Category Archives: Learners Word of the Day

CHILLY WILLY NO MORE

WORD OF THE DAY STORY

(My word of the day stories are written and edited in 60 minutes. The goal, is to just get the words out and encourage readers of all ages, to do the same. First drafts are usually terrible. But, they are necessary. The editing is strictly for grammar and spelling at this point. )

July 05, 2018

Learner’s Word of the Day

chilly [chil-ee] adjective

chillier; chilliest

The woman is chilly.
The woman is chilly.

1:  noticeably cold

2:  feeling cold

3:  noticeably unfriendly

 

CHILLY WILLY NO MORE

By Traci Bold

Chilly Willy arrived on the coolest evening in April. He shivered midair. He had been given this nickname by his winter friends who said they had named him this for his cool green feathers and his icy white neck.  But really they gave him that name because he shivered whenever a cold breeze blew in from the Atlantic. His mother reassured him that when the change happened sometime during his spring journey north, he would fit into his given name, which he liked much better.

That journey had so far taken him across the Gulf of Mexico, which had been long and tiring and he needed energy fast. 

South Padre Island was below him.

Bright red caught his eye and he flew in for a taste. 

Mmmm. The sugar water was just right; not too sweet, not too watery.

He hovered at the feeder until he was full.

His energy was renewed. Now he needed protein to give him strength to explore the island before his journey north.

A swarm of gnats beckoned him with their gray mist of frenzied fluttering. Gnat snacks were the perfect choice. One by one, Chilly Willy snatched gnats from the air.  

Ahh, just enough. He was ready to rest. He flew back to the feeder, sipped a bit, then settled in on the branch of the emerald green tree nearby. With his cool green coloring, the foliage kept him hidden.

The next day, Chilly Willy explored the island, sipping from feeder to feeder, snatching up flying insects when the opportunity arose, and resting wherever he fancied.  As he explored, he chanced upon a vibrant feeder colored with dazzling red and orange; his favorite colors, as they promised delicious nectar. Choosing not to simply test the drink, he dove right in. Hungrily, he sipped, and sipped. He switched to a different sipping port. There, he noticed a black spot on the port. He sipped again and retreated hastily. The sugar water tasted foul. He tried the first feeder port again and sipped. Still foul tasting. He felt dizzy.

Night time was closing in. He needed sleep. At day’s end he made his way back to his favorite nighttime rest area and settled in.

He awoke to the sound of faint buzzing. A mosquito was close enough to grab with his lightning fast tongue. He missed. He felt groggy. Breakfast for a champion, had just gotten away.

Close by was his favorite feeder. He supped but quickly retreated. The sugar water tasted foul there too. He perched on the nearest bush and closed his eyes.

A gentle touch awoke him. He tried to fly away but was held tight by a human’s hand.  She placed him on a soft shrub that beheld aphids. Hungry, he ate until he was thirsty. The human held a tiny sugar water feeder in front of him. He hesitated but took a sip. Mmmm, it was perfect.

The human watched him until he was strong enough to flutter his wings and hover. She placed the tiny feeder on a metal hook above the shrub.

Chilly Willy hovered while he drank and perched while he ate aphids. He stayed until he felt strong enough to once again, begin his journey north which was when the sun was facing him.

Chilly Willy’s gorget blazed ruby red in the warm sun. He was Chilly Willy no more; he was now Ruby Red Throat.

 IMG_2418

AUTHORS NOTE:

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. If you are lucky to have them in your yard and want to keep them coming back, create a backyard habitat for them to thrive in. See the links below for more information on how to do this.

If you choose to feed them via hummingbird feeders, please follow these rules to insure their safety and well-being. Chilly Willy could have succumb to botulism after drinking the rancid sugar water. Just like humans, they need untainted water sources.

Sugar water ferments or can get moldy in the sun if out for longer than a few days. If the temperatures are in the 40’s to high 60’s, sugar water is good for about 5-6 days. 70’s-80: 3-5 days. 80’s to 90: 3 days max and 91 and above, change daily.

Do not purchase store bought hummingbird nectar as it not made with purified water and granulated sugar. Also, purchased nectar also contains red food coloring which can cause botulism and death of a hummingbird. It is true hummingbirds are most attracted to the color red so buy a hummingbird feeder that has red on it. Hummers are inquisitive and will check out anything red to see if it is a nectar source for them.

Here is the recipe for sugar water:

4 parts purified water

1 part granulated sugar.

Example: 1 cup purified water, ¼ cup granulated sugar

Stir sugar into purified water until water is clear. May be stored in refrigerator up to 10 days. Pour into clean feeder.

Tips:

  1. If you notice the feeder water get cloudy, change it immediately.

  1. If you see mold on any part of the feeder, dump the sugar water, and clean the feeder of mold, using a mild bleach solution if need be to get rid of all mold. Make sure you rinse the bleach solution off completely and dry the feeder before pouring sugar water in.

  1. When the temps are hot, do not fill the feeders full, only keep them ¼ full and empty as needed. Hopefully, the hummers will drink all the water before the water can turn foul.

  1. I keep three feeders filled outside at all times and keep two clean feeders in the house so when I have to change feeders, I can fill a clean feeder immediately and put out in place of a dirty feeder (feeder that needs to be changed). This keeps the hummers happy and not waiting for their feeders to get filled.

Links:

http://www.hummingbirdmarket.com/hummingbird_articles/care_and_rescue.html

https://defenders.org/hummingbirds/basic-facts

https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/birds/hummingbirds

https://www.audubon.org/content/how-create-hummingbird-friendly-yard

https://extension.psu.edu/attracting-hummingbirds

http://hummingbirdworld.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SNEAK ATTACK: A MASTER PLAN

mastermind – noun, verb

[mas-ter-mahynd, mah-ster-]

  1.   noun: A person who plans and organizes something
  2.   verb: to plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully

 

Ollie held a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich. Those were Kirby’s favorite. A mastermind of thievery, Kirby put her plan in action.

