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500 Word Challenge: Day 14

500-Word-Challenge-Day-14Day 14 – Write about food.

I have to thank my mother for the fact that we didn’t grow up eating TV dinners or any other frozen dinners all the time. My mother liked to cook, and we always had good meals. Not to say that we didn’t eat hot dogs and beans or frozen fish sticks – we did, but it wasn’t an everyday occurrence. As a kid, I definitely took that for granted and had no idea how much work went into planning, shopping (on a budget), and cooking all those meals. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own that I realized just how much I needed to learn. My mother had tried to teach me how to do all of that stuff, but I thought that it was stupid and that I would never need it. The funniest moment was when I asked if I could copy all her recipes and create my own recipe cards. The look on her face said it all – I told you so, yet I am so proud of you. Inevitably, I found myself constantly calling her with questions: “How do I cook this?” “What do you mean by a pinch?” And if she didn’t pick up, I would call my grandmother. Eventually, I was able to cook some of my favorite recipes and they actually tasted how I remembered they were supposed to taste. Those were some proud moments. Along with my favorite recipes from my mother, my grandmother also passed on some recipes. Her family is from Sicily and my grandfather’s family is from Portugal. So my grandmother taught me how to make spaghetti sauce and kale soup (pictured above). They are two of my favorite recipes, and all my friends love my spaghetti sauce – when I don’t burn it.

Once I had some of the tried-and-true recipes down, I began to explore the wonderful world of Pinterest and pick up a few other recipes that sounded good. It was really fun to try new recipes and take pictures of how it actually came out. I mostly cook, I am not really a baker. I can make some really good chocolate chip cookies, but other than that, I haven’t had much luck. My grandmother made cakes for a living, but other than practicing making flowers, I was never good at actually making cakes. I prefer to make meals: meat, potatoes/rice, and vegetables. Since it is just me, I usually end up eating whatever I make for a whole week. This doesn’t usually bother me, but I have tried to spend a weekend making a bunch of things and sticking them in the freezer so I can choose. This is extremely convenient since I am constantly on the go during the day for work.

Thinking more about what I want this blog to be about, I have been jotting down things that I like to do and if any of them fit under the theme of my blog – Moved to Create. I would definitely consider cooking “creating” something, so I might end up doing a series of posts on some of my favorite recipes. There are other things that I have on my list as well, but I am exited about this possibility.

WC: 540


500 Word Challenge: Day 13

500-Word-Challenge-Day-13Day 13 – Tell us about your day.

Well, maybe I should start with telling you a little more about what I actually do. I am the College Transitions (CT) Instructor for our local Adult Education program. If you want to go to college, whether you recently graduated from high school or have been out of school for 20 years, we help get you ready. Every student is a little bit different, but in general we try to help building reading, writing, math, and computer skills. Since I am the only instructor for the CT program, I teach and/or tutor all of the classes. These classes help improve college placement test scores and make sure that the student is ready for college-level courses. Along with prep courses, we also offer workshops on college applications and course registration. Fortunately for us, we are located in one of the local community colleges’ off-campus sites, which gives us the added benefit of helping students register for classes and then continuing to see them as they go through their first semester of classes. Along with my Instructor position, I am also our HiSET Supervisor (the GED is probably a more popular high school equivalency exam, but our state recently switched to the HiSET). Basically, I proctor exams. It is definitely a rewarding job and keeps me running around.

So with all of that information, I can tell you a little about my day, though I have to say it wasn’t anything special. The weather here in New England has been quite chilly the last few weeks, dropping to -15 not counting the wind chill. I have a wood stove which is amazing, but it means that the house isn’t always warm when I wake up. As if waking up and getting yourself out of bed wasn’t bad enough, but when you know that you are going to be a bit chilly for the next hour or so, it makes it even worse. Motivation is hard to come by on cold winter mornings when the sun doesn’t come up until you are already on your way to work. My classes on Tuesday mornings start at 8am, so I like to be in the office early to make sure everything is in order. Though I am not a morning person, I do like it when I get out of the house and get to work a little early. If I time it just right I don’t even get stuck behind the school buses!

The only upside to the morning is that my car is parked in the garage so I don’t have to brush off the snow that accumulated sometime over night. I am so excited that I finally got my studded-snow tires put on this weekend (better late than never) and felt pretty indestructible as I drove to work on the messy roads. It really isn’t anything new, and at this point in the season, the snowy roads are pretty normal. I love listening to music, and usually have it quite loud as I sing at the top of my lungs. This is what really wakes me up in the morning. My music choices vary day to day, but this morning it was The Band Perry.

