Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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31-May-2019

Creativity Know No Bounds!

(And this guy has no boundaries)

The woman behind the desk blinked, then leaned forward. “Will you say that one more time please?”

I straightened and took a breath. “I’m looking for funding to make the largest sticky note mosaic in the world.”

She cocked her head to the side, her red curls following. “And you want to do that where?”

“On the north side of the Empire State Building.”

My answer met with silence, and I knew she was processing. The sheer volume of the idea was so big that most of the people I’d approached to help had been unable to comprehend my vision.

The folder I had provided lay before the woman, and she flipped through it with glazed eyes. “Uh, why?”

This was a stalling question. I knew it and she knew it. She needed time to think, so I gave it to her.

“As it states in my opening proposal, I feel that the world record for the largest sticky note mosaic should reside in the country where they were invented. I feel we owe it to the inventors and makers of the sticky  note.”

I pointed as she flipped through. “As you can see, even if someone here tries to break the world record before I am finished, there is no way that they will beat my numbers. That page shows the breakdown. Almost seven million sticky notes.”

Another moment of silence passed before the woman cleared her throat. “Have you spoken to the company that makes sticky notes? Can they provide that many for you?”

“I have.” I beamed, thrilled that she had started problem solving. “They can make the number I need per year and ship them to the job site if they are paid half up front.”

“And there are custom colors?”

“No. Just the standard colors they make now.”

She turned to the next page. “Five years to complete?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“How do you plan to keep them from coming down?”

I leaned forward and turned to the “Execution” tab. “I will have rolls of plastic mounted to the building. When a four-foot square section is completed, then I will seal it with another layer of plastic.”

“You’re not worried about the hot summers and cold winters?”

More problem solving. I checked the woman’s left hand. Too bad she was already taken. “The plastic is rated to sub-zero harsh climates as well as boiling water.”

“I see.” She looked back down and continued to flip.

My stomach clenched as she stopped on the page with the design. I watched her eyes as she took it in. Perhaps she was picturing how it would look.

“What made you decide on this particular design?”

“Well, I figured that any real person would be controversial—dead or alive—and I didn’t want to start any sort of political statement or adversity. I thought about natural landmarks—maybe one from each state—but they wouldn’t be very clear, and someone in every state would be angry about what I chose.”

“And so you chose to make a mosaic of sticky notes of the Empire State Building on the outside of the Empire State Building.”

My heart leaped. I came out of my chair. “Exactly! It’s brilliant!”

And it was. I knew it. She knew it. I could see it in her gleaming eyes.

I went on. “The bold colors would highlight the building, while bringing more warmth and life to it!” I pointed. “The orange. The blue. The green. All of it!”

She stared up at me in awe. Finally, someone understood. My heart galloped in my chest, and I wondered how secure her marriage was, because I would devote my life to this woman…after the mosaic, of course.

“Mr. Erickson.” She slowly, reverently, closed my proposal. “This is a bold undertaking.”

I bounced on the balls of my feet once.

“So bold, I’m afraid we can’t help you.’

The balloons that had begun to pull me off the ground popped, and suddenly I felt every gram of gravity pulling me down. I stared at her with my mouth agape. I didn’t know what to say.

The door behind me opened, and a set of heavy footsteps came in.

“Officer Newton will escort you out.” She picked up my proposal and offered it to me. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to find somewhere else to break your sticky note record.”

“But…there is nowhere else.”

She smiled. “A creative man such as yourself can surely think of something.”

The tattered threads of my heart latched on to her encouraging words. No. More than that. She wanted me to find something bigger. Better to do.

I held out a shaking hand and took my proposal. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

A beefy hand gripped my bicep hard, but I ignored it. Instead, my mind began to reel, and I wondered what this lovely woman had in mind for my next idea.

Bigger. Better.

I could do that.

***

You have no idea how many things I had to look up so that my engineering brain would quit poo-pooing this story. How tall is the Empire State Building? how wide is it at the bottom? How big is a standard sticky note? Where could people see it from the best?

At least I cracked myself up!


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A Little Bit of Family History

It’s been an exciting month for my family history.

First off, a few weeks ago was the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike. For those of you who don’t know, there’s a place in the middle of nowhere, Utah where the railroad from California finally met up with the railroad from the eastern states. This event, 150 years ago, cut the trip to go from one side of the United States to the other from months-including a lot of walking-to days in a relatively comfortable train. It united our nation in ways we probably can’t comprehend.

For more information on this, check out the website for the National Park. It’s fascinating!

This is the famous picture from May 10th, 1869 when the trains from each end of the country touched. I have an ancestor from both sides of my family in this photo. One was a doctor as well as the bugler for the event. My sister has a copy that shows which one he is, but I don’t have it. If I remember right, he’s below the bottle on the left.

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US. We honor those who have gone before us and the sacrifices they made to get us where we are today (especially those who made the sacrifice of fighting for our country) by putting flowers on graves. My mom’s side of the family had a reunion. During that reunion one of my mom’s cousin’s told my sister and I that she had brought the family bible and she wanted to give it to us.

I should point out that this is my great-great-grandfather’s family bible…bought in 1886.

My mom gave it to her maybe ten years ago without asking my sisters or myself. My mom’s cousin didn’t give us a reason for her bequeathing it upon us, but I was more than happy to take it!

As a matter of fact my husband asked me last week what heirlooms  I wanted when my parent’s passed away (they’re mostly healthy at this point, and I can’t remember how we got onto the subject). Anyway, I told him there is one antique table I wanted as well as this bible, which I had totally forgotten that my mother had given away.

The poor thing is in need of some repairs, which I’m working on, but I thought I would share some pictures from this beautiful book!

I’m not going to lie, I sort of cried when I was looking through it.

