Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday everyone; did you miss me on Wednesday?  The days have been both jammed pack and dragging on here in the Stay At Home Writing Castle.

I’m fortunate enough to still be working during the pandemic–my job being both essential and transferable from office to home–but things are definitely different (and not just the lack of real live co-workers to within my line of sight).  I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m working from home, the work day just seems to go on and on and on.  I find myself working 12-hour days, not because I’m being required to, but because there are no cues to remind me that it’s time to transition from work to home.

I’m working on that.  I take a walk around my local park every evening at seven, which should be a cue to wrap things up, but I always manage to thing of something during that time that I just need to quickly check on.

I’m sure you can guess what happens next.  Hours later I look up and realize that it’s almost tomorrow.  I have a feeling that just about the time I figure out how to balance work and non-work, it will be time to return to the office.  There have already been rumblings about what post-pandemic life will look like in the office, and on the (extremely) rare occasions I need to stop by my physical office, there are temperature checks, masks, and one-person-per-elevator social distancing rules in place.

Still, things could be worse, especially now that I got my delivery of toilet paper from the local office supply store (go figure!).  In hindsight, I picked the wrong year to stop stocking my pantry with months worth of supplies.

Now that my paper-goods cabinet is stocked for the duration, I think it’s time to turn my efforts toward more creative pursuits.  I’ve been having fun playing along with our Friday sprints (though often not until Wednesdays), so after my post-work walk around the block later this evening I’m going to see what I can to with today’s writing prompt and random words.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Hi there.  Welcome to another Friday.  I hope yours was a good one.

When not working this week I tried to spend less time watching the news and more time outside or doing something creative.  The past weeks of wet and then sunny weather have resulted in a yard in bloom.  My two climbing roses seem to be doing their best to take over the house.  They’ve grown up over the edge of the roof and now one bush is sending out a shoot aiming for the neighbor’s house.  I’m curious to see how this will all wind up.

For now, the yard has a wonderful springtime smell and lots of color.  Well, lots of one color.  I swear I planted flowers of a variety of colors, but they all seem to be varying shades of pink, with the exception of a bit of lavender.  I know the hydrangeas change color, depending on the acidity of the soil, but I don’t know about the rest.  Whatever the explanation, the yard is pretty and is nice to sit out on the deck in the sunshine and enjoy the view.

From a creativity standpoint, I made “sneeze” masks last week from random material from the craft cupboard and now I’m making a quilt top out of all the random-random pieces left.  I haven’t done any quilting in a while, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that all works out.

For now, I think it’s time to engage in a little creativity of the writing type.  I’ve been having fun playing along with our Friday sprints (though often not until Wednesdays), so after my post-work walk around the block later this evening I’m going to see what I can to with today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

How’s everyone out there?  Still doing okay?

I’m doing fine though even I, introvert that I am, am about ready to go back to the office for a little human interaction.  I was thrilled to get to the grocery store yesterday so I could pick up some milk and assure myself that I’m not staring in an episode of “Last Man Standing.”

I was online chatting with a co-worker yesterday who is working from home along with her husband and has apparently had just about enough “togetherness.”  I guess no matter which end of the spectrum you’re on, after a month you start to wish for something else.

I’ve been going for a walk in my local park before dinnertime every day–socially distant and with my mask–which is a nice chance to get out and about and at least see people from a distance.  Everyone has been pretty good about keeping far apart, except for Sunday when there was some Easter egg hunting going on.

I had fun with Wednesday’s short story (you can check it out here if you missed it).  I think I’ll see if I can build on it, using today’s writing prompt and random words.

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Elizabeth: Story Nugget – “A Stranger Comes to Town”

A couple of weeks ago I posted the beginnings of a short story about Daffodil and her brother Mortimer, who were in the midst of week two of quarantine.  Kay added a bit more to the story in the comments, sending a very bored Daffodil up to the attics of the house for a little exploring, where she encountered what might have been a genie from a lamp.  When I took a look at Friday’s story prompt and random words, they seemed just right to use for continuation of that story.

If you want to read (or re-read) the beginning of the story, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, check out the Short Story Play Along post.

Anyway, without further ado, here is another bit of story featuring a stranger and including the words captured, wisdom, sparkle, sleep, home, barricade, glossy, ivy, headache, preserve, mistaken, ginger, blowgun, visitor, blubber, and raspberry.

A Stranger Comes to Town

Daffodil covered her mouth and nose to block out the worst of the smoke and blinked rapidly to clear her vision.

What the hell was that? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday.  For those who celebrate, Easter is right around the corner, though it hardly seems possible.  All this sheltering-in-place and social distancing has really jumbled up my sense of time.  I’m guessing this year people will need to exercise a little ingenuity in order to celebrate.  One coworker is planning to cook her traditional holiday dinner and then “celebrate” with widespread family members via Zoom.  Not quite the same as sitting around the same table together, but still fun.

Around here, it doesn’t look much like Easter, but it does look like spring.  The lilacs have come and gone, but now the roses are blooming.  The”Silver Dollar” roses have outdone themselves this year–there must be a dozen blooms on the bush.  I have a vase of them on the table nearby and I’m enjoying their lemon-y scent.  The climbing roses seem to have grown a foot in the last few days and it looks like they are attempting to take over the house.  I’d trim them back but the new growth is covered in buds, so I will have to wait until they finish blooming (or their take-over is complete).

