Short Stories I Love

I’d venture to guess that most of us are book people. While I consider myself a book person, I tend to overlook or avoid short stories, fables, etc. I don’t know why, but I do. But every once in a while one crosses my path and it sticks with me.

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Today I’m sharing three very short stories or fables with you 🙂
The longest is roughly 1,000 words and the shortest is a few paragraphs.

The Grasshopper & the Ants

You’ve probably heard this one. It’s from Aesop’s Fables. The ants are a tad harsh in the end, but I like to balance this lesson with my last short story on this list 😉

You can read it here.

The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce

I read this story when I was in middle school or high school and I really loved it. I’ve tried (and failed) to get into Poe- I think Bierce is more my style. Plus, he just disappeared and died somewhere. No one really knows what became of him…

Anyway, you can read The Boarded Window here.

And last but not least…

The Tiger & the Fox

I really love this story, but I don’t know much about it. I believe it’s by Massud Farzan from The Tale of the Reed Pipe. I think it’s of Islamic origin? Anyway- I love it.

A fox who lived in the deep forest of long ago had lost its front legs. No one knew how: perhaps escaping from a trap. A man who lived on the edge of the forest, seeing the fox from time to time, wondered how in the world it managed to get its food. One day when the fox was not far from him he had to hide himself quickly because a tiger was approaching. The tiger had fresh game in its claws. Lying down on the ground, it ate its fill, leaving the rest for the fox.

Again the next day the great Provider of this world sent provisions to the fox by this same tiger. The man began to think: “If this fox is taken care of in this mysterious way, its food sent by some unseen Higher Power, why don’t I just rest in a corner and have my daily meal provided for me?”

Because he had a lot of faith, he let the days pass, waiting for food. Nothing happened. He just went on losing weight and strength until he was nearly a skeleton. Close to losing consciousness, he heard a voice which said: “O you, who have mistaken the way, see now the truth! You should have followed the example of that tiger instead of imitating the fox.”


What are some short stories or fables that you love?

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What I Wish I Knew…

I was going to rant today but after yoga on Monday I felt peaceful (for like 5 minutes) and decided to delete my post. (For curious minds like mine, I was going to fuss about our rude ass neighbor and the clustercuss that was Sunday night’s debate. Just FYI.) Instead, today I’m linking up with Mattie & Lexi for Weekly Lessons and Alyssa for her Back to Blogging non-challenge.

So let’s talk about the one thing about today I wish I knew one year ago.

I had to read that sentence a few times before I finally grasped the prompt. One year ago today I wrote this post. I was worried freaking out about turning 25. Oh silly little Audrey- you fool.

A year ago today I wish I’d known that things are very, very similar. I think that might disappoint some people, but on the verge of turning the big 2-5 I was so terrified of change. To be honest, this past year has been calm, fun, and stable. I think that’s something we (K and I) really needed.

So that’s it. That’s all I want 2015 Audrey to know. I doubt she’d make it this far if she was aware of what the presidential race was to become. Ugh.

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Learning to Adult at 25

Welcome to another week, friends. This is the week I’ve been publicly celebrating and privately dreading- This is the week I turn 25. I’ve attempted to play it cool, but ever since hitting 24 I’ve been trying to figure out how to stop time and stay below the adult line. (I was already freaking out back in February!) Let me better explain this with a chart…

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See? So on Saturday at 1:09pm I will no longer be a “young adult.” Anyone on the other side of 25 is probably rolling their eyes at me right now, but I’m a quarter of century old. What the hell.

I’m actually coming around to the idea of 25 more and more, I guess (which is good since I never figured out how to stop the aging process). When people ask my age I respond with, “almost 25” and I totally understand that age is just a number. Looks-wise, I’ll probably be carded for alcohol until I’m 40. This is lessening the blow.

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My biggest reservation about turning the big 2-5 is that fact that I’m still learning to adult. (Millennials have official made that a verb so just go with it for the sake of this post.) I mean, I’m still flying out of bed just in time to clock in at work, I own multiple Disney shirts, and I watched two episodes of Arthur the other day because it was on when I turned on the TV. Did you guys see my Halloween movie list? More than half are rated PG…

Then again sometimes I feel very confident. I own a home, I work a full time (and a part time job), I’ve kept my dogs alive for the last few years, and I go on vacation without my parents. Coloring books aside, I feel like some of these things prove that I am a very capable adult.

