Aug 29, 2010

Sunrise... Sunset...


It's been a long time since I wrote. It's been a long week.

Full of heartbreak and happiness.

Triumph and tragedy.

Conflict and compromise.

You know, pretty much like any other week. Existentialism is depressing and makes my mind hurt, and Flickr likes Katie better than me, but these are things I'm trying to learn to live with. At the moment, they are unimportant.

Andrea is starting college tomorrow.

I think that I'm freaking out way more than she is. I met her a week ago, I swear! It hasn't been that long! It hasn't been years!

My childhood is flashing before my eyes.

Last Sunday we were horsies. Evil men wanted to lock us up in dark, scary cages, when all we wanted out of life was to be able to run freely on the prairy hills and comb our long, beautiful "tickle-me-pink" manes.

That's me.

Monday Andrea was arguing with Kelsey about who got to be the youngest when we played House. And they finally decided that they would be twins, that was fair, but then came the all important question: Which twin was born first?

Tuesday we had a water fight with that-boy-across-the-street-who's-name-no-one-can-remember and his cousin, who's name was Alonzo (maybe), but Andrea called him Lasagna, either because she couldn't pronounce his name or because she liked teasing him. And Mei hit one of them across the back side with an umbrella, which was peculiarly violent for her, but which we felt meant a definitive victory for us.

Wednesday we played mermaids in her pool. Well, Kevin and I were mer-people. Andrea was a dolphin.

Thursday morning was middle school. Around twelve high school made it's appearance.

Friday she graduated and gave her valedictorian speech with the Dr. Sues quote. Katie and I missed it because we were so sure that graduation would last four hours (like it had for the last thirty years) that we walked in an hour late, armed with note passing materials, just in time for the alma mater, closing remarks, and lei giving.

Saturday Katie, Andrea, and I threw a going away party, without once acknowledging it was such. I signed her yearbook and looked over the clothes that she wasn't taking with her in the amazing tent we'd made.

(This picture doesn't even come close to showing how fantastic this tent was. We strung the sheets from the ceiling fan, which made my mom a little nervous because it was tipping significantly to the left. "I hope it doesn't kill you in your sleep," she said. Optimism, Mom. We covered the floor with pillows and quilts and blocked out the night with cloth and clothes pins, just like we used to when we were six. It was genius. Almost cream puff level.)

Yesterday we made crepes together and played Apples to Apples and laughed and told stories about that kid in Utah who smuggled a penguin out of the zoo in his backpack and who's parents found out when he was playing with it in the bath. We turned off the lights at two.

And tomorrow Andrea is going to college.

Can someone get me a wheelchair please?

I feel old.


Aug 18, 2010

(A Very Short Post Concerning) Doubting Peter


You know that story in the scriptures when Jesus walks on water? His disciples on the ship see him and all of them are scared. Who is that guy? He can't be human. It is a spirit! It's a ghost! Quick! Hide behind the mast!

Jesus calms them down, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."

Then Peter volunteers to come out onto the water,  he believes that if God tells him to he will be able to walk on the waves. "Come," Jesus bids him. And Peter goes. I imagine the water cupped his feet, that it felt soft, that his steps were tentative, like walking on ice or glass. Slowly his steps strengthen. But it gets windy, the waves' crests bite into his feet and Peter is afraid. He starts sinking.

Jesus immediately reaches and pulls him up. Jesus says, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

It's a good thing I wasn't Peter. I would have said, "I'm the only one who came out here!"

I like that, though. "Wherefore didst thou doubt?"


Aug 15, 2010

I Don't Want To Grow Up


I've been sick for four days now. I'd tell you about it, but I love you too much for that. Hey, guess how many West Wing episodes I watched this weekend?

Never mind. You don't want to know. It'd be disturbing. And your opinion of me would drop off a cliff.

You'll have to be patient, you guys. I'm still learning how to blog. I don't want to give you a laundry list of my week. I did this and this and this. I brushed my teeth and then I washed my face and... I was brainwashed out of that by a english teacher, Mrs. Jackson.

