Thursday, December 31, 2009

it's a pizza... it's a cake... no, it's supercookie!

goodbye 2009, hello 2010
happy early new year! 2010 is just hours away! as always, i'll have a hard time remembering to write "2010" instead of "2009" on my school papers. i mean, i've been writing "2009" for a whole year now. anyway, most people like to end the year with a big BANG, right? well, i'm not that type... but i did bake something awesome.

mental light bulb! 
have you ever seen one of those giant chocolate chip cookie cakes? today, when i asked my mom to bake some cookies, i thought, why not (attempt to) make one of those big things? i thought of using a regular cookie recipe, but then thought i would search up a very specific giant chocolate chip cookie cake recipe on google, just to be safe.

my mom and ella were busy speeding down a race track, jumping on giant mushrooms and sometimes falling off cliffs (on mario kart wii, that is). we just got it for christmas, and it has shown just how competitive we atsavapranees are (not that anyone had doubted it before).

i proceeded to create the most colossal cookie i've ever baked! well, i've never baked a cookie bigger than the regular size, so i guess that's not saying much. it's a really simple recipe. the only problem: i preheated the top oven, and when the time came to put the cookie in... it didn't fit! i started to preheat the bottom oven at that moment. all was good from then on.

before:

after:the frosting makes the cookie
but, what would a gigantic cookie be without some nice frosting to go with it? we dug out some frosting from ages ago, but when i tried to get some out, a bunch of oil leaked out from the top. gross.

so we made our very own sour cream frosting. since we had just put away our big mixer after making the big cookie, dad said he would mix it by hand. he ended up being just like an electric mixer! literally. ella enjoyed his nice sound effects and "pressing" his arm to make him mix even faster.

it was pretty coincidental that we baked a cake/cookie, and today is new year's eve. i actually hadn't thought about it. i thought i might as well decorate it as a new year's cake!

i added some food coloring to parts of the frosting. we now have many bowls of frosting in different colors on our dining room table. i had to use a bunch of ziploc bags as icing bags since they kept on ripping, and yes, it was messy.

it took me about an hour to perfect my masterpiece. to everyone who thinks i'm a perfectionist... i guess you are right! i don't really mind though, because it turned out great! at the end, i realized that we had only used about 1/20 of the frosting we made. my mom's idea was to make cupcakes and put the frosting on them! yum.


my next post will be in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

go with the snow

i just got back from our skiing/tubing day trip (our 2nd time ever!), and went straight to my laptop to start blogging. we started our drive to whitetail, only 1 and 1/2 hours away, at 9:00 am. as always for road trips, me and ella were nice and comfy in the back seat with our pillows, blankets, and food.

totally tubular you won't believe me when i tell you that tubing is pretty terrifying, probably more than skiing. imagine this: you are sliding down a super big hill at full speed with snow crystals flailing in your face, spinning around -->randomly, an inch away from banging into a ginormous ice wall. yup, it's that freaky... or maybe i'm just a wuss.

last time, ella and mom went tubing while dad and i went skiing. this time, we all went tubing together and i got some tips from the expert tubers in the family. we went tubing for 2 hours in the morning from 11 am to 1 pm. we went down the hill 8 times.

the snow was really lumpy, probably since it was artificial snow, and the bottom of the tube was really thin. so, the first time i went down the hill, my butt was completely hurting from the rock hard snow bumps. i taught myself to lift my butt up while sliding down the hill. it helped.

we had fun playing around with different combinations going down the hill. first, we all went down solo. then ella and i tied our tubes together. we then decided that we would rather get a double tube. for the grand finale, mom and dad tied their tubes to our double tube and... voila! our foursome was sliding down the hill in no time.

with more people, it went a lot faster (because of the momentum). that basically means: four people is four times more terrifying than usual. mom, being a scientist, went down the hill to experiment different positions with speed. sit up, and you go slower; lie flat, and you go faster. makes sense. :)

most people sit in the tube, right? but some people lie belly-down on the tube. to me, that's like asking to have your head slammed into the wall of ice! dad was the first of the family to try it out. i was begging him not to kill himself, but, of course, he didn't listen and went right ahead. he held the tube by the handles, took a running start toward the hill, and just flopped himself onto it! i was watching him with wide eyes the whole way down to make sure nothing bad happened or anything... later, while i was skiing, mom and ella even tried it! but don't think that i tried it or anything; i'm not the daring type.

see bee ski this is only my second time skiing, but i really love it. i love it so much that after my first time skiing, when i was creating a new email account, i made my username "beatriz.skiing." everyone always asks me why that's my username, but i'm thinking it's sort of obvious. the last time i went skiing, i got pretty lucky. when i went to meet for a group lesson, i was the only one there! private lesson for a group lesson's cost. this time, with winter break and all, it was more crowded, so there were 9 people instead.

i don't know if you can call the class i took "intermediate." we spent the first half of class skiing in a line, jumping one by one while saying "pop," with the last person saying "corn." then we practiced turning, even though they said the intermediate class was for people who could turn.

what i enjoyed about the lesson was that for the ski lift, instead of waiting in the unbearably long line, we got to go in the special express line for only lessons and patrols. after the lesson, i had to wait in the line as i looked hopelessly and enviously at the people in the special express line. sigh.

the worst part about skiing? the level ground. well, even worse than that is an incline. you should see me lug myself across the snow. it is so lame that you would laugh. first i try pulling myself with the polls, then i try stepping, then i try gliding, then i give up. after moving about a foot, i have to stop and take a break. it's tough, i'm telling you!

once the lesson was over, i went skiing by myself. apparently, last time we were skiing, i scarred dad for life when i forced him down the intermediate slope. but, luckily, he's coming skiing with me next time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

winter wonderland

winter wonderland
thank you oh mighty snow gods! not only is there no school today, but there is also no school tomorrow! this thursday to the monday after next we have off because of christmas and winter break, so we will only have one day of school for 2 weeks! that is, if they don't cancel wednesday as well...

