Actually I Just Woke Up Quotes

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The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me. I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil. From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life)
I stood up angrily. “Look, I’m done talking to you tonight. Will you let me out of this dream? I’m not telling you where I am. And I’m not interested in hearing about how wonderful Avery is and how much better than me she is.” “Avery would never act like a little brat,” he said. “She wouldn’t get so offended that someone actually cares enough to check on her. She wouldn’t deny me the chance to learn more about my magic because she was paranoid someone would ruin her crazy attempt to get over her boyfriend’s death." “Don’t talk to me about being a brat,” I shot back. “You’re as selfish and self-centered as usual. It’s always about you—even this dream is. You hold me against my will, whether I want it or not, because it amuses you.” “Fine,” he said, voice cold. “I’ll end this. And I’ll end everything between us. I won’t be coming back.” “Good. I hope you mean it this time.” His green eyes were the last thing I saw before I woke up in my own bed. I sat up, gasping. My heart felt like it was breaking, and I almost thought I might cry. Adrian was right—I had been a brat. I’d lashed out at him when it wasn’t really deserved. And yet . . . I hadn’t been able to help it. I missed Lissa. I even kind of missed Adrian. And now someone else was taking my place, someone who wouldn’t just walk away like I had. I won’t be coming back. And for the first time ever, I had a feeling he really wouldn’t be.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
But as I stood there dressed in a cute black pants suit and white button-up shirt and heels, I felt completely out of place. Not necessarily because of the clothes, but…I just don’t belong there. I can’t put my finger on it, but that Monday and the rest of that week when I woke up, got dressed and walked into that store, something was itching the back part of my consciousness. I couldn’t hear the actual words, but it felt like: This is your life, Camryn Bennett. This is your life.
J.A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1))
Paul. Look at me. You need to understand this. The worst thing that could have happened to me already happened." He looks up. She swallows, knowing that these are the words that stall; that may simply refuse to emerge. "Four years ago David and I went to bed like it was any other night, brushing our teeth reading our books, chatting about a restaurant we were going to the next day...and when I woke up the next morning he was there beside me, cold. Blue. I didn't...I didn't feel him go. I didn't even get to say..." There is a short silence. "Can you imagine knowing you slept through the person you love most dying next to you ? Knowing that there might have been something you could have done to help him ? To save him ? Not knowing if he was looking at you, silently begging you to..." The words fail, her breath catches, a familiar tide threatens to wash over her He reaches out his hands slowly, enfolds hers within them until she can speak again. "I thought the world had actually ended. I thought nothing good could ever happen again. I thought any thing might happen if I wasn't vigilant. I didn't eat. I didn't go out. I didn't want to see anyone. But I survived, Paul. Much to my own surprise, I got through it. And life...well, life gradually became liveable again." She leans closer to him. "So this...the painting, the house...It hit me when I heard what happened to Sophie. It's just stuff. They could take all of it, frankly. the only thing that matters is people." She looks down at his hands, and her voice cracks. "All that really matters is who you love.
Jojo Moyes (The Girl You Left Behind)
Suppose you woke up one morning to discover that you were the last person on earth. [...] In the situation described, you could satisfy many material desires that you can't satisfy in our actual world. You could have the car of your dreams. You could even have a showroom full of expensive cars. You could have the house of your dreams - or live in a palace. You could wear very expensive clothes. You could acquire not just a big diamond ring but the Hope Diamond itself. The interesting question is this: without people around, would you still want these things?
William B. Irvine (On Desire: Why We Want What We Want)
It wasn't exactly like I'd sold out on my life and dreams and all that other bullshit, because the truth was I'd never actually had anything to sell. It was more like I slowly froze in place, inside my little office at the museum; more like some part of me just fell asleep one day and never woke up.
Elizabeth Hand (Waking the Moon)
WELCOME. YOU ARE MOST WANTED. Come in. I'm R.L. Stine. Welcome to the Goosebumps office. Glad you made it through the barbed wire fence. Don't worry. Those cuts will stop bleeding in an hour or two. Why do we have a barbed wire fence? To keep the Abominable Snowman from escaping. I'm surprised you didn't see him. He's creeping up right behind you. Hurry. Step inside and shut the door. You don't want to find out why everyone calls him Abominable. Hey, don't be scared of Eddie over there. Eddie woke up dead tired one morning. Guess what? He actually was dead. Yes, Eddie is a zombie. But he doesn't like that word. He likes to be called "life-challenged." He's not much trouble. He only needs to eat human flesh once a day. Don't be nervous. He just finished his breakfast. Whom did he have for breakfast? I'm not sure. But I haven't seen my brother all morning... Eddie - what did I tell you about eating the family? Oh, well. Let me ask you a question before Eddie has to have his next meal. What do you think is the Most Wanted holiday?
R.L. Stine (Zombie Halloween (Goosebumps Most Wanted Special Edition, #1))
I actually got so drunk I wrapped myself around the toilet bowl of the Scollay Square Cafe and got pissed and puked on all night long by a thousand sailors and seamen and when I woke up in the morning and found myself all covered and caked and unspeakably dirty I just like a good old Boston man walked down to the Atlantic Avenue docks and jumped into the sea.
Jack Kerouac (Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46)
I wish the world were like this, if I just woke up and marked the food I’d be eating and it came to me later in the day. I suppose it is like that, except you have to pay for whatever you want to eat, so maybe what I’m asking for is communism, but I think it’s actually deeper than communism—I’m asking for simplicity, for purity and ease of choice and no pressure. I’m asking for something that no politics is going to provide, something that probably you only get in preschool. I’m asking for preschool.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
Do you realize what a beacon you’ve become?” “A—I beg your pardon?” “A beacon of hope,” says the woman, smiling. “As soon as we announced we’d be doing this interview, our viewers started calling in, e-mails, text messages, telling us you’re an angel, a talisman of goodness . . .” Ma makes a face. “All I did was I survived, and I did a pretty good job of raising Jack. A good enough job.” “You’re very modest.” “No, what I am is irritated, actually.” The puffy-hair woman blinks twice. “All this reverential—I’m not a saint.” Ma’s voice is getting loud again. “I wish people would stop treating us like we’re the only ones who ever lived through something terrible. I’ve been finding stuff on the Internet you wouldn’t believe.” “Other cases like yours?” “Yeah, but not just—I mean, of course when I woke up in that shed, I thought nobody’d ever had it as bad as me. But the thing is, slavery’s not a new invention. And solitary confinement—did you know, in America we’ve got more than twenty-five thousand prisoners in isolation cells? Some of them for more than twenty years.” Her hand is pointing at the puffy-hair woman. “As for kids—there’s places where babies lie in orphanages five to a cot with pacifiers taped into their mouths, kids getting raped by Daddy every night, kids in prisons, whatever, making carpets till they go blind—
Emma Donoghue (Room)
And yet (this was the murky part, this was what bothered me) there had also been other, way more confusing and fucked-up nights, grappling around half-dressed, weak light sliding in from the bathroom and everything haloed and unstable without my glasses: hands on each other, rough and fast, kicked-over beers foaming on the carpet – fun and not that big of a deal when it was actually happening, more than worth it for the sharp gasp when my eyes rolled back and I forgot about everything; but when we woke the next morning stomach-down and groaning on opposite sides of the bed it receded into an incoherence of backlit flickers, choppy and poorly lit like some experimental film, the unfamiliar twist of Boris’s features fading from memory already and none of it with any more bearing on our actual lives than a dream. We never spoke of it; it wasn’t quite real; getting ready for school we threw shoes, splashed water at each other, chewed aspirin for our hangovers, laughed and joked around all the way to the bus stop. I knew people would think the wrong thing if they knew, I didn’t want anyone to find out and I knew Boris didn’t either, but all the same he seemed so completely untroubled by it that I was fairly sure it was just a laugh, nothing to take too seriously or get worked up about. And
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
You haven’t fucked anyone in three years, Lia, and your plan is to fuck someone else so you don’t give into your temptation to fuck me. And if we’re being blunt here, that kind of fucking pisses me off.” … “So what?” she huffed. “I still reserve the right to sleep with whoever else I want.” “No.” I stepped forward. “That’s not how it’s going to work” “Shut up! Are you really going to be that person who’s known me a week and tries to tell me who I’m allowed to fuck?” “No, I’m going to be that person who fucks you and gives you want you need because you know you don’t actually want anyone else,” I muttered, walking into her despite her hands pushing my chest. “You’re attracted to me, aren’t you? You haven’t been this attracted to anyone in a while. I woke up your need to fuck, so if you’re planning on fucking someone, why isn’t it the person you actually want?” I removed her hands from my chest and held them at her sides. “Why go for your second choice when your first wants you just as bad?
