31 October 2011

there's no age limit on halloween

Who came around and dubbed all teens "too old" to participate in Halloween festivities like trick-or-treating? And who said the only thing a teen can be for Halloween (for a party of course, because what teen would ever be caught dead trick-or-treating at their age..) is a sexy pirate or some sort of hoodlum with a baggy sweatshirt?
A bunch of my friends were all working on college applications tonight. On Halloween. I finished my November 1st app early so I didn't have to be like those unfortunate souls (do you like my little Halloween puns? First it was "caught dead" then it was "unfortunate souls". I'm pretty good.)
I have trick-or-treated every single year since I was born. I remember all of the things I have been throughout the years. I was a ballerina once, I was a red M&M (that was a good one), I was a cheerleader once, a wizard (who knows what I was thinking..I looked like a boy), Tigger (good one for Boston fall nights), the Rubik's cube (I wore it for 2 years in a row - and I won a Halloween contest at school! But I have yet to receive the pizza party for me and 3 of my friends), a witch, and this year and last year I was the Bride of Frankenstein. That was a good one. Those are the only ones I can remember. But I never thought Halloween was dorky or babyish. Even in those "tween years". When everyone else was trying the "half devil half angel" and other angsty tween costumes, I was Tigger. Yes, there was a padded stomach and a hood with ears. And of course there was a tail.
I don't understand why people think it's uncool to dress up and walk around to other people's houses and ask for candy. It's like a tradition. Are you too cool to get presents on Christmas? Or hunt for eggs on Easter? Or watch fireworks on the Fourth of July? Oh, you aren't? Well then, put on a costume.
My aunt in Chicago has a cool idea to encourage teens to wear costumes. She told my cousin's friends that if they wanted any candy, they better be wearing costumes when they come by or they get a toothbrush. Take that, I'm-too-cool-for-school-ers!
I think Halloween is fun. And it shouldn't take you until you're an adult to realize that you wish you had done the things you didn't do because you thought you were too cool. You don't ever want to regret doing something fun like trick-or-treating. Like when I was in Costa Rica, we rode horses to this big waterfall and we all were going to go in the water. But none of us had swim suits on. In fact, we were wearing jeans and shirts. Not exactly swim wear. But then this girl took off her shirt, and wearing only her bra and her jeans, she went over to the edge of the waterfall with her friend. And she said 'come on, let's jump!' and then a few others followed after them both. When you think about it, how many other times would I be at a waterfall in Costa Rica? How many other chances would I have to jump into a natural waterfall in central America? For all I know, that was the only time. So I jumped in, jeans and all. And jeans are a dreadful thing to swim in, especially with a current, and I could barely swim in it, even though I'm a swimmer. Some other kid had to drag me up.
And then we rode off into the midday sun on our horses, all soaked and dirty. But do I regret it? No. I probably would have if I didn't jump.
Don't wait to jump. Just jump right in. Halloween might come every year, but don't pass it by. Take everything as if it were the last time you were doing it.

30 October 2011

it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown!

I just finished watching a Halloween classic. It's not a horror flick, or the 90s Disney Channel trilogy Halloweentown movies.
Let's see if this picture rings a bell:

It's my favorite Halloween movie ever, and it's great because I'm not a scary, gory, blood Halloween person. I'm more of a cutesy Halloween person. And Peanuts Halloween is the perfect Halloween for me. There just isn't any way you can beat the classics. This is actually the 45th anniversary of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, which is pretty cool that it has been around for so long but we still celebrate it's greatness.

I love the Peanuts because they are so young yet hysterically cynical and a little dark. Also, there are never any parents in sight. Who would let their kid sleep outside in a pumpkin patch all night long? And I love how they all wear the same nondescript white sheets and they all trick-or-treat with big brown bags.
I'll have none of this sudden vampire craze - just some good old fashioned Peanuts Halloween.