Tuesday morning class is Math and everyone is usually doing something a little bit different. Some people are working on fractions – other people are working on algebra. So I make my way around the room and help when I am needed. Math is definitely not everyone’s favorite subject so I try to break the tension with a brief discussion about the 2015 Reading Challenge that I have posted up on my board. I love talking about books, so it is always interesting to see how many of my students are big readers. Plus I even got a few books suggestions. We did eventually get back to some math. Though I never thought I would say it, I understand more math now that I did when I was in school.

Lunch time doesn’t really give me a lot of time to actually eat lunch. I am usually sorting paperwork, making copies, or getting another cup of coffee. Today was no different. Along with all of that I had quite a list of phone calls to make. Between Thanksgiving and New Years a lot of students fall off track and January is the time for me to rein them all back in. With my lunch hour over, I was ready to do some HiSET testing. My first appointment was coming to my classroom so I didn’t have to go anywhere, but my second appointment this evening was in a different town. Usually I don’t mind packing up all my stuff and driving the 15 minutes to the other school, but on these frigid days I just want to stay in my office (which I wouldn’t say is very warm either). But I made my way to the other appointment, proctored a test, and then made my way back to office and put everything away.

By this time it is 7pm and I am definitely ready to head home. By some miracle, my house is still cozy and the cats (I have three of them) are there waiting for me – not to greet me, but to demand food. My evenings at home aren’t really anything too exciting. Getting home at 7pm doesn’t leave you a lot of time to get much done, so I usually just crash on the couch and catch some TV – which is what I did tonight. I am looking at the Christmas decorations that still haven’t made their way into boxes and knowing I really need to take care of them….soon. Despite the length of this post, I don’t think it was necessarily interesting, but it completed the assignment!

WC: 965

500 Word Challenge: Day 2


Setting Goals!

Day 2 is supposed to be about goals. I talked about some of my goals yesterday, but today I will see if I can write 500 words on them. Since I was a little kid, I have loved writing. Back then I wasn’t so self-conscious about my writing, and though my parents tried to help push me along, I put it aside for several years. I took two creative writing classes in college, but it always seemed that I was much better at writing research papers than stories. In my heart I feel like a writer, and it frustrates me to no end that it doesn’t transfer to paper.

1. I would like to keep this blog updated. So I need to decide what I mean by updated. I would like to be able to write 500 words every single day, but I fear that I would run out of things to talk about. However, there are hundreds of websites out there with prompts, and I have several TV shows that I still want to write about. And this brings me to my other concern: what’s the purpose of this blog? I want to write what I like to write about and if people read it great, but at the moment I don’t think anyone reads my blog anyway. Just because I don’t blog every day doesn’t mean that I can’t write every day.  I will post daily for the next 30 days. After that I will continue to write daily but post weekly.

2. Get in the habit of writing. I mentioned yesterday that I just want to get back in the habit of writing. I need to take time each day to just write. I need to not over analyze what I am writing (because that frustrated me). I just need to write. Along with habit, I need to work on my writing skills. I tell my students that reading for just a ½ hour every day will improve your reading comprehension. So, I will take my own advice and write for at least a ½ hour every day. The real challenge will come when I have completed the challenge. I am hoping that I will come to love the time spent at my desk writing and not be anxious about it.

3. Get ready for 2015 NaNoWriMo. I have attempted the NaNoWriMo twice. But the idea of 50,000 words in 30 days really blew my mind. I went into both of them with no preparation and ended up bailing two days in. This year, I will be working on writing everyday and honing my skills. Between now and November, I will be preparing: creating outlines, doing some research, and most importantly working on my dialogue. Dialogue is tough for me. All my characters come out sounding like me. Maybe the piece I write won’t be an original piece of fiction. I wonder if fanfiction would count. I think that taking characters that have already been created is a great way to practice writing. I could study their speech patterns and find out what makes each character different.

There were a lot of little goals in those 3 main goals, and though I know I will be adding more to the list as I go, it felt good to write out what I have so far.

