Daily Prompt: Ingredients – Street Kitchen in Hanoi

Open for Business

Made to order. Street corner shops and restaurants set up all over Hanoi. I was never brave enough to eat at one.


Daily Prompt: Neighbors – No Rain on this Parade

No Rain on this Parade

Remember when summer meant a neighborhood parade? You don’t. Everyone in this picture does.

Neighbors on Parade


Growing up in a small town in northwestern Minnesota the kids on Alexander Street were tight. At least once every summer they organized a parade, dragging out old ice follies costumes or making something, like the kleenex majorette hat one of sisters is wearing. Four of my five sisters were on parade that day. All the moms and grown up kids, like me, would come out to watch. I took this picture about 1970 or 1971 with my first camera, a little Kodak 126 film model.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie – The Place You Go To Listen

The Place You Go to Listen

Is there a place you can go to hear the music created by the earth, the air, and the heavens. There is. But you must journey to the interior of Alaska and visit the Museum of the North at The University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Composer John Luther Adams collaborated with a group of scientists to create The Place You Go To Listen, a room where colors and harmonics change with the outside world. The Museum’s website says “This ever-changing musical ecosystem gives voice to the rhythms of daylight and darkness, the phases of the moon, the seismic vibrations of the earth and the dance of the aurora borealis, in real time.”

Listening to Alaska

I visited The Place You Go To Listen in December. I did indeed listen. The colors were a mix of pink and purple. It was an almost hypnotic experience that drew me back for a second visit. The second time I went in, the quiet bells of aurora activity grew louder as the sun set outside.

Check out this article from The New Yorker which includes the writer’s experience in the installation as well as an interview with the composer. Letter from Alaska: Song of the Earth.


Daily Prompt: Seven

Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?











Weekly Writing Challenge: DNA Analysis

The year I turned 40, I became an orphan. Merriam-Webster defines orphan as a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents. But it doesn’t define child. I have been and will always be a child of my parents. They made me and molded me and left me far to early. I know that sounds selfish, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of them, that they don’t play a part in who I am and who I can still be. 


My parents weren’t ready to go. They missed seeing their eight children mature into successful, caring adults. And we missed their support through our successes and our failures. They missed meeting most of their grandchildren. And my nieces and nephews missed knowing two wonderful, warm, creative humans. 

My dad was only 61-years-old when he suddenly passed away. My mom was 63-years-old when she lost her battle with cancer. I am now 59. Do I worry as I approach their ages that my time might be short? Absolutely. I have inherited high blood pressure and cholesterol from my dad. Cancer clings to the genes in my mother’s family. One of my younger sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and several of my cousins, all younger than I am, have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer. Has this played a part in my decision to retire next August? Without a doubt.

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I remember one of the last times I saw my mom. It was in the spring of the year she died. We were standing in the hallway at home, holding onto each other. She had a catch in her voice and said it wasn’t fair, that she had so many things to do. I held on tighter, not knowing what to say, just holding on.

I see and feel my parents around me and in me. It is because of them that I believe in education. It is because of them I value honesty and acceptance. It is because of them I value family above everything else. It is because of them there has never been a day when I didn’t know they loved me.


Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Pot Shot

Trying to blog on a regular basis is hard, with working all day and taking classes to try to reinvent my life after I retire. The search for new, relevant topics takes time that I don’t seem to have at the moment. WordPress has a weekly writing prompt to get the juices flowing. This week’s writing challenge: dialogue. Good dialogue can tell a story all by itself. I dusted this off and polished it up.

Pot Shot

 “Hi ya, Harry.”

“Mavis, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Come to see how you was doing, Harry.”

“Go away. Visiting hours aren’t until seven o’clock.”

“But I’m here now. Aren’t you happy to see me?”

“Should I be after the crap you pulled on me?”

“It wasn’t nothin personal, you know that.”

“Right. Then how come I ended up in the slammer and you ended up in some Park Avenue penthouse.”

“I just couldn’t see myself in stripes. They make my hips look big.”

“Try not spendin’ so much time in front of the mirror, doll. Seems to me those hips have seen too many bonbons.”

“You’re not looking to good yourself, Harry. I hear you had a little . . . accident.”

“Wasn’t no accident. Tommy Barker and his boys ruffed me up. But I’ll live. I’d feel a lot better if you’d scram.”

“But I brought you flowers. You can plant them once you get outta here. Somewhere nice and  sunny. I’ll just make room for them by the phone.”

“I supposed you forget I am allergic.”

“Hard to forget that drippy nose and you wheezin’ all night long, Harry. Besides, it’s a hospital, they got drugs for that.”

“Okay, Mavis. What do you want? You never were good at the Florence Nightingale routine. Spit it out.”

“You’re always so suspicious. I thought maybe the slammer would have mellowed you some.”

“Look here, sister, suspicion with a capital “S” is the only way to survive in the pen. It pays to be cautious. What have you been doing for the last three years? No way you could afford that apartment on the money you lifted from my lock box.”

“I got a job while you was away.”

“Great. You can pay me the ten grand you stole.”

“Never stole, Harry. Borrowed. After all, it would have been mine if you had died.”

“That’s a comforting thought. You’re making me feel good enough to jump out of this bed and strangle you.”

“Here, let me fluff your pillow. Now lay back. Isn’t that better.”

“So who you workin’ for, Mavis? Are you selling lingerie? Or maybe you’re taking it off.”

“You always did have a dirty mind, Harry. I’m working for Tommy. Didn’t he tell you while he was slammin’ your head against the wall?”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me. Are you running numbers or are you running Tommy?”

“Give me some credit. I’ve moved up in the world and I have you to thank for it. All those afternoons at the firing range. You taught me everything I needed to know.”

“Nah, I don’t believe it. You? Whackin’ people for Tommy Barker. Are you nuts or something?”

“Be nice, Harry. It’s a job. Pay’s good. Short hours. I’m home with the kid at night. What more could I ask for?”

“So what are you packing? Some dainty pearl-handled job. No respectable piece would fit in that skimpy purse.”

“Who needs a purse. That’s what flower pots are for.”

© Marie Friederichs

Read about the challenge at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/writing-challenge-dialogue/.

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