Stella Rhys (Sweet Spot (Irresistible, #1))
This young woman,” said Diana, “was responsible for the destruction of the Triumvirate’s fleet.” “Well, I had a lot of help,” Lavinia said. “I don’t understand,” I said, turning to Lavinia. “You made all those mortars malfunction?” Lavinia looked offended. “Well, yeah. Somebody had to stop the fleet. I did pay attention during siege-weapon class and ship-boarding class. It wasn’t that hard. All it took was a little fancy footwork.” Hazel finally managed to pick her jaw off the pavement. “Wasn’t that hard?” “We were motivated! The fauns and dryads did great.” She paused, her expression momentarily clouding, as if she remembered something unpleasant. “Um…besides, the Nereids helped a lot. There was only a skeleton crew aboard each yacht. Not, like, actual skeletons, but—you know what I mean. Also, look!” She pointed proudly at her feet, which were now adorned with the shoes of Terpsichore from Caligula’s private collection. “You mounted an amphibious assault on an enemy fleet,” I said, “for a pair of shoes.” Lavinia huffed. “Not just for the shoes, obviously.” She tap-danced a routine that would’ve made Savion Glover proud. “Also to save the camp, and the nature spirits, and Michael Kahale’s commandos.” Hazel held up her hands to stop the overflow of information. “Wait. Not to be a killjoy—I mean, you did an amazing thing!—but you still deserted your post, Lavinia. I certainly didn’t give you permission —” “I was acting on praetor’s orders,” Lavinia said haughtily. “In fact, Reyna helped. She was knocked out for a while, healing, but she woke up in time to instill us with the power of Bellona, right before we boarded those ships. Made us all strong and stealthy and stuff.” Hazel asked, “Is it true about Lavinia acting on your orders?” Reyna glanced at our pink-haired friend. The praetor’s pained expression said something like, I respect you a lot, but I also hate you for being right. “Yes,” Reyna managed to say. “Plan L was my idea. Lavinia and her friends acted on my orders. They performed heroically.” Lavinia beamed. “See? I told you.” The assembled crowd murmured in amazement, as if, after a day full of wonders, they had finally witnessed something that could not be explained.
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
I woke up dead. Not only dead...but in hell. I had always been somewhat sketchy on what the afterlife - were there actually such a thing - would be like for a person such as I. From all accounts and all my imaginings, I figured it would be one of two things. Either I would be surrounded by great, burning masses that were endlessly immolating souls in torment... or else I would find myself trapped within my own mind as a helpless bystander, condemned to watching me live out my life over and over again and powerless to do anything to change any of it. When idle speculation prompted me to dwell on these two options, I would find myself drawn invariably to the former, since the later was just too hideous to contemplate. ... I was almost afraid to open my eyes, because once I did, I would know one way or the other. Perhaps I could have just lain there forever. Perhaps I was supposed to. Perhaps that was my true condemnation: to simply reside in hell with my eyes closed afraid of opening them lest matters deteriorate even further than they already had. This, in turn, made me dwell on the fact that every time I had believed things couldn’t get worse, they promptly had done so with almost gleeful enthusiasm .
Peter David (The Woad to Wuin (Sir Apropos of Nothing, #2))
seemed like she could hold on to the good mood if everyone just stayed in their place. She needed the good mood, the way you need sleep after an all-nighter, the way you daydream of throwing yourself into bed. Every day she woke up and swore she wouldn’t let the farm weigh her down, wouldn’t let the ruination of it (three years she was behind in the loan, three years and no way out) turn her into the kind of woman she hated: mirthless, pinched, unable to enjoy anything. Every morning she’d crick herself down onto the flimsy rug by her bed and pray, but it was actually a promise: Today I won’t yell, I won’t cry, I won’t clench up into a ball like I am waiting for a blow to level me. I will enjoy today. She might make it to lunch before she went sour.
Gillian Flynn (Dark Places)
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
He was beautiful. Whatever else he was, Sage was by far the most magnetic man I had ever seen. I had felt it in my dreams, and it was even more true in real life. I welcomed the chance to study him without his knowledge. He glanced up, and I quickly closed my eyes, feigning sleep. Had he seen me? The scratching stopped. He was looking at me, I knew it. I held my breath and willed my eyes not to pop open and see if he was staring. Finally the scratching started up again. I forced myself to slowly count to ten before I opened my eyelids the tiniest bit and peeked through my lashes. Good-he wasn’t looking at me. I opened my eyes a little wider. What was he doing? Moving only my eyes, I glanced down at the dirt floor in front of him… …and saw a picture of me, fast asleep. It was incredible. I could see his tools laid out beside the picture: rocks in several sizes and shapes, a couple of twigs…the most rudimentary materials, and yet what he was etching into the floor wouldn’t look out of place on an art gallery wall. It was beautiful…far more beautiful than I thought I actually looked in my sleep. Is that how he saw me? Sage lifted his head again, and I shut my eyes. I imagined him studying me, taking careful note of my features and filtering them through his own senses. My heartbeat quickened, and it took all my willpower to remain still. “You can keep pretending to be asleep if you’d like, but I don’t see a career for you as an actress,” he teased. My eyes sprang open. Sage’s head was again bent over his etching, but a grin played on his face as he worked. “You knew?” I asked, mortified. Sage put a finger to his lips, glancing toward Ben. “About two minutes before you woke up, I knew,” he whispered. “Your breathing hanged.” He bent back over the drawing, then impishly asked, “Pleasant dreams?” My heart stopped, and I felt myself blush bright crimson as I remembered our encounter in the bottom of the rowboat. I sent a quick prayer to whoever or whatever might be listening that I hadn’t re-enacted any of it in my sleep, then said as nonchalantly as possible, “I don’t know, I can’t remember what I dreamed about. Why?” He swapped out the rock in his hand for one with a thinner edge and worked for another moment. “No reason…just heard my name.” I hoped the dim moonlight shadowed the worst of my blush. “Your name,” I reiterated. “That’s…interesting. They say dreams sort out things that happen when we’re awake.” “Hmm. Did you sort anything out?” he asked. “Like I said, I can’t remember.” I knew he didn’t believe me. Time to change the subject. I nodded to the etching. “Can I come look?
