Friday, July 13, 2012

Show vs. Tell Entry


 July 13, 2012 -Show vs. Tell Entry-

     Beforehand, a loud thud hitting a wall came from a wrecking ball just within earshot of where Clarity was studying at the library….
     To be shocked and jolted out of a depressive stupor from that wrecking ball’s thud felt like my upper chest in the form of a river dam had just been knocked away, resulting in a sea of sloshing rain water, spilling into river water, with a torrent of fresh fallen leaves doing a strange dance as they settled downstream…  After the fact, the librarian put up a sign that there would be nearby construction for the rest of the day. 
     …No more depressive state, no more reverie, that virtual impact at the back of my chest reminded me of just how a sudden noise in a place so silent could make me feel like I’m in the middle of a river unleashed from an impactful, pounding thud!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tips On Show Vs. Tell


 
Helpful Show vs. Tell Phrases

Beforehand a fire ensued, encompassing 4 stately houses, in the outcome the firefighters were the true lifesavers… The young survivors’ bewilderment was replaced with pink, purple and orange bubbles of joy welling up inside, clusters of them in fact!!... Just waiting to explode into even more super bright colors, and eventually escaping in the form of innocent smiles of gratitude.


Beforehand, Clarity had poured two crystal bowls full with overflowing amounts of m&m’s.  The neatly dressed devil in the fiery red suit sitting on her right shoulder had a scrolling enticing checklist representing every single wonderful benefit of devouring all of that candy.  The arc of his smile was as spanning as half the circumference of the sun, the rays of his gleaming white teeth, second only in brilliance to the effervescent sparkle found in his periodically winking right eye.  Even the heavenly dressed angel sitting on her right shoulder listened intently as the checklist was read in its glowing entirety.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cyberians


Dr. Chapman was going over his video log.  He asked the computer to repeat what it currently had in its databanks about their influence on the Earth culture so far…

Computer’s Voice:

Acegum was their product, it was a wonder compound that used ‘sticky-gum-technology’ to clean women’s facial complexions and hair.  Dirt and oils just naturally bonded to the facial cleansers and hair shampoos made from this compound and then simply washed away after the lather phase of the cleansing process.  This compound was introduced to Earthlings by a race of beings called the Cyberians.  However, instead of putting some of the monetary proceeds from sales towards charitable causes, they built weapons of mass destruction with them.  Stacy Malone was a college theatre major who was a murder victim of one of their weapons of mass destruction.  She was killed with a retractable dagger that sprayed poison into her system.  She died instantly both from the wound and the deadly poison.  Now, the Cyberians have lost one of their cells in each of their bodies.  It’s kind of like the missing-man flying formation that jet-planes fly where one out of the jets leaves formation and flies off independently.  They are each missing a cell and therefore will experience severe lethargy sometimes.  Enter Clarity, a clear-thinking author whose blood samples contribute healthy cells into the Cyberian cell pool.  Essentially, her blood helps them move forward.  She is self-publishing a book on budgeting.  The book centers around meal plans that are organized through leather-bound-tri-panel-folding-dinner-menus.  She creates representations of these dinner menus on graphical computer software akin to a word processer mixed-in with a graphical interface.  In this way she can create themes to her menus with pictures, graphics along with the actual names and explanations of the dishes.  She can also organize her rolodex recipe boxes and countless cookbooks based on these menus.  They are fun ways to organize what her family loves to eat and plan a meal budget accordingly.  During weeks when her budget is tighter than other weeks, she might be relegated to serving a couple of different variations of healthy vegetable bisque soups.  Clarity will get very creative with her menus that have now evolved to encompass all three meals of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dr Chapman was very pleased with the way that the computer voice Eden had assessed where the Cyberians’ position was situated in the young civilized Earth culture.  Through research, Eden the ubiquitous computer voice told him that that murder victim Stacy was slated to have had a son in the near future, who was to be the one to unify all of Earth.  Therefore her murder, had an intense backlash that resulted in one less cell in each of the bodies of the Cyberian population.
“Acegum is our saving grace…” Chapman told his second in command, “…without it we would have no way of compensating Clarity for her healthy blood samples.”
“Her name is so appropriate also, her healthy cells give is the clarity and momentum to move forward in our daily lives,” Sub-Commander Oliver replied.
“….yes, and she thinks that it is all for cancer research…In some sense that missing cell in each of us, makes us susceptible to cancer, so yes, her contribution of healthy cells through her donated blood samples is truly justified.”
“…very good sir, I will direct research and development to step up the creation of more Acegum,” Oliver said on his way out of Dr. Chapman’s hidden office cubicle.
In the meantime, one of Clarity’s pet projects was to help a family in which one of the family members had lost his job and was involved in a drunk-driving accident.  She was helping them to put the pieces back together in their lives. 
Dr. Chapman, by this time, was aware of all of Clarity’s blogposts and he asked the computer voice Eden to relay this one to him, one more time….