maryland is awesome
i have been thinking, and i believe that maryland has one of the best case scenerios regarding snow days. it's not like california, where there are no snow days... and it's not like minnesota, where they clear the roads so professionally fast that school never gets cancelled.
 

the longest driveway around
in the morning, i thought the best we were going to get was a 2-hour delay. i was hoping that being trapped at home would give us a good reason to miss school. so, when dad said he would dig us out by my orthodontist appointment (3:15 pm), i was practically begging him not to. he went outside and said that he wouldn't come back in until he was done.

he wasn't kidding around! when i think about how sore my arms are after shoveling only 1/10 of the driveway, i can't even begin to imagine how much pain dad must be in (p.s. sorry dad...). when dad finally came in, my mom asked him, "don't you feel a sense of accomplishment?" and dad says "i feel a sense of pain!" dad vows that the our next house will have a much shorter driveway.

my first painless torture session 
i had my orthodontist appointment today, and i was expecting a great load of pain. since my last appointment, my spring had fallen off twice. luckily, they didn't threaten me with painful orthodontic devices this time.

i also no longer have the dreaded "power band": the rubber bands on each tooth are connected to make the teeth move even faster, and make it even more painful for the victim (aka me). let me tell you, it isn't fun.

this is the first time that i haven't been screaming in pain after my orthodontist appointment. i'm happy.

cookies anyone? tomorrow, my mom is planning on bringing me and ella to her workplace. i'm just swelling with joy at the fact that i get to help ella sell her girl scout cookies. why do i say "swelling with joy" so sarcastically? well, the main reason that ella and mom drag me along with them to sell cookies is because i'm the "social one." therefore, i get to do all the talking. wish me good luck.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

enjoying the blizzard of '09

buried treasure
the 18 inches of snow are so much fun. first, me and ella were just playing with the snow on the roof outside the window. we made a ginormous snowball and brought it downstairs to show dad. he wasn't so pleased. we decided to throw it back onto the roof, where it came from.


then, ella started to bury a small plastic horse deep into the snow on the roof and told me, "we'll get him back when it's spring!" when i asked her, "why are you burying that?" she said, "do you really want this piece of junk?" a while later, she was digging frantically for it. i don't really think she minded losing it, though, considering that she was the one who buried it in the first place... it'll be interesting to see where and how we find it again.

weakling
as we were looking out the window, we saw our neighbor out with his shovel-truck. a few years ago, he actually shoveled our whole driveway for us. so, my dad got really excited when i told him he was starting to shovel our driveway. but then... he stopped and left. major disappointment.
then, after loading on many layers of clothes, we went out to play in the snow. i must have fallen into the snow about 6 times due to the combination of my klutziness and the enormous amount of snow. plus, me and ella had fun jumping into the snow (both back first and front first).


my dad did most of the shoveling around the cars. i don't know why, but after everyone else went in, i kept shoveling the snow behind the cars. maybe, subconsciously, i was hoping for some money (which i did get, by the way). after 20 minutes of grueling hard work, my arms and hands were burning. when i stopped to look around me, i realized that i'd only shoveled about 2 feet in every direction. i'm thinking that's pretty lame.

notice in this picture of our driveway, one, the top of the driveway that our neighbor started to shovel, and two, the small area that i shoveled :(

finally!
i guess snow on the weekends isn't as bad as i thought! check out the status of montgomery county public schools on www.schoolsout.com...

Posted at Sun Dec 20 14:16:35 -0500 2009
Montgomery County Public Schools and all administrative offices, as well as day cares, are closed Monday (12/21) due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled.

finally, the snow isn't going to melt before monday! i don't know what i would have done if there was school though, because we're barely done shoveling 1/3 of our driveway! well, plus, i haven't finished my homework yet... let me say, i love "emergency weather conditions."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

dress it up

the weather guy doesn't lie
just like the weather report said, it is snowing like crazy! every time it snows, i look at this small round table on the porch. it's a nice reference to show how much it snowed. this has to be a record! it only started snowing last night, and that's least a foot!

12:52 pm:
10:25 pm (update):

and look at our driveway! can you even tell it's our driveway?? well, i guess the cars give it away. dad's going to have loads of fun shoveling this thing...


thingamajigs on the christmas tree
this morning, ella kept nagging us to get the christmas decorations from the basement. "you guys are so selfish!" so eventually, mom got tired of listening to ella complain, went down into the basement, and took up 2 dusty boxes of christmas decorations. here's our tree's before and after shot. :)

before:
after:
ta-da! here's a secret: our christmas tree is only decorated on the front! shh... no one has to know... do you see those crochet decorations? our old babysitter, guo ying, made them! aren't they awesome? don't ask where we got all of those thingamajigs, because i have no clue.

a cat's joy
it's not only us humans who like christmas... violet loves it too! her favorite part: the ornaments. she loves to bat at the ornaments on the trees, and something she loves even more is to unravel those thread ornaments.

violet is taking a peek at my gift...


happy tree decorating!