29 October 2011

the real world

I updated my iPad to iOS 5 today. I also downloaded a new app from National Geographic. It's called "7 Billion".
Because on Halloween, the world population will break 7 billion people. To me, that sort of has a negative connotation, and reading through the app (which is like a virtual magazine) affirmed this notion. "The more the merrier" doesn't really apply here.
That's because things don't really go very well when there are too many of us. And by 2045 (when I am 51) the population will be at 9 billion. "How many more can the planet take?" is sort of the question.
Getting back to right now, the global population has gotten higher at an exponential rate, increasing by one billion from 2000 (as opposed to the one-billion increase that occurred from 1800 to 1930). Other than the fact that there might be not enough resources to sustain this population, there are some immediate effects of too many people. And I learned about them from pictures. And while some people think that pictures say a thousand words, they in fact say none; they just show you emotions and feelings a lot better than any word can.
A few of those pictures come to mind. One of them is a group of eleven kids and teens surrounded by a mother who is just over 40 years old. She lives in Kenya and makes about $3 per day. She had her first child when she was 15 and she is struggling to make a sloppy porridge for her kids in this small tent. And the children all gather around waiting to be fed.
Another is an interesting photograph: the fancy buildings in an urban city in Venezuela, where the richer people live, is in the background. And nestled in the foreground is an open shack with a bunch of barefoot children dancing and laughing together. The walls of their shack are made of yellow fabric pieces pulled by the ends to the metal roof and some old posters. The rest of their shack is open, and it's where they all sleep. All five of them.
And this future that never seems to come, that seems so far away that it could never harm us, has already hit some people around the world. In another photograph a man wearing only a swim suit holds a little baby. He is with a group of about 10 people, and a woman is in the middle floating on a raft cooking something. Other men stand around holding children. Some cram onto the raft and watch her cook. Some stare off into space, nothing really on their minds. They are all in a shack made of some rotting and dilapidated bamboo shoots. They are standing up to their knees in dirty water, and upon a log nearby rests some pairs of flip flops.
Another one is of a boat, no bigger than a small recreational fishing boat, with a small makeshift bridge with children walking across. This boat is their school, where they sit on little wooden chairs and learn basic things. They cannot go to school in a building because it would get flooded. So they instead go in a boat. But only little boys can go, not girls. They are confined in their homes.
And another picture reminds me of a horribly sad book I read. A bunch of boys are playing soccer in a broken city. There is nothing there but an empty warehouse. The sky and the water on the ground are the same color - brown. It looks post-apocalyptic. But they are playing in the murky gross water, with no concern, it seems, to their fallen world.
Life is so much harder than we really think it is. Concerns we have don't even cross the minds of other people around the world. What outfit should I wear to my college interview? What should I go about turning in this school project late? Where should I go buy this yogurt, because Publix doesn't have it? What should my new Facebook profile picture be? Most of the world is thinking things like: How will I feed myself and my family? What happens if another flood comes? What if I don't have enough money? What if my kids die from starvation or some disease?
Sometimes it's hard to think that we live on the same planet. I just went to a Halloween party at the country club and I got a manicure. Things that other people around the world would never dream of doing. Even my cat has a better life than some of these people, where the average number of births per woman is over 7.
When some people say "I want to see the world", I think that they are talking about the famous landmarks, the beautiful landscapes and basically, the "good" parts. But they forget about the other parts like the slums, the ghettos, the flood regions, and the poverty-stricken villages. And that's more than 85% of the world.

28 October 2011

there's hope yet

I don't have too many people who read this blog. Just a mere handful. And for the amount of words I type on this blog, sometimes I wish I was famous and that tons of people read my blog and I was a famous little teen. But living in obscurity is fun too.
But the other day when I posted on Facebook that I had reached 300 posts, a bunch of people read it. A girl in my math class said that she read it too, and that it opened her eyes. I was utterly enthused. Someone other than my immediate family was reading my blog! It was exciting. Because as big as the internet is, sometimes I feel like this is like a private journal that I can write in with no chance of having other people reading it. But it's great to know that I reach other people too. And perhaps I reach even more people that I don't know are reading.
Don't doubt your worth if you aren't sure people notice it or appreciate it. Sometimes it just takes people some time to come around.

27 October 2011

find your inner shakespeare

Shakespeare is to some people like Mount Everest. It's amazing and respected, especially by the native Sherpa, but it seems insurmountable. This is how most feel about Shakespeare. They think it's just too esoteric and cryptic for them to understand. But you know, once you get past the language, Shakespeare is so wonderful and perfect.
I spent about 4 hours today working on my newest project: a full-length Hamlet comic. I absolutely adore Hamlet so much. It is literally the most wonderful play. So far. We have only read to the start of Act 2. I like the characters, I like the setup of the conflict, and I like to reread it and make a comic version of it.

Shakespeare is like going to a really fun carnival with hamster balls. It's like a fun party that goes on all night long. Except for most people Shakespeare is tortorous, so it's funny that I like it. I guess it's like if someone handed me a sheet of paper and said, "hey, let's solve a bunch of physics problems and write some algorithms!" I would probably roll my eyes and sigh. Or have a panic attack. Or both. At once.
I'm in a fragment-sentence type of mood.
Shakespeare might not be your favorite thing in the world. Probably your second listing for a "my favorite things list", but maybe not first. Go find your Shakespeare. And you know that you love it if you can work on it for hours and it seems like the whole world melts away and it's just you and Shakespeare. Or your "Shakespeare substitute".
Dear everyone, spell check doesn't work and it's 1am. Ignore the probably glaringly obvious spelling mistakes.

26 October 2011

happy news

Finally something wonderful!
So you know how the news is always depressing? There is never one positive thing on the news. Ever. Even on CNN with Anderson Cooper!
I found this website called Happy News. And it has tons of news stories about everything, but it's all happy.
And it's not taking your attentionn away from the "real" news; it's just taking a new approach to news. And I like that approach a lot better.
I totally recommend going and reading it. It's some really great stuff. The website is http://www.happynews.com (you probably could have guessed it).

25 October 2011

fleeting memories

I have to say, seeing it say 300 posts is a little freaky. I'm not going to say "It seems like just yesterday I was writing my first post!" because it doesn't seem like that. I just didn't think I would ever get this far.
And I'm still going! Hurrah!
I was just listening to this song that's really incredibly beautiful. And it reminds me a lot of where we go in the summer in Massachusetts. A lot of my memories are visual, olfactory, and musical. Those are the main ways I remember something. So when I've heard a song, I always remember if it impacted me in a certain way. Like the last song I heard before I left my house to move to Georgia - I just recently started to be able to listen to it again. It used to make me too sad.
Anyways, whenever we were driving on the causeway going into Nahant, I would always think of this particular album and driving through Nahant when I was a kid, especially in the summer, was the memory I have from these songs on this album. And this particular song (worth listening to!) always reminds me of this specific memory: I was sitting in my dad's childhood friend's parent's dining room on the fourth of July, and everyone else was in a different room talking and stuff. There were a ton of people there. But I was the only one in that room. And I just remember seeing all the beautiful lights and the sun setting and seeing the ripples of the ocean. And this song must have been stuck in my head when this all happened. And it was right then when every worry in the world melted away.
It's sort of a ridiculous memory; I was just standing there looking outside. But it was a magical memory, and listening to the song right now reminds me so much of it.