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
At the end of the vacation, I took a steamer alone from Wuhan back up through the Yangtze Gorges. The journey took three days. One morning, as I was leaning over the side, a gust of wind blew my hair loose and my hairpin fell into the river. A passenger with whom I had been chatting pointed to a tributary which joined the Yangtze just where we were passing, and told me a story.In 33 B.C., the emperor of China, in an attempt to appease the country's powerful northern neighbors, the Huns, decided to send a woman to marry the barbarian king. He made his selection from the portraits of the 3,000 concubines in his court, many of whom he had never seen. As she was for a barbarian, he selected the ugliest portrait, but on the day of her departure he discovered that the woman was in fact extremely beautiful. Her portrait was ugly because she had refused to bribe the court painter. The emperor ordered the artist to be executed, while the lady wept, sitting by a river, at having to leave her country to live among the barbarians. The wind carried away her hairpin and dropped it into the river as though it wanted to keep something of hers in her homeland. Later on, she killed herself. Legend had it that where her hairpin dropped, the river turned crystal clear, and became known as the Crystal River. My fellow passenger told me this was the tributary we were passing. With a grin, he declared: "Ah, bad omen! You might end up living in a foreign land and marrying a barbarian!" I smiled faintly at the traditional Chinese obsession about other races being 'barbarians," and wondered whether this lady of antiquity might not actually have been better off marrying the 'barbarian' king. She would at least be in daily contact with the grassland, the horses, and nature. With the Chinese emperor, she was living in a luxurious prison, without even a proper tree, which might enable the concubines to climb a wall and escape. I thought how we were like the frogs at the bottom of the well in the Chinese legend, who claimed that the sky was only as big as the round opening at the top of their well. I felt an intense and urgent desire to see the world. At the time I had never spoken with a foreigner, even though I was twenty-three, and had been an English language student for nearly two years. The only foreigners I had ever even set eyes on had been in Peking in 1972. A foreigner, one of the few 'friends of China," had come to my university once. It was a hot summer day and I was having a nap when a fellow student burst into our room and woke us all by shrieking: "A foreigner is here! Let's go and look at the foreigner!" Some of the others went, but I decided to stay and continue my snooze. I found the whole idea of gazing, zombie like rather ridiculous. Anyway, what was the point of staring if we were forbidden to open our mouths to him, even though he was a 'friend of China'? I had never even heard a foreigner speaking, except on one single Linguaphone record. When I started learning the language, I had borrowed the record and a phonograph, and listened to it at home in Meteorite Street. Some neighbors gathered in the courtyard, and said with their eyes wide open and their heads shaking, "What funny sounds!" They asked me to play the record over and over again.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Ms. Mori offered me her cheek to kiss and Sonny offered me his hand to shake. He showed me the door and I slid home through the cool sheets of night and into my own bed, Bon asleep and hovering above me in his rack. I closed my eyes and, after a spell of darkness, floated on my mattress across a black river to the foreign country that needed no passport to visit. Of its many gnomic features and shady denizens I now recall only one, my mind wiped clean except for this fatal fingerprint, an ancient kapok tree that was my final resting place and on whose arthritic bark I laid my cheek. I was almost asleep within my sleep when I gradually understood that the knot of gnarled wood on which my ear rested was actually an ear itself, curled and stiff, the wax of its auditory history encrusted in the green moss of its twisted canal. Half of the kapok tree towered above me, half was invisible below me in the rooted earth, and when I looked up I saw not just one ear but many ears swelling from the bark of its thick trunk, hundreds of ears listening and having listened to things I could not hear, the sight of those ears so horrible it hurled me back into the black river. I woke drenched and gasping, clutching the sides of my head. Only after I kicked off the damp sheets and looked under the pillow could I lie down again, trembling. My heart still beat with the force of a savage drummer, but at least my bed was not littered with amputated ears.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
I woke up in the hospital. Doctor Cunningham was bending over me. I thought, "We have to stop meeting like this," but didn't even try to say it out loud. "You've lost blood and had your stitches redone. Do you think you can stay in here long enough for me to actually release you this time?" I think I smiled. "Yes, Doctor." "Just in case you got any funny ideas about leaving, I've doped you up with enough pain killers to make you feel really good. So sleep, and I'll see you in the morning." My eyes fluttered shut once, then opened. Edward was there. He bent over me and whispered, "Crawling through bushes on your belly, threatening to cut off a man's balls. Such a hard ass." My voice came faintly even to me. "Had to save your ass." He bent over me and kissed on my forehead.
Laurell K. Hamilton (Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #9))
I woke up in the hospital. Doctor Cunningham was bending over me. I thought, "We have to stop meeting like this," but didn't even try to say it out loud. "You've lost blood and had your stitches redone. Do you think you can stay in here long enough for me to actually release you this time?" I think I smiled. "Yes, Doctor." "Just in case you got any funny ideas about leaving, I've doped you up with enough pain killers to make you feel really good. So sleep, and I'll see you in the morning." My eyes fluttered shut once, then opened. Edward was there. He bent over me and whispered, "Crawling through bushes on your belly, threatening to cut off a man's balls. Such a hard ass." My voice came faintly even to me. "Had to save your ass." He bent over me and kissed on my forehead, or maybe I dreamed that part.
Laurell K. Hamilton (Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #9))
they felt like they were informed. It was a fine line--too much information led to more interrogation and too little information leads to major snooping. Thrace believed that I had developed the rare ability to express something while revealing nothing. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a sorcerer with laughing hazel eyes might have the ability to see beyond all my fine lines. I smiled at that whimsical thought as I finished my pot roast and parental interrogation.   Chapter 2: Mortal Combat   I woke up groggy because I set my alarm for a half hour earlier than usual to get ready to work out. I don’t know why I did that. Ok. I might know why I did that, but 6:00am was too early for rational thought. I kept my outfit simple with black yoga pants and a retro Offspring tee. It was much more difficult to get my thick auburn hair to calm down after a night of restless sleep. Luckily, I didn’t get any zits overnight which would have been just my luck. After some leave-in conditioner and some shine spray, I hoped my hair no longer looked like a bird’s nest. I headed downstairs just in time to see my dad coming from the kitchen with his coffee, my Mt. Dew, and Zone bar. Hello, my name is Calliope, and I am an addict. My drug is caffeine. I like my caffeine cold usually in the fountain pop variety—Mt. Dew in the morning and Diet Dr. Pepper in the afternoon. I like the ice and carbonation, but in the morning on the way to work out, I’ll take what I can get. I thanked my dad for my version of breakfast as we walked to the car. He only grunted his reply. We slid into the white Taurus and headed to the YMCA. I actually started to get nervous, as we got closer. We were at the Y before I was mentally prepared. I sighed and lumbered out of the car. As we walked in and headed toward opposite locker rooms, dad announced, “Meet you back here in an hour, Calli.
Stacey Rychener (Intrigue (Night Muse #1))
For years before the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he followed the same routine at every race. He arrived two hours early.1 He stretched and loosened up, according to a precise pattern: eight hundred mixer, fifty freestyle, six hundred kicking with kickboard, four hundred pulling a buoy, and more. After the warm-up he would dry off, put in his earphones, and sit—never lie down—on the massage table. From that moment, he and his coach, Bob Bowman, wouldn’t speak a word to each other until after the race was over. At forty-five minutes before the race he would put on his race suit. At thirty minutes he would get into the warm-up pool and do six hundred to eight hundred meters. With ten minutes to go he would walk to the ready room. He would find a seat alone, never next to anyone. He liked to keep the seats on both sides of him clear for his things: goggles on one side and his towel on the other. When his race was called he would walk to the blocks. There he would do what he always did: two stretches, first a straight-leg stretch and then with a bent knee. Left leg first every time. Then the right earbud would come out. When his name was called, he would take out the left earbud. He would step onto the block—always from the left side. He would dry the block—every time. Then he would stand and flap his arms in such a way that his hands hit his back. Phelps explains: “It’s just a routine. My routine. It’s the routine I’ve gone through my whole life. I’m not going to change it.” And that is that. His coach, Bob Bowman, designed this physical routine with Phelps. But that’s not all. He also gave Phelps a routine for what to think about as he went to sleep and first thing when he awoke. He called it “Watching the Videotape.”2 There was no actual tape, of course. The “tape” was a visualization of the perfect race. In exquisite detail and slow motion Phelps would visualize every moment from his starting position on top of the blocks, through each stroke, until he emerged from the pool, victorious, with water dripping off his face. Phelps didn’t do this mental routine occasionally. He did it every day before he went to bed and every day when he woke up—for years. When Bob wanted to challenge him in practices he would shout, “Put in the videotape!” and Phelps would push beyond his limits. Eventually the mental routine was so deeply ingrained that Bob barely had to whisper the phrase, “Get the videotape ready,” before a race. Phelps was always ready to “hit play.” When asked about the routine, Bowman said: “If you were to ask Michael what’s going on in his head before competition, he would say he’s not really thinking about anything. He’s just following the program. But that’s not right. It’s more like his habits have taken over. When the race arrives, he’s more than halfway through his plan and he’s been victorious at every step. All the stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualized. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected. The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.”3 As we all know, Phelps won the record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When visiting Beijing, years after Phelps’s breathtaking accomplishment, I couldn’t help but think about how Phelps and the other Olympians make all these feats of amazing athleticism seem so effortless. Of course Olympic athletes arguably practice longer and train harder than any other athletes in the world—but when they get in that pool, or on that track, or onto that rink, they make it look positively easy. It’s more than just a natural extension of their training. It’s a testament to the genius of the right routine.
