Friday, December 31, 2010

Copperfield... check! (Shayla's item #3)

I finished David Copperfield this morning!  I am so glad I read it.  Here is my goodreads review below.  Be warned that it contains a huge spoiler...

** spoiler alert ** This was a phenomenal read! I loved the whole thing. Usually, when reading a larger book, I become more obsessed with how much I have left to really focus on the story, but I was engaged the whole time.

I had mentioned to my friend, Ashlee, that I was struggling with Dickens because I had just read Great Expectations and it just did not sit well with me. She suggested that I give this a try and I am so glad I did. I love the language, the characters, the clever little phrases, the morals behind all of the plots and sub-plots. It was a great study on humanity and human relationships... no wonder it was Freud's favorite Dickens' novel! And the chapter where David and Agnes finally become engaged was so very romantic... I also kept thinking about Dickens own life throughout reading this (he said it was semi-autobiographical).

My only critique is that Dickens was very obviously paid by the word in writing this. What he could have said in one page went on for many. But on the flip side, that was part of the charm of the book too. It was nice to not be hurried and to enjoy some delicious description and language that only Dickens can make so interesting.  Not to mention, my vocabulary was quite improved with reading this book!

I Recommend it wholeheartedly.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The clock is ticking...(Shayla's item #1, #2 and #3 in progress)

Okay, okay, I'm here at last.  So sorry... too bad I wasted 2 months of the time I could be getting things done for this project.  Or did I?

Actually, when Amanda and I first talked about this when we turned 29 in September, I actually wrote down 28 things (I need to find 2 more still, and I kind of wonder if the rest of my 28 things are actually do-able in one years time considering the pace of life)  So let me see, have I actually accomplished anything yet?

Create 2 new pieces of choreography...check and check!

  I didn't think this would be happening as quickly as it did, but due to the fact that I spent all my budget for my ballet company on costumes (which we desperately needed), I had to come up with all the choreography myself for the concert we had last month.

It was insane, and I feel intensely drained and like I need to go hibernate for a month to recover, but hey it's worth it if I can check something off my list, right?  and I got two checks from that one, even better!  (I'm a little type A, I know... remember when getting a sticker was enough incentive for you to do something as a kid?  Yeah, that will probably still work on me... just sayin')

#3 on my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30 is to read David Copperfield... in progress!  To be honest, I don't think I would have started it if I had realized that it's almost 1,000 pages long, but I'm on Chapter 18 and making good progress, and it has redeemed Charles Dickens standing in my eyes... I loved Tale of Two Cities and who doesn't love a Christmas Carol, but the last Dickens I read was Great Expectations (No disrespect intended, but what was the point, really Mr. Dickens?)

So, onward with David Copperfield and on to my 4th item on my list...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Music to my ears

Since Shayla is super busy with being amazing, I thought I would post my second goal.

  • Play each song in the Hymn book for at least 10 minutes before my birthday.
Why, you may ask? I am often asked to play the piano in relief society and it would sure be helpful if I had played the song they are requesting.  Even if it's only 10 minutes, I am at least then semi-familiar with every song in the Hymn book.  I'd like to also have the Primary Songbook under my belt, but I'm not sure I can commit to that quite yet.  So there you have it, goal #2 - although this won't be accomplished for awhile.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rough Draft....but working on my goal.

Chapter 1

Just as he honed his attention, a bird started to sing outside Paul’s classroom window. Paul thought about the 27 things he could be doing outside with that bird, instead of being stuck inside with math right this very minute. 

“Think, think think. Aha!”  His best friend, Jocelyn, had been really sick yesterday and had gone home. He was sad to see Jocelyn sick, but thought she was very lucky to get out of school.

“Maybe if I tell the teacher I’m sick, I can go home?” he wondered. As the bird continued to cheer him on, he staggered over to his teacher.
 “Mrs. Scott? Can I call my mom? My tummy hurts; really bad.  I need to go home.” He peeked up at his teacher, and she looked back at him.

“Are you really sick Paul? Are you telling the truth?” she wanted to know.
Paul thought and thought.  “Yes, Mrs. Scott, I really am.” So, off to the office he hiked to call his mom.

While Paul sat in the office waiting for his mom, he planned out the rest of his night. Digging for buried treasure, conquering a ship full of pirates, practicing his goal kicks; yes, that would be a good afternoon.

His mom strode into the office, worry on her face. “Paul, honey, are you all right?” she asked.

Putting on his best sick face, he cried, “I’m very sick mom, and my tummy hurts. I need to go home, please?”

After the short ride home, she marched him into the house and took his temperature.  Frowning, she mumbled something that Paul didn’t understand.

Paul hopped off the kitchen counter and zoomed over to the back door. “Mom? Do you think it would be all right if I went outside?  I promise to stay in the backyard.” Paul knew he always had to stay where his mom could see him.

Frowning again, his mom looked at him.  “Paul? You don’t look sick. You don’t feel sick.  Are you really sick?”

“Uh-oh,” thought Paul, “I think she knows.” He coughed into his hand a few times.

“Paul, you didn’t have a cough before.  You need to tell me the truth.”  She kneeled down on the cold tiles next to him.

Paul heard the warning in her voice.  “Well, I really like school, mom, I do! But it’s such a nice day, and Jocelyn wasn’t there, and math, mom….I don’t like math.”