A tree stood tall between Ollie and Kirby. Kirby hid and watched. Ollie spread mustard on his sandwich, making sure it reached all edges. He carefully replaced the top slice of bread.

Kirby snuck up behind a bird in the yard.

Ollie opened his mouth.

Charge!

Tweet, tweet! Whizzzz rustle.

Ollie jumped at the sudden movement. He looked up. A leaf directly above his head fluttered toward him.

“Stay off my sandwich, leaf. It’s mine.” Ollie shooed the leaf away and settled back down.

Kirby slunk closer. She had to stop Ollie from eating that ham and Swiss sandwich. Her mouth watered. Drool dripped from her muzzle.

Ollie opened wide and took a dainty bite.

Kirby cocked her head. Such a small bite for such a wide mouth.

“Mmmm. This is the best sandwich ever.” Ollie licked his lips.

A rock lay near. Kirby turned around three times, then kicked the rock right past Ollie, toward the field.

Just as Ollie opened for another bite, the rock tumbled past.

Kirby hid behind the tree.

“Who rolled the rock?” Ollie asked.

The wind whistled in response.

Ollie grunted as he took another bite.

His mouth full, he looked around.

“I wonder where Kirby is?” Ollie said, chewing.

Kirby yipped at the sound of her name. Oops.

Ollie swallowed. “Too bad Kirby isn’t here. I would gladly share my sandwich with her.”

Kirby crawled on all fours toward Ollie. Sneak attack.

Ollie swigged back water from his cup.

Kirby crawled closer. Rustle. Snap.

Ollie set his sandwich down on the wrapper. He stood up and stretched.

This is my chance. Kirby crept.  And crept. Almost there.

Grumble, burp!

Kirby stopped in her tracks.

Ollie sat down. He stretched his legs out in front of him and put his arms behind hid head and lay down. The sandwich lay on the wrapper next to him.

“I just need a couple minutes rest before I finish my sandwich.”

Kirby stood up. She tread softly to Ollie’s other side. She watched him breathe softly, his eyes closed. The sandwich was just ahead, near Ollie’s side.

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.

Get outta here fly!

Bzzz. Bzzz.

Ollie swatted the air above his face.

Kirby placed her front paws down in front of her, raising her butt in the air.

And…..leap!

Ollie swung his arm out, swiping his sandwich high into the sky just as Kirby flew through the air, her mouth open wide.

Success! The sandwich made contact and with one tug, it ripped in half.

“Great effort Kirby!” Ollie laughed. “You know, I always share with you. No need to sneak attack.”

Kirby gulped her half down.

“I suppose you need a drink  now?” Ollie asked.

Woof!

“Here you go,” Ollie offered Kirby his cup of water. He finished his sandwich while she drank. “I hope you left me a drop.”

Kirby looked up, water dripped from her muzzle.

Ollie looked in his cup. One drop left. He hugged his dog. Kirby nuzzled him back.

“I suppose you want to nap now, huh?” Ollie lay down.

Great idea Ollie! Just like I planned. Kirby nestled into Ollie.

Dreams of their next adventure filled both of their heads.

 

 

 

 

SHOW OR TELL?

Disclosure: The purpose of my Word of the Day story/writing is to promote getting the words down, which is a big feat for writers or anyone needing to write a paper. I give myself just 60 minutes to write and edit before posting. Therefore, the story/writing is barely past a first draft.  I use one of the three online dictionaries #WordoftheDay posts as my writing prompt. I encourage you to try it too. Feel free to comment below. 

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/word-of-the-day

nevertheless – adverb

[nev-er-th uhles]

  • in spite of what has just been said

 

FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…BLAST OFF!!!

Or

TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

You can feel the excitement building with each number and BAM! Climax. What’s next? Does the world stop to watch? Sometimes, yes. Such as in the case of any rockets going into space. But what happens after the New Year hug, kiss, or high-five of celebration of witnessing another year ringing in?

For some, it’s writing out the new year goals or resolutions. For others, it’s going back to the humdrum of life that was before the new year started. And yet for the rest, it’s revving up the excitement of working on or planning what will partake this new year. What adventures to go on. What new things to try. What form of self discovery to indulge in. Then diving in head first to make it happen.

Where do you fit in? Are with the some, the others, or the rest?  You could fit into more than one category, most people do.

For me, I choose the rest category. No resolution writing.new years (2)_LI No humdrum. Instead, I choose to DO! I choose to show, not tell. What does that mean? Instead of telling people what I am going to do, I say nothing and just do it. No need to tell people, I just need to show to myself, that I can do whatever it is I want, by doing.

Pertaining to my writing, how about this to ponder: words are words, actions are actions. Show or tell.

Almost. As a picture book writer, my job is to show what cannot be shown by illustrations. As a middle grade, young adult writer, I need to show more, since I have no illustrator to help me, but I do still need to tell a few things depending on the story.

If you read a book that only told you everything that happened instead of showing you, would you keep reading?

If the story was shown to you as a movie, using words, would you keep reading? That’s the only way I will keep reading. I want to feel as though I am in the story.

What about applying this to life in general? Good question. If I’m telling people I’m going to write a book, I probably am not going to actually write a book. So, I don’t tell people. I write the books instead.

The fun is in the showing, not the telling.

(Nevertheless, telling has its’ place; such as reporting bad behavior, or reporting an accident, etc.)

FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…TIME’S UP.

I know what I’m doing next. Do you?

