Sunday, July 8, 2012

A New Friend, and a New Language

Close friends of my family, just came back last week from Ethiopia, with a new little girl. She is five years old, and her name is Kebba.

Already I have been over multiple times to visit (since I will be babysitting a lot, she should probably get used to me...) and I realised today when my whole family was over, just how little Amharic (the language that she speaks) I know. She is quickly learning English, but I think it must be nice to hear Amharic once in a while, even though it is only snippets of words, and with a bad accent...

So I went home, found an online Amharic dictionary, and  started figuring out some helpful words!

Just in case you ever want to speak any Amharic, I listed those words below, with the pronunciations spelt out phonetically.

Hello -  Selam
Goodbye - Chow
Thank You - Ama-siga-na-low
Mom - Amama
Dad - Ababa
Sister - Ah-hyut
Yes - Ah-ow (Sounds more like Ow)
No - Aye
Bathroom - Shinty-Baht
Please - Ih-Bah-Kesh
Excuse Me - yeh-Kerta
Maybe - men-al-bat
Right (Correct) - lick-a-naw
Wrong - lick-ay-dal-alm
Danger - Ah-da-gan-ya
OK - ishee
Stop - koom
Good Job - Go-Behz
How are you? - in-Dem-in-nesh
Bedroom - mehn-yah-tah-bayt
Stop it - tey
Nose (I knew this one already :) ) - ah-fin-cha

Something interesting I learned was that "Baht" means room. So really, "bathroom" or "shinty baht" is really "pee room" because "shinty" means "pee"

Interesting how other languages work, isn't it? I wish I could pick languages up quickly, because Kebba chatters so much that it would be easy to learn if I could! :P

Kebba AKA "wair -AYN-yah" AKA Chatterbox.

Are you fluent in a second (or more) language? Which do you want to be fluent in?

Monday, June 18, 2012

PA #27 Wall-e!

Wall-e. He is the cutest animated robot EVER!

There is a Tumblr blog called "Adventures With Walle" and this photographer is so amazing!

These are just a few of her pictures

Morning Stroll
He lost his head

Wading with Tadpoles

Now my friend Alyssa and I look pictures of her toy Wall-e (Which I got her for her birthday!).
Taking our own pictures was really fun, and once I get those pictures from her, I'll post them!


PA #26 More Harry Potter

Again, from Tumblr (I love Tumblr... it is awesome)

Funny thing actually. My friend and I were talking about Harry Potter on Google Chat, and then she said something about how she had read this quote is CoS. Later, my Mom was reading the chat (I don't know why...) and she said "Whats Cos?" (She said it like "Kah" "Oss")

It took her a while to get it.

Now, is it just me, or do those abbreviated names look like Chemistry?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

PA #25 DIY!

Do It Yourself! (DIY)

DIY projects are awesome. You can recycle old things, and you can also feel totally awesome when somebody asks you where you got something, you can say "I made it!"

These are all ideas that I have come across that I want to do! Have I done any of them yet...? No. But I will soon! Probably starting next week! :)

Recycled T-Shirt Tote Bag!

A Bag from old pants

I am going to try really hard to make the change purse soon... as in in a few days...

More on BlackOut Poetry!

Writing Reflection #8

(Whoops Ms. McLauchlan, I totally forgot to post this one, even though I did it a long time ago...)

So I had posted my blackout poetry final projects earlier in the week, and now I am back to talk about them!

So newspaper BlackOut poetry is really different. First off, it is really annoying if you have a great idea after getting most of your words down, and then the last word or two that you need, you can't find.  Even though a lot of people "piece together" the words that they need, I don't like to do that, because then it looks messy. I only did that once, and that was when I used the movie listings for my poetry, and I had to do "an" and "d" to make the word "and", but there wasn't a huge space between them...

Writing blackout poetry, I feel is harder than anyother kind of poetry. Sure, the other poetry you might need to rhyme or whatever, but you don't have to be able to find the word on an already written page before using it! Even though it is hard, I think that it is still a really great way to express poetry, because it makes you use a whole different side of your creativity!

Since this was so different from anything else we have done this semester, I found myself having to really work hard at succeding at it. It wasn't like other things where you just jot down ideas, you have to search for ideas. This obviously made it harder, but it also made it really fun!

Friday, June 15, 2012

PA #24 My top 10 all time favourite books/series!

