Starting Something New-ish

So its been a while folks and lots of new things have happened.

First, Joey and I got into AMC’s The Walking Dead.  We fell and we fell hard.  In fact it was like we had both taken a flying leap off the edge of a cliff and into the world of zombies and screwed up morals.   As die-hard Daryl Dixon fans and lovers of all things in the Ricktorship, we both can talk for hours about why Carol killed Lizzie or how amazing Carl is.

Second, I stopped eating added sugars.  This includes cakes, cookies, ice cream, frozen food, fast food, less-starches and carbs.  The aim was to eat more whole foods like fruits and veggies.  Joey joined in this past weekend, limiting her food choices yet again (she’s a vegetarian for any who didn’t know).    Suddenly I had to get creative with what I put into my mouth.  Leftovers became my best friend and I was ecstatic to realize my portions sizes dropped along with my intake of the crap most Americans eat.  I had more energy, was warmer, happier and  way more adventurous when it came to trying new foods.   Today we baked sugar-free muffins and they actually turned out pretty good!  Here’s the recipe if any of you would like to try to make them yourself.

our sugar free muffins

our sugar free muffins

https://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2014/06/gluten-free-almond-apricot-muffins-recipe.html

Thirdly, I was invited to join a childhood friend in the Dominican Republic this upcoming summer.   She called me up one day and once my parents had agreed to send their eldest child overseas for a little over a week, I signed up for what would be one of the most exciting adventured of my life. The excursion includes zip-lining, climbing a mountain, beach time, helping locals with water and housing and just generally having the time of our lives.

Lastly, I take over my school paper in two weeks as editor.  I am terrified out of my mind and excited to unlock the mysteries of running my own newspaper.  I finished the templates and designs for my paper last week but am scared to actually print it.  Wish me luck, I guess!

From the world of the not-so-ordinary,

Maggie

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My Town

   I’ve been thinking about where I live lately and have written a bit about the place I am so reluctant to love.
   So here goes:

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   My town is a railroad town.  Established in 1889, at the height of the westward expansion, it is divided in half by one straight track.
   Nowadays the citizens don’t really pay attention to this once booming industry.   We now easily cross the tracks and nobody travels into tbe city by train.   But at one point around 75% of all jobs were connected to the railroad.   We were the gateway to the west and a stopping place for optimistic gold diggers.   And while we may be oblivious, a dominant peice of our town’s history still influences our day to day life.  
   For example, high school students on the south side of town are sometimes delayed in arriving at school because of a hundred car train powering in from Utah or California.  There are countless of banks and credit unions were started by the railroad and most of the senior citizens are living off their retirement from the road.   Countless neighborhoods set up by this founding industry have archetecture from its glory days.  Simple cream houses in row upon row, exsactly the same.  The buildings on Main Street are centered around the depot and its once incoming passangers.  The old Hotel Yellowstone sign still stands proud atop one if the oldest buildings. 
   And midday, if you listen closely, you can hear the noon train powering through town and switching tracks. 
   So although I’ve never been a huge fan of my town, its my town.
   “I was from a small town where nobody really expected you to leave…that doesn’t happen.”    -Taylor Swift

Watching Football

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When was that last time you watched a football game?  Since the Superbowl is drawing near and we are well into the season, the last game was probably last weekend.

My dad has a love affair with the Cowboys.  He just keeps coming back for more no matter how hard they kicked his heart last time. 

My knowledge of the game is limited.  I get made fun of when I cheer for the wrong team or ask what just happened. I get ridiculed when I yell home run when Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown.  My mom just laughed when I asked if they got the rebound.  Yet I still love sitting in a bar with complete strangers rooting for a team that won’t change the world or feed hungry children.  The spirit of football is energizing and infectious.  Hearts rize, fall and break in a single moment because some player touched the ball before someone else. 

We were in Seattle for Christmas one year and attended the Seahawks vs. 49ers games on Christmas Eve.  We decided to be 49ers fans since the stadium was awash with blue.    My red jersey with Smith written on the back irked the guy behind me who was well into his cups by the end of the 1st quarter.  Soon we were tossing insults and peanut shells back and forth.  Me and Mr. Drunk Guy bonded over the mutual hate as did hundreds of others in the stadium. 

Sports bring people together.  They make people relax and forget about the more serious things of life.  Strangers talk and hug and pray in unison. 

So no matter how little I know or how many times I get corrected I will continue to love the game.

From the world of the not so ordinary,

Maggie

Me Scary

I was called intimidating yesterday.  I don’t even know what that means!   The person who had told me I was went on to say that sometimes that’s why people didn’t approach me…because I was too intimidating.