Computer’s Voice:

Clarity’s Budget Blog #63

Out of the blue, 3 different cars were side-swiped.  The first car was backing out of its driveway, when a red convertible sports car was barreling down the nearby neighborhood, leaning right and plowing into the right side passenger door.  Then, it backed up hitting the left driver’s side door of a parked car at its rear right.  This drunk driver was in obvious denial and just could not believe all the damage he was causing, because he managed to back up into another parked car, scraping the left passenger door of it, before passing out at the steering wheel. 
A few minutes later sirens could be heard approaching the disasterous scene.  Edward, the name of the man who had done all of the damage was out cold, wreaking of whiskey.  Apparently he had been out drinking all night because yesterday that morning, he had lost his high-income job!  It had been heart-wrenching news for him who was the father of four teenagers, to learn that at the moment, he could no longer support all of them.  He was no means a top wage-earner, but Edward had done alright for himself.  Edward’s story was the front page news bright and early the next morning. 
Fortunately no one was hurt from all of the car scrapes, just of course Edward’s state of self-perception.  Many people distanced themselves from Edward and his situation. I read on in the newspaper to make sure that the family that was backing up from their driveway that unlucky morning had walked away from the accident unscathed.  After that, I took an interest in what would happen to Edward, because he reminded me so much of my own husband Gary.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one, because the local public access news studio followed Edward as he was admitted into rehab.  Weeks later, the same news crew filmed him as he took computer classes at the local community college to improve his job skills. 
Apparently there are independent aptitude tests that you can take to see how much of the computer concepts you have a grasp of.  To publicly see Edward go through this, brought a tear to my eye because he was acquiring a lot of computer knowledge. 
His next step was to go to a job agency – yet he took his time about it, because it seemed he wanted to re-assess the gift given to him by God to bounce back.  What I saw in Edward was that though calamity befalls everyone, the key is to be able to hold your head up high and bounce back.  Human resiliency is such a fascinating trait and it could clearly be seen as Edward marched up the job agency stairs to meet up with their representative.  He turned a negative into a positive. 
Financially, I wanted to help so I graphically created a menu for his family, had it printed and bound with a beige-leather-backing.  I had heard that his whole family loved seafood, so in the dish entrees, I made sure to include lots of shrimp and fresh fish dishes, even lobster for special dinner occasions.
I swirled on lots of whimsical graphics and made the menu especially appealing to his wife.  Included with this package gift contribution from me were boxes of index cards of all of the recipes that comprised the menu entries.  I had eight menus printed up, each of them variations of the original Specialty-Seafood one.  I dropped it off a their front door one Saturday morning.  Edward himself answered the doorbell and was so appreciative and gracious in response to my gesture of kindness.  To this day, his family and mine exchange Christmas cards every year and his passing troubles remain a reminder to me of how just resilient a human being can be.