:) The title says it all

1. Make Way for Ducklings - My absolute favourite book of all time, because it was my favourite when I was little
2. Harry Potter - Of course
3. Christy Miller Series - One of the best series I have ever read
4. Warriors - A series meant for middle schoolers, but I still love it!
5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Just... awesome
6. The Help - I really loved this book, the different POV were great, and the story line was awesome
7. The Princess Bride - Totally great! An author who can write his own book, but pretend that he is abridging another person's book? Skill.
8. Sword of Truth - a good series, though very long, I can't wait to finish them
9. Pixie Tricks - This was a series that I discovered when I was in elementary school, and I totally loved it. I haven't read it in a really long time though!
10. Willow and Twig - a sweet book. I loved this one in elementary school. I feel like I should read it again now...

Those are my top 10!

Reading and Writing Reflection #11

Reading Reflection

Writing Reflection

Reading and Writing Reflection # 10

Reading Reflection

Writing Reflection

Reading and Writing Reflection #9

Reading Reflection

Writing Reflection

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PA #23 Swimming Memes

I am a competitive swimmer, and I have been for almost 13 years. Sadly, I only have 3 or 4 practices left - ever!! Since I am in Grade 12, and going into University next year, I won't be swimming with my club anymore after the end of this season... :'(

However, on a more fun note, my coach is obsessed with swimming "memes" and admittedly, I like some of them...

So these are some of my favourites, or the ones I find are true/just really funny!

SO TRUE! Well... sorta.

I love those things... :)

P.S. If you don't get some of them, comment below, and I'll explain... some of them you might have to be a swimmer to get it right away.

PA #22 Why I have awesome friends

My friend are seriously amazing. We do the weirdest things, but it is still amazing.

Just to prove that I have awesome friends, these are most of the really weird things that we have done throughout this year!

  • When I was really sick earlier in the year, they all pitched in together to bring me a box full of books, snacks, games, crosswords, bead stuff, and cards! (Including one card that was written on the back of a pasta box)
  • We went out to breakfast at Coras on a Saturday morning to celebrate 4 different birthday
  • For our own private "Senior Skip Day" we went on a hike all day
  • We got together to sing Christmas Carols very loudly, and decorate cookies
  • As a good bye party for two of my friends who were going to Korea for 2 months, we all got together, ate pizza, played Team Trivial Pursuit, and sang Karaoke at the top of our lungs
  • We went to Festival Du Voyager together and made fools of ourselves in those things where you put your head in... (You know what I mean? Cut outs of characters with a space for your head? I think I was an owl...)
  • We can have 6 different conversations going on at once and still follow them all
  • We have an online group calendar so that we can keep track of what everybody else is doing
  • Today: I biked to Alyssa's house, took pictures of her toy Walle, and then made pizza pretzels while (again) singing at the top of our lungs to Sidewalk Prophets
  • My friend Tavia gave me a painting that her Aunt (?) had painted for my birthday :)

Most of all, you know you have the best friends when you could do something that is 100% embarrasing, and you hardly blush at all.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PA #21 More music!

This time it is lyrics though!

The Sidewalk Prophets are a Christian band, and I love them! Their lyrics are really inspiring, and I thought that I would share them with you!

This is one of my all time favourite songs from them

The Words I Would Say - Sidewalk Prophets

Three in the morning,
And I'm still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I've already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say   

Don't you love it when you know a song, and then when you read the lyrics, you hear the song playing in your head?


PA #20 An Awesome Book

My best friend Alyssa, is an aspiring writer. She has been working on a story (it is a book in my opinion) for 2 years, and she finally finished. I just finished reading it, and it was AMAZING.

Of course, there are still parts that need to be finished, but I figured I would use a blog post to tell her the best parts

First off: A book is a good book when it makes me laugh, cry, and gasp in horror/shock.
Lina = Amazing. When you call her "Tiny" it makes me think of Anais
Percy = I love that your MC is a guy, who has a heart! He is such a brave guy, even though he may not feel like it
Kane = Jerk. But I know you made him that way. (Good job with the bad guy BTW)

How dare you kill those parents?


The best part about reading her book was that it felt so much like an actual book, as in one that I would buy in McNally, that I forgot I was reading her book. Which is a good thing!

PA #19 The Groups that I have on my iPod

After writing my last post about Dala, I thought - "Hey! I should show everybody how different my taste is in music!" So... I am going to post all the different artists that I have on my iPod!

Amanda Falk - Christian artist FROM WINNIPEG!
The Beach Boys
The Beatles
Casting Crowns
Chic Gamine - A french singing group
Chris Tomlin
Jeff Deyo
Jennifer Hudson - Really? Didn't know that...
Karl Jenkins - The genius that wrote "The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace"  I (along with 300 other high school students) sang this with the symphony orchestra last year. It was AMAZING. Photo is below.