A handful of things changed for me during my “young adult” years. I think that I’ve changed my behavior and I’ve changed my attitude. My priorities and passions and relationship have all changed, too. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of lists… so here are the five biggest things to change in my early twenties:

Thankfully, my relationship with my parents has changed immensely over the last +5 years. I was a dreadful teenager. From the outside looking in you’d never know it, but my poor parents (especially my mother) went through the wringer. When I left for college things got much better (a.k.a. I stopped being a snot) and when I moved out and got married at 22 it was like the clouds parted and a new, open friendship blossomed between my parents and me (and K). I love calling up my mom to go shopping or inviting my parents out to dinner. As a matter of fact, this weekend I hung out with them every day.

When I hit 21 drinking became legal. And boring. For the record, I was not a huge underage drinker. I didn’t attend college parties every weekend and I can count on three fingers the amount of time I’ve gotten sick from the bottle. Nowadays I have a glass a wine with dinner once or twice a week and call it a night. Even when we gather with friends I typically nurse a single glass (or don’t drink at all). Plus our best friends are parents so our last few get togethers have been at brunch time.

*(When you actually plan a brunch you know that you’ve reached adulthood.)

Speaking of friends with children, my outlook on those little rugrats has changed, too. Kids have never, ever annoyed me (even working at a kids’ clothing store), but they used to overwhelm me. Kids are cuddly and in your face and loud and messy… and I can handle that in small doses, but the idea of owning parenting a child was not appealing. Now I will admit that I no longer cringe at the idea of being a mom. (NO, we are not pregnant and we are not on the path to becoming pregnant. DON’T EVEN ASK.)

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed about myself has been my confidence. Plain and simple, I like who I am. In high school I struggled with body confidence as well as my personality. My freshman year of college I felt so lost- mainly because I was trying to define myself to fit in with a certain sorority. The last 3 years have been a confidence roller coaster, but as I near 25 I am so dang happy to just be me. I wish I’d found this confidence 10 years ago. (Seriously though, how easy would high school have been with a little self confidence?!) Yes I still have teenage acne and I wear a size 12 and I love Harry Potter and I color-code my closet… but I’m so in love with my strange, quirky, nerdy self.

My confidence is a reflection of Kyle and his love for me. I think that it also reflects on our relationship. (This month marks 8 years together.) Holy cow… we have changed in sooo many ways, especially these last 4-5 years. For one things, we went from dating to engaged to married. We also moved in together after the wedding. (That alone changes a relationship.) I didn’t think it was possible, but I love that guy now more than I ever have before. He just gets me. He makes Harry Potter jokes and he picks up an extra nachos and cheese from Taco Bell for me and he understands that sometimes my bad moods can be fixed by making the dogs talk and sometimes they can’t. Our relationship has matured and strengthened and gotten more comfortable and more fun, all at the same time. He is my absolute favorite person to have around, even when I want to stab him. I am so proud of him and I know he feels the same pride for me. I can’t use words to express how wonderfully our love has changed.

In the end, I’m grateful to turn 25 on Saturday. I’m grateful to crest the hill of “young adult.” I’m grateful to be surrounded by so much as I blow out the proverbial (or literal) candles. My husband says I’m already an adult, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Hopefully it never feels like it 😉

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

One Time, At Band Camp…

This may come as a shock, but I was a band kid. I started playing (saxophone) in 5th grade and didn’t stop until the end of my freshman year in college (as a vibraphone player). My brother was in band. My husband was in band. My mom and dad were in band. (Sensing a trend here?) I had my first kiss in the high school percussion room, I have only dated (snare) drummers, and I married the guy that I met on my first day of high school band (over 10 years ago!). To say band played a major role in my adolescence is a serious understatement. Did I mention that my husband now runs a business that revolves around high school, college, and independent band? Right, well, there’s that, too.

Band

So I was a band kid. When I started in 5th grade it was fairly cool- we were all very excited to pick instruments and sit in the dingy elementary school basement and learn how to squeak out a G, A, B, C, and D. We got to go into the gym and try out the different instruments and decide which one we wanted to play for the rest of our lives until mom and dad said we could quit. As I mentioned before, I choose saxophone.