WC: 545

500 Word Challenge: Day 1


Starting 2015 off right

For Day #1, I am supposed to announce that I am challenging myself to write 500 words for the next 31 days. I am under no illusion that this is going to be easy. The last time I posted anything to this blog was February 2013. So obviously, though I love to write, it is not something that I have been able to focus on. I decided to do this challenge because writing is important to me, and I would really like to work on becoming a better writer and finding what type of writing I like best.

Right now, I like to write reviews of some of my favorite TV shows, because it combines my love of writing with my love of shows. However, I would like to try some other genres of writing. One of those would be fiction. The last three years that I have attempted the NanNoWriMo were unsuccessful. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I went into it unprepared and not 100% committed. This year I am going to plan ahead and get myself psyched up for November. I would also like to try my hand at some articles on different topics that I am interested in. There are so many possibilities out there, and I think that over the next year I would like to challenge myself to see what I am capable of. Writing isn’t the only thing that I love to do, so I would like to turn some of my other hobbies into inspirations to write. Who knows what will come from it!

So, what are my obstacles going to be? First of all, though I love to write, like many of my students, I have a hard time getting the thoughts from my head to the page. I can come up with great stories and conversations in my head, but I can’t seem to get it down on paper the same way it plays out in my head. This causes a lot of frustration and is definitely one of the reasons why I give up. But I am hoping this gets better with daily practice. Second obstacle will definitely be my love of television! I can’t blame it entirely on Netflix, but they certainly make it easy to get lost in a show. I have been told that I have an obsessive personality, which is definitely true when it comes to TV shows. I can’t just watch one episode!  This has hindered my housecleaning, reading, and my writing. But I am going to stay focused and just take it one day at a time.

A fourth paragraph brings me to 400 words and I am struggling to come up with 100 more words meet the challenge. I guess I could talk about how in order to make this as successful as possible, I created a new writing space. Considering I have already admitted that television is a weakness, I find it awkward to mention that my desk faces a television. So maybe I didn’t think through it all the way. Anyway, I am hoping that by starting this challenge on my vacation will give me a couple of days to get in the habit of writing before jumping back into work.

New office space

WC: 546

Sanctuary :: “Fata Morgana”

1x03ReviewFirst, let me just say that in the past this has not been one of my favorite episodes. It seemed to lack something that later episodes had; however, the more I watch it, the more it grows on me. This show just continues to amaze me.
“Fata Morgana” introduces us to the Cabal (Cabalis Nocturnum) who become part of a story arc that covers season 1 and some of season 2. I talked about this quite a bit in my review of the Webisodes, so I’m not really going to get into that. However, the scene in the Webisodes, where Terrance tells Magnus the story of the Morgana was so much cooler than Magnus explaining it to Will in this episode. But I guess they needed to make time for other things, plus it gave them a chance to include Will, Ashley, and Big Guy rather than just Helen and Terrance. We lost a Stargate actor, but gained another one: Chuck Campbell. He played Chuck the Technician in SG-1/SGA and he plays Two-Faced Guy in Sanctuary. I am really impressed with the list of people who have starred in both Stargate and Sanctuary – I don’t know why, but it brings a smile to my face. If you want to see a really great list, check [this] out. I knew there was some crossover, but I definitely missed some!

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Bunheads : Part I

Since the second half of Season 1 has just begun, I figured I would write down some of my thoughts about the first half (Episodes 1-10). I decided to tune into this show because I am very into dance shows, and though most shows on ABC Family don’t catch my interest, I kept coming back for more of this one. I would not say that this show is a-mazing or that it’s in my “Top 10”, but it has a few things that made an impression on me.

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Farscape :: Overall Impression

Thinking about all the elements that make this show so incredible is overwhelming. The writers created a timeline of events that keeps you engaged, laughing, and on edge. They managed to tie all four seasons together to map out some remarkable character development and sci-fi action. I love suspense, thrills, con movies, romances, comedy, and angst (I thrive on shows with angst), but this show has put new limits on how much of these things I can handle. This is a twisted show! The storylines are twisted, the villains are twisted, and the pain you go through is twisted. This show takes you to the breaking point then pushes a little bit further before letting you go. I don’t say this to discourage you! This is what makes this show so great and so interesting. The writers were able to take a common storyline and twist it into something spectacular. You never know what to think when it comes to this show. Just when you think you have seen it all, they throw in a Wiley E Coyote inspired episode, and there is even an episode that reminds me of Super Mario! It may sound weird, but it totally works with where the storyline is going at that point in the show!  Continue reading