Dr. Chapman was fully satisfied that he was abreast of what had been happening in Clarity’s life…

***************************
As the conveyor belt hummed along producing haircare, skincare, cometics and nail enamel products, with of course the ‘sticky-gum-technology-compound-acegum’ as their prime active ingredient, he looked back and assessed that although the global unification of Earth as one people was slightly derailed by one of their weapons of mass destruction, causing their whole Cyberian race to become wayward, their investment in the author Clarity and the book that she was writing on food budgeting through the compilation of her blogspots, put them back on track, giving them the momentum to survive.
Meantime, back at the Acegum website, testimonials poured in about their growing beauty product line:
“…These shampoos and conditioners have really gotten my hair back into shape.  It’s now become voluminous, shiny and bouncey…”
“….There are no comparisons with the leading brands when it comes to Acegum’s skincare line….they are miles ahead of the competition….”
“……I am astounded at how clean my hair feels after each washing, there is no milky residue to weigh it down….”
“….You can rest assured that I will be trying the rest of Acegum’s product line including their nail polish, because it will just glide on nail beds and adhere to its surface as if it were baked on!”
The Cyberians knew they weren’t perfect.  They had yet to contribute to a charitable cause, but that was because of the anonymity that they faithfully stuck to.  Thank goodness that they did have funds to help Clarity pay for self-publication in exchange for her ‘well-meanining-cancer-research-blood-samples.’  In Dr. Chapman’s mind, there was still a balance in the continuum…

