Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life seems but a quick successions of busy nothings

Hello lovely readers,

I come here to say I feel a little guilty that I have not gotten much writing done for the blog. Usually I have 5 blog post waiting to get posted... this has kept me going through my schedule but life has gotten very busy. 

How wonderful would it be if summer felt like a "quick successions of busy nothings."Everyone pictures summer to be this relaxing time to kick back and relax and while in someways this feels true there are many moments when summer feels to be going by to fast. That is how I feel right now. Not that I can complain about my summer I have had good highlights.

If you have been following the Boston news you will know we just passed a major milestone. Up here in Boston we had a record snow fall this winter (well really in one month). And we have very little places to put the snow in order to keep our streets clear but our city government found an unused lot to put all our snow. Well as of July 14th that pile of snow has finally melted. Below a before and after:
Since moving up to New England I have definitely had appreciation for summer with getting to wear flip flops, summer dresses and long sunny days. I think I even hold summer up as this perfect time and maybe that is not fair. I say summer goes by too quickly but sometimes it is just life going by too quickly...

Sorry to be a bit of "Debby Downer." I shouldn't even complain about this summer I have made some good memories and maybe instead of blaming summer for going by too quickly I should think about the good things. Maybe Ferris Buller had it right "Life moves pretty fast if you don't stop and look around sometimes you might miss it." So here are some moments I have not missed:

Meeting my nephew (and seeing him rock some Boston gear), going to Gloucester an enjoying some down time at the beach, hanging out with friends (enjoying margaritas), and treating myself to some fun flicks.

Also I am enjoying getting lots of reading done, I am on book 19 of my 26 book challenge and I have found so many good books I may not have read had it not been for this challenge. Some have really inspired me in my writing. The Winter Sea for example is about an author trying to write a novel and just the way she talks about her writing has given me some ideas about how to write. Also I like her story for having a dual plot line being set in present day and in 1708. The book has also inspired me to thinking about going to Scotland. The current book I am reading The Steady Running Hour has also been inspiring, as a part of it takes place in World War I and it has been great to read about it from a soldiers perspective and think about my characters in my work in progress and how they think about the war.

Speaking about my work in progress, lately have felt kind of stuck in my work. I didn't know where I wanted to go with my story and I felt I had lost the point of my story. I took a step back from the flow of my story and started thinking about the structure of my story and through that I started thinking about scenes in my story I wanted to write. And in doing that I got inspiration for some future scenes and I was working furiously away. Then I went back to the drawing board. One thing I am really bad about doing is outlining, usually I just start writing and let the characters take me where I want to go or I have some vague idea of what should happen but I haven't really planned it out. However, I realized I was spending so much time building up my characters that I had lost the pivotal part of my story which, is World War I. I though I really need to get an outline down so I can know how all the scenes in my head are going to work together. I am so happy I did this because now I feel my story has more structure. Also I realized my working title "Hope Deferred" didn't really work with the progression of my story so I have changed the the title again to "Quiet Hope."
This work has probably been the biggest struggle of my writing time. Usually I give up when I get stuck, but I really want to finish this project. This story has been floating around my mind for years and I don't want to give this up. 

 So there are some of the highlights of my summer thus far... I will try not to miss the moments.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Remember to Live

Last summer I felt like it was the summer of movies because I feel I posted a lot of movie reviews, this summer feels like the summer of books as I feel I am making a lot of time to read. People here in Boston usually have one thing in common, we complain about the T. I used to try to get school reading done on the T but I didn't find it very effective, so I thought if I am going to have to ride the T or the bus to get around I am going to allow myself a treat of fun reading... so I enjoy my commute as I get to escape into my books. I feel like I have been reading a quite a bit and I don't always make time to post about them so if want to see what books I have read check out my page Summer Reading.

I finished The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic. Yes I know it is a pretty typical Blaire book, as most of it is set in 1912 and I am a bit obsessed with that time period. I saw this book in Target in May but as much as it intrigued me I didn't buy it, being more budget conscience. I was intrigued by this book not just because it was a story about the Titanic it is also a multi-generational story and I am always intrigued to see how writers blend two or more generations into one story. This story is about Maggie Murphy, who leaves her home and her beloved Seamus in Ireland to sale to a new life on Titanic. It is also about Grace, Maggie's great-granddaughter, who after her father dies suddenly leaves college and her life to care for her mom. Maggie has never talked about the Titanic until April 15th, 1982 (Grace's birthday). Through the story they both realize life cannot stop.

