Archive for ‘writing assignments’

November 4, 2010

>when I was 10…

>This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and is about what I would be doing if I had persued the career I dreamt of when I was ten.

If you would like to participate in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, click on the button to sign up to receive your weekly writing assignments.
Mama's Losin' It

When I was 10, I wanted to be an astronaut. 
Maybe it’s because it was a big year in NASA history. Scary year. Yet, I wanted to be an astronaut.
You see, when I was 10 it was 1986. On January 26, 1985 the space shuttle Challenger loaded up an eclectic crew, including  Sharon Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space. Needless to say, this was a big deal. My fifth grade teacher rolled in the television so we could view this historic event and in turn, we watched a horrific event when the space shuttle exploded.

Yet I still wanted to be an astronaut…

I was so upset by January 26th’s events. But I was also intrigued with the possibilities of space travel. And women in space. I wanted to be part of these historic events.

The following year, at the end of sixth grade, I was given a wonderful opportunity. I attended Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama, where I learned about the space program and went through an, obviously, modified astronaut training program. I had a blast (pun intended) and those five days are memories I will keep forever.

And a few years passed and I got into high school. Became interested in boys. Started caring about how I looked. And the notion of becoming an astronaut faded away…

Can you imagine if I had kept to that? I likely would never have been allowed back into the NASA Space Center after they saw my math scores. But how exciting would it have been? Especially now that the space shuttle program is winding down.

When I was 10 I wanted to be an astronaut. What did you want to be?

October 21, 2010

>the quiet girl

>Today’s post is part of Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. The prompt is to write about how you were labeled as a child. If you’d like to participate, click on the button below to sign up to receive the weekly prompts and to link up your post.

Mama's Losin' It

I was always deemed the “quiet girl” because, well, I was just that. Quiet. I didn’t yell and scream on the play ground or raise my hand often in class. I followed the rules. Enjoyed my alone time. And I often burried my head in books. I was up for “Quietest Senior,” but someone else quieter beat me.
It was my nature. It still is.
Well, I don’t get much alone time anymore and I don’t burry my head in books anymore. More like baby diapers. But you get what I’m saying.
Most people interpreted my “quiet” nature as shy. But I wasn’t shy. When I had something I felt merited saying, I said it. And maybe this part of my nature has improved as I have aged.
My dad used to worry that people would think I was stuck-up because I was so quiet. I really don’t know if people felt this of me. I’d like to think no, but I suppose it’s possible.
But the biggest thing with my introverted nature is that people will stop me in public when I am happily lost in my thoughts and ask “Why are you so angry?” I’m not angry, folks, just lost in my own thoughts and not walking around with a smile on my face.
Does everybody else in the world walk around with a smile plastered to their face? At all times?
Personally, I find this comment quite annoying, but it’s been a chronic comment. My. Whole. Life.
I’m the quiet girl. I tend to be introverted and sensitive. I used to hate it, but I’ve learned to embrace it. It’s who I am.
What were you labeled as a child?


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September 30, 2010

>"writing is not your thing"


Mama's Losin' It

This week’s writing prompt from Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop is to write about a time a teacher disappointed me. I will be writing about a college professor that nearly squashed my dream of being a writer, and fortunately I found that zest for writing later in my professional career.

“Writing is not your thing…” A college professor told me in my junior year. Really? REALLY? “I just don’t like your style,” she continued.

I’ve loved to write since I could string sentences together. For what it’s worth, I won a little award in the second grade for a two lined essay I wrote about my brother. Or being free. Or my pet. Or something like that. It hung in the cafeteria for parents night and I received a certificate for it.
As I grew, English classes were my favorite. I loved to creative write and I consistently received A’s. I kept journals and enjoyed writing letters.
So when I transfered to a four year university, immediately passed the writing test that 60% of those who take don’t pass to move on to the next level of English to complete my requirements, I enrolled myself in this course. I don’t remember the name. I just remember the teacher. A firey red head who clearly did not care for me.
Perhaps it was because I didn’t raise my hand and speak wildly, using terms like utopia and ethnography. I read the assigned reading, and wrote to what I believed in. But she “didn’t like my style.” And she told me this in front of the whole class. I sought help. Worked with a classmate to bring my essays to her taste. But no go.
And I cried. I often believed writing would be a career. But she, in a matter of two sentences, squashed that dream and I looked for different majors, switching from journalism to radio and television, which I ultimately received my degree in.
But as my professional career evolved, I became a professional writer. I’ve had multiple stories published in print and I write marketing copy.
I’m not saying I am a fantabulous writer. My grammar can be terrible. I don’t use punctuation properly. And I don’t use the most interesting words, like ethnography and utopia. I start too many sentences with “and,” “but” and “so”. But clearly it isn’t all that bad. I’m (occasionally) paid to do it.
More importantly, writing is my thing. It makes me tick. I write this blog at will. I’m not paid to do it. I simply do it out of joy. It’s my art and I certainly don’t expect everyone to like it.
This teacher was wrong on so many levels. But the big one was suggesting that writing wasn’t my thing based on that she didn’t like my style. Some may like Picasso, and hate Monet. That is a matter of taste, but it doesn’t mean that art wasn’t there thing.

