Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Day I (Almost) Swooned

    And no, no handsome men were involved. Well, unless you count my dad, who I think is definitely pretty handsome. But then, I might be biased ;)

    If any of you know my sister, you know that when she gets an idea into her head, it's impossible to get her to give it up. So when she heard that the Red Cross was doing a blood drive at the mall near our house, she was determined to go. As my dad donates blood pretty regularly, he didn't mind taking her as well. I had completely forgotten about their plans until the night before "the day" and by the next morning my sister had convinced me to come along and donate my blood, too. (This convincing mainly consisted of reminders that this was at THE MALL which happens to contain A BOOKSTORE)

Emily (r) and I looking through the Blood Drive info packet

    Totally willing to give up a pint of my blood for a chance to wander the bookstore (who wouldn't?) I tagged along with my Emily and my dad, as well as my mother, who decided this was the perfect picture-taking opportunity. (My mother would have given blood as well, but she has a low platelet count which prevents her from doing so)

They took my dad first, and then I was next.

My dad in "the chair"

    By this time I was getting a little nervous. The nice Red Cross lady took my temperature (do I have a fever? Maybe I have a fever???) and then checked my blood pressure (I DO have pretty low blood pressure normally...maybe it'll be too low...) and my iron levels (I didn't eat a steak this morning, my iron HAS to be low, right?) and then took my pulse (Maybe I won't have a pulse! Oh, wait....) Not exactly pleased with my perfect health, I then sat down at a closed-off computer to answer more health questions. It took rather a long time to fill out all my information because the computers kept glitching. While I was sitting there waiting, I saw my sister wandering around. Confused because I had heard them call her name earlier, I looked to my mom, who shrugged and then told me, "She didn't weigh enough for her age to give blood."

File:Oh really.gif

    By the time I was finally able to go out and sit in the chair to actually give blood, I was just ready to get it over with so I could go to the bookstore. I don't mind telling you that I was VERY nervous when she poked the needle into my arm (I didn't look when she did it. That definitely helped) Honestly, though, it was just a little prick and sitting there while they drained the life out of me didn't hurt at all ;) In fact, I thought, This isn't bad at all. I could do this all day.

Ugh. No, this is not a flattering picture of me.
    But then...she took the needle out and as soon as she did, I began to feel a little nauseous and my vision started getting splotchy. The blood drive had a wonderful supply of cookies, soda, and juice on-hand, so my mom ran and grabbed me a sprite. Another nurse got me some wet paper towels to put on my head. I felt really ridiculous, but I can't deny that it helped. After a few minutes, I tried to sit up.

    This is perhaps the biggest mistake I have ever made. Everything went black. I was still conscious, but I couldn't see anything, and I couldn't really hear anything except for noises that sounded far, far away. I felt sick and terrible and all I could think of was, "I want to go to the bookstore!"

    No, the bookstore did not happen that day.

    It took us almost an hour to actually leave the mall after that because anytime I'd feel better, I'd try to get up and then everything would kind of turn into splotchy black spots and I'd feel dizzy. The sprite didn't help much because I don't like to drink soda, and since I wasn't used to the carbonation it kind of upset my stomach. However, I had some salty pretzels which really did the trick- I really, really wanted some salt. (You know I was craving that mineral!!!)  Of course, I got braces about a month ago so I couldn't actually eat the pretzels- I could only suck the salt off of them. So basically I was lying down in the middle of the mall with cold cloths all over my head, a barf bag on my lap (which thankfully I didn't have to use) while sucking pretzels. Thankfully, I am confident enough to pull this look off. ;)

    I also had some apple juice and a cookie, which helped, too.

    Overall, though, I am really glad I did it. Apparently the blood I donated is enough to save three people's lives, which definitely puts a little lightheadedness in perspective. And my sister got her due a couple days later when she accidentally cut her  finger  and lost a lot of blood (for a finger, anyway). But my dad glued her cut together and it seems to be okay now.

    Also, I got to lay around the rest of the day and watch Audrey Hepburn movies. So that part was pretty nice, too ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Stay-At-Home Daughter Interviews: Emily K.

Can you believe it's been nearly a year since the last time I did one of these interviews? I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy learning about other people's lives. (in a non-creepy way, of course;) This interview is with Emily K, and I think it's a great post to help start off the new year. You can find Emily's blog here.