At seventeen years old Maggie Murphy as lost both her father and mother, when her Aunt Kathleen comes back to Ireland to come and take Maggie to Chicago with her. Maggie wants her sweetheart Seamus to come with her but his father is too sick and he needs to take care of him. Along with Maggie and Kathleen there are others from their village that go on this journey to make a new life in America. Here is one of the weaknesses of the novel, with multiple plot lines and characters to keep track of. The characters Harry, a steward on the Titanic, and her friend Peggy make sense for the story and the plot to move along. However, there is also the story of Frances Kenney, whose sister Katie is a friend of Maggie's and is on the Titanic, I couldn't figure out why her story was being weaved through the book as she had no interaction with either Maggie or Grace. There was also a secondary character Vivienne Walker-Brown, a famous actress, who is a good secondary character but I was thrown off when a letter of hers was in the middle of the book... it seemed to serve no purpose. I love stories being told from different perspective but I think they should serve a purpose and Frances' and Vivienne's story served no purpose.

One thing I loved about Maggie's plot is that it served as new perspective on the Titanic. I have seen the movie Titanic (with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) and that gives a good perspective of the first class lifestyle aboard the ship, but this novel gives the perspective of the third class passengers. So I thought that was a cool approach to the story.

Then there is Grace, the great-granddaughter of Maggie, she was in the middle of her freshman year of college and had found the love of her life, Jimmy, when her father dies because of a car crash. She then leaves school, her dreams of being in journalism, and Jimmy to take care of her mother. And in that her life just kind of stops. It is not until Maggie starts telling her the story of the Titanic that she discovers life goes on past tragedy. I won't go into details about what she does with this new discovery as it would be a spoiler.

There is a great quote in it and had it been my own copy and not the libraries I would have underlined it.  "Life is fragile, Grace--it is no more than a petal of a cherry blossom" (pg. 258). Both these characters face horrible tragedies and through book they learn they can't let tragedies define them but use them to shape a life worth living. Sometimes I spend so much time in my head and stuck in my own thoughts that I think I forget to let myself live. Even though this book for the most part is light hearted this is a good lesson to learn.
Last picture of Titanic afloat

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A new page

Hello my lovely readers,

I have a new page on my blog... for my summer reading. I am trying to knock off some books in my never ending book list. For the most part I get these from the library but others have been sitting on my bookshelf. I have enjoyed getting lost in some books this last month or so and I wanted to share them with you.

I will try to keep my "currently reading" up to date as best as possible, but sometimes I fall a little behind. Sorry. But this page will let you know what I have read and a little bit of a review.

If you have any suggestions let me know.

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer of Movies Part 1...

I feel this has been my summer of movies and once again I thank the lovely Boston Public Library for letting me watch these movies for free (very important on a student budget). Here are some more movies I have checked off my to watch list...

Here are the two I loved...
1. We Bought a Zoo...
The trailer really says the basic plot line Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is a writer always looking for an adventure until his wife dies and then the adventure becomes raising his kids. In looking to start over Benjamin goes on a house search only to find the perfect place to be a zoo. Here their new adventure begins with the help of Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johanson) and the others (both human and animals).

Why I watched- It just looked like a cute feel good film, but then during a random time on Pinterest I saw this picture (right) and I thought that looks like a film with a great story.

What I liked- There is a little spark between the characters Benjamin and Kelly but it is not all sappy an mushy, and the whole story did not revolve around it. The more romantic plot line of the story revolved around the son Dylan and Lily, they were cute and awkward as it should be. I forgot it was based off a true story, so I was very happy to read as the credits were going that: "The Dartmoor Zoological Park, on which this story is based, is an award-winning zoo...".

What I didn't like- Some parts seemed a little over dramatic especially the part of Dylan, but hey he is a teenage boy who just lost his mom he is going to be a bit dramatic. I felt over all did not take away from the story line and it probably would not have felt real if it wasn't included.

Overall- Great feel good movie, good family movie. It is rated PG but the disc I got included a "English Family-Friendly Audio Track" so it can be for everyone.

2. The Music Never Stops
It is a moving story (have tissues) about a father Henry (J.K. Simmons you might recognize him from Juno) and his son, Gabriel, have not seen each other for about 20 years after they had a fight. Now Gabriel has a brain tumor and it is their love of music that brings them together again. Of course Henry loves the classics like Frank Sinatra and Gabriel loves The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and mostly the Grateful Dead, but Henry in order to bond with his son again listens to Gabriel's music and gets insight into his son's life.

Why I watched- I had never heard of this movie before until I watched The Conspirator and this was one of the previews (that's right I still watch previews), I instantly thought this film looked sweet so I wanted to watch it.

What I liked- The whole movie. I thought J.K. Simmons played his role very well, he is 65 years old and stubborn, he believes the music his son loved brought about the end of their relationship, and he doesn't want to go back to that time. However, Diane Daley (Julia Ormond... I recognized her from Sabrina (1995)), the music therapist convinces him that Gabriel's music is the music that will help him. After that Henry goes in and trades in his albums for some of Gabriel's music and really starts to hear Gabriel's story. He even takes his son to a Grateful Dead concert.

Even though I am not of the Grateful Dead generation I still loved the soundtrack and maybe adding some of their music to my playlist.

What I didn't like- I can't think of anything. So over all I recommend it for any one who loves music (rather your Dead fan or not).

 This got a little long so I will post Part 2 on Thursdays.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A naive writer's sentiments

One of the many blogs I follow is Scribble Chicks. It is written by 4 women who blog about being a writer. I find it very amusing. Well in Monday's post Confession they wrote:

MYTH: You can tell you are supposed to be or are a writer because you cannot imagine living life without writing and you don't enjoy the time when you aren't writing.

They explained this as a myth because...

TRUTH: There are definitely times when I greatly dislike writing. Usually it's when my deadline is creeping up on me and I have gotten myself backed into a wall in my story. There are often times during breaks in deadlines when I really wonder if I have another book in me. Or after I've gotten a contract when I stare at a blank Word document and I can't for the life of me figure out a good opening scene.

To read more click here 

I know right now I am just an aspiring author with this blog and some poems I got published my high school literary magazine as my only publishing credits. So I know I do not feel the pressure of a deadline on me... though I will say I do try to publish here once every 2 days. Though I write frequently in between to prepare for up coming post. And I know I have never gotten a contract so I can't go against their truths but I do question their myths.

Over my trip with my mom I told her even though I am in grad school for Library Science, I long to be a writer and I think the reason I gave was much the same as the myth. When I can't fun write thanks to school it is hard and I long to write again. Then when I can write, thanks to summer or long snow storms, I feel like writing is the only thing I should be doing. Rather it be this blog, my journal, or my story I love seeing my thoughts on paper. Sometimes writing is the only thing that makes sense in my life and in my stories I can escape and make sense of things. Maybe in my naive sense I feel like that is why people enter the world of writing.

I am still thinking over this myth. Maybe if I ever truly become a published author I will understand the pressure of a deadline. Right now in my writing I have finished my story The Sisters of Pine Haven and have sent it to my mom, my current editor, to read over. In the fall I have to write my Master's thesis so I don't think I will get back to it until after that. Now I am just trying to work on my story, Rose Gray, as much as possible. Then with two stories under my belt and having finished Grad-school I might feel like seeking publication. Right now I still believe this...

Yeah my thoughts might be naive but I am hoping I will always love to write as it has been such a comfort all these years.

More from a naive writer:
posted: June, 2012

If you a published author I would love to hear your thoughts on this. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Getting back into the story...

Hello lovely readers,

As I have stated I have wanted to get some more writing in this summer. It is somewhat odd (in a good way) to go back to a story that I have had to put aside. I have gone through and re-read some of my writing and I wanted to share some of the story with you... 

Hope you enjoy. 
Those were the grand days for us children at Southerton. Without mother and father there we were under the care of Nanny Alba. Every day after lunch she took a long nap  and expected us to do the same. Instead as soon as the weather turned warm we would run all the way to the Back Woods not stopping for any breath. It was here we all plotted out the grand adventures we desired for our lives. I wasn't old enough to plan a grand escape. I still loved our home. It had been a part of our family since King Charles II. It wasn't grand compared to Cranston Court but it was a prized estate. I was still finding nooks and crannies when to hide in for hours. My ancestors took Southerton Green from a simple hunt lodge to its grand scale built in the a modern architecture in the Georgian style. My grandfather used to tell me of the grand days of Southerton when they would throw lavish parties on the scale of a Duke and Duchess. I promised him I would recapture those grand day and bring them back to Southerton.

            Of course in a few years I would learn of the financial destitution of our family and I would know to become a grand family we once were was utterly hopeless. Right then in 1909 I thought no family could be better off than us, Harringtons at Southerton Greens with a house in London and plantations in India.

