Thursday, June 30, 2011

I've been Waiting a Long Time...

Back on May 17th of this year, I thought that I would try to come up with some "personal" blog. I originally thought of it as a way to voice my thoughts. I also hoped it to be some form of motivation & documentation of my personal goals while continuously working on my writing.

A month an a half later, my tiny idea is turning into something much more: Limelight Musings. While there will be some personal slop (with the occasional book review), I'm now going to try to promote making daily life greener without breaking the bank. And even better, I'll look for ways to go green through DIY projects.

Now there two, clearly divided sides about our climate and whether it is changing. But there's one thing I think we can all agree on: increasing efficiency while saving money. And in a world where corporations continue production of unsafe products, I'm going to look for ways to keep you, your home, and family safe.

Oh, and there will be challenges as time goes by. Before I actually suggest you try something, I will be attempting it first. So if nothing else, you will see my joys and struggles of accomplishing things (like home-made laundry detergent).

So welcome to my blog. As I said, this is a dream in the making, so I have posted "archives" of posts that were originally on my Facebook page. And there is already a challenge set up for this upcoming weekend!

So stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Archives: Knitting Together Some Goals & "Prince Caspian"

It's been a busy few days yet again. A lot of filling in for peeps. There was not much reading going on, but I was able to accomplish quite a few things. Including this adorable (and easy) baby beanie for MarthaLynn's baybay!

Simple Baby Beanie for MarthaLynn's future baybay!

Her little one is due about any day and I previously made some baby leg warmers, so why not add a matching beanie?

baby leg warmers for MarthaLynn Albritton Manterfield!

Knitting is a new hobby that I took up after moving down to Kentucky. And unlike most things in life, I seem to be decent at it! But it's not the only thing I've been up to since moving. And it's about time I actually post my goals/ attempted new hobbies. X's means it's done, /'s means half done.... and [ ]'s mean I'm failing at starting.

[X]-Start Knitting
[/]-Slim Down
[/]-Start A Blog
[ ]-Join A Charity Effort - DEFINITELY need to work on this!
[X]-Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
[/]Start On Some Apothecary-ing
[/] Get Back To Reading (Long List)
[ ]-One Day Combining Old Religious/Philosophy Notes With Commentary
[ ]-Try Some New Recipes

Many of you saw the making and the outcome of the homemade laundry detergent and had questions. Mostly: "Why?" My response, why not? All my political banter (ecological & healthier, etc) aside- but why start any hobby? For the thrill of it. Hobbies are fun, healthy, and a stimulating activity. 

But that's not all. There is also a joy in in setting and accomplishing a goal. Goals help you make it through a tough day and keep your head straight. And they help define you. Plus trying something new is refreshing!

That aside, I also finished up something else up: "Prince Caspian!"

Good overall, though it did not dazzle me for some reason. There's nothing much to say about the story line. I feel some things lacked enough, good, description. Frankly, reading it became a chore of finishing it. But hey, I got it done, right?

Filling in again tomorrow.. maybe I can start something new afterwards.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Archives: You Are What You Eat

Hello strangers out there. It's been awhile since I've been able to write; it's mostly thanks to another rough work week. It's also kept me from reading further in the Chronicles (at least that's my excuse). Just a reminder to those who peacefully enjoy their time off during this summer: news never goes on holiday.

With that being said, I did get to enjoy a mentally and physically stimulating documentary this week: "Food, inc." 

It's similar to "Fast Food Nation," but covers all food: from restaurants to grocery stores. And while it's now three years old, it still drives the point home. You should know what you're eating- and the company producing it. 

Here are just a few things to get you thinking: 
Noticed that beef is more marbled than it used to be? It's because most cows are being corn fed versus grass. But it's worse than gristle, it increases the risk of E. Coli.

"Though 'corn finishing' produces bigger, fatter cows in less time, corn is not a natural diet for a cow. Because of this unnatural corn rich diet, some unhealthy side effects take place. Most notably, a higher incidence of E. coli O157:H7 occurs in corn fed beef than in grass fed beef. In 1998, a Cornell University study revealed that cows fed on a natural grass diet had at least 80% less E. coli O157:H7 than grain fed cows." - NBA Food Advocate.

And the big companies that are slaughtering cows forced to eat corn, antibiotics, and hormones while confining them to small, inhumane stalls-  IBP Fresh Meats, Inc.; ConAgra, Inc.; and Cargill Inc., And Tyson - make up 80% of the market! 

But beef is not alone- conditions for chickens are just as bad. According to "Food, inc.," birds are now raised and slaughtered in half the time they were 50 years ago, but now they're twice as big! They are also confined in the worst, darkest of places. And even worse, big companies create a mountain of debt for the farmers that raise the birds. And since the farm featured was in McLean County, Kentucky, it hits close to home.

Now think, if that's "fair treatment" for animals and their associates... do you think they really care about the consumer?