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
The doctors had hit an artery, which is not standard procedure. They worked quickly to deal with it-to this day I have no idea what actually happened, but whatever they did worked, because our beautiful Angel was born soon after. Chris was the first person to hold her. They word beaming was invented to describe the proud expression on his face. I went into the recovery room and slept for a while. When I woke up, Chris was holding Angel. He looked so natural with her-a big six-footer holding a six-pound bundle in the crook of his arm, already bonded to her. “Do you want to hold her?” he asked. I was exhausted, and I knew she was safe with him, so I told him no. He forced himself to smile. He explained later that he thought my response meant I was rejecting the baby-having worked on a ranch, I guess he had seen animals do that, with dire results for their new offspring. But of course I wasn’t; they just looked perfect together, and I was barely conscious. I asked for her a few minutes later, when I felt stronger. He passed her on gently, and I held her for the first time. There is no way really to describe how that feels. In many ways, the birth was a miracle, not a disaster. Because of Angel’s dilemma, her father was able to be there at her birth-something that wouldn’t have happened had that ultrasound been routine, since I would have waited another four or five weeks for her. A potential tragedy had been turned into something beautiful. It was quite a miracle, I thought, that he had been present for both births, despite the long odds against it. Sometimes God’s plan for us is difficult to decipher, but the end result can be far more wonderful than we thought. I knew that. I felt that. And yet, I had a terrible feeling, lying in the bed that night, one I couldn’t shake and one I didn’t dare put into words: Maybe God gave Chris this chance to be with his daughter because he’s going to die in Iraq.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
It’s okay if you can’t. No worries. Just an idea,” I say quickly, looking away so she won’t see how disappointed I am. “No—I mean, I want to, but—” Hana sucks in a breath. I hate this, hate how awkward we both are. “I kind of have this party”—she corrects herself quickly— “this thing I’m supposed to go to with Angelica Marston.” My stomach gets that hollowed-out feeling. It’s amazing how words can do that, just shred your insides apart. [...] A rush of hatred overwhelms me. Hatred for my life, for its narrowness and cramped spaces; hatred for Angelica Marston, with her secretive smile and rich parents; hatred for Hana, for being so stupid and careless and stubborn, first and foremost, and for leaving me behind before I was ready to be left; and underneath all those layers something else, too, some white-hot blade of unhappiness flashing in the very deepest part of me. I can’t name it, or even focus on it clearly, but somehow I understand that this—this other thing—makes me the angriest of all. [...] Despite everything, this gives me pause. In the days after the party at Roaring Brook Farms, snatches of music seemed to follow me everywhere: I heard it winging in and out of the wind, I heard it singing off the ocean and moaning through the walls of the house. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, my heart pounding, with the notes sounding in my ears. But every time I was awake and trying to remember the melodies consciously, hum a few notes or recall any of the chords, I couldn’t. Hana’s staring at me hopefully, waiting for my response. For a second I actually feel bad for her. I want to make her happy, like I always did, want to see her give a whoop and put her fist in the air and flash me one of her famous smiles. But then I remember she has Angelica Marston now, and something hardens in my throat, and knowing that I’m going to disappoint her gives me a kind of dull satisfaction.
Lauren Oliver (Delirium (Delirium, #1))
Morning sweetheart," he said quietly, thinking it was Sarah who'd kissed him awake. "What time is it? I guess I better get up huh? We've got a long drive ahead of us today." "From what I hear, you were up quite a bit last night," Tina said, smiling at him sweetly. He opened his eyes then and sat up quickly. "Oh...hi, uh...good morning. Jeez I'm sorry, I thought you were Sarah," he said quickly. "Wait...you were kissing me again? God Tina, we can't keep doing that. If Sarah finds out...," he said, but he didn't get to finish. "Sarah already knows," Sarah said, leaning against the door jam with her coffee in her hand, as well as a second cup that she'd brought for him. Jarrod actually fell out of bed he was so shocked by her sudden appearance. It was heartbreaking how incredibly guilty he looked. "Oh god, sweetie I was asleep, I swear. I didn't do it on purpose," he said quickly. "Didn't you? You mean you don't enjoy kissing her?" Sarah asked, really enjoying this little game. "Well, yeah...I mean...oh jeez." "You're not sure? Maybe you should kiss her again, and then you can decide," Sarah said. Tina just smiled and then pooched her lips out at him. "Come on you guys, I just woke up. Please don't mess with me, it's too early for that." "Tell me something," Sarah said. "Who did you have sex with last night?" Jarrod just stood there looking confused. "Uh...you. You were here for it right?" he said finally. "Yeah, I was, but it was really Tina you were doing all night, wasn't it? She looked damn good in that outfit, didn't she?" That did it. Now his face turned beet red and he just stood there, naked and looking incredibly guilty. "It's ok sweetie, I don't mind...really. Now here, drink your coffee and get ready. We have a big day ahead of us," she said as she handed him his coffee and gave him a kiss. "Wait...what? God I'm so confused," he said. "I would be too if I was standing in front of two girls naked with a cup of coffee in my hand. Careful you don't spill it. You might burn something you'll be needing later," Sarah laughed as both her and Tina walked out the door and headed back to the kitchen. Jarrod just stood there in a state of total confusion, wondering what the hell just happened.
Duane L. Martin (Exploration (Unseen Things, #3))
I went straight upstairs to my bedroom after Marlboro Man and I said good night. I had to finish packing…and I had to tend to my face, which was causing me more discomfort by the minute. I looked in the bathroom mirror; my face was sunburn red. Irritated. Inflamed. Oh no. What had Prison Matron Cindy done to me? What should I do? I washed my face with cool water and a gentle cleaner and looked in the mirror. It was worse. I looked like a freako lobster face. It would be a great match for the cherry red suit I planned to wear to the rehearsal dinner the next night. But my white dress for Saturday? That was another story. I slept like a log and woke up early the next morning, opening my eyes and forgetting for a blissful four seconds about the facial trauma I’d endured the day before. I quickly brought my hands to my face; it felt tight and rough. I leaped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, flipping on the light and looking in the mirror to survey the state of my face. The redness had subsided; I noticed that immediately. This was a good development. Encouraging. But upon closer examination, I could see the beginning stages of pruney lines around my chin and nose. My stomach lurched; it was the day of the rehearsal. It was the day I’d see not just my friends and family who, I was certain, would love me no matter what grotesque skin condition I’d contracted since the last time we saw one another, but also many, many people I’d never met before--ranching neighbors, cousins, business associates, and college friends of Marlboro Man’s. I wasn’t thrilled at the possibility that their first impression of me might be something that involved scales. I wanted to be fresh. Dewy. Resplendent. Not rough and dry and irritated. Not now. Not this weekend. I examined the damage in the mirror and deduced that the plutonium Cindy the Prison Matron had swabbed on my face the day before had actually been some kind of acid peel. The burn came first. Logic would follow that what my face would want to do next would be to, well, peel. This could be bad. This could be real, real bad. What if I could speed along that process? Maybe if I could feed the beast’s desire to slough, it would leave me alone--at least for the next forty-eight hours. All I wanted was forty-eight hours. I didn’t think it was too much to ask.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
We turned off the path then, following a line of red, cup-shaped wildflowers that I had not seen before. And then abruptly, we came to a door-- an actual door, because the Folk are maddeningly inconsistent, even when it comes to their inconsistencies--- tucked into a little hollow. It was only about two feet tall and painted to look like the mountainside, a scene of grey-brown scree with a few splashes of green, so realistic that it was like a reflection on still water. The only thing that gave it away was the doorknob, which looked like nothing that I can put into human terms; the best I can do is compare it to a billow of fog trapped in a shard of ice. "It has the look of a brownie house," Wendell said. "But perhaps I should make sure." He shoved the door open and vanished into the shadows within--- I cannot relate how he accomplished this; it seemed for a moment as if the door grew to fit him, but I was unable to get a handle on the mechanics as not one second later he was racing out again and the door had shrunk to its old proportions. Several porcelain cups and saucers followed in his wake, about the right size for a doll, and one made contact, smashing against his shoulder. Behind the hail of pottery came a little faerie who barely came up to my knee, wrapped so tightly in what looked like a bathrobe made of snow that I could see only its enormous black eyes. Upon its head it wore a white sleeping cap. It was brandishing a frying pan and shouting something--- I think--- but its voice was so small that I could only pick out the odd word. It was some dialect of Faie that I could not understand, but as the largest difference between High Faie and the faerie dialects lies in the profanities, the sentiment was clear. "Good Lord!" Rose said, leaping out of range of the onslaught. "I don't--- what on--- would you stop?" Wendell cried, shielding himself with his arm. "Yes, all right, I should have knocked, but is this really necessary?" The faerie kept on shrieking, and then it launched the frying pan at Wendell's head--- he ducked--- and slammed its door. Rose and I stared at each other. Ariadne looked blankly from Wendell to the door, clutching her scarf with both hands. "Bloody Winter Folk," Wendell said, brushing ceramic shards from his cloak. "Winter Folk?" I repeated. "Guardians of the seasons--- or anyway, that is how they see themselves," he said sourly. "Really I think they just want a romantic excuse to go about blasting people with frost and zephyrs and such. It seems I woke him earlier than he desired." I had never heard of such a categorization, but as I was somewhat numb with surprise, I filed the information away rather than questioning him further. I fear that working with one of the Folk is slowly turning my mind into an attic of half-forgotten scholarly treasures.