Friday, December 18, 2009

all wrapped up for christmas

let it snow!... but, on a school day
this weekend, it is supposed to snow 12 inches! 1/3 of me is happy; 2/3 of me is annoyed. this is because every time it snows, it is on a weekend. it snowed the saturday before last, it is going to snow this saturday, and it is going to snow next saturday. you know, i would really appreciate some snow on a school day. i would even be happy with a two-hour delay. there's nothing better than waking up to my mom telling me there's no school.

we are prepared to be trapped inside for the whole weekend. we have groceries and (most excitingly) the christmas tree! i can think of a few good things that come by being snowed in:
  1. i have time to blog, which i usually don't.
  2. i don't have as many excuses to put off doing my homework.
the magic of saran wrap
i realized today that places can get a lot of money for christmas trees. today, we got one for $30. one year, we got one for only $6! well... that's probably since it was a few days before christmas... now, my mom's always looking for a cheaper tree.

we couldn't get the christmas tree for the last few weekends since it has been snowing (hmph). today, we stopped by home depot and picked out a cute little tree. then, they came out with a giant roll and saran wrapped it to our car. yes, saran wrapped. who knew the powers of saran wrap were so amazing?


once we started driving, the tree kept making this loud flapping sound. the faster we drove, the louder it was. i never thought that a 10 minute drive on the freeway could be so unbelievably annoying. my mom's solution was to turn the radio up even louder.

the snow is starting to stick to the ground right this second. ella just looked out the window and said, "that's a fair amount of snow."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

attracted to the magnet?

so, you are attracted to the magnet program... well, today i went to richard montgomery high school to take the high school magnet test. this is for all you people out there, who were like me, who are stressing about the test and wondering why there is no good info on the magnet site. well, i'm about to give you some good info from my own experience.

just some suggestions on what to bring
i am basically about to tell you what i brought today, using some tips from my SAT book.
  1. make sure you wear layers; i wore 3. you never know what the temperature might be. some rooms might be cold and some might be hot.
  2. bring a pencil pouch so you can carry all of your stuff. take a big eraser (you might need it for the essay), some dull and some sharp #2 pencils (dull pencils are good for bubbling answers quickly, and sharp pencils are good for writing the essay)
  3. if you have a phone, bring it. they will make you turn it off during testing, but after it's over, it's helpful to call your parents. trust me, there is a whole swarm of parents waiting for their kids.
the process
when you first get to the school, the volunteers take you to a classroom with desks in rows. there are about 30 people in each room. you take the multiple choice test for 2 hours.after that, you get a so called "break" where you get up and walk around for a while. you then have unlimited time to write a one-sided page essay to a prompt. when they said "unlimited," i was imagining people who stay for hours upon hours... do you think there are those people?

the dreaded... test
the test is all multiple choice (not including the essay which i will talk about later). questions 1-60 are reading and questions 61-110 are math. they give both sections to you in the same booklet. you can start with either section, switch between sections, and spend any amount of time on each section.
i must say, the most boring part was reading the 5 passages in the reading section. 3 times i felt my eyelids slowly closing, so i had to jerk them wide open and focus intensely (that didn't work out so well for me). i swear i could've fallen asleep right there, reading about some fireball that i can't remember the name of now...

verbal section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- word selection (choose a word that best replaces a word in a sentence)
  • 1/4 of the problems-- logical reasoning (you know, those questions that make your brain ache, like: bill is 5'6''. jack is shorter than bill. jack is sitting to the left of amy. amy is sitting to the right of bill. jane is the shortest. the tallest person is sitting 2 from the right. who is the tallest person?)
  • 1/2 of the problems-- reading comprehension (you read 5 passages and answer a few questions about each)
math section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- quantitative comparisons (compare two number values)
  • 3/4 of the problems-- math problems (just your average algebra problems)
the essay
on the magnet application packet, it says you will get 30 minutes to write the essay. but, we actually got unlimited time. hmm...

according to the test prep booklet (link at the bottom of the page) on the 2003 test the essay prompt was:
Mark Twain, American author and humorist, once wrote, “Work and play
are words used to describe the same thing under differing circumstances.”
Is school work or play for you? Why? Use examples from your academic
life to support your position in a coherent, meaningful, brief essay.

today, the essay prompt was:
"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." -Ken Blanchard. Do you agree or disagree with Blanchard's statement?

so there are some example of essay prompts to be prepared for.

on a final note
don't be nervous. it really isn't that hard of a test. the only hard part is the time limit. make sure that you pace yourself. remember to consider the time you need to read the reading passages! also, like you've probably heard, if you don't know the answer to a question, skip it, and move on the questions you DO know the answer to. the test prep booklet says that they don't take off points for wrong answers. that means that if you don't know the right answer, just guess.
if you need any extra info, here is the magnet test prep booklet: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/admissions/high/HSTestPrepBooklet.pdf

good luck!

hobo snowman

let it snow!
today was the first snow of the season! on chat and email, everyone is really excited. for the last few weeks, this group of guys in spanish class kept randomly screaming "IT'S SNOWING!" and everyone would snap their heads toward the windows (after the first time, i didn't). it started snowing this morning when i was at richard montgomery high school taking the high school magnet test. it even started to stick, but then it just started to melt slowly and sadly. it was almost all melted when ella, my mom and i went out to play in the snow. we just came in, since it is almost dark (even though it is only 4:45 pm!) right now, the snow is turning into rain. sigh.


hoboman?
when we went outside, ella and i started rolling up balls of snow for our snowman. it was originally supposed to be a regular snowman, but we got some dirt and leaves from the lawn into the snow, so decided to make it a hobo snowman. there he is, panhandling on our front lawn. what for? maybe some clean snow to wear.

how do you like him? what should we name him?

