Mini Memoir Monday: Call for Thanksgiving Submissions

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of year! The air is crisp, pumpkin has made its way into every type of food and beverage, and the grocery stores are filling up with giant frozen turkeys. Thanksgiving is coming and I can’t wait. All that time with family, all those complicated dishes, all that potential to go wrong – it makes for some great stories, and I want to read about it!

Please send me your submissions for a Thanksgiving-themed mini memoir. Fill out this form and paste your story in the comment field (don’t worry only I can read what you post). I’ll let you know if I’ll be publishing it after a few days. Remember, a mini memoir should be short, 500-1500 words, it doesn’t need to recount your entire life – just an interesting/funny/ bizarre/ or profound moment in your life.


Where there is smoke there are bees? Part 1

I wasn’t able to write my mini memoir yesterday, but if you read the next two posts, you’ll understand why:

The weekend started off great. I had invited my writers group to my parent’s house for a mini writers retreat for the long 4th of July weekend. We met early so we could all sit together on the MetroNorth train. About ten minutes into the ride, the train lurched to a halt. This is quite common on the MetroNorth, so I thought nothing of it.

After about five minutes, people started opening the door between the cars and walking from the south end of the train to the north end. Still we thought nothing of this, because there were no announcements. Then we all smelled it. A burning acrid smell. Something was wrong. Just as quickly as we realized this, the crowd of people walking through the aisle doubled in size and urgency. A baby was crying, someone’s dog was barking, and everyone was shouting, ” run.”

We looked out the window and saw that the entire back of the train was covered in a gray haze. People were walking on the tracks, looking disoriented. Someone yelled at me to open the emergency window. Panicking, I fumbled with the emergency lock, but my husband, the ever-lasting boy scout, said that we should keep calm and wait for the announcement. After all, it didn’t make sense to open the window, and jump down ten feet onto the electrified third rail. Christina, who’s a trained yoga instructor, was telling everyone to breath. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget such a simple task when you’re panicking.

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I love that people are still taking pictures when they’re standing on active train tracks. Not a moment shall go untweeted!

After another ten minutes the conductor finally announced that there was a fire underneath the train, and that only one door had reached the platform so everyone had to move to the first door in the train. The fire was under control, so there was no need to panic. He told us not to use the emergency exits. I had had the brilliant idea of bringing our two cats along for the trip so they could have some fresh air for the weekend. Now I was stuck lugging them through the smokey train while they hissed and whined.

We were one of the last to get off the train. I was hoping that some sort of transportation solution would be figured out by the time we exited, but instead, there was just an angry mob of people who did not want to be stuck in the Bronx in 96 degree weather on the 4th of July. Through the grapevine, we found out that the fire was caused by someone throwing a mattress on the train tracks. The super flammable stuffing caught fire, and the coils tore up the machinery under the train. We watched as fire fighters pulled out what was left of a the mattress; a scrambled up piece of charred wire.

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This experience taught me never to bring cats, dogs, or babies on the train…and only pack what you can carry.

One emergency worker told me that the trains would not be running for at least two hours. My cats, nor us, could handle the heat for that long. I flagged down a cab, and since he had no idea where my parents’ town was he offered to do it for $70 (normally it would cost $150). As I was talking to the driver, a man next to me said that his friend was picking him up  and they could drop us off in my parent’s town. Hallelujah!  Four of my friends squeezed into the taxi with my cats and they drove of north. Mike, me and Christina waited for the guy’s friend who was apparently lost.

An older woman asked if she could join us on the ride. It would be cramped, but who were we to turn her down when we were given this unexpected gift? The friend showed up twenty minutes later, and the four of us scrunched into the back seat.

On the ride up north, we talked about our 4th of July plans. It turns out that the woman had been born in France, but lived in the states for the last 20 years. The driver and passenger were both from Pakistan but were now U.S. citizens. I couldn’t help but appreciate  that on this day of celebrating America, we were in a car filled with immigrants that represent one of the things that I love about America: diversity of cultural backgrounds.

My dad met us at the train station and whisked us off to the BBQ. I found out later that our train arrived in the station five minutes after us.

Stay tuned for part 2…it gets worse.

2012 Review

This is a great survey to fill out each year.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Bought a wedding dress. I thought it would be overwhelming, but it was surprisingly easy.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My failed New Year's resolution

My failed New Year’s resolution

No 😦 My resolution was to organize my desk every night, and as you can see, I did not keep that up.

My new new year’s resolution is to write at least 750 words a day. I think the key to a good resolution is to start it before New Years to make sure it’s something you can maintain.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

One of Mike’s best friends, Vanessa, gave birth to a beautiful little girl!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately no.

Mike and me at the first entrance for the Forbidden City

Mike and me at the first entrance for the Forbidden City

5. What countries did you visit? 


6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A finished manuscript

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 27th when Mike proposed to me and March (I can’t remember the exact date) when my Artist’s Way group first started.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting into a writing routine, and starting a story that I really enjoy writing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

BeddyBye, but I don’t really look at it as a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

The tour package to China. It was a great bargain, and I got a taste of a country I’ve always been curious about.

12. Where did most of your money go?

I was unemployed for a few months out of the year so I went through a lot of my savings.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Coming up with a great story idea, and then working on it non stop. I’m spending about 5 hours a day writing! And of course, planning our wedding and honeymoon.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Call me Maybe and Gangnam Style.

 15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  Happier

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter

c) richer or poorer? Poorer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time in out of the apartment. It’s easy to take NYC for granted when you live here.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?


18. What was your favorite TV program?

Happy Endings, Breaking Bad and  Damages

19. What were your favorite books of the year?

I’m an avid reader of fiction, but this year I spent a lot more time reading articles in The New Yorker. That magazine is so dense and I’m usually just finishing the last article by the time the next issue arrives. I loved reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

20. What were your favorite films of the year?

I just saw Les Misarables and flipped over it. Argo and Looper.

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 28. I like a low-key birthday, so Mike took me out for dinner and then we saw Sleep No More a few days later.

22. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having a housekeeper come once a month.

23. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Whatever’s on sale at Banana Republic works for me.

24. What kept you sane?


25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

Small actions add up.

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Leave a comment!

Happy Holidays!

Mike and me in Rockefeller Center

There’s something about the holidays that makes you feel like a tourist in your own town. Everyone seems friendlier, the storefronts all look new and festive, and there’s excitement in the air. As much as I want to be a jaded New Yorker, I still get giddy when I see the tree at Rockefeller Center. So on this fine, upcoming weekend when all the holidays collide, go outside and do something a tourist would do. It will make you appreciate where you live and it will get you in the holiday spirit. And if you you live in a town that doesn’t have many attractions here are some suggestions:

  1. Get some hot chocolate – whipped cream is a must.
  2. Go ice skating – come on every town has a rink. Or at least a neighboring town has a rink.
  3. Go on a midnight walk.
  4. Find the street that is known for their Christmas lights and take a picture in front of each house.
  5. Deliver homemade cookies to all of your friends.

But then again it’s always nice to stay at home with your loved ones, and drink hot apple cider:

Mike and me with the kitties, Reilly and Marla