Friday, December 30, 2011

A Look Back on 2011 Continued (2)

#3) Making Happiness Inc.: Ever since I was a little girl, I used to hear stories about my uncle when he was in show choir. I would hear about how much fun it was, how much work you had to put into it, and the friends he made along the way. He would show me his Big Banana Jacket that still hangs up in the closet of his old bedroom. Even then, knowing how much I loved to sing and dance, I knew I wanted to be in Happiness Inc. one day. That day finally came at the end of May. I had been in the Freshman Prep Group, Chanteurs as well as the Prep Group, Protégé my sophomore year. And I had auditioned for the Varsity Group, Happiness in early April. I was so nervous, but when I opened up the link with the list of names on it, all of those nerves got really crazy, but then mellowed down once I saw my name. This was one of the happiest days of my life. What I had worked for and strived for, finally happened. Then, in late July, I got my first Big Banana Jacket. It was my own and had MY name on it. I can’t describe how cool it was to finally get my OWN jacket. I am so excited to compete this year with my friends in Happiness Inc., where I will get to show off my Big Banana Jacket!
#2) Getting My License: I have been driving since I was fourteen, but when I turned sixteen, it was a whole new experience. I had gotten the freedom I had always wanted. I had a cute little red car to go with it too. I love having my license. Having my license makes my life so much easier. I don’t have to rely of someone to come get me, or on people having to chauffer me around. I have the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want (as long as it is okay with my mom!). It is great and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I am so fortunate to have that privilege, considering there are a lot of people in the world that do not.
#1) Spain:  My trip to Spain was a trip of a lifetime. I made so many memories and so many friends. Even though it feels like forever ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Getting to experience life in another country, with another language was more challenging than I ever expected it to be. However, I realized that this challenge was good and that was what this trip was meant to do. It was meant to challenge you in ways that you have never been challenged before. I was able to make relationships that will last forever, especially with my host family. This trip made me realize how much I really enjoyed traveling abroad and that I want to do much more of it in the future. I am grateful to everyone who made this trip possible!
Many things happened in 2011 that I will never forget. I can only hope that 2012 will be even better than 2011 and that I will make many more memories. (542)

A Look Back on 2011 Continued (1)

#6) Three Shows, Soon to be Four: I have always been very involved in the drama department. This year, I was in a total of three shows, with a fourth just now starting up. In, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum the cast all formed a tight bond. I got to form a relationship with all of the seniors as well as cast members of all grades. The show was so funny, and we all had a great time putting it on. It is definitely a show I will always remember. In, Seussical the Musical it was a new experience. It was the first show we did with our new director. The cast was larger, and the show was different. However, the more we went to practice and performed the show, the more fun it got. I made many new friends and have many memories. And the last official show was, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It was the production put on by Playtime Poppy (see other blogs). It was great fun and was a show I will never forget. This is because I had laryngitis and bronchitis during our shows, but I managed to pull it all together and help make a great show!  I am now starting to have practices for Harvey, where I will be playing Veta Louise Simmons. I am very excited and it will be a great way to start off the New Year!

#5) Go Pack Go: What a great year it has been to be a Packer fan! I get a lot of grief for rooting for the Packers in a Viking-Bears zone, but that doesn’t stop me! I am a true Packer fan, unlike half of the nation that jumped on the bandwagon when the Packers started their GREAT season! I started being a Packer fan the summer of 2010 when I went up to Green Bay, Wisconsin. I got to see them practice and from then on, I knew they were going to be my team. Also, part of me just wanted to be an aggravator. I knew my “new” team would get on my stepdad’s nerves because he is a Vikings fan, and it would also get on my dad’s nerves because he is a Bears fan! I have remained faithful to the Packers since then, and let’s be honest- who wouldn’t!? Let’s hope they keep up the good work! Go Pack Go!!!!!!!!!!!

#4) First College Visits:  I have been receiving a lot of information from colleges for a long time now. However, being a junior in high school, looking at colleges has been more than just receiving information; it is about actually getting on campus. In 2011, I started my college visits. I went to Cornell College and St. Olaf College. This was an interesting experience. It made me REALLY look at the college and it gave me the opportunity to learn what I wanted and didn’t want from a college. I can’t decide what college I want to go to by just visiting two. In 2012, I know I will be visiting more and more which will help me to make one of the biggest decisions of my life! (535)

A Look Back on 2011

Looking back onto 2011, it was quite an exciting year. Many things happened, some sad, but some great! With it quickly coming to an end, it makes me wonder, how will 2012 top this fun-filled year? From nine to one, here is how my year went:

#9) Saying Goodbye: This year marked the first year I was forced to “say goodbye.” Being a sophomore last year, I made a lot more senior friends. When I was a freshman, I remember being scared to death by the seniors. They just seemed so much older. But last year, I put that “fear” aside and made a lot of upperclassmen friends. All of them left school in May and then left town in August. It was hard saying goodbye, because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see them every day anymore. But then I would remember that they were off to new and exciting things. I have seen many of them when they have come home for breaks, but it isn’t the same as being with them every day. I still try to keep in touch with many of them too. Seeing how hard it was to say goodbye to them, it is going to be even harder to say goodbye to my senior friends this year (since I am a junior).  But pretty soon, I am going to be the one getting said “goodbye” to!

#8) Lower-Classman to Upper-Classman: The transition from sophomore year to junior year doesn’t seem like that big of a difference in theory, but it practice it is a huge leap. I made this leap this year. Freshmen and sophomores are viewed as lowerclassmen. They do not get as many “rights” as the upperclassmen do. But now, being an upperclassman, I feel like a completely different person. I am the one the lowerclassmen look up to and I am the one who has more authority than they do. I have more rights, such as getting a release period, where I can leave campus instead of having to take a study hall. And I can also leave campus for lunch! I love having this right because it makes the lunch period more fun! I am also allowed to park my car in the big, student lot ON CAMPUS. This is a change for me because I was used to having to park at a near-by church and I would have to walk to school. Not fun. But now, being an upperclassmen makes going to school more fun!

#7) No Pop: New Year’s Eve signifies one year since I have had pop of any sort. This is mile-stone for me because I used to drink pop all of the time. I feel like not drinking pop, makes me unique in a way. Many people are “addicted” to pop and can’t go a day without it; some only drink it on special occasions. I however, only drink water, juice and milk. Not drinking pop makes me feel healthier. I do not feel like I am putting that nasty sugar supplement inside of my body. I have lost a lot of weight in the past year or so, and I feel like not drinking pop had something to do with that. Some people who have given up pop say that they miss the fizzy feeling or the taste. However, I do not miss pop one bit.  (559)

The Beauty of Having a Snuggie

I have joined the massive phenomena of having a Snuggie. I got my first Snuggie for Christmas and I started using it non-stop ever since. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:

#1) Read a Book: The Snuggie comes in handy especially while trying to read. I am one of those weird people that like to sleep with the ceiling fan on high speed, even in the winter. I do this while trying to read my book, and let me tell you, it gets pretty windy. Before I had the Snuggie, my arms would constantly have “goose bumps” because they were so cold. However, now, I can wear my Snuggie while reading and it makes a huge difference. The Snuggie has arm holes that allow you to do anything you want with your hands, while keeping your arms nice and warm. Now, I can read my book while staying warm even with my fan on high speed!

