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Welcome to my blog, the online version of my life!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Bad Thing About Being a Kid

One bad thing about being a kid (or teenager) is that old people think you're great, but in dumb ways. They fuss over you, sort of, and say stuff like, "oh, she can sit still very well" just because I can sit still better than a little child. Your parents brag about you in embarrassing ways that get their friends asking you questions. I know they all mean well, but it comes across as stupid.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

EGGS!

I was at a sleepover when my brother called the mom of my friend whose house I was at to say that one of our chickens laid an egg! Over the last 4 days, we collected 5 eggs.
But there are eggs and there are eggs. These eggs are small but warm, and the yolks are a rich orange color that literally bleeds when I stab my fork into the center. When we fry them, they are delicious and gooey and sweet and home laid!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Harry Potter Movie #7 (part one)

OK, my mom asked me to write what I thought of it now that I've seen Harry Potter Seven Part One. I don't really have much to say about it, but here goes.
It was pretty good. I liked seeing how much the characters had changed since Movie (and book) One. (My brother says: "YEAH! Ron has a BEARD in it!" BTW, so does Harry) Also, the filming and music were really well operated and coordinated to be scary. At the beginning, it really was as though Voldemort's (oh dear, I said his name!) snake Nagini was swallowing us. Scary, intense music throbbed into me and I did more than see through the eyes of the character being swallowed. I felt through her body. And the actors did an awesome job.
See? I told you I didn't have much to say! Anyhow, I recommend the movie to anyone who
a) Has read the Harry Potter books. (The movies don't make much sense on their own.) And
b) Is nine years old or older. (It's pretty scary, and is partially about teen romance, which little kids probably wouldn't get.)
By the way, you should all check out Brainstorm Audio. It's an audio magazine written, recorded, and edited by me and my friends. It is AWESOME. The web site had cool samples. Brainstorm is just getting started, so we only have one issue.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Last Night...


I opened my eyes.
"Cock-a-dooo!" came a distant crow from Caramel.Had it been the crowing that had woken me up? The clock read 3:40 AM. How was it even possible for the cray roo to be up this early?! I pictured him in the hen house, on the nesting box that was used as a perch, and wondered if his crowing bothered the hens.
That was the only crow I heard then, though. (Normally, Caramel crows many times when he's crowing.) I tried to get back to sleep, but by 4:00 AM I was still awake. I got up to look at the empty streets, then I read a little, then tried to go back to sleep. Longer than I would have liked after 3:40, I got back to sleep.
I found myself in the middle of a very full dream*. I'm not sure where it began or ended, but here's the basic idea. It began by introducing me to the idea that some walls are special and a bit magical maybe. It's a bit like platform 9 and 3/4: when you approach a certain spot on them, stand with your face pressed against them, and relax and push the wall in the right way, you sort of melt through them into another (sort of secret) room. In the dream, there were two of these walls in my family's dining room. So then in the dream, my mom and I went to a weird place where different people were lecturing. It was like a whole fairground sort of, but it was being used by these people talking about the most boring subjects imaginable. When we were there, I discovered that the special walls were common knowledge there. It was great, 'cause there were lots of them. I spent most of the time practicing getting through those walls, but sometimes it was hard to get through them. After that, I met up with Evelyn**. That reminded me of the Stanford Splash. We were wandering around when we came onto some bleachers where someone was gonna lecture or something. (Mom was elsewhere.) Ev was like, "Let's keep going." I said, "In a minute." Ev gave a disapproving glance like she does when someone does something dangerous or swears or something, saying, "I don't think this is a good idea." She stepped off the bleachers. Just then, the bleachers rose into the air and split apart. We flew and waved up and down. Problem was, I didn't really like the sensation. It got worse when the arm rests (I don't know why the bleachers had armrests!) that I'd been clinging to disappeared. All of us on the bleachers sat there, in military rows, the wind to our faces. "Can I go back down?" I asked the lecture guy, who was saying something about airplane structure. "I didn't mean to get on here in the first place!" Quickly, my bleacher bench was lowered back down. A pudgy janitor lady told me that if I wasn't listening to the lecturer guys I had to get lost. I fled to the nearest of those special rooms. Then I went back to mom to look at her program. As there was nothing interesting, I went over to hang out with Ev, Mike, and Greta by one of the special walls. Mike was saying that the walls worked because when the top was applied pressure to, it flipped over. (That is not the sensation at all.)
I woke back up. It was 5:30 AM. I was not ready to wake up, and Caramel was crowing up a (freaking) storm. Anybody who says roosters only crow at dawn is WRONG!! Dawn wasn't for a while more. I should know.
Mom came in, looking different than she had in the dream*** and I knew that Caramel must have kept her up, too. Mom said that the crowing really bothered her, but that she had some friends with a sanctuary for birds where they'd never make Caramel into dumplings.
Caramel has started chasing Tiger (a hen) around. We think he's trying to mate with her, but Tiger doesn't seem to like it so much. He might just be being a bully. The photo at the top is Tiger when she was younger.