Back to the artists

Michael Buble
Michael W. Smith
Miley Cyrus & Hannah Montana (only 2 songs, my favourites from the Movie)
Pink Martini
The Rankin Family
Raul Malo
Sarah McLachlan
Mamma Mia
Sidewalk Prophets
Steve Bell
Stevie Wonder
Straight No Chaser
Taylor Swift
"Various" - Song is Blessed Be Your Name
"Various Artists" - Songs are "I Believe" and "iWorship 24/7" - which I don't remember ever downloading

What are your iPods/MP3 players filled with?

PA #18 Dala

I was listening to all my songs on my on shuffle today, and one of my favourite things to do is once the song starts playing, guess which group is singing it.
(Disney, obviously is easy)

So this one song came on, and I said "That's Dala!" (Dala is an awesome little CANADIAN group - here is their website

So I zone out some, look for the bus, and suddenly snap to attention as I realise "Hey!! They just mentioned Winnipeg!" And sure enough... they did.

The lyrics are below

Anywhere Under the Moon - Dala

Broken lines, yellow signs,
I can feel your soft shoulder
All the trees, follow me
In single file

The last power line, my cell phone died
I don’t even know your number
So I drive all the way to Winnipeg

And I could be anywhere,
Anywhere under the moon
And I could be anywhere
Anywhere but I’m with you

Midnight dream, seventeen
So afraid I’m missing something
Count the miles, to your face,
So I drive, to Winnipeg

And I could be anywhere,
Anywhere under the moon
And I could be anywhere
Anywhere but I’m with you

PA #17 Some of my own photography

I was in a photography class last semester, and I loved it. We each got a Canon Rebel camera (yuck- canon, but I got through it) and we got different assignments each week. I had tons of fun, and took all kinds of pictures of my family, friends, pets, etc.

Some of those pictures are here...

The computer decided to only let me put them on in alphabetically (by file names) so all the ones of my friend and of Oscar are grouped together...

My sister and her boyfriend at Thanksgiving

Alyssa is cold :)

This is one of my favourites. I edited it on Photoshop as well

An axe in my uncles backyard

Grapes in my uncles backyard

Criz smelling a flower...

Calypso, Alyssa's cat, basking in the sunshine

Carly... an assignment for the class, I just love her expression!

Criz... Yep.

A ladybug on our front steps

Oscar. I love him so much! He is 10 weeks old here

Watching for my Mom to come home...

He needs a haircut

He looks tired...

A stairwell in a beautiful old building

PA #16 The Cast of Harry Potter through the Years

It is just four of the characters, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco

I found this on Tumblr (I DIDN'T MAKE THEM!)

Aren't they adorable a little kids?? I miss those days...

Final Thoughts on Creative Writing

Final Thoughts on Creative Writing
Favourite Assignment
My favourite assignment of this year was the Moment project. I loved having to look back in my life and do my best to find a defining moment, Once I had finally decided on which defining moment to us, it was fun to expand on what I remembered, and to write it all down. I actually made a connection with a fear that I have lived with for a long time, a fear of wolves. While writing my Moment, I realise that that fear probably came from being scared by a “wolf” when I was young. When I had finished this project, I realised that I had really enjoyed writing it!

Least Favourite Assignment
My least favourite assignment was making my bucket list. This is not to say that I didn’t like doing it, I just liked it the least. I found it really difficult to make a bucket list, and I didn’t really like presenting it in front of the class. The best part of that assignment was making the visual representations. That part was fun, finding the pictures and using “PicMonkey” to edit them. All in all, this assignment wasn’t awful, or even close to awful. It just happened to be my least favourite of the assignments.

Friday Reading
I absolutely loved the Friday reading class! Since I am a total bookworm, having a class, once a week devoted to reading was amazing. Those few times that we had a sub on a Friday and we watched a movie instead nearly killed me, because I always looked forward to the reading classes. I think that every class, no matter what class it is should have a Friday reading class…

Monday Written Reflection
The reflections on Mondays were also fine. I liked reviewing books, (since I usually had finished the book that I had on Friday by Monday) and the writing reflections were usually fine too. However, I sometimes got a little behind, because I wouldn’t be able to finish my reflections by the time that the class was over, but I have a feeling that that was more due to the fact that I would usually write a lot more than was actually necessary

My WRN is something that I am going to keep on putting stuff into, I liked being able to have a space to just scribble down ideas, and draw different things too. If I found an interesting part of a magazine that I wanted to keep, I would paste it into my WRN. Though I didn’t use my WRN as much as I thought I would’ve at the beginning of the year, I am still satisfied. It is a really great way to keep your work for school organized.