#2) Type Your Blogs: I am currently using my Snuggie as I type this blog. I am in my basement where it is a bit chilly. However, I do not feel cold at all because I have my wonderful Snuggie on. If I weren’t wearing my Snuggie and were trying to write a blog, my arms would be FREEZING. But since they are covered up and my hands are free, I am able to write as many blogs as I want or can come up with while keeping my body heated.

#3) Just Stay on the Couch: Being a typical teenager, I love to sleep and lounge; it is one of my most favorite things to do! Another way I am a typical teenager, I love to text. Having a Snuggie makes it possible to stay bundled up and warm, while texting and flipping through channels on the television. My Snuggie, like many others, also has a large pocket in the front. This is a safe place where I can keep my phone and remote if I happen to fall asleep or just need a break from holding onto something. It is very nifty!

My wonderful Snuggie is purple with peace signs all over it. The color is nice and bright so it makes me feel happy. Since my Snuggie has peace signs all over it, it makes me feel a sense of serenity as well. I know that I can be warm and safe while wearing my Snuggie. Snuggies were a great invention because they allow the person wearing it to multitask, which we Americans love to do. And that is the beauty of having a Snuggie.

Underage Drinking and Smoking

Why do people feel the need to drink and smoke (anything) underage? I have been raised with good morals. You do what is asked of you, when you are asked. You obey higher authoritative figures. You do not break the law. Because I have been raised this way, I do not understand why people feel the need to go and do stuff that they are not supposed to do. I have no patience for people who break the law, especially when they are directly impacting me and my life.

Drinking: I have more patience for people who drink underage than I do for people who smoke. There is a reason that there is a drinking age set. However, there is also a reason that drinking is not completely illegal. I have absolutely no patience for people who drink and drive. That is one of the worst thing you can do because you are not only affecting yourself and putting your life and risk, you are putting other people at risk as well. If you are going to drink, do not get behind the wheel. If you do, you are just being selfish and are not thinking about the consequences of that action. If you are going to drink underage, do it somewhere safe. However, I am not advocating drinking because I think that you should just obey the laws put in place. Why do people feel the need to drink in high school or before they are twenty-one when they have the rest of their life to do it? Wait until it is actually legal!

Smoking: When I say smoking, I mean any type of smoking; whether it is drugs or cigarettes. It is just plain stupid. Smoking whatever it is you smoke is dangerous. It is not just dangerous and harmful to yourself, but it is dangerous to anyone else you are around. I have had people in my family die because of what smoking cigarettes did to them. It is so hard to see someone you love die because of something they did to themselves. I have absolutely no patience for drugs. There is a reason that drugs are illegal. I do not understand why people feel the need to get high off some substance. I am high ON LIFE. If you feel like you need to get high to have friends, than you need to get some better friends.

People who smoke and drink when they are in high school make me sick. It especially hurts if you are friends with them or involved in an extracurricular activity with them. By doing this, they are not only putting themselves in jeopardy, but they are putting all of their team mates in jeopardy as well. It is not fair to do this to yourself, as well as to anyone else. You have your whole life to do this stuff, why do it when you are in high school? Your high school years are supposed to be the best years of your life, but you miss them when you are high and drunk.

Goodbye Baby Fat

As the New Year approaches many people make their New Year’s Resolution to work out and lose weight. This resolution is not always followed through but sometimes it is. It is hard to set your mind to something if you don’t feel like you have the stamina to keep it up. I know that I have tried this before and I have had trouble sticking to it. I have found that I have lost weight, without doing anything different.

In the past I have been a chunky monkey! I look at pictures now from back then and I think to myself, “Holy cow! Is that legit?!” It is hard for me to look at those pictures because I realize that I was not the healthiest person in the world. I use to get a lot of grief from my dad’s side of the family. They were always making comments on my weight. And you know it really hurt. I didn’t really like having to spend time with them because of the hurtful comments they would make about my size. I never really realized how heavy I really was. I know they didn’t mean to be rude or hurtful with their comments, but it hurt me a lot. I know those comments will always remain with me and I will always remember them. I feel like that is part of the reason I was never really close with them; I was always afraid of what they were going to say.

Lately, I have started to notice a change in my body. I don’t really notice it as much as other people notice it. However, I do notice it especially when I look at pictures. There is a major difference even between now and just two years ago! I have been asked if “I am eating”. And the truth is, YES! I love food and I enjoy eating food. I am not going to give up food just to be skinny. That is a joke. I have learned what is good to eat and what is bad to eat. I totaled it up, and I have lost close to thirty pounds since freshman year. (I am now a junior.) This is remarkable to me. I am proud of my weight loss, but I can’t say that I have done anything different to make it happen. I feel bad saying this, because there are people out there that try, and try and try to lose weight, but it doesn’t happen. I feel like I have lost a majority of my weight in just growing up and getting taller. I finally lost my “baby fat”. I am also not home after school to chow-down and eat a lot of food. I keep myself busy and I eat healthy food now. By keeping busy, you don’t have the feeling of boredom. (I know that when I am bored, I tend to eat!) By growing up, keeping busy and remaining active, I have lost weight I never thought that I would lose!

I know that I am not a skinny-minny and I am okay with that. I am so comfortable in my skin and I embrace my curves. I am closer with my dad’s side of my family now because they finally stopped bullying me about my size. I am so lucky that I don’t have the pressure to keep losing weight. I do not feel like I have to be a certain size. I was loved when I was chunky and I know I will be loved at whatever size I am.


I thought since I wrote a blog about Twitter, I might as well write a blog about Facebook. I prefer Facebook to Twitter because Facebook is a way to stay up to date, without getting involved in everyone’s drama. Unlike Twitter, Facebook is mostly positive, with only some negatives.

#1) Creeping: This is my favorite part about Facebook. I know this probably sounds weird, but it is just so much fun! Facebook is a way to see what people are up to, without having to go to them directly. It is nice because you can see how old friends are doing and how they are looking. I know for my mom, she likes being able to see her old high school or college classmates. And for me, I like being able to see how my old friends are doing and how they look. It is nice to see how people are doing that you no longer stay in regular touch with.

#2) Staying Up to Date: Facebook is a nice source of information. One thing I don’t like though is that it enables direct communication. There isn’t as much direct interaction anymore, because you can just get the needed information other ways. However, if you know someone is ill or needs prayers, you can get that information with just a click of your mouse. By having a Facebook, you can get the information you need to know to stay up to date on everything that is going on!

#3) Share Your Stories: I love posting pictures for everyone to see. (As long as they are appropriate!) It comes in handy when you have things you want to share with the people you don’t get to see on a regular basis. For example, many of my family members live in different states. I am friends with all of them that have Facebook. I like this to a certain extent because they are able to stay informed on my life and see what I am up to, by just going to my Profile, and vice versa.