Which is funny because most of the time I’m the one with the inferiority complex, not the other way around.   I find it hard to make friends with people who are better looking or more successful  or passionate.  Am I just not friendly?  Do I scowl?   Is my tone of voice harsh?   Is that why I’m still single?  I know I’m introverted but when I am in public or meeting new people I try to be out-going and fun, hoping that they will  like me.

I was also called high-maintenance.  Boom, double whammy!   Too hot to handle, folks!  Can’t touch this, na, na, nana!

Ok, be serious for a sec.  This actually kind of hurt.  Usually when you talk about someone who is intimidating, you picture someone dark and scary and unfriendly.   And when someone is high-maintenance, they are annoying and needy.

Does that mean I am scary, unfriendly, annoying and needy?  I don’t know, I do have friends (though not as many as other people).  I am sweet, when I want something.  And I don’t think I’m scary.  In fact, I’m down-right hilarious and vibrant!

I came to the conclusion that if you are too scared to talk to me because of a first impression, then I don’t want to be friends with you anyway.  Also, I shouldn’t be so scared to talk to those people I think are intimidating or high-maintenance.

Did you know? You probably did.

I bought some plants the other day and re-potted them in their own colorful pots.  There was a spider plant that had long delicate stems, two tiny cactus-like plants and a twisted bamboo plant.  I wanted to see if I could plant things and didn’t realize it was November and kind of a little out of season to be gardening.

Nevertheless I bought these lovely creatures and they sit still in my windowsill, soaking up the little sunlight they can.

THINGS PLANTS DO FOR YOU:

  1. Plants convert CO2 into O2 for us, humans, and we in return convert O2 into CO2 for them.
  2. They brighten a room, thus lightening your mood.  Most have bright colors and graceful lines which aligns your brain and sooths it.
  3. They smell good, even if they aren’t flowers their naturally cool dirt-y odor is breathable and relaxing.
  4. They help with depression.  If you are stressed being around a plant helps you breathe and takes you to a natural, calm place.

Buy some plants, go outside, eat your veggies.  All things I am trying to do to get myself out of this dreadful winter funk.

Also check out Howcast’s How to Detox Your House with Plants:

 

 

from the world of the not-so-ordinary,

Maggie

My (annoyingly teenager-y) Playlist and Other News

  1. Night Changes by One Direction
  2. Steal My Girl by One Direction
  3. Animals by Maroon 5
  4. Blank Space by Taylor Swift
  5. Ex to See by Sam Hunt
  6. Billy Brown by MIKA
  7. Grace Kelly by MIKA
  8. The Last Goodbye by Billy Boyd
  9. Edge of Night by Billy Boyd
  10. The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez

It’s unacceptably mainstream but these songs make me feel good and my day brightens.  Hopefully my taste in bands and artists improve with maturity but for now, here’s where I’m at.

blood drive

In other news, I got Joey to sign up for a blood drive at school!   She’s so nervous but I’m excited to donate.  Needles aren’t really my thing but I know if I ever need blood I’ll thank the person who donated it.

from the world of the not-so-ordinary,

Maggie

Writing to be Understood

I don’t know how many people I have heard say this.  Authors and teachers and books and speakers have all uttered this in one form or another.

Write to be understood.

And I do try to follow this sage advice but I don’t feel the desire to have the world understand me.  No matter how hard they try, nobody will ever fully understand me and I don’t know how my writing could possible reveal part of me for my readers.  So I revised the statement.

Write to understand.

Now that one I can relate to.

One author who has my loyalty and admiration is James V. Smith, Jr.  He wrote a slim how-to book titled The Writer’s Little Helper.  Please look up the book.  It is fantastic!

Anyways in this little book there is a chapter called Writing to be Understood, hence the name of this post.  Smith talks about figuratively writing so that your work is readable and comprehensible.  That the more words per sentence the less the reader will understand and sentences that are simple and effective portray “a fact, action or paint an image”.

He also has a section within the chapter dubbed The Passive Voice Defined.  He states that amateur writers “abuse” the passive voice often and that half the time they don’t know they are doing it.    The passive is simply the object doing something to the subject.  Such as: Vegetables are eaten by Joey.  The key word is “by”.  If something is done by something else it is most likely the passive voice.   The active voice on the other hand would be something along these lines: Joey eats vegetables. 

I started to notice this infestation in my papers at school, my post drafts and my day-to-day journals.  I found a few of my own sentences and turned them around and lo and behold they fit and flowed within the passage!

Moral of this Post:  Write to understand, try not to use the passive voice and read The Writer’s Little Helper.