Its going to be an eggscellent last day before break. (Taken with instagram)
Stress makes people do bad things…you often take it out on the wrong people. I have done it before so I know. This time it was done to me…and it hurts.
Now I know…and I will always try to never do it to someone again.
I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
So at this point I have finished the book. But I am still working on the “writing assignments” I skipped one I didn’t like. Here is the next prompt:
Think about a family gathering. Write about the gathering in the first person from the point of view of a child:
I don’t want to sit here. I don’t want to sit here and listen to the adults talk anymore. This is not fun. Where is the food? I am hungry. “Mommy I am hungry!” I say loudly. She ignores me. She always ignores me when we have dinner at grandma and grandpops. They are all too busy talking loudly and waving their hands around to hear me. Dad is shouting now. Something about 401K. Is that a character from star wars? I can’t remember. I hop off of the chair and sneak into the kitchen. No one has seen me. I open the refrigerator and look around. I spot a pack of chocolate pudding and take one cup. Then I take another. A quick loop around the kitchen to grab a spoon and I run out the door onto the front porch. I open the first cup of pudding and it’s gone in a minute. Then I open the second and eat that one too. Now I hear them calling my name, so I toss the empty pudding cups under the porch and run inside to eat dinner. I hope it’s not pork chops again, cause I hate pork chops.
Continuing the book The Fiction Class by Susan Breen, assignment two is:
Think of a person from history who intrigues you. Write a description of that person eating a meal. Make it as descriptive as possible.
Lucille Ball steps out of the sleek white car and onto the sidewalk. She enters the restaurant slowly, taking off her sunglasses as she entered the dim lobby. “Table for one please,” she tells the hostess. She is seated at a table for two at the back of the room. As the hostess begins to hand her the menu, Lucy states “I won’t need the menu. I will have the garden salad with vinaigrette dressing on the side, no onions, a cup of vegetable barely soup and a cup of coffee please.” The hostess pulls the menu back and walks away. Lucy now reaches into her black velvet purse and pulls out a mirror. She checks her makeup and hair quickly, snaps the mirror shut, and places it back in her bag.
A tall, curly haired waiter brings Lucy her coffee. She places two cubes of sugar into the cup, the splashes a bit of cream in too before stirring three times. She picks up the cup, puts it to her lips, and takes a sip. The coffee is hot it burns her tongue a bit, but she doesn’t mind. The waiter returns again, this time with her salad and soup. She pulls the cup of soup in front of her, taking in it’s steam and wonderful smell. She gingerly picks up the soup spoon, dips it into soup, brings it up to her lips and gently bows on the soup to cool it down. The first taste is like heaven. She greedily dips the spoon in several more times, and as she eats she can’t help but think of her grandmother who used to make vegetable barely soup every Sunday. Her favorite part was always the carrots, so sweet and crisp. Before she realizes it, the soup is gone.
Next she moves to the salad. She pours a little bit of the vinaigrette on the salad. She picks up her fork and and pierces one of the tomato slices. The tomato is juicy and ripe and tastes like summer. She quickly eats the rest of the tomatoes on the salad. As she takes another sip of her coffee, she glances around the empty restaurant. She continues to pan the restaurant with each bite of her salad, but no one enters while she is there. She finishes off the last few pieces of lettuce and carefully wipes her mouth with the cloth napkin. She reaches into her bag, takes out her wallet, and retrieves a $50 bill. She sets it on the table, stands up, and walks the length of the restaurant quickly. She nods her head toward the hostess and says “Thank you lunch was lovely,” as she exits the restaurant. Back out on the sidewalk, she replaces her sunglasses and steps toward her car.
So I just started this book called The Fiction Class. It’s written by Susan Breen. I got it from Barnes and Noble on clearance. I paid under $4.00 for this book. When I find a book in the clearance section, I always feel like I have saved it from some horrible form of retirement. Let me say that this is not the type of book I normally read. I am only a few chapters in but so far it seems to be about a middle aged women who is passionate about writing and teaches a writing class (the kind held in your local nursery school after hours). She seems to have some familial drama (sick mother) and of course she is lonely (dating woes). I already know I will be passing it on to my friend Shari, who not only loves to read but also loves to write. The best part of this book, and the part I think Shari will like most, is that there are actual writing prompts that correlate with the story throughout the book. So, I ma going to get a chance to do a little creative writing while I read. This is either going to be awesome, or I am going to blank out and have nothing to say. Here goes…
Writing assignment one:
Make a list of your five obsessions:
2. Autism research
Now write a few paragraphs about one of them:
The funny thing about obsessions is that when you are really pressed and asked to list five, suddenly the things you think you are “obsessed” with don’t seem that big of a deal. I mean to be obsessed with something means you are thinking about it a lot, all throughout the day, every day. You spend a lot of time and energy around the topic. In all reality, I have so many interests I don’t know that I have any true obsessions. But I created a list anyway, and I choose to focus on my obsession with data for the three two paragraphs.
