Tuesday, June 29, 2010


a while back, we got tickets to see the NSO and yo yo ma in concert... you see, the yoster is ella's so-called idol. (see number 5 in one of my older posts called "the many things you have yet to learn about ella.")

the big day came up much faster than i had expected, because we just came back from the performance at the kennedy center! we got all gussied up for the occasion, too:

me, mom, and ella

dad (tie and everything!)

this was jeffrey kahane's last time conducting for the NSO before retirement. here are the musical selections, straight from the program (since i could never possibly remember them without it):

  • RAVEL - Alborada del gracioso

  • RAVEL - Ma Mère l'Oye – Suite
  • RAVEL - Rapsodie espagnole
  • GOLIJOV - Azul

the music selection was slightly strange for my taste. but who really cares, because...

the national symphony orchestra + yo yo ma = complete perfection!

i suppose that complete perfection is only to be expected with the incredible NSO and, not to mention, yo yo ma... but the performance was truly amazing. yo yo ma's playing is so effortlessly beautiful, passionate, and flawless! i now see him in a whole different light.

yo yo ma from afar

if you think you like yo yo ma, wait til you hear him in person!

Friday, June 25, 2010

the flying squirrel

people often ask me what i'm going to do this summer. i usually start off by saying, "camps, camps, and... well, more camps." my 2010 summer break is like a patchwork of camps, and the best part is that i'm excited for each and every one! you can probably tell from all these exclamation points! anyway, i have decided that each friday, i will update you about my camp experiences!

and the first camp is... *drumroll*... earth treks rock climbing camp!

what? you didn't think i was the adventurous type?? well, i guess you were right. but i do love rock climbing.

the first day of camp: time to learn! buckling up harnesses, tying knots, belaying, rappelling... all that good stuff. i actually had already learned this from calleva rock climbing camp last year, but my mind works in a pattern: learn, forget. learn again, hopefully remember! so the refresher was both needed and appreciated. :)

part of the gym (just for a visual idea)

pretty rad right? (by the way, i'm trying to expand the number of ways i say "cool")

welcome to the real rocks! this was the first time ella climbed outside!

ella in the picnic area (before the hike to the rocks)... give her a rubber band, and she becomes quite dangerous

the first climbing site

everyone exhausted (after the hike)

beautiful view... way above the water!

the first climb
(difficulty: medium-hard)

climber (me!)

belayer (ella!)

the second climb
(difficulty: medium)

climber (me!)

belayer (ella!)

by the way, you should see this insane spider web that i found on the rocks!

the second climbing site
ahh, nice shade!

breezy, right next to the water...

the first climb
(difficulty: easy... except for one part)

"did you just take a picture of me? hmph... now there's evidence of me belaying while sitting down..." (haha)

there was only one climbing site today, and it was awesome! challenging but so much fun.

the first climb
(difficulty: hard)

climber (me!)

the second climb
(difficulty: medium, except for tricky ledge)

climber (me!)

since we were at the great falls climbing site, we checked out the falls instead of climbing for longer. i had never seen it before, so it was neat to see. the water was surprisingly loud there...

i loved today's climbing site-- i had been there last year with calleva. the climbs were really challenging since there weren't many ledges. there were five climbs plus another one for rappelling, so there were rarely times that i wasn't climbing. ella and i always found ourselves climbing or belaying at the same time as each other, so we didn't get any climbing pictures today.

i will, however, be able to document the fact that this site was like a dust bowl (
well, if you don't take into account that barely noticeable lake in the background).

by the end of the day, ella and i were caked in dust and in desperate need of thorough showers.

olympic day: an exciting prospect for extremely competitive people, such as myself.

the first thing we did was a team building game which was, surprisingly, very fun. we had to work together to survive a treacherous journey through the gym without stepping into the shark-infested waters (a.k.a. the part of the floor not covered with mats). we had only the ropes hanging from the climbing walls, our harnesses, and our carabiners. the mats were about 10 feet apart-- yeah, it was a lot harder than it sounds. the campers who took the unfortunate fall into the water were saved but also became injured: someone became blind, another lost his arm, and one girl even became a mute. at one point, there was an open bottle of water (filled to rim) between two mats. we had to pick it up without spilling any water in order to survive. we put all of our lives into ella's hands, since she was the lightest camper. get this: we clipped the hanging rope to the back of her harness, suspending her body horizontally three feet above the ground, and pushed her across. it was amazing when our plan actually worked.

my team had three people, but the other three teams had four people. lucky me, the two boys on my team were really irritating. well, i shouldn't say that. with young boys, what can you expect? our team ended up being named "the yo mamas" against my will. you see, i was outnumbered. ella's team was called "the fire dragons," not that that's any better.