Cool!  Go do it!

 

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting

BEST SURPRISE EVER!

spatula – noun    spatula

[spachuh-luh]

  1.   a kitchen tool that has a handle which is bent upward and a wide, thin blade used for lifting and turning foods on a hot surface
  2.   a kitchen tool that has a long handle and short, soft blade and that is used especially for mixing, spreading, etc.
  3.   a kitchen tool similar to a knife that has a flexible blade and that is used for mixing, spreading, etc

 

Today was special for one reason: Nana and Paps were bringing my family a surprise! They brought us surprises a lot. One time, it was a tire swing and a seesaw they made from scraps. Another time it was an exotic food cookbook from a flea market (my father doesn’t like any of the meals Mom made from that cookbook so far) and the last time, they gave us a recycled picture frame with them in it. The surprise could be small or it could be big, you never knew. We took turns guessing what the surprise could be.

“A puppy!” Leesa, my baby sister squealed, as she threw handfuls of dog food out for Lila and Jack, our hounds.

“A T-Rex!” said my little brother, Drew.

“We already have two dogs and dinosaurs are extinct,” I told them.

“I hope it’s a new cookbook so I can try new recipes,” Mom said.

“I hope it’s not,” Dad joked. Mom shook her melted spatula at him. It was a family joke how her favorite spatula came to be that way.

Dad had accidentally dropped a pan-flipped pancake onto the hot gas burner and grabbed Mom’s favorite plastic spatula to scoop the pancake up but melted the spatula in the process.

“Should have used the metal spatula to begin with.”

“I didn’t use a spatula at all to begin with,” Dad said.

 

Mom was angry for a millisecond before she laughed. She then schooled him on the different kinds of spatulas and their use.spatulas

 

My guess was the most practical, “I think the surprise is Ol’ Blue, Paps old truck. He said he wanted to buy a new one soon.”

Mom smiled. She liked that idea. Her and I helped Paps wash, wax and work on Ol’ Blue since I was big enough to hold a sponge.  It was a classic that he drove only on special occasions or for hauling. Ever since I’ve known Mom, she’s wanted Ol’ Blue.  I hoped she got it too, because I wanted Ol’ Blue after her.

Honk. Honk.

We all knew that sound. Nana and Paps were here!

And they were pulling a covered trailer behind them.

“Is the puppy in there?” Leesa asked, pointing to the trailer.

“It’s too big for a puppy. But not for a T-Rex!” said Drew.

Since they brought a rented trailer, I was now sure my guess was wrong. Maybe it was a baby T-Rex.

Nana scooped Leesa up as soon as she got out of the truck.

“Where’s my puppy?” Leesa asked.

“You already have two dogs,” Nana said. Leesa stuck her tongue out at me. It’s not my fault, Nana and I think alike.

“Is the T-rex in there?” Drew grabbed Paps hand.

“It could be a T-Rex,” Paps said. “But what if that toothy dinosaur tries to eat my grandkids?” He chased Drew and Leesa around the yard.

“How about we eat lunch first and then we can see what’s in that trailer,” Mom said.

 

After lunch, we gathered outside by the Ol’ Blue. Nana pulled a skinny, long package out from under the seat. She handed it to Dad.

A shiny wide metal spatula with a long handle greeted him as he opened it.

“Perfect for flipping pancakes,” Nana said.

“The handle is a little long to be used on the stove.” Mom said.

“Follow me,” Paps said.

We followed him to the trailer. Once opened we could all see a short space with a blanket covering.

“Pull off the blanket,” Paps said to my Dad.

“Presto!” Dad said, uncovering the loot.

“Yippee!!! Can we play on them?” Drew begged.

“Do they bite?” Leesa asked.

“Now I know why I need that long spatula!” A spiffy gas grill caught Dad’s eye.

“Help us get these out Amy,” Paps said to me.

I helped him, Nana, Dad and Mom unload the rest into the backyard by the see-saw.

Mom had to stop Leesa and Drew from climbing on their new Doggy and T-rex spring riders.

“Not until Paps and your father bolt them down,” she said, laughing.

I helped Mom and Nana place the grill.

“Open it,” Nana said.

Mom opened it and shrieked. “It’s my favorite spatula and one of your favorite cookbooks!”

Nana had given Mom one of her old spatulas that she said were tried and true.

“Since Darin melted the original one I gave you, knew you could use another. And I have the recipes in that book, memorized. Thought you could use it now that Amy is learning to cook,” Nana said as she winked at me.

I smiled at her. I liked cooking but I wasn’t as fanatical about as Mom and Dad were. Seemed like everyone got something they really longed for. Except me. I was too big to ride on the spring riders and as I stated, I really wasn’t much into cooking. But the spring riders would keep Drew and Leesa out of my hair for longer times.

I looked at the trailer. It seemed like too big a trailer to hold just a grill and two spring bouncers.

“Why didn’t you just put the grill and the bouncers in the back of Ol’Blue?”

Mom nodded in agreement.

Nana said, “Ask your Paps?”

So I did.

Paps told us all to follow him back tot he trailer. What we didn’t see at first, he showed us; the wall had a handle at the top and he pulled it down.

Inside was a shiny black, new car.

“She’s a beauty!” Dad said.

“Is this another surprise for us?” I asked, confused.

“Nope, this is,” Paps said as he threw Mom a set of keys. “Drive the car out please.”

Mom carefully drove the car out of the trailer and parked it next to Ol’ Blue.

As she opened the door to get out, Paps said, “Leave the keys in but pull out what’s under the driver seat.”

Mom felt under the driver seat and held up another set of keys. “These are the other set of keys to Ol’ Blue.”

“Yup. I figure you’re going to need them in about three years.”