Now, by no means am I trying to argue going vegan (and I have no problem with people who are). Just think about it. On that note, unless your fruits and veggies came from the local farmer's market, you could unknowingly be eating cloned or genetically altered food. Or even worse, contributing to a gigantic seed company that abuses its farmers.

So the one things to learn from all this? Eat local. Earlier this morning, my husband and I started the day in a great way by going to a local farm vendor with a good friend and her beautiful daughter.

The fabulous MarthaLynn & myself

We had so much fun! And got some great veggies for a great price! The more we talk about it, the more we're thinking of going all in: co-op. It may take some energy to find the right one, and you pay a membership- but you get great, tasty, local produce and meat in return. You're also helping local farmers from bossy, big conglomerates. 

So here we are. I haven't read much this week, but have new insight when we look at the grocery list. Now there's more effort to buy local, and if not, organic. Need to look into meat though. While Laura's lean ground beef is regional, we can't find it every week. And while we try to become smarter consumers, it's becoming more frightening that we have to defend ourselves from the side effects from capitalism.

But that's a blog for another day.

Archives: "The Horse & His Boy"

Howdy duty to whoever actually reads this.

I'm am keeping a steady pace on "The Chronicles of Narnia," by finishing Arabian Nigh- I mean "The Horse and His Boy," within two days.

I actually wrapped it up earlier, but work has kept me too busy to post until now. It's just like work to keep you from doing the things you love, eh? This is the part where I give the disclaimer that I love what I do at WPSD. But I really do.

See? I'm a happy little worker!

Anyways, I would argue that this is my favorite so far. While the main part of the story, running away, is simple; the details, characters, and other plots are fascinating! Plus the children and the horses' dream of freedom was beautiful and so real. I feel the consequences, dangers, and stress took on in the name of freedom made their dream more of a reality. It's one thing for a fantasy to come true all on it's own. It's another to make that dream work, even if it is not easy.

Even though Shasta follows the "pauper runs away and finds out he is a prince," word for word, I enjoyed his character and his development. I was impressed by his morals that were set since the beginning (like not to steal) and loved how Aslan was "with" him since the beginning. Speaking of, I still see Aslan as a God/Jesus figure, but oh well. 

Beyond Aslan's small, yet huge role, I'm surprised to note that I didn't feel any other religious undertones to this book. Not to say there is not, but it didn't feel forced like the first two books. There is arguably a trace of politics, but when is there not? Especially if an Arabesque country is fighting with an English society. It's odd to look back and see that the divisions between Western and Middle Eastern culture have lasted so long to make pop culture in the 1950's (though obviously that is not the earliest). But enough about Islam extremists war against every other religion/culture.

Aravis proved to be a strong and smart heroine. I did like that Aslan made sure she did literally feel the consequences of running away. And it's impressive that a girl written in the 50's could be more than frills.

The Tisroc (I will not add any sort of blessing) and his son Rabadash were good villains, even though we did not meet them until 3/4 through the book and they lasted a short time. The nerd in me was hoping Rabadash was going to be turned into Rapadash, but that would make him too grand.

And as a horse geek, I cannot forget to mention the horses! Bree and Hwin were great- and I liked how Bree learned the biggest lesson of them all, not the children. And if horses could talk, I believe it would be similar to Bree & Hwin's language. 

All in all, great read. But I'm finding it hard to get the motivation to read onto "Prince Caspian." I'm sure I'll push on though. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Archives: Missing Komen & Getting Involved

I'm amazed that I'm already finding so many things to write about. Even more amazing that I'm finding the effort to write outside of work (which mostly involves a day full of writing and editing).

Komen Stop In Paducah

So, the other day I was pleased to find this little surprise in my work mailbox. The only way to understand why just a few pamphlets and rubberbands mean so much to me is understand that Komen for the Cure has a special place in my heart.

First off, I must say that I am lucky enough that no one in my family or close circle of friends has dealt with the pain and grief of breast cancer. With that being said, my hometown Peoria is were Susan G. Komen is from. And my previous news station, WEEK/WHOI was very involved with the Peoria Komen affiliate. Not only did I help volunteer at a Race For The Cure before I moved, but I also produced a half hour special covering about anything you can imagine that relates to Komen: local survivors, their families, Susan's sister, Nancy's promise to help find a cure, etc.

And not only was I touched by all these stories, but I also realized what Komen for the Cure is doing for women. Not only are they fighting for a cure, but they battled decades of taboos- urging women to stand firm and talk to their doctors about their breast. They help survivors who have lost a factor that "makes" them a "woman." It has also helped break the stereotype that only women can get breast cancer-- saving thousands of men's lives.

