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!

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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!)

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