Monday, February 13, 2012

Charles


      The range of colors of the pastel chalks lured him to his easel day after day.  He was in the company of his nanny while his dad and mother were in England visiting relatives.  Charles was an inquisitive boy of eight whose grasp of computer concepts would qualify him for at least an interview with the leading Internet Service Provider. 
     His father had provided him with electronic books geared to boys his age.  His favorite pastime was to create attractive web pages using his favorite software.  It was true that the pages themselves were static because there was no back-end code to link the different parts of them to other pages, but visually they were captivating.
     Rugged terrain backdrops were Charles’ favorites in creating the web pages.  He was a good animator too, so amidst these scenic surroundings were usually cartoon critters, complete with a park ranger.
     Charles liked to take walks and take snapshots of various oddities.  Sole water fountains in the middle of a vast park, low hanging branches off an aged tree, brightened by all the flowers surrounding it, they were all fair game for picture taking.
     As a result of his father and mother’s occupations, Charles was often uprooted from school to school.  When he stayed long enough at a particular school, his nanny rode on the bus with him, both going to and from school.  The school bus just knew to drop her off at their house after dropping him off and to pick her up, before getting him from school.  That was their routine.  His nanny was actually a relative of his mother’s and she paid careful attention to his safety and the keeping up with his schoolwork.
     “Nan, what is your most clearest definition of inflation?”  Charles asked Nanny Liz one day.
     Charles’ biggest stumbling block in his current school was racking up enough points to join the prestigious Future Leaders Club.  You didn’t necessarily have to win at the qualifying events sponsored by the club, but you were expected to participate.
     “Let’s see, inflation is when a car costs three times what it’s worth….because it’s got an inflated price tag on it, do you understand?” she asked.
     “I think so….that was one of the questions of the day for the Future Leaders Club and I can earn 30 points, if I’m able to understand and explain the concept of it….” said Charles.
     “Well, you can provide some examples while you’re explaining the concept of inflation….we’ll just have to come up with some…” Nanny Liz offered.
     “Start me off with an example Nan…” Charles suggested.
     “When the local grocer has hired more helpers during the holidays and has suddenly realized that he’s going to have a harder time balancing his books at the end of his fiscal year because two shipments of carrots were accidentally lost in transport earlier on….well then he might up the price of your favorite gala apples for more than what they’re really worth….in order to break even,” said Nan.
     “That’s an excellent example Nan…”
     “Yes, I liked that one too..”
     “What’s another one?” Charles prodded.
     “Well, say that a popular singer has recently been caught in a scandal and before the scandalous story is released to the public, the singer’s CD albums are pumped up a few dollars.  That’s also inflation, because in reality……because of the soon-to-be-released negative publicity, those CDs will be worth very little.  The unknowing public is in reality paying an inflated price for them….” Nanny Liz continued to explain.
     “What’s another example Nan?”
     “Let’s say that a real estate agent has agreed to sell two parcels of adjoining land to a corporation in the desert, but only one of the parcels has potential for water……Because she knows that the less desirable parcel will sell at below market price, she will inflate the more desirable parcel to increase her profit margin to a healthy level….” Nanny Liz said.
     “It seems like it’s all a matter of circumstance….” Charles concluded.
     Charles had his hopes up of racking enough points to someday join the illustrious Future Leaders Club….then came the news from his folks that they would have to move again…..meaning yet another new school for Charles.
     Charles’ parents, Bianca and Barry were textbook authors in the field of college level computer concepts and their research often took them to worldwide locations.
     The scare in their finances happened when their partners dropped out of their writing agreement and for about three years, nothing of either of his parents works were published.  Their finances were in the red, near bankruptcy.  Barry and Bianca had leveraged everything in buying real estate off the coast of some remote island and the dry-up in incoming funds left them unable to pay bills.
     At first Charles had no idea of his parents’ situation, then Nanny Liz clued him in on what was happening and his world turned completely upside down. 
     Suddenly, because of his parents’ financial situation and also because the number of website designs he had created were amassing, he was now trying to find a way to make them marketable, to make them more attractive and appealing.
     “The common thread Charles!  That’s what I’ve come up with,” Nanny Liz was beside herself with glee at her latest epiphany.
     “What’s the common thread about Nan?” Charles inquisitively asked.
     “Well, when you’re wearing different outfit pieces and you want all the clothes to match, you look for a common thread color……then when you’re designing your web pages, with all the different parts and pieces to it, I suggest you look also for a common color, a common thread color….if you will,” Nan was really onto something now.
     Till that point their discussions had been about politics and finances, but now this was about something fun and different.  It was something about what he was actually involved in….
     Nan continued, “Take all the different patterns and pictures on a particular web page and imagine them to be different outfit pieces, then take a length of sewing thread – a color that will match all of your pieces and make it ‘the common thread.’  All the pieces have to match the common thread and the particular color of that thread will become the ‘accentuating color’ of your web page…”
     “I see….so say the common sewing thread color of a page I’m designing is green, then the accentuating color of that page will be green as well?”
     “Correct, you can have some of the lettering done in green or an animated accentuating flower in that same shade of green as well, even if it’s just a diving line in the same color…” Nan said.
     “I really think that you’re onto something!” Charles said excitedly.
     “I bet your father knows enough HTML code to bring your web pages to life….I’ll bring this up with him and your mother right away…” Nan said.
     While Nan phoned his father, Charles went into his bedroom to count just how many static web page themes he had created…he came up with 52.
     His father and mother were due home at the end of that week and when they got home, they discussed the possibility of contacting some software companies who might be interested in Charles’ designs, now that Charles had understood about the common thread color technique.
     It seemed that there were website page auctions taking place, but only known to a few select website designers.  Upon hearing about them, Barry instantly began working with Charles to implement Nanny Liz’s common thread technique and Bianca began to document the entire process.
     The web pages became beautiful creations that left positive impressions on the general public’s eye.  They knew this because they participated in some of those auctions.  Software companies, Internet Service Provider representatives, and top business people from across the industry attended them and Charles’ designs stood out as some of the more innovative ones.
     His mother Bianca gave names to the different themes and his father connected all of them so that clients could rifle all through 52 of them by means of a slide show.  Of course Nanny Liz offered advice regarding the accentuating colors added to each page.
     Barry and Bianca eventually found new writing partners and continued on with their textbook writing and research, while Charles worked with Nanny Liz to refine their web-page-generating process.
     Nanny Liz summed everything up by saying that, “….although stormy weather tossed everyone astray for a while there,” that however now, “…all is fine with the world again…”