(Thanks, Jackson. You're baby is really cute, by the way. I can't wait for you to be my culinary teacher. Right now we're doing worksheets in there. My teacher says we'll be doing worksheets until second quarter. When you get there, will we keep doing those worksheets?)

I hope you stick around while I figure all of this out, but I won't be offended if you don't. Mostly because I won't know. My grandma and my mom (Hi Grandma! Hi Mom!) are the only ones I know are reading this, and I'm pretty sure they'd both keep it up even if I gave you a detailed explanation of flossing.

In other news I had an emotional break down Thursday. I cried and then I went to bed and all of my tears and other bodily fluids that had made their appearance glibly slid down to my throat and chest, rendering me incapable of breathing, singing, speaking or thinking the next morning. This substantially cut down my list of usual activities. I was paralyzed emotionally, physically and intellectually all weekend. Thus the West Wing marathon.

When I can't think about the things that normally occupy my brain like piano scales, the SAT/ACT, essays and quizzes (everyone just take a minute and admire the word "quizzes." Doesn't it look cool? Hiss it under your breath. Doesn't it sound amazing?) my brain finds itself in a yellow wood, forced to take the road less traveled by. I think about what Great Balls of Fire is actually talking about, whether or not there are mermaids on Neptune (they have seas), and why my emotions occasionally make my body deteriorate into a puddle of goo. The answer (to the last question) is Peter Pan. I completely blame Peter Pan.

I have always had a thing for Peter Pan. Always. Even back when this was Peter Pan.

And then this was Peter Pan.

Then I was a believer.

There are a couple of reasons that I find Peter Pan beyond amazing. The first is he can fly. I've had dreams where I can fly. I swim through the sky. I soar across a lake, a perfect, placid lake the reflects the night sky like a mirror and I'm caught between stars. My fingers can touch them. They feel soft and cold. My fingers ripple them. Suffice it to say, if Peter came and asked me if I wanted to fly, I would have no trouble coming up with happy thoughts.

The second reason is that he is cocky. On TV, at least, cockiness is incredibly endearing to me. I think this is a really bad sign for my future relationships, but I have more pressing concerns than my (lack of a) love life right now, so this doesn't bother me a whole lot.

The third reason, and the one that I actually want to talk about today, is that Peter Pan doesn't grow up. Ever. He is forever a happy little boy who can fly around with fairies and sword fight with pirates. He never has to confront hormones--

--well, not often anyway. He never freaks out about grades or scholarships. He knows everything he needs to know. He is content. He has nothing to worry about, except the pirates that want to kill him,

and they're easily handled.

Peter Pan doesn't grow up. I don't want to grow up. I am not sure, but I think that was the core of my emotional break down this week. I am so tired of worrying about things. And it exhausts me to think of worrying for the rest of my life. I don't want to go away to school and have to remember to cook my own food and do my own laundry. I don't want to have to deal with homesickness or bills. I never want to have to think about money. And taxes? What are taxes? I have taken fairly advanced math and no one has ever taught me how to do taxes. Or budgeting. Does that mean I can't go blow it on books and Starbucks and hot chocolate? Why?

I want to go to Never Land and fight pirates and dance with fairies and eat those clouds that look like cotton candy. And Peter Pan tells me that I can.

Peter Pan is a liar. But I love him anyway.

It's the smile.


Aug 12, 2010

Prank Calling (It Wasn't Me) and Other Adventures (That Weren't Mine)


How are you?

Uh huh.



That's great.

Me? Oh, you know. Same old, same old.

Flickr is being mean to me. It won't let me change our highlight (to the right there? right, the watermelon) and, really, if it was going to get stuck, it should have had the decency to get stuck two weeks ago when we had that awesome picture of the girl with flour in hair... you don't remember. No worries. I'd show you, but Flickr doesn't feel like sharing. Don't worry, though, you won't be stuck with watermelon forever. I'll figure it out. Or Katie will. Or a good fairy, maybe. I believe in them.

