Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Hello again!
    Phew... so, this post is just going to be a quick update about my Gateway testing. I went in and took my Social Studies Gateway yesterday -- and it was actually pretty awesome! The topic ended up being the art, architecture, religion, political/legal system, and economy of the Byzantine Empire. Not only can I write pages about that... but I did! Five of them, just a bit over what I wrote on the Science Gateway. When I first opened up the testing packet and saw "BYZANTINE EMPIRE" written at the top, I may or may not have said, "Yes!! Thank you, God!" ....yeah. My testing proctor and my nurse both laughed at me -- oh, who am I kidding? I laughed at myself. So, not only did I write (type, whatever) a ton, but I also finished my essay over half an hour early! Yay me! I was just so relieved that I didn't have to write about the Latin American Revolutions (though I suppose that means I did all that last-minute studying and cramming for nothing, doesn't it?). Since I was done early, I basically just got to sit there and "color"... I don't know exactly why I put quotes on the word "color", since that is what I was doing, but for some reason the word just doesn't seem to fit. I had finished a drawing I was working on, and was using colored pencils for a finishing touch -- how's that? Haha. Maybe when it's completely done, I'll take a picture and upload it for you.
    It's so weird... I feel like I might have done better on my Social Studies essay than the Science one! I never would have thought that might happen in a million years. Of course, I won't know for a while what my actual scores are, but I do feel fairly confident that I at least passed both of them. I can't wait for my scores to arrive!
     I'm a bit sad, too. See, today is the last day  before spring break -- we don't have school tomorrow, or all of the next week, either! I mean, it will be nice to be able to relax, read, draw, play music, etc. a bit more, but I'm going to miss my friends and my classes. Hopefully, the break won't feel too long... otherwise, I may just go insane at home with all of my family and the animals! (No offense, guys... you know I love ya!) 
     I know I said this post was going to be just a quick update. I lied. I've been writing more poetry lately, in a little journal my sister gave me that says "this is what LIFE looks like" on the front. Since I've got a few minutes before the bell rings for class, I'll go ahead and type one of the poems up for you! It's one of my favorites, and I wrote it just the other day.

Why do I like to read? they ask me.
It's an impossible question to answer,
Because there are so many answers that I could give.
I like to read because:
It's so easy for me, and so thrilling, to imagine myself as a character.
Because so often, I can sympathize with those in the story.
Because books are magical -- they let you escape this world and travel to another; they let you go on adventures without moving a muscle.
Because I am a writer myself. And I know that books are much, much more than the same
Twenty-six letters in a slightly different order.
Because it is quiet, and calming, and peaceful.
But also because I'll be jumping out of my seat in excitement.
Because even if I've read a book before, I will still experience that rollercoaster of emotions as I watch it all play out again.
Because the characters are my friends who will never leave me, so long as I never choose to leave them.
Because the plot, unlike life, is consistent and will never change.
Because books teach me important lessons -- about family, friendship, bravery, beauty, love, hope, strength, and so much more.
Why do I like to read? they ask me.
Do they really expect a one- or two-sentence answer?

Have a great day everyone. I'll post again soon!
~ Mattie

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Testing Tuesday

Hello everyone~!
    First of all: Happy late Easter! I hope you all had a great weekend/holiday! I know that I did. We went over to my grandmother's house for Easter; my grandparents, aunt, cousin, uncle, mom's cousin (second cousin?), brother, sister, mom, dad, sister's boyfriend, and I were all there. It was pretty fun! What all did you guys do? Go anywhere, meet anyone?
    So, this week at school, all of the sophomores across the county are taking the Gateway. In case you didn't know: the Gateway is an essay that you have to write and pass in order to graduate high school. There are two different essays -- Biology and World History. Yesterday, we took the science one. It wasn't terrible.... well, it wasn't good, either. But I suppose it could have been worse. See, I would have been okay with just about any topic (ecology, parts of the cell, etc.) except for genetics. Genetics are horribly confusing. Whoever decided that high schoolers should have to learn about genetic variety, structure of DNA, and expression of genes/traits is a horrible person. And of course... the one topic that I was desperately hoping not to receive was the one I was stuck with! But, hey, I did manage to write nearly 5 pages! Hopefully some of that writing answered the questions I was given. The Gateway is graded on a scale of 1 to 5; 3 is passing. I'm pretty confident that I got at least a 3, but it would take a miracle for me to receive a 5 on the genetics essay.
    Tomorrow, I'm taking the World History Gateway. I'm not sure what topic I'll get for that one, either. But, it has been narrowed down to three possible subjects: the Byzantines, the Mongol Empire, and the River Valley civilizations and technologies. Personally, I'm hoping for the River Valley topic; they were a lot of fun to learn about, so writing about them shouldn't be too hard! The Byzantine Empire wouldn't be super terrible, either. So the only topic that I'm not wanting to write about is the Mongols. They did so much, and there were so many different leaders! How am I supposed to remember who was who, and who did what, and where exactly they invaded? I'm sure that the documents they give us will help, but I'm still hoping for one of the other two main ideas. Good news is, though, even if I do have to write about the Mongols, I'll probably still do better than I did with genetics. There are a lot of names and dates to remember about the Mongol Empire, but hey, that's likely the most amount of detail they'll ask for. If I can, I'll definitely add more (you do get graded on previous knowledge and development of ideas, after all), but I won't have to worry as much about remembering every little thing.
     Well, wish me luck!