Band 2
Home concerts are a MUST when it comes to middle school band…

Then middle school happened and everything got awkward. Like, everything. (Middle school should just be called awkward school.) The band class on my schedule added to my awkwardness and things were, like, double awkward. Plus there were zits and that stupid unmanageable frizzy hair, of course. Let’s just say middle school was not kind to me and by the end of 8th grade I was done with the sax. (Plus, it’s awkward to say “sax” when you’re 13 because it sounds a LOT like “sex” and we were still spelling that word out in a whisper at that point.)

Before my freshman year of high school I told my parents I was quitting band. They laughed and said, “No, you’re not. We’ve got a lot invested in you and you will rise to take over the band universe, just as we’ve groomed you to do.” (Kind of kidding.) So we struck a deal: I could change instruments and play whatever I wanted as long as I stuck it out one year in high school band. So I became a percussionist. And “stuck it out” for four years.

Band 4
I love this picture because it has my baby brother in the background (…still taller than me).

My first day of band was in June 2005 and it was just seniors and freshman. (It’s like a get-to-know-you day… or like a freshman-drool-all-over-the-senior-boys-and-discover-that-hormones-are-a-real-thing day.) That day I told the instructor that I’d like to be in the pitt (or the front ensemble, as it should be called). Essentially it’s a bunch of differently sized metal and wood xylophones. (No, there’s actually a lot more to it, but I’m trying to keep this short. How am I doing? 482 words so far? Not bad.) Anyway, I chose pitt. So I was handed a pair of cymbals by this skinny guy with spiked hair named Kyle Mr. Mattevi who had been introduced to us earlier that day as the newest percussion instructor (among other people). He had only graduated the summer before so he was friends with all the non-freshman kids. Anyway, this dude hands me cymbals and I’m like, “In 8 years we will be married. You can count on it!” (KIDDING. I said thanks and went back to gossiping about the snare drummers with my friends.)

Band 3
My days on staff. Can you see K and I standing beside each other in the upper right corner?

Needless to say, my first year was a great year. I never ended up quitting. All my friends were in band and I turned out to be pretty good at metal xylophone (vibraphone). The next 3 years weren’t too horrible, either. Then I graduated high school, went to college, and spent all my graduation money to march a weekend drumline that forced me to forfeit my social life for 7 months. It was awesome. (That is not sarcasm.) I met percussionist with more skill that I could fathom and competed on a world level. I also spent a few years at my alma mater during the summer, teaching the younger kids in the front ensemble (just like Kyle had done after he graduated).

My years spent in band, both as a student and a teacher, hold some of the best memories. Band camp was the best and drumline was the absolute best. I wouldn’t trade any of my time in a hot, starchy uniform for anything. I learned respect, discipline, hard work, and cooperation. I learned how to take direction and how to give direction. (I also learned how to kiss, how to understand football, how to french braid (no I didn’t), and how to survive on a bus for 17 hours (hint: it involves truth or dare).)

My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad's sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to my dad's right.
My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad’s sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to the right of my dad.

I saw an article the other day entitled, “6 Things I Learned From my High School Band Director” and I agree completely. Band was a learning experience and an amazing “class” (plus hobby plus extra curricular plus sport plus lifestyle plus club) to be a part of. And my band director was like a real life Mr. Feeny because he started with us in 5th grade, taught at the middle school, and became the high school band director my freshman year.

Band 6
That’s me at the bottom, being a badass.

On Thursday my husband, my brother, and I traveled to the same band camp we attended as kids and watched my cousin give her senior end-of-camp performance. All my memories of that annual 4-day camp came back to me and all I could do was laugh about them. Kyle was there for most of them so the entire ride I kept saying, “Do you remember when…” or “Wasn’t it so funny the night that……” or “These kids have a resort-like pool now? All we had was a lake and an algae-infested ceramic bowl!” (which my brother responded with, “I had a pool that was filled in with dirt.” Haha!)

So today I am grateful for these memories and the life that I’m living because of my involvement in band. (And also all the pictures that came from my 9 years behind an instrument!)

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey