Category Archives: Observations

The Playhouse: An Update

One week later, the playhouse still sits on the side of the road, forlorn and forgotten.

Cars rush by, too busy to see its sorrow as it awaits its fate. Will it sit on the side of the road forever, until the plastic turns brittle and crumbles under the oppressive summer sun? Will someone eventually take it home, try to put the pieces back together, show it the love it hoped for in the first place? Will it find its way into the nearby woods, destined to become a home for raccoons?

Only time will tell.

The Playhouse

It seems that often people don’t notice the same things I do. Sometimes I think I’m a little too observant for my own good. But this week, I noticed something that I don’t think anyone could miss.

On the way into town one evening, we noticed a plastic playhouse. A molded plastic cube that seemed relatively new and in good shape. It sat in the weedy median, on its side and lonely. Its only companions were a red sedan and a puzzled blonde woman.

My husband and I immediately began speculating. How had the playhouse ended up in the median? Had it fallen off of a truck? Had someone left it behind? And, more curious, who was the woman and what did she intend to do with the playhouse? There was no way she could fit it into her tiny car or secure it onto the roof.

We went about our evening, not thinking much about the mystery. But when we returned, the story had taken a new turn.

Even in the darkness, it was easy to see that the red sedan and blonde woman were gone, but the playhouse was still on the side of the road. Now, though, it sat on the other side of the road in pieces. I don’t know what happened to it, but it met a tragic end.

Alas, the playhouse didn’t stand a chance, especially if the woman did indeed try to bring it home on her car.

A-Z Challenge: Joy

Joy comes in the most unexpected places. Vibrant double rainbows after a torrential downpour. A moment of levity in the midst of a hard situation. Death that brings life.

It isn’t just a feeling of happiness. That’s far too simplistic. It’s confidence that sunshine returns after thunderstorms and that harsh winters don’t last forever.

Emotions and circumstances don’t rule over it. Joy knows that even if the sun doesn’t shine, even if the bank account is empty, even if the worst happens, there is still so much to be grateful for.

A-Z Challenge: I Am Wrong

Ever have that moment when you’re planning something out and realize that you counted wrong? Well, that’s where I am right now with the A-Z Challenge. I just realized I miscounted, and now all I can do is laugh at myself.

As it turns out, the posts are supposed to be every day except Sundays, not only weekdays. The good news? I figured it out early enough to fix it. The bad news? “I” was leaving me feel stumped. The other good news? Talking about this gave me a topic for “i.”

And so that’s the state of things. Looks like I need to do some more brainstorming!

A-Z Challenge: Grande Latte (A Story)

Ana walked into the Starbucks alone with a pocket filled with scribbled drink orders. She didn’t understand what half of them meant, but it’s what the other girls at the make-up counter wanted.

She hadn’t intended on working there. Sure, she wore make-up, but not like these girls, with their penciled eyebrows and even cat eyes and vibrant lipstick. She felt out of place, but it was the only thing out there. For now.

When she reached the counter, she read off of her list, careful not to miss a single shot, non-fat whipped cream, or with almond milk. The words still felt foreign, even after a month. She wondered if she would ever understand the language. For herself, she just ordered a simple chai in the smallest size, whatever that was called.

“Tall,” the barista corrected.

She waited at the other end, wondering if the others would look at her funny today. They usually did. She figured she just wasn’t particularly pretty, but that was okay. Looks  wouldn’t matter that much when she finished her degree.

There was only one thing the other girls always seemed to obsess over: her eyebrows.

“You never have to fill them in?” they would ask her. “You don’t get them waxed? They just grow in like that?”

Ana always just shrugged. “Yeah.”

Then the others would chatter quietly to themselves, staring at her forehead. The only words she could ever make out were, “I can’t believe it.”

As she collected all of the drinks, she sighed. Two years of school left. Hopefully, that didn’t mean two more years at the make-up counter too.

Fact: This is inspired by a girl I saw while waiting in a Starbucks one day. She clearly worked at a make-up counter, but she looked very natural, even to her thick, perfectly shaped eyebrows. They had to be the envy of the store.


It started during a long drive home. Golden sunlight reflected gently on a gray cloud more friendly than its deep, stormy companions further east. A touch of azure sky still framed it, holding out against the impending storm.

Then it blazed to life. A hint of red, punchy yellow, a tinge of green and violet. Like a knowing wink, it made me smile.



S.B. Roberts 2017


The garage door opened, and I pulled the car inside. The cat rubbed my legs, hungry for attention and food. After giving him enough of both, I returned to the window, wondering if that little wink of color was still there.

The whole sky had grown golden with the light drizzle and the lowering sun. The splash of color had begun to spread across the sky. I hurried outside, not minding misting. Within seconds, it had encompassed everything above me in one perfectly curved line.

I stood there a moment, in awe. I made it home just in time for this. This beautiful moment.

Then the beauty became extravagance. It mirrored itself, transforming everything into a magnificent array of colors.



S.B. Roberts 2017

The sun sank further, and the spectacle began to fade. Being bathed with that much beauty for too long would be too much for any mortal. But as it faded, I felt revived. A wink from above. A promise remembered.


Mr. Fredrickson (A Character Sketch)

Every Friday on the drive in to school, I see the same man standing alone at a bus stop. I can’t remember the first time I saw him, but I do remember my first thought: “Mr. Fredrickson!”

From the white hair atop the squarish face to the squarish dark glasses to the slightly too high belt over brown pants, he looks like a real life version of the Mr. Fredrickson from the Pixar movie Up. Unlike the Mr. Fredrickson in the movie, this one always has a full-sized, black umbrella and black brief case tucked under his arm. He always seems to wear the same neutral colors: a white button up shirt and dark pants. I tried to draw him, but I can’t do him justice.

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