My eyes grew big as saucers. I was only three years away from getting my driver’s license.

“Dad?” Mom questioned Paps.

“I’m giving you Ol’ Blue. We’ve been wanting a sports car for years to travel in and I know how much you and Amy love Ol’ Blue. It’s time Ol’ Blue earned her keep and was used.” He threw the other set of keys to Mom. “All you have to do is sign the papers for it and she’s all yours and Amys’.”

Mom and I gave Paps and Nana a huge hug and thanked them.

“There’s only one catch,” Paps said. “You have to take the trailer back for me. That little hotrod can’t pull it.”

“Deal,” Mom said.

“SURPRISE!” Nana shouted.

Best surprise ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘OUTPOURING OF LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SAVES FINDLEY FOREST’

outpouring – noun 

[out-pawr-ing, -pohr-]

1 : an act of expressing an emotion or feeling in a very powerful way — often + of

2 : a large amount of something that is given or received in a short period of time — often + of                                   

 

Holly was sad. Her letter to Santa was returned without a postmark on it.  It was wrinkled, and mangled, with paw prints all over it. The paw prints confused her but she was pretty sure her big brother Logan, had taken the letter out of the mailbox before the mailman came.

Christmas was less than a week away. Even if she mailed the letter today, Santa would never get it in time. Her only choice was to write her letter in the snow and hope Santa would see it early enough Christmas Eve.

Outside in an open space between their front yard and Findley Forest, Holly roped off a large rectangle  in the snow. She took her mother’s holly garland off the deck and the front porch for the border of the message. Inside the rectangle, she smoothed the snow with her sled, making a blank plot to write in. Her message was simple:

Dear Santa white

 

“Whatcha doing Holly?” Logan sauntered up to the carefully plotted message.

“Go away Logan!” Holly said. “You stole my letter to Santa out of the mailbox and gave it to the neighbors cat.” She refused to look at him, tears ready to spill over.

“What? I did not!” Logan’s face turned pink. “Why would I give it to the neighbor’s cat? That doesn’t make sense.”

“So you did take it!” Holly stood up, indignant.

“No. I didn’t. And if you’re going to accuse me of stealing, I won’t ask you to go sledding.” Logan turned toward home.

Holly sighed. Maybe Logan didn’t take my letter, she thought.

“You really didn’t take it?”

“No.”

“I’m sorry. My letter came back today and it looked like this.” She showed him the still sealed letter.

“That’s weird. So what are you going to do now?” Logan asked.

Holly opened her arms wide revealing her finished message.

“I hope Santa gets here first on
Christmas Eve, so he sees it in time,” Logan said.

“Me too. Can I still go sledding?”

 

On December 21st, Holly awoke with a great idea! She gathered the cranberry Christmas garland off the Christmas tree, bundled up and ran out into the windy morning to add to her Santa message.

“OH NO!” Holly cried. Her message to Santa was gone. The wind had blown snow across it. She tried to write the message again but the wind kept filling in her letters. She ran into the house, and smacked into Logan, tears streaming down her face.

“What’s wrong Holly?” he asked.

Holly explained.

“I can help.” Logan bundled up, grabbed a bucket of water and said, “Follow me.”

“As I pour water into the snow, write your message, the snow will be stickier and the wind can’t blow it away as you write it.”

Holly agreed. Logan poured, Holly wrote. Every few letters, Logan ran back to the house for more water. Each time, Holly cleared the snow out of her letters that the wind had blown in.

When she was finished writing, she helped him mound up snow around each letter.

Dear Santa blue

Satisfied with their work, Holly ran into the house to get her forgotten cranberries.

“What are you doing with those young lady?” her mother asked.

Holly explained.

Her mother smiled, “Go ahead then.”

She gave Logan some cranberries and instructed him to place them in the letters to help the letters stand out more.

When they finished, they helped their mother bake cookies inside.

While Holly and Logan were cutting out cookies, their mother snuck away to tell their father about the snowy message.

 

Bright and early on Christmas Eve, Holly and Logan bundled up and ran outside to check on their message to Santa.

“Oh no!” they cried. The letters were trounced upon, no longer letters and the cranberries were all missing. Various animal tracks littered the snowy rectangle, leading back to the forest.

“What are we going to do now, Logan?” Holly asked. She couldn’t be angry with the animals because she knew they only wanted the cranberries to eat. The animals had no way of knowing that they were trying to save the animals’ home.

“Well we don’t have any more cranberries, but we can rewrite the message.”

But the snow had turned icy.

“I’m sorry Holly.” Logan led her into the house.

Hot chocolate chip waffles waited for them in the kitchen.

“Why the long faces?” their mother asked.

Holly explained and concluded, “It’s no use. Santa will never know what I truly want for Christmas and the forest will be cut down to make wood.”

“Finish eating and meet your father and me in the garage. But bundle up first,” their mother said.

They met their parents in the garage. Their father was holding his paint gun, their mother, a rake and a large bag of corn which she handed to Logan.

“Follow us,” their father said.

He led them to their special message spot.

“The holly garland looks good out here,” their mother said, smiling. “I’ll rake, Logan you smooth the snow, and Holly, you tell your Dad, slowly, what to write.”

Each family member did as instructed. When they were finished, the message said:

Dear Santa Red

“We have more to do,” said their father. “We’ll make corn mounds near the forest for the animals to eat so they stay away from this message.”

 

On Christmas morning, a thunk hit their front door. It was a special newspaper edition. The front headline read,

outpouring

Below it was a photo with this caption: Dear Santa blue

 

 

 

 

Local children have a message for Santa                                                                                                 and it’s not about gifts for them.

