Filtering by Tag: summer

My Hair Looks Just Like Starlight

No more cakes.

My birthday came and went. I’m another year older, and have surely accumulated grey hair. I’m one step closer to my goal of looking like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle.

Since I have a job, my poor friend, the Wii Board, has been missing my company. I didn’t get to weigh-in and receive my birthday congrats like last year. My work day had been pretty exciting though, because some sneaky friends left a small balloon on my desk, alerting everyone in the vicinity (and here I thought it was going to be an uneventful day!). I ate enough sweets to lose my appetite for my birthday cake when I got home, just barely managing a sliver of it.

My birthday marks the beginning of summer here in good old Florida. And that means thunderstorms. I spent Friday evening in my beloved velvet chair, listening to the rain run down my window. A stack of books at my side. The lights from my tree-like IKEA lamp casting a gentle glow on the otherwise darkened room.

I savored the quiet. In mere moments, Misty would come running in with her chew toy, begging for a tug-of-war battle. The cake would emerge from the fridge, the birthday cards all on display on the kitchen table, and a wish burning underneath my tongue.

All of that happened. And I swore off dessert of any kind.


For at least a few hours.

Now that I’m a year older and wiser… well, I feel much the same, actually. But underneath it all, part of me knows that there are new doors to be opened. New opportunities. New friends. New experiences.

Isn’t that what birthdays are for? They mark the time Before and After, and the After always looks brighter when you’ve celebrated with the people you love.

The Debut of "Lookout"

Back in July, had hosted a Summer Reading Contest that I decided to enter because, well, it seemed like a lot of fun. You got to choose one prompt out of three choices and write a 500 word story. The prompt I had fallen in love immediately was this:

A high school student on his or her first summer job

Super. Well, as I brainstormed, I realized that my own experience with summer jobs was slim, at best. When I was in high school, my summers consisted of jumping in the pool, complaining about the lack of snow, reading, and plowing through a slew of video games. Oh! And brushing up on my rusty math skills before facing the fall semester. So what did I know about summer jobs? Well, only one thing: they're supposed to change you. 

I missed out, but I wanted to make sure that my story touched on that thought. And then, as I wracked my brain for a summer job idea, I came across Maia Flore's Sleep Elevations series. The concept of sleep, flying, and the whimsical backdrops for each photograph is stunning. You need to check them out. 

One in particular, pictured here, just slapped me upside the head and said, "OVER HERE! I'm your summer job!"

Well, yeah. You know how it goes. 

I wrote my story, featuring my shy protagonist named Lorelei Hall, who won the job of the town's lookout - basically, a glorified lifeguard. Lorelei is strapped to a cloud and keeps an eye on the beach-goers... but she also hopes that having this coveted job will allow her to make friends and come of out her shell. In 500 words, I did the best I could and posted the story. 

"Lookout" didn't stay up for very long since I realized that I couldn't keep up with the feedback-seeking demands of this particular contest. However, I still planned on coming back to the story again someday.

That someday is now. In stepped The Tripod Cat, a new literary journal that my fellow MFA friend, Alan, started. What's unique about this journal is that the issues are all audio. You hear the stories and poems being read, instead of reading them. It's kind of exciting. The issues are free and, if you decide to get them from iTunes (yes, free), you can listen to them on your mp3 players. Yeah. Cool. And scary, haha. 

Alan took a liking to "Lookout" right away; it'll appear as a serial at The Tripod Cat. In fact, the first segment of "Lookout" is already up. You can listen to it and the rest of the issue here

Fair warning: I'm the one reading "Lookout." No surprise, right? I'm the one who wrote it. However, it's hard for me to listen to my recorded voice... I think it sounds funny. *Kim reveals her kryptonite, bwaha* 

I'm not sure how long this serial will be (hence, I'm not saying, novel, novella, or even short story right now), but I'm looking forward to hearing what you think you think about the story. It's gotten bigger:

Lorelei Hall has been chosen as this summer's lookout in the seaside town of Helium, but it doesn't mean that she'll be spending her summer simply strapped to a cloud. A wild wind's approaching the town and only Sculley and his uncle Gallagher - two rascally wind peddlers - know about it. Sculley and Lorelei will have to work together if they have any chance at saving Helium - too bad their personalities clash. 