* One of my dreamological terms. A dream feels full to me when a lot of different things happen in it, or it is long, or it feels like a very complete situation that goes on. You can go back up to the main text now. If you're still reading this, you are wasting your time. This footnote is OVER. There is nothing more to say about this footnote. Well, one thing: this footnote is way longer than it needs to be.
**No dream is complete without someone to share it with! (That's not actually true, but this dream wouldn't have been complete.) Ev is my best friend, so I got her as a dream companion.
***Mostly older. Oldish people must really like looking at themselves in mirrors in dreams, because dreams make people look more the way they want. Not that young people don't like looking good too, but we don't wish we looked the way we once did or anything.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken News and NaNoWriMo

I was leaning on the porch railing, watching the chickens, when a hoarse little "COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOO!" came from Caramel. OMG, I thought. Our rooster just crowed! That was so cool, but it may be a problem! Then, a minute later, he crowed again. It's so exciting! Our little birds grew up!
Also, I recently finished NaNoWriMo. Nanowrimo is an annual novel writing challenge. You try to write 50,000 words of a fictional book in one month. Actually, I did the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. It was created because you can't expect younger writers like me to write 50,000 words in a month. In the young writers program, kids set their own word count goals and try to write that many words. My goal, which I reached, was much less than adult "wrimos" write, but a fair amount still-- 14,500 words. Because I reached my goal, I'm a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

nano_ywp_10_winner_300x300.png I feel proud that I managed to go all the way through with NaNoWriMo, even though I've done it twice before. It was hard. I has to deal with writers' block, lack of ideas, and just plain not wanting to write. Both of my little brothers tried to do NaNo and quit, as well as my best friend. But I did it!!!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What you Don't Want in a Brother

I have this brother. He's ten years old. He's really into weapons and violence. The fascination is appearing everywhere: the computer games he's addicted to, the books he reads, and the things he does when he's bored.
So this kid brother... when we go to the store, he's really into the "nerf" guns, ugly plastic toys that shoot suction cup darts. He's bought one, or maybe two. And when he's bored, he makes awful toy guns out of paper. They don't actually shoot, so maybe I should call them model guns, not toy guns. He rolls up printer paper and tapes these rolls together in ways that look like guns. Then he aims them at people.
Also, he's really annoying. Here is one thing that happened today:
Brother (to my clarinet teacher): Hey, Larry. You know what a popular thing to do for boys my age is?
Teacher: What?
Brother: Make toy guns! (pulls out model gun.)
Teacher: Whoa, don't point that at me! It is NOT funny.
(I push model gun aside gently. As it is made solely of paper, it breaks.)
Brother: Hey! You broke it! And it exactly the same place as before! (punches me really hard.)
Mom: If it can't stand to be touched, maybe you shouldn't be waving it around.
Me: And anyway, I've never broken it before. (mumbles as brother walks away:) Jerk.
Brother (coming back): Hey! Jerk yourself! (hits me even harder.)

You get the idea.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter Movie Watching?