Facebook has many beneficial qualities, but it also has some negatives. One negative is that you can get too involved in people’s personal lives. Some people are not aware that whatever they put on Facebook, everyone can see. This is when other people become involved; human beings LOVE drama that is not our own. However, if you know your boundaries, you can stay out of drama and focus on just yourself and your information. I am definitely an advocate for Facebook. It is a way to have your life displayed for everyone to see, without having everyone get too involved in your business.

Energy, Energy, and More Energy!

Over Christmas Break, I went to visit my dad. I have a little sister who is seven. (She is my half sister, so she lives with my dad and stepmom.) She was born from two completely different people. One is calm and very chill (unless you tick him off) and the other is always doing something (she is always involved in one thing or another). By coming from two opposite people, you would think that my sister would be a mixture of calm and crazy. However, you and I both thought wrong: she is like the Energizer Bunny because she is always going and going and going!

I am a typical teenager. I was made by two calm people. My mom and my dad are both content by just sitting on the couch relaxing; I am that way too. Yes, sometimes it is nice to get out of the house and do something, but I am mostly content by just relaxing. Let’s be honest, how many teenagers AREN’T content with just doing that? Whenever I go to my dad’s it is usually over a break. That is the key word: break. Breaks are a time for me. A time where I am suppose to recuperate and just relax. It is a time where I take a BREAK from my busy life. It is very hard for me to take a “break” when I am at my dad’s house. I like to sleep in. (Usually I sleep until noon when I can!) I try to do this at my dad’s, but then there is always a ruckus going on that tends to wake me up. Now, I learned that if I want to sleep later, I need to put my iPod in my ears and lock my door. Otherwise my little sister would come barging in at eight a.m. with the dog, waking me up! I have learned my lesson.

However, I feel bad sleeping this late sometimes. Even though I am so tired and all I want to do is sleep, I feel like I am being rude to my little sister. I want to have a relationship with her and have fun with her. I feel like my only opportunity to do this is when I am on my break and I am there visiting them. I usually spend the rest of the day playing with my sister and doing what she wants to do. But it is very tiring. I am not use to being around someone that has this much energy. She just keeps going and going; even when it is ten p.m.!

I have come to the conclusion that you are a reflection of what your household is like. In my household, we are very calm and we all do our own thing while managing to make time for each other. (We all lead very busy lives.) But in my little sister’s house, there is always something going on. That rubs off on her, because she always has to be doing something. It is interesting to compare how two sisters can be completely different. I have had to learn to boost my energy level when I am with them, but then it takes me a while to bring it back down once I get home. It’ll be interesting to see what she is like when she is a teenager. Will she be the typical sleep and lounge all day teenager? I guess only time will tell.

Who Would I Be?

Living in today’s world, you don’t see as much discrimination against races as you used to. For me, a seventeen year old, it is hard to imagine what life was like when all of this segregation and discrimination took place. I have seen the movie The Help twice now, and I love it. I got the movie for Christmas, as well as the book. Both are very good and I would highly recommend them. I can’t help but think, was life really this bad? And then it makes me wonder, what would I have been like if I would have been living back then?
Would I be like…
Hilly Hollbrook: She is the stereotypical rich, white girl, snob. She doesn’t care about anyone else but herself. She thinks that the whole world revolves around her. She is VERY judgmental and VERY racist. I do not think I would be her, because in reality, I am just not that mean. The things she says just make me cringe in every way possible. Yes, we all can have our mean moments, but Hilly is just straight up rude and uncontrollable. I do not think I would be like her because it takes a lot of guts to say half of the stuff she does, and not in a good way.
Elizabeth Leefolt: She is also a stereotypical rich, white girl. However, she is not as much of a snob. Elizabeth hires a maid and has her maid do everything for her. She is mean in certain ways, but she is not as mean as Hilly. I like Elizabeth because she is not as mean as Hilly, but then again I do not like her because she is scared of Hilly and the “power” Hilly has over her. I think I could be a version of Elizabeth. Throughout the story you see that Elizabeth is being manipulated by higher authorities. She tends to go along with what everyone else is doing. These qualities sometimes represent qualities within me. I am a “people-pleaser” and I do what I can to stay “under the radar.” I feel like this is what Elizabeth does throughout the novel and movie.
Miss Skeeter: Eugenia Phelan (Miss Skeeter) represents the greatest and strongest “white girl” in the book/movie. She has so much courage and she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. I admire Skeeter a lot because not many people could do what she did. I however, do not think I could be Skeeter. Many people would say, “Oh I could definitely see myself being like Skeeter!” But in reality, not many people have that much courage. I am not afraid to admit that I do not have as much courage as Skeeter. I have strong beliefs, but I always think about the consequences first, not the benefits. This prevents me sometimes from doing something I think needs to be done. I look up to Skeeter and I will strive to be more like her.
Celia Foote: Good ol’ Celia Foote is not your typical rich, white girl. She is not very intelligent, but she is extremely nice. She treats everyone she meets with respect even if they are mean to her or of a different race. She treats her maid with the utter most respect and she sees her as a friend. This represents me the most because I treat everyone I meet with respect, because no matter who you are, you deserve some type of respect. Celia represents the “golden rule” to the fullest: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even though Celia is not the smartest egg in the nest, she makes up for it by being kind and I think that is why so many readers or viewers like her.
I do not know for sure who I would be like if I lived in that time. There are many different things in life that can affect who you are and what you believe. I do think however, that it would be a very eye-opening experience to get to see how life was back then, first hand. But by reading this book, it gives you a glimpse of what life would have been like and how difficult it really was.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gay Rights: Our Opinion

My friends, Michael, Bailey and I had to write a paper about something we care a lot about. We chose to do Gay Rights. Here is our opinion:

Throughout history, many minorities have been discriminated against. The minority in this day and age being discriminated against are homosexuals. Like African-Americans and women in the past, homosexuals are being denied their civil rights. Homosexual citizens should have the same rights as heterosexual citizens.

            Marriage is arguably the most controversial civil right when talking about homosexual couples. Out of fifty states, gay marriage is only legal in six. The reason for the controversy is the religious beliefs that politicians bring into it. What ever happened to the separation of Church and State?  In the United States of America, we have the separation of Church and State. By Congress taking it upon their “duty” to decide whether or not gays can marry, they are bringing into the government, the issue of religion. Religious beliefs should not be affecting what we are deciding in Washington D.C. The government shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions about how people feel and the feelings they have inside themselves. They should be focusing on issues that really affect the country, such as war and international relations. One prime example of how politicians bring their religious beliefs into homosexual civil rights is Republican Presidential hopeful, Rick Perry. In one of his campaign commercials he states, “I am not afraid to admit I am a Christian, but you don’t have to be in the pew every Sunday to know there is something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military… Faith made America strong; we can make it strong again.” This is a prime example because it openly states that he wants to bring religion into Congress. We feel strongly that Congress should not be allowed to make decisions on how people feel. That is when the issue of gay marriage and rights comes into play. You can’t make a law restricting someone’s feelings.