She stood up and folded her arms. His mom and dad had talked to him many times about right and wrong.  Telling a lie was definitely wrong.  He knew that for sure. “I’m sorry mom,” Paul said, hanging his head down low.  He ran past the kitchen table and hugged his mom’s legs.“I won’t do it again.”

“No, you won’t,” she agreed, looking into his eyes with a sad face.  “We have to go tell your teacher the truth.  You also need to finish school today.”

Paul knew he was in trouble now.  He had to go tell his teacher the truth! 

Chapter 2
As they walked down the hall at school, Paul tried to figure out the best way to talk to his teacher. As he walked in, he was glad to see that everyone was at recess. He would only have to confess to his teacher, not anyone else.

“Paul?  What are you doing here?  I thought you were sick!” His teacher exclaimed.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Scott; I told you a lie.  I didn’t want to do math and I was lonely without Jocelyn here, so I said I was sick so I could go home.” Paul said as he looked down at the floor.

“That was wrong Paul, and I really want you here at school.  It’s important for you to learn math, so you can get smarter and smarter.  I know we can do it together!” she said, as she knelt down in front of him.

Paul agreed to try, so Mrs. Scott let him run out to recess for a few minutes. He worked like a busy beaver the rest of the week. With his best friend Jocelyn back at school, it was easier to work. Even math didn’t seem so bad. 

Chapter 3
But on Monday…disaster!  He found out he was going to have a test on Friday on fractions, which just didn’t make any sense.  Why would you want to split your cookie with anyone?  Even though he did all his homework, and his mom, dad, teacher, and Jocelyn said he would do great, he wasn’t so sure. 

Friday morning Paul couldn’t make himself get out of bed. When his mom finally dragged the covers off of him, he moved slower than a snail getting dressed, brushing his teeth and combing his hair. When he had five minutes to be out the door to the bus, his mom hollered for him to come down.  “Are you sick little guy? How come it took you so long to get ready today?”

“Yes!” thought Paul. “If I’m sick, I can stay home and no math test!” Out loud he mumbled, “I don’t feel very good mom, I guess I better stay home.” 
His mom leaned down and looked into his eyes.  Her blue eyes were very serious.  “Now Paul, are you telling the truth?  Are you really sick or are you just nervous about your math test?”  Paul thought long and hard.  On one hand, he really didn’t want to take the test.  On the other hand, he knew that if he lied again, he would lose his TV, video game, and computer privileges. In the end, telling the truth won. 

“Mom, I just didn’t want to take the test.  I’m not really sick. Can’t I stay home anyway?” If he was telling the truth, his mom might just let him stay home just this once.

Two minutes later, he was on his regular seat on the bus, feeling pretty sad.  When class started, his teacher announced that instead of taking the test, they were going to have a special game. The game would show her what they had learned about fractions.  “Yes!” cried Paul as he jumped out of his seat. He was able to answer all the questions, and he scored the winning point for his team!

Chapter 4
After his class came back from lunch, Paul started to feel bad.  It was worse than bad.  It was positively yucky.  He felt like there were drums pounding in his head, and marshmallows stuck up his nose.  During reading time, he just put his head down on his desk.  When his teacher came over to see why he wasn’t reading, he whispered, “I am sick Mrs. Scott. I can’t read.”

She peeked at the clock. “It’s only ten more minutes until recess.  Can you read until then?”  Paul nodded and tried to read his favorite book, Pirates Play Ping Pong, but he couldn’t even laugh when Peg Leg Pete tried to teach his parrot to play ping pong.  Recess finally came, in what felt like seven hours.

As everyone spilled out the door, Mrs. Scott noticed Paul was not running his usual cheetah speed out the door.  “Are you really not feeling well Paul? I didn’t believe you since you didn’t tell the truth last time.” she confessed.

Hiking once again to the office, he called his mom. “Mom, I’m really sick, will you come get me?”  Silence. “Mom?  Are you there?”

“I’m here, Paul.  Are you really sick?  You know what will happen if you lie again, right?” mom warned.

Paul understood now how important it was to tell the truth.  If he had told the truth all along, he would be home in bed by now with some good medicine to help him feel better.  After a few more minutes of telling his mom how sick he really was, she finally decided to come get him.

After Paul slurped down some chicken noodle soup, his mom helped him climb into bed.  “I’m sorry you are sick Paul, but I hope you learned that telling the truth is so important.”

As he drifted off to dreamland, Paul muttered, “I won’t forget,” and he really meant it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gonna make it...

About a year and a half ago, maybe more, I started writing a children's book. I was really excited, since I have wanted to write since I took a great literacy class in college.  I got about half way through the story, and sent it off to a couple of friends, who shared their comments & critiques.  Then I got stuck.  Major stuckage.  I blamed it on being busy....which I know I was.  I blamed it on Paul...who still takes up a considerable amount of time and his fair share of attention. (He may need a sibling, it's possible.)  But the main issue, is I don't know where to take the story now.  So, here is my first goal.
  • Dust off my story and finish it!
It will be figurative dust, as the draft is on my computer, but I'm going to finish it.  Even if never goes anywhere (publish etc.) I will be pleased to have this goal accomplished.  And who knows, maybe I'll just be rich and famous, and become the most acclaimed children's author in all history.  Well, at least I'll have a book written.