When I say I am obsessed with data, it refers to the data I deal with in my job. I am a special education teacher and that means in my work environment I live and breathe by data. I love data. Data never lies as my supervisor like’s to say. I take data every day, on my students, and sometimes even on my staff. Because I take data, I can see the little, incremental progress my students make. Sometimes the progress by leaps and bounds, and that causes a great celebration in my classroom! I can then take the data and share it with other staff and the child’s parents. It paints a great picture of the child as a whole. It also paints a great picture of how I am doing as the child’s teacher. When the data stays the same, I know I have to work harder. When it shows positive change, I know I am doing the right thing and to keep going. The data can even tell us when to change course, signaling that I need to put a goal on hold, or change the goal to challenge the child more. It literally drives what I do on a day to day basis. I am, as my supervisor likes to call me, the “Data Queen.”
Data also interests me because it is the prime component of knowledge. We gain information about various topics based on data we collect. I am a science person at heart. It was always my favorite subject in school and I loved to complete experiments. Teaching often involves experimenting. Taking data as we try new curriculums and strategies is what tells us what is working and what is not. I also love reading about different types of research (see obsession number 2) and research articles are filled with data. For some people, numbers, graphs and charts make their head spin. For me, data opens my mind to new information and ideas.
My wish is that more people would be open to the idea of “data” as an obsession. When you really think about it, any information you take in and process is potential data. For example, you see a sign that advertises a new milkshake at McDonald’s (data piece number one). You happen to love milkshakes (data piece number 2). You then get let out of work 20 minute early (data piece number 3). You happen to pass by a McDonald’s on your way home from work (data piece number 4). Combine all four pieces of data and you are left with a completely new piece of information: you should stop at McDonald’s on the way home from work and buy the new milkshake to try. Isn’t data awesome! I rest my case.
Well now that was fun! Hope I didn’t ramble on too much. More to come!
So I got Taylor Swift’s new CD, Speak Now. I have listened to it several times through already and I have to say, I feel a little bit guilty listening to it. I would equate it to listening to someone read aloud their diary entries from the past year. Each song is like an individual entry, detailing love, loss, pain, happiness, and memories. I almost feel like I have inadvertently found someone’s journal and I am being let into their most private thoughts. However, knowing that she turned these diary entry worthy moments into songs, recorded them, and is now selling them faster then anyone can blink, I guess I should not feel too guilty.
She has said that this is how she deals with life’s ups and downs. She writes songs. And she puts it all out there, holding nothing back. For that I give her credit. I love Taylor, but I can also understand why some people don’t like her and feel she is not that strong of a singer. To them I say “Who cares!” She may not have the strongest voice (and by that I often wonder if people mean she is not loud enough, to which I would say I am glad she is not screaming, however I digress), but she has a few things that I feel many young female musicians do not have:
1) She actually writes her songs! Imagine that, a musician who writes her own songs! You would be surprised (and should be alarmed) and just how many great artists do not write their own material. Some of them write only some of the songs they record, some don’t write any. I am not saying they are not good performers, but if you don’t write at least some of your own material, your fans can not truly feel they are connecting with you, because the stuff you are singing about has no meaning to you, and believe me it will eventually become very obvious. (At this point I fully realize that people could argue this point, as many artists say they choose songs to record because they connect to them, however I still think there is an integral piece missing if you have not written the song yourself)
Take Miranda Lambert for example. I love her, she is great, and she is having her moment. But I just found out the other day that she didn’t even write “The House That Built Me.” Now I give her credit, cause when she sings it, you think it’s about her. But I feel somewhat cheated now knowing it has nothing to do with her. All that history and personality I thought I gained about her from her song…completely gone. Who is she anyway?