I was really excited. For one thing, I no longer had a fever. For another, that meant I could go with a bunch of friends and my brother to see Harry Potter book 7, part one, as planned. Last but not least, I had never before gone to the movies with a crowd of other kids and only one adult.
My mom reminded us that we'd have her cell phone if we needed her (I don't have one of my own), and that movie theater snacks are always overpriced, and all that stuff. She handed me some money, and gave Rafie her phone, and we hopped out of the car.
We got in line to buy tickets, feeling the rain against out coats, and waited for a little while. The others in the group had yet to arrive. Suddenly, Rafie said, "It's sold out. Look at the sign!"
I looked. "No, it says Harry Potter is sold out for 6:30 and 9:30. We're going at 7:30."
"Yes!" Rafie argued. "That sign says 'HARRY POTTER NUMBER 7 PART 1 FOR 7:30 IS SOLD OUT'."
I looked again. He was right! :-( I was considering calling mom when she showed up right on cue. The "momvan" had driven back around the block to get us, and we climbed in. Arrrg. I recalled that some of our friends had gotten tickets in advance, but Mom had decided not to. As we drove away, I saw a bunch of kids and teenagers crossing the street. Most of the faces were quite familiar to me. Many of my friends were huddled happily together in anticipation of the awesome movie, chatting and smiling despite the drippy rain. For the moment I was warmer and drier, but I felt jealous. I'd thought that I'd get to go to the movies because I wasn't sick, but the whole reason mom hadn't bought tickets in advance was because she wasn't sure I'd be able to go. FAIL.
The good news:
1) I am not sick at all.
2) We will be watching some other movie at home now (probably Harry Potter 4), thanks to netflix.

the pic is a random photo booth pic of me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chickens and More

Those chicks are getting loud and smelly to have in the house! They're constantly peeping and pooping. Also one of them, Goldilocks, pecked me right in the eye (OWWWWW.) and the other, Firefly, pecked my friend in the eye.

This is a cool article. It says that clarinets are in style. Woohoo! My clarinet lessons are going great, BTW. “If it were a choice between the saxophone and the clarinet, I think clarinet would be the preference,” in the Bay Area, said Matt Ingalls, a clarinetist, composer, and co-founder of SF Sound, a collective playing and promoting contemporary classical music. “Honestly, I kind of feel sorry for saxophonists right now."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Draft of 'Make Believe'!

Mackenzie glared at Nanette, forcing out her line without feeling. “You’ve always been my best friend. What am I going to do without you.” Stupid. That didn’t even sound like a question, Mackenzie thought, smoothing down her thick brown hair with one hand. Oh, why do Nanette and I have to be “best friends” in the class play?

Nanette replied in an equally unbelievable tone. “I guess we’ll just have to write.” Coming from Nanette, who started rumors about Mackenzie and teased her about her braces, the line sounded unreal. More or less, the girls hated each other.

Once, Mackenzie hadn’t minded Nanette. She had hardly known Nanette up until the end of third grade, when the class had helped make an end-of-year dinner for their parents. Nanette had deliberately squirted lime juice in Mackenzie’s face and called it an accident. Being an eight-year-old, Mackenzie had started yelling at Nanette. Over the last four years, the spite had only gotten worse.

“Gather ‘round, come on!” The drama teacher said, motioning. The school’s old theater was a dull room for all the excitement it was home to. Its walls were painted a blackish color, and plain fold-up chairs filled the house.

“We’re out of time, but I wanted to give you some advice really quick.” The kids clustered around their drama teacher, Peter. “As actors,” he said, “We need to get inside our characters and leave behind our everyday selves. Does the audience come to see the actors’ own disagreements? No! Just be the characters.” Mackenzie looked away, sure that Peter was talking to her. “And more acting. We want to build up the story. Work on that before the dress rehearsal. That’s all. You’re dismissed.”

Mackenzie slunk away. She felt torn between the play and her contempt for Nanette. She couldn’t let down Peter, who expected so much of the class; or the audience, all the parents who would come. But she couldn’t pretend to be Nanette’s best friend, either! It would seem ironic and feel wrong. Besides; and this part that worried Mackenzie; even if she wanted to, was it possible that she physically couldn’t act like Nanette’s friend for the sake of the play? Normally, Mackenzie thought she was a pretty good actress. Her mind was going in circles; her feet were going in zigzags that only helped a little in getting Mackenzie to her next class.

