Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today I got a wonderful opportunity to do something that I think will be super fun and a great way to continue to work on my writing. Recently I discovered a blog about sports news written by an up and coming journalist, who happens to be just 15 years old. He offers on his blog to publish writings from others, so I contacted him to ask if I could try my hand at sports writing. He said yes! I am super excited to work with him on something that combines two of my great loves: writing and soccer. I will hopefully be writing about women's soccer and the German Bundesliga, and it is shaping up to be wonderful!

In case you are interested, his blog is here.

I hope to have something written in the next couple days. Exciting, right?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Over Thanksgiving break, I discovered a love for taking pictures, and I wanted to share some photos of the ferry ride that we took on the way back from my grandparents.  I also included pictures of my Calligraphy, which I practice as often as I can. Hope you enjoy!

This is a picture of my calligraphy book, where I do all my calligraphy. The book underneath is the book I used to teach myself, and it was incredibly helpful.

This is a picture of a page in my notebook. I use random words or sentences when I want to practice certain letters. The flourishes and curls are the most exciting and hardest things to do.

This is the view from the back of the ferry. I was standing on the upper  deck, and the sun was shining.

In the minutes before we left, I went to the top deck to take pictures. It was warm, and I was all alone.

I loved the contrasting colors of the life saver and the door. The picture came out very crisp and I really liked it.

Back From Oblivion!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know that I took a break on this blog, and I hope everyone had a wonderful time with family or friends last week. I was at my grandparents house most of the week, and there wasn't much to catch up on. Now I can catch everyone up on what I have been doing. I read eight books last week, gobbling them up over Thanksgiving (pun intended). I wrote poetry on my blog everyday, tried my hand at some creative writing, and started up doing calligraphy again (more on that later, or in another post). We ate a lot, went running, played outside, and took two ferry rides, one rainy and terribly rocky, the other clear, warm, and perfect. Seeing family was great, and a good opportunity to give thanks for the wonderful life I have. I feel very lucky, and one of the things I give the most thanks to is being home schooled this year. What a great idea, and how lucky am I to be able to follow through with that? 

Anyway, today was the first class after break of the two high school classes I am taking, and it was my official getting back into everything day. I am very excited to continue my journey, and I am also excited that the Christmas season is now upon us! This morning, I had my math class, and later this afternoon I head up to German class again. It is great to be reunited with everyone after a week away. Over break, I did spend some time studying, as we have a big final exam next week. I feel pretty prepared right now, but I still need to continue with my studying. 

After math class this morning, I came home to write  a letter to my grandparents thanking them for the long weekend we spent with them. But this wasn't any old letter, because I had decided to write in calligraphy. To those who don't know, calligraphy is the art of writing with a special pen and paying close attention to making the letters and words look beautiful. I hope to upload some pictures soon. I also took time this morning to write detailed plans for my final paper on the play Twelfth Night. I read this play with my dad, and will be writing a paper on the themes of disguise, illusion, and concealed identity. More on that later. 

Another revelation over Thanksgiving was a new hobby. I discovered that I love photography. I have been leisurely taking pictures for a long time, and I am not incredible, but I love it, and it is a very relaxing and fun thing to do. You can be anywhere to take pictures, and it gives you a new perspective on the world around you. I may link up some pictures I took of the ferry ride. 

Well, I seem to be running out of things to say. I think this get's you caught up with my vacation, and what I am doing this week while I get back into everything. I also had an idea about this website. Because I read a lot, I think I should post a book review once a week with a book I have read in my free time. It would be a great way to document some of the things that I have been reading. Tell me what you think about that...


Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday: The First of "Vacation"

Today was the first day of Thanksgiving break for the high school where I take math and German. I technically did not have "school" but today was a work day for me. This morning I had planned to take an entire practice SSAT, because my test date is December 10th. I took the whole two and a half hour test, and ended up doing an ok job. Of course, there are things that I need to work on, but all in all I think I am in a good place. Writing the essay was my favorite part, and the prompt that I had was What comes up must come down.  I loved coming up with the examples and trying to tie everything in together.

After finishing the test, I felt very drained and my brain was tired, so I decided to get some exercise. Forgoing the running option, I snapped on my roller blades and went roller blading. It was a great way to get moving after sitting for so long, and I love to roller blade. I stayed outside for more than an hour, and when I came back home I was feeling great. I took a shower and spent the rest of the day cleaning my room, which had begun to resemble a garbage dump mixed with a very cluttered library. I also wrote my Write on Wednesday prompt, and after this I plan to write on my poetry blog and read for a little.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


I am going to take a moment now to describe being in chorus this year. I am in the chorus at the high school where I take classes, so I am singing with high school students. Anyone is allowed in chorus, with no audition, so it is a good fit for me. The chorus this year has been different from any other chorus I have ever been a part of, but in a good way. We sing much more challenging music, learn it faster, and have lots of fun doing it. Everyone in chorus loves to sing, and you can really hear that passion when we sing.

