Music Challenge: NonFiction – “The Christmas Concert” #nonfiction #music #logdriverswaltz

Thank yo to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s music challenge based off the old-timey song: “The Log Driver’s Waltz.”




Anna sighs as the teacher tells the grade-one students in her class to find a partner of the opposite gender to dance with for a Christmas concert song they will also sing. 

Anna is a bit chubby. She doesn’t eat much if any junk food. Her parents are careful about feeding their kids candy because children on Anna’s Dad’s side of the family have a tendency to be chubby. They tell Anna she has those genes. Her weight bothers her even at a young age. Anna doesn’t think she is fat compared to some chubbier girls around her age; she sees how much and what they eat — often fruit roll ups and McDonald’s Happy Meals. 

Nevertheless, the boys pick on Anna for her weight and they don’t like her as they like some of the smaller and cuter girls. She’s not unpopular but she’s not popular either. Anna is nice and gets along with almost everyone. She is smart and can read better than most kids in her class. Her worst problem is a tendency to cry if she gets into trouble.

Anna peers around the music room and sees the other boys and girls have partnered up. The only boy left is Devon. Anna and Devon look at each other unhappily. The teacher, Mrs. Nette, pushes them together and starts to teach the six-year-olds to waltz. Both the boys and girls think co-ed dancing is kind of icky, unless you happen to end up dancing with someone one you have a crush on. 

Devon looks at Anna and sneers. He was her friend Roxeanne’s little brother. Roxeanne lived by Anna’s house and she was a good friend who was a couple grades ahead of Anna. 

Anna peers up at Devon and tries to take his hand as Mrs. Netted instructed, but Devon doesn’t want to touch her. He makes a fuss to the teacher. Mrs.Nette will have none of Devon’s complaining and makes him put his one hand around Anna’s shoulder and the other around her waist. He looks dejected and Anna sighs, not liking Devon touching her; he’s a  jerk. She doesn’t want to look bad on stage because of Devon.

Mrs. Nette turns on the music. The song is called, “The Log Driver’s Waltz.” The girl knows it because Sharon, Louis, and Bram, sing it on the kid’s music tapes her Mom plays in their van. 

“Come on Devon. Just do it. It’s not that bad. If you do a good job Mrs. Nette will stop watching you so much,” Anna says perturbed. Devon frowns at Anna and nods hestitantly. The class practices dancing to the song and then singing it a few times. They do this every music class until the Christmas concert. It’s tricky having to waltz and sing as well. Anna is nervous because her grandpa and grandma will be at her first Christmas concert. She wants to do well for them.

 At the dress rehearsal Devon sneers at her, “I’m not even going to be here for the Christmas concert. I’m going to be at my Dad’s; I hate you.” She shrugs, Devon is always angry and often lashes out. Anna thinks it’s because his parents are divorced. She tells Mrs. Nette about Devon not being at the concert. The music teacher phones Devon’s Mom who assures her, he’ll be there. 

Anna chooses a pretty dress to wear to the concert. She knows how to waltz even though she isn’t much of a dancer. She waves to her parents and grandparents sitting in the audience before going back stage. Then the grade-one class lines up to go out onto the stage. She doesn’t see Devon anywhere. Anna tugs on Mrs.Nette’s hand and she tells her, “Devon’s not here.” 

“Well, will put you in the back and you can pretend you’re waltzing with a partner,” Mrs. Nette says. Anna frowns, not happy about the situation. Mrs. Nette grabs a boy from another class who is in grade-two, “Here you remember how to waltz don’t you?” She asks the new boy. He nods looking at Anna and taking her hand. 

The music starts and all the grade-ones starting dancing and singing to “The Log Driver’s Waltz.” Mrs. Nette puts Anna and the grade-two boy filling in for Devon in the back of the stage. The grade-two boy isn’t a great dancer, and Anna isn’t great either but she does most of the leading anyways.

As the grade-ones start singing the second song they had practiced, Anna sees her Grandpa laughing and smiling. It didn’t matter what the grade-one class did, the audience thought it was adorable.

Anna remembered the “Log Driver’s Waltz” always; it became stuck in her head. Twenty-five-years later, she still finds herself humming the tune occasionally and remembering Devon –such an angry little boy. 


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.


Things Are Moving Ahead

Today feels special. I don’t know why. Maybe it is that virtue instilled within me that Sundays are days of rest and for God, our higher power. Maybe it’s because I am all dolled up waiting to do something with my man. Or maybe it is that for me I just feel especially energetic. But at the moment I am sitting curled up in a fleecy blanket warmed by my dog on my left side. Even with all her fur and Eskimo background she is cold and cuddled so close. But I have come to some conclusions over the past week and some things are becoming set in place. I feel again I have stuff to look forward to.