“I like your skinny jeans,” Whispered Nanette loudly.

Mackenzie looked up, realizing that her gaze had fixed on the floor. She didn’t say, Thank you, Nanette. She didn’t say, They aren’t skinny jeans. They’re just too small. She just looked hard at Nanette and said, “Oh.”

“New concept,” Nanette said. “Sarcasm.” Mackenzie caught a sneer before Nanette walked away. She sighed and finished walking to class.

During an uneventful science class, the clouds let loose a heavy rain and showed no sign of stopping at lunch time. Mackenzie and her friends Kaylee and Alicia sat in a corner of the gym to eat. The rain poured down endlessly. Mackenzie stood. “I have to use the bathroom.”

“Okay,” replied Kaylee.

“’Kay,” agreed Alicia.

Thump, thump, thump, went Mackenzie’s Crocs on the floor of the deserted hallway. She passed the science room, the history room, her homeroom, and the theater. She stopped. The theater. She couldn’t escape from her problem anywhere, and she should have made her choice long ago. She only had one rehearsal left.

Does the audience come to see the actors’ own disagreements? She remembered Peter saying. This time, Mackenzie understood that, and she made her decision. How could she have been torn between the play and feeling ironic? She’d have to make believe.

Yes! Make believe—wasn’t that the point of acting, anyway? The only problem was that she’d need to involve Nanette, who might not agree. So what? she asked herself.

Mackenzie turned, walked back down the hall, and re-entered the gym. Kids were finishing up their lunches and chatting.

Mackenzie scanned the room, but she didn’t look for her usual friends. Her eyes met Nanette, who was sitting stony-faced under a sports banner. “Nan—” She started to call Nannette’s name, and stopped. Then Mackenzie took a deep breath and crossed her fingers.

“Hey, Nanette!” Mackenzie called.

Nanette whirled around. “Are you talking to me, Mackenzie? You should come closer.”

Blushing, Mackenzie nodded, gulped, and walked up to Nanette. “Yeah. I wanted to talk about the play,” she said, “In real life, we might hate each other.”

“Of course,” Said Nanette. “We do. What do you mean, ‘in real life’?”

“Lemme finish, okay? We need to make believe for the play. I was considering what Peter said. We really should work on the best friends thing, because I know he was just talking to us. Do you have any ideas?”

Nanette stared at her for a moment before the word burst from her mouth. “Ha!” Mackenzie didn’t know how one word could hold so much malignance. “Like I’m gonna go, ‘I know we hate each other, but let’s just pretend to be BFFs for the play!’ and we’ll live happily ever after? Yeah, right, Mackenzie; yeah, right!” She turned on her heel and left the room.

Mackenzie checked the clock, picked up her lunch box and backpack, and followed Alicia and Kaylee across the gymnasium. Though her friends gossiped and giggled, Mackenzie stayed silent. She sat through slideshows during fourth period and tried to be inconspicuous in writing class. She purposely ignored Nanette, which seemed to go both ways. Three thirty-one, just after school let out, found Mackenzie shuffling past the playground. Alicia and Kaylee went home on the bus, but not Mackenzie. She had decided on taking a detour to the bike rack to avoid the worst of the sudden rain, and was wandering around the back of the school when Nanette found her.

“Earth to ‘Kenzie! What are you doing here?”

“None of your business,” Mackenzie snapped.

“Really?”

“Yeah—” She stopped midsentence; wondered if it was a trick question or something; and suddenly remembered something she’d heard that reminded her of the current situation. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Her plan hadn’t succeeded at first, but would trying again help? “Why don’t we do some make believe?” she asked vaguely.

No response, just suspicious eyes tracking her. “Please?”

Mackenzie thought that Nanette would do what she did last time. Nanette hesitated before making her move, as if testing the strength of a balance beam, but the words finally came. “Okay… Do you have any ideas for the friendship thing?” She understood!

“Um, no,” Mackenzie admitted, “Do you?” Nanette laughed, but not at Mackenzie. Mackenzie was laughing too.

“Handclap games would show friendship,” Nanette offered. “How does that sound?”

“We could do them in Scene 2, and then in the last-day-of-school scene,” said Mackenzie. “Which ones do you know?”