I am a soprano, in fact, I believe I have invented a new type of soprano-the 1.5th soprano. I sing right in the middle of first and second, though I stay mostly with the fist sopranos. We are preparing five songs at the moment for the winter concert, which sounds magical. It will be candlelit and we are singing Christmas songs from multiple cultures, with very different sounds.

The first song we are singing is a Nigerian Christmas song which is fascinating to sing, and will hopefully sound great in the concert. This song is very upbeat and joyous, and we hope to accompany it with some African drumming. The next song we are singing is called Lullay My Liking, and it is a lullaby song by Gustav Holst. I love the gentleness to the piece, which is unlike anything else we are singing. We are also singing a Christmas Cantata in Latin, and a traditional Spanish holiday song. All in all,  a very impressive line up for someone like me who has never sang in a different language!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preparation Day

Tomorrow is another one of those busy busy Wednesdays that I shudder before and sigh after. I have both a math test and a German test, and this time around we have the oral test and the written test on the same day for German. I have spent some of today preparing, and I am feeling reasonably confident, but at the same time I wish that Wednesday was already over. Days like tomorrow can get a little stressful. As far as today goes, I worked like crazy to finish all the things I had planned, and came away with one of the most productive days I think I have had so far this year. I had math class, promptly finished 46 math practice problems in my SSAT prep book, and read the entire introduction chapter to my biology book, including working in the work book and taking the quiz on that chapter. Then, I put together a study guide for my German test and did more than half my math homework, as well as blogging. Now, it is time to go to my German class, and this afternoon I may actually have some free time to go outside and play soccer.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Twelfth Night Work

This past weekend, I finished the play Twelfth Night that I had been reading with my dad. It was a wonderful play, and the ending was both hilarious and happy. Since I have finished, I thought I would share some of the things that I did regarding this play. I did several exercises with my dad, including a found poem on the character Feste, which I already published, and a page about the definitions of comedy and examples of them from the text. In that exercise, I discovered just why things are funny, and what Shakespeare used to create comedy. Just today, I wrote a short piece on the consequences of love in the play and how different characters showed their love. The piece may be confusing to those who have not read the play, and I warn you that is a spoiler too.  Happy reading!

Tangling Up the Love in Twelfth Night
"O time must untangle this..."

Explore the theme of love and different characters opinions about it.  How do they struggle with it?  How do they express their love for others?  In which ways are they similar in their approaches and reactions to it?  In which ways are they different?  Is the quality of their love the same?

Here is my writing on this topic...

In the play Twelfth Night, love can be as tangled as a plate of spaghetti. Favors are fought for and refused, wits are sharpened, tears are shed, and in the end most everything works out fine. The overriding romantic feel of the play is of mistaken love, one sided love, and hidden love. As the threads of endearment untangle, we find unlikely matches amongst the people of Illyria.

The first love mentioned in the play comes in the very first scene. This is the one sided love of Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia. Only one of many examples of one sided love, this shows that just because the Duke falls for Olivia does not mean she will feel similar. Orsino has spent quite some time trying everything in his power to gain the favor of Olivia, yet she refuses even to speak with him. This theme of one sided love appears again and again throughout the play. Olivia woos Cesario with no reciprocation, Cesario secretly has a passion for Duke Orsino, and Malvolio has hidden his love for Olivia. The people of Olivia and Orsino’s courts are troubled deeply by their personal worries, and the secret love begins to eat away at some, causing spontaneous outbursts of passion that are often met with disgust. In Act Three, after a teary confession to Cesario, Olivia immediately regrets showing her passion, which is not felt at all by Cesario. As she humbly puts it, “I have said too much unto a heart of stone, and laid mine honour too unchary on’t.” She may feel sorry for herself, or purely embarrassed that she shared such personal feelings to someone who feels nothing in return. This attempt to show her love is very similar to the approach of Malvolio, who is tricked into thinking that Olivia feels the same way. Malvolio embodies the belief that some will do anything for love, as he dresses like a madman and goes to meet Olivia with great confidence. The theme of one sided secret love is hugely prominent throughout the play, and many characters hide their feelings, only to display them when they believe the time is right. Some, like Olivia to Cesario, are left disappointed, while others such as Viola to Orsino, are in for a pleasant surprise.

