300WP: Back to School

Today’s prompt:

If you had the time and resources to go back to school, what would you study?

Psychology. I think in another life, I’d be a counselor or psychologist. Mental health is important and fascinating and I love listening to other people’s problems. I don’t think I could do children’s therapy. My sister is a social worker and I couldn’t deal with abused kids. I think marriage counseling would be interesting. Or family counseling.

Huh. That’s all I really have to say about that.

300WP: Do you use coupons?


Today’s Writing Prompt: Do you use coupons?

No. I mean, yes. Sometimes.

I use coupons for things like oil changes or kitchen stuff at Bed Bath & Beyond or BOGO shoes. I like Groupons sometimes. But I don’t bother with grocery coupons or stuff like that. I used to try, for a while, but it’s a hassle and I have better things to do with my time than scour the Sunday papers for little bits of paper that I then have to keep track of until I go to the store. And I’ve used the apps like Cartwheel, but it feels so fiddly and I don’t really feel like I get that much out of it.

Someone told me once that manufacturers don’t do coupons for us, for the shoppers. They are doing it for their own good, and YOU don’t save more money than they MAKE on you. It’s uneven.

I use loyalty cards in a couple of stores.

Also, I don’t use the products there are coupons for. Take toiletries. I can’t use anything with chemical fragrance in it (that is, anything that isn’t literally from the plant) or aloe. I use store-brand cleaners. Also, I hate those coupons that are like, “BUY SIXTEEN BOXES OF OATMEAL AND GET THE SEVENTEENTH FOR HALF OFF!”

TLDR: No coupons.

300WP: Hotels


Write about a memorable experience you  had staying at a hotel. 

I had just started working for a major corporation in my hometown and my new team was having a big meeting in Miami. I was so excited to see South Beach and check out the salsa scene.

We stayed at the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in: right on the beach with huge rooms and beds, an enormous bathroom, very fancy products on the vanity. There was also a very famous pop star staying at the hotel, so I knew this was a posh place. The country mouse in the city, as it were.

The first night we were there, my boss had a poolside reception for the group we had assembled. She handed me her corporate credit card and told me to open a tab. I went to the bar, which was super-swanky and beautiful. I was gazing around, waiting for the bartenders to help me.

I heard a guy next to me ask for six glasses of Sambuca and a draft beer. The bartender gave him an odd look: not many people in this part of the world order Sambuca. It’s an anise-flavored liqueur and something of an acquired taste. And the guy says, “Yeah, I don’t know, they’re British. They like Sambuca. I think it’s disgusting.”

The way he said it, so smug and like he was trying to impress this bartender, made me want to see what this jerk looked like. He was standing directly next to me, wearing a nice suit. Sort of a Midwestern heftiness to him, sandy hair.

He saw me and said, “Oh, are you like, English or something? You like Sambuca?”

I said, in a perfect London accent, “What did you say?”

He paled. “Oh, so…you’re British? I mean, I just never met anyone who liked this stuff.”

I said, in my cool accent, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I happen to like Sambuca.”

At this point, the bartender is smothering laughter and this guy is backpeddling as fast as he can.

I finally broke into a grin and said in my regular voice, “Nah, man, I’m just  messing with you. I’m from Kentucky.”

His face went totally blank. “So you’re…you’re not…”

“I’m not English. I was just messing with you.”

He smoothed his tie, turned, and left. Didn’t take the tray of glasses the bartender had prepared. Or his wallet.

I consider this my first real improv experience with the Yes, and… technique.

300WP: An interesting date


Continuing my exercise of using the 300 Writing Prompts book, I randomly opened to a perfect prompt for today:

Write about an interesting date you have been on, good or bad

I did Match.com for a while, after my boyfriend lost his damn mind and moved to Florida without me and we broke up (Spoiler: he’s my husband now, and we are in our twelfth year of marriage). And the majority of my weird dates were then.