Nanette listed a few, and soon they were chatting away. Even the rain began to let up. “You know what?” said Nanette, “We might not even have to fake the friendship thing.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pecking Order

Our four hens are constantly establishing their "pecking order" hierarchy. Two hens will face each other off with their beaks pointing straight at the other. They hover there for less than a second, usually, before one bird backs down by lowering her head. She has "lost" the competition. We aren't sure what would happen if nobody backed down and they fought. Here are their ranks, as near as we can figure.
-Caramel, the rooster, has the rooster spot. That's the top.
-Summer is probably first hen.
-Chloe is second or third.
-Pharaoh is second, third or fourth.
-Tiger is third or fourth.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My New Story, currently called 'Make Believe'

Okay, when you're done reading, please vote on the most intriguing title to this story in the poll.

Make Believe

By Sasha Barish

Mackenzie glared at Nanette as she forced out her line without feeling. “You’ve always been my best friend. What am I going to do without you.” Stupid. That didn’t even sound like a question. I still can’t believe that Nanette and I have to be “best friends” in the class play, Mackenzie thought, smoothing down her thick brown hair with one hand.

Nanette replied in an equally unbelievable tone. “I guess we’ll just have to write.” Coming from Nanette, who started rumors about Mackenzie and teased her about her braces, that line sounded unreal. More or less, the girls hated each other.

Once, Mackenzie hadn’t minded Nanette. She had hardly known Nanette up until the end of third grade, when the class had helped make an end-of-year dinner for their parents. Nanette had deliberately squirted lime juice in Mackenzie’s face and called it an accident. Being an eight-year-old, Mackenzie had started yelling at Nanette, and one thing just led to another. Over the last four years, the spite had only gotten worse.

“Gather ‘round, come on!” The drama teacher said, motioning. The school’s old theater was a dull room for all the excitement it was home to. Its walls were painted a blackish color, and plain fold-up chairs filled the house.

“We’re out of time, but I wanted to give you some advice really quick.” The kids clustered around the drama teacher, Peter. “As actors,” he said, “We need to get inside our characters and leave behind our everyday selves. Does the audience come to see the actors’ own disagreements? No! Just be the characters.” Mackenzie looked away, sure that Peter was talking to her. “And more acting. We want to build up the story. Work on that before the dress rehearsal. That’s all. You’re dismissed.”

Mackenzie slunk away. She felt torn between the play and her contempt for Nanette. She couldn’t let down Peter, who expected so much of the class; or the audience, all the parents who would surely come. But she couldn’t pretend to be Nanette’s best friend, either! It would seem ironic and feel wrong. Besides; and this part that scared Mackenzie; even if she wanted to, was it possible that she physically couldn’t act like Nanette’s friend for the sake of the play? Mackenzie thought she was a pretty good actress, but this made her unsure. Her mind was going in circles; her feet were going in zigzags that only helped a little in getting Mackenzie to her next class.

“I like your skinny jeans,” Whispered Nanette loudly.

Mackenzie looked up, realizing that her gaze had fixed on the floor. She didn’t say, Thank you, Nanette. She didn’t say, They aren’t skinny jeans. They’re just too small. She just looked hard at Nanette and said, “Oh.”

“New concept,” Nanette said. “Sarcasm.” Mackenzie caught a sneer before Nanette walked away. She sighed and finished walking to class.

During an uneventful science class, the clouds let loose a heavy rain and showed no sign of stopping at lunch time. Mackenzie and her friends Kaylee and Alicia sat in a corner of the gym to eat. The rain poured down endlessly. Mackenzie stood. “I have to use the bathroom.”

“Okay,” replied Kaylee.

Thump, thump, thump, went Mackenzie’s Crocs on the floor of the deserted hallway. She passed the science room, the history room, her homeroom, and the theater. She stopped. The theater. She couldn’t escape from her problem anywhere, and she’d have to make her choice soon. She only had one rehearsal left.

Does the audience come to see the actors’ own disagreements? She remembered Peter saying. This time, Mackenzie really understood why he had told her that, and she made her decision. The play is more important than seeming ironic, Mackenzie realized, Nanette and I can work it out later. For now, I guess we’ll just have to make believe.