Another form of love in Twelfth Night is mistaken love, or a lover who was tricked. Perhaps the greatest example is that of Viola and Sebastian’s involuntary switch in Act Five. Sebastian secretly marries Olivia, a woman he is meeting for the first time, while Olivia is sure that he is Cesario, the “man” that she has fallen desperately in love with. Olivia is tricked by appearance alone, which shows something about the depths of her feelings for Cesario. Her love for him was rather more shallow than the other relationships in the play, as she had fallen for him at first sight. This leaves us to wonder how deep her love was, or whether it was purely attraction to his physical features, as she knows very little about Cesario’s real personality or background. If she can confuse Viola with her brother, she must not know Viola/Cesario very well. Concomitantly, there is the case of Malvolio and the infamous letter written to him from Olivia. When Malvolio receives the false letter, he not only believes that it was written by Olivia, but he also follows the outrageous advice in the letter. If he had truly known Olivia’s personality, he would realize that she would never ask him to dress like a madman, or even feel the same way about him. Love in Twelfth Night is both confusing and shallow at some times, and most of the characters share similar faults when it comes to love. People like Sir Andrew and Olivia are very facile lovers, who care for only status and handsomeness, respectively. In people such as Viola, there is a sense that they have fallen in love for a good reason. For example, Sir Toby marries Maria because she helped him in the plot against Malvolio, thus proving to him that she has a wit to match his own.

By the end of the play, it seems that most of the characters are either happily married or soon to be. Somehow, the tangled yarns of love, unrequited and false, shallow and one sided, mistaken and true, are free and bring together people in happy unions. Illyria is soon to host a magnificent double wedding, and life will be perfect. At least, for everyone except Malvolio.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today was a packed day, but I feel confident at the end of it in saying that I am caught up from my day of sickness on Wednesday. Turned in math homework, finished German work, and scheduled a make up for the quiz I missed. I also had a great Shakespeare class with my dad, and worked on the SSAT prep book. At the end of the day, I feel satisfied and good about where I am. Now I think I will get an early start to the math homework for the weekend.


Thursday, November 10, 2011


Sorry about the slight lack of post luster, but I have not been feeling well for the past couple days. Yesterday I did not do anything, and today I find myself struggling to catch up in my German and math work, as well as get back into the swing of things. I have also resolved not to get sick again this winter, because it was very inconvenient.

Today has been rather harrowing so far, and I am struggling to finish all that I have to in the time given to me. I hope to make up all German and math work, as well as begin my new biology textbook and blog and prepare for the SSAT and write poetry and stay alive and write about it all, all in time to get to babysitting, which takes up my entire afternoon before I go to chorus and then to bed. Just thinking about it all is daunting. So, where was I? Oh yes, this morning. I am almost done with the math work, but still have to study for the German quizzes which I hope to make up. I just spend ten minutes scrubbing blood out of my carpet. Makes me sound like a murder suspect, doesn't it? No, it was actually a pea sized affair from a forgotten stubbed toe. Not very intriguing.

Right now I am blogging to get my mind off the hundred and one things I have to do, and how I still don't feel one hundred percent well. Did I forget to mention that we are having a dinner here tomorrow, so on top of everything else I have to "pitch in" and clean? Whew, I feel like a house elf. (Sneaky Harry Potter reference)

This morning I finished the memoir of Nicholas Sparks, who is one of my many favorite authors. I love reading biographies and memoirs, and this one was pretty good. My all time favorite memoir is Julie Andrews', simply because she had an incredible life and I practically idolize her. The Nicholas Sparks book, called Three Weeks with my Brother, is a story of Nicholas and his brother, and their life and adventures. It was funny, touching, and well written and I recommend it to anyone who has read his work.

Well, back to work now. There is only so much you can procrastinate on.


Stephen Cushman: Poet

Last night I had the opportunity to go to a reading by the poet Stephen Cushman from his new book, entitled Riffraff. Mr. Cushman entranced the audience with personal and relatable tales, as well as spell binding poetry. He writes in different forms of poetry, mostly non rhyming, and about a wide variety of things. Poems he read to us last night included the sky, his family and two sons, sailing, Egyptians, and other interesting topics which most people would never think to put in a poem. I enjoyed that he could bend and twist a poem to his liking, and he has quite a knack for metaphors that really make you think and are very original. I liked his humor and the way he interacted with everyone there, in a very casual and friendly way.

My favorite poem that he read was a new poem of his which he used to finish the reading. It was entitled "Small Craft Warning," and I loved everything about it. A shorter poem, it personified a flag, flapping in the wind, "one side of me lashed fast, the other flapping free." The poems attention to detail and beautiful word flow contributed to why I liked it, but I was caught by the amazing line, "the rumbled sea." For some reason that stuck out as my favorite line, although the entire poem was astounding. In fact, all the poems he read were wonderful, and I have resolved to get one of his books from the library as soon as possible.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Marie Curie!