The least important of the things I would like to get done is to re-read the 50 Shades series from 2 or 3 years ago. Although I remember that I did not like the repetitiveness E.L James used when writing, I did like the love story between Christian and Anna. I also liked that the story reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, Anna being the Beauty who helps the Beast Christian to change from his horrible self. I find it hard getting through book 1 which I read 2/3 of earlier in the year. I am disgusted by what control Christian wants over Anna for most of the book and the things he wants to do to her which are listed in the contract, some of them seem scary. I couldn’t believe he actually hit her really hard in the end of the book. He clearly has feelings that are strong for her by then and knows Anna doesn’t believe in punishment and avoids pain so why would he do that? I think, ” what a stupid man” but I guess that stupidity in Book 1 leads to much better stories (I thought) in books 2 and 3, and a better relationship for Christian and Anna. So I’ll start from where I ended ( the difficult part) and read from there. Hopefully, then I’ll be ready for the movie come February 2015 as I’m a slow reader when I am doing school work.

Speaking of writing, perhaps better edited writing, I am signed up and paid for Editing 110 in the Winter semester. I am excited! It has been difficult not having much to occupy my time as I have had in past semesters ( I had to miss courses this fall due to the effects of some medication changes some of my doctors had wanted to try. They didn’t work but that’s life). Anyways, I will be doing that distance learning course until the middle of April. I signed up for the last course of my Residential Design Certificate for Spring in Lighting as well. Lightings a pretty vital thing in an interior space and I am sort of glad I actually missed Green Design for it. I will have to make it through the course at night but it will be getting lighter outside at night and I’ll have more energy, if my doctors do not discover anything that will help me sooner. So that course is registered and paid for but I would like to take 1 more course at SFA in Editing this year, starting the middle of June. I have quite a few courses to get through in Editing and I am anxious to get to the point where I can use it to do freelance and refine my writing as well as editing skills. That will bring me ever closer to a Masters, hopefully, in communications and I need work or volunteer experience at least for that.

Also, I am missing Christmas celebrations with my bestest buds this year. The 3 of us couldn’t find a time where 1 of us wasn’t busy until after December 31. I miss hanging with my friends as much as we did in University but having somewhat of a life now is good too. Boyfriends require attention, work and other Christmas parties, and all sorts of issues stand in the way of simply getting together. Often, I find for me that can be transportation and sometimes money, especially with Christmas shopping on a limited budget. But having to take cabs places is costly too when something is at night or far away. But I am much looking forward to our get together after the holiday’s and I am also anxious to see my friend coming back from Mexico after that as well.
Meanwhile, I am keeping the dog, my boyfriend, and some other people happy. Time to visit my Grandma’s again at Christmas and time with family in general. Still just a couple bottles of wine to buy in the next couple of weeks and I have been keeping busy learning how to do my hair.

I always wanted to know how to style my hair but never could quite get my hair to look right without a lot of time consuming curling. The 1 1/4 inch curling iron and clips have made it so easy to style my hair. Not to mention hair tutorials which are so easy to follow. I have mastered about 4 techniques, tons to go through because it takes practice and I never knew you actually had to curl your hair and tease it to get so much texture in before most modern updos and half updos. Next hairstyle to master is the upside down French twist and some half up style with one with a braid. Also, looking forward to going to Chrome for a trim and some highlights and lowlights. I think I will go dark with the lowlights and thick to change things up!

Take care, that’s this week! Oh, what do you think of my potential tattoo? It will be on my lower back?


50 Shades of Grey: What Makes It So Appealing?

In the novel 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, a 21-year-old university graduate Anastasia Steele, finds herself caught up in a whirl wind relationship with the enigmatic 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey. Ana  meets Christian while awkwardly interviewing Christian  in place of her bestfriend Kate for a newspaper article for the Vancouver WSU student paper in Washington where Christian will be conferring degrees on Ana’s graduating class. Ana, who has never been majorly attracted to anyone before, finds herself enthralled by Christian. The chemistry between them is immediate and charged.

Ana finds herself in a difficult situation, however, when she discovers after coffee with Christian that he is not into typical relationships. The only type of relationship Christian has ever had and wants is a dominant – submissive relationship where he is the dominant and controls his submissive in every way when they are together and often a part. Anna wants Christian Grey and has strong feelings for him and even though Christian does not realize it, he has feelings for Ana too. This changes the dynamic of the relationship because eventually Ana wants “more” than a dominant-sub relationship from Christian and Christian gives ‘more’ to Ana even though he has never wanted more from any of his submissives before. In fact, Ana gets away with a lot more than any of Christian’s other submissives ever have.