I love my blog. I however did find it a little awkward to post stuff that is just for the course (like this) because I have a number of followers who aren’t a part of the class. Not to say that I wish that I hadn’t used this blog, because I am really glad that I did (that interview with Caragh O’Brien isn’t going anywhere!) but I do wish that some of the assignments that we were asked to post on our blog would’ve be optional or something, so that I am not flooding my follower’s dashboards. I think that a blog was a great way  to show work, just I should’ve figured out a way to do it that didn’t include my other followers.

I am still not a fan of twitter. I don’t like the layout, it is confusing, I don’t like being limited to 140 characters (NOT including the “@_________) and I just don’t like it. I am a person who loves to use lots of words when I am trying to say something, and with Twitter I can’t. My twitter account probably won’t be active much longer…

Technology in the Course
When I signed up for this course, I didn’t expect to be using a blog, or twitter or anything. However, I found that I really liked having the technological aspect to the course. It was certainly still a Creative Writing course, it is just that the main hand in box happens to be on the Internet. I think that the course worked well with integrating the technology into the course, and I also think that it gave the course a different spin than what people expected.

What I learned about myself
I learned that I am actually a lot more technologically savvy than I thought. I was able to change the look my blog a lot quicker after “Yoda” helped us, and I actually understood what I was supposed to be doing most of the time. Looking at reading, well I didn’t learn that much, because I have always loved to read, and I mostly just discovered that I still love it! When it comes to writing, I discovered, or more, rediscovered a passion for writing. I used to write all the time, but I think that I will start to again, simply because I love it! As a thinker and creator, I know that I sometimes have troubles trying to figure out what I want to write because I get distracted by other peoples ideas, but I think that I have done better this year, than ever before.

Compliments Etc...
I found that this course was really different from what I expected, but I liked it that way. Ms. McLauchlan made each assignment interesting, and I always had time to work on them in class. Sometimes however, I found that I had too much time on my hands in class, and I was done.  That might just be me, but I don't know.
All in all, I really loved this class! (And the teacher)

Advice for future CW students
Take the course! It is tons of fun, and you do really interesting stuff too! There wasn't often a dull moment, and Ms. McLauchlan almost always kept us busy. The blog is fun to keep up, and it isn't hard to do either. The writing assignments are great, and you will always be given time to finish them (which is always a bonus). I don't at all regret taking this class, and you won't either!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PA #15 Interview with Caragh O' Brien!

Morning everybody!

Some of you may remember the review that I did on Caragh O'Brien's book Birthmarked. This was an awesome book, (which I need to read again, because it was so good). Soon after I finished it, I found Caragh's website. I sent her an e-mail wondering if there was any possibility of doing an interview with her.
To my great surprise she responded very quickly with yes! So I sent her back questions, and waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, I went to go send her another e-mail, just wanting to ask if she got them, or what was going on, and I realised that I had sent the message to a non existent e-mail address. Whoops. (By the way, my e-mail is stupid, and when it sends a message back to me, saying that the e-mail doesn't exist or whatever, it puts itself in the junk folder. Then gets deleted. Technology. It is dumb.)

So I finally sent the questions to the correct e-mail, and a little bit later, I had the replies! That was quite a while ago, but I have been insanely busy with everything, and I haven't had a chance to post them until now!

So here it goes!!!

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Photo Credit

About Caragh

I wrote the first book in the Birthmarked trilogy while I was on a leave of absence from teaching high school English. Since then, I have resigned from teaching to write full time. I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and for the past 17 years, I’ve lived in a small town in Connecticut with my family. Most of my days are spent on my unglamorous couch, writing and revising, and my work makes me very happy

 How did you come up with your idea for the trilogy? How long did it take for you to realize that your story was “publish-worthy”?
The very first ideas came to me while on a road trip across the country, when I saw a drought in the southern states had dried up the lakes. That started me thinking about how people would respond politically and socially to climate change, and I wondered what sort of people would survive. Gaia’s story emerged from that initial pondering.
About three months into the project, when I was revising my complete draft, I started looking for an agent. I had little expectation that anyone would want to sign me on because I knew the odds of emerging from the slush pile were slim, but I believed I should try, just to give my book a chance. Even after I found my agent, I didn’t truly believe my novel was “publish-worthy” until Roaring Brook offered me a contract. I’ve been unbelievably fortunate.
At what age did you start writing? When did you first realize that you wanted to be published/ When were you first published?
I began keeping a journal in seventh grade, and since then, I’ve written whenever I could. I started thinking about publishing after I finished college and wrote a romance novel. That novel sold a year later, and then it took me another decade to sell my next book. Over a decade? Yipes!!