Emily K.

1. Tell us a little about you and your family.
I'm Emily --  daughter to two amazingly-wonderful parents, and older sister to one pretty awesome girl.  I'm a chronic creator, avid reader, Trekkie, Texan, homeschool graduate, and college senior.  I speak fluent movie quotes (and whale ;) ), enjoy contra and swing dancing, canoeing, good conversations, tea & fuzzy socks, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.
I'm currently working on earning my BSBA in Computer Information Systems from Thomas Edison State College through College Plus.

2. Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home daughter?
Well, I never really had a desire to move out as soon as I finished high school.  I was considering commuting to a college an hour away, but ended up deciding to work on my degree from home.  This has enabled me to maintain the flexible school schedule I've enjoyed so long.

3. Are you and/or your family involved in any specific ministries? If so, what are they?
Not any "official" ministries, but we are always practicing the art of hospitality with our friends and church family.  There is always someone at the house or a meal to be shared.  We also co-host monthly contra dances.  These aren't a ministry per-se, but it has been neat to see so many people have fun through something that the Lord blessed us with.

4. Could you tell us what a typical day of yours looks like?
To be honest, I don't think I have many "typical" days. :P  Every day seems to bring new adventures.  One of my mom's favorite maxims is "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break." ;)  Lately, my days have been filled with studies, hospitality, travels, dancing, frisbee, and hand lettering projects.

5. What are some ways you like to relax?
I'm happiest when I'm creating whether that be with pen and paper, needle and thread, rubber stamps and ink, or my camera.  Sitting down and letting pent-up creative juices flow is such a great feeling.  Especially when I don't have to worry about how big of a mess I'm making. ;)

6. What is one weakness/character flaw you’re trying to overcome (be honest! :)
I've been learning a lot about trusting in God's timing.  About holding my plans with open hands and trusting that the Lord knows best and that He is holding my future in His oh so capable hands..  My own plans for the latter half of this year were turned upside down so I've had a lot of practice lately. ;)

7. What are some names you’d love to name your future kids?
Hehe... The only reason I have any names picked out is because when my sister was little, she started planning out all her kids and "claiming" names.  I had to start claiming a few or she'd get all the good ones. ;) For boys, I'm partial to: Raymond, Timothy, and Paul.  For the girls: Ashley, Audrey, and Lindsey.

8. What’s the best part about being a stay-at-home daughter?
Getting to be a part of everything that's going on!  If I was away at college, I'd be missing out on so much.

9. Is there a particular Bible verse/story that’s especially close to your heart?
I've been reading a lot in Philippians lately -- it has so many good passages.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

10. Name a favorite movie that starts with an I.
I.Q. starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, and Walter Matthau.  It's a sweet (and mostly clean) romantic comedy that tells the story of a car mechanic who works to impress a girl with the help of her uncle -- Albert Einstein.

11. What are the top 5 songs played on your ipod/mp3 player? (or just 5 of your favorite songs) 
Home by The Piano Guys
The Parting Glass by The High Kings
Another Day in LA by Indigo Swing
Add To The Beauty by Sara Groves
You Are My Vision by Rend Collective Experiment

12. Have you encountered any criticism with being a stay-at-home daughter? If so, how do you handle it?
To be honest, I haven't come across much.  There's quite a bit of confusion regarding my college plans, but most of my family and friends have been very supportive.

Thanks, Emily! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes

So today (the 6th of January) is commonly believed to be the birthday of the legendary detective known as Sherlock Holmes, of Baker Street. And what do you know? We even have a blog party to celebrate.

The Good Old Index of Questions

1.  When and how did you first encounter Sherlock Holmes? Well, I don't remember a time I wasn't aware of the character of Sherlock Holmes- I was always a fan, even before I read the books, which you can probably blame on Disney's The Great Mouse Detective. I think there were one or two of his stories in my Abeka readers as well that I read in middle school. However, it was in my first year of high school and I was taking a homeschool co-op English class when I really, truly became a fan after one of our required reading books was The Hound of the Baskervilles. After finishing that, I got the complete stories from the library and read all of them in about a month.

2.  Please share a fact or two about yourself related to Holmes.  (You've read the whole canon, you've been to Baker Street, you're an official BSI member, etc.) Haha. Well, I have read the whole canon, and he's also the one who got me into mysteries in general. And possibly he is also the one who got me fascinated with the violin. 