But what is it about E.L James book that makes women (particularly) love The 50 Shades of Grey series so much? First, it is sex and the idea of a unique S&M relationship that develops into love for Ana and Christian; second, it is the character of Ana, who allows Christian, a deeply controlling and broken man inside, into her life while most other girls of her age and sexual experience would have run away; thirdly, it is the thoroughly brilliant yet clueless character of Christian who ends up falling in love with Ana and experiencing many firsts with her. Despite his preferred S&M lifestyle, Ana becomes the most important person in Christian’s life and they fall in love with each other.

Sex is the most immediate thing that comes to mind when thinking of 50 Shades of Grey. Not just sex but sex that is taboo. Christian is not just attracted to Ana immensely. He does not come into their relationship wanting the typical relationship that develops into a  “white picket fence” marriage. Christian does not even image that for himself in the beginning of the book series. He wants Ana as his submissive to control, keep safe, and use for his pleasure. Ana wants to be with Christian and break down his walls. She wants a pleasurable and enlightening relationship with Christian. She wants Christian without all his baggage. But she is very curious and taken a hold of by the sexual part of their relationship. She even finds it very pleasurable when Christian introduces her to his kinky lifestyle.

Sex of course is frequent through out the entire book. It is through sex (and banter) that the entire relationship of Christian and Ana develops. Christian first introduces  Ana to sex by making love to her because she is a virgin. He is shocked that she has never had sex before and Ana is surprised he has never had vanilla sex before. Christian invites Ana over to his home in Seattle and shows her all the usual and unusual ways of having making love and Ana thinks this is double chocolate with triple fudge on top sex, not just usual sex. She is always aroused for him and he always want to touch her. It is a wonder she can still walk by the end of the first weekend.

A week later, Anna agrees to try S&M sex with Christian. She has a dream where Christian uses a leather riding crop to hit her and make her have an orgasm. Although she is afraid of the pain, Anna allows Christian to flick her with the riding crop, hand cuff her to a track that leads to a giant X against the ‘playroom’ wall, and have sex with her hard. Christian also makes Ana hang on to the bed post while screwing her really intensely again even though she is exhausted. Through out the ordeal Anna finds herself extremely and shockingly turned on and must address Christian as ‘Sir’ or he will smack her hard with the riding crop if she does not. She is told she is be quite and sit by the door in only her underwear kneeling submissively in any sexual scene Ana and Christian get into in the playroom. Christian is thrilled with the way Anna reacts to the sex scene he had planned out and carries her to sleep in her bedroom. I think the fact of being vulnerable and giving yourself over to be sexually pleasured is something many women could relate to with to Ana. Christian is very knowledgeable and skilled about sex and he does promise not to hurt Ana at this point. Even when he does hurt her, and spanks her, she is turned on and Christian makes sure to take care of her with aspirin and lotion/baby oil afterwards.

The third, sexual situation Christian and Ana find themselves in is again in the playroom where Christian blindfolds Anna and plays iPhone music in her ears and cuffs her to the bed. He whips her with a flogger and finds  she enjoys being flogged. Ana finds it very seductive and entrancing. Even though she is feeling a little pain it is okay because of the sexual chemistry and sexual awareness that she is experiencing with Christian. Plus, she trusts him by this point. Sometimes I wondered  in the book why Ana did not stand up for herself a bit more and not agree to call Christian Sir and be so acquiescing. But it’s because she  likes what’s happening to her sexually and that Christian likes doing what he is doing to Ana that she allows the situation to continue. Not only does she trust Christian she is falling in love with him. I’m sure many guys can imagine doing similar sexual things  to a woman  or women can imagine having these things done to them. That whole sexual fantasy aspect plays a huge roll in the book’s success. What Ana cannot tolerate though is real painful punishment from Christian. Her acceptance to experience it one  time to give Christian a chance because she loves him, and then her choice to leave Christian, leads him to the realization that being without Ana is even more painful than being thoroughly lashed with a belt and punished as she is in the end of the book.

Additionally, the chastity and goodness of Ana is very important in the book. She goes about handling Christian with her wits and her innocence, and this beguiles Christian. Having never had any boyfriend and little sexual experience beyond kissing before, Ana is chaste and Christian likes this because it makes Ana completely his. It also makes Anna open to trying a lot of things other girls wouldn’t have been open to trying because she has no frame of reference but Christian. Christian is floored that someone as beautiful as Ana has never had sex before and is quite happy to show her how several times. He is thrilled by her and her innocence. Not only her innocence in being willing to have sex but her willingness to try S&M sex with him just after reading about it on the internet and after reading through and reluctantly saying what she will and will not do with him in a relationship, in a contract. Ana is shocked by some of the things listed in this contract.