Sadly... There is no Komen Affiliate in my new home. Now that I've gotten older, I feel a need to try to find the time to dedicate to something beyond myself. I also have a great role model who made it her life goal to combine her news career with community involvement. Anyone from Central Illinois reading this knows full well that I'm speaking of Gina Morss-Fischer. Throughout my years in Peoria as a part-time director, news intern, and producer, I always found inspiration in Gina's never ending work to use her "power" on television to help numerous local charities. All of this combined with producing and anchoring shows, setting up countless interviews, not to mention be a dedicated wife and mother (to three adorable children, I must add!) All while having smile on her face. Several of my previous and current coworkers chose charities and organizations to follow, but Gina's constant dedication to so many deserves recognition.

Many of us are called to be involved in our community whether it be through religion, family, or politics. For one, there is an obvious need in our community- especially with the government cutting several social programs. For two, it's part of being in a community. So many of us (including myself) take without giving back.

Helping society is the reason I got into this field. Granted at the time I thought I could easily get in a high enough place to instruct the masses-- promote change and reason. But on the way to change the world, I'm learning I can do so much in my neighborhood. Guess the next question for me is how- and I'd love to hear suggestions.

Archives: "The Magician's Nephew"

I guess after being a story teller for awhile,  you start to look deeper in stories. I didn't expect to finish the book so soon, but it's almost a rarely things go according to plan these days. I guess I should warn that this is all about the book so spoiler alert?

Before I started this book, I pretty much wrote off C.S. Lewis. I made the mistake of trying to make, “The Screwtape Letters,” my first Lewis read. Couldn’t finish it and became more enamored with J. R. Tolkien. And in all honesty, I kinda forced myself through the first four chapters of “The Magician’s Nephew.” I was not a fan of how he described things at first. It seemed similar to Lewis Carroll, but very dumbed down, children’s book or not.

But I guess as most books, it grew on me (I especially liked how Lewis sometimes described things in parentheses). Plus, it’s always fun to read British mannerisms in common conversation. Oh and whenever Aslan spoke, I could hear Liam Neeson speaking in my head- Bonus!

I was surprised to find that I didn’t find any of the characters that boorish. Polly was witty, strong, pure, and a supporting friend. I was inspired by the moments she was there for her friend. And Digory! What an amazing lil’ lad! While he had quite a journey to go through, there wasn’t really a “lesson” to learn like you see in most children’s books. I was moved with how Lewis illustrated Digory’s grief over his mother, much less how Aslan knew his pain. Plus, the Cabby and his wife were simple, yet sweet.

The maid (who is still having the best day of her life) was very amusing. With that being said, I think Lewis was able to depict the Cockney accent perfectly.

As for the villains... I am impressed with how well Lewis could describe Uncle Andrew & The Witch. He was able to establish a specific cruelty to their  demeanor- something always to be feared. And it was amusing to see Uncle Andrew get the other end of the stick a few times throughout the book. 

Also, let me say this about Uncle Andrew- the quote,“the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed," keeps popping up into my thoughts. Not only does it depict the kind of person Uncle Andrew is, but you realize that kind of attitude is everywhere. Politics aside (I will stay off the soapbox for now) there is a lot of stupidity in this world that people have created on their own accord. 

I think the best thing I can say about reading "The Magician's Nephew," was learning how it all began before "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe." Basically the last two pages. The wood, the wardrobe, the family home in the country. And seeing how Narnia was created much less the beginnings of the Witch, the royal family, why only certain animals talk... Oh! And The light post! Seeing it all come together in a story I am completely unfamiliar with was inspiring. Speaking of, I'm looking forward to the next book...

By the way, how can anyone dismiss the correlation between Aslan and God/Jesus? I mean really.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Archives: The Start of Something Wonderful...

To Anyone Who Happens to Read This:
Hello and Good Evening. Arguably this is not something "new" since this blog is over a month in the making. It originally began with a few Facebook posts. But I finally developed the courage to open myself to the blogging world and here we are.

I am not one to believe in titles, mostly because we all can fall under so many. I alone am a wife, friend, daughter, animal lover, knitter... alas, the list is endless. But one of the most important titles I am is a producer, a story teller if you will. I have made it a career to not only tell people a series of stories a day, but also manage the production of a show to make it the most appealing to viewers. But as each day comes to a close, I am finding that I am becoming my own show or book- a series of (mostly) random occurrences and situations in day to day life. 

I am also 24- at the ripe age of deciding who I am... and that knowledge may bring something new to my life.

I'm not sure exactly why I feel a need to begin the testing of a blog, but I guess I want to see if I can follow through and write a blog. It's not to say that I feel that I am an interesting enough person that people should follow. And most would argue that the life of a reporter or anchor is far more interesting than a producer. But as my husband says it best, "everyone has a right to be heard."

So here we begin the start of something I can hopefully follow through- a random blog of a news producer living in Western Kentucky. However, I am not one to start something unless I know I can do it. So before I start some elaborate "Tales Of A Story Teller," blog, I'm going to start with a few notes. The first few will mostly pertain to my critique of "The Chronicles Of Narnia," as I just began reading the first book, "The Magician's Nephew."

But if a new chapter in my life rises to the occasion, it shall be heard.