3.  What are three of your favorite Holmes adventures? Oooh, this is difficult. I do like "A Scandal in Bohemia" (although I feel like no one ever adapts this one into film correctly- they always get Irene Adler wrong!) but I also like "The Dying Detective" and "The Yellow Face." Though the last two stories are from later books, I think the best stories are found in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."

4.  What draws you to the Sherlock Holmes stories? Part of it is that I simply love how eccentric Holmes is. But I do love trying to solve the mysteries and just the whole mysterious-but-old-fashioned "feel" that the stories give.

5.  If you were going to give Sherlock Holmes a birthday present, what would it be? I'd find him a super fascinating. mind-boggling mystery for him to solve, of course.

6.  If you could climb into a Holmes story and replace any one character for a day, who would you like to be? Maybe Violet Hunter in "The Copper Beeches". She's one of my favorite of his clients, and one of the few women who don't seem to really annoy him. I'd like to think that I wouldn't annoy Holmes. ;)

7.  Please share some of your favorite Holmes-related quotes!

"Crime is common, logic is rare."

“I never can resist a touch of the dramatic.” 

"Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.” 

“As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Writer-ly Goals (for 2015)

I have always been a fan of lists. Maybe it's because I'm a naturally forgetful person, but I find making lists is infinitely helpful. Even if I end up eventually losing them, writing lists down does help me remember what I'm trying to do in the first place.
.All right, this is without a doubt my Philippa Kohl.
{pic from here}
a look at who I picture as my main character in the 1906 historical

I'm especially buckling down on my writing. I'm going to make goals and stick to them. Eventually I want to get on a three-book-a-year cycle, where each year I have a book I'm publishing, a book I'm editing, and a book I'm just beginning. That I way I figure each individual book will get about three years of "cooking," yet I'll be able to work on other things as well. (I decided to do this when I realized that even if I gave each of my stories but a full year of my undivided attention, it'd still take me thirty years to finish all the ideas I have written down. SOMETHING had to be done.)

Thus I've decided to post all of my current WIPs here on my blog for both remembrance and accountability. Plus, you're much less likely to lose a computer list than you are a scrap of paper.

This year I'll probably be working on more than three stories, since I have a handful of books that are half-way (or even over halfway) finished. So while I'm not really planning on starting anything new, I have several things I'd like to finish.

Writing Goals For 2015

Publish Hidden Pearls, for real this time. Since there's only about ten chapters left that need final-tweak editing, it really should happen this year. I'm hoping I will be publishing it by the end of this month.

Finish writing/editing Refining Rosemary- this will (probably) be the next book I ready for publication.

Finish 2014's NaNo project. This, like Refining Rosemary, is a shorter book so it shouldn't take me too long.

Finish the super-secret fairy tale novella I started last month.

Finish the first draft of another super-secret project. (hint: it's a historical that takes place in 1906-07, and it may or may not be related to the maple-syrup-and-pancakes post here)

Start my first draft of a certain retelling of something (that's not a fairy tale!) that I've plotted and outlined in great, GREAT detail over last year. (Really, y'all. You should see my outline. It's monstrous. I've even made maps and histories and all that jazz)

Work on (at least a little!) my first mystery that I have plotted but have let languish for months now.

There's also one story that I have a first draft on, but I'm having difficulty because my computer ate it up and spit it back out in a wordpad document that changed it all into almost-unreadable html, and I haven't figured out how to fix it...once I do recover it, that may take priority over those last two items on my list.

This is a big list for me, but I know that if I keep myself from getting distracted. (internet. *cough, cough*) I can make some real progress. Fellow writers. what are your goals for this year? I'd love to hear about any forthcoming novels I can look forward to reading! :D

Monday, December 29, 2014

Classics Club Round-Up 2014

This year was a big one- I moved, I entered my first writing contest, I got braces, and I applied for college. I'm very much looking forward to what 2015 has to bring!

Classic Club Books read:

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (reread)
Magic For Marigold by L.M. Montgomery
The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N Southworth
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

This Year's Total Total:19

Overall Classic Club books read: 49

I had meant to finish all fifty books this year- ending with Tolstoy's War and Peace- but December was pretty much a bust because I couldn't go to the library. But hey: I have an entire year to read that last book now ;)
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