The picture makes it look small, but it’s massive!

 

A gold-leafed illustration? Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

 

The quality on this one isn’t very good, but these are illustrations of bible stories. Sampson and the lion is on the middle left, and next to it the image portrays Samson slaying the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.

This is a page from the Bible Dictionary

 

It even has the Apocrypha at the end of the Old Testament!

 

Does anyone else geek out over old books? Or am I alone?

 


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24-May-2019

A random thought I had.

 

Beatrice and her two sisters, Ernestine and Stella, sat on wicker chairs on the lawn. Light surrounded them. Sounds of chirping and squeaking surrounded them, along with the scent of newly born flowers.

“Beatrice, dear, will you do this knot for me?” Ernestine asked.

“In a minute,” Beatrice said. She stuck her tongue out as she completed the last stitch of her row. Some might not notice a stitch or two out of place, but Beatrice would.

“Honestly, Ernestine, how many of these have you made? Surely you can make your own knot,” Stella said without looking up from her own project.

“Of course I can.” Ernestine sniffed. “It’s just that Beatrice’s are better, and after I mussed up the last one, I thought it would be better to be safe rather than sorry.

Beatrice finished her stitch, looped the thread over on itself a few times, tied a little knot and clipped the string with her tiny scissors. A smile broke out as she studied her work. The seam looked, well, seamless. The joints met in a pleasing manner, and the colors were fit for a king.

“Are you finished?” Stella asked. She’d stopped to stare.

“Almost,” Beatrice said. She set her project down and held her hands out to Ernestine. “Here, let me.”

Ernestine’s often stricken expression melted into a smile. “Thank you.”

Beatrice took the bundle of parts and looked it over. “You are much better at the inner stitching than I am.”

“The innards just have to stay together. It doesn’t matter what they look like,” Ernestine said.

“The better the inner stitching the longer the finished product will last,” Stella said with almost automatic rhythm.

“Well, I’m tired of having good insides and ugly outsides,” Ernestine said.

“Then I shall make your knots.” Beatrice reached for the threaded needle Ernestine held in her smooth fingers. Before she took it, she stopped and looked into her sister’s bottomless eyes. “If you’ll make sure my innards look good this time.”

Stella snorted.

“What?” Beatrice asked.

“Of course,” Ernestine said.

“You two are going to get into trouble,” Stella said.

“Why? He never said we had to work on each one all by ourselves.”

Stella pursed her lips as she continued to stitch. “It was implied.”

“Implied doesn’t mean it’s a rule,” Ernestine said as she took Beatrice’s project and turned it inside-out to study her work.

“I agree,” Beatrice said.

“Just don’t come crying to me when you have to start over,” Stella said.

Beatrice ignored her sister and quickly made two knots out of the most beautiful, crystal blue thread that she’d ever seen.

They worked in silence for a few minutes as Beatrice finished the knots and Ernestine added some reinforcement to Beatrice’s work. Beatrice found herself humming.

A shadow approached, and a chill floated through the air. Beatrice’s breath sped up. “Quick. Trade back.” She Ernestine’s project out to her with a needle halfway through a knot.

Ernestine didn’t argue. She shoved Beatrice’s work at her and a moment later they sat as if nothing had happened. Stella eyed them, snorted again and went back to her work.

Beatrice caught Ernestine giving Stella a dark glare—a warning to keep her mouth shut.

The shadow grew, blocking out the light around them, and the chill settled into Beatrice’s bones.

“Ladies,” a deep, alluring voice said.

“Master,” Stella said a moment before the other two gave the same greeting.

The shadows around them swirled together into a mass that then resolved into a humanoid shape. The sisters stood and bowed to their master.

Beatrice still didn’t like speaking to their master. While in a general sense he looked like them, his limbs were much longer than they should be, and his broad shoulders hunched. Red eyes glowed at them.

“Are you finished?” he asked around fangs.

“Nearly,” Beatrice said.

He raised an eyebrow.

“Just a few more minutes,” Ernestine said, indicating the knot she was about to finish.

“Yes, a few more stitches.” Beatrice nodded.

Stella shrugged. “I am looking over mine, master, you can take it if you want.”

The red eyes moved between the sisters. “No. Finish your work, then send them along. But be quick. This batch goes down as soon as I have your contribution.”

“Yes master,” Beatrice said with a bow. Her sisters followed suit.

“Be quick. Do not displease me.”

“Of course.”

Beatrice found her heart pounding and her breathing coming in shallow gasps. She fought to keep control as she stood straight and waited for their master to leave.

He glared at them, as if suspecting them of small-child shenanigans.

Stella cleared her throat.

Beatrice shot her a glare.

“Your next deadline has not changed. Get back on schedule.”

“Yes, master,” they all said.

The shadows dispersed, and the light returned.

Ernestine let out a breath. “We’re going to have to hurry.”

“We’re going to have to put out sub-par bodies next time,” Stella said.

Beatrice hated that her sister was right. Demons didn’t much like getting stuck in sub-par bodies, but their time frame was tight, and even the act of switching like she and Ernestine had, had cost them.

Ernestine shook her head. “He can’t expect perfection when we have to work this fast.”

“If we can’t do it, he’ll send us back to the underworld and find someone else,” Stella said.

Beatrice swallowed hard. “Well then, I guess we get to learn to sew faster.”

***

Next week I should have my new dice matrix set up!

Stay tuned for more Flash Fiction Friday Fun!


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For Funzies

I’ve started on a new project, but I’m not far enough into it to give any details. Just know that it will be awesome!

Until I have further details, I’ll leave you with some of the ridiculous memes the hubby sends me on Facebook. He thinks he’s funny. I let him think that, because it’s easier than shattering his dreams 😉

 


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