The jasmine, geraniums, and a couple of other unknown plants are also all busily flowering, giving the yard bright pops of color.  It’s a nice change from the skies which have been more grey than blue for the last several days.  I love it things start to bloom, although my allergies are in rare form as a result.  Sneezes and watering eyes are hardly likely to endear me to the neighbors these days.  In case you’re curious, I can confirm that sneezing while wearing a mask is an experience not to be repeated.  Good thing I made washable masks.

Now that the work-week is winding down and I don’t have holiday cleaning and cooking on the ToDo list, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the end of another work-at-home week.  The news has hardly been bursting with feel-good stories these days, but occasionally I’ll see a post or article that makes me smile.

One such post this week was NPR’s A Baaaad Crew Takes Over A Welsh Town: A Herd Of Goats article on Tuesday.  Apparently, the town of Llandudno in northern Wales–the streets stay-at-home empty of people–is now home to a herd of wild Kashmiri goats that have roamed down from the nearby coastal headland. The picture accompanying the article is sure to make you smile.

There have been other feel-good stories on the news, mixed in with the bad:  people providing food to the hungry, kids making masks to to donate, stores setting aside special hours for their more vulnerable shoppers.

These are interesting times.

I’m lucky enough to still be working–although from home instead of the office, and on emergent work instead of my usual projects–so things aren’t much different than they usually are.  Sure, grocery shopping is now almost a treat (I get to leave the house!), although there is that lottery-aspect (will there be any bread, meat, or [fingers crossed] paper goods?).  As a natural-born introvert, this should be right up my alley, and it is, except for that nagging worry about what’s coming next and how bad it will be.  Ironically, this is one time when I wish I didn’t really understand all those charts the health department is putting out.

For now, I’ll continue doing my part (stay home, wash hands, etc.), and take a break now and then to enjoy the fact that I can walk out on the back deck in the middle of the workday to enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes.  This evening, instead of watching the news, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try .

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Just checking – everyone okay out there?

Things here at the Writing Castle are going well, except for the fact that I have been ingesting far more coffee than any one person should.  I might have to social isolate myself from the refrigerator or at least from the container of cold brewed coffee.

The (stale) fortune cookie I scavenged from the snack cupboard today said, “Now is a good time to explore.”  Obviously not a Covid-approved fortune, unless it is suggesting further exploration the snack cupboard for other forgotten treats.

For now, I’m alternating work (luckily I have a day-job I can do from anywhere), walking around the block (without coming in contact with anyone), and baking.  Right now there is a pan of sticky pecan rolls doing it’s thing in the oven.  Hardly health food, but definitely necessary for mental health.

Rather than continuing to refresh the Worldometers site for up-to-date virus statistics, I think I’ll take a break, enjoy a stick pecan roll (no coffee though), and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

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Elizabeth: Short Story Play Along

I didn’t get a chance to give Friday’s story prompt and random words a try until this afternoon, but I figured that it’s never too late.

My sprint-timer went off before I finished, so I’m hoping maybe someone else will feel inspired to add a little more to the story, like we did with the Scottish story a few months ago.

If not, I may have to see if this Friday’s words inspire some further action.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the start of the story of a character in week 2 of quarantine, including most of the words flavor, terror, meat, daffodil, deceit, doctor, captivity, playtime, crystal, graffiti, boredom, boast, hiss, casino, ammonia, and applause.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Daffodil Masters McWhorter blew an errant curl of auburn hair out of her eyes for the millionth time and dealt two more cards in her latest game of Casino.  It was week two of the nation-wide quarantine and she was miles beyond boredom.  No shopping.  No bars.  No friends.

Ugh! Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Captain’s Starlog, Day 3 . . . wait, that’s not right.

Welcome to the end of a crazy week. It started slow and has ended up with the entire state of California in “time-out.”  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people reference the 1918 influenza pandemic (formerly known as the “Spanish Flu”).

Fans of numbers and charts are undoubtedly having a field day dealing with all of the data points floating around.  I must admit even I had a bit of fun (relative term) playing with one of the interactive “what if” scenario charts in one New York Times article.

When I haven’t been busy tracking the news, I’ve been busy trying to maintain a semblance of normal as my day job department has transitioned to “work at home.”  It’s not much of a change for me, since I periodically work at home, although there have been some drawbacks, like the fact that I looked up at 8:30 this evening and realized I should have stopped working hours ago.

Tomorrow I plan to do a better job of managing my work at home time.  If nothing else, I’d like to avoid another 8:35 dinner time.  Since it appears we’ll be trapped at home for the duration, I’m busy thinking about home improvement projects I can tackle.  If things go on long enough I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up painting the walls; that’s far better than climbing them.  I can’t help but think how ironic it is to be trapped at home during the one time when calling in all of the various repairmen I’ve been waiting to schedule is not an option.

For a treat, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Well…this has certainly been a week, hasn’t it?

Folks with retirement in their sights could probably use a strong drink or two right about now, with the stock markets doing their best impressions of Olympic high-divers.

Travelers with plans for cruises or plane trips are probably busily reading the fine-print on their tickets and reeling from both a loss of cash and the loss of activities they may have been looking forward to and saving for.

Fans of baseball, hockey, basketball, and March Madness suddenly have a lot more free time but far fewer places to spend it, and I feel for all of the small business owners who make their living supporting the above sporting events.

St. Patrick’s Day parades, tech conferences, Broadway shows, museums–Disneyland for goodness sake–all have been either cancelled or closed for the foreseeable future in an attempt to damp down a virus that has the potential to continue to spread like an internet meme gone wild.

It’s hardly the stuff of a romance novel…or is it? Continue reading