     UPDATE: Just got to AP World History. My teacher just said that she made a mistake, there are two other possible topics we might have to write about tomorrow that NO ONE IS PREPARED FOR!!! They are: the Indian Class Structure, and Latin America in general!!! THIS IS NOT GOOD. I REPEAT: NOT GOOD. I NEED STUDY TIME BUT GATEWAY IS FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING!!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

....Oops, I meant to publish this yesterday. Oh well! It's "Writer's Wednesday".... on a Thursday! Enjoy

Hello! It's me...
    I was wondering -- if you wanted to hear about my idea for this book I'm writing!
    Don't worry, I'm not going to keep quoting Adele lyrics at you. Even though they are pretty amazing~!
    So, I actually got this idea from someone else; however, she isn't planning on writing it, and I thought it was pretty cool.... so I've adopted it as my own! I've already started putting my own little twists on it.
    ....I probably ought to tell you what the actual idea is now.
    I'm going to write a book, where the main character falls in love with the reader. A couple books like this already exist, but hopefully mine will still be unique! The one thing that I can't decide on is whether the main character will be a boy or a girl. Thoughts? Let me know what you think!
     I'm already working on... three?... other stories with my friend Kathryn. And, I've got a novel going that takes place in the future -- I'm working on Chapter 5 for that one. I'm hoping that it won't get too confusing/overwhelming, with so many different projects going on at once! My brother (James) keeps telling me that I shouldn't keep starting new books, and that I should just focus on one. He's probably right.... but the thing is, I'll get this awesome idea for a novel, and feel a very intense need to write it down before I forget it. And these new ideas are always so exciting, that I want to start working on them right away! *sigh* The struggle of being an author... or an almost-author, I guess?
    My mom told me that I ought to start looking at magazines and submitting articles to them. I think that would be really cool, but the problem is, I don't know which magazines I would want to submit to! There are just so many. Oh, and I looked up information about writing magazine articles... and they're supposed to be pretty short, usually no longer than two or three pages. I love writing long, detailed things.... how am I going to condense all of my writing into one or two pages?! I'll figure it out eventually, I guess... hopefully the magazines like my writing, when I submit it!
    Well, I'll post again later! Have a great week!
~ Mattie

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thoughtful Things on Thursday

Hi guys~!
   I told you I would post again soon, didn't I? And now I'm delivering :)
   Tomorrow, we don't have any school... I'm a bit sad about that. Sometimes, I really don't understand the point behind long weekends...! Oh well, at least I'll have extra time to read/write/draw/sing/play music. I hope. After all, we've been doing a lot of stuff around the house -- replacing the entertainment center, building a pantry, painting the front door, and other things too!
   Lately, I've been working more on my drawings, as well as writing poetry. Some of my poetry is rhyming/lyric, but most of it has been spoken-word, or freestyle. Honestly, I feel like there's more room to be creative and write about anything and everything inside a spoken-word poem! You don't have to worry as much about finding words that rhyme with each other. Though, if you can find a couple rhymes and you throw them in, that sounds pretty cool too!
   Here's one of my latest poems. I wrote it just yesterday. It's not very long, but I think it's one of my favorites right now.

I forget what it feels like
To be happy
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like.
Deep, dark, drowning in fear and sorrow.

I forget what it feels like
To be sad
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Bright,  blissful, a bit bubbly.

I forget what it feels like
To be afraid
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Useful,untouchable, upbeat.

I forget what it feels like
To be alone
Right now is not one of those times.
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Sad, searching, stuck.

I have never experienced a time
When I felt
I hope that I never do.
Because even to feel sad,
Or afraid,
Or alone,
Would always be better than to feel...
Empty, emotionless, evading others.
I hope
That always, I will be capable of
Empathizing with others,
No matter how they are feeling.
Without emotions,
What is life?

I hope you all enjoyed! I will update soon.
Have a great rest of the week and an amazing weekend, everyone!
~ Mattie <3

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Missed you guys! Here's a long post to make up for it...