            There are many stereotypes being held against homosexuals. One of largest is that if they become parents, they will affect the psychosocial development of the child. This in fact is not true based on studies that have taken place. One study from the American Physiological Association conducted by Dr. Charlotte Paterson said that, “The results of existing research comparing lesbian and gay parents to heterosexual parents and children of lesbian and gay parents to children of heterosexual parents are quite clear: Common stereotypes are not supported by the data…. In summary there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” This proves that children raised in homosexual households are not affected solely because they are being raised by same-sex parents. Judith Stacy of New York University states that, “The family type that is best for children is one that has responsibly, committed, stable parenting.” People do not want to believe this, but in fact it is the truth. Homosexuals should not be judged or denied the right to parent, because of their sexuality.

            In many situations, gays have been discriminated against when it comes to parenting. Many have been denied the right to adopt based solely on the fact that they are gay. This is completely unfair because a good parent is one that will stick by a child and help that child no matter what. Who are we to judge their parenting abilities; just because they are gay? There are many heterosexual parents who do not care for their child and take advantage of the privilege of having a child. “At the moment, three states- Florida, Mississippi and Utah-explicitly prohibit gay couples from adopting, and a similar law is being challenged in the Arkansas courts. Twenty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, on the other hand, explicitly permit such adoptions, and the remainders have imprecise language in their adoption statues. The reason most often given by opponents of single-sex adoption is that children do best with a mother and a father,” (New York Times). Many people will argue that “stable family” is one that includes a mother and a father raising a child. This is a stereotype that has brainwashed the country for centuries. What is the definition of a stable family? Every family is different just like every person is different. Everyone deserves the chance to have equal opportunities to raise a family, no matter your sexuality.

            The opinions surrounding gay rights are very dynamic. Many people argue against granting homosexuals equal rights, but in reality why should they be treated any differently than heterosexuals? You can’t help who you love and no one should constitute your feelings. Homosexuals in America should not be denied their civil rights based upon their sexuality.

My Time in School

I have mentioned in past blogs about my trip to Spain over the summer.  However, I have hardly touched on one specific thing we did during the home stay. For two days, we attended the local private school in El Puerto de Santa Maria. This was a very valuable and eye-opening experience.
I was very nervous the first day we went to school because I wasn’t going to be able to go around with the little girls from my family considering they were eight and eleven. I had to be around people my own age. The school we went to was a Bi-Lingual school that focused on the teaching of English and Spanish. This was very comforting in the fact that the kids were going to be speaking English. We had a partner throughout the day and we did little activities. One little activity we did was called “Speed Dating.” This was very interesting because we got to have direct conversations with these Spanish teenagers. The instructors told us to spend half the time speaking in English and half of the time speaking in Spanish. However, if you give me the choice OBVIOUSLY I am going to choose the language I knew best. I figured, “Hey why not! It’ll be helping THEM!” When in reality, it was just easier for me!
These conversations were very interesting. Many times, the kids would swear at us trying to be funny and to show us their knowledge of American “slang.” This got annoying very quickly. Yes, I get it. You know how to swear in my language. Good for you! But many frequently asked questions were: “Do you drink?” “Do you smoke?” and “Are your parties really like they are in the movies?” This was incredibly frustrating because it makes America look bad. What are we portraying in our movies about American life for others to see? (See future blog!) In Spain, many kids start drinking and smoking at age thirteen. There are no restrictions on smoking, whether it is marijuana or cigarettes and their drinking age is sixteen, but hardly enforced. We were startled when we found this out. And the scariest thing was that the kids were not afraid to talk about it. They talked about it like it was normal. In reality though, it IS normal for them, but not always normal for us. Yes, it happens here too, we just aren’t always as aware of it. Doing this “Speed Dating” was an opportunity for us to get a quick glimpse into their lives, and it was actually really cool! I met a really cute and sweet kid named Fran (he’s a boy) who added me on Facebook later that night!
We also had to give a presentation to a class with students that were around our age. The presentation had to be about our country and state! This was a great way for the students and teachers to get to know us on a more personal level. We were able to talk about something very close and dear to us, and then we were able to give them a glimpse into our lives. This was beneficial to both us and them at the same time.
If I were able to go back to Spain, I think I would want to spend more time in the schools. I want to attend more classes and compare how they learn things and how we learn things. I think it would provide an interesting look into something not everyone gets to see. It would let us see the differences as well as similarities in two completely different countries, which would be an unforgettable experience.

Christmas Cheer!

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Christmas season is always a fun one! All of the food, pretty lights, the decorations, and the music! What isn’t there to love? I have always loved Christmas season. It is a time where we get out of school for long periods of time and we get to be with our families.

One thing I love about Christmas is all of the food. Christmas cookies are the absolute best. My favorite kind of cookie to make are the peanut butter star cookies! They taste so delicious and they just melt in your mouth (if you make them the right way!) I also love making chocolate covered pretzels. No wonder people always make their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight: it is because of all of the sweets everyone eats the week or two before! The other day, I went over to my friend’s house and her mom was slaving away in the kitchen. Her mom loves to cook and she was busy making many different types of cookies! They were all made from scratch and tasted delicious. On average she makes about 17 different types of cookies. In my family we usually make the “place and bake” cookies. They taste pretty good, but they are just easier to make. I love eating and making all of these cookies and it just makes Christmas even more fun!

Christmas time always leaves most people feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside and all of the decorations leave us feeling even better! I love driving down my street or other streets and seeing all of the houses lit up. It makes nighttime seem like daytime because all of the streets are lit up! Then, when you walk inside to some houses, it looks like it has been North Pole-ified. My friend’s house is like a mini winter wonderland! She has about five Christmas trees set up and little character figures all around. Seeing all of these decorations makes me feel like I am visiting the North Pole and they make me feel so happy!

I have many have mixed feelings on Christmas music. My mood varies every year with Christmas music. Christmas music before Thanksgiving is a major NO-NO for me. I don’t mind Christmas music in December, but any time before that, it is just too much for me to handle. I love singing Christmas music. As Buddy the Elf would say, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loudly for all to hear!” In my choir class, we go caroling. This season we will have caroled in about 20 different venues! But you know what, I actually don’t mind it because it is so much fun! We get to bring joyful music for those who want to hear it. It makes me feel like I am doing something really special.

There are so many things I love about Christmas. Christmas is more than just presents to me. It is about getting to spend time with your family while eating food, decorating and singing! What more could I ask for?! Merry Christmas to all!