And I used to get really sad when I heard this song because Nahant was so far away and I was all the way in Georgia. And it would make me want to go back there. And I knew that if I just heard this song when I was there, that everything would be wonderful again and my worries would all melt away like they did in my memory.
But when I went back, and I looked out to the ocean like I had, and I played that song back in my head, I did not feel that same feeling. It was because the song didn't represent Nahant, it represented that memory; that one memory.
I'll always have the memory, and the beauty of the song will always take me there. But it's different. It's hard to relive a memory, since the raw beauty of the moment was what made it a memory in the first place. It's hard to duplicate a specific feeling in a certain moment.
But life's all about trying new things. Everyday we make new memories, and I have songs that represent memories that have come after this one. And just thinking of the song can take me there.
A lot of times when I'm down I rummage through my memories, in hopes of escaping into the recesses of my own mind. But I can't do that; so we have to remind ourselves that as much as the magic of a memory can fleet, we are touched by so many other things that turn into the things we long for when they are gone.

24 October 2011

the big 3-double-0

For my grand 300th post, I want to start by saying..


Thank you to all of my readers for, well, reading, every day. Without you I wouldn't have anyone to write for!

Click here for a special surprise!

So today I've realized that sometimes you can't run away from your problems, especially if they are due on November 1st. You just have to think of it like an investment; you're doing something you don't really like now, so that later you can enjoy the profits of your hard work.

I used to think in the mindset of a there's-no-day-like-today hipster kid, and I still do, but sometimes we have to plan for the future, and we have to make sure that we don't arrive at the train station with empty pockets (is that a weird metaphor?).

But really, thank you for reading my blog. It really means a lot. When you read it, it means you care about the words I spent time thinking about in my free time, and it makes me want to write even more. LONG LIVE THE BLOG!

23 October 2011

dance party

This is the 299th post so far. 299, wow, we have come quite a long way!
So I have been finishing my Georgetown essays and applications, but I took a small filling-out-forms break and had a small dance party in my room with my sister. I played this fun dancing party-type song and I just went all out dancing. I was a crazy dancing machine for like, 4 and a half minutes. It doesn't even matter if you look completely and utterly ridiculous and sort of like the bottom image in this picture (worth clicking!).
So, since I have to finish typing other things, I have to go. I know this really important post (the eve of the 300th post) is pretty anticlimactic, but tomorrow will be better.

22 October 2011

begin again

I want to dedicate this post to some girls across the globe. What they have done today is the epitome of happiness, liberation, and starting anew.
A group of almost 300 girls in India have had an official "renaming" today. Most of their names were the Hindi translation of the word "unwanted", or something close to it.
In India, there is a lot of sexism and in fact, people will kill female babies because they are not seen as important to society, like the male is. In recent years, the ratio of male to female has grown further apart than before, meaning there are less and less women in India due to violence and murders of women and girls.
And today (well, because of the whole International Date Line thing, it could be tomorrow there) they got to choose their own new names, ones that they would be proud of and ones they liked. Some girls chose the names of famous Bollywood actresses, while others chose the names of Hindu goddesses. It was really empowering for them, and one teen girl said that it made her feel better to have a name that was not shameful and one that she liked.
Can you imagine being named something like "garbage" or "useless"? And hearing people call you that everyday? I can't imagine how these girls live everyday getting such little respect and having to be called such lowly things.
But the good part is that change came about, and hopefully that 285 turns into all of India, and that in renaming, the society can change for the better so that women and girls are given the same respect as men.
After all, women are the reason that any humanity can exist. And hopefully everyone can see that.
To spread the word about it, post this story on Facebook or Twitter, or tell people you know. If knowledge is the seed, change is the tree.

21 October 2011


I wanted to share some really great quotes that I know. Some are random, some I have found, and some I have known for a while. But they're great little put-it-in-your-pocket words of wisdom. Enjoy!

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.

Procrastination is the thief of time.

It's never too late to be what you might have been.

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.

And one of the most important ones I know:
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.