2) She can play an instrument. More and more female artists are beginning to jump on the “I can sing and I can play guitar…at the same time!” band wagon. However, not all of them do it well. Taylor does it well. And she has awesome, colorful, sparkly instruments to boot. There is nothing like a bubbly blond in a sparkly dress playing a silver sparkly guitar. Which brings me to my next point…
3) She puts on a good show. Apparently musicians can not just stand up on stage and perform their music anymore. They now need to have elaborate costumes, props and scenary, mini plots, and extra people dancing around to really draw in the crowd and make people say “Man, Mademoiselle Baby Sounds really puts on a great show!” Taylor puts on an awesome and engaging show, without scaring people into thinking they have somehow entered an alternate demension. Her costumes and props match the themes of the songs she sings. Which as far as I am concerned puts her above the likes of one Mademoiselle Baby Sounds (did you figure out who I am talking about yet?).
4) Last but to me one of the most important. She is an all around good person. No really, I dare you to find something wrong with her. Even the fact that she calls out her ex’s new girlfriend (who based on Taylor’s song as much as stole Taylor’s ex from her) is endearing. She is clearly the good girl. The girl wise beyond her years, with good morals, great supportive parents, and the kind of head on her shoulders that does not swell with fame. She loves her fans, knows they are the ones that got her where she is today, and always makes time for them. Plus she loves the number 13. Who loves the number 13?? Only a sweet as pie girl who likes to bake in her free time, that’s who!!
So in conclusion, Taylor is awesome. Hopefully you already knew that, and if you didn’t go get her new CD, Speak Now, and I just dare you to know love her after listening to her last year set to songs. It’s a CD full of personal stories, and I guarantee you that you will find a favorite song amongst the 14 she recorded. Mine is number 9…what’s yours??
I really really love fall. It’s my favorite time of the year. The air seems crisp and clean. The leaves have turned all shades of warm colors. Everything is spiced (spiced apple cider, spiced pumpkin latte, spiced waffers, yum)! All things fall make me smile!
One of my favorite things to do is drive a bit north of where I live to the mountains to see the beautiful fall leaves. I hope to be able to do that sometime this weekend, and if I do I will be sure to post some pictures!
What’s your favorite thing about fall?
The other day I was lamenting to my parents about how there are no good guys left out there. Spoken like a true single girl who is tired of attempting to weed through the trenches of, putting it in the nicest way possible, loser guys out there. Now let me set the record straight by first saying that I do realize there are good guys out there. I happen to know many. I have met many in the last few years of my life. The problem is many of them are already taken. Or live no where near me. Or are not ready to settle down. Or do not like girls. You get the idea. Living in the Philly area you think I would be coming into contact with lots of single guys my age, but alas it has not really been happening. As my friend Latia and I often say, all the good single guys seem to be in the south. Sometimes my distress about not finding any good single guys around here manifests itself into my thinking there are no good guys anywhere. Totally irrational I know, but it happens. And when this happens I need a swift kick in the butt from God; a reminder that there are good guys out there and eventually I will find one for me. My kick in the butt was about to come once again…
As we were sitting eating breakfast, my parents and I, and I was complaining about the lack of good guys, I was flipping through the pages of a local newspaper. I turned the page to find a story of a guy from Idaho, Drew Johnson, who decided he would go around to 48 states in 48 weeks volunteering. I will let you read his story straight from him at www.48by48.com. Check it out and check out some of the blogs from his trip. He is actually wrapping it up in a few weeks, which made me sad that I found out about it so late in the game. I would have loved to get involved with his efforts when he was in the area. Needless to say I not only found the story inspiring but I immediately had to eat my words about there being no good guys in the world. Finally, finally a sign from God there are good guys!! It was like he was speaking directly to me through Drew and his story. (Dramatic I know; my mom didn’t call me Sarah Bernhardt when I was little for nothing)!
Thank you Drew, for reminding me there are good guys out there. Not just good guys but good people, doing great things in their community. I am setting a goal for myself this school year to find ways to give back in the community. My goal to start is to complete at least two volunteer activities a month starting in Sept. Hopefully I will be able to increase that. If I am lucky, I will something I really love doing and make it a regular event. If anyone has any ideas for me let me know. I plan on writing about my experiences too, so keep an eye out!!
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