Friday, November 27, 2009

the tired shopping warriors

we, a.k.a the tired shopping warriors in mom's words, have come back alive from a mission to single-handedly stimulate the economy on black friday! today, me, my mom, and ella went shopping on black friday, but my dad didn't come since he "doesn't like crowds."

the landing
my mom was all worried about parking. she asked if she could drop us off, and meet us some 30 minutes later. i said we would stay with her, so me and ella were prepared to die of boredom in the car. i checked the clock so i could keep track of how long it took. 11:34. and...... parking at 11:35! mom was beaming.

the mission
we were surprised that abercrombie had deals because usually it doesn't. spend $100, get a $25 gift card. apparently i'm getting a $25 gift card for christmas.

then, we went to justice where we were able to hunt down some stocking stuffers for ella. hopefully ella doesn't read this... we got her 3 pairs of furry socks, and a pack of 6 cute food erasers. the erasers are pretty cool. they are sort of like puzzle pieces that connect. check out this site: http://www.iwakousa.com/id70.html .

we looked at some uggs, where ella decided to get some knit gray ones shipped to our house... and, it's just my luck, after ella made up her mind, i realized that i liked those the best as well. then, they didn't have it in my size. and also, they don't have it in stock anywhere at all so the earliest they would be able to ship it is february. i guess they are popular...

by the way, just mentioning, as i was typing the paragraph before this, ella read about her stocking stuffers. it was only after she read it that i realized that she was sitting next to me, staring at it, smiling. even after it says, "hopefully ella doesn't read this..." god.

the success
after going to some more stores like, gap, macy's, sears, benetton, etc. we left a little more than 5 hours later. phew. i think that's a new black friday record! but at least we completed our mission, right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

turkey day

i've always loved both cooking and eating the food on thanksgiving. our whole family starts cooking dinner together in the morning. this year we made: turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn bread stuffing, and pear cobbler.

top chef (s)
on a typical trip to a restaurant, my entire family is usually satisfied with two dishes. my mom says it's cheap to feed me and ella. so at the grocery store, we always try to pick the smallest turkey possible. even still, we enjoy many (many) turkey sandwiches after thanksgiving.

my dad always does all the stuff with the turkey. he marinates it in broth, stuffs it with a whole lot of stuff, and carves it (which, by the way, disturbs me... apparently ella is completely fine with it). the turkey was really good. so tender and juicy. mmmm...


meanwhile, me, my mom, and ella make the other stuff!

cranberry sauce
we start making the cranberry sauce in the morning, so it can harden in the fridge by dinnertime. this year, i think we started too late because it didn't harden at all! oh well, at least it was easier to dip the turkey into. :)

the good kind of crummy
last night, we made cornbread for the cornbread stuffing today. ella cut the cornbread into a lot of small cubes. after we put all the ingredients in it... we got to mash it up into crumbs!

it's better with butter
mom and dad did the hard part: peeling the potatoes... then me and ella did the best part: mashing them! then, of course, we added butter. *drools.* i love butter. my mom always says, "it's better with butter!"

sugary goodness
last thanksgiving, we made pear cobbler for the first time. before that, we always made pumpkin pie. honestly, i'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but it's just traditional, you know? the pear cobbler is actually really easy to make, and it is delicious. it requires a lot of sugar though. the first step is to shower the pieces of pear in 2 cups of sugar. it was so tempting to just take a piece and pop it into my mouth.

we served the warm cobbler with vanilla ice cream. ella even added some whipped cream, haha.


i've realized something about cooking thanksgiving dinner: it requires a lot of mashing. we mash the cranberries into cranberry sauce, we mash the potatoes into mashed potatoes, and we mash the cornbread into corn bread stuffing. ahh, mashing. just one reason why thanksgiving is so much fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

ghost of pictures past

school pictures. they are really stressful! well at least for me. what if you mess up the picture that goes into the yearbook that everyone will look back on for eternity?? i guess that's a bit melodramatic, but it's true that i do get really anxious before school pictures. today, they gave me my picture. let me just say, i think these braces are messing up my face. they even ruined my new passport picture. anyway, i thought that i would put all of my pictures of the past onto this post, so i can remember them long after i've lost all the copies.




before preschool:
i was 2 and a half. i guess this was sort of a daycare stage. hey look! i still had some chub back then. :)












preschool: here i am, in preschool. check it out, my two front teeth fell out. by the way, my hair is pulled back... it was longer than that!












kindergarten: are you starting to wonder what that tree i keep leaning against is? well, for these 3 pictures, i went to greenwood, and they took pictures with trees. it looks so, nature like...









1st grade: this was my first year at bannockburn elementary. i even remember picking out my outfit for this picture. that sweater i am wearing actually says "101 dalmations" on the back. plus, do you see me proudly wearing my girl scouts necklace? :)












2rd grade: wow, my dress and the background matched perfectly (in both 1st grade AND 2nd grade). hmm... i can't remember whether or not i planned that...











3rd grade: i don't know why i decided to go with the background. just wanted to mention, in case you thought i went to some pond to get my school picture taken.








4th grade: if you noticed, i am wearing the same sweater as in 3rd grade. if you didn't notice, i guess i'm stupid for pointing it out. it was a good school picture sweater, though! does it look like i'm laughing in the picture? that is the year that the photographer tried to make me laugh... and i am the easiest person in the world to make laugh. in this picture, i'm just trying my hardest to stop laughing.











5th grade: ermm, i'm not a huge fan of this picture. let me just say, those photographers need to tell us they are going to take the picture... before they take the picture!











6th grade: in this picture, you can tell i was stressing out. i was so tight that the muscles on my neck are sticking out!