Monday, January 30, 2012

Friends of Alexandra


       The beach balls bounced unattended on the cement ground.  All of her friends had rushed indoors for the ‘suggestion-box-contents’ readings.  Two or three of them sat cross-legged around the coffee table on the plush carpet.  Four or five of them sat down on one of the comfortable chairs and finally Alexandra sat in the middle of everything with her three-ring binder and pens in hand.  The big momentous wedding occasion was to take place in three months time and all of Alexandra’s girlfriends had put in their last-minute suggestions into a big plain pink box.
     Coming from different backgrounds, their common bond was that they all volunteered at the local orphanage.  Kessa and Keosha were sisters who were from a mixed Hispanic and Black culture.  Their parents were originally from South America.  Keosha was a women’s literature author and her friendship with Alexandra went beyond the boundaries of the halls of the orphanage because they both enjoyed writing and would critique each other’s work well into most nights.  Her other close friend from the group was Lizette, who was born of French parents and was brought up in their native language.  She had actually known Alexandra since they were very little.  The five other girls were friends of the more guarded inner circle of members composed of course of Kessa, Keosha, Lizette and Alexandra……
     One of the suggestions was to have the words, Thank you for attending…..right next to each name on the place cards.  The last few months the girls had glued fabric and lace onto ‘mini-scrapbook-souvenirs’ for each of the 300 guests.  Their insides were all identical.  They contained pictures of the happy couple as children, then as teenagers and finally as a happily engaged couple.  Towards the back of each of the mini-scrapbooks were the business cards of the stores where the bridesmaid dresses were from, the flower shop and the caterer’s as well.
     Alexandra’s wedding dress, which only she and her mom had seen so far, afforded a lavish profile of her exquisite figure.  It had a lace bottom and the beadwork was more focused on the bodice, with the highest amount of concentration along the dipping waistline.
     The table cloths were going to be a very pale yellow, marked with light pink and bright pink wedding bells.  The napkins were going to alternate between the colors of light pink and fuchsia.  The different segments to the bridal reception were going to be highlighted by the ringing of digital wedding bells.  They were going to introduce each segment of the wedding reception. 
     Alexandra, with her translucent skin and brunette hair was a prominent member of the Women’s Fiction Writing Group.  She often reminded people of one of the characters she wrote about.  Her green eyes focused intently on the details of the suggestions given by her girlfriends.  Finally she made a mental list of the ones that she would probably use.
     They snacked on wedding cake samples from the bakery while Alexandra told them which suggestions she agreed with.  A copy of her new book of short stories for each guest, she felt would be okay, but she also wanted a couple of her girlfriends to read one or two of the stories during a slide show presentation of pictures of her and George.  She and George had known each other since Freshman college and she had begun planning their wedding that day when they first met.
     Planned for the reception lunch, she really wanted to have a lot of pictures of George and her shown on the projector screen while the hip sounds of 80’s music played in the background.  The different segments to their relationship would fillow a timeline highlighted by their weekends spent watching movies at the cinema and generally just walking around, holding hands and taking in the town in.
     The bridesmaids dresses were going to be pastel green because green was Alexandra’s mother’s favorite color and Alexandra knew that she couldn’t have come this far, without her mother’s financial support.  The skirt bottom to these dresses were going to be cut along the bias so that their white high heeled pumps were going to peek through as they walked, and also so that the hem would slightly touch the ground as it trailed off in the back.
     Alexandra liked the idea of having the centerpiece vases of each of the 30 tables to be interspersed with small and medium-sized pink balloons tied to them.  Written on the balloons were going to be the couple’s names Alexandra and George.
     She also liked the idea of having a wedding picture of her and George adorning the front of their thank you cards.  The framing trim of the thank you envelopes will mimic the look of intricately embroidered stamped pink butterflies.  These were but a few of the suggestions she wholeheartedly agreed with!
     All the other suggestions she explained to her girlfriends, she would try to incorporate into the wedding plans as best as she could…
     The only formal gathering after this luncheon of hers, was the rehearsal night for the entire bridal party at the church and the rehearsal dinner following it.  After that, the big day would arrive…
* * * * * * *
     “…Time to go sweetie,” Alexandra’s mother said as she rapped on her daughter’s door.
     “I’ll be right there mom…” Alexandra said nervously.
     The church was only two block away, but Alexandra was almost in danger of being late for her own wedding.
     The guests as they arrived at the church had that elated-yet-confused look because they didn’t know where to be seated.  The ushers eventually helped everybody to their seats.
     The bridal party was ready to make their entrance through the double doors leading into the main church and to ready the way for the blushing bride, Alexandra….
     The processional music started on cue and everyone in the pews were in appreciation of the beginning procession of the bridal party as bridesmaid after bridesmaid, paired with a groomsman paved the way for the bride, who was on her father’s arm.
     Before that, Alexandra fidgeted with her long white gloves that tapered off with lace trim to her elbows and she slowed her breathing and inhaled deeply two or three times.
     “Alexandra, you’re not about to run a marathon….just let yourself breathe normally.  Don’t worry so much, you and George will make it through the ceremony just fine,” her father told her with a knowing wink.
     “…I couldn’t sleep all of last night dad, and I’m trying to keep myself looking like a poised and polished young lady despite the sleep deprivation…” Alexandra vented.
     “…You have the right to be nervous, just remember that we all love and support you on your big day…” her father said with a grin.
     Then the double doors closed again…..and the wedding march was played….
     Alexandra’s bouquet of long-stemmed cascading white roses was the perfect touch to the vision that she was, as she started her march down the aisle on the arm of her loving father.
     Everything’s cheery and happy she wanted to say.  However those were currently the specific moments where being proper and demure were the two characteristics people noticed right away as one made your way to the altar.  Will everyone stand up and give me a cheery hooray - for making it through the wedding ceremony in tac, thus far....most likely not.  She was glad for her self-regulating reality check thoughts…
     She then walked past her mother, who seemed to say to Alexandra …this is a moment of extreme solemnity….sweetie….with her eyes….please focus!
     Thus….went the ceremony and the reception followed and everyone was in good spirits, especially the bride’s father, who only that morning, spent a half an hour looking for his trusty shoehorn.
     For every momentous occasion in his daughter’s life, Cesar had spent half an hour looking for his shoehorn, but after it was found, the rest of the day would play itself out beautifully.
     The weather was ominous and the reception hall was partly Oceanside, overlooking miles of gorgeous beaches.  Everyone was safe inside after making their way from the church three miles away.  There had been tremors across the globe, and the high winds and backlash of the waves were nothing new to that time of the year.  However Alexandra’s dad Cesar kept wishing that everyone could be safely seeing themselves home soon.
     Then, came the fair warning from the local authorities about possible tidal waves hitting the local shores and as each guest made their way out of the hall, Alexandra and George bid each of them farewell.  Alexandra’s only regret was that she didn’t give her speech to properly thank her mother and father for everything that day….
     Somehow though, everyone knew as she shone brightly that day, that Alexandra was grateful and thankful for the both of them…