My Review: Wicked

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Wicked in Des Moines, Iowa. This was the second time I have seen the show. I saw it two years ago, also in Des Moines. The first time I saw it, I really enjoyed it. However, I saw the show before I had gotten the CD or before I did any research on the plot line. I went into the first show not really knowing what was going to happen. Most people would enjoy this, but for me, I like to know what is going to happen before it actually happens. Two years ago, we had okay seats. They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t all that close to the front. I also forgot my glasses (and this was before I had my contacts). This made it even harder to grasp what was going on because I couldn’t see everything in full detail! At the end of the show, I was in awe. I had just seen Wicked and it was amazing. However, the second time, I walked out of the Civic Center, I knew I wanted to see it again!
For Christmas two years ago, I got the Wicked CD. I listen to it CONSTANTLY. And surprisingly when I say constantly, I am not exaggerating. I always have it playing; in my car, in the shower, in my room. It is always on. Because of this, I have picked up on the music VERY WELL. It didn’t take long for me to know the words to every single song. It is a bit ridiculous how much I know and how much I listen to it.  
When my mom told me that she bought tickets for us to see the show again, I knew it was going to be even better! *I forgot to mention that last year while I was in NYC with my choir, we did a Clinic with the dance captains from the Wicked show in NYC and learned some of their songs and dances!* I was so excited and bummed at the same time because I had to wait 2 months to see it!
When we arrived at the Civic Center, it was the exact same set up as it was the first time, but we had even better seats! We were seated directly in the middle, about 14 (out of 75 rows) back. It was amazing. Then, when the show started, I immediately started singing along. Unfortunately, I had to sing along in my head because if I hadn’t I am pretty sure I would have been getting some pretty weird looks from the people sitting near us. The two main actresses who played Galinda (later Glinda) and Elphaba were absolutely amazing! They were great and had great chemistry with each other. Since I knew the story line and what was going to happen, I was able to sit back and relax more than I was able to the first time. I didn’t feel like I had to constantly be paying attention for fear of missing some important information. The second time around I was able to sit back and enjoy the show.
For those who haven’t seen Wicked, I would highly recommend you see it! It is a great show with great music. I guarantee that you will love it whether it is your first time to see it, or if you have seen it five times. It keeps getting better and better. I hope to be able to see it again. And even then, I know I will love it just as much or even more, even though it will be my third time!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Show Must Go On

In my last blog, I wrote about performing in Playtime Poppy. However, there was one rather large detail I left out about those performances. I had no voice.

For the past three weeks now I have been dealing with an annoying cold. Just as soon as I would start to feel better…it would come right back. I was never able to really shake being sick. The week before the show, I started to feel a little better, but I still wasn’t one-hundred percent yet. But then, before I knew it, it was the day before opening night at I started to feel the sickest I had felt. I rested my voice and drank some tea and hoped it would be better the next day.

The next day I woke up and my voice was all raspy and was basically as I like to call it, non-existent. I would try to talk, but most of the time air would just come out. I had absolutely no idea what to do because I had never lost my voice before. Figures right, the first time I lose my voice is when I have to perform six shows! I went to my director and he recommended that I go to the grocery store to get some Lays Potato Chips (supposedly the salt helps?) and some Green Tea. I was on a strict Green Tea regiment for three days. I started to feel better, but my voice was still scratchy and rough. I had to do two shows that night and I pushed through like no other.

In Playtime Poppy shows we are told just to project our sound and we are not given microphones. However, because I couldn’t push my voice any farther, they gave me a microphone. At first, my director told me that I could go on as a mute and let the other people take over my lines. My response was, “This is my show and I have worked too hard to give my lines up! I will push through!” And that is exactly what I did. Yes it hurt, but I got through both those shows. I hoped and prayed that my voice would be better for the other four shows, however it stayed the same.

I was given a microphone for all six shows and my voice stayed pretty raspy. The character I was playing was a grumpy mom who had a problem with EVERYONE and had to be in charge at all times. With my voice the way it was, it fit my part even better! We even thought about adding an oxygen tank and a wig to my costume to make my voice look like the seventy-year old smoker I sounded like.

After every show while we were signing autographs, the little kids would always ask me what happened to my voice. I would just laugh it off and say, “Oh…it doesn’t exist!” This response would always make the little ones giggle. But by Saturday my voice was on its way to coming back! I was able to make it through whole sentences without squawking like a bird! It was great fun!

The main thing I learned from having no voice for three days was that no matter what the circumstance, the show must always go on! I pushed through even though it hurt and was uncomfortable! And it will be a show that I will always remember!

Word Count: 579

That Good Ol' Ear of Corn

A few weeks ago my school did our annual Playtime Poppy performance. Playtime Poppy is an ear-of-corn. She is basically considered the “mascot” for our local Children’s Theater shows. I have been involved in these shows all three years of high school so far, and hopefully I have one more show left next year.
These shows always mean a lot to me because I was once that little five-year-old sitting in the audience watching all of those “big kids!” It is hard for me to remember those days because they were such a long time ago. My grandma and I made it a tradition for many years to go to all three Playtime Poppy shows a year. These were great bonding times for us, and we always had a good time. It is surreal for me to be on stage and even sometimes INSIDE the costume of someone I used to look up to so much.
I have mentioned in previous blogs that I absolutely love the thrill of being on stage and taking on another persona for a couple of nights. Playtime Poppy shows are always the best because of the interaction that goes on between the cast and the audience. Throughout the show we periodically TALK to the kids. For example, we will say: “Is EVERYONE here?” Then the next thing you know, there are over 600 kids screaming “YES!!!!!” at you at the same time. It is so exciting to know that they are all here to see you and to have fun watching you!
After every show, the cast goes out to the cafeteria to sign the programs of the audience members. This is my FAVORITE part of every show because the little kids that come up to you are so precious. We ask them a variety of questions such as, “Are you excited for Christmas?” “What are you asking for from Santa?” “What’s your name?” or the ever so original, “Did you enjoy the show?” I love being able to have conversation with them and hearing that they LOVED the show or that it was SO GREAT makes you feel all warm and cuddly. It makes me know that I did something good, and that I made a little kid happy! I do admire the little kids that do come up for an autograph because when I was little I was always very intimidated by all of the big kids. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness, they are so old! And scary!” But in reality, we really aren’t all that old or scary!
Playtime Poppy shows are shows that I look forward to every year. I was one of four freshmen who made it my freshman year, than the same four of us made it our sophomore year, and then once again this year. We know EVERYTHING about Playtime Poppy. I like to call us, “the returning veterans!” Just being in the presence of the little kids makes all of our hard work pay off! They are in some ways the easiest but also the most fun shows we do all year long! I’ll be sad for sure next year when I have to perform/attend my last Playtime Poppy show EVER!   (By the way, my grandma comes to see my performances and I think she is kind of excited that next year may be HER last time to attend a Playtime Poppy show since she has been coming to them since my mom was five years old!)

Word Count: 585

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"A Bend in the Road"

One of my favorite authors, Nicholas Sparks always keeps me wanting more. This book was a great read that I never wanted to put down.

Sparks, Nicholas. A Bend in the Road. Nicholas Sparks Enterprises. Warner Books, Inc. New York, NY.

(259/341 pages)

                This book was recommended to me by one of my best friends. I went through the process of watching her read it before I did. I knew it would be a great book, because I saw her fall in love with the characters, just as I have today. This book has very relatable characters. I enjoy reading books with these types of characters because it makes it more fun and easier (while still challenging) to read. This is the type of book that is like a movie in my head, and I never want to put it down. However, this book does have some challenging parts to it.