8th grade: don't ask where the 7th grade picture went, because i truly don't know. anyway, i'm thinking that all my experience with school pictures helped. notice how i was ready to smile. that's because, as soon as i went to sit on the stool, i put on my smile. after about 30 seconds, the camera man told me to relax since he was setting the camera up the whole time. :-/

Thursday, November 19, 2009

wii will rock you

on wednesday, the wii came in the mail! it is me and ella's big christmas gift this year, but we couldn't wait, and got it early! my dad ordered the wii separately from the mario game, wii fit, wii play, extra controller, and numchuck. what is really aggravating is that almost everything came on tuesday... except the wii!

but, i'm so excited that it finally came! when we went to california in october, we played with allie and adam's wii. it was so awesome! we did a lot of virtual hula hooping and skiing. unfortunately, the day that the wii came was sort of busy since ella had a cello lesson, and i had some homework to do. but, of course, i squeezed in some wii time at 11:40 pm.

the all important... wii fit age
let's see...
  1. when we played the wii at allie and adam's house, ella was 28 (+20), and i was 13 (+1).
  2. during my 11:40 wii session, i ended up being 17 (+5).
  3. yesterday, after school, ella was 9 (+1) and i was 12 (+0). by the way, my parents also tried the wii fit yesterday, and were both 45 (+4).
hmm... i am yet to find out what my wii fit age really is. it is different every time! this whole wii fit age thing is sort of blurry.

wii fit awesomeness!
i love the wii fit! it literally senses your every move. the major thing that the wii fit does is measure your balance. for example, in the yoga section, me and ella like to do the tree pose. they show you a dot that traces your balance, and it's really hard to keep totally still! the only thing about the wii fit is that it can't tell most things other than balance. i'm guessing that this is why they call me "shaky" on the balance exercises and a "body builder" on the strength exercises.

this is mii
i loved creating my mii. i'm not sure how realistic it looks. one thing is for sure: the proportions are not realistic. i copied the mii's from the wii screen. does this look like our family? can you guess who is who? please comment :)

as if having braces wasn't torture enough

last week, i had an orthodontist appointment. or, in other words, the torture trigger. when i get to the office, the assistant says, "good! none of your brackets came off." but, of course, that's because they threatened me! last time, when my bracket came off from eating a nut, they said that the next time it came off they would "be forced to put a cap on my back tooth." as always, i asked if it hurt, and they said yes. well, that was a successful tactic.

as if having braces wasn't torture enough...
they added in a new torture tool. a rubber band. *shiver*. they are tiny bands that they put on your teeth to... move your jaw? i'm not really sure. well, at least i only have one on the right side. look at me, looking at the glass half full (even though it completely isn't).

snack on!at first i was really annoyed since i couldn't open my mouth more than half way. they told me that if i yawned, it might snap! eeks! but, when i got brave enough (which took a while), i tried opening my mouth really wide, and it was fine. what are these orthodontists teaching us nowadays? these bands are also a real pain in the butt. i have to take them out when i'm brushing my teeth and when i eat. being me, i eat at random times. i come home from school, eat some chips, study, get myself a bowl of ice cream, talk to my friends on the phone, eat some more chips. actually, i figured out that it's fine to leave it in when i'm just snacking.

the only problem with that is, since i don't take it off when i'm snacking, i forget to take it off for meals. so if a take too big of a bite, the rubber band comes off sometimes. in only a week, i have swallowed 2 rubber bands! i'm pretty sure it's ok, or why would we be putting them in our mouths? the first time it happened, i only realized my rubber band was just gone afterwards. the second time, today at lunch, i took a big bite of a soft pretzel, and felt my rubber band pop off. i spent a while searching through the mush in my mouth, but then decided it was hopeless.

bag-o-bandsat first, i carried the little ziploc bag of rubber bands around in my pocket, so it wasn't a problem if i swallowed it. but now, i guess i'm not as obsessed. actually, come to think of it, i don't have a rubber band on right now (since it came off at lunch)! i better go put one in though, because they also threatened me about keeping my rubber bands on. orthodontists are evilly clever.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

music marathon

yesterday i went to my second all county orchestra audition (last year's audition). before the audition, i was freaking out. not because i was nervous, but because i didn't have a banana that could prevent an anxiety attack. magnesium is magical. my mom comes home and pulls out 5 bananas! sigh, i love her. she knows me so well.

longest practice period ever
i got to the auditions at 6:55 pm, since i was auditioning in the last block from 7:30-9:00. well, i auditioned at 9:44. people cheered when the numbers changed, literally every 20 minutes.

the reason it was so slow was because there was one room with an etude (2 minutes), one room with sight reading (2 minutes), and one room with 2 excerpts plus 2 scales (5 minutes). so the line for the longest one built up fast. last year was much better thought out. wonder why they changed it...

it was obvious that everyone was getting more exhausted as the night dragged on. at first, everyone was practicing frantically. as we were walking towards the practice room, my mom says, "can you spell cacophony?" which, i can't (i had to use spell check to write that). then, as the room emptied out painfully slowly, there were those long patches of silence which i hate. they make it so hard to practice without seeming like a show off. like, once, there was complete silence with no talking, no playing. and one girl just continued playing the slow piece. everyone laughed but she still continued to play. i'm not sure if she knew she was playing a solo, but i'm pretty sure she knew.

honestly, maybe it was better that they were so late. at first i was really worried since i felt so unprepared. but, after more than 2 hours of practicing, i wasn't nervous at all. was it the banana? was it the practicing? maybe a combination...

me and my mom as the night slowly ticked by:


strangely lucky auditions
mr. herman: he conducted the all-county orchestra last year and described our playing with animal analogies... some about elephants... so, i'm outside the first room (with the etude), and the girl waiting next to me looks into the room and says, "hey! that's my teacher." after i auditioned, i asked her who it was, and she told me it was mr. herman. i asked her how she knew, since the judges were behind screens only showing their feet. "the pants." i'm just glad that she told me after i auditioned.

the sightreading wasn't too bad. they only gave us 30 seconds to look at the music before playing it. i thought that was a little weird, since usually they give us as much time as we need. my mom thinks that they shortened the time because they were 44 minutes after the auditions were supposed to end. the time went by fast, so by that time, i had only looked through half of the piece. luckily i was able to wing it ok (i hope). the rhythm was pretty hard, and we had to shift to 4th position once, but other than that, it was all good. :)

when i went to the last, super long room, there was only one person in line, even though they said the line would take forever. they had the music posted outside the room showing what we would play. it turned out that for the hardest piece, brahms 2nd symphony, we only had to play the last half. half of me felt relieved but half of me was really bugged. i mean, the first half was probably my weaker half, but after all that practicing, we didn't have to play it!