Heather Fawcett (Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde, #2))
Get dressed. We’re going hunting,” he says randomly. In my half-woke state, I feel like I’ve missed something crucial, because I don’t understand how those words are supposed to make sense. “I’m sorry, but what?” I ask, sipping the coffee like the lack of caffeine is the reason I heard him wrong. “We’re going hunting. Emit has some rogue, unregistered wolves who’ve just done something heinous and stupid, and we’re taking you with us, apparently.” “I don’t want to hunt wolves,” I point out, taking a step back, since he’s acting very un-Vance-like. “I don’t want you to hunt wolves, but apparently you’re going with us, or you’re going with him,” he says bitterly, glancing over his shoulder to where there’s a large SUV. Emit’s behind the wheel, smirking like he’s proud of all this. “Yeah, no. Thanks for the offer,” I say as I shut the door…and lock it. I sip my coffee again, as Lemon drinks hers in the kitchen. Her phone rings, and she stands and answers it, while I go to the fridge in search of something to eat. I hear the door unlocking, and look over my shoulder, as Lemon gives me a very unapologetic grin. “Sorry,” she says, confusing me. “But he’s still my alpha.” Emit walks in, filling up my doorway, before he grins over at me in a way that’s sort of…scary. “It’s not really optional,” he says before he stalks to me so fast I don’t have time to react, and I’m unceremoniously slung over his shoulder. My breath comes out in a surprised rush, and I bounce against him as my mind comes to terms with why the world has tipped upside down. Ingrid comes down the stairs with a small bag, giving me a shitty excuse for a contrite smile. “I’ll remember this,” I tell the traitorous omegas dryly, as they give me a little wave and send me on my way like this is a planned vacation. I don’t really put up a fight. I’ve never seen Emit actually determined to do anything, but clearly I’m outnumbered and out wolfed on this one... I allow a small smile as I’m dropped to my feet, and then wipe the smile away because I’m supposed to be annoyed... I climb in as my backpack and small duffel finish flopping to a stop, and close my robe a little more before digging for my boots. “We’ve got everything here under control! Don’t worry about deliveries or the store,” Leiza calls very excitedly, bouncing on her feet. “This is a hunting trip to kill things, right?” I ask Vance directly, though my eyes are on the very happy omegas, who are animatedly waving from the porch now. “Yes,” he states in a tone that assures me he’s not one bit happy I’m here. “Why are they treating it like I’m going on spring break?” I ask, genuinely concerned about their level of enthusiasm. I thought they were a little saner than this. Emit snorts, but clears his expression quickly. “Do I want to know what spring break is a euphemism for?” Vance asks Emit. “You’re really that old?” I groan. “Do you know how long a century is?” Vance asks me dryly. “I averaged a C on vocab tests, so yeah,” I retort, matching his condescension. Emit releases a rumble of laughter, as his body shakes with the force. Then he pulls out and begins to drive us off on our hunt. I’m so not adjusting this fast, but it seems I have no choice in the matter. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill, gaining size and momentum. Either I’ll boulder through anything when I reach the bottom, or I’ll simply go splat into a mountainside. “Do you know how quickly the vernacular shifts and accents devolve, evolve, or simply cease to exist?” Vance asks me. Now I feel a little talked down to. “No.” “I swear he used to be fun,” Emit tells me, smiling at me through the rearview
Kristy Cunning (Gypsy Origins (All The Pretty Monsters #3))
My typical day began at five o'clock in the morning when I would finish reading scripts by the side of Rebecca's bed until she woke up at seven. It was thrilling to find a script that I loved, something I desperately wanted to make. And when I found one, my day was made by seven A.M. If I didn't have a script to finish, I had notes to make on those I had read. And if I'd finished my notes, I went downstairs to exercise. After mornings with Rebecca, I'd arrive at the office at nine-thirty. The phone calls had started long before I got there. By ten o'clock I was in a staff meeting, and depending on the day of the week, it was either a production, marketing/distribution or business-affairs meeting. By eleven-thirty, I might be in a meeting with an executive about a particular movie or problem. By twelve, I was meeting with a director I was trying to seduce back to the studio. By twelve forty-five, I'd get in my car and drive across town to a lunch meeting with an agent, a producer, a writer or a movie star. While driving, I'd start to return the phone calls that had started before I ever arrived at my office. At two-thirty, I was back in the car, returning more phone calls, the calls from early morning, from mid-morning, plus East Coast and Europe calls that came in during lunch. At two forty-five, I was back in the office. Inevitably, there were people waiting to see me, executives with personal problems, political problems, and/or production problems. In between, I returned and made more phone calls. At three-thirty, there could be a meeting with someone I was trying to bring to the studio. At four-thirty, there was a script meeting with an executive, writer, producer and/or director. At five o'clock, there were selected dailies of the movies we were shooting. And if I hadn't finished watching them by six-thirty, the rest were put on tape for me to watch later at home. At six-thirty, I'd jump into my car and return more phone calls on my drive home. The call sheet numbered one hundred to one hundred and fifty calls a day. And I always felt it was very important to return every call. The lesson here is people remember when you don't call them back. I'd go home to be with Rebecca. If I didn't have a business dinner or a sneak preview of one of our movies, I had to go to a black-tie event. There was at least one of them a week, honoring someone from our industry. I went out of respect for the talent involved and my counterparts at the other studios. So Rebecca would keep me company while I washed off my makeup, put on new makeup, dressed in black tie, kissed her good-bye and shot out the door. That's where men really have it good: they just put on a tux and go. After I got home at ten-thirty, I would sit on the chair next to Rebecca's bed. Watching her sleep dissolved all the stress in my body. Then I would get up, either finish watching the dailies, or read a script, wash my face and fall into bed at eleven-thirty. But the part of my workday that made me the happiest was when I was closest to the actual making of a movie.
Dawn Steel (They Can Kill You..but They Can't Eat You)
I’m going to guess that in our seventeen years together, Joe and I have eaten an average of at least one meal out a week—plus at least one or two weeks a year when we are on vacation and we get to enjoy twenty-one restaurant meals. Using this rough calculation, I have heard my husband utter that exact line approximately one thousand four hundred times. If I didn’t madly love the man, or I had years of bitter resentment born of unmet needs and unheard desires festering in me, I can see where this might make me want to stick something sharp into his eye socket and twist it around a few dozen times for good measure. But I do and I don’t, respectively, so his attempted joke is actually endearing. It’s one of his things that I’d miss tragically if it went away. It would be that “Yeah, I hated it” line—not his dashing good looks or prowess with power tools or skills on the basketball court or anything else the rest of the world can plainly see—that I’d get most choked up on if I were delivering his eulogy today. There was a breakthrough, pivotal scene in the epically good movie Good Will Hunting, where Robin Williams plays a therapist reminiscing about his dead wife with his patient (Matt Damon). “She used to fart in her sleep,” Williams tells the clueless Damon character during an otherwise unproductive therapy session. “One night it was so loud it woke the dog up . . . She’s been dead two years, and that’s the shit I remember . . . little things like that, those are the things I miss the most. Those little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about; that’s what made her my wife. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. No, that’s the good stuff.” That.
