Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Counting Sheep

I drew this a while back and wanted to share it here:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Story Game with Siblings

Tonight, my brother Isaac, my sister Charlotte, and I played a fun story game. I wrote down the first sentence to the story, then Isaac wrote another sentence and folded mine under so that Charlotte couldn't see it, and then we continued like this, so that we could only see the sentence right before the one we were writing. Our "story" ended up having much more of a plot than we expected--we expected lots of characters but next to no plot. The fact that there were only three of us (so we could always remember what we wrote before, and what we saw before, even if we didn't know a third of the story) probably helped. ;-)

I'll share our story below. I color-coded the sentences, so that each writer has a different color: Mariah Isaac Charlotte

Once upon a time, there was a mouse and a cucumber and a gazebo.

And suddenly a penguin who was trying to fly, fell, and narrowly avoided landing on the cucumber: how it missed the ceiling we shall never know...

The goldfish laughed crazily at the penguin and the cucumber and ended up choking on his root beer.

Then, the mouse and the cucumber tickled the gazebo until it shook with laughter, shaking the goldfish and penguin until they spilled all the root beer.

The root beer kept on spilling and spilling until the whole forest was flooded--the goldfish had lots of fun, but the cucumber fell asleep to dream about strange technicolor elephants.

And Tintin kept poking his nose in, trying to solve a mystery, but the penguins pulled him out.

Then Tintin and the cucumber tickled the gazebo again, much to the mouse's consternation--as the mouse was almost trodden upon by the wiggling gazebo.

Then the root beer flood continued coming, sweeping the gazebo off its feet, saving the mouse from being trodden upon.

And Tintin kept poking his nose into the story, this time bringing Snowy with him.

Then the goat wiffled its nose around, as if it was going to sneeze.

And then it did sneeze, like no other sneeze ever before.

And Tintin finally solved the mystery.

So Tintin went home to go take a nap, and Alvin and the Chipmunks showed up at the gazebo and started annoying everyone.

And that's when the cucumber lost control: "Thou must beware the vengeful pachyderms!"

Tintin laughed.

Then the gazebo sprained its ankle and had to go to the doctors', and the mouse jumped and jumped until it got out of a hole, and the cucumber whistled a merry tune, and the goat wiggled its beard emphatically.

But the ostrich still had its head in the ground and Tintin was still the same reporter...

The mushroom exploded. All went Dark. THE END.

(I did edit out a couple of minor things--a parenthetical that bugged me and a not-so-nice adjective. But this is my blog, after all.)

So, no, not the most plot-cohesive story in the world, but a lot more of a story than anyone expected. ;-)

Monday, July 23, 2012


True liberty is connected to our responsibilities.

Liberty is:
the right to
control ourselves, rather than to have someone else controlling us,
and to
make our own choices, instead of someone else making our choices for us,
and the opportunity to
experience the consequences of our own choices.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Very Ugly Princess

Once upon a time, there was a very ugly princess. To be precise, she was born with one eye, and eight fingers on each hand. Her skin was all over scars. Her hair--what there was of it--stood out in coarse tufts that were spiky as nails, and it was naturally of a very unbecoming shade of brown. What is more, though she had a beautiful heart and a jolly laugh and was quite skilled using all those fingers on a harp, she had webbed toes and purple spots on her feet, not to mention two knees on each leg. Her family and the palace servants loved her dearly for her sweetness, cheerfulness, and the spirit of music with which she filled the palace.

Now, this princess, Charity, had reached the age when her father and mother were looking earnestly for a potential match for her. They would throw balls, arrange outings in the forests for all the young people, and generally do all they could to help their beloved daughter make friends and find a husband. The young ladies were kind to Charity, although I'm not sure if it was because they had no reason to be jealous, or if it was out of pity, or true friendship. The young men, however, snubbed her and spread tales of her ugliness far and wide. If you ask me, this was not at all a gentlemanly thing to do.

Charity, by and by, went to her mother and asked, "Mother, am I quite ugly?"

It tore at her mother's heart to answer such a question, but she was a truthful woman. "To the eye you are not pretty," she told her daughter, "but you have the most beautiful heart I've ever seen."

This comforted Charity. For a long time afterwards, no matter how many young men snubbed her, she glowed in the joy of having a beautiful heart. Still, she was lonely...

