Thursday, March 22, 2012


The new term starts next week, and I am ready to throw myself back into work and have some fun learning. I am going to be very busy this spring, but I will be doing things that I love. Here are some things I am excited about in the new term.


Currently, our yard is a mess of overgrown vines, weeds, and dead branches left over from winter. Ever since we moved to this house, we have wanted to whip our garden into shape. The ideal would be a small  flower garden, and maybe even a vegetable garden. The garden is my spring project, and I am determined to make it beautiful. Hopefully I will be posting pictures of it as it moves along.


I know that my science has been slightly lacking so far this year. I am planning on really exploring science more in the spring. I am interested in environmental science and sociology, but I think I will also be looking into biology more in preparation for next year. Right now, I am making a poster for a competition on energy consumption, and I will write about it more when I am done.

Dance and Chorus:

I am very excited to get back to chorus after the break, and I can't wait for more music there. This term, I am also starting to learn dance, which has always interested me, but I have never had the chance to begin. It is a wonderful opportunity this year, which is all about trying new things.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Sometimes I am at a loss for words. Sometimes I simply do not feel like talking. I love photography because it tells the story for you. No need for typing. Here are a couple pictures I feel like posting.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Project 365

Last fall, I realized that I liked photography. I think it was on a ferry, when I took my camera up to the top deck and realized it was fun to take pictures even if they are not necessary or embarrassing to the subject. I started taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures, even though at the time I had an awful camera and not much knowledge about photography. I started learning, took books from the library, and got a new camera for Christmas, which I absolutely love. Somewhere during that transformation, I realized that I didn't just like photography, I had started to love it.

On the first day of January in the new year, I stumbled across Project 365, which seemed like a wonderful idea. Home schooled kid, needs art, loves photography and would like the commitment. It seemed too good to be true (and it was free). Immediately, I started uploading and taking more photos, and I realized why I loved this thing so much in the first place. Project 365 is not about the one photo that you post every day, it is about the 27-ish awful photos that you took to get to that photo that you posted. Anyone who takes a couple, and sometimes a lot, of pictures per day is bound to get better, even if they don't have lessons or Photoshop to help them.

At first, I tried different effects, and was always messing with my photos to make them better. As I continue, and approach 20% finished, I have almost stopped editing my photos at all. I like their raw quality, and I would rather build a solid platform of knowing composition and lighting than learn fancy effects. Of course, I would love to learn all those Photoshoppy things, and I know I will, but for right now, the 365 days are enough.

I have learned that the 365 community is a tight knight group, and I love it. There is always someone there to say that you are amazing, and there is always a place to put your "Craptastic" photos and hopefully give someone else a laugh. There are people doing the entire project with their worst photos and admitting to it, and others who are professional photographers who manage to take masterpieces every day. I love the balance, and I love that most people on 365, no matter what level of expertise, love to take photos. I have also learned that 365 is what you make of it. When I spend half an hour idly searching photos and commenting, I get comments back. On days when I forget to post, there is no one to make me take a picture but myself.

Now I have found how to balance everything, or so I think. I take time to find new people and help them start their journey much like so many people helped start me. I procrastinate like crazy with the Discussion tab, and I write thoughtful comments instead of just saying "Great!"

Although my pictures may not be incredible, I can guarantee that every single one of them was taken with love. Every time I pick up my camera, I feel happy, and I am glad to know that at 365 I will be surrounded by people just as passionate as me.


Stephen Greenblatt

Last night I went to the local bookstore to hear Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World and editor of the Norton Shakespeare, speak about his latest book. This new bit of genius is called The Swerve, and it is the fascinating tale of a poem that was thought to have been lost, but was unexpectedly found.

First, I think I have mentioned a few hundred times before that I love Shakespeare...I love him as a writer, as a playwright, as a poet, and as a person who uniquely understood the human race. When I read Stephen Greenblatt's stunning biography, called Will in the World, I was blown away by both the writer from London so many years ago, and the writer who made it his mission to discover all he could about someone who is viewed as one of the greatest writers of all time. Greenblatt's prose is academic, but strikingly relatable and easy to read. He weaves a nonfiction story with the ease of a poet, and manages to keep you interested through every chapter and every page. Anyway, Will in the World is an incredible piece of work, and I was so happy to have gotten it as a Christmas present and had the opportunity to read it.

