Tarin's dark clothes and olive skin. I find that I don’t really want to know what the device is, for then I might be obligated to warn either the lab, if it’s a mechanical device for use in some explosion, or whoever the intended victim is, if it’s something he’s using for a prank. With Tarin, it's almost always one or the other.

And then there’s me. Doing nothing. My clothes are as neat as they were when I put them on, not rumpled like Mariel's or dirty like Tarin's. My hair, black like my twin brother’s, falls calmly to my shoulders. My eyes hold little emotion. I am not a part of the games and other doings under our tree. I merely observe. It often feels like I’m not really here, or I am only here in spirit, not in form.

“Amber, what have you been thinking about this time?”

I turn my head slightly to catch Mariel’s eye. She is nearly sparkling with happiness. Her hand is twined with James’s and she is leaning into his shoulder.

“Oh, nothing much,” I say with a slight smile.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Play With Me!

"The word is... shine! Go!"

"May it be an evening star shines down on you..."

"Your turn!"

"Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!"

"I am like a star shining brightly, smiling for the whole world to see."

"Oh! How about... what's the one... I can see the lights in the distance, shining..."

"Um, are those the right words?"

"Yes. Don't question the words. Your turn."

"Um... I got nothing... anyone else?"

"I can't remember the tune..."

"Oh, how does that one go, you know, 'Shine on, shine on..."

"Time! Roll the die."


"And your word is... boy!"

"I'm goin' to me school, says the wee boy and still he stood."

"Just remember what your old pal said, boy..."

"Your turn!"


"Though a boy I may appear, yet a man I soon will be..."

"Good job! That was close. Your turn!"

"Oliver, Oliver, never before has a boy wanted more."

This is my most favorite game in the entire world.

Okay, so maybe that was slight exaggeration. But really, I love this game. Whoever invented it has my undying affection, and whatever made my parents buy it must have been nothing less than a benevolent spirit.

It is... Encore! *triumphant fanfare*

Here's the basic rundown: there are two teams. One team rolls the die and moves their piece to one of the colored spots on the board. The color tells them which color word they will have. For example, some of the teal words are 'break,' 'game,' 'valley,' 'midnight,' 'air,' and 'someone.' That team has 30 seconds to come up with eight consecutive words of a song that include the word on the card, as shown above. Once they have their song, the other team has 30 seconds to come up with another song that has that word. It goes back and forth until one team can't think of another song, and then the other team gets to roll.

Skeptical, are you? Well, this is one of those things where you have to try it before passing judgement. I have pressed on about five different gatherings in the past few months, and four of them loved the game so much that they didn't want to stop playing until their brains died. Which, you know, happened, but that's okay. You can only think of so many songs before the brain revolts. Fortunately, brains are usually good for over an hour of play when it comes to this game.

And it is fun. Oh, is it fun. Even those who are thinking, 'but I don't sing...' would have fun. We don't care if you can't sing, we just want to hear eight consecutive words in some semblance of a tune. Many, many good singers can sound bad/mess up the tune with only eight words to sing. Myself included.

So here's the deal. You plan a party, and if you promise to play Encore, I will show up, bringing the game with me. And come on, who wouldn't want to hang out with me?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Invisible Car/Stupid Drivers, Part One

To the tune of Madonna's 'Material Girl'

Some cars hate us, some berate us, I think they’re okay
They’re just people who act like jerks when we drive the proper way.
But I hate it when we’re at the roundabout or stop sign,
And other cars just pull ahead and think that they are fine.

‘Cause we are driving in our invisible car,
It's red and silver and a land barge
You know that we are driving in our invisible car
No one sees us, even though we are large.

We always know if right-of-way falls to them or to us
We stop and wait, or turn or go, without the smallest fuss
But we know we must always look for others in our way
We brake and honk, they turn and look, with surprise on their face.

Yes, we are driving in our invisible car
These incidents are becoming bizarre
Hey, I know that we are driving in our invisible car
But we’re a nine-seat suburban, for crying out loud!

So if you see our suburban please stay out of our way
Although with our track record you won’t see us any day.
Still, keep your eyes wide open and if we honk at you,
Don’t flip us off or look surprised – or we’ll take it as our cue.

‘Cause we have never killed with our invisible car
But our breaking point can’t be very far
Yes, we might run over you with our invisible car
And you’ll never know where we are.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Essay of Doom

Being a writer, I am normally pretty good a writing essays for tests. Sure, it's a little different, and harder, than creating characters, giving them magical abilities, putting them together, and seeing what kind of story ensues, but I'm still pretty good at it. Also, being a writer, I'm very in tune with the flow of sentences and the sounds of words. I'm the kind of person that can hear the music of a paragraph and know when it would be better to say things the long way. I'm the kind of person that can spend several minutes deciding which of two words to use when most people wouldn't be able to tell that there was a difference. One of the things I most enjoy about my novel, which is told from the point of view of two different people, is the fact that the diction changes whenever the viewpoint changes.

The essay I just wrote for a test took all of that away from me. I thought the essay for my Eng 252 class last semester was bad, but this was the Essay of Doom. (I might say the Essay From Hell if not for the fact that it was written for a religion class.)

And unfortunately, I'm not exaggerating. At all. I wish I was. Trust me, after writing that essay, I really wish this wasn't true. But it is all true. The Essay of Doom does exist, and I have stared it in the face. And I would have run away if the thought of another failed test wasn't even more frightening.

Before I even get into the actual essay, there is the fact that I couldn't understand the instructions. I'm a pretty smart girl if I do say so myself, but these instructions were beyond me. I had to read them five or six times before I started getting it, despite the example. I have never felt so lost while reading something written in my beloved English. I've felt that confused with Spanish, sure, but never English. And even when I did understand, I kept forgetting exactly what it was I was supposed to do, and I know from experience that when I have to refer to the instructions for an assignment continually like that, I'm in for a bad time.