 

The article went on to say that the editor received so many letters and phone calls about saving Findley Forest, the day after the photo originally printed December 22, that she had no choice but to take the letters to the Mayor and forward all calls to the Mayor. Not wanting to risk losing the next election, the Mayor rescinded the agreement with a logging company to cut down Findley Forest, bit by bit.

“Look at this!” Logan showed his family the last photo on the front page. Too excited to bundle up, they rushed outside to see for themselves.

Surrounding their message to Santa were animal prints and a large mound of corn.

Holly beamed, shivered, and shouted out to the animals, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

The End

 

This Christmas story is my Christmas gift to you. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Merry Christmas

Traci

 

GORTOK GETS HIS WISH

furious – adjective 

[fyoo r-ee-uh s]

1 : very angry

2 a : very powerful or violent

   b : very active or fast
Long ago, the landfill in Titustown had filled up. The town agreed that they needed to do something better with the garbage than to fill up land with it because it would fill up too fast. The solution was to build a large incinerator that would burn the garbage that could not be recycled in one way or another. But the only land large enough to hold it, belonged to Gortok the Greedy, as the townspeople nicknamed him, and he refused to have that ugly incinerator on his property.
The only solution left for the town,  was pile all of the garbage on the only open lot in town that still belonged to it. Which was right next to Gortok the Greedy’s house.
Gortok wanted more than anything, for the mountain of garbage behind his house to disappear. He hated the sight of it and the smell was atrocious. The town had been using the lot as the dump for too long.
The mountain just grew…
and grew.
and grew.
And now, the smell was coming into his home.
So Gortok made a wish.
“Mother Nature,  please make the garbage go away.”
A few days later, Mother Nature granted his wish.
Whip!
Whoosh!
Whip!
The wind came from the outskirts of town and blew in with a fury.
Garbage from all over town rose up from the streets, the gutters, the lawns, everywhere, and landed on top of the mountain.
The town was clean. But Gortok the Greedy’s property smelled worse than before.
In a huff, Gortok walked to work. On the way, he unwrapped his granola bar, ate it then tossed his wrapper to the ground. He then he popped open his juice box.
Mother Nature was not happy. She sent the wind out once again.
Whip,
whish!
The wind picked up the tossed wrapper and whipped it at Gortok.
The wrapper hit him square in the face.
“Who threw that?” Gortok asked, expecting to find kids near. He grabbed the wrapper and whipped it to the ground again. He finished his juice and threw the plastic bottle as well.
Furious at Bartok’s behavior, Mother Nature once again sent wind out to do her bidding.
Whip,
whish,
whip!
This time the wind blew the bottle at Gortok, hitting his leg, and the wrapper hit his arm as he walked.
Gortok kicked the bottle and flung the wrapper.
“Enough!” he shouted, though no one was near to hear.
At the factory, a newspaper flew through the air, landing against the door Gortok was opening.  He threw it onto the walkway and went inside.
Mother Nature decided she had had enough herself. She told wind what to do and wind got right to it.
Whip!
Whoosh!
Whish!
It was quite late when Gortok left work. He was half asleep as he walked home and fell exhausted into his open doorway.
In the morning, a cool breeze woke Gortok up. He noticed the sweet smell coming in from the open doorway.
“This is unusual.”  He shuffled around his property. His jaw dropped open at the sight of the lot behind his house. The mountain had disappeared! Mother Nature had granted his wish. He did his happy dance, jigging and jagging around his lawn.
That day, Gortok whistled as he walked to work, saying hello to his factory workers as they walked past, plugging their nose. [He should have been more concerned as to why they were not on the job.] 
Around the corner, he found out why.
The mountain of garbage now covered his entire factory.
He was bewildered until he remembered his wish.
Gortok made his way through the garbage, into the factory and got right on the phone.
The headline on the next newspaper read,
‘GORTOK FACTORY BEGINS INCINERATOR PROJECT NEXT WEEK.’
The opening sentence of the article said,
‘Gortok Industries to start making incinerators for home use after finishing a large scale incinerator for the town’s garbage which will be built right on Gortok property.’
Mother Nature did not help Gortok with the garbage this time.
Gortok cleaned up the mess himself.

Word of the Day Story to Begin Again

Hello readers!

Starting in December, on Tuesdays, I will revamp my ‘Word of the Day’ stories. 

My idea behind this is to encourage you to just get your words written for whatever writing project you are doing. It’s just for fun. I hope to bring out the joy of playing with words.

The hardest part of writing is getting the initial words written. Therefore, as a writing prompt, I will be using the word of the day from either Merriam-Webster or Dictionary.com or Learner’s, to write a short, short story using that word(s) and then edit it one time in 60 minutes [no editing while writing the story, just write]. The story will be far from perfect but hopefully, enjoyable to read. I may take a little extra time to add photos or artwork of mine that fit the story.

Speaking of the story… it may be anything such as whimsical, funny, off the wall, sad, happy, philosophical; the word of the day kind of commands the writer, what story it wants to be in. 

If you choose to share your Word of the Day story, please add it to the comments section of the blog post. Please also feel free to leave constructive comments as well.

Have a funtastic week. See you on Friday for the next round of ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD.

Traci 

 

 

 

This website promotes positive thinking. Negativity works against creativity and is not allowed on my site. Any negative comments will be deleted.

Ort: A Perfect Mouseful

[dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day selections; photo credit-Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day]

ort – noun

[awrt]

  1.   Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

 

mischievous – adjective

[mis-chuh-vuh s]

  1.   causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage

2.   showing a playful desire to cause trouble

      3.   intended to harm someone or someone’s reputation

 

Cat was angry at Mouse. Mouse was laughing at Cat because Mouse had just won his third game against Cat. Cat slunk off to figure out how to beat Mouse at Mouse’s games.