20 October 2011


Stereotypes can sometimes be funny because sometimes they can be really true. But other times they can be really annoying.
When I was in middle school, I was friends with different people that I don't even talk to any more. And a lot of my friends now said they used to think of me as one of those preppy-cheerleader types because I had blond hair and I always wore it up in a bun or a high ponytail, and I smiled a lot.
First of all, to dispel some potential myths, I am not a cheerleader; I was a gymnast for 10 years. And my hair is always up because it bothers me. And also, people never think I would be a swimmer because I'm 5'3, not gargantuan.
People also never think my sister is a hockey player, or that I used to be. Just because we're small and blond (and girls) doesn't mean we can't play hockey.
I'd say the most trite stereotype is about teenagers. Once kids hit "that age", it's almost as if we are preparing for an impending apocalypse. Here's a typical dialogue.
Mom 1: It's been busy at home..
Mom 2: Oh yeah, I have two kids in preschool.
Mom 1: I have a 13 year old.
Mom 2: Oh man..
It's like teens are a new race; completely broken off from humanity. We should just make a new Linnaean name for ourselves: Homo sapiens adolescentia. There you go.
Not all teens wear excessive amounts of eye makeup, dye their hair highlighter streaks, and listen to their iPods on full-volume (the audiology field will have some jobs opening up!).
The plight of the parents of teens. Cracking the teen code. What your teen is really doing. Teens have become the subject of all testing in science. Apparently, if your a teen who listens to music a lot of the time, you are probably clinically depressed. I listen to music all day, everyday. But it's not just emo, screamo, I-hate-my-life music; it's usually Frank Sinatra-esque, or Jack Johnson, or Adele, or some sort of French music. And while I have my peaks and valleys in terms of demeanor, I am usually content in most respects. Music helps me study. I dance to music. I love it because it makes me feel amazing. I'm not clinically depressed - take that, science!
So I logged onto Facebook and I saw that one of my friends from school posted a video with her computer video camera. It was her talking, and she was talking about God. She said that she never really understood God for a while, until a few years ago when she looked to God for help in hard times. And she was saying how it has opened up her life, and how to her, God is like "that friend you can talk to at 4 in the morning" about anything. She was really passionate about it, and she was encouraging us to look to Him for guidance if we ever needed it, which knowing me, I probably will. It was a really inspirational video, and from the textbook teenager definition, that doesn't match it. Not many teens are very open about faith, and I was really impressed with how she came to this realization and how she shared it with us. And also, how all of the comments were really supportive and kind.
Not a typical teen, per se, but I say that's even better.
Breaking molds and stereotypes is the first step to acceptance of other people. That's how I became friends with so many other people; they looked past the surface and saw that I'm not the preppy cheerleader they thought I was; I'm the fun-loving nerd that likes to play ukulele and make cool sculptures. I also like to swim and read large books about human anatomy, vegetable art, and gnomes.
I challenge you to reach out to someone who you never talked to before because you had reservations about them, for any reason. Try talking to them; maybe just ask them a stupid question like "hey what time is it? I can't read the clock because my vision is poor." It could turn into a cool conversation. You might really connect with them.
Everyday you learn something about something or someone; find someone you've never met before and maybe they can teach you something.

19 October 2011

sawing in the rain

So today I was working on my new project for art. And it was like 50 degrees and raining today, and the wind was blowing wildly. But when wood needs to be cut, it needs to be cut, and so I had to go outside on the balcony and cut for the two hours I was in art.
The good part is, my wrist didn't hurt because it was numb from the cold. It doesn't seem like it would be that cold, but it was extremely cold. Especially since yesterday was so hot.
But the cool part is that when I was in the supply room getting extension cords, my teacher asked me if it was ok if she submitted my paper sculpture to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. I was so excited! Especially an honor from her - she would only do that if she really thought you were good enough to do well in something like that.
So I was really chill and I said "Oh sure, I'll make sure it's ready by Friday", even though I was bubbling over with elation on the inside. You don't really want to blow your cool like that, so I kept it pretty low-key and carried the old extension cords out into the cold.
So I looked up the competition and apparently if you do well at the regional level you can qualify for the national level, and if you do well in that your stuff can be displayed in art galleries in NYC! And you get to go to Carnegie Hall to be congratulated!
So basically, it was really cool. Because I've never gotten an honor like that, and truthfully I don't think that I would have been able to get it. I guess she saw something in my sculpture and she thought it was good enough for a competition.
So I was really excited.
And now, I'll stop saying "so" so much because it's probably getting ridiculously annoying.
Well, I better go since I have some tests tomorrow. What would school be without tests?

18 October 2011

get your dopamine movin'

I've always wondered why music makes people feel better, and in particular music that you like, or upbeat happy songs.
It's dopamine.
When you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, which is a chemical that is involved with addictions. Don't panic, you won't get addicted to music or anything.
But there was this cool study I read about on Discovery.com about how music affects your brain. A bunch of scientists asked their subjects to bring their favorite music, music that "gives them chills", and they injected the subjects with dopamine receptors. If the receptors received the dopamine, and closed, the music worked on their minds. If they remained open, no dopamine was being released. And in all of the subjects, they found that the dopamine was released, since they could see through a PET scan that the dopamine receptors had closed.
However, it didn't work for people who picked music they didn't love very much.
Also, people who didn't really listen to much music didn't get affected as much.
But for me, music is probably the best way to get out of a bad mood, or to drag out sadness. Because sometimes if things are going bad, you just want to feel sad.
Either way, humans have been living with this biological instinct ever since we were a species. We've been reacting to music we like in this exact same way. So it's cool that we are still doing some of the same things as our ancient counterparts.
Sometimes bad moods and terrible days seem insurmountable. But maybe you can find that one song to get you through the day. Something to get that dopamine moving.