It so happened that there was a very ugly giant who lived quite nearby--just close enough to the palace that he could take a leisurely walk of seven leagues or so, there and back, after dinner sometimes. Now, this giant, who went by the name of Misery, was very ashamed of his ugliness. I suppose that if he had thought of it, he would have made himself a mask to hide behind, but he was not a very smart giant. He had, however, quite the habit of collecting ugly people. This way, no matter how much he was mocked while away from home, he would always feel better when he got home and was surrounded by people as ugly as himself. You may have heard that Misery loves company; this giant and his collection of ugly people are the reason that saying was written. Every now and then, his collection would escape (or once, be rescued) and he would have to start over again. At present, his collection consisted of Trust-Worthy, a very ugly pastor; Nit-Picky, a very ugly old gossip; and Loyalty, a very ugly knight.

One day, Misery happened to learn of another very ugly person; as he went for his after-dinner stroll, he heard someone saying, "Look at that giant! He is just as ugly as Princess Charity!" Misery decided he could do with some more company, so he just strolled over to the palace, where he hid himself and watched for the princess.

It wasn't long before Misery saw a truly ugly young lady, holding a harp, walk out into the garden. He looked at her four knees and blinked his ten eyes in surprise. When he noticed her scar-covered skin, he rubbed his left nose thoughtfully, with his twelfth finger. And when she happened to glance in his direction and he noticed that she had a dent instead of a second eye, he grinned so widely that all fourteen of his fuzzy green teeth showed. Yes, as soon as he had stolen her, this girl would be the gem of his collection--absolutely the ugliest person he had ever collected. So, when Princess Charity sat down on a bench in front of his hiding place, Misery reached out a giant hand and the world turned dark on poor Charity.

When Misery's hand finally opened up and let Charity out, the very disheveled princess found herself surrounded by three other very ugly people and one very ugly giant. "Welcome, Princess, to my collection of Uglies!" said Misery. Trust-Worthy smiled, Nit-Picky sneered, and Loyalty bowed a welcome. The princess looked at the other three humans and at the giant, and then down at herself. Was that all she was--an Ugly? The thought nearly shriveled her up, and she started to forget about her beautiful heart.

Through the next months, Charity would have shriveled up in shame for her ugliness were it not for the pastor and the knight. They encouraged her to play her harp and sing, and they did all they could to make her smile her beautiful smile and her eyes to twinkle merrily. She became great friends with them and grew able to ignore Nit-Picky and Misery. And what was more, Loyalty began to fall in love with her--with her gentleness, kindness, and cheerfulness, and especially with her smile that was far more beautiful than any he had seen before. And she began to fall in love with him--with his loyalty to his friends, with his sparkling eyes that seemed to laugh at jokes he had not yet told, and with his kindness and generosity.

One day, Misery didn't come home from his after-dinner walk. Loyalty, Trust-Worthy, and Charity exchanged meaning glances and wondered. And when Misery hadn't come home the next morning, or the morning after that, the food was getting low so it was decided to escape. The escape was thoroughly planned and neatly executed, and Nit-Picky went on home to catch up on the gossip. Trust-Worthy and Loyalty accompanied Princess Charity home. They talked along the way about what could have happened to Misery.

[They never did find out what had happened to Misery, but I shall tell you anyway. While he was on his walk, a group of handsome young men began to mock him, and Misery, who had been miserable for so long, folded himself up in self-pity and turned into stone. He is a mountain to this very day. That, however, is not part of this story, so I shall put it in brackets.]

The King and Queen and all the inhabitants of the palace were overjoyed to have Charity back. The girl's parents readily consented to her marriage to the knight, Loyalty. Trust-Worthy the pastor performed the marriage before he went back to his heavenly duties at home.

Charity is now Queen of that country, and Loyalty is her King. They have ten joyfully ugly, jolly children. The kindly Royal Family is deeply beloved by all their people. So you see, it came right in the end, after all.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blank Pages

You know how on standardized tests there's sometimes a blank page? That is, it claims to be blank; it says something like, "This page intentionally left blank." Except that (and I know I'm not the only to point this out) it's not blank anymore since it has words printed on it. It would be more accurate to say, "This page was intentionally left blank, except for this sentence." My brother Nathaniel and I were discussing another accurate statement... accurate except for the fact that, paradoxically, after writing it, the page is no longer blank. Click here to see it. Or, for a more traditional blank page, click here. (Hey, I can't let standardized testing leave me behind!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I've been up to the past few months:

I've been in Michigan with my family the past few months (since just before Christmas), and these are some of the things I've been doing:

1. While Dad and the boys were caving with the scouts (boo for missing caves), Mom and us girls took a day trip to Kirtland, Ohio (yay!) a bit after Christmas. We got to see the large creche exhibit in the church's visitor's center there.