me and my mom left and were like "finally!" we only got home at 10:07 pm. i was half asleep. for the all-state auditions on saturday, my mom says that we could get my number, then go get ice cream or something. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

candy junkie

yesterday was... halloween! my 2nd favorite day of the year. my friend emily was having a bat mitzvah, but ella wanted to go trick-or-treating with me. so i figured, why not do both? i went trick or treating until 7:30 pm, and went to the party 30 minutes late.

into the rabbit hole
at first, i was just going to wear one of my old costumes, and ella was going to be a candy corn witch. then, my friend emma asked if i wanted to go trick-or-treating with her. i really wanted to, but ella wouldn't go with the theme. so i made my costume at emma's house and then made a matching one for ella at home!

hint: we aren't a deck of cards
i ended up going trick-or-treating with my friends emma, anais and andrea, their friend mary, emma's sister laura, and my sister ella. it was so much fun!

from left to right: andrea (card), mary (queen of hearts), ella (card), me (card), emma (tweedle dee), laura (cheshire cat), anais (tweedle dum).


can you tell what our theme was? when we were out collecting our candy, people asked, "hey, are you a deck of cards?" hmm... maybe they didn't see all of us.

i can be a zombie card next halloween
in the afternoon, before trick-or-treating, i was raking leaves with my mom and the temperature was perfect. i was thinking how great the weather was for trick or treating. but then, it rained. my costume was made with cardboard, tissue paper and glue, and ella's costume was made with cardboard, paint and markers. not exactly waterproof costumes!

i'll take the unwanted candy
once back at emma's house, we dumped all our candy onto the floor. first, we sorted them into piles to make candy trading easier. well, ella just left hers in a big pile. we also developed a "trash pile": you just throw any unwanted candy want into the middle, and it becomes a free-for-all. once andrea said, "who wants to trade me something for this?" after the silence that followed, she said, "ok, i'll just put it into the trash pile." then, everyone lunged towards it. i guess it wasn't good enough to trade, but it was good enough to take from the trash pile. i found myself taking a lot of stuff from the trash pile... i really should have been more selective.

lol moments:
when we were waiting in line for candy at one house, the man was saying "choices... choices..." i get to the bowl, and it is: snickers and crunch. wow. lots of choices you got there.

when my mom was driving me from emma's house, she saw someone's costume and said "hey, it's a hobo! wait... it's a witch..." apparently it was a very ripped up witch costume.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

after trick-or-treating, my mom drove me home so i could change into a different costume for the bat mitzvah. i imagine i would look very awkward as a dancing card. i changed into last year's outfit: a harajuku girl!

technical difficulties
the party was at a hotel. i had some trouble figuring out where the party was. i asked the front desk where it was, and they told me to take the elevator down to the ballroom. in the elevator, there was no button to go down! i just hope no one saw me standing in the glass elevator staring at the buttons. i walked out to ask for more help, and, of course, in the other elevator there were completely different buttons. one huge one that said "BALLROOM."

bat mitzvah swag
there was a candy bar, but since i got there late, all that was left were m&ms, gummy bears, hershey kisses, and tootsie rolls! i missed out on the junior mints, kit kats, and skittles. i comforted myself by remembering my my giant bag of trick-or-treating candy.

there was also a green screen, where you could pick a background and then pose for a picture. there were so many themes choose from! skittles, tootsie rolls, shrek, star wars... haley and i ended up going with star wars, so we striked a battle pose. haley was holding her light saber (well, actually an inflatable guitar), and i was kneeling on the ground all freaked out.

free giveaway
we got a cozy black sweatshirt as the bat mitzvah favor. it is ginormous on me! it has a cute orange ghost and says "emily's bat mitzvah!"

happy halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

i wish we all could be california girls

thursday: today, i woke up at 3:45 am. this is because my mom, my sister, and me are going to san diego for my dance show! i'm missing thursday, friday, and monday of school. partly i'm happy, but i'm so stressed out. on the day i come back, i'm taking a science test, history test, spanish test, and geometry test. that's a test in each class, which i think is a new record! sigh.
today, we are staying with my cousins, allie and adam, and my aunt rosie and uncle michael in redondo beach! i'm so happy, i haven't seen them since summer.

you may think la salsa is a dance...

but, actually, it is where we went for lunch with uncle michael. there are a whole bunch of restaurants called things like "del taco" or "la salsa." creative names, i know. the fact that it's in a different language makes up for that. there was a salsa bar, and usually with salsa bars, i just get one salsa. but, above the salsas it said "mix the salsa to make your own!" it was hard to decide since i liked a bunch of them. at first, i got a chipotle sauce. that's when i realized that it said medium spicy, so to make it less spicy, i added some mild salsa. i ended up with a chipotle, avocado, and mango mix. i learned a lesson today: 3 good things added together can equal a catastrophe. after trying it, i threw it out and got them separately instead.

cold stone creamery, watch out! there's something called yogurtland... it.is.amazing! you get a huge bowl and fill it up with heavenly frozen yogurt! vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, ny cheesecake, mango, double oreo, green tea, blueberry tart, vanilla wafer.... and then you can get vanilla and chocolate combined, strawberry and ny cheesecake combined... i could go on and on, but i won't. first, of course, i had to taste almost everything in the store. but, it wasn't too embarrassing since the one worker was in the back. i just took some tasting cups and tried them one by one. after some contemplation, i finally decided on strawberry and ny cheesecake (not the combined version). that's when it got even more overwhelming since there are a whole bunch of toppings to choose from! but, with the strawberry and ny cheesecake froyo, i couldn't resist the real strawberries and real chunks of cheesecake. how awesome is that? and all for $2!