                Throughout the story the narrator and perspective changes. Unlike Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble, it gives you some warning before switching point of views. Because of this, I always have to be aware and ready for a change. This especially makes it hard because you have to adjust while reading to new characters and new ways of viewing certain events. With books like these, you can’t get hooked too much on reading about one character, because it has the tendency to switch when you are least expecting it. Yes it was challenging, but it was also fun because you never had any idea where the author was going to go with it next.

                This book was located in the South. Since I am from the Midwest, it made it hard for me to understand some of the dialect they used. Most of it was understandable, but some of their slang was difficult to interpret. This book was very fun to read, but it was longer. The chapters were long and changed perspectives regularly. This made it hard to adjust to who was talking and I was constantly readjusting.

                The style the book was written in reminded me a lot of Things I Want My Daughters to Know. The style of writing was pretty closely related to one another. Next time I am searching for a book, I am determined to branch out and find something new and totally different than these two books. However, even though the style of this book and “Things….” can be challenging, I really enjoyed reading them and it was fun to challenge myself in a new way.

"Heart of the Matter"

Another great book I read was, Heart of the Matter. My reading experience was like no- other.

Giffin, Emily. Heart of the Matter. St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York. 2010. (368 pages)

Heart of the Matter was a fiction book that involved two characters. These characters were easy to relate to and I enjoyed reading about them; I felt like I was becoming a part of their life. The reason I like to read fiction books versus non-fiction books is that I feel I can relate to the characters. When I read non-fiction books I have trouble picturing and imaging the events in my head, even though they are real, to when I read fiction books that are not real. When I was reading this book, I never wanted to stop or put it down. I felt like I was watching a really good movie and every time I had to stop, I felt really bummed. But when I would start reading again, it was just like I took the “movie” off of pause and pressed play. Within one sentence, I was immediately drawn back in and wanted to keep reading. This is an unusual experience for me because I normally do not like to read. However, when I was reading this book, I actually WANTED to read!

In AP Lang we are supposed to choose challenging books. When I picked this book out, I knew I would enjoy it because I had read three other books by Emily Giffin. I knew this book was going to be enjoyable, because all of the other ones were, but I also thought it would be challenging. The biggest reason I thought it was going to be challenging was because I struggle to sit down and read. I normally have no motivation. However, when I got into this book, I had my motivation. I wanted to know what was going to happen! And in order to find out what was going to happen I had to keep reading!

Some aspects of Heart of the Matter were challenging however, that I did not expect to be. The book was told by two different authors. Every other chapter was told between these two women. Tessa was one of the main female characters.  Tessa’s character was told in first person, limited.  As the reader I could only “hear” what she was thinking and not what anyone was thinking; it was like I was inside of her head. Valerie was the other main female character. Valerie’s character was told in third person. We were outsiders looking in on her life. We could not hear what she was thinking, but we saw all of her actions and were right there living them with her. The switching of characters and point of views was challenging because I had to constantly be aware to whom I was reading about. Between these two characters, there was also the factor of time. Time was told as it went on. A lot of the time we went back and lived the same period of time, but with a different character.

My reading experience with Heart of the Matter was the same as it was with all of Emily Giffin’s other books. I never wanted to put it down nor stop reading. I would highly recommend all of her books to any level of reader, and of all ages. Teenagers and adults will enjoy her book and won’t want to stop reading.

"Things I Want My Daughters to Know"

For APLANG we are asked to read one hundred pages a week in our free-reading books. I had a very good reading experience, and wanted to share my thoughts.

Noble, Elizabeth. Things I Want My Daughters to Know. Harper Collins Books, New York, NY 2008.

 (375 pages)

           This book was more challenging than I had originally anticipated. One thing that made this book especially challenging was that the narrators and point of view changed regularly. Without a page break or chapter change, the speaker would switch. This made it very confusing because the author left it up to the reader in order to figure out who the storyteller was. This got very confusing and it always kept me on my feet. I knew I would have to make sure I was fully paying attention while reading this book, because if I wasn’t, then I knew for sure that I would be lost.

Unlike a lot of the books I have read in the past, this book did not take place in the United States. The characters were located in England. Because they were located in a different country, some of the dialect was different. I understood most of the dialogue, but some of their phrases or slang, as we would call it, was different. I found myself looking up some of these phrases which lead to further learning. I didn’t really like reading a book that was located in a different country because I didn’t have a good mental picture. Because I didn’t have this mental picture, it made it a lot harder to get into the book and make myself actually want to read it.

I enjoyed this book a lot more as I continued to read it. It was very hard to get into and the characters had to grow on me. When I started the book, I didn’t really feel like I could relate to any of the characters, but as the story went on and as we learned more about them, they were easier to like. Throughout the book you got to know the characters better (like you were one-on-one with them) and this made them more relatable. One way the book was challenging to get into was that there weren’t always distinct chapter breaks. And if there were, the chapters were twenty to thirty pages long which made the whole reading process feel like it was lasting a lifetime. But the more I got into the story, the easier and more fun it was to read.

Even though this book was very challenging, I really enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and I felt like I was living with them in their lives. I am glad I decided to challenge myself with this difficult book. It helped me know that I can chose challenging books and like them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Grandma Jo's Florida House"

When I was three, my grandparents purchased a beach house on an island off the panhandle of Florida. The island is only about a mile wide and about thirty miles long. This island is called St. George Island. Ever since they made that one small (well maybe rather large) purchase, we have never looked back and regretted that decision. I used to call it, “Grandma Jo’s Florida House!”
Every year, we set aside a week for the whole family to go down to the beach house. We named our beach house “Beach Time” because it is literally right across from the Gulf of Mexico. My grandparents, my mom, stepdad, and stepsister, uncle, aunt, two cousins and I all go down for a week in March. It is a great time for us all to have some great family bonding time as well as get in some beach time!
We have been going down to Florida for almost fourteen years now. It is something we all look forward to every year. We normally start the countdown of days January first. Unlike most families, we can all get along under one roof for a week. We play games, eat some great food and spend most of our time at the beach. It is a great opportunity for us to get away from our busy lives and enjoy being together. We make memories that I know will last a lifetime.
Up until two years ago, we used to have another member of our family with us. Her name was Aunt Sue. She was my grandpa’s sister. She was always the life of the party. In 2009 she passed away and going down to Beach Time has not been the same. We always play UNO whenever we are down there. Each of us has a nickname that we use while playing. For instance, mine is “Monkey.” Aunt Sue’s was “The Church Lady!” (From Saturday Night Live) Every time she would win, she would get up and do “The Church Lady Dance.” (If you don’t know what it is, go to and look it up!) Even though she is no longer with us, we still do “The Church Lady Dance” in memory of her.
Everything down at the Florida house holds a special memory of Sue and our family. Without having this house where we all go, we would not have these memories. I am so thankful that we all can be down there together at least once a year (occasionally twice.) My family means so much to me and the fact that I can be with them while enjoying time on the beach is even better!