Yes! Make believe—wasn’t that the point of acting, anyway? Suddenly, Mackenzie began to formulate a plan. The only problem was that she’d have to involve Nanette, who might not agree. So what? she asked herself.

Mackenzie turned, marched back down the hall, and re-entered the gym. Kids were finishing up their lunches and chatting.

Mackenzie scanned the room, but she didn’t look for her usual friends. Her eyes met Nanette, who was sitting stony-faced under a “Go team!” banner. “Nan—” She started to call Nannette’s name, and stopped. Then Mackenzie took a deep breath and crossed her fingers.

“Hey, Nanette!” Mackenzie called.

Nanette whirled around. “Are you talking to me, Mackenzie? You should come closer.”

Mackenzie nodded, gulped, and walked up to Nanette. “Yeah. I wanted to talk about the play,” she said, “In real life, we might hate each other.”

“Of course,” Said Nanette. “We do. What do you mean, ‘in real life’?”

“Lemme finish, okay? We need to make believe for the play. I was considering what Peter said. We really should work on the best friends thing, because I know he was just talking to us. “Do you have any ideas?”

“Ooh,” Nanette’s face brightened. “Handclap games would show friendship! We could do ‘em in the middle, during the last-day-of-school scene. Do you know any?”

Mackenzie listed a few handclap games, and soon they were chatting about ways to make their acting better. “And it would be fun if we acted really similar. Like, we could use the same sad expression in Scene 2 and look at each other whenever something happens,” Enthused Mackenzie. She glanced out the window. The rain was letting up.

“You know what?” Nanette said. “We might not even have to fake the friendship thing.”

Sunday, October 3, 2010

First on the Rink

This is a poem about ice skating. I wrote it during ice skating lessons. I love ice skating.

Skidding across a marble mirror.
My skates
Slide
Onto the ice.
A pulse, a push, and then I zoom faster,
My feet dropping into the rhythm of
Push, glide.
Push, glide.
My thoughts dropping into the mixture of
Peace.

Hats Off to the 'Hoes Down'!

The Hoes Down Festival, at Full Belly Farm, is one of my favorite events of Autumn. When we drive in and walk down the path, we can feel the Hoes Down spirit in the air. It's warm, there are rows of crops alongside the road, and the sound of talk and music can be heard. This unique harvest festival features performances that include a circus, a music stage, and a kids' stage; crafts like gourd-painting, felting and cornhusk dolls; a petting zoo where they let people meet piglets, cows and goats; lots of booths for buying food or other souvenirs; and an entire kids' area with a zip-line, a hay fort, and apple dunking!
They had little baby chicks as well as big chickens. The baby chicks were SOOOO cute! (Rafie reports that he saw an equally cute gopher sticking out of the ground.) I painted a little gourd and made a cornhusk doll. The cornhusk doll has a blond string braid, grey kernels of Indian corn sewn on for eyes, and an Indian corn necklace. I also felted some wool around a stone, so I can cut the stone out and make a tiny pouch. Then Clem, Ev, Greta, (Who we met up with there) and I carved pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.
When it got really hot, we all went down to the river and waded. The river in ankle-deep to knee-deep in most places, but we also found a spot deep enough to swim in-- deep enough that I couldn't stand at one point!
For dinner, I bought some delicious corn on the cob and a baked potato, before I got apple galette with ice cream on top for desert. We drove home happy, full and tired.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!


For a while, we weren't sure. We were fairly certain that we had a rooster, but not definite. Now, it's certain, 100% sure! Caramel, one of our birds, is a rooster. We found out that roosters have these distinct "saddle feathers" that hens don't. And we don't want roosters: they don't lay, they can be aggressive, and they crow! They crow very loudly, and we really don't want that. If it turns into a big problem, we might have to *gulp* get rid of him.
What's worse, almost all roosters crow before they turn 4 months of age. Caramel is 3 1/2 months old.
Not that there aren't advantages to having a rooster. Of course there are. People with roosters in their flocks say that roosters can be adorably sweet, bringing treats to their hens. Also, I heard that one "roo" fought off a fox that that had gotten into the coop. He lost all his tail feathers and hasn't grown them back 6 months later, but he saved the lives of all the hens and his own.
Of course, Caramel is 3 1/2 months...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I'm Up To