September 22, 2010

>a tragedy not my own


Mama's Losin' It

For this week’s Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop I have selected the writing prompt to write about a tragedy that affected me more deeply than I anticipated it would. Let me start by saying, any tragedy, whether it be your own or someone else’s is never one to show little emotion for. But as humans, some things strike us much more deeply than others.

The story you are about to read is a story of a family that I don’t know. But I followed their very sad story and felt profound sadness for their loss. The story is that of which I imagined to have happened in this woman’s final days.

He held her hand as she lay unconscious in her hospital bed. He whispered “I love you” into her ear. Begged her to stay strong for their three beautiful children, one who is only six months old. “You are far to young to go. Your babies need you.”

He put lip balm on her dry, parched lips. Rubbed her feet with lotion. Made sure she had everything that she needed to be comfortable, even though she was in a deep coma caused by a brain bleed.

“Look at this beautiful picture your little girl drew for you,” he would hold up a picture in front of her closed eye lids. “It says ‘Come Home Soon, Mommy.” He tapes it up on the wall for all to see.

“Wake up, honey, and look at your sweet baby sitting up all by himself!” he would coax her. But she only laid there.

Then one day, the doctors came in and delivered some horrifying news. “There is nothing else we can do but keep her comfortable…” And with that, he knew what they were implying.

Family came in groups of two and three to say goodbye to this beautiful woman. And the last visitors where her children, who were to young to truly understand the magnitude of what was happening, but in need of saying their goodbyes. “Bye, bye, Mommy” their middle child whispered, “I’ll see you someday in heaven.”

And he signed the papers. They turned the life support machines off after placing the DNR orders. And within an hour, she peacefully exhaled her last breath.

While the events of her last days are unknown to me, however they played out, they were profoundly sad. A young mother, wife and friend tragically lost her life, leaving behind so many that loved her. Leaving behind her babies. I can not even fathom.

Rest In Peace

September 14, 2010

>why I blog

>I haven’t been a very good Mama Kat student in recent weeks, but this week I am back on the horse! This week Mama Kat challenged us with three great writing prompts, one of which is writing about why you blog. Below is my entry.

If you are interested in participating in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop click the button below to start receiving writing prompts.

Mama's Losin' It

I started indirectly blogging five years a go when my mother went to spend six months in South Africa working in orphanages. So many people who loved her, and many who didn’t know her, donated money to be taken over to these children and she needed a way to share what was going on. I put up a blog, she sent me copy that I edited and posted. It worked beautifully.
Shortly after her return I moved to San Francisco. Again. And was so intrigued with the blog platform that I started my own “single gal” blog called “Girl Genius in the City.” I was inspired by the blog “This Fish” that was on iVillage and in a recent, unfortunate twist of events has been canceled. 
What I loved about writing this blog was to be able to live in my moments and document them. Maybe it was a way for me to write it all down, step back and read it later, forcing me to make the realization that this was the life I was living. This was the life I imagined. It was cathartic as I navigated through my demanding career and searched for the person, who is not my partner in crime. 
I didn’t promote this blog. I didn’t tweet about it. Or have a Facebook page. I just wrote and those I knew and loved I shared it with. And then I had a handful or so of readers I didn’t know. It was exciting to say the least.
But as soon as I was no longer single and had babies on the way I decided it was time for “Girl Genius” to retire and I took her down.
I’ve tried blogging a few other times. One with Jonathan, which didn’t get more than ten or so posts. And another to promote my freelance copy writing services. That blog, “The Sassy Scribbler” turned into a mom blog, so I decided it was best to change the name, which is when “Minimal Mom” started. But I wasn’t a serious blogger until April 2010, when I revamped the blog with a redesign and URL.
“Minimal Mom” has been a wonderful way for me to share with friends, family and the cyberworld our happenings. It’s also a great way for me to have a voice and keep my professional brain sharp, even though I am writing about baby stuff.
Most importantly, I blog for me. I am telling my story.
Why do you blog?
August 29, 2010

>vivid memories of a color blind (earless) man

>I’m writing my entry for Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop a bit late because I was traveling this week and was posting via my iPhone, which is no good past a picture and a few words of text. So I am writing and posting this today, Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning.