It is also Ana’s wit and wisdom that makes her so appealing to Christian. She jokes with him that he is her stalker because he is always worried about her and wants to know her whereabouts and if he does not know where she is, he will track her cellphone. She jokes with Christian in bed and deals with him gently, even though he is a very damaged man. She knows this is the closest he has ever come to a ‘real’ relationship and even though she isn’t keen on the idea of pain she is willing to be vulnerable to him because she likes him and believes he has potential as a person and a partner. She is also in lust with him and this develops into love. Moreover, when she falls in love with Christian she hopes that he sees that she is willing to sacrifice for him. She listens to Christian and encourages him to talk about his past even though he does not like talking about his experiences, especially his early childhood and his toxic relationship with Mrs. Robinson that warps his views on sex. Ana also respects that Christian doesn’t like being touched in some areas on his body and Christian later lets Ana touch him in the second book, something none of Christian’s submissives had ever done. Ana becomes Christian’s girlfriend, rather, then his submissive.

Lastly, Ana is a good influence on Christian and an interesting character because she finally does set limits for him, something no one dares to do. She will not allow Christian to hit her and punish her like his old submissives. She cannot live with that. She lets him know that his issues of liking punishment are issues he will have to deal with because she will not accept that he is a masochist or permanently destroyed person . If he wants her, loves her,  than Christian has to learn to control himself. That is why she tells him to “get it together Grey” when he belts her over a bench in the playroom at the end the first book. It  is her or his urge to punish and control her, not both.She decides she will not be his submissive of punishment is required.

Thirdly, it is the character of Christian Grey that especially makes 50 shades of Grey intriguing. Christian is a mystery. Why is he so dominant? Why does he feel he needs to punish his submissives? Why is he so controlling? It is also his growth as a human being that is fascinating coming from his circumstances. He is a 27-year-old billionaire who can do what he wants and he picks seemingly plane Anastasia Steele and thinks she is gorgeous. He cannot stay away from her and he goes to visit her after their interview at the hardware store where she works. He makes all this effort to explain his lifestyle to Ana who is a virgin to begin with because he is completely bewitched by her. This has never happened to him before and Ana is someone he could be compatible with for life, despite the fact that he is an angry and a possibly masochistic man due to his past. Christian lets Ana talk and have an opinion because he likes her wit and  he enjoys that she is smart like him. He introduces her to his entire family who is shocked at first by the existence of her as Christian’s ‘ girlfriend” because he has never brought a girl home before and they assumed Christian might be gay. Moreover, his family genuinely like Ana and comment at the good change Ana causes in Christian. She opens him up emotionally to herself, his family, and to love.
Additionally, Christian wants and is willing to give Anna the ‘more’ she wants. He shows up at the Hotel  Ana and her mother are drinking at on vacation because Ana misses him and he takes her on a gliding plan after a night of talking and making love. He even gets to the point that he does not much care about the sexual contract between Ana and himself.  He just wants her submissive in the playroom and obedient. She is free to be herself otherwise, something he never allowed with past submissives. Then again he never had a girlfriend before. He even feels more comfortable when Ana sleeps beside him and tells her the most comforting thing he has ever heard was when she said  in her sleep that she would never leave him.
Christian’s failing of course, is believing that Anna will be obedient to his will. She is not a very submissive person, not to mention she is  a person and you shouldn’t even punish an animal by hitting it when it does something you don’t like.When Christian punishes Ana so she will know how bad it can be to be hit,  he fails to realize that Ana will do anything to avoid intense pain, to avoid punishment. She does not understand Christian’s need to punish her and really hurt her even though she loves him. When he belts her hard several times, Ana ends up leaving Christian putting Christian in intense pain. For 4 days he lets the love of his life walk out on him and the pain of not having her to love and be with is more pain than he’s ever experienced in his life. It gives him the sickly taste of what Ana feels about punishment. He soon realizes in 50 Shades Darker, that he must get Ana back because she is the light in his life. Ana is the best thing that has ever happened to him, his only release from the pain without her, and the release from the pain of his dark past. Christian’s intense, sexy, but remorseful character makes him likable and attractive. He becomes a better person because of Anna and because he can be saved by her and by himself. Because of this, he is redeemable, despite his love for punishment and darker desires.

In 50 Shades of Grey by E.L James women and particular find the book extremely appealing. The strong influence of sex, often taboo sex, makes the book interesting for many people to read as well as the innocent and loving character of Ana, and the enigmatic, suffering, yet forgivable character of Christian Grey. Although, Christian does not understand until the end that he must choose between his love of punishment to stay in control or his girlfriend Ana, he soon realizes that life without her is a far worse hell than he could have imagined. Both Ana and Christian are a mess without each other and in the following book both characters and their strengths and weaknesses are exposed so that Anna truly realizes how strong love must be to love someone as tortured and hurting as Christian. It is her ability to love despite his giant flaws, her patience to give, and Christian’s unexpected love for Ana that make the series so appealing.