I have to slow down Mouse or trip him up somehow, Cat thought. Visions of glue, tape and food danced in his head. With the glue, Mouse was begging for help reaching out to be pulled from the glob of glue gumming up his paws. Cat shuddered at the thought. No glue.

Tape took over, tacking Mouse to it who was desperately trying to escape. Tape won’t work either. I don’t want to hurt my friend. 

While Cat was contemplating his next move, Mouse was mulling over how to help Cat win a game. A mischievous idea formed quickly.

Mouse made a maze in the middle of the yard. To help Cat win, he made Cat smiley faces on each turn leading the way out. Whoever got to the end of the maze first would win.

Tap, tap, tap.

Cat whirled around, surprised to see Mouse.

“I don’t want to play anymore of your games. I think we should play one of mine,” Cat said.

“Sure, but can we play one of yours after this last game of mine? I worked really hard at creating it,” Mouse said.

Cat’s whiskers twitched. “What’s the game?”

“I built a maze in the yard. Whoever gets to the end first wins and can choose the next three games to play.”

Cat shook his head. “Since you made the maze, you know how to go through it. That’s not fair.”

Mouse sighed. “You have a point, Cat. I will wear a blindfold to even us out.”

Cat thought about this. “We should each choose a winning treat for the other to place at the end of the maze. Whoever makes it through the maze and finishes their treat first, wins.”

“Deal.”

Together they scoured the house for the perfect treat.

Mouse found part of a tuna sandwich and carried it out.

Cat scoured the kitchen but there were no orts about, not even one crumb. All he could find was a small pink glob under the table. It was a little big for Mouse to eat but Cat planned on winning.

Treats in place, Cat and Mouse took their spots at the beginning of the maze. Cat was haunched in start position while Mouse was blindfolded and ready to go.

“Go!” Cat shouted.

Cat darted away turning this way that, into a dead end. “Drat!” He looked for Mouse. No Mouse around. He listened for Mouse. He could hear scurrying ahead of him.

Mouse twitched his nose letting him guide him to the end. He bumped into wall after wall but the strawberry smell was getting stronger.

Cat turned right, then followed straight. He turned left and left again into another dead end. He sat down and pouted. Doggone Mouse! He’s going to win. As a tear rolled into his whiskers, he noticed a smiley cat picture on the opposite wall. Oh sure, rub it in Mouse! 

Cat ran to the picture and scratched it out. He sulked through the maze scratching out each Cat Smiley he found. He was so busy looking for these smiling Cats, he didn’t realize what he had done.

I. Smell. Tuna! Cat’s nose twitched and his tail swished. He followed his nose right to the end of the maze. Mouse was already there, chewing and chewing.

Cat’s ears drooped. Mouse had won again.

“You won Mouse. But I’m going to enjoy this sandwich anyways.” He took a bite, then another.

Mouse said nothing but kept chewing away.

Cat finished his sandwich. “This was a great treat Mouse. Thank you.” Cat licked his paws.

Mouse just chewed.

“I said, ‘Thank you’ Mouse.” Cat stared at Mouse.

Mouse inhaled deeply.

As he breathed out, a bubble formed and grew and grew. Then…

POP!

Cat jumped straight into the air.

Mouse’s mouth still full he muttered, “Clever cat, giving me this ort. Not supposed to swallow gum. I lost.”

Cat blushed. “Mischievous mouse. Drawing those Smiley Cat faces to tease me. If I had seen those sooner I would have…Hey!”

“Won sooner,” Mouse said still chewing.

“You said a mouseful.” Cat laughed.

The next three games were Cat’s choice and he lost all but one.

 

THE END

If you enjoyed this story, take the challenge and write your own story in 60 minutes and edit it. The idea is to #justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rex’s Big Words

Wow! I have not done a Word of the Day story on here in months.

To you the reader, if you are not familiar with my Word of the Day posts, I take the word of the day entries from dictionary.com, Learners Dictionary or Merriam Webster  (I may use all or just one or two) and create a story for children which have to include the words I post below. I give myself one hour to write and edit the story before posting it. The reason behind only the one hour is to give writers the incentive to just write, as the hardest part of writing is getting started. My story will never be perfect when it is finished in this time frame, but it is not supposed to be and in this case, I went over by nine minutes to finish editing. Feel free to leave comments at the end. I hope you share this story with your child and spark a conversation or a writing project. Enjoy!

scapegrace – noun

[skeyp-greys]

  1.   a complete rogue or rascal; a habitually unscrupulous person; scamp.

 

kudos – noun

[koo-dohz, -dohs, -dos, kyoo-]
      1.   fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : prestige
      2.   praise given for achievement
REX’S BIG WORDS

This story can be summed up with it’s end…

Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

But if you always read the end first, you miss the fun and excitement of the beginning and the middle and end up wondering what happened. Like, why would Rex be in a boxing ring? This is how it all started

“We are finished for the day. Thank you for coming in to help us set up the fundraiser. That scapegrace, Pinche, has a fight on her hands,” said Mr. Torres, owner of the Olympus Theater which was in danger of being condemned and torn down by the city.

Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I packed up our flyers, loaded our backpacks and met outside.

“We did good today,” I said.

“We did well,” Lottie corrected.

“We done did good,” Arnold snickered.

“Yup,” was all Rob said.

“Hey Rex, we need to divide up the town between us to hand out the flyers. Which section do you want?” Arnold asked.

“Makes the most sense to cover the areas around each of our schools, right? Grab as many people as you can to help distribute them.”

Lottie, Arnold, and Rob nodded in agreement.

“If you need more flyers, Mr. Torres said he would be at the Olympus tomorrow evening.”

Again, everyone nodded.

Rob hopped on his bike, Arnold took off walking and Lottie and I waited for our rides.

