I Scream for Ice Cream

When I was a kid, one of the dearest sounds in the world was the song the ice cream truck played. Often, the tune played was “The Entertainer,” written by Scott Joplin. I wondered why, so I turned to your friend and mine—Google. According to this AVClub.com post by Joe Blevins, “Most professional ice cream distribution vehicles come complete with a music box from Nichols Electronics.” This music box has “public domain favorites like ‘Yankee Doodle,’ ‘Brahms’ Lullaby,’ and Scott Joplin’s deathless ‘The Entertainer.’”

Ooookay. Though we often had ice cream in the freezer, as my mother would remind my brothers and me, we still wanted to buy whatever the truck sold. We knew the right moment to bug Mom for money—when she was on the phone. Many times she would give it to us just to get us to leave her alone.

Why am I bringing up ice cream? Because I am resurrecting the ice cream giveaway. If you’re new to the blog you’re probably wondering what on earth I mean. (It’s been awhile since I hosted this giveaway, so even if you’ve followed this blog awhile, you might be confused. Click here for a past giveaway.) I’m giving away one pint of ice cream (or yogurt, sherbet, gelato, or sorbetto, if you prefer), which will be sent by Icecreamsource.com. Again, you might be wondering why. My answer is one that many parents have given over the years: “Because.”

Why now? I love the notion of giving away ice cream outside of the usual ice cream season—summer. I’m just weird that way.

Click here to see the varieties offered. In the comments below, please name the pint of ice cream, yogurt, sherbet, gelato, or sorbetto you’d like to receive. This company only delivers to the U.S., so my apologies to any readers outside of the States. Winner to be announced sometime next week.

After a hard day, Tia Tigerlily needs a little pick-me-up. And yes, she can quit eating ice cream anytime she wants. She just doesn’t want to.

Ice cream truck from clipartion.com. Ice cream images from Serious Eats and Tasting Table. Other photo by L. Marie. Tia Tigerlily Shoppie doll is a product of Moose Toys.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Partie Deux

ice-creamEver have one of those days when everything you own stops working properly? Well, these last couple of days have been challenging on the computer front, thanks to viruses and general mayhem. I could barely read any blogs. And don’t get me started about cars or cellphones! Yet that’s nothing compared to what’s happening at the northeast, thanks to winter snowstorms. I scream, you scream. . . .


Anyway, here I am back once more to announce the second annual Ice Cream Giveaway! Yes siree! This year, this was the giveaway that almost wasn’t. I don’t know about you, but when something bad happens, I tend to withdraw until everything is great again. Well, time for a new strategy—doing what brings me joy despite the external circumstances.

Giving away ice cream in the winter seems crazy. But that’s what makes it fun! As I mentioned last year, I found a place that delivers ice cream, sorbet, or gelato to your door—Ice Cream Source.com. (Sorry. Deliveries are made to the U.S. only.) And like last year, there can be only ONE winner of a pint of ice cream—just like there can only be one Highlander! (Okay, that’s an old movie/TV show you probably never saw.)


Click on Ice Cream Source.com above to look at their list. When you return, comment and mention the flavor you’d like to have. Also tell a fun way you keep warm in the winter. If you live in a warm climate, tell a way you warmed someone’s heart by something you did for him or her or describe something that was done to warm your heart. Don’t be shy!

Winner to be announced on February 2.

Ice cream brands from swiftor.com. Ice cream cone from williamtrenthouse.wordpress.com. People screaming from miamifittv.com.

Fractals: The Purpose of the Pattern

Before I get into fractals (and I know you’re holding your breath until I do), let me first announce the winner of the Ice Cream Giveaway discussed in Monday’s post.


The winner is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Phillip McCollum!

Congrats, Phillip! Please email me at this address—lmarie7b(at)gmail(dot)com—to let me know your snail mail address and phone number for package delivery purposes.

Now, about those fractals. . . . For some reason, I woke up the other day thinking of them. This is either because of the large amount of snow my area has received or because I’ve been doing a Lumosity workout every morning.

Anyway, according to Wikipedia:

A fractal is a mathematical set described by fractal Geometry, the study of figures exhibiting fractal dimension. A fractal set when plotted typically displays self-similar patterns, which means they are “the same from near as from far.” . . . The concept of fractal extends beyond trivial self-similarity and includes the idea of a detailed pattern repeating itself. (Emphasis added.)

But I probably didn’t have to tell you that. The Koch snowflake (below), developed by Swedish mathematician Niels Fabian Helge von Koch, is a fractal made of equilateral triangles. Dutch artist M. C. Escher also featured fractals in many of his illustrations.