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cookie Cutter Wednesdays


      There was a clatter of cookie cutter shapes in varied forms and sizes as they hit her kitchen island countertop.  The granite surface shone brilliantly in the morning sunlight and Sally’s weekly mission to do her therapeutic baking was now at hand.  Today, regardless of what happens, at this moment in time, I am happy!
     The sugar cookie mix was her favorite and they only sold it around Christmastime.  In the box, was contained six bags of cookie dough mix and she bought as many of these boxes every year.  She added the melted butter and the egg to her mixture and since she was going to roll it out flat, she added two tablespoons of flour to stiffen it a little.
     She recalled her conversation with Bradley a few months earlier…
     “Why are you pouting?” he had asked.
     I had then answered, “Because the dog ran away with my young neice’s  rag doll and halfway buried it next to the thorny rose bushes.  Guess who they’ve asked to help dig it out?  That’s right, yours truly…Also, because there was a hurricane in the midwest and now guess whose plane trip to pick up a shipment of antiques for the store, has been waylayed?  You guessed right, if you guessed me.  Plus because my bank account is nearing nil, my last day at the Antique Shop is tomorrow and I have no immediate job prospects.”
     Bradley then said, “I see that you’re having a pity-party, you’re just feeling sorry for yourself.  First off, you have a lot of responsibilities that need tending to, and you know that keeping yourself busy always does you good.  Now go get cleaned up and wipe the tears off so we can take a walk around the park.  How’s that?”
     During our walk around the park, he had then asked, “Why did you buy that pink scarf, when you said that you had to buy a gift for you mom?  Let me guess, you lost sight of your shopping goals and now you’re panicking because your mother’s birthday is tomorrow.  If you hurry, you can buy her something from the store still, they don’t close for another hour…and don’t forget to get a birthday card for her too.  Now, what has happened to your finances?  Time doesn’t stand still for too long you know, eventually you’re going to have to pay off your credit card balances….That makeup you’ve got on, was just too bright for earlier.  You should apply those colors for when we go out to dinner tomorrow night.
     Rolling out the cookie dough with her favorite rolling pin, she even recalled the conversation they had a year prior on her twenty-ninth birthday….
     “Why are you pouting?” asked had Bradley.
     I had then answered, “They needed to make some cut-backs in the budget at the office, and I’ve been asked to leave….  I somehow have lost the drive to work full-time and I’m afraid that you’ll no longer see me as the go-getter that I used to be.  Plus, I don’t have a resume ready to submit to potential employers at the job faire.
     Bradley had then advised…
     “You should re-group and take an over-all look at where your life is heading.  I think that it’s going pretty well, in a pretty decent direction.  However it’s up to you, to create an environment for yourself that will be self-supportive.  Only when you can truly take care of your self financially, can you really truly feel independent about yourself, and you have it in you to do just that.”
     I was jaded about the world around me….and Bradley was concerned and had asked….
     “What has become of world politics, that’s got you avoiding it like the plague?  It’s not meant to be a soap opera, it’s not supposed to be an exciting event all the time, but you should care about what’s going on, regardless.  When was the last time that you went to the gym for some exercise, because according to my calendar, it’s been about a year.  You and world politics obviously don’t mix.  People are talking about world events as they happen, and you…well, it takes you about two to three weeks to read about the same things, because that’s when you’ll do your research.  You seem to feel like current events should be left alone to stew while you get used to what’s just happened, a sort of siesta out of life….that goes on for weeks at a time.
     Since those days, Bradley and Sally, have become a happily married couple, yet just this morning he asked, “Why are you pouting?”
     “….because I ordered the wrong lipstick, and now it’s too late to order the right one because not only has it sold out, but it has also been discontinued.  Plus, I got orange marker on a new top, and I’m just hoping that because the marker was the washable kind, that it’ll just wash off.
     Sally was jarred back to reality.  She rolled out the cookie dough some more and went to work busying herself.  This was Wednesday after all!
     Her collection of cookie cutters could rival that of any baker’s in town.  She had cookie cutters that were shaped like hearts, bunnies, rainbows…you name the shape and if it was a cute one she probably had it.  Her heart sang as she continued to roll out the cookie dough to its proper thickness. 
Sally then used the cookie cutters to create the adorably-cutely-shaped cookies.
     Bradley then entered the kitchen for a cup of coffee….
     “What’s really got you worried, what do you want to address?”
     “Bottom line, I’m not exercising…”