Once I got past the realization that the essay was Chaos put to paper and was actually able to focus on starting my essay, I ran into more problems. So, I was supposed to read these two passages, look at the key words listed after each passage, and write an essay using all of the words, using prepositions to show the relationships between the words. Apparently I was to be graded on my choice of prepositions, as well as the accuracy, relevancy, and other stuff, all having to do with the prepositions. Oh, but then I'm told I'll be writing paragraphs instead of a bunch of sentences. But... but...

Yeah, at about this point I was reduced to whimpering. It took a good five to ten minutes of staring out the windows and thinking about questions from the 100 Hour Board having to do with the Testing Center before I was able to actually start writing. But as soon as I started, I had questions. Many questions. I forced myself to write a whole paragraph before I allowed myself to give in and make my questions known - by writing them in the margins. As far as I can recall, by the time I was finished, my margins had all of the following written in them:

*Was I missing the day we were told the essay would be like this, or were we just not told? I wish I had known beforehand, because I have questions. If I write a beautiful, flowing essay that shows relationships but doesn't strictly follow the 'word-preposition-word' formula, will I get marked down? Will I get full points if I follow the aforesaid formula, even if my essay reads like doggerel?

*I am normally very good at essays. But this essay makes very little sense to me. I feel like a school kid writing lines. If I somehow do this the "wrong way," I'm going to have to have words with someone.

*This feels more like a fill-in-the-blanks assignment than an essay.

*This is not [bobtheenchantedone]'s essay, this is [bobtheenchantedone] the Robot's essay.

*Oh! Darn! I put my own ideas in there! I FAIL!!! (This is in reference to the 'accuracy of prepositions' above; if I remember correctly, we weren't supposed to add anything that couldn't be inferred from the text. I wasn't sure if this was 'reiterate the text' or 'don't think too deeply about it, just write' or if I was missing the point entirely. I'm the girl who wrote a paper comparing Canterbury Tales to a Pokemon episode, so I have no sense of what can be inferred from the text.)

I did finally finish the essay, about 45 minutes after I started it. And for someone who can write a two-page paper in half an hour, that was pretty bad. And the essay itself was pretty bad, too. It did, for the most part, read like doggerel, and yet I still didn't really use the formula. At the end, in the big empty space between the closing sentence and the edge of the paper, I wrote "I quit!"

Of course, I didn't really quit. I still had a whole 'nother essay to write before I was done with my test. But I won't go into that... I've done enough re-living memories of pain and anguish for one night. I'm just going to sit here with my Jamba (a treat for getting 93% on the multiple choice part of the test), and think happy thoughts. With time, I will recover.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

What was that?

Today there was an incident while I was at ward prayer.

My good friend MP and I socialized for the minimum amount of time ("We talked to three people! We socialized! We're good!") and then escaped to the chapel to work on songs for a CD I'm going to be recording. After a goodly amount of time, we were joined by the guy who takes care of the building, VP. Later MK showed up too. Through it all, MP kept playing the piano and I kept singing. We gradually learned that everyone else had left; however, VP said we could stay and practice. So we did. I was starting the second verse of Sing Praise to Him when we heard it.


All noise and movement of the four of us ceased for a few seconds as we stared at the part of the chapel the noise had come from. It had sounded like a person - or a car, even - hitting the wall of the church. Then MK turned to VP and said, "We'd better check that out." They went to the door and looked out, didn't see anything, and began a check of the entire church. MP and I continued practicing, albeit rather nervously. At one point we discussed the fact that the guys had been gone for five minutes and we weren't particularly inclined to go after them. Finally, after much worrying on the part of MP and myself, the guys returned and informed us that they couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. However, we did not feel much like practicing anymore. After a bit of a conversation, MP and I said goodnight and went out to MP's car.

We drove to my house, where we prepared to have a conversation about something that happened to me recently (see the Update post for Feb 14th). Before I could say much, however, my brother The Guy came running out the door, closely followed by my sister Random.

"Did you feel that too?"

"Wait! What? That boom?"

"Yeah! It was this explosion over in Springville!"

"Oh, so that's what it was!"

"Yeah! I'm looking it up on the news!"

The Guy was quite excited about the whole thing and ran back inside for an update. MP and I talked about it a bit, and called VP so he would know what had happened.

'Twas rather scary, to admit it. That was some explosion.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I had a lot of fun today, but boy am I sore. Happy, but sore. And I'm glad I went, even though I didn't want to at all since my one friend wouldn't be there.

What? You want to know what I'm talking about? Oh. A ward activity. Dodgeball ward activity. Oh yeah, I had fun.

Mostly I'm posting this because I know Goober will be upset if I don't update with at least something. I even had some good ideas for what to write today, but ran out of time. So, forgive me for this non-post, and I promise to write something substantial next time. Perhaps my discourse on Some People, or my well-thought-out rant on Utah drivers. Perhaps even an ode of some sort to my homework. We'll see.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Oh, I was just completely, totally, and utterly wrong. But that's a story I'm not willing to tell.

Valentine's Day? The one with all the hearts and candy?

So, yesterday I was standing around reading a political paper because I was bored, and this guy came up and talked to me. He said that my reading the paper was a sign of how curious and into current events I was.

Why did I tell you this story? Because that's about all the contact I expect to have with a guy who isn't related to me this Valentine's Day. You know what's cool about that? I don't care. Really. I'm perfectly happy spending the day doing homework and watching over my half-dozen siblings. Not to mention that I have chocolate downstairs in my room...

(Bad girl! Lay off the chocolate! You know it makes you sick!)