2. Several temple trips--yay! (We go to the Detroit temple.)

3. While everyone was home for Christmas, some of my siblings helped me make a hollow book:

 Susie (and Charlotte helped) decorated the inside for me. This was a book I got for Christmas 2010 and it gave me one of the worst nightmares I ever had. But this copy will never bother anyone again! Mwahahaha!

4. I'm spending a lot of time with my two-year-old sister, Susanna. She loves animals and pretends to be a froggy--every day.

5. I celebrated my birthday with my family for the first time in a few years. The last birthday I spent with them was my 17th birthday, and I just turned 23.

6. On that note, it was very strange for me to turn 23, as my older brother only lived to 22. I'm sort of accustomed to him doing these things before I do.

7. As my sister Katrina had the advantage of coming home for Thanksgiving while Susanna was learning names, Susie has been calling both of us Trina, ever since we both came home for Christmas. I have been trying to convince her ever since that my name is Mariah. She's actually starting to get it--several times the past few days, she has called me "Awaiah." (Pretty cute, huh?) But then she slips back into calling me "Trina." Old habits die hard.

8. My sister Katrina became engaged, and she and my future brother-in-law, Taylor, came to visit us during a school break. We had fun meeting him, and played board games, sang rounds, and played hide-and-seek and sardines with them. :)

9. I've started over on Personal Progress with Charlotte, who turned 13 this year and wants to finish Personal Progress multiple times while she is in Young Women's.

10. I've been working on memorizing all verses of a few hymns: currently, (in the LDS hymn book) #28, Saints, Behold How Great Jehovah; #62, All Creatures of Our God and King; and #110, Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord.

11. I'm learning a little bit of ragtime on the piano--"Castle House Rag" by James Reese Europe. A rag one-step. Cool, huh?

12. I made--well, am making--slippers using techniques that iron age Europeans used to make shoes.

13. I'm currently learning lots of knots. Here are a few of them:

 The green one is a Turk's head knot; the red one is a Figure-8 Bend.

This knot has several names, including the Lark's head knot.

The lighting in the basement wasn't too good, but this is a boom hitch. It's a lot of fun, and I am rather fond of it.

I've used the PVC pipe "tinker toys" I got for my birthday to make a frame on which I am tying a net. :) The froggy and I also like to play under and around it, sometimes adding on other pipes to make cool shapes. She likes to pretend the frame is a house. It's just the right size for her.

14. We got to wear hats to a Relief Society thing-- the RS birthday party. I wore my Peter Pan hat. :)

15. I am experiencing my first Michigan spring--although spring (and with it tornadoes that are much bigger than we usually get here) came quite early. Our pear trees are so covered with white blossoms that they look like they're getting married.

I think those red birds are cardinals, but three of them were chasing each other around and half the time were hidden by blossoms, so that they were never holding still long enough for me to tell for certain.

16. The past few days, I've been painting a picture of Noah's ark for Susanna's bedroom (since she loves animals so much). I finished it last night:

Next up is Script Frenzy in April--the goal is to write 100 pages of script in a month. This year I'm doing a stage play. A couple years ago Katrina and I were working on a screenplay but didn't get very far because of finals.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I evidently like an appreciative audience.

I was babysitting a couple weeks ago and was being a much bigger ham than I often am... you know, dancing and singing to make the toddler laugh, making up very strange word problems (full of word play, naturally) on the spot to get the first grader to finish her math homework, and writing (out loud) for them. (By that I mean that I was saying the words and then writing them.) They liked my story, even though they really had no idea what was going on. The toddler especially enjoyed the whole thing. She seemed to think it was a big joke:

Me: This time, COMMA,
Toddler: *laugh*
Me: she started
Toddler: *laugh*
Me: by turning her cousin's hair
Toddler: *laugh*
Me: green, PERIOD.
Toddler: *laugh*

You get the idea. We went on like that for a while, too.

On a side note, reading the Mercer Mayer book upside down the third time I was asked to read it was a nice change.