17 October 2011

micro-to-macro (and we're not talking economics)

If you are really ever feeling like your life could not get any worse, just think of someone else's life and their struggles. And since you can read this blog because you're at a computer, you have it a lot better than some other people.
I don't do this too often, even though I should, but it's called the micro-to-macro approach. I made it up. Well, I made the name up at least. It's where you think of your own life and your amenities, and you compare it to someone who had less than you. It doesn't have to be someone starving in Southeast Asia or Africa, it could be someone you know who doesn't have as much as you. Because there is always someone who has less than you. No matter what.
So we all complain about something every once in a while. Like today, I was complaining about finishing a major AP Lit assignment. It's a big one and it counts for a lot of credit. But when I thought about it, there are girls in other countries who aren't even allowed to go to school. They can't even learn how to read or write anything, even their name. And instead I thought about how I have the opportunity to take a college-level class that can better prepare me for when I get there. Even in the US, AP classes are not offered everywhere. I know a girl who doesn't take any APs because they don't have them at her school, but she's thinking about taking the exams anyway. I am literally prepared from day one to take the exam and pass, and succeed. So I can automatically have a better chance at everything because of my circumstances.
The same ones I was complaining about a few hours ago.
Everyone has a hard life in some way; it could be more hard than easy, or more easy than hard. Sometimes we even envy people who seem to have everything go their way, but it just means they hide their problems well, because everyone has something - at least one thing - that bothers them everyday. It could be mental, physical, medical, social, academic, you name it. But sometimes some of us have smaller problems than others. And that's what sets us apart. So instead of thinking of what doesn't go right, I'm starting to think about what does go right, or what seems to be going my way a lot of the time.
I read an article yesterday about a boy who played football for the high school team. He was a junior, 16 years old. He was hit in the game, like any other game, and he fell backwards and hit his head. They took him to the hospital to look for damage but he was dead when they got there. Bleeding on the brain. A few weeks ago my sister also got hit in the same way. She was wearing a helmet just like this kid was, and she was wearing pads. Like this kid she blacked out for a few seconds, but then like this kid she bounced back and walked off fine. But she's still here. And somehow I wonder how I can complain when I realize things like this can happen. It was a miracle. And I think in life we forget a lot about those things.

16 October 2011

play outside

If you are ever feeling down, go outside. Especially if it's a good weather day. You might exacerbate your sadness if you go outside in a storm.
Outside has healing powers, I'm pretty sure of it. Just stand outside. Lie on the grass, or on a blanket on the grass. Don't even do anything, just sit there and enjoy it. Or you can bring everything outside and work outside. Either way it's utterly fabulous. If you just breathe in the air and feel the sun on your skin, you're bound to feel better, I can almost guarantee that.
Because I was feeling bored today. I would watch some TV, then I'd turn it off, then I'd walk around the house and do it again, and then I would turn on the TV, and it was just getting boring. So I took my ukulele outside and I worked on some Christmas songs. And it was just so perfect, I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to go outside when it was so nice everyday.
But you never know when it's going to be nice out, so take advantage of it! Well, we actually do know, because we have an entire field of science dedicated to weather predictions, but you know what I mean.

15 October 2011

paddle mission

I've been a little down. Mostly because I was thinking about how Halloween is in a week-ish and we still haven't really thought about it. I guess it's just that all those fun kid things have been replaced, sort of, with school and college applications. I love holidays, and I think holidays are about family, and I just wish that I was a kid again for that reason. Playing outside in the leaves, all that fun stuff.
Sometimes I feel uninspired when I'm sad. But suddenly, as if a spark of inspiration came and flew into my ear, I became inspired. I found out about this woman who is 45 years old and she is a standup paddler (they're those things that are like smaller surfboards that you stand on and paddle). She has 3 kids, she's a single mom, and she's going to go on a 1-month standup paddling journey along the Ganges River in India. She's going to paddle for about 4 hours per day, hopefully covering 25 miles per day, until she's finished the whole river.
But that's not the most amazing part of her story.
She also has cervical cancer, and she only has about 6 months left to live. At the most.
Imagine if you knew you only had a few months left to live. What would you do to make them the best moments ever?
It's horrible to think that way, but that's how you get the best out of it. And instead of moping around at home, she is getting up and doing something amazingly active, spiritual, and unconventional. She's doing something no one has done before, and she's going to make it her last best memory.
I wish no one ever had cancer. I wish cancer didn't exist. And I wish there was a way to eradicate it. Right now tons of experts in the field of oncology are working on it, and I hope someday they can get rid of it for good. But for now, it's something that too many people have to deal with.
And this woman is making her last months the most memorable.
Some people can handle emotional stress, and some people can't. But I guess you can't tell how you handle it until it happens to you.

14 October 2011

days of the week analysis and band practice

Friday can really be the best day of the week.
Here is why all of the other days cannot:

Saturday: it's almost as good as Friday, except the weekend is just getting started and work is still looming over your head like a sunken party decoration..time is dwindling..
Sunday: it's the day when we have to finish everything due for Monday.
Monday: it's Monday.
Tuesday: You've made it to Monday, but the stresses from Monday have already taken a toll on you and know you are backlogged on sleep.
Wednesday. It's the neither here nor there day. You've come as far as you have left to go. It's just one of those days.
Thursday: Alright, you've made it that far, but you still have one more day. So close, but still so far away.
Friday is absolutely the best day because you have been relieved from duties, and you don't have to do work because Monday is so darn far away that who cares! But this fantasy quickly fades, as we have seen in Sunday. And you get to sleep in! And the first morning of sleeping in is always better because it's the first, and it's always more refreshing the first time.
Now that you know my favorite day of the week is Friday, I'll tell you about it.
So after school me and my sister got out our instruments and started playing on the front lawn. We were working on a Christmas song, and I was on my ukulele and she was on flute. In the past we've done both of us on flute, since I also play flute, but it would sound more interesting and diverse with 2 instruments. Not like ukulele and flute exactly match.
Sitting there playing and reminiscing about band from middle school was just simple, pure fun. And playing together, figuring out what sounds best, and just relaxing was a plus too. I wish I had more time to play during the week, but I never do. However, it just makes it even more special when I do play.
The only way to enjoy these small moments, though, is to go out and pursue them. Do the things you like. Find other people to do them with you. Because nothing is more fun than doing things you like with people you like.