In more depressing photo new, Nadia sent me the pictures of my last first day of school, but somehow they weren't in the email and... Sorry. No pictures for you.

Totally shifting gears here, my completely genius English teacher (she doesn't read this, so I can say that without being a teacher's pet or any of that phrase's less attractive synonyms) gave as an assignment: write and share a song essay. What is a song essay? I'm so glad you asked.

(Side note: One of the things I love about blogging is that the conversation goes exactly the way I want it to. You ask all the right questions, respond at the right times and offer no criticism. Like right now, for example, you aren't telling me that this side note is getting way too long.)

A song essay is where you bring a song and an essay to class. The song evokes a memory of a person, place event or time. I've heard two days worth of these so far and there are a few stories I feel like sharing (because I'm more generous than flickr).

Maia and Kiana (more about her later), were sitting in the middle of a basketball court at night, alone in the darkness with a phone, a phonebook and an ipod. They were prank calling. They had decided that they would pick song and play it for the stranger at the other end, the owner of the the number they punched into their phone. They wanted to give that stranger an opportunity to reflect on his/her life through the power of music. The song they hit upon was I Am A Vampire. I've provided some of the lyrics for you:

I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I have lost my fangs
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I have lost my fangs
So I'm sad and I feel lonely so I cry and I'm very angry and I hate some garlic
So I'm so no more sad and
Ache yeah yeah

"Dave listened to the whole thing," Maia told us. "Weirdo." They called up four more people and preformed the same ritual.

Sya, who sits a few seats to my right said, "Wait, that was you guys?"

Kiana, Maia's calling buddy, got up and played My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion--you know, Titanic. She listened to the song with a morose expression on her face and then started her essay. "I was in the dentist's office," she began.

She went on to detail the day her braces were put on, her anxiety about them, her mental preparation for names she might have to put up with-- brace face, metal mouth, etc. As she sank into the dentist's chair My Heart Will Go On started playing above her. The deep throb of the music sank into her. She shut her eyes and envisioned the two doomed Titanic lovers going down with the boat and saw her social life sinking with it.


Marissa (not me, a different Marissa) had a more cheerful story (though Kiana's made me laugh more). I don't know Marissa well at all. She's been in my class since seventh grade and all I know about her is that her name is Marissa and she has pretty hair. Marissa's song was The Rocky Racoon by the Beatles. She told that, growing up, her dad would come in every night just when she was going to bed and strum his guitar while he sang her this song. Now he plays it for her little sisters as they go to sleep. Sometimes, when he is away, Marissa sings it for them.

Here is the thing that I love about these essays: they give me a chance to see my classmates as people. So often they walk out the door of AP Lit and disappear. Poof. Gone. In my head they all hang up their coats and hang out in the cosmos, possibly in a gaseous form, until class is once again in session and they solidify. They don't have dads, little sisters, friends, they don't prank call and they don't agonize over what a row of silver lining their teeth might do to their social life. In my head they're actors in my life, and not main characters either. They're extras.

Obviously I don't really think that. I know my classmates have parents. And TV sets and favorite books and goldfish (they probably don't kill their's within days) and hobbies. I know they have them. I just don't think about it. It's easy to not think about it, isn't it? Isn't it. Please say yes so that I fell less bratty.

The essays remind me that my classmates are always solid. Christina went to Canada, Holly makes friends through Disney music, Penn's friends tried to kidnap her on her seventeenth birthday. Tried being the operating word.

The best of these essays are not the ones that are well written but the ones that make the twenty people the author's been going to school with for five years sit there and think: I'd like to see the movie that is your life.


Aug 3, 2010

Last First Day of School


I got back from school a hour ago.

It is now 12:15.

I just ate pasta salad with my parents. In my lanai. With my feet up. Not in a cafeteria. Or at school.

I love the being at home when most people are in school. It makes me feel special.

When I walked into my English teacher, Mrs. Palmer's, class today, my friend Nadia snapped a picture of me with her beautiful camera.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I'm documenting you," she told me.

"Terrific. Why?"

"Because you just walked into my life."