Jenna McCarthy (I've Still Got It...I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It: Awkwardly True Tales from the Far Side of Forty)
Yes. Were you in here earlier today?” “I was with my parents, yeah. We came first thing in the morning to check out the new releases in the video game section for my dad.” “Okay,” said Hawk. “And did the lasers touch any part of you when you guys checked out?” Emily thought for a moment, and then remembered she had played with it before her father paid for the game. “Yeah, it did. The employee let me run my hand over the lasers a few times before she scanned the game. She told me there were lasers that read the price of the game and I didn’t believe her, so she let me put my hand over them. All the little laser lights formed a grid on my palm. It was pretty cool.” Cuddly laughed. “Pretty cool, and pretty enchanted!” “You mean those lasers are what brought me here?” Emily asked. Hawk turned to face her. “We believe that’s probably what did it. While none of us in the store are entirely sure, we do know it’s how you can get home and back to your normal size though.” “That sounds crazy. There’s no way that’s even possible,” said Emily. “You’re right,” said Cuddly sarcastically. “I guess the talking teddy bear and toy elf don’t know what they’re speaking about, is that it?” Emily remained silent. “Listen,” said Hawk as he walked toward her. “We only have a short journey ahead of us, and most of the time it’s easy to get people back to their homes. This happens quite often, you’d be surprised. But this time, it’s a little more difficult because you woke Officer Onslaught.” “What’s his deal?” Emily asked. “His deal is that he maintains the facility of Prelude. He’s actually a necessity for the business because he keeps a lot of the rodents out. Every now and again, we’ll get a rogue toy in here trying to sabotage the store, and he helps keep them out too.” “So he’s just doing his job,” said Emily. “Right,” said Cuddly. “He’s a robot though, so thinking ain’t exactly his strong suit. He’s can’t think independently. Just a cog in the machine, and you’re technically not supposed to be here so he’s trying to rid the store of you.” “What’s ‘a cog in the machine’ mean?” “It means he’s just a moving part to this store. He’s only valuable as long as he keeps up with the work he’s assigned. He’s a replaceable toy. The second he breaks down, one of the other Officer Onslaughts will take his place, maintaining the status quo.
Marcus Emerson (LOL Collection: Stories to Make You Laugh-Out-Loud: From the Creator of Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja)
It took me a couple of years after I woke up in that cold sweat to figure out what flag I was going to plant, and then how to do something with it. Using the process in Step 1, I found the things that I wanted to be known for and the work that I was passionate about. And then I started telling my story all the time to anyone who would actually listen. For me, this story was around Lean UX because of who I was at the time. I created a pitch based on design for designers, by designers, to change the way that they were working. And I honed that voice and that tone and that dialogue by telling the story over and over and over again using blog posts and articles and eventually in-person talks. The first talk I ever gave as a part of my new professional trajectory was on August 12, 2010. I told the story about how we solved the problem of integrating UX into Agile at TheLadders. And then the timeline started to accelerate from there. A month later, on September 24, I gave my first talk about Lean UX and it was in Paris. I was communicating about this topic publicly, and people were saying, “Hey, come give us a talk about it.” And I was writing about the topic in any publication that would actually listen to this kind of thing. I kept speaking and writing and making presentations, and as I got my ideas out into the world and put them into play in any way I could, on March 7, 2011, I finally hit the jackpot. This was three years after I had my 35th-birthday epiphany and the pressure was on—I knew I had just two years left before I was going to become obsolete, an also-ran. I hit the jackpot when I managed to get an article published in Smashing magazine. At the time, Smashing had a million readers online, and so the scale of my conversation was growing and growing because I was becoming known as the guy who had some answers to this question. That was a massive break for me because the article provided me with a global audience for the first time. Obviously, anything you publish on the internet is global and distributed, but the bottom line is that, if the platform you choose or that chooses you has a built-in audience, you stand a much bigger chance. Smashing magazine had an audience. The article, titled “Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business” became very successful, and that’s where I planted my flag—providing solutions to the Agile and design problem with a real-world tested solution nicely packaged and labeled as Lean UX.
Jeff Gothelf (Forever Employable: How to Stop Looking for Work and Let Your Next Job Find You)
TooDamn-Funky: what do u mean funky stuff going on down there??? U cant just say that & not xplain!!! Kicker5525: OMG This morning Evan woke up and came out of his room with his boxers gaping right open. His cartoon frog boxers. TooDamn-Funky: OH! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! u didn’t actually c skin, did u? Kicker5525: OH GOD! No! I didn’t look. TooDamn-Funky: hey! U live in testosteroneville now. get used to it!
Kate Brian (Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys)
Sorry about that. For years, my sister has labored under the impression that she’s funny. My father and I have humored her in this.” Rylann waved this off. “No apology necessary. She’s just protective of you. That’s what siblings do—at least, I assume it is.” “No brothers or sisters for you?” Kyle asked. Rylann shook her head. “My parents had me when they were older. I asked for a sister every birthday until I was thirteen, but it wasn’t in the cards.” She shrugged. “But at least I have Rae.” “When did you two meet?” “College. We were in the same sorority pledge class. Rae is…” Rylann cocked her head, trying to remember. “What’s that phrase men always use when describing their best friend? The thing about the hooker and the hotel room.” “If I ever woke up with a dead hooker in my hotel room, he’d be the first person I’d call. A truer test of male friendship there could not be.” Rylann smiled. “That’s cute. And a little scary, actually, that all you men have planned ahead for such an occasion.” She waved her hand. “Well, there you go. If I ever woke up with a dead hooker in my hotel room, Rae would be the first person I’d call.” Kyle rested his arms on the table and leaned in closer. “Counselor, you’re so by the book, the first person you’d call if you woke up next to a dead hooker would be the FBI.” “Actually, I’d call the cops. Most homicides aren’t federal crimes, so the FBI wouldn’t have jurisdiction.” Kyle laughed. He reached out and tucked back a lock of hair that had fallen into her eyes. “You really are a law geek.” At the same moment, they both realized what he was doing. They froze, eyes locked, his hand practically cupping the side of her cheek. Then they heard someone clearing her throat. Rylann and Kyle turned and saw Jordan standing at their table. “Wine, anyone?” With her blue eyes dancing, she set two glasses in front of them. “I’ll leave you two to yourselves now.” Rylann watched as Jordan strolled off. “I think you’re going to have some explaining to do after I leave,” she whispered to Kyle. “Oh, without a doubt, she’s going to be all up in my business over this.
Julie James (About That Night (FBI/US Attorney, #3))
Almost.” I cap the mascara and turn, fisting his shirt and pulling him towards me. When my lips meet his, I run my hands up his solid chest before pushing my fingers into his hair. He hums his approval into my mouth and just like that, we forget the world around us. When he grabs my ass and pulls me to his body, I know I accidently woke the beast. Pulling away, offer him a look of regret before speaking, “Sorry, I really just wanted a kiss before we left.” “Happy to accommodate you Beauty, but let’s make sure the next time you want a kiss like that, that we aren’t about to go meet up with the gang to have dinner. Sitting around for hours and shooting the shit is no fun when my dick is about to be strangled by my pants.” I start to laugh and turn to walk out into the bedroom, almost knocking Cohen over in the process. “Daddy? What’s a dick and why are your pants hurting him?” I turn back and look at Greg. His face is open with astonishment and his cheeks have a little color on them. Who would have thought that it’s actually possible to shock the man.