with our score sheets, we did various activities:
  • a knot tying relay race: everyone did this together, and our team won!
  • blind man: we climbed a simple wall while we had a handkerchief tied around our eyes
  • frostbite: we climbed the same wall with handkerchiefs tying our thumbs to our hands... (pretty creative uses for handkerchiefs)
  • hanging for life: we hung from a ledge for as long as possible (really hard!)
  • bouldering: which is climbing across a wall without a harness on
while everyone rotated through activities, people took turns riding a ginormous "swing." the rope hanging from the ceiling was attached to your harness, and once they pulled you all the way to the ceiling... they let the rope go!! swinging so high in the air, across the whole gym, really got the adrenaline pumping...

the last thing we did was perform something for the other groups, which was worth the most points. my group refused to do something musical, so we ended up doing a skit, which i think was meant to be comical... another group sang a song with lyrics that they wrote, and even made a banner. with that, neither my team or ella's team won the olympics.

at the end of the day, we had a little award ceremony (plus, we got brownies)! first, i must tell you about how one boy that was on my team got the "confidence" award. haha :). ella won the "flying squirrel" award for her amazing stunt during our team-building game. i won the award for always being helpful and supportive.

this camp was so much fun, and especially because ella and i could belay each other (not only that... i also had the privilege of carrying shoes, helmets, harnesses, and lunches for two people)!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

summertime, and the livin' is easy

yesterday was the day we all wait for. the day we all count down to in our planners. have you already guessed? school's finally out! everyone always yells "FREEDOM" at the sweet sound of the last bell... and, well, it's true.

chained to the monotonous life of school? putting off work, and not sleeping 'til midnight? waking up early, sporting baggy eyes? stressing for many, many quizzes and tests? no longer! it feels amazing to be unleashed from school's wrath.

please click to enlarge!

brace yourself for something completely unexpected: when my mom and i picked ella up from school yesterday, we saw a 5th grader crying. we made nothing of it, until we saw a whole bunch of 5th graders crying, both boys and girls. why? because they were going to miss school. *gasp* can you believe that? well, i suppose it's possible. it was just unbelievable to us since the end of school is like paradise for ella and me.

now, it's time for some fun in the sun! where to begin, where to begin... i can't wait for those blazing hot days when we jump into the cool pool water.

here is a very recent picture of me at the pool. by the way, it is also my facebook profile picture.

i do have some summer goals that i am determined to reach.

minor and simple goal
  1. blog more! i have been pretty lame about blogging lately. only one post per month? come on bea; you can do better!
major and difficult goals
  1. to not procrastinate on my summer work (i usually do that and it is not fun). let me describe this summer work to you. we all have to read one drama selection and one fiction selection from the reading list they give us. it doesn't sound too bad right? that is what they want you to think, so don't fall into the trap! this is all part of their plan to keep control of our minds so we can't have as much fun as possible.
  2. to gain 5 pounds of muscle (or any type of weight, for that matter). you see, i'm a 76 pound 13 year old, and need all the weight i can get. hopefully, if i stay this ambitious (which may be tough), i'll run with my dad and practice lacrosse throughout the summer.
i will tell you on the first day of school whether or not i reached my three goals... i'm not too confident though, since i'm already on the road to full procrastination and, honestly, i'm not exactly in the mood for any serious physical activity. arg. summer. it always makes me feel lazy (even lazier than usual. that's a lot).

i suppose all i can do now is enjoy summer... because, here comes high school.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

finding myself while doing my homework

i thought that this was noteworthy enough for its own blog post...

while researching for a history paragraph on montgomery county homelessness, i came across the fannie mae website, where they posted a few pictures from the help the homeless walkathon. i'm not sure if i told you, but my dance group, future shock, performs at the walkathon every year! so, when they wrote, "Please enjoy these videos of the 2009 Walkathon and Mini-Walks," i thought that i might see my dance group in one of the videos. i clicked the walkathon link, and it took me to this youtube link!

then, suddenly... BAM! at 0:23 seconds (my lucky number), there i am, dancing!

it is not the most flattering or attractive picture; i had hand warmers stuffed up my gloves plus a bright, blue mouth. my mouth color is quite cryptic because i only recall drinking hot chocolate... hmm...

i'm just amazed that, out of the thousands of people there, my picture showed up in this slideshow! i'm famous! well, not really. this video has only gotten 352 views. my mom thinks it was because i was sporting my beautiful, new help the homeless shirt :)

how did i get from researching homelessness, to blogging about this youtube video?
is it possible to finish writing a homework paragraph after being sucked into the wonderful world of youtube?


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