If you are interested in participating in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop, click through the button below to sign up!

Mama's Losin' It

“My childhood neighbor” was an old man named Mr. Dull. 
Mr. Dull was an elderly man who lived next door to us. Like many of the properties, ours included, his home was situated on an acre or so of land where he harvested macadamia nuts, tangerines, cumquats, cherry tomatoes and who knows what else.  He sold these items at farmers markets and often shared with his neighbors.
Mr. Dull was a widower. I don’t know much about his wife, but she was gone before we moved into the house next door when I was a year old or so. He was a hunched over old man, who was a cancer survivor, having lost one of his ears (that’s right, he only had one ear) to cancer, was color blind, often roaming his property in mismatched old man socks, shorts and suspenders. 
An interesting character to little kids, right? 
I remember my mom leaving him dinner on the fence and my dad going over to help him with odd and end things. Sometimes he would talk to my brother and I through the fence when we would pick the blackberries that grew on the fence that separated our properties.
His home was not carpeted. Nor with hardwood, lanolium or tile. It was concrete. And he had a vinyl restaurant booth in his kitchen. My parents insisted he hosed his house out once a month instead of vacuuming. (Mom, if you read this, maybe you can comment on this topic)
A vivid memory I have of Mr. Dull was of a visit in  his front yard. My mom (or dad, or both, I really can’t remember) were visiting with him and I was playing, running back and forth between his yard and ours. At one point I picked one of his cherry tomatoes. Why I did this, I don’t know. I was never a fan of anything tomato. But I picked one of HIS cherry tomatoes. And he asked me “Are you going to eat that?” I told him “no” and as quick as I uttered that word, he stuffed that tomato into my mouth and said “You pick it, you eat it.” I learned my lesson… And I am still not a tomato fan.
I don’t remember when Mr. Dull passed away. Or how. I think I was away at college when it happened. I don’t know if he was at home or in a hospital. If he had family with him or if he was alone. I’m embarrassed to admit not knowing these details as he was such a vivid part of my childhood home. 
But he died. 
A new family bought his property. Tore down his home and built a brand new, huge home in its place, removing his cherry tomato plants and macadamia nut trees.
August 16, 2010

>dear mommy: confessions of a two year old.

>Today I am writing a post as part of Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. It is a letter to ME from Hadley, who is two years old.. If you are interested in participating, visit Mama Kat’s website and sign up for the workshop here.

Mama's Losin' It


Dear Mama,

You are an emotional stress case sometimes. RELAX!

I am not going to take off running so far away from you that you will lose me. And I’m not so quick that you couldn’t catch me.  I am just playing when I run and I am hoping you will chase after me. If you don’t come running, I come right back to you.

And give the human race some more credit than you do! Chances are slim that someone is going to steel me the second you let go of my hand. People are generally good. And will help you. YOU KNOW THIS!

I know you worry about me. Sometimes I think you don’t want me to grow up. But it’s time for me to learn to walk without holding your hand, unless of course when we are in the street, which I will test, but I know you are right.

OH, and tell daddy to relax about me getting dirty while feeding myself. Or coloring. Or playing outside. Or making a mess in the playroom or my bedroom. I am supposed to get messy. I am two. He seems to be so concerned about me being clean. But I need to learn to use a fork and in doing that, I need to make a mess.

You know what else? I am just fine in my bedroom by myself. I cry to get you to come in. I’m not scared. Just lonely and like to sleep next to you and daddy. And I know I get my way when I cry!

Since baby sister has arrived I sometimes feel like more is expected of me.  Remember, it is your job to teach me about the world. I don’t inherently know geometry. Or rocket science. Or how to write a novel. This is your job to teach me. Teach me how to stay with you when we are walking in public. How to say please and thank you consistently. To put my shoes on the right feet. To play with other children. I need discipline in order to learn. Don’t expect me to already know it all (although, I am a sharp kid who came with a few tricks up her sleeve).

One thing I do know, Mama, is how much you love me. You show me everyday. When you give me a bath. Sing the same Dora the Explorer theme song over and over again and I know you are sick of it, but you sing it because I love it. You listen to my baby babble stories and respond as appropriately as you can. You make me chocolate milk, but not let me have too much of it. I know you smuggle vegies into my juice because you know it’s good for me. You tenderly give me a bath every night. Read me the same books over and over again. Lay with me until  I fall asleep. You snuggle with me and tell me you love me to pieces.

And for all of this, I love you to pieces.

Just relax a little!

I love you to pieces, Mama,