When I asked her if it was a project she told me no, she just felt like it. And then she turned to get a picture of Von. I'm going to ask her if she can send me some of those to put on here, but for now, you'll just have to take my word for everything.

Last year everyone, including my high school, was unsure about whether we going to have block schedule or not. It would appear that that is still the case. Half of the teachers/parents/students/administrators wanted block, the other half didn't. So we've gone for a compromise, which, of course, makes no one happy. Tuesdays and Wednesdays operate under block schedule, the rest of the week is normal.

I think this is weird and typical at the same time, which disturbs me a little bit. I like keeping my adjectives in order. I think my school board might be a little insane. But I mean that in the most respectful way possible.

In any case, this bizarre schedule combined with my half day means that this was my schedule for today:

CULINARY 1                            8:00-9:23
RECESS                                     9:23-9:38
AP GOVT/POLITICS US         9:43-11:01

Guys, I get out at 11:01. On Tuesdays, that is. On Mondays and Thursdays and Fridays I get out at 10:36. And Wednesdays I get out on 9:23.

Wednesdays are now officially my favorite day of the week.

I was very excited when I found out that I was taking culinary arts because, as you know I've kind of gotten on board with the food movement. In fact, I think I was born on board because, my mom has never been offboard. That excitement mixed together with first-day-back-to-school-hope-my-teacher-likes-me-don't-tell-me-I-didn't-bring-any-pencils jitters made me hyper. I was bounding on heels when I entered. Then my heels stopped bounding.

I didn't know any of them. They were all chatting and talking. All these people knew each other and I didn't know any of them. I hate feeling alone in a full room, don't you?

However, I am willing to see this class as an opportunity to make new friends and find out why my lemon tart cracks in the middle, so I'm reserving judgment. My culinary class is pending.

I had a paragraph here about several reasons why this class might be difficult. It had to do with complexities in my community, school and state in general. I hope, at some point, that I'll be able to tell you about them, but right now it won't come out. I'm not a good enough writer yet. Give me a few years and I'll astound you. I'll write about this--maybe even this class--and not only will you know what I mean you'll understand.

But not now.

At recess I got to see everybody and hang out in Palmer's room. I got to hug people and ask them how their summer was and try really hard not to brag about my AP exam scores (mostly unsuccessfully, but the point was to try, not be successful). I also asked about twenty people how much it costs to take the city bus, because I had to take it to get home and was concerned that three dollars might not be enough. The answers varied from $87,000 (thanks, Jess) to a dollar. Obviously everyone I know needs to go back to fourth grade and learn about either counting or rounding. Personally, I need to go back to third grade for mental health, nap time and help on my ACT math. Or any math. Ever.

My teacher started out our AP Government class by informing us that it was not to be referred to as AP Gov as it was, in fact AP Government and Politics so we were going to call it AP GOPO. I'm not sure if this is going to catch on or not, but either way, I thought it was a weird way to start.

Gov--uh, I mean, GOPO--is a comfortable class, especially after culinary arts because I could go down the rows of chairs and name everyone there.

I'd been in classes with them since seventh grade. We all had our little friend groups, unhealthy cliques, private jokes, and longterm grudges. They're the people who I will run to give hugs to at high school reunions, who I'll tell my kids stories about, and who I'll cry with on graduation night, but I try not to get too sentimental about that.

Possibly the worst thing about first days of school is that all the teachers feel the need to tell you their rules--which generally are the same as all the other teacher's. I understand the impulse. These people have over twenty teenagers on their hands. The compulsion to establish order must be irresistible. But really?

Don't chew gum. Respect me. Respect yourself. Respect others. Don't wear hats. Don't eat food. Stop poking her. Name, date, period in the right hand corner.


I think that everyone should just agree that the first period teacher does rules and nobody else. But nobody asked me.

Thus ends my post. I'm going to go watch West Wing now (thanks for getting me addicted, Katie, I hope you're happy now). Anyway, I hope you feel enlightened, enthralled, refreshed and re-energized, but I'll settle for mildly informed and amused.