Halloween Memories

Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. I loved it because you got to dress up and act like someone you weren’t and be someone you weren’t for one night! You got to get all cute (or scary) and go around asking people for FREE candy! It was what every kid lived for! What wasn’t there to love?
I always made sure to be something fun every year. But as I got older, I realized that Halloween wasn’t as much fun anymore. The adults realized that I was older and they weren’t as willing to give me candy anymore. I just felt old. I still loved all of the candy, but I sometimes felt bad taking it. In the past couple of years I have been enjoying staying in the warmth and handing out candy. I just love seeing all of the little kids’ costumes! And the feeling when I open the door to “Trick or Treat!!!” would just light up my heart. However, this year was different. I didn’t get to experience that. I had an all-night show choir practice and didn’t get home in time for the trick-or-treaters.
Halloween just wasn’t the same. I spent all day at school! Yes it was fun because I got to be with my buds, but it didn’t feel like Halloween. However, I made sure not to let Halloween just slip by without celebrating at least a little bit. On the Saturday before Halloween, one of my best friends and I decided we were going to carve pumpkins. We ran to the grocery store and picked some out that we thought looked like good ones. As soon as we got back to her house we got right to work. Normally with my parents, I would just carve out a simple face. However, I was not allowed to do something “simple” at her house. They were known on their street for making out-landish pumpkins. So this is what I attempted. She did the face of cat, and it turned out really well! I attempted to do a design that had three ghosts and the word BOO! It was very challenging, but with the help of her and her mom I got it done and it looked really cool! I mean it should, considering it took me almost three hours to complete! Later, we cooked the seeds (and ate them all) and lit up our fabulous pumpkins! It was super fun!
This past Halloween showed me that Halloween doesn’t always have to be about the candy. It is about making memories. Yes, I have always made memories but this one was even more memorable. It was about having a great time with a great friend and making the most out of a unfortunate situation. It is one that I will always remember! But I still wish I would have gotten to see at least ONE trick-or-treater!


We all have qualities that make each of us unique in a certain way. Some of these qualities are “cute” and some are weird. I am sure I have a lot of “cute” things within my personality, but I also have some weird traits too. One weird trait I have is that I hate it when my food touches.
There are many phobias out in the world such as Closter phobia (fear of tight spaces) and Acrophobia (fear of heights). What is my phobia? Brumotactillophobia: the fear of my food touching. I have never been one to like it when my food mixed. I would always eat my food separately and at different times. However, I wouldn’t mind it if the corners touched a little bit. Now though, any time one dish on my plate touches another, I have to remove it instantly or I will not eat it.
Many people ENJOY mixing their foods together because they like to see what it tastes like all mixed up. My dad has always been one to take a little of this, and a little of that and shove it all into his mouth at once. His philosophy: “Why does it matter how it goes down as long as it gets down? It’s all going to the same place.” This is true, but I can’t stand the taste of many different things all at once. My mom is like me to a certain extent. She doesn’t mind her different types of food touching, but she likes to eat it at separate times.
Recently my Brumotactillophobia has escalated and I have no clear definition on WHY or HOW. I don’t like having this phobia, but there is nothing I can do to shake it. For example, the other night parents of my show choir served us dinner. They give us little plates with dishes that “run”. These plates aren’t big enough so all of the food touches. At one point, my dessert was touching my chicken and I immediately had to remove my dessert from the area. If I would have let it sit any longer, I would not have been able to eat it.  My phobia has become increasingly a problem with my meals that include meat. The other day, my friend’s brother made Jambalaya.  There was shrimp and sausage mixed in rice that had corn and beans in it. I had to eat my meat separately; not with the rice. However, I was stuck and couldn’t remove the corn and beans from the rice since it was all mixed up. This Jambalaya was VERY good, but my fear prevented me from enjoying it to the greatest extent.
Many days I wish I didn’t have this phobia. I have tried to get rid of it, but it always seems to come up. I don’t know WHY I am like this, I just am. My mom is starting to become more alert with this phobia because she is noticing it becoming worse. I don’t think it is really that much of a problem. It is just something that makes me even more unique than I already am. Most people can’t say that they have Brumotactillophobia: the fear of food touching.
For my readers: If you have read any of my past blogs, you know that I like to exaggerate. This blog may be a LITTLE exaggerated, but do know that I really do have this problem.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irrational Fear #2: Clowns

Another one of my irrational fears: CLOWNS. Why are they so scary?! I think many people would agree with me that clowns are scarier than squirrels. But what makes them so scary to us? Is it the idea of them? The person who is underneath all of the makeup? Or is it just clowns all together? The clothes? The makeup? The balloons? In my opinion, it is EVERYTHING about them.
I know for a fact that I have never liked clowns. My dad didn’t like clowns when he was little and I think his fear rubbed off on me. I remember when I was little, I would watch the television show “NUMB3RS.” There was an episode where they were trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl. As it turned out, she was kidnapped by the CLOWN at her birthday party. From this point on, my fear of clowns was heightened one hundred and ten percent.
For me, everything about a clown is creepy. The thing I do not like most about clowns is that you don’t know WHO is underneath the baggy clothes and the makeup. It could be some creepy man (or woman). We just do not know. I wouldn’t normally talk to someone that struck me as “creepy,” but when they are in the clown outfit, you have no idea whether or not these people are eerie. I like knowing who I am talking to and the type of person I am talking to. When there is a clown around, you have no idea.
Halloween is the worst time to have this fear. “The Clown Costume” is one of the most common and popular costumes out there. Some are friendly, but most are disturbing. People like to dress up as evil clowns, making my fear even worse because I actually think they are evil. I have been attacked and chased by clowns because I made the mistake of making my fear of them noticeable. These people have even gone as far to chase me into a corner, and have made me cry. I have learned not to make my fear of them apparent because if I do, it will just make matters worse, FOR ME.
Clowns started off as friendly people who liked to make kids laugh. Now, we regard them as creepy people who make some kids cry. I can’t even look at a picture of a clown, let alone be around them without getting the Heebee-Geebees. I wish I didn’t have this fear, but I do. One thing is for sure, when I have kids, there will be NO CLOWNS at any of their birthday parties!

Irrational Fear #1: Squirrels

We all have fears. Some of them are legitimate, like getting shot or getting in a car accident. However, a lot of fears are irrational. We all have irrational fears whether we want to admit it or not. My irrational fear is the fear of getting attacked by a squirrel.
I am not sure when this fear of mine started. I think the premiere of “The Even Steven’s Movie” triggered it. This was a Disney Channel Movie that was based on their hit series: “Even Steven.” Here’s the gist: Family vacation to Hawaii gone wrong. To top it off: an evil SQUIRREL chases one of the family members off a cliff!!!!! For me, that scene made ALL squirrels appear to be evil. From that point on, I have had a fear of squirrels that has stuck with me.
Not many people find squirrels to be “scary.” Most people think they are cute and fuzzy. NOT ME. They run fast. They climb up trees in 2.0 seconds. They have little teeth that are sharp. They have claws and could rip your leg off. They are evil little creatures.
My freshman year I was cast in the Children’s Theater as a squirrel. My first thought was, “Is this a joke?! How am I going to do that?!” My director told me to observe squirrels in order for me to learn how to act like them. This was a challenge for me every time I had to get close to them. I was always afraid that they were going to pounce on me and kill me! But somehow, I overcame my fear for a short amount of time and I was a great squirrel! To this day, I still give my director a hard time because he knew about my irrational fear. His response, “I knew you were afraid of them, and I wanted to help you get over that!” Yeah right! It didn’t work. My fear still exists.
Ninety percent of you will think that I am absolutely crazy to think all of this, but it is honestly a fear. Squirrels are EVERYWHERE. There is no escaping them, no matter where you go. There are SO MANY OF THEM. My neighborhood has many of them, and there are many squirrels around school. It is hard for me to constantly be around them but I know that I have to suck up my fear.  The likelihood of me being attacked by a squirrel is slim to none-but it could still happen. Many people have these crazy fears; mine just happens to be about squirrels.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Reality is Boring"