Hey everyone~

    It's been forever since I've posted, hasn't it? I'm so sorry about that... but I have reasons! (Not all of them are very good reasons... but they are reasons, nevertheless.) First of all, I've not been feeling super amazingly awesome lately. I had some sort of virus a couple weeks ago -- except at first, we didn't think it was a virus! We were all convinced it was yet another line infection, and went to the hospital because I had a really high fever. Fun times. When the labs came back normal, my mom was like, "It's a miracle, she only has a normal kid illness!!" ...yep. That was not fun at the time, but I can laugh at it now! It was sad, though -- I was sick over Valentine's Day! Jake and I were planning to go out to lunch or something, but we had to cancel. However, because he's just plain awesome, he showed up at my house on Valentine's with chocolate, a card, and homemade chicken noodle soup -- so I can definitely say it wasn't all terrible! :)
     About a week after that incident, we ended up going to the hospital again.... this time, because my G-tube moved from where it was supposed to be, and we had accidentally pumped a bunch of Pedialyte into my soft tissue throughout the entire school day...! It ended being alright -- a couple X-rays, an ultrasound, and an antibiotic, and they let us go home! (Too bad it was already 5 in the morning... we were there literally all night. I slept until 2 in the afternoon when we finally got home.)
I can say that I am definitely feeling better physically -- though I'm feeling a bit guilty. My dad has been coughing a bit lately... we think he's most likely gotten the virus I had!
    This past weekend, my sister turned 18. It's so weird to think that she's a senior in high school, getting ready to graduate and go to college! And now that she's 18, she's a legal adult... she can go do things like vote, and buy lottery tickets.... it's really, really weird! I feel like she should still be about 12, and I'm still 10. Neither one of us should be in high school or college yet -- it's way too soon! I guess the saying is true, time really does fly. My little brother is already 14!!! It's not natural. I'm not supposed to be turning 16 next month! I mean, I'm totally excited for my "Sweet 16", and I really want my driver's license... but still. It's just.... it feels so weird.
    Oh, so this weekend, my sister's birthday isn't the only thing that happened! I also got to present at the Innovation in Action expo with Jake, and we represented our entire school there. And, I performed at a music festival for the Songs for Kids foundation! The Innovation in Action expo is basically another side to the regional science fair; however, unlike the science fair, it is invitation only. You have to submit a video pitch, and if they like it and think your project is interesting, then they may choose you to come and present your idea. You have only 5 minutes to present, and then there are 5 minutes for the judges to ask you questions. There can be up to 15 groups presenting, but they rarely choose that many; this year, there were only 6 groups including mine. Jake and I presented on our idea, which we call the "100% Apartments". We've researched and planned how to build an apartment complex that is as close to 100% sustainable as possible, and included technologies like trash generators, Durapanel, solar panels, cork flooring, and a ziggurat or steppe-temple shape. The expo doesn't 'grade' projects the way that the science fair does -- we still don't know exactly how well we did or if the judges like us, and there are no medals given out for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. However, sometime soon (possibly this week, actually), the judges will contact us to let us know what they thought of our idea and whether or not they are willing to help us move forwards with this idea, provide us with resources, and actually build the apartment complex. I'm super excited and can't wait to hear what they have to say!
    At the Songs for Kids music festival, there were some really good performers. They had bands and other music groups there performing -- and they also chose three kids who are connected to Songs for Kids to perform as well. I was one of those three; the other two were boys around my age, possibly older. The first boy to perform was named Nicholas, and he sang "Stand by Me". Then, I went up and played the keyboard while singing "Never Getting Back Together" and "Livin' on a Prayer"! I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten the last boy's name, but he did sing an awesome, funny song that he wrote and recorded with Songs for Kids!
    I've recently finished reading "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee -- the sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". The book was AMAZING, but at the same time... some of it made me sooo mad!!! I don't want to ruin it for any of you who haven't read it yet.... but... AGGHHHH!! It's killing me not to spoil it!! If anyone has already read it, contact me so we can talk. I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THIS BOOK!! HARPER LEE, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!!? ...Okay. I'm good now. But, even though it's driving me crazy, I do recommend this book! If you liked "To Kill a Mockingbird", you'll love (and hate) this one, just like me! :)
   Today at school, my friend Grace just  commented, "You know, in order for me to be graceful, I would have to be full of myself." ...She is very random, like me, which is probably why we hang out! And, at the Innovation in Action expo, they served dinner to the competitors and their families... and I got to hear Jake complain about the lack of hot tea. When I suggested that he get some sweet tea, his response was, "That is not tea! That is black, has been poured over ice, and is a pale substitution for tea!" ....which of course made me crack up. I think I'm going to use both of these quotes in one of the books that I'm writing... actually, I know I am! They're just too awesome not to use.

   I hope you all had a great Valentine's day... well. A great January through February is probably more accurate...! And I will try to post again later this week; I've got a few new poems that I'd love to share!

~ Mattie <3