     Sally was wearing her fluffy pink and purple sweater, with her red tee shirt underneath for extra warmth.  Bradley thought she was in good shape.  He gave her a kiss on the cheek…
     “Gotta go…”
     Sally knew exactly what it was that was bothering her.  Bradley’s boss’ wife had been asking her and Bradley to double-check all the preparations she was making for an upcoming party and it was simply eroding into her time!
     Upon arriving at work, Bradley had a pile of reports he had to sift through.  He called upstairs to the information desk and asked for the year-to-date number of reports that had been sent to his office since January.
     “52 sir,” was the answer and how many remained on his desk currently?  This he could answer himself – 13 reports.   Bradley was compiling facts and figures for a forecasting report that he would turn over to his boss Clyde.
       A little while later….
     “I’ll be at Silver’s Athena,” he said.
     “Okay, Bradley,” Athena replied.
     Silver’s Dry Cleaners was just down the block and Bradley knew his 15-minute break would be stretched a little bit in going there, but he had accidentally picked up the wrong suit the other day.  Bradley stopped off at the trunk of his car, took out the suit to be returned and then went on the eight minute walk to Silver’s.
     At the Dry Cleaner’s…
     “Hello Mr. Silvers,…..I’m returning this one for my own suit.”
     “Oh yes, Bradley, I meant to call your secretary and tell her about the mix-up…..I’m so glad you noticed it on your own!” Max Silvers said.
     “….it was an honest mistake Max…”
     “Here’s the correct one Bradley….thanks for your patience,” Max said gratefully.
     “See you next time….,” with that Bradley double-timed it back to his building garage, while carrying his suit over his shoulder.
     As soon as he had his suit in his car, he took the stairs two at a time back to his office, and was just rounding off his break in 20 minutes flat.
     His boss Clyde looked in his door and couldn’t help himself, “….five minutes too late…..Bradley?”
     “Ah…..h..h.…actually I’m working through lunch today Mr. Roberts,” Bradley concluded.
     “I was just kidding Bradley…..” Clyde could be such a busybody sometimes.
     At the catering facility, Cathy was busy tallying up a customer’s order when Bradley called in.  Clyde’s wife Elaine had asked Bradley to double-check her tracks – mainly to make sure she had correctly planned her and Clyde’s silver wedding anniversary celebration.
     This had been their conversation earlier that morning…..
     “Bradley, I called the caterer’s and asked them to have the ice sculpture of the name ‘Roberts’ to be done in calligraphic letters, would you please double-check that I put in the request correctly?”
     “Of course, Mrs. Roberts…”
     “Please call me Elaine…..also the floral arrangements must have little ribbons tied to the stems of every other pink rose.  Could you double check that I made that request properly, as well?” Elaine had asked.
     “Of course…” Bradley said as he jotted down all the particulars.
     “…one last thing Bradley, the champagne….you know that I myself am a teetotaler….could you make sure it’s Dom all around?  Every table should have a bottle…with a spare,” Mrs. Roberts instructed.
     “Dom Perignon it is ma’m….”
     “…and the after-mints, make sure they’re the chocolate kind…” Elaine requested.
     “Yes ma’m….”
     “I’ll be in touch with soon to make sure everything else gets double-checked….bye for now Bradley,” with that Mrs. Roberts hung up.
     Bradley hadn’t known Clyde and Elaine Roberts that long, but he knew that they were his two favorite people.  Clyde had hired him recently and was always ribbing with him.  Plus Elaine trusted him and Sally to keep things running smoothly with her social gatherings and humanitarian projects.  He immediately called Sally to hand off Elaine’s list of requests to her.
     Sally was on her way out the door, headed for the market, when Bradley’s call came in to ask her for help with Elaine’s preparations…
     “You know that I love both Clyde and Elaine dearly, as if they were my own parents, but I can’t always drop everything for their sake,” Sally pleaded with Bradley.
    “It’ll just be till their party dear…that’s all!”
     A week went by and it suddenly became the norm once again to bake cut-out sugar cookies for herself.  In previous years it had been a het and miss, but that day was the fifth Wednesday in a row she had done this for herself, and she began calling them, Cookie Cutter Wednesdays.
     Elaine’s list had to be double and sometimes triple-checked, yet it somehow all got accomplished!
     It was the night of the big gala gathering to celebrate Clyde and Elaine’s 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary and everything was beautiful!
     Elaine had fashioned a hand-made scrapbook for the happy couple to store their anniversary memories.  In the card, inserted in photographic corners were four different business cards of professional even planners. 
     The note read, “In Case You Can’t Get A Hold Of Bradley Or Myself, Don’t Hesitate To Call Any One Of These People….”
     Sally valued time to herself, yet she dearly loved Clyde and Elaine.  Her mother didn’t raise her to be rude, so her note to Elaine was her way of standing up for herself….yet doing so in a proper manner.  Cookie Cutter Wednesdays had that way of giving her clarity….