it's almost like exercise...
they have wii fit, and we were playing on that for a while. by the way, i would just like to tell you that ella's wii fit age is 28, and mine is 13! ella's age is 20 years off, mine is a few months off. pretty good right? my mom would like me to tell you that "ella didn't understand the balance activity and if she retook it, she would have done better..." cough cough. me and ella like the hula hooping game. well, more like the hula hooping movement. if you are trying to imagine what i look like hula hooping on a wii fit, let me tell you... it looks very stupid. standing in front of a tv doing circular hip movements is just not normal. but, it is surprising, hula hooping for 160 seconds can be more exhausting than you think. i was out of breath and sweating after trying to beat ella's record breaking score. i didn't beat it. i'm so out of shape.

warm enough to wade...
it's october, and we went to the beach! me and ella even went into the water. it was freezing cold! the waves were humongous, and i took the pleasure of pretending to run away from the waves screaming to make ella run in horror. she even fell for it 7 times. before we left for the beach, i decided that i wanted to carry the boogie board all the way to the beach, and in the end... i only boogie boarded once until i wiped out, and sand got everywhere. my ears, my nose, my hair. it took forever to get the sand out of my hair!

inner peace, outer screams...
after that i did wii fit for a while more. that whole time, allie and ella were behind me styling adam's hair in front of the mac camera. it's difficult doing tree poses with a whole bunch of screaming, but i did it. the wii told me to take a 10-15 minute break, which is when i run over to mom saying "it told me to take a break" then run straight back to keep going. strangely, i got 4/4 stars on the strength exercises, but i got 1/4 stars on the balancing ones. they called me a bodybuilder... hehe.

friday: great, i'm sick. i think it was either the ice cold beach water, or the wii fit overload. i can't be positive. but of course, i was just fine when it was time to drive to legoland in san diego! the ginormous lego sculptures are crazy!

stories from the land of brick...

this was in the parking lot! since this was the first lego-built thing that we saw, we were really impressed. but... we all agree that they are a tad creepy.

AHH! i was debating myself on whether or not to smile for this picture. i decided that it would look more realistic to put on my "oh my god" face.



there was this driving school ride where you can drive around and "follow the rules of the road." it probably doesn't sound that fun right? but actually, it was really fun. you get into these cute, small cars. it's better than the other driving rides in hershey park and disneyland since they aren't loud and smelly, the pedal and wheel are easy to use, and you can drive around without being guided by something on the ground. actually, i had a dilemma when i was driving around. there are stop signs, but the roads are so small that you can see whether or not there are cars coming. do you stop? or just go... i stopped anyway, just to be a good driver.

outside of the ride, there is this life size lego car! since it's legoland, you would assume that everything is made of lego. but, from far away, the car still looked real!

say cheese! this is me and ella posing for a photoshoot with a movie star (from a lego movie, that is).


there was also this boat school ride called skipper school where you can drive a boat around. my only complaint about this one is that it goes super slow. honestly, these rides would be so much more appealing if their names didn't include "school."

we also went on this completely tame dinosaur roller coaster. my mom was telling me how annoyed she was that the people behind her kept screaming into her ear during the tiny drops. i mean, they weren't even drops, more like bumps! there was another roller coaster that was called "test track." at first, me and ella weren't really into going on, but my mom convinced us to go on. you know how on roller coasters, there's that slow incline before the big drop? when we were going up, i was seriously hyperventilating. but it was so awesome. it was jerky like a real test track, and we ended up going on it 3 times (since there wasn't any line).


we went on this ride where you have to pull the rope to get up, then when you let go, you fall back down. it's not like you are pulling your whole weight, but it was still hard. falling to the bottom was a disappointment too. it was more like exercising than a ride. :(


this dragon and the big car are probably my favorite. seeing them in person is even more impressive. they use these tiny legos that are like 1cm x 1cm. do you see ella standing right next to the giganto horn? i have no idea what she was thinking. it was like she was waiting to have her ear blasted out. we left before it made any sound anyway.


this slide was amazingly fun. we went on it 2 times. the only thing was that it makes you completely staticy!


ok, this is totally random right now, but i just had to show you. when we went to the bathroom, i saw the most hilarious bathroom sign ever!


here i am, battling evil. you're welcome.

my favorite part of legoland was definitely the miniland. it was so cute, and very cool. they said that it was built with 360,000 lego bricks and it weighs 718 pounds! i took a whole bunch of pictures, but i'll just show you some.

here is washington dc. check out that bus on the bridge. the buses, cars, and boats actually move. it is pretty cool.

i thought that the "states bank" engraved into the building was cool. i like the limo, too (hehe)

this is the inauguration!! that looked like it took a lot of work, with all of the people. if you look closely, you can see obama! he is wearing a red tie, and his hand is on the bible!

it was pretty cool how there were moving carousels and buttons you could press to make noise... and this fountain was actually like a real fountain! i'm just a little disturbed... when i looked at the people up close, one guy lost his head! but, i mainly wanted to post this picture to comment on those monstrous pennies.

time square! i was born in new york, so my mom took a picture of me in front of this. but, we weren't exactly sure what the spiders on the buildings were supposed to be. i guess it's the halloween theme!

the lego store is awesome. there are boxes of legos of all different shapes and sizes. we stayed there for 30 minutes only for me to buy 93 cents worth of legos. i'm easily overwhelmed as you have seen (yogurtland, now this!) we stayed at legoland from 10 am-5 pm, which was the whole time it was open. for dinner, we went to the all holy in-and-out burger! i have been looking forward to going there since i left california last time. but i couldn't enjoy it with my sore throat. i'm sad now. now we are in the hotel, but i only have "0 days, 23 hours, 15 mins, 57 seconds" left of internet time. well, i'm not counting on spending 24 hours online between tonight and tomorrow, but i'm tired... so, talk to you later! from...