13 October 2011

a spark

Today I went to art and my teacher gave us the plywood for our project. She said we could get started if we were ready.
Usually I'm ready to start right away because usually I have a cool idea. But today I just sat there and did nothing. I couldn't even think of an idea. I had cycled through hundreds of ideas, but none of them were good enough. At all. Or they were not good enough to be a high-level art project.
So I finally came up with my idea. It was going to be a representation of the Morton Salt girl, and it was supposed to be a Pop Art inspired type of thing. In case you make your own salt from the ground or you just don't go outside, I have attached a
handy link with a picture of the salt girl.
So I grabbed an Exact-o and I started to cut out the shape so I could put it on the projector and see it all blown up huge on the wall. So once I did that, it looked OK, but I added some sick negative space that highlighted the girl, and not just the umbrella. So it turned out really cool, and I got really excited because when I put it on the projector, it looked really awesome.
Fireworks can't start without something to light it. That's the same with ideas. They can't be formed until you have a spark of inspiration. And sometimes you have to wait for that perfect spark to come. It's like riding a wave. You have to be patient and let it come to you.

12 October 2011

a secret garden

I plugged it into the calculator, and I found out that I have only 20% left of the year to write. It's getting intense!
So today is national PSAT day, and the only people who don't take it are the seniors. So none of the seniors go to school in the morning, and some of them go back after the test. So today I went biking all over the town and I went to one of my favorite places ever: it's a nursery, like for plants, but it also has a huge gift shop-type thing and a cafe. It's really wonderful. And there is this cute little greenhouse room that no one goes in and it's secretive and fun. And they have relaxing piano music playing through the whole place, and that coupled with the water falling from the mini fountains created quite a nice ambiance.
Then I bought a milkshake at the cafe and I sat inside and just sipped. I wasn't reading anything or writing anything, I was just sitting and thinking and enjoying the moment.

I stayed for a while, until I had to go back to school, but I won't forget the fun morning, all by myself, that I had when I was there in that secret room, and in the gardens, enjoying the escape from my daily life and off into a special world by myself.

11 October 2011

brain scrapbooks

If you made a pie chart of the average person's life, about 10% of the days would be good days, like really fabulous days that make you cry with joy, 10% would be bad days, like ones that make you want to cry with despair, and the rest (80% - don't worry, I got this math stuff down) would be the average days. Not good, not bad, just no particular events that could sustain a memory in your mind.
But do you really want to forget approximately 80% of your life? Probably not. I mean, we all want to remember the good things. And maybe we even want to remember the bad things so they can make us stronger. But things that don't have a significant impact on our lives do not really stay in our memories. If some kid handed you a pink post-it note and danced around in a circle, that would probably stick in your memory. But if some kid handed you a pale yellow post-it note and walked away, this event would probably escape your mind rather quickly.
But the only way to make sure you can keep the best memories possible, so that you can entertain yourself in your later years, is if you make little brain scrapbooks. I'm making one now - this blog is helping me to remember the mundane things that occur. And sometimes the best things to hear are those very things. My favorite tweets from famous people are the ones about them going to buy a sandwich, or them taking a picture of themselves in Target; things that we do everyday.
And since these daily events make up a ton of our lives, we have to recognize how important they are.
But anyways, back to scrapbooks. If you try and think of something - it could be just one thing - in your day that made you laugh, smile, cry, scream, or just something important enough that you still remember it by the end of the day, write it down. Make a little book filled with your daily adventures, boring as they may seem. Those are the very things that historians want to find when they are looking to write about the daily life of a certain culture. Little journals and writings about quotidian things.
My blog's helped me keep those "mundane" things closer to the heart. And it can also help you find a spark of inspiration or significance that you never noticed before. Sometimes the everyday things are the most interesting, because they make us look twice.

10 October 2011

just because

So the other day I said that I was going to buy a plant for my AP bio teacher. And we did. On Saturday me and my dad and my siblings went to Home Depot (arguably my favorite store ever) and I picked out a very specific plant that would surely live in the environment of our classroom. So I picked out the plant, my sister pruned it while we waited in customer service for something else (long story) and I picked a nice little Asian-inspired pot to put it in. Then I spent a few hours making a little plant label thing (you know, that thing that sticks up out of the dirt so you know what it is) that was far better than the plastic one that came with it. Then I delivered it this morning to his room.
And he loved it so much.
You can't find many people who will get excited about plants. I mean, they're green and they don't move. This plant doesn't even smell nice. But I love it. It's the most perfect plant ever. And my teacher loved it too. He thought it was so cool and really nice of me to get it. And I get to give it a special spot in the room, since I got it.
A lot of people were giving me strange looks, probably because 1, it's weird to carry a foot-tall plant into school (I mean, who does that?) and 2, because it's even weirder to give your teacher a plant. But teachers are still people, and it was like a "just because" gift. And it doesn't really matter what the gift is, but if it's something special that you put thought into, there's meaning behind it.
And plus, it's fun to give people special gifts, even if there isn't an occasion. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