Harper Sloan (Cage (Corps Security, #2))
People have often asked me how we girls managed any privacy in a house with so many boys and no private rooms. It was difficult. We used to bathe with a washcloth from a pan of water. We would first start with our necks and faces and wash down as far as possible. Then we would wash the road dust from our feet and wash up as far as possible. Later, when the boys were out of the room, we would wash “possible.” It was these circumstances that led to a very embarrassing mishap that I have told very few people and would not relate here if it were not so funny. We had an outdoor bathroom, and there were times in the middle of the night when it was very inconvenient to dress and go out into the cold just to take a leak. For these times there was a little room, actually a closet, that had in it what was called a “slop jar” or “slop bucket.” It was actually an enameled pot with flared sides that was made to accommodate a woman squatting over it to do her business. The closet had no door as such, just a sort of curtain hung on a tight piece of wire. After dark when the fire had died down, it could afford some kind of privacy at least. One night when I was about sixteen or seventeen, I had been out on a date and got home fairly late. Everybody was already in bed, and I didn’t want to wake them and alert Mama and Daddy to the hour of my homecoming. I was absolutely bustin’ to pee, so I fumbled my way through the dark until I found the curtain to the closet and stepped inside. I dropped my panties and hiked up my skirt and assumed the position over the slop jar. I was feeling relieved in a physical sense and quite grown-up and somewhat smug that I “pulled it off,” so to speak. But suddenly, here in the middle of my little triumph, or more accurately here in the middle of my rump, came the cold nose of an unexpected intruder. A raccoon had gotten into the house, and unbeknownst to me, we were sharing the closet as well as a very intimate moment. When I felt that cold nose on my butt, I screamed bloody murder and literally peed all over myself. Of course I woke the whole house with my unscheduled concert. Daddy grabbed the poker to fend off an intruder. Mama started praying. The little kids cried, and the big kids just ran around confused. When everybody found out what had happened, they all had a good laugh at my expense. Except, of course, the raccoon. Once the lights were turned on, he acted like any man caught in a compromising position with a lady and bolted for the door. I often think of that moment at times when I’m feeling “too big for my britches,” and it tends to have a humbling effect.
Dolly Parton (Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business)
She looked for Andrew but couldn’t find him. So she searched through the crowd of neighbors and hired help until she spotted Captain Winston walking toward her—with Andrew cradled in his arms. Alarm shot through her and she hurried toward them. “He’s fine,” the Captain whispered as they drew closer. “He just finally ran out of steam, that’s all. That, and he has a full belly. Five pieces of sausage, at least. And tenderloin and corn bread. This boy can eat.” Smiling, Aletta brushed back the hair from her son’s face and kissed him. He didn’t stir. “Thank you, Captain,” she said softly. “Are you feeling better? Tempy said you’d gone to lie down.” “I am. It was good to rest. Although I feel guilty for having napped while the rest of you were out here working.” “The rest of us don’t have your reason for being tired, Mrs. Prescott. Besides, I saw you up fixing breakfast long before the day even started.” She looked at him. “You saw me? Did you come by the kitchen and I missed you?” He opened his mouth as though to respond, then smiled. “Actually, no”—he glanced away—“I-I can see into the kitchen from the front window of my cabin. And when I woke up and looked out, I saw the light in the window, then spotted you standing there. I saw Tempy too, of course,” he added quickly. “Not only you.” His expression looked a little like that of a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and the discovery put her at ease, for some reason. “Are you hungry?” He motioned to a table off to the side. “Roasted pork, fresh sausage, butter beans, and corn bread are ready to eat.” “I think I will, if you don’t mind holding him for a moment longer?” “Not at all. I’ve enjoyed his company today.
Tamera Alexander (Christmas at Carnton (Carnton #0.5))
The Codex of Seeds Serpent_120 Dragon woke up. He did his daily routine, and went out into the city. The quickly growing city of GemFall was where this assassin lived. Of course, no one knew he was an assassin. Except for, ya know, the city's sworn enemies, and his partner in crime, Cyber. Their mission was to just get to know the civilians, maybe make some friends, and maybe just, sneak their way up through the military ranks, and maybe detonate all of the city's explosives so they could steal a high-tech blueprint? But that’s just a maybe of course. He met up with Cyber where every highly trained assassin goes to meet up. It was discreet. It was luxurious. It was MCDONALDS. No, seriously. Surly no one would suspect a person at McDonalds. Dragon quickly took a seat and waited for Cyber to arrive. After a while, Cyber arrived. "Wonderful news," Cyber said "You talk like a child, not a professional." "Wow, going after the way I talk now, that’s so mature. Either way, while you were up there lazing in your high-rise apartment, I have been doing work, and now, I have control over the shed." "Wonderful, so now I will be doing the actual important work and completing this mission," said Dragon Cyber sneered at him, gave him the shed pass, and they left. Dragon walked over to the military district in the city. He found the shed, and was about to walk in the door, when he was stopped. "Heya chump, you don't look like Commander Cyber. You can't go in there." A guard stopped him. "Oh really, I seem to have the shed pass, giving me authorization to come in there. If you refuse my entry, that would put your job in jeopardy, and we wouldn't want that, would we?" Dragon liked to be as condescending as possible. He liked when people hated him. He strolled in, grabbed a couple explosives, and headed back out. Then he began he trek towards the vault. It was very uneventful. Then, he got to the vault. He began planting explosives around, in strategic locations. He, well, obviously, then ran away. And waited. \ / - BOOM - / \ Dragon smiled. He saw the small, scorched piece of paper on the ground. He smiled. He snuck over and picked it up. He then felt a tap on his shoulder. "Hello good friend," Cyber said as he plucked the paper out of Dragon's hand. "I believe this belongs to me now." Cyber smirked. He waltzed away as Dragon stared in shock as the military surrounded him, and took him away... It was a long trek from GemFall to the DarkStalk's secret base. But Cyber could handle it. He was happy knowing that his annoying little "teammate" was locked up somewhere far away. Somewhere where he could never tell Cyber's superiors what happened. The real truth of what happened that afternoon... EGamer7201 As I looked upon the enemy that towered above me, I took a step back. This was the worst enemy I had ever seen, and to be honest, I was scared. I took my Nexus Orbs, 3 of them, and got ready to fight. I put the orbs that I had protected with my life on my belt. I took out my glowing blade, with the mystical rune, quintuple darkness stab. This enemy was called Ending. It had Glowing red eyes, and was pure black, and had white spots. I looked at it, scanned it, and the stats were: HP: 13000001 AP (Attack points) : 9999 DP (Defense points) :2000000 Few, this is gonna be hard. I screamed, "FOR THE NEXUS!!!" and teleported toward Ending. TO BE CONTINUED... (Hopefully!) Q & A Blox Is the series almost over?
Pixel Ate (The Accidental Minecraft Family: Book 32: Search & Rescue: First Mission)
Of course, Adam was still counting days the old way, as Sunday was the first day of the week, so he was misinforming me as to which day his father actually arrived in Spain, seemingly by accident, by mistake. Perhaps it was a mistake that Adam had confused the European calendar with the Israeli calendar from time to time; perhaps it was not a mistake. Ferran actually arrived the following day, Tuesday, according to the Gregorian calendar and not Monday, when we had all been preparing for his arrival with Martina in vain. I had wanted to introduce her to the old man nicely. However, Tuesday, when he was scheduled to arrive, Mario Larese - Mister Twister - showed up, banging the glass of the store-front door, echoing throughout the entire store and upstairs apartment, as if he was about to break the glass if I did not go down to open it. He was knocking on the plain, large glass of the door with either a lighter or with his metal ring; I don't know which, but it was terrible. I knew Ferran could arrive at any moment, so I told Martina it might be best if she went home to Paola and let me take care of the business. I couldn't ignore Mario, who was almost breaking the glass, seemingly because he had seen my scooter parked in front of the store. I opened the door and he started pushing his way inside, saying, “Let's smoke a joint and drink a coffee.” I replied, “Slow down, cowboy. I've got company, I'm expecting more company, and I just woke up. I have no time now; sorry, Mario.” He kept banging the door because he wanted to smoke somewhere early in the morning, and Canale Vuo was still closed. I was so tempted to slap him. Unintentionally, I let slip that I was expecting Ferran, which only increased his refusal to leave. Theatrical. Dramatic. He wasn't going to get out of my store, my way, my day, my life, my struggle, or my schedule. Meanwhile, the same time, Nico was bugging me on the phone to make sure I delivered a box of 1,000 cones for La Silla because they needed it to make pre-rolled joints for their smokers. They sold 2-3,000 pre-rolled joints a week, ordering two boxes weekly, thus making me waste my time for free. I started to think it had all been planned just to make me lose time every week. They sold 3,000 joints a week and yet couldn't afford more than two boxes of cones to purchase to keep up. Tuesday morning was so urgent for La Silla to get those 1,000 brown cones right then. Just for Nico's 5-euro commission and so he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of his friends at La Silla with his sales performance - no problem. I couldn't kick out Mario, and I didn't want to kick out Martina, who apparently didn't want to leave. I asked them to leave, but Mario was leaning on the kitchen table and unable to look up or turn toward me to meet my gaze. Martina was looking at me angrily. So, I told them both, “OK then, stay here; let the old man inside once he arrives. I have to deliver this box of cones to La Silla right away, but I will be right back. 20 minutes tops.” Adam had also failed to inform me that he had copied a set of keys for his dad at one point, and he had somehow sent them to Israel by mail, I guess. Martina did not need to stay in the store to let Ferran in, but I did not know that. Adam was always secretive and brief with his words, as if it cost him money to say words out of his mouth or dictate to Rachel what to write in an email or what he was supposed to tell me on the phone. I thought that Martina had to stay to let Ferran into the store in case he arrived just when I went to La Mesa to do a favor for Nico. I was on my way back to Urgell from La Silla, when Adam suddenly called me from Amsterdam, screaming on the phone.