This is just a random post with what I'm up to!
We are back in our full homeschool life, and no longer on summer vacation. I'm doing a bunch of classes with other homeschoolers, a lot of them taught by Mom. It's like, on Tuesday I've got Latin class; on Wednesday I've got Reading Utopias; on Thursday I've got Tree of Life (Biology) Art History, and another Latin class; and in a few more weeks I'll start having Constitution and Reading Shakespeare on, I think, Wednesdays. Ha ha, and people think homeschoolers don't have homework!
In contrast with Lassen, it's been unbelievably hot. At Lassen, it was like 35 degrees at night, and the general high temperatures were in the 60s. The parents complained of breaking a layer of ice on the dishwater, whereas here I slept in my underwear last night!
Today, we were going to go to swim team. When we got there, it was closed and they said a pipe had burst or something. We swam at Lake Anza instead. Rafie and I swam all the way across Lake Anza! I felt so powerful, and also so tired! Even just a few weeks at swim team really paid off!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lassen!!




Our trip was really great. With adventures ranging from climbing volcanos to exploring caves, we had lots of fun. We were a whole troupe: Mom, Rafie and Solomon; Susan, Evelyn, Clem and Greta; Marina, Arina, Yakov and Ephraim; Elaine, Milo, and Gianna; and me. Our campsite, where we had forts, fires, and food, was great. Every evening we made a fire and sat down to swap campfire stories, tell riddles, or play some 'Truth or Dare'. Milo (A slightly whiny 9-year-old), said that I was the best storyteller in the group. :-)
For our first adventure, we went to Subway Cave, a large lava tunnel. Armed with flashlights, we walked through the tunnel. The ceiling height ranged from a bit above my head level to way, way up. Our friend Clem stubbed her toe four times in Stub-toe Hall. After that Arina, Marina and I went into another cave. This felt a bit more like it was ours, because there were no signs with geologic info and maps to guide us. Water hung on the ceiling, and when combined with golden-colored lichens, it was beautiful. I felt like Tom Sawyer, but it was better because I never got lost. Elaine, Milo and Gianna had not arrived yet, and we were not expecting them.

The next day, we took a hike to Bumpass Hell, where some guy named Kendall

Vanhook Bumpass once fell through unstable, crusty ground and plunged his entire leg, which became useless for the rest of his life, into boiling, bright blue water. We saw those bright blue streams, and holes called fumaroles that spewed insane amounts of steam; and smelled like sulphur or rotten eggs even from up on the boardwalk we had to stay on. We found something Clem called the "Blorping Pot", an underground mud pot from which we could hear noises: Blorp. Blorp. Blorp. We also went to Sulphur works, a bubbling mud pot by the side of the road. While we were gone, Elaine and her kids arrived.

Our next adventure took us hiking up Lassen's Cinder Cone, where we gained
700 ft elevation

in a very gravelly 1/2 mile climb, and I said the word 'epic' a lot. Lassen's Cinder Cone is a volcano, and we went into the crater-like bowl at the top, which was epic. There was an epic view from the top. I could see the bright and beautiful Painted Dunes, alongside long beds of igneous rock that we's walked by, and a blue lake in the distance. The hike up the volcano was hard, but finishing it made me feel really powerful, which was the most epic part: I climbed a volcano! I could do anything!

After these awesome adventures and a relaxing hike around a lake, the trip was seeming perfect. We were ready to have a buffet lunch and chill in a swimming pool/hot tub up at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. We condensed into three cars, so I was in Susan's car. We hung out and listened to a pretty good fantasy book on CD during the drive. I was reaching for some chap-stick to put on my nose when a jolt shook us as Susan stopped quickly, but not without jolting into the car in front. Then my Mom's car jolted into Susan's from the back. Susan was like, "That car stopped so quickly, and now it'll be legally my fault!" Well, the person in front was injured, so as "witnesses" we had to sit around for three hours. Us kids got out and stayed in a nearby meadow (the road went right through the woods) and ate CLIF bars for lunch. The little children quickly occupied themselves with games.(I know they're only five or seven years younger than I am, but they felt like little children) Finally, when everything was sorted out, the day was used up and we sat around in the campsite for the afternoon.