            "Rose I want to play!" My little sister Georgina called from the side.
            Georgiana, my younger sister, who still at five had her baby fat including pudgy cheeks and stubby legs. No one seeing her then would realize she would become England's high class model by the time she was eighteen, of course by that time she was going by the name Gigi Harris. She would always long for adventure and to be taken seriously but for the most part she was held back because of her younger sibling status.

            "I am not playing!" I yelled back.

            To be honest I was panning for gold. The water was up to my knees and turning my dress from soft blue to an ugly brown as the mud splashed on me. I was  bent over with one of cook's pie pans, scrapping the bottom, hoping to find any sign of gold. In one of our history lessons we had learned about the California Gold Rush in 1849 and I had hoped our creek could be lined with gold but no one had ever looked. I now knew why no one looked because the water was almost a numbing cold and there seemed to be little success no matter how long I looked.

            "Rose, I want to play."
            "No you can't, mother says you can't come in the creek."
            "Please!" She begged.
            "Daphne, you are suppose to be watching Georgiana," I pleaded.
            "No you promise you would do all my chores  and when mother is not her and we are not with Nanny Alba that includes taking care of Georgiana."
            "But-" I moaned.
            "Do you want me to tell mother you broke the teapot?"
            "I wasn't trying to break the teapot," I grumbled to myself.

            I didn't really think it was my fault that Pippin came running through the room as I was trying to host a tea party for my doll, Camilla Jayne, but I was pretending she was Queen Victoria. I had to use the best teapot for Queen Victoria, and with its hand painted flowers and gold trimming it was by far the best in the house. I was holding the now infamous teapot when Pippin came into the room, jumped on me, knocked me down, and the teapot to the ground. Daphne was the only witness and now she had black mailed me into doing her chores for a moth. Years later I would find out Daphne told mother did not punish me because she hated that teapot. It had been Grandma Harrington's but mother and Grandma Harrington never got a long so she was glad when it was broken. If I had known that then I would have never put up with Daphne's behavior.

            "What are you doing," She yelled at me. Daphne finally noticed that my dress had become soaked and practically ruined with mu stains. 
            "Panning for gold like they did in California."

            Shane hearing this chimed in "There is not gold in that creek, if there was Lord Welford would have already dug it up."

            "What would my father do with little rocks bigger than finger nails. Rose, if you find any gold you can keep it," Parker said pretending to stick up for his father, who was known in parliament as being one of the cheapest Lords in the House.  Penny and Pence Welford, I had once heard father call Lord Welford.

            "I agree with Shane there is no gold in the creek," Daphne said "and now you have ruined your dress for something that doesn't exist. Now got out of that and act a lady."

            By now all attention was shared between me standing in the creek and Daphne standing on the bank. No one but Kelby had seen Georgina make her way into the creek and slip on a rock, and she had gone under with a splash or gasp to get our attention. The splash that did get out attention was Kelby jumping into pull Georgiana out of the water. In slow motion I watched Kelby grab her and saw her limp body lie across his arms. He laid her on the grass to get any water out of her lungs. She coughed some up, opened her eyes, and then quickly fainted again.

            Without thinking Kelby scooped her back up into his arms and ran in the direction of Cranston Court.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Journey to Honduras!

Aqua Viva Internacional =Living Water International
First of all Honduras is a beautiful country. 

We arrived late on Saturday morning in the town of San Pedro Sula. Then we had to drive four hours to the city La Ceiba. Our stop in Honduras is Burger King... I think they were trying to ease our way into the country. 
Some our gang at BK
After the four hour drive we got to stay in this beautiful hotel.
The hotel was right on the ocean, I loved standing in the warm water. It had lots of fresh pineapple and we were able to take hot showers there as well. We started and ended our week there which was a very nice treat. 

Our team in front of the church
On Sunday we went to this church. Some of the staff/members of this church work with Living Water so they prayed for us and as we left they all gave us hugs and kisses. It was a great encouragement to start off the week. 

Then after church we had to drive another hour and half to a town called Seda. 
Sunset from the roof of our 2nd hotel 
The town of Seda.