Tomas Adam Nyapi
Naomi stretched as she woke with an exaggerated yawn in her own bed. How the hell did I get here? Recollection of the dirty trick the two men played on her the previous night made her sit up abruptly. The sheet fell away and she noticed her clothing of the previous eve gone, replaced with a t-shirt and shorts. “Those dirty, rotten pigs,” she cursed as she swung her legs out of bed and sat on the edge. “You called?” A head topped with tousled hair poked out from around the door frame of the bathroom. Number sixty-nine’s dark eyes twinkled and his lips curled in a sensual smile. Despite her irritation, her body flooded with warmth. “You!” She pointed at him and shot him a dark glare. He grinned wider. “What about me, darling?” “I’m going to kick your balls so hard you’re going to choke on them. How dare you drug me and then do despicable things to my body while I was unconscious?” Stepping forward from the bathroom, he raised his arms in surrender and her eyes couldn’t help drinking in the sight of him. No one should look that delicious, especially in the morning, was her disgruntled thought. Shirtless, Javier’s tight and toned muscles beckoned. Encased in smooth, tanned skin, his muscular torso tapered down to lean hips where his jeans hung, partially unbuttoned and displayed a bulge that grew as she watched. Unbidden heat flooded her cleft and her nipples shriveled so tight she could have drilled holes with them. She forced herself to swallow and look away before she did something stupid— say, like, licking her way down from his flat nipples to the dark vee of hair that disappeared into his pants. “It would take a braver man than me to disobey your mother’s orders. Besides, you needed the sleep,” he added in a placating tone. Scowling, Naomi mentally planned a loud diatribe for her mother. “Let me ask you, how does your head feel now?” His question derailed her for a second, and she paused to realize she actually felt pretty damned good— but now I’m horny and it’s all his friggin’ fault. She dove off the bed and stalked toward him, five foot four feet of annoyed woman craving coffee, a Danish, and him— naked inside her body. The first two she’d handle shortly, the third, she’d make him pay for. He stood his ground as she approached, the idiot. “What did you do to me while I was out?” she growled as she patted her neck looking for a mating mark. “Nothing. Contrary to your belief, snoring women with black and blue faces just don’t do it for me.” His jibe hurt, but not as much as her foot when it connected with his undefended man parts. He ended up bent over, wheezing while Naomi smirked in satisfaction. “That’s for knocking me out. But, if I find out you did anything to me other than dress me, like cop a feel or take nudie pictures, I’m going hurt you a lot worse.” “Has anyone ever told you you’re hot when you’re mad?” said the man with an obvious death wish. Only his speed saved him from her swinging fist as she screeched at him. “Go away. Can’t you tell I’m not interested?” “Liar.” He threw that comment at her from the other side of her bed. “I can smell your arousal, sweetheart. And might I say, I can’t wait to taste it.
Eve Langlais (Delicate Freakn' Flower (Freakn' Shifters, #1))
Ezra Callahan: It’s the very first time we actually bring in outside people to test something for us, and their reaction, their initial reaction is clear. People are just like, “Holy shit, like, I shouldn’t be seeing this, like this doesn’t feel right,” because immediately you see this person changed their profile picture, this person did this, this person did that, and your first instinct is Oh my God! Everybody can see this about me! Everyone knows everything I’m doing on Facebook. Max Kelly: But News Feed made perfect sense to all of us, internally. We all loved it. Ezra Callahan: So in-house we have this idea that this isn’t going to go right: This is too jarring a change, it needs to be rolled out slowly, we need to warm people up to this—and Mark is just firmly committed. “We’re just going to do this. We’re just going to launch. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid.” Ruchi Sanghvi: We pushed the product in the dead of the night, we were really excited, we were celebrating, and then the next morning we woke up to all this pushback. I had written this blog post, “Facebook Gets a Facelift.” Katie Geminder: We wrote a little letter, and at the bottom of it we put a button. And the button said, “Awesome!” Not like, “Okay.” It was, “Awesome!” That’s just rude. I wish I had a screenshot of that. Oh man! And that was it. You landed on Facebook and you got the feature. We gave you no choice and not a great explanation and it scared people. Jeff Rothschild: People were rattled because it just seemed like it was exposing information that hadn’t been visible before. In fact, that wasn’t the case. Everything shown in News Feed was something people put on the site that would have been visible to everyone if they had gone and visited that profile. Ruchi Sanghvi: Users were revolting. They were threatening to boycott the product. They felt that they had been violated, and that their privacy had been violated. There were students organizing petitions. People had lined up outside the office. We hired a security guard.
Adam Fisher (Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom))
eye combination my mother always made a fuss about. Maybe that’s why my skin crawled every time someone commented on how attractive a couple we were. It was more a reflection on me than us. He lifts his hand and moves my hair off my forehead. The gesture is intimate, but I’m too stunned to stop him. He brushes his thumb over the scar on my temple. “I was worried about you. You wouldn’t let me see you in the hospital. Or after?” A sigh escapes before I can school my features into something a little more… regretful. “Well, I was embarrassed.” That’s a lie. I just didn’t want to face whatever the fuck emotional roller coaster I was riding the last six months. Seriously. My life went from normal to shit in a split second. Adding Jack—and the life that I thought I had, the one that seemed to go up in a puff of smoke when I woke up in the hospital—would’ve been more pain than I was ready to accept. “Violet!” I step away from Jack, ignoring his wounded expression, and turn to my other friends. Half the dance team is here, and they all crowd around me. Someone pulls at my coffee-stained blouse, and another swoops in to clean the floor where my cup dropped. I had forgotten, in my Jack-shock. “Lucky it wasn’t hot.” Willow nudges me. “Luck and I aren’t on speaking terms.” She visited faithfully every day while I was stuck in the hospital. Kept me sane, kept me looped in to the gossip. She’s the only one who knows what I went through, and I’m keeping it that way. I’m not in the habit of airing my dirty laundry—or my newfound nightmares. I’ve been plagued by bright lights, crunching metal, and snapping bones. She rolls her eyes at my luck comment. “You need to change. We’re taking you out.” Oh boy. My first instinct is to say no, but honestly? I could use a bit of normalcy. My therapist—the talk one, not the physical one—said something about getting back into a routine. Well, for the last two years, I’ve gone out with my girls on Friday nights. There’s nothing more normal than that. I’m actually looking forward to it. She leads the way to the bedroom I haven’t been in since… before. She steps aside and lets me do the honors. Opening the door is like cracking into a time capsule. Fucking devastating. Willow stands behind me, her hand on my shoulder, as I stare around at the remnants of the person I used to be. If I wasn’t aware of how different I was after six months away, I am now. Mentally, physically. There are still clothes that I left on the floor. My chair is pulled out and covered in clothes. There’s a pile of books that I had planned to conquer over the summer in the center of the desk. My bed is made. “I kept the door open
S. Massery (Brutal Obsession)