But before we left, we still got a chance to swim and have lunch at Drakesbad. I stayed in the pool, which was heated by hot springs, until I was hot as a furnace and pink as an unripe strawberry. I was sad to leave, but glad to be going home as well. It was 9:30 by the time we got home, at 10 I was in bed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Camping is Going to Be Great!

We're going camping at Mt. Lassen tomorrow ! I thought we were going to do it today, even though I hadn't packed yet, but our friends who were already up at Lassen announced that it is very rainy, so we're going to wait a day. Solomon's response was: "Awwww! I like the rain!"
Anyway, I'm excited about camping even if it is tomorrow, because I don't like camping in the rain. Last Spring; our family, Susan and her kids, (Evelyn, Clem, and Greta) Marina and her kids, (Arina, Yakov, and Ephraim) and a bunch of other families went camping together at Malakoff Diggins Historic Park. It got really rainy the second day. I woke up shivering in a leaky "tent" and helped make a spluttering fire. But epic fail! None of us could stand being soaked through all morning, (It's supposed to be a replica of a gold rush camp. Practically the only dry and warm spot was the modern bathrooms!) so we left that day.
Fortunately, the weather reports say the weather will be good while we're there! We'll climb up the volcano, go to a place where scalding water bubbles up from the ground, and learn a ton. I'm going to write about it in my journal and on this blog, and I'll collect rocks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Taming of the Shrew: My Review


From the very beginning, when I saw the amazing sets on the stage for the Taming of the Shrew (From the Marin Shakespeare Company) , I was brought into the world of the play. It was a picturesque beachside building with vine-covered trellises, a little deck, and barrels outside lying around as though on an old wharf around a picnic table. On the other side of the stage, painted waves seemed to lick at the old-fashioned pirate ship-- complete with a crow's nest and gangplank. You might be wondering, Um, are we talking about the same play here? The taming of the shrew is, like, a Shakespeare play. You sound like you're describing the sets for some pirate movie!
You're right! This version of Shakespeare's play, the Taming of the Shrew was set pirate style right down to changes in the script. I thought that it went a little bit far in being silly, but overall it was good. For example, a character called Biondello would come on every time doing some circus trick. First it was tall stilts with little duck feet, then hula hooping while playing a guitar on his head, and then a unicycle...
I also didn't really like one other thing: the play revolves around a belief that women are inferior, and they should be traded and trained. The play is about a man who says that his obedient, humble daughter can only be married when someone marries his nasty, disloyal daughter; and the struggle over the nice girl, and the "taming" of the mean one; that followed.
In general I liked it, though. The acting was great, including funny mannerisms and silly additions. One character would gaze & point at the sky fondly while magical music played each time he said his love's name. :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Swim Team

Rafie, (my 10-year-old brother) Solomon, (my 7-year-old brother) and I went to our swim team, the Berkeley Barracudas, today. (Isn't that a great name?) We've been going for a week now. There are three girls my age who have the same coach as I do (Having the same coach is basically being in the same class) who I want to be friends with, but I feel kind of shy. I feel like the new girl even though there are lots of new kids and one of those girls came into Swim Team even later than I did.
Our coach is usually very nice, but today he made me feel a little bad. He told the whole group that we'd apparently forgotten all the work we did yesterday on the breast stroke, which made me feel like I wasn't good enough. Still, with an hour and a half of working out every weekday, we're improving!

My First Post

This is my blog's very first post. Huzzah! On this blog I will write about my life, post short pieces of writing such as poems, and anything else I feel like throwing in. This might become a sort of continuation of my Acorn 'Zine, a handwritten "zine" (miniature magazine: pronounced zeen) that I made a few issues of. It was pretty useless, because I never let other people read it. I mostly just liked the idea of making my own zine. But anyway, this will be like the Acorn 'Zine, but it will be public, and hopefully it'll last longer.

I hope I attract some readers, and if you're among them, I hope you enjoy my posts.