“See you all on Saturday,” I said.

Lottie waited until Rob and Arnold were out of sight.

“What happens if Mrs. Pinche gets her way?”

“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told her.

Our rides pulled up next to the curb.

“That scapegrace has no chance against us!” I said fist in the air.

“You and your big words Rex,” Lottie said rolling her eyes, playfully.

 

“Rebecca, your dinner is in the oven,” my Mom said the minute I walked in the door. She’s the only person I know who won’t use my nickname. Even my grandparents call me Rex.

“Thanks Mom. I have homework to do so I’ll eat it in my room,” I told her as she followed me into the kitchen.

“Good try Rebecca, you can eat at the counter or at the table but not in your room. What kind of homework?”

I fumbled with the hot pad and the plate of food in the oven.

“I have to write a one page paper about a local historical landmark or a place that should be saved and considered as one. I chose the Olympus Theatre.”

“That should be easy since you’ve been volunteering there for months now.”

“Hope so,” I said, mouth full of food.

 

Upstairs in my room, I gathered my resources. In my notebook, I wrote notes and points of interest. Next, I wrote my paper. I read it over twice, crossed out words and added words like my teacher told us to do and rewrote it neatly. Something was missing. My older brother Mike, is in ninth grade and in his paper for English, he had to write a closing statement. That’s what my paper was missing. I raced to his room.

“Hey Mike, what’s a closing statement for a paper?” I asked him.

He stared at me like I was an alien. “Since when do fifth grade papers need closing statements?”

I rolled my eyes, but not playfully. “Since right now,” I shot back.

Mike raised his eyebrows but told me anyway.

 

At school, I was the first to read my paper in class.

“In closing, the Olympus Theater has been a part of Pepper Grove for over a hundred years. Letting the Olympus get torn down is like letting your grandparents home get torn down with them in it. It is a historical landmark and needs your help. You can help me by handing out these fliers today after school.” I waved a handful of flyers around.

“Nicely done Rex. A little dramatic but nice,” Mr. Buckley said.

A hand shot up in the back of the class. Stephanie Pinche. Bully extraordinaire and only child of Mrs. Pinche.

“Go ahead Stephanie,” Mr. Buckley said.

“Who cares about that smelly old place. My mom says it’s a dump and unsafe and theater is dead. Everybody watches Netflix now or rents movies. Tear it down, a gas station will be a gold mine there.”

The room erupted in noise.

My face burned hot.

“Stephanie, Rex made a nice case for the Olympus and why it should be a historical landmark. You can read your paper next.” Mr. Buckley said.

I walked down the opposite row of Stephanie to avoid her.

 

After school five kids met up with me and we walked the neighborhood around school and handed out all flyers that I had. They agreed to tell their parents about how important the Olympus is and I promised them cookies if they brought their parents to the fundraiser on Saturday.

I stopped by the Olympus on my way home and picked up more.

“Yours are gone already Rex?” Mr. Torrres asked when he saw me.

“Yup. I need more. I recruited friends from school to help me hand them out.” I told him a big smile on my face.

“Well done. You are an activist already,” he said, his toothy grin hidden partially by his mustache.

 

The next day after school Stephanie chased me to my house.

“T-Rex, would you stop running so I can tell you something?” she hollered behind me.

I stopped and turned around. “What do you want?”

Out of breath, she huffed, “I can hand out some of your flyers if you need help.”

My eyes popped right out of my head. (not really)

When I popped them back in, I narrowed them at her. “I thought you said the Olympus should be torn down.”

“My mom wants to share them at the Historical Society committee meeting tomorrow night. She said it would be good to know more about it since you researched it and all.”

I didn’t quite buy her story but I gave her a few flyers.

“Thanks,” she said and left.

 

Thursday, Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I met Mr. Torres at the Olympus and helped him clean the lobby. We scrubbed the counters, swept the floors, scrubbed the floors, cleaned the glass and shined up the staircase until the entire lobby sparkled. When we finished, we took the last of the flyers and headed home.

 

Friday morning, Stephanie grabbed my arm. “My mom loved the flyers. Said they helped her make her point at the meeting so you can have them back.” She handed them to and sneered. “Good luck saving that dump.”

When I opened a flyer, everything looked good.

 

On Saturday, people from all over Pepper Grove turned out at the Olympus Theater. Mr. Torres was strutting around, handing out cookies and coffee to the adults, while Rob, Arnold, Lottie, and me handed out cookies to the kids. The five kids from school were there along with their parents so I gave them extra cookies as I promised.

Mr. Torres walked onto the platform to give his speech. He glanced around then smiled and started. He answered questions and when no one had any more to ask, he held up his hand and shouted, “Can the Olympus be saved?”

The crowd replied, “Yes!” and waved their flyers.

Mrs. Pinche and Stephanie shouted, “NO! TEAR IT DOWN! IT’S UNSAFE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THIS COMMUNITY.”

Mr. Torres dropped his hand.

Mrs. Pinche rushed onto the platform. She held up a flyer.

“Mr. Torres stated in the flyer, ‘Olympus Theater has served its community and in its current state of disrepair, I recommend it be torn down and the lot sold. To remember it in its glory days, I will donate photos and memorabilia of the Olympus to the library for all to enjoy.’”

People held up their flyers.

Mr. Torres grabbed the flyer from Mrs. Pinche’s hand. He scanned it and his face turned beet red.

The crowd started booing.

Lottie nudged me. “Do something Rex!”

Without thinking I ran up to the platform and shoved Mrs. Pinche away.

“The Olympus Theatre was home to the first performance…” I read from the flyer in my hand.

The crowd quieted. I read some more.

“We already heard this speech by Torres,” came a snotty voice from the front.