Mostly they were just a little awkward. One guy looked fantastic on paper. Well-traveled, had a good job, family lived all over the world. But the date ended up being like sitting in a sales pitch for a time-share. He kept doing that thing salesmen do where they use your name repeatedly. “See, Sara, I’m a real entrepreneur. I have this business I’ve built up and you know, Sara, it’s just great. Sara, do you have a job you love?”

If you know me, you know I’m prone to stupid puns and dry one-liners. This guy was totally immune to my puns and wit. I would say something I thought was kind of funny and he would pause, look at me blankly, then continue whatever he was saying.

Sense of humor is like, number one in my book of Important Things, and this guy was not scoring well. This is going to sound completely sexist, but he didn’t ask if he could walk me to my car or anything. I think he might have actually shaken my hand before he marched off to his own car.

I went on a second date with a different Match.com guy and it was after a really long day at work. I was tired, but still looking forward to the evening. But literally every 15 mintues he would ask me, “Are you okay?” I kept saying, “I had a really long day at work, I’m just tired, but I’m good.” It got really annoying after the first nine times he asked…

My first date with the above-mentioned boyfriend/now husband was interesting. He picked me up after he got off work and we ended up at a cool restaurant in a cool part of town. Things were really going well and he totally laughed at my stupid puns and dry one-liners. We were too late to catch a 7:30 movie but in our movie discussions, he brought up Silence of the Lambs, which I had never seen.

We ended up renting Silence of the Lambs on our first date.

But I didn’t really watch the movie, and not for the reasons you think. He sat on the far end of the couch and didn’t say a word. Didn’t look over to see if I was totally freaked out, no physical contact or anything. I assumed he was just not that into me.

Turns out, he just thought it was a really good movie. He gave me a DVD of it some years later as a gift.

300WP: Something I Bought Used


I got one of those books as a gift that offers x number of writing/drawing/meditation/etc. prompts. I’m going to try to use these as blog post prompts. Feel free to blog along with me, if you are so inclined. I will randomly open the book and then choose a prompt for the blog.

Today’s prompt is: Write about something you bought used.

We just moved into a new house a month ago. My husband and I laughed about how nearly all of our stuff is secondhand. It felt all grown uppy and adult to get ALL NEW appliances for the kitchen. We haven’t bought any new furniture yet but here’s a list of the major pieces and where they came from:

Living room couch and armchair: Used, Purchased off Craigslist for $400 in 2007. I got it from a couple who’d ordered it sight-unseen from a catalog and vastly underestimated the size to space ratio. They’d only had it for four months so it was practically new.

Dining table and chairs and grandfather clock: Used: inherited from Husband’s grandmother

Sharper Image Massage Chair: Used, purchased off Craigslist when I was pregnant.

My desk: Used, purchased off Craigslist (originally from Ikea)

Our bed/mattress: New, bed from Ikea, mattress from Amazon

Poang chair: Used, Craigslist (originally Ikea)

Dressers in our bedroom: Used, one was my mom’s, one was a friend who moved and didn’t want to take it with her

Dresser in the boys’ room: Used, it was mine when I was a kid

Dining room mirror: Used, bought at an antique shop when I moved into my first apartment

Husband’s desk: New, made out of a butcher block countertop and Ikea desk drawers

Boys’ beds: New, given as a gift when they were born

I grew up in a family of reusers, upcyclers, wear-it-outers. We drove cars until the wheels fell off. I check eBay and Craigslist before I look for new stuff. I love consignment stores, thrift shops, yard sales. The newest cars I’ve had are our current vehicles: a 2007 Ford Edge (We inherited it from Husband’s grandmother in 2013) and a 2014 dealer demo Prius we got in 2015.

We didn’t have a ton of money growing up, so we had to use things up, wear them out, make them do, or do without. I never had stylish clothes.

I laugh at a home builder commercial on the radio. The woman is HORRIFIED that people live in “USED HOUSES.” I admit, it’s a stroke of marketing genius to suggest that only a brand new built home is somehow better, but it’s also a load of bullshit. Our “new” home is 117 years old and I couldn’t be happier about that.