On Monday we drove to the sight. So one expectation I had was that we were going to be working in a village, and that it would be a town like you see in "feed the children" commercials. We were in at a school in the town Descrmbro, Honduras, a agricultural town and some of the people are "middle class". I put it in quotes because I don't want people to think of American middle class. It is middle class for Honduras which means they mostly don't have electricity and maybe running water. By running water I mean they have a tank of water in their back yard. The primary water source for this village of apox. 3,000 is a river that serves as a dishwasher, laundromat & waste removal service for the community. The people of Descombro know that the water is unclean but only half of the community can afford to buy purified water and a lot of the students buy soda.

The school
One day these student practiced the drums from the start to end of the day.
The red doors in the back ground the bathrooms.

The windows of the school were covered in wooden planks. 

Inside a classroom. 

The teachers of the school cooked our meals for us while we were a the school. 
I was on the hygiene team which is more like the teaching team. For each class we did two hygiene, one bible story and then a craft. A hygiene story talked about how to wash their hands properly, how to treat diarrhea, what food to eat properly, how to keep water clean and how to use the pump properly. On the first day we talked about germs and we used glitter to represent germs. When we came into lunch with the drilling team, my friend joked that  "the drilling team was covered in mud and the hygiene team was covered in glitter."

On Tuesday our machine was broken so while some of the Living Water staff went to get new equipment we were able to walk around one of the villages the school serves. The school served up to 5 to 6 local villages but this was the closest village.

While there some house like this one (above)... they would sit right next to the mud hut house (below). I will admit when I arrived in Honduras I thought all the houses were going to be like the one below.

The biggest take away I will take away from the walk through the village was just how generous people were.
We stopped by one house that had a few coconut trees. The guy, who owned the house came out and asked if we want some and would not let us pay for them. Then he began cutting them down and taking his machete to cut them apart so we could drink coconut milk. His wife was there holding this little baby and I was saying how cute he was, in my most broken Spanish. She just came and placed him in my arms so I could hold him. I thought "whoa, she doesn't know who I am but she gave me her son." I love little babies, so this was a great moment for me.
I just loved all the horses.
A shot of the main road in the village

 On Wednesday we did what is called a good news bracelet.
My good news bracelet.  

Black- represents the sin that separates us from God.
Red- represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the sacrifice of our sins.
White- when we accept Christ we become white as snow. 
Blue- represents baptism
Green- represents the new creation God makes us.
Yellow- represents the glory of heaven. 

The day we made the bracelets the kids acted like we were passing out candy when we were giving out the beads. Some kids tricked us to giving more beads to It was great to see how receptive to the story of Christ and what it all meant.

I can't talk much about the drilling project as I mostly stood on the side lines and watched. But next year I would love to be part of the drilling team and get my hands, t-shirt, and pants dirty. 

Here are some pictures from the drilling sight...
At the beginning there was just dirt.

LOTS of hard work being done.
Never leave home with out your duct tape
One guy on our team had broken his foot so every day he had to wrap his foot with tape to make sure his boot did not get wet. Well his tape did not always hold up so I told him I had duct tape, of course it was bright pink, but it worked to protect his foot. I must say it looked quite stylish. It was just lucky I had it because I just threw it into my luggage at the last minute.

I know there were a lot of challenges for the drilling team, with broken machine parts, and the fact they kept hitting rock, rock they couldn't get through. So out of faith on Wednesday they had to send down some pipe and then attempt to pump to see if they could get water. God blessed us and we had water! My friend put it best... "Looking back we see this as a blessing in disguise (sometimes God has to slow us down for our own good)."
This was a great relief to all of us!

On Wednesday we also had our intense moment of being stuck on the other side of the border. To read more about that read my Shove comes to Push post. When we finally left on Wednesday we didn't know at that moment if we were able to come back and finish/dedicate the well. I wasn't so concerned about that but I hated not knowing if I was going to come back and see my students. I was amazed even with the barrier of not speaking Spanish how much I loved them and how much they loved us. Fortunately we were able to come back and finish the work we started.

At the end of that was water. 

Both the drilling and hygiene team at the pump. 

At the dedication of the pump. 
Lots of the girls gathered around me and I tried to put my arm around them all.

I can't fully explain how wonderful it was to be on this trip. I knew I was going down to serve them but I felt so blessed by the people I met there. It was a wonderful and amazing journey. I highly recommend that every one go on a mission trip. The best thing to do is find a cause, country, or another area you are passionate about and see how you can serve there. I can't wait to go back to Honduras and if God wants me, I will go back next year. 

When I left Honduras, I told Emmillo (the boss) "I am not going to say Adiós but Hast Luego (see you later)."     

I know these aren't the best pictures... but I am going to miss the beauty of Honduras.