Stephanie sneered up at me. She started chanting, “Tear it down. Tear it down.”

Some older kids in the front joined her.

I watched Mr. Torres slump his shoulders forward.

Now adults joined in the chant.

“HEY! NO SCAPEGRACE IS GOING TO TEAR DOWN THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK!” I shouted into the microphone, creating an ear-splitting ring.

The crowd covered their ears but stopped.

I recited my paper and ended with this, “Olympus Theater is a historical landmark and needs your help. Pepper Grove will lose its fame if the Olympus gets torn down. Instead, help us bring it back to its former glory. How many of your grandparents came to shows here when stars of their day took to the stage? How many of you performed here when you were in school? Does Pepper Grove need a gas station right in the heart of downtown?”

A buzz started in the crowd. People looked at each other.

“Open your flyers.”

People opened them.

“Does your flyer have a quote from Mr. Torres on the bottom of it?”

People checked and rechecked the flyers in their hands.

“No!”

“That’s because you have the original flyers, not the ones Mrs. Pinche copied and remade with her added fake quote.” I went on to explain about her and her gas station idea.

Finally, Mr. Torres, Mike, my parents, Rob, Lottie, and Arnold flooded the platform next to me. We held hands and raised them.

“Are we going to save the Olympus?” I asked fist pumping in the air.

A few people mumbled yes.

“ARE WE GOING TO SAVE THE OLYMPUS?” we shouted together.

“YES!!!”

“Is Mrs. Pinche going to build a gas station here instead?” I shouted.

“No!” the crowd replied.

“Save the Olympus, save the Olympus!” I chanted.

Soon everyone was chanting it.

Mr. Torres grabbed the donation box and held it over the side of the platform. People lined up and dropped money and checks into the box. Our town mayor pushed through the crowd, held up a fistful of fifty dollar bills and dropped them in.

The crowd cheered.

When the event was over, Rob, Lottie, Arnold, and I along with our families, sat in the lobby while Mr. Torres and his staff counted the money.

“We have enough money to start renovations.”

“Yay!” we cheered.

“And this was in the bottom of the donation box.” Mr. Torres held up a sealed envelope. He tore it open, read it and sucked in his breath.

He read it out loud,

‘Dear Mr. Torres,

Your request for consideration of the Olympus Theater to be a recognized Pepper Grove historical landmark has been approved. Attached is the documentation form for you to fill out and to mail to the state Historical Society. You will receive official paperwork from the state upon receipt of the completed form.

To help ensure the Olympus is ready for a public announcement of its inclusion into the Historical Society, we have set aside money to help offset restoration costs.

Congratulations.

Sincerely,

Pepper Grove Historical Society’

 

We cheered and whooped and hollered.

Mr. Torres gave each of us kids a big hug, and thanked us for our help.

Lottie whispered in my ear, “big words.” Then she held up my hand like a champion and said, “Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

testudinal – adjective

[te-stood-n-l, –styood-]

  1. pertaining to or resembling a tortoise or tortoise shell.

 

crevice – noun

[krev-is]

  1.   a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock

crevice

“I feel so naked without it,” Terrence said to his best friend Trent.

“You look fine without it,” said Trent.

“But I need it, it protects me. You wouldn’t go anywhere without yours and you know it.”

Trent kicked the ground, shuffling his feet. “You’re right, I wouldn’t.”

Terrence covered himself with large leaves he found.

Trent laughed. “You look better without the leaves.”

Terrence squinched his eyes and curled his mouth. “Fine.” He dropped the leaves.

“We need to retrace your footsteps,” Trent said. “Start from the beginning.”

Terrence led Trent back to his home under the mud bog. Trent scratched around the mud. Terrence breezed through the brush. “Not here,” he called out.

A shadow passed above them. Chills crept over Terrence.

They traipsed to the rock quarry next. Terrence kicked rocks out of his way while Trent noses around the big rock. “Not here,” he said.

Sweat dripped off of Terrence, his skin becoming pinkish.

“We have to find your shell fast. You’re going to fry right up and the buzzards will eat you all gone.”

Terrence trembled at the thought. He led Trent to the other side of the rock quarry where the sun was almost hiding.

A testudinal object poked out from the crevice in the quarry.

“Look Terrence!” Trent pointed.

CRAW! CRAW! A shadow circled above them, then disappeared.

“Run!” Trent called.

Terrence used all of his might pushing his stubby legs as fast as they could go.

The shadow became two.

Terrence pushed on.

Swooooosh!

Terrence ducked. “Almost there,” he chanted over and over.

Trent chucked a rock at the buzzards.

Swoooosh!

He ducked into his shell as the buzzards dove toward him.

Swooosh! Miss.

Trent peeked out from his shell, fearful for his friend.

Terrence lunged forward.

The testudinal object was indeed his shell. He pulled and prodded. Swoooosh! and pulled some more. The shell flew into the air…kerplunk… hit a buzzard and landed perfectly on Terrence, covering his body once more.

CRAW! CRAW! Screamed the buzzards, one rubbing it’s head.

Terrence ducked into his shell and hid in the crevice between a rock and a hard place, known as the quarry.

When the buzzards bagged out, Terrence ambled over to his friend.

“Good thing they’re gone, they almost had themselves fried tortoise for lunch.”

“And chicken soup if they had caught me,” Trent said as he shivered.

“You were brave Trent, not a chicken,” said Terrence.

“I guess so. But you’re the one who gave one buzzard a goose egg.”

Terrence laughed. “Yeah. Buzzards love to eat tortoise eggs so I bet they love goose eggs too!”

Together they laughed and laughed all the way to the mud bog where they filled up on leaves for lunch and nestled into the mud for a nap.