Clouds and Clouds

By the by, has anyone noticed how clouds have grown in popularity lately? Even the whole floating-in-the-air-strapped-to-a-cloud thing. I want to post two peculiar sightings to finish out my blogging for the day. 

Ellie Goulding's "Anything Can Happen." Brilliant song, brilliant video. I must have listened to this song a hundred times since its release. Did you see the scenes where Ellie's floating in the air with a cloud? It look EXACTLY like Maia Flore's photo! When I watched this video for the first time and saw it, I almost spit out my soda and started pointing frantically at the screen (I was alone, yet I felt I had to do this, haha). 

And this one, ironically a Guinness commercial (I still don't get), features a  brave and curious cloud that takes on the city. The narration gives me the shivers; I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing. 

Fruit Salad: A Summertime Delicacy

One of my goals for this summer is to eat healthy.

It's so easy to eat quickly and badly during the school year - especially when you're stressed.  There's a huge paper bag of Smarties in my office, left over from when we gave them out to our students. There was so many left... and I managed to eat my way to the bottom within about two weeks. Mind you, it was during a time where final projects were colliding, grading grew to the size of a mountain, and last-minute events to go to filled up every space in my planner. So eating made sense. I was too hungry to leave the Smarties alone, haha.

Now that I'm home, there's more time to be slow and methodical in preparing food. I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination - if you watched me try to make something that did not involve a microwave, you'd probably laugh yourself to tears.

However, I do want to enjoy the few months I have of healthy eating before my last year of graduate school begins. So I started off with something simple: fruit salad.

If you've been reading this blog from the very beginning, you might remember an old post I made about apples. In it, I created a story about a wandering apple and also confessed, after periodic grocery shopping, that I've been in search of Pink Lady apples.

Well, I guess they're in season now. I found them. 

All this time, I thought I'd have to pick the apples out from a display, but it turns out that they've been neatly packaged! The bag describes the taste as "zippy and tart." Woah. So I've now learned what zippy tastes like.

So, these aren't Snow White apples, but they certainly look like they've come out a storybook. It must get its name from the pink blush of the skin - the little speckles on the sides also remind me of strawberries.

The taste, since we're on the subject, is really amazing. Some regular apples like Golden Delicious have a kind of dull taste to them - but Pink Ladies are very sweet, tart, and packs a punch of flavor. It's like I've never eaten an apple before this one, haha.

With the apples found, I decided to start on the fruit salad.

Chopping up ingredients for the salad: strawberries, bananas, watermelon, and assorted nuts like peanuts and almonds to toss on top.  

But of course, I didn't forget about the apple. For a regular bowl of fruit salad, I discovered that one apple is quite enough. I discovered this by chopping up and tossing in two apples, haha. 

Me and my apple-chopping moves. Actually,  I was really clumsy. It took me forever to chop the first apple in half. I need more practice. And, of course, where would I be without a Disney shirt? Nowhere, that's what. 

And then, when you toss 'em all together, it creates a very lovely fruit salad. The thing is, I got so hungry while making this that I ate it very fast. So I feel like, when I make more in the future, I need to do it on a full stomach. All that chopping and cutting was very relaxing though, and I enjoyed just concentrating on preparing the salad. My mind is always running and, even in my spare dozing time, I'm always thinking about writing. So to focus on something else for a bit was nice. 

Done! Believe me, the other fruits are in there. Just on the bottom, haha. All attempts to mix it had been thwarted by pieces of apple flying all over the place.

So ta-da! It's not the recipe post I imagined, but I think it does the job (considering how I eat out of a microwave and yet watch Food Network constantly). What are your plans for summer? What kinds of food will you make to beat the heat?