What does your writing life look like in the future? (Near or Far)

I have several writing projects in different stages lined up. I’m editing the first pass pages of Promised right now, and then I’m writing a short story for the Birthmarked series that should come out this summer. I still need a good idea for that one, frankly. Next, I have a new YA sci fi project that fascinates me, so I’m eager to return to it.

Do you have any weird writing habits/routines?
People are sometimes surprised to learn that I write all day. I try to stop for weekends and family time, but otherwise I’m pretty much always writing. There’s no point stopping what I love to do.
Any advice for aspiring young writers?
Sure. Put yourself completely in the story. See it and feel it and hear it the way your main character does, and then write down what you experience. The time spent in your own mind will be infinitely rewarding, and you’ll never want to resurface into regular life again.
Thanks a lot for doing this interview Caragh!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Authors Note and Now What

Authors Note:

When I first began this project, I was doubtful and hesitant. I didn't want to make a bucket list, not in the slightest way! Of course, with it being for a course, I couldn't exactly refuse. I am actually happy that I couldn't refuse now. Although I did find it difficult to come up with different items for my bucket list, I think that if I wasn't doing it for a course I would be able to come up with them better. I ended up really enjoying this project, especially hearing all the other people's bucket list items, which would often give me an idea for an item of my own! So although this wasn't the greatest thing at first, I ended up learning a lot about myself. Some of the items that I put down I wouldn't have expected me to want to do, but I felt an urging to put them on the list, so I did. Although I don't know whether some of the items will ever actually get crossed off, if I have them on the list that I am planning on pinning to my cork board at home, at least they will always be there, reminding me. All in all, this was actually a really fun project (in the end) and I am looking forward to crossing more of my items off of my bucket list.

Now What

I am proud to say that I have actually crossed two of the items on my bucket list off! I went on a  road trip with friends, and I went hiking. These both occurred in the same day, last Friday. Six of my friends and myself all went out to Spirit Sands Desert (near Carberry). We hiked 9.3 kilometres that day, all through sand, which seems to make it harder. I am really glad that we went, but not because I got to cross off two items. Honestly, I didn't even remember that they were on my bucket list until we were half way home!
If I were to go after another item on my list, I would probably go after #5, which is visit the Library of Congress. This is a really big one for me, because it is something that I have wanted to do, for quite a while.  Even if I couldn't stay long inside, I want to walk in and smell the wonderful smell of books, and maybe even take a couple off the shelves. It is supposedly magnificent, and I really want to see it for myself. After all, all it is going to take it me somehow getting down to Washington! Well, then I have to find it, but that shouldn't be too difficult! (I hope...) So if I break down what I need to do, it is 1) Get enough money to get to Washington 2) Go to Washington 3) Find the Library of Congress! Well it doesn't seem too hard when I look at it like that.... we'll see if it happens as soon as I want it to though

# 26

Last, but not least!

# 26 Make a Speech in front of 500+ people

# 26 For the last representation of my bucket list items, I took a screen shot of the first page of my valedictorian speech. I really want to present a speech in front of a lot of people, because when I was younger, I had terrible stage fright. Once I started being in choirs and musicals, I got a lot more courage. I know now that I have enough courage to be able to stand up in front of a huge crowd, so I want to do it!

I also had a ton of fun writing this speech, thinking back to the younger days, and I know that no matter what speech I am writing, I will enjoy it in the future

# 1 and #43

These ones are drawings that I did, because I was going to draw all of them... but it took too long. So I only did two!

#1 Swim with Dolphins
#2 Read the Harry Potter series  in 24 hours

#1 Swimming with dolphins is a dream... I love the animals and I love  being in the water. I've been to two dolphin shows before, but I have never had a chance to swim with them. This is something that I would really love to be able to do before I die.

# 43 Harry Potter has been a staple all through my childhood, and I have read through the series many times. Something that I want to be able to do is read the entire series in 24 hours.

That is 142 pages per hour! (I put the wrong number on my sheet, because I divided it wrong... :P)

And it is sideways... because I can't figure out how to rotate it...

#39 and #9

#39 Record a CD

#9 Meet the Sidewalk Prophets

# 39 Once again, this bucket list item has to do with music. I figured that since I love music so much, I should share my music with someone else. This picture is of a small part of my family's extensive CD collection

# 9 Another item that has to do with music! I discovered (through my best friend's suggestion) the Sidewalk Prophets. This is a Christian music group, and they are totally amazing! One of my favorite songs is called "Moving All The While". Yet again... they are AWESOME!

Photo Credit