09 October 2011

the fall

As fabulous as Caribbean vacations are, one of my favorite things is when the seasons start to change. It doesn't even matter which season - I love them all. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would definitely be fall. The change from summer to fall is by far the best, because 1, you are still tan but you get to wear pants (finally), 2, because after 7 months of summer in the ATL it's refreshing to not sweat as you walk down to the mailbox at 9am, and to wear pants and sweaters instead of swim suits all day long, and 3, because it looks so beautiful when the leaves change colors and everyone buys pumpkins and drinks hot apple cider.
Other than a college interview today at Starbucks (I'm becoming quite the coffeehouse connoisseur) and some AP Macro homework, we went to the pumpkin patch today and had an utterly wonderful time. We bought pumpkins, frolicked through the greenhouses, and had such a wonderful day. It's like the quintessential fall thing to do, and it's my favorite time of year. Especially since my absolute favorite holiday ever is in the next two weeks!
Who would have thought that seasons could make a girl so happy?
Well, even if you don't think they can, the weather can make you happy. Even if it's just a change from the old grind. Just step outside and take a look at what the world has to offer.

08 October 2011

less is more

If you've ever had a kid or been a kid - well obviously at some point everyone was a kid - you know that there are a few birthday party phases that kids have. In the beginning it's just the family party, with a bunch of relatives giving gifts to the parents to help the parents. But once the kid's in preschool or kindergarten, it's the very first "kid party" phase, when Mom looks up the class roster and invites everyone on the list, and all the mommies stay and watch their kids as they engage in idle play together, even if they don't know each other.
Then there's the dreaded Chuck-E-Cheese phase, usually at 6 or 7 years old, perhaps even younger; for some reason it's on the birthday party bucket list for every kid, including myself when I was a youngun, and for some reason the bacteria breeding farm coated with grime and poorly made toys is fun. The party favor is usually some stupid toy that was a prize from some game that had more bacteria than a petri dish, and if you're lucky, a new strain of Streptococcus or Staphylococcus something-rather. It truly is a nightmare of a party. After the kids wolf down pizza that sits in your digestive tract like a gooey lard, they all get some sort of infectious disease, and before long the whole grade's out sick with strep. Thanks, "Chuck-E".
Then there's the easy phase, when kids start inviting their amiable cohorts, and they do simple activities together, like ordering pizzas, sleeping over, and watching movies. That is the type of party my brother wanted this year, so tonight we hosted a slew of 11 year old boys and we went out for hamburgers and frozen yogurt. Such a simple, yet delightful, party. None of this conjunctivitis or influenza from Chuck-E-Cheese.
But as they say in the Charmin Ultra commercials, "less is more"! A simple party with your best friends can be a lot better than a big huge fancy party with tons of people you don't know very well. And they all had fun playing and laughing and just hanging out. And sometimes that's all you really need. Some good friends, some good yogurt, and some good burgers. Even though I don't like burgers.

07 October 2011


Cupcakes are sort of the epitome of happiness.
Just the word cupcake makes people happy. Who doesn't want a small cake all to themselves? If I had a dollar for every time I found someone who didn't like cupcakes, well, I wouldn't have very many dollars.
I went cupcaking (bloggers can make up their own words) with my friend today at this cupcakery. Well, you could have probably figured that out. It's not like I cupcaked at a jelly bean factory. My friend had never been to this fine establishment, and thus I had to show her. And I got the biggest, chocolatest cupcake you can ever fathom. And it was so scrumptious that I wanted to get another one. But then I would look like a big pig who likes cupcakes, which I suppose is not the worst thing to be. But sometimes, nothing beats a cupcake. And sometimes all we really need in life is a cupcake; something small and sweet that brightens our day in some sort of way.
That rhymed. Rhyming is so much fun.
I decided I am going to buy my AP bio teacher a plant, since we are talking about photosynthesis in class. I'm contemplating between a local farm and Home Depot. It's hard because I love Home Depot; in fact it's my favorite store usually. But I might just want to go local and save the economy. I hope the plant can be his cupcake.

06 October 2011

operation waffle

Dear Everyone,
Sorry I didn't post yet again this week, I feel like such a lowly slacker. I am planning to write all the blog posts I put placeholders in for whatever reason, probably over Thanksgiving break.
But anyways, before I fell asleep last night, I was thinking about what I could write about. But it was just an average day, nothing really interesting had happened.
But then I remembered. And when you think hard, there's always something that made the day interesting.
When I was leaving the art room, there was a big group of people standing next to the vending machine all crouched down on the floor. A few people walking by said it was a group of guys making waffles. A lo and behold, it was true. Some kids in my grade brought a waffle maker, unplugged the vending machine, and plugged in their kitchen appliance. They even had Hungry Jack mix and some little folding chairs to sit while they cooked. Eventually, Operation Waffle was shut down by the counselor's secretary, but I got a picture, so it's all good.
So, days as a whole might be just average, but don't forget about the little things that made you chuckle.