Yeah, yeah. I know. You couldn’t possibly care less, right? Okay. I’ll get to the point. When I think of replicated patterns, I can’t help thinking of my writing. What I see replicated at times is a pattern of procrastination. When scenes seem insurmountable, I turn to other activities: games like Plants vs. Zombies, checking email, texting, or reading other people’s blogs. I even sometimes use my Lumosity workout, which takes a few minutes at most, as an excuse. (BTW: Ingrid Sundberg wrote a great post on measuring productivity: http://ingridsnotes.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/keeping-track-of-time/)

So, as I began writing this post, I started to get down on myself about my procrastination. But after thinking about it, I decided to take a radical view and look for what’s positive about this pattern of behavior. No, I’m not crazy. I’m trying to follow the pattern of fractals in nature. If you’ve observed these patterns (snowflakes, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), you’ve seen the beauty in them. (BTW: The WebEcoist has beautiful photos of fractals in nature here: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/09/07/17-amazing-examples-of-fractals-in-nature/)


Romanesco broccoli—another fractal

So, there had to be something good about my pattern of procrastination. And I discovered just what that something was. You see, I often procrastinate, believe it or not, when I’m going in the wrong direction in my writing. Only, I don’t often know right away that I’m going in the wrong direction. When I approach a scene for which I have no energy and no thoughts about how it could work; when I try to shoehorn a plot point into the narrative, thinking that someone might judge my story as boring without it, I immediately think of other things more enjoyable to do—like playing Plants vs. Zombies. However, when I’m writing a scene for which I have great emotional investment, I usually work on it until it’s done, with no interruptions other than the necessary ones (like going to the bathroom or eating chocolate).


Case in point: for the last few days I’ve been going in circles about adding to my novel some chapters involving a side quest. You see, one of my characters is dying at this point in the story. Yet I had great plans of writing a couple of chapters in which the dying character’s companions explore a beautiful cavern and make a discovery about their people. But I couldn’t make much progress on the chapters, even after free writing and brainstorming. I found myself going back to Plants vs. Zombies out of frustration. A vicious cycle? I’d like to think of it as an opportunity for reflection. Why did I pick up that game again and again? Because it’s fun and fast paced. Note the words fast paced.

After reading a post at Charles Yallowitz’s Legends of Windemere blog (“Distractions from the Plot or Character Building?”), I determined that the proposed chapters are probably a distraction. I asked myself: If a character in this scene is dying, why would his companions take the time to explore a cavern? Shouldn’t they continue their search for help for the dying person as quickly as possible? After all, that’s the ticking clock element. By trying to squeeze in this side trek, I had inadvertently sabotaged the pacing of the story by decreasing the tension. And I learned that through procrastination.

Now, I’m not justifying a habit of procrastination. We all know its negatives. None are more apparent than in my life. But sometimes, you have to look for patterns and what they tell you. There may be a purpose to that pattern, if you’ll take the time to look. Speaking of looking . . .


Have you thought about what your procrastination might be telling you?

Ice cream image from hfboards.hockeysfuture.com. Koch snowflake and broccoli images from Wikipedia. Wrong way sign from myparkingsign.com. Ninja cat from LOL Cats.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

ice-creamAnd it’s about to get cold inside with the first, hopefully annual, Ice Cream Giveaway!

That’s right! As a way of saying Happy New Year and thanks to all who follow this blog, I’m hosting this giveaway. I found a place that delivers ice cream, sorbet, or gelato to your door—IceCreamSource.com. Unfortunately, they only deliver to the U.S., so I can’t make this an international giveaway. (Sorry about that.)

I wish I could send pints to all of you—you’re all deserving. But there can only be ONE winner! (Just like there can only be one Highlander!) I will have the pint of the winner’s choice sent to that individual. IceCreamSource.com lists many brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Hagen-Dazs, Breyer’s, Silver Moon, and others. And what better way to celebrate the freezing cold of winter than with freezing cold ice cream??? Huh? Am I right or am I right?

   BreyersLogo125 VtFinest-Logo125 EdysLogo125 

You might dash on over to IceCreamSource.com (click on the name in the second paragraph) and look at the brands, then comment below and tell me which one you would like, if you haven’t already done so in a previous post. If you have, cool. . . . And that by the way, is a winter pun. 😀 Also, since I’m nosy, please tell me which winter activity—including Winter Olympic sports—you love the most. (BTW: I love sledding! As for Olympic sports, I love all of the ski events, especially ski jumping; snowboarding; the luge; bobsledding; and all of the skating events—figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating, etc.)

Winner to be announced on Friday, January 31.

frozen-logoYes, winter sports are cool. But appreciating winter is sometimes a battle for me. On Sunday, as I was driving to church down one iced-over, unplowed street after another (all with the look of evil meringue), and watching snow falling for the 50,000,000th time this winter, appropriately enough I blasted the Frozen soundtrack. If you have seen the movie (Disney’s latest animated movie), or own the soundtrack like I do (it’s good, isn’t it?), you’re familiar with “Let It Go,” a lovely song written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and beautifully sung by Idina Menzel. Well, I tend to have anxiety sometimes, especially if I’m driving down a street glazed with ice and snow. So, I needed to hear that song, especially the last line: “The cold never bothered me anyway.”


So, here’s to winter and its fickleness and frigid temperatures. Let’s raise our ice cream spoons and say, “Take that, winter! Yeah, the wind chill index is 20 below today! But you know what? The cold never bothered me anyway.”

Ice cream image from hfboards.hockeysfuture.com. Frozen logo from animationmagazine.net.