Cracking the recipe

I am baking on a Tuesday evening. This is unusual for me. Normally my Tuesday evenings are tied up with choir practice or volunteer work, but in the summer, these things are on hiatus. And even though we have central air, baking isn’t something I do much of in the summer. But this evening is different as it’ll only come once. It is the 100th anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and so I’m marking the occasion by attempting her signature cookie recipe once more. This time, I hope to get it right.

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Owls and Okayama

Owls have been my favourite bird as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what the root of this affinity is. It might be that I was drawn to its association with wisdom and the goddess Athena. Or perhaps it’s because their feathers allow them to fly silently, unseen until they wish to be seen. It could be their shared resemblance with cats, who are also favourite creatures of mine, or it could be that their facial discs resemble the glasses I’ve worn pretty much constantly since I was in grade two.

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A weekend away

Here’s another adventure (the first, actually) about the gang from “Happy Birthday, Valerie.” It was inspired by a conversation I was having with some friends about our ideal road trip and by a word prompt from StoryaDay.org that tasked us with writing a story in the format of a list.

To Do/Itinerary

Key people: Brooke, Sonya, Valerie, and me.

Goal: to have a great girls’ weekend away

Note to self: the others will laugh at this document, especially the 24-hour clock, so keep it hidden, but close.

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An essential aspect

When you visit this website, if you look to the right of your screen, you’ll see a couple of icons in a vertically oriented grey rectangle. The top icon is a black circle that is half open, half solid. The lower icon has two black letter Ts in capital case, but of different sizes.

You’ll also notice that these icons stay in place whether you move the image by scrolling up and down or by using your arrow keys.

The top button allows you to shift to a high contrast screen:

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Exactly as you are

The other day, we went to pay homage to an old friend of mine. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and he died some time ago, but he left an impression on me. It’s only now that I’m really starting to comprehend and appreciate the unique soul known as Fred Rogers.

When I was a very young child, I visited him every weekday. I would wait for him to come through the door, give a cheery greeting, and come down the steps to the front closet. He’d take off his jacket and pull out and put on a cardigan. Then he’d sit down and change out of his outdoor shoes for a pair of sneakers, singing all the while, asking if I would be his neighbour, or announcing that it was a such a good feeling to know we were friends.  

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A Canada Day compromise

Ottawa is broiling today. According to the Weather Network, it’s 33 degrees Celcius, with a Humidex reading of 45. We’ve been under an Extreme Heat Warning since Friday. While there’s a breeze, there isn’t much relief from the blazing sun. They said on the news last night that today is projected to be the hottest Canada Day since 1963.

Thankfully, we don’t have to go anywhere today. My husband’s on duty this weekend, which means that he has to keep his eye on his work email and be prepared to go to work on his laptop if needed. It’s been quiet so far, but one never knows. Still, it puts the kibosh on making any big plans for the weekend. But the heat and humidity have clinched it.

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“Happy Birthday, Valerie” shared as part of StoryFest

Well, this is cool. My story “Happy Birthday, Valerie” was chosen to be featured in Story ADay.org‘s StoryFest, which highlights stories written as part of StoryADay in May – a month-long exercise where you attempt to write something in response to each day’s writing prompt.

The neat thing about “Happy Birthday, Valerie” is that it was initially written in 40 minutes (that was the prompt for the day!).

You can read it and all of the others here. Enjoy!

 

All for the want of an umbrella

Just for fun, I’m participating in StoryaDay.org’s “Story a Day for May”, and I’ll post some of the tales I write here. Here’s my response to Day 1’s prompt (click here to see the original prompt):

This is a big day at work for him, I can tell. He’s taking such care with his appearance this morning, primping his hair for far too long, punctuating his work with the comb with discontented huffs. He knows that I need the sink so I can shave my own face and brush my teeth. I have to go to work today too, after all.

I debate teasing him about being such a peacock, but I can tell he’s nervous, so I refrain and keep the snark to myself this time. I do clear my throat and he jumps a little. I look at the clock and he does too. “Sorry, sorry!” he says as he tosses the comb into a drawer and moves into the bedroom to get dressed.

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A day in the life

UPDATE: Anthology of Prompts Volume 1 by the Writing Prompts Group is now available for download here, where you can now read this piece in its entirety. I hope you enjoy it!

Word Prompt: Describe a day in the life of your pet.

The sun is rising so you should be too. But you’re not, so I will meow and play with the curtains and the pictures on the wall until you scold me. And then I’ll keep on doing it.

Oh good, you’re up! C’mon, c’mon, let’s go downstairs! I’ll sit on the second step while you get your housecoat on. Maybe I’ll run down ahead of you or maybe I’ll wait until you step over me before I make my dash downstairs…

Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today’s my dad’s birthday, so I decided to surprise him with something different in addition to a gift card. In a way, this story was the spark of inspiration for this blog. We live in different parts of Ontario, so I wanted to share it with him as easily as possible. This way, he can read it on his tablet at his leisure.

Green Lightning

This story is grown from kernels of truth…

Once upon a time, many years ago, a young boy lived in a far-off land with his family. If there was one thing this boy wanted in life, it was to own his own bicycle. Bicycles were so common where he lived that lines of them streamed through the streets all day. Everyone owned one, or at least, that was how it felt to the young boy. The mailman had one. The factory workers rode by on their way to their shifts on them. The family next door had several. Even the minister’s wife rode one around town while making calls, which scandalized the elders and secretly thrilled the church women.

But the young boy did not have his own bicycle yet. He was the odd man out in his class, and he felt it keenly. He knew why he was the only one. It wasn’t because his parents couldn’t afford it, they had several already. No, it was because he’d been sick for over a year and they were worried that he wasn’t strong enough yet. Every time the doctor visited, hopes were raised and then dashed.

But the young boy remained eternally hopeful. He pored over cycling advertisements in the newspaper, cutting out the pictures and details of the models he liked and pasting them into a little notebook. His older brother and sister laughed at his obsession, but not harshly, because they were secretly rooting for him to get his heart’s desire.

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