An email from a fan

I got this email the other day, via the “contact us” link on my website (www.saraothompson.com).


SO I guess I better get to writing something interesting, huh? SO MUCH PRESSURE. Next time, Essie, please tell me which posts were especially interesting to you.

Then I remember I DID write something not boring.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to post and respond to every goofy email I get. I think this one is funny though. Clearly, she’s read ALL my blog posts and just wants MOAR BLOGS PLZ.

Let’s see. What have I got to write about?

I’m pretty much divided like this, timewise:

  • Work (I have a day job at a major health insurance company)
  • Family (Twins, and my husband is a critical care nurse)
  • The Book (Releases in just over two months so I’m doing marketing, etc.)
  • House (we just moved and I’m still unpacking, organzing, hanging stuff on the walls)
  • Other (gym, improv practice, hanging out with friends, reading, etc.)

That’s about it. I don’t have kooky neighbors to write about. I’m not interested (and neither are you) in musing over my own mental health (or lack thereof). You won’t find a bunch of smarm about my kids or motherhood or what have you (privacy, y’all). I might write more about the marketing parts of the book, but that will be in a separate post.

So here is some random brain-bot-generated items for your consideration.

I had Kool-Aid (cherry) yesterday, for the first time in decades. It really took me back to my childhood: hot Kentucky summers when my sister and I would bum around the house and our neighborhood and I made gallons of the stuff.

I’ve become someone who complains about the grocery store and actively laments not being able to shop at the one we went to before we moved, which is now too far away for convenience.

I don’t like vests (I mean sweaters or jackets without sleeves). I get the point of them…I guess… But I also hate shorts (trousers that stop at the knee, rather than carry on to the ankle). And vests are shorts for your torso. I look terrible in shorts so I only wear them to do sporty things. So maybe that’s why I hate vests? I hate torsoshorts.

Our new house? Is in the dodgy end of the neighborhood.

I really want to be a famous enough author that I can justify the eccentric look from this site. And to afford stuff from here and here. Oh, and to make enough to quit my job and write all the time.

Patreon. I’m considering it.

That’s it for now! Being serious though, I will try to post more often.


*Author’s update/edit: Someone pointed out that I shouldn’t post anyone’s personal info. This is true. I wasn’t worried about that in this case because that is clearly a bot sending the email. However, to be sure and just in case and covering my bases, I have omitted the bot’s sender’s name in the screen picture.





January News

Well. Here we are, in 2017.

Just to catch you up, this is what’s going on since you last heard from me:

New house We relocated within the city and now my morning commute is SEVEN MINUTES (versus 25-30 from the old house). It’s a pretty 116-year-old home with creaky floors and lots of natural light. We love it. Our family study/office is in the added-on part of the house and is therefore not level. If I’m not careful, when I’m sitting at my desk in the rolly chair, I will drift toward the windows. I really hope NOT to have the same neighbor problems we’ve had in the past, but if we do, I’ll definitely share.

HOLIDAYS We moved 4 days before Christmas so instead of one big tree, I got 4 table top size trees (one for each of us) and put up the stockings, called it a day.

Book launch prep WE ARE THREE MONTHS AWAY FROM THE BOOK BEING LOOSE IN THE WORLD OMG OMG OMG. I’m having a freak out about this. There are so many things I can’t do until these three months, so I’m nervous!!!

Sick friends On a serious note, I have several friends who are dealing with serious illnesses. These are people my age, not “old” people, and it’s scary. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

More about the book:

I’m going to organize a Thunderclap campaign for the cover reveal and the launch. I’ll post more about that in the coming weeks.

You’ll be able to get the book in three formats: physical copy, e-book, and audio book. Hooray!

If you haven’t done so, I’d love to have you sign up for my newsletter if you want more book-related/word-nerdery. It’s out every other month or so, and I won’t sell your email address unless someone offers me a million dollars for it.

I hope you are well, and that 2017 brings you everything you hope for!