When I heard that Mr. Greenblatt was coming to speak at the bookstore in town, I was incredibly excited. Here was a larger than life character, someone so knowledgable that he was asked to edit one of the most popular Shakespeare editions, and he was coming to talk at our small bookstore. I counted the days, the hours until he came.

Stephen was no stuffy or  condescending academic. He was an older gentleman with a slightly scratchy voice and head of thinning hair, but when he spoke, everyone listened. Here was the man who had written many other books, taught classes, and knew so much about history. He was incredibly genuine, nervously shuffling notecards before he started to speak, and stuttering occasionally, but the audience, including me, were under a spell.

Mr. Greenblatt told us the story of an Italian scribe and obsessive book collector, who found in Germany in the early 1400's a piece of poetry that was thought to have been lost. His tale was one of books and scribes, poets and philosophers, and after the brief talk, only about an hour or even less, we felt connected not only to him, but to the Roman poet Lucretius and the German text collector.

At the end, Mr. Greenblatt signed my copy of Will in the World with a warm smile and questions about my life. When I told him it had been my favorite Christmas present, he patted my shoulder and said thank you, leaving me to stagger away, wondering how much of the evening had been real.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Final Exams. The words make my stomach cramp suddenly and my head start to reel. I really hate tests. I know the material, study before the exam and go in confident, but I am just not good at taking tests. I forget what I thought I knew, I panic, stress, and don't do as well as I thought I would. This week is the final exam week, and it is making me very stressed. On Monday, I had my German final, which I had been studying for all weekend. I hope I did good on the test, but with me there is really no telling what will happen. Whenever I think I did ok I did not, and when I am sure that I failed, my grade is great. I have my math final tomorrow, so today I am studying frantically.

I don't know why I have such a phobia of taking tests. I really shouldn't, especially this year. My grade is not being submitted anywhere, I am on my own to be wonderful at what I do. I think it is because I am a perfectionist in most things I do, and that translates badly to exams and graded tests. I want to be perfect, and then I worry that I will not be, and it is nerve wracking. I do think it can be a good quality, and I know that my independence and tendency to get down on myself about work is what is making this year such a success.  I have tried my best to be calm this week, and I think I am in a good place regarding the test tomorrow.

On a more positive note, I have vacation next week! In fact, after my exam early tomorrow morning, I will be off! I am really excited, because although the winter has been really fun, it has also been very hard on me, and I am always busy. I cannot wait for some down time, and a lot of books to read! Of course, there are things I still need to do over vacation, and it we will not be going anywhere because my brothers are still in school, but I am still elated to be able to rest and sleep and read.

Tomorrow night is another incredible opportunity for me...Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World, an inspiring and inspired biography of Shakespeare's life, will be speaking at the bookstore in our town. To see him and hear him speak will be incredible, and I have been excited for a long time for him to come! I am going with a friend who is just as excited, and I am literally counting the hours. STEPHEN GREENBLATT!!!!! IN MY TOWN! I promise I will write about it after tomorrow, when I have the time, energy, and the stories from his talk.

Well, another look into my hectic life, full of ups and downs. I am such a teenager.


Thursday, March 1, 2012


Well, my life has been going wonderfully for a while now, and I am having the time of my life. A little worried about the week ahead of me, but I am trying to live in the moment and get as much done as possible while I am still sane. Next week is final exam week, and I have a math and German exam. A lot of my grades depend on these tests, so I have already started studying.

Had a wonderful German class today, with songs and German cookies. In math, we are preparing for our final exam, doing review problems together and practicing proofs. I know that I have lots of material to study and go over again before next week, so I have begun doing practice problems and making Chapter review sheets. I just hope I will be ready for the exams.

On Monday, I went to the Historical Society and did research for two more objects. I am having a wonderful time volunteering there, and I love the process of researching and digging up information on the fun objects I research like stuffed animals and beautiful playing cards.

This morning I met with my dad about King Henry IV, and we talked about the interesting relationship between King Henry and Prince Harry.

We are having a big snowstorm today, which is crazy because we have had no snow this winter. I guess it just came a little late this year, but it is really coming down. We having about four inches, and it just keeps going. Really beautiful.

Well, that is it for now I think, and I will check back in later or after finals.