saturday: today we went to the san diego wild animal park! this was only my 2nd time going, but i love that place. the animals can run around this 12 acre span of land. it is so amazing. on the african safari, where you go on a tour around the animals, they said that they keep the baby cheetahs in the same area as the other animals... i thought that was sort of dumb, but my mom says that they probably keep them more far apart. the camera ran out of battery in the middle of the tour, but i still got some pictures.


this is one of the baby cheetahs that i was talking about before. i think he is super cute! all of the cheetahs there were babies... i don't know where the adult ones were.


here's a white rhino. the tour guide said that his head alone can weigh as much as 1 ton... wow. i weigh 3.25% of that (yes, i used a calculator). no wonder they just sit around all day.


two ostriches! i thought this was a cool picture. they're drinking water together... or they could be having a tete-a-tete. :)


giraffe! i have always liked giraffes. during the whole tour, the guide was saying that animals see brown and green as the same color, so the giraffe wasn't easy prey. but, it's so big. how could you miss it?

there was this cool new "exhilarating" zip line ride over the land with the animals. i was really excited by that... but then i figured out it was $70. yeah, that was out of the picture.
i liked the gorillas. you know, they actually do beat their chests! it was hilarious. the tiny monkeys were really cute doing the monkey bars. i had to tell ella that they were better at monkey bars than she is. i guess i just like primates. :) we left early in the afternoon so we could go to the hotel and rest before the culture shock san diego 10th anniversary choreographer's showcase. it was really cool. actually, the best part was the last half. and that's when ella fell asleep! it's weird where she falls asleep: she fell asleep in the front row of a dance show once, with bursting music (where the dancers could literally sweat on her), but she stayed awake during my munchkin appearance during a wizard of oz off broadway show.

sunday: today, my cousins allie and adam, my uncle michael, and my aunt rosie came to san diego for my dance show. but, before the show i was really busy with techs and rehearsals. i'm part of a dance company called culture shock dc, with two youth groups: future shock dc is for ages 12-17 and mini shock dc is for ages 7-11. i'm in future shock, but i used to be in mini shock. so, since mini shock needed more people to perform with them, i got to perform with both mini shock and future shock! which basically meant twice as much rehearsing. luckily, most of the mini shock rehearsals were when future shock was taking a break.

busy b...
first, i had a future shock tech on the stage. after that, while future shock watched
other groups' tech rehearsals, i had the tiniest bit of time to eat a bagel. i came back to the theatre in time for more future shock rehearsal. then, when future shock left for their lunch, and mini shock came, i went with mini shock for rehearsal. after the rehearsal, we went to the stage for our tech rehearsal. during the tech, future shock came to watch our tech...... phew.

a cool park in the middle of nowhere...
then, i had one period where there wasn't anything i had to do with either mini shock or future shock, so i got to go to a mosaic park in escondido with my mom, sister, cousins, aunt, and uncle! it was so pretty. there was a cool (yet super easy) maze to the middle of the park where there were a bunch of sculptures. around the sides, there were...shiny snakes? big colorful worms? i'm not sure.









after we went to the park, i went to a future shock cast meeting before the show.

gotta wait for the dvd...
since future shock performed in act 1, they got to watch act 2. but, since mini shock performed in act 2, they got to watch act 1. which meant... i didn't get to watch any of the show! but, down the hallway from the dressing rooms, there was a room with a screen that had the show live. so, in our free time we got to watch the show.
there were bowls of candy in each dressing room, so the plus of performing with both groups was more candy! there were nerds, tootsie rolls, and lollipops in the future shock room, and there were whoppers and sugar sticks in the mini shock room. ok, i'll be honest. i stuffed some (or a lot of) candy into my backpack pockets.

the moment you've all been waiting for...
the show was so much fun! i would post a video on here, but it's prohibited, according to the directors to preserve "artistic integrity". not that they would ever see my blog or anything... anyway, the future shock theme was "futuristic." it makes sense, right? future shock? futuristic? hmm... i probably didn't have to point that out. it was sort of hard to tell what our theme was. the songs sounded pretty techno-ish, and our costumes had silver, but i guess it's pretty hard to guess. i thought this one dance was really cool, where there are different groups doing different dances to the same song, and they are coming on and off, and some are doing it at the same time. there was a contemporary part, an african part, a wacking part, a popping part, and a housing part.
the mini shock performance didn't have a theme. our costumes were lime and true blue. i could only dance in the 3 dances i knew from last year. it was awesome dancing with mini shock again. i totally miss it.


mmm... buffet...
my parents say that it's not worth it to bring me to buffets, since i don't eat that much. but i am in love with souplantation! we go there every time we come to california. as you can see, all of my favorite places to eat are in california. souplantation, in-and-out burger, yogurtland... and out of all three of those, there can't even be one in maryland! sigh. i always look forward to the unlimited soft serve and the yummy strawberry lemonade. at the souplantation in san diego, they even have warm fudge brownies to go with the soft serve... mmm.... i can almost smell it! then, we all drove back to redondo beach. i was super tired, and i fell asleep in the car.

monday: we flew back to maryland today. we had to leave for the airport at 11:20 am... yogurtland opened at 11:00 am... could we make it? of course! it's yogurtland for crying out loud! i figured out that i like pumpkin pie froyo, and i like blueberry tart froyo, but they don't taste good together. it's like la salsa all over again! anyway, ella was really excited that there were those personal tv's on the airplane. that's always her first choice of entertainment!


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