Exaggeration: to magnify beyond the limit of truth; overstate; represent disproportionally; to increase or enlarge abnormally. (

For me, this definition says it all. We ALL exaggerate. Some do it more than others (like myself), but we all do it. Why do we do it? It makes the truth sound better than it actually is. It is the point where fact suddenly becomes fiction.
I know I exaggerate because it makes what really happened appear to be more exciting. I tend to exaggerate over little things. For instance, if my mom were just “raising her voice” at me, I would tell people that she “yelled” at me, in order to make it sound more alarming. This sometimes gets me in trouble with the person I am exaggerating about. But every time I exaggerate, I use my genes as in excuse! I say, “What can I say? It runs in the family!” It’s the truth…well…maybe just a little exaggerated!
I also tend to exaggerate when it comes to my blogs. If you scroll down, you will find some blogs about my over-sea travels. I have mentioned my mom in those and her struggles in letting me “leave the nest.” She thinks I exaggerate her response and don’t fully understand her point of view. Because of my exaggeration, she wants to start her OWN blog in response to my blogs in order to express her feeling toward the subject without my exaggeration getting in the way.
My dad on the other hand, exaggerates just as much or even more than I do. Talking to him on the phone as I write this, he says to me, “I am the greatest proofreader in the world. I am almost like a superhero.” All I can say back to him is, “Really Dad? Really?” When I say exaggerating runs in my family, I really mean, I get it from my dad. When I asked him WHY he chooses to exaggerate he says, “I exaggerate because it makes for a more entertaining conversation. And most people’s conversations are boring, so they would benefit from an exaggerated sentence here and there! Reality is boring.”
The act of exaggerating makes life appear to be more exciting than it really is. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and innovative with your stories. For me exaggerating is more than just “stretching the truth,” it is allowing people to have a good laugh.

"Big Head"

This past week I sent in an application for the National Honor Society. It is an organization for high school juniors that show strength in areas of community service, leadership and academic excellence. We were required to write a 250 word essay saying why we should be chosen to be in the National Honor Society. I am a very talkative person when it comes to most topics, but especially when I am talking about myself. My first draft was 700 words, and I knew I had to cut it down significantly. So here is my 300 word essay on why I think I would be a good-fit for National Honor Society:

Ever since freshmen year, I was determined make the most of my high school experience. In order to do this, I am involved in many activities, including show choir, choir, drama, and speech. These are all things I love to do; plus, I have been able to make many friends along the way. I am a friendly person and I am very outgoing. I love reaching out and making people feel welcome. I appreciate when people do the same thing for me; therefore I take the initiative to make others feel included.

Being involved in so many activities makes my schedule very busy, but I am determined not to let my grades reflect how busy I am. I work hard to keep my high grade point average. My grades have always been important to me. Most people say that they keep their grades up to please their parents. However, I keep my grades up to please myself. I know that I can achieve my personal best on anything I do, and therefore I try my hardest to always go above and beyond. 

I am very thankful for the life I have and I like to give back to others who are not as fortunate. I have had opportunities through my church to help out in my community. One example is that I have been mentor for underprivileged kids, helping them improve their reading skills. Forming a bond with the kids gives me the satisfaction that I have done something influential and worthwhile.

Grades are very important to me, but putting myself out there, helping others, and being involved is equally if not more important. Everyone should feel like they have a place where they belong and I want to help make that happen. I am always one to reach out and assist people, no matter what.

As my friend put it, she doesn’t like to “toot her own horn!” But for me, it was nice being able to strictly talk about something I knew VERY well, myself. I know more about myself than anyone else does, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to write. I know that may sound like I have an exceedingly large head, but I really don’t. I just like to talk about things I know best. Even if I don’t get accepted into National Honor Society, I know I can be proud of the person I am today.


What are some of the first things they teach you when you are starting school for the first time? Well let’s see… the alphabet, (that’s a big one!), how to spell your first AND last name, (that was extremely hard for me, considering it is 9 letters long; I even had to come up with a song for me to sing to remember how to spell it!) and how to count to ten (little did we know, we would have to count A LOT higher than that in the future). Looking back, that all seems pretty easy. Yes, we do have our mix-ups here and there, but we get the gist and can fix our mistakes easily because our teachers did such a great job teaching us! However, one area I really wish we would have focused on more would have to be punctuation. We learned it, but do we REALLY understand it?

Picture it: Seven people sitting in a circle. We are all starring at each other with blank expressions on our faces. We are all embarrassed to be here. We don’t want anyone else to know that we have to be here or that we have this problem. Then, one by one we stand up. “Hi. My name is Kylie, and I am a Comma-Holic.”

We were taught punctuation from day one. We were basically just taught the basics like, exclamation points (!), question marks (?), and of course, the period (.). Later, we were taught more complicated forms such as colons and semi colons, and the killer: the comma. To this day, I do not understand when and when NOT to use a comma. Sometimes I think “Oh yeah, there definitely needs to be a comma here.” But then, when my mom or a peer is checking my paper, they will say to me, “Kylie! Why are you using a comma here?!” I am starting to think I have a serious problem. I don’t know where to put them or when the right time to use them is, therefore I over-use them.

I use to think you should use a comma when there is a break in something you are saying. But now, I realize that that isn’t always the case. I have been trying to talk to my APLANG teacher about re-teaching the usage of commas, but I feel stupid asking this question, since it was something we were supposed to have learned ten years ago!

Recently in my APLANG class we have been doing a writer’s workshop. (I would like to make note that when I originally typed this, I had a comma after “class,” why?! I don’t know! I am telling you, I have a problem!) The writer’s workshop is where we select a topic and write a paper over it. Then, we go through five drafts and have our peers revise and edit them. I have gotten a lot of feedback on mine such as, “Great job! Watch the use of your commas.” Then, when I am correcting others’ papers, I add commas where I THINK they should go, but in reality, they shouldn’t be there. This makes me feel like I am not doing my job as a good editor, because I don’t know where they really should go. I feel like I am failing them by giving my peers the wrong answer.

Since I am struggling with this so much, my APLANG teacher has been giving me tips on when to use commas. This is semi-helping, but I have asked her to re-teach the proper usage of commas. Through this writer’s workshop, I am realizing that I am not the only one who has this “comma-addiction.” It is actually pretty common (oops – I almost typed comma instead of common). Knowing this gives me strength and will power to help FIGHT my obsession so I can overcome it.