Today is the 144th birthday of Marie Curie, the famous scientist who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. She won the prize twice, once in Chemistry and once in Physics.

Today was also a pretty good day for me. I got my math test back, and discovered that I did not do as bad as I thought I would. This morning, I got a lot of work done including my new Write on Wednesday and a Twelfth Night handout exploring the different types of comedy and how they are used in Shakespeare. I also finished my math test corrections and spent a considerable amount of time studying for the SSAT, which I am taking in about a month.

This afternoon I have German class and soccer practice. I also have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of days including a poetry reading and another Shakespeare meeting with my dad.


Friday, November 4, 2011


Volunteer. That very word I used to sneer at. Who would actually give something, give their time, for nothing in return? I was skeptical, and downright mean. My view now is the opposite.

Every Friday, I walk to my old elementary school to volunteer with my old kindergarten teacher. Consistently, I have a wonderful time helping the kindergarteners with their center work, and they are all very sweet to me. Sure, I am not gaining anything material, but I am earning the trust of both the teacher and the students. Every student in that class has a different way of looking at the world, and I get to watch them learn and grow. It is very special to help them, to see their smiles when they finish something, and to hear their thank you's at the end of the day.

It is very nostalgic, working with kids in the very room where I first went to school, with the same teacher. I keep finding memories hidden in the rafters and the stacks of construction paper. I love to help them, love the feeling of contentment that I feel while walking home, knowing that I have done something good for someone else, knowing that I have helped in a small way with these kids.

To conclude, my views of long past are gone. Completely wiped away. Volunteering is not for losers, it is for winners. I look forward to going again and again and again.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


After a very successful meeting with my dad this morning, I feel very pumped to share some of the work we have been doing. We are reading Twelfth Night, about an act a week, and it is great so far. Every week, we meet for a little bit and talk about different aspects of what we have read.

Today, we got into topics including illusion and disguise, and we went in depth about the character of Feste the clown. Feste is clever, with a sharp wit, but he is also wise in ways that the other characters do not always catch. We also went over an activity that I finished for this morning called a found poem. In this found poem, I take words that Feste has said, and manipulate them into a short poem that displays his character. It was a very interesting thing to do, and I learned a lot about him. Feste is not only a "witty fool" but he has good intentions, and I noticed he used a lot of good words like virtue, beauty, heaven, and soul.

Here is my found poem for Feste:

A witty fool
Good faith and wisdom
My soul resolved
Virtue, Sir Toby
Fools speak well
Answer me
God bless thee
Talents in faults
Take away sin
Bear it
A wise man

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday: Presser Cooker

Today was a rather stressful day, but I got through it and I feel much better about this week now that today is over. I had a math test and a German test this morning, and on top of all the other crazy things happening this week, I was a little worried about doing well on my tests. This morning I woke up in time to look over my math stuff again, then it was time for the test, which was on graphing and systems of equations. I felt confident once I started the test, and I am pretty sure I will be happy with my grade.

After the math test, I spent the middle of the day studying and cementing my German for the test. The chapter in German including things to do, grammar, and new verbs. I also began a "Found Poem" for my Shakespeare meeting with my dad tomorrow. The found poem is an exercise that I was set which involves writing a poem with Shakespeare's words. First, I picked a character from Twelfth Night (I picked Feste the clown), then I found around 35 words that he says in Act 1. Then, I created a poem using those words. I am very excited to compare my poem with my dad.

In the afternoon, I did some boring work which needed desperately to be done, including organizing my math work and homework, and cleaning up my room. The clean room helped cheer me up, and I am gladly no longer stuck in a rut. The week is beginning to really look up, and I am ready to get a lot of work done tomorrow when I have no "real" classes!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday: Oral Tests and Brothers at Home

Today was a little distracting because my brothers were home from school for the second day in a row. I tried to make them stay away, but they were still a little loud. In the morning, I had math, where we prepared for the test tomorrow. Then, I went home and began to study for my oral German test in the afternoon. I read two chapters of my sociology book, because I found it very interesting, and couldn't stop reading once I started. For awhile, I knitted while practicing German, because I discovered I could multitask!

In the afternoon, I went for a run and took a shower after. Then it was time to go to chorus. In chorus, we are up to five songs in four different languages. It is very different from my old chorus, and much more challenging, but I think that is a good thing in the end.

This week has seemed very crammed so far, because I have had some problems and stress, and there is a lot going on. I think it will be much better after tomorrow.