05 October 2011

a tribute to the great american inventor

Well. Today we lost one of the most creative, innovative, inventive, powerful leaders ever to influence pop culture.
I wanted to dedicate this post to Steve Jobs because he has touched all of our lives in some way, whether it was through an iPod, a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone, iTunes, or any of the other Apple projects he worked on in his life. He was a leader who got the job done. but he also changed the way people think of electronics, getting things done, communication, and the world. We are all connected in some way, and some of Steve Jobs inventions have helped to make those things come true. He is the only person who has influenced our tech culture this much ever.
And he was taken away by disease.
When you think about it,Steve Jobs has been a part of our lives for a long time. Everyday I use my iPad to play music while I do homework, and I listen to iTunes and my iPod almost everyday. I don't have a Macbook, but tons of people I know do, and I know they do at major universities and some colleges. He helped revolutionize computers way back in the 80s and 90s.
But most importantly, he was a dad. He had 4 kids. He was also a husband. And now he leaves behind his wife of 20 years and 4 kids. 4 kids lost their dad today, and one woman lost the love of her life.
And the world lost Steve Jobs.
His charisma and his ideas made us believe that we could do crazy things. Who would have thought we could store thousands of songs on a small device - no CDs or walkmans - and carry it around in your pocket? Or that we could have tablets that work just like computers - but better? He raised our standards for technology, and he connected the globe with his products. It's just so sad to see him go.
The world has saluted him appropriately through Facebook and Twitter, as well as comments on websites and actual websites changing their homepages for him. The "R.I.P Steve Jobs" Facebook page had 28,000 something likes when I checked a few hours ago. A few minutes ago that went up to 38,000, and now it's at 40,000 something. I literally refreshed the page every second for 10 seconds and the number went up at least 7 each time.
The world loves you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for everything. Rest in peace.

04 October 2011

makin' progress

280 posts. We're like past the seventh inning stretch.
So today, in addition to sort of being on top of things, I got word back from my principal that I can do the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet at school in November! I'm so excited, but there are a ton of things that need to get done first, like allocating work to volunteers, finding resources and speakers, and memorizing the script. But I have a little bit of public speaking background, so let's hope it goes well. I still have time.
So today when my economics teacher didn't come to school again because her kid was sick (that kid really needs some sort of immunotherapy program), and we had already finished everything from yesterday, I was talking with my friend about the volunteer positions. Whoever signed up first gets first dibs on the best jobs. Not that there are better jobs; well, there sort of are. There are easy jobs and hard ones. But she picked a hard job, so at least I have eager volunteers.
She was asking me more about the hunger banquet, so I was telling her that it was an awareness thing, not necessarily something to raise money. And she sort of thought it was preposterous to have a banquet without making donations.
The problem with donations is that it's almost like a short-term fix to a problem. We see the Unicef commercials of starving kids in Africa, we donate some money, and the end. We see the church collections for charities, and we bring a can of tuna, and the end. But we don't ever really confront the problem. It's like a get-out-of-jail-free card in Monopoly. You get out, but do you learn anything?
That's what the banquet's about. It's an indirect way of getting people's attentions. And what better way to do it than to bring the problem into their own lives with a realistic simulation of world poverty (details to come)? Because education is what makes people feel; and the way people feel is the way people act. If people experience poverty - even a watered down version in a simulation - they will feel how others feel in real life. And this empathy will hopefully empower them to use what they have to help people who cannot help themselves. And that's how change happens - through ideas put into action; something a can of tuna can't do.
So I hope my banquet goes well, and I hope it empowers people to make a difference.

03 October 2011

find your construction adhesive

It really was a terrible disaster.
I was passing the time in AP lit when the unthinkable happened: my plaster sculpture toppled over and shattered. All of my work and effort for nothing. It was broken. And no matter what adhesives you put on it, it will never be a strong as it was before it was broken.
I sort of went into a post-traumatic shock. This was just one of those "worst case scenarios" form a nightmare. But no, five minutes later I was in my art class, explaining the recent catastrophe to my teacher. Luckily she was just as sad as me, and we applied some construction adhesive to the wounds.
Now we just have to wait.
I guess the lesson is you can never be prepared for everything, but you can keep your cool when bad things do happen. Just pick up the pieces to your plaster foam sculpture and figure out how to fix it. Find the construction adhesive for your life.

02 October 2011

Sorry i had such a crazy weekend i couldn't post anything. i will post tomorrow, sorry :(

01 October 2011

a starry night

Sometimes there are just those days when everything seems to work out and it turns out great. Other than having to take the SAT, today was such a fun day.
Today was in fact my last time taking the SAT. Never again will I have to think about it or study for it. Because no matter what, it's over. And what a great feeling it was to hear them say "please pick up your belongings and leave the test site". Good times in the various testing facilities.
Afterwards, me and my friend were driving around looking for a place to have lunch, so we went to this fancy place and we got to sit at a fancy table and eat really great food - like handmade pasta and the works. It's ridiculously good stuff.
And tonight I went to my friend's house for her birthday, and we went in her hot tub in the backyard and stared up at the sky. It was filled with stars. Just like the night in Costa Rica when I was staring at the stars looking at the infinite amounts of gas bubbles in the atmosphere, lighting the earth from every corner. It was simply wonderful, sitting together with friends, in a hot tub, looking at the stars. It's hard to think that some of the most beautiful things are the everyday things. When you stop and look, the world's a beautiful place.