Saturday, September 12, 2015

blank walls are no good

"How do I stay on top of a hectic year without sacrificing self-care?" I asked myself over and over during the summer, as I calmly prepared for senior year. 

It'll be hectic, alright. 

I'm taking more challenging classes this year, ones that I never thought I would qualify for. Two intense history classes, and two intense art classes. No math. No science. (Relax, I'll graduate). There's also college apps, gap year planning, and taking on responsibilities in band. This year in band, I am the flute section leader and the librarian. Meaning, I have an army of flutes to watch over and guide, and I sort and hand out sheet music to everyone in the band. 

My solution had two phases. 

Phase one: reevaluate and prioritize the things I do out of school. Considering the classes I'm taking this year, I mapped out time for me to stay in the school library, and molded my schedule around that time, with plenty of wiggle room. 

I cut down on my work hours to just the weekends, I canceled an activity, and spread everything out so I had room to breathe. Room to take care of myself. 

Phase two: spread self-care everywhere I possibly could. 

So I did a bit of redecorating this summer, especially surrounding my desk, at both mom's and dad's houses.

This is one of my workspaces. The flowering lungs print and the "Beware of what you put inside" print are both off of this Etsy shop, very nice prices. 

The sticky notes help, too, regardless of how cheesy they sound: 
  • "Set yourself free." Can't remember where this is from. 
  • "Breathe in strength, breathe out bullshit." (Taken from this foul language guided meditation).
  • "Do what impassions you." One of my favorite teachers told me that, more than once.
  • "Think about how far you've come, and how far you'll go." From tumblr, probably. 
Not included in the picture are several print-outs of emails that mean a lot to me, from several different people, and decorated with pretty tape. 

In the top right corner, you'll see some bricks. That's part of my colored pencil symbolic self-portrait, an assignment from my art class last year. 

This is my other workspace. I'm extremely sentimental, so I put up several theatre programs and posters that give me nice memories. The "micca" ones are from previous marching band competitions. MICCA Finals are always one of the best days of the year. 

For Christmas this past year, most likely with the same self-care goal in mind, my mom gave me that big red "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster. I recently turned it into something much better: "No thanks. I'd rather raise hell and change the world." 

I also have song lyrics to a beautiful and terribly emotional song called "One Tin Soldier" pinned on the wall, a Red Sox ticket, and a few snail mail letters down below. 

We'll go bottom to top. 

Again, this is cheesy, but the poster with the sunset has been in my possession for as long as I can remember, and it says: "We can only see with open eyes, we can only listen with open ears, we can only think with open minds."  

Directly above that is an image taken from an old wall calendar, that says: "'Any given moment can change your life,' she said, 'you just have to be there.'" 

Next to that is from the same wall calendar. This one is my favorite. "She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things." 

Above that is something out of some sports catalogue, that says "be more human." The one above that is from the same catalogue, and it says "fight the beautiful fight." I know, these all sound so cheesy and ridiculous. Trust me, I know. But they help, especially since I'm very into martial arts. 

That big painting of the bone and the teapot and the flower? Yeah, I painted that last year. I also set up the still life for it. Pretty proud of it! 

Above that in the upper right corner is a photo print from Iceland. There's an old woman with a long jacket on, and a crutch under her arm, and she's looking at this big wall with the words "Pussies beware!" sprayed onto it. It's a gorgeous photo, really. 

And at the very top of this display is another cheesy thing from that wall calendar, that says, "'I just don't like to see you waste your time on silly things,' he said. 'Well then,' she said, 'close your eyes.'" 

There's also a small orange bottle sitting on my desk with flowers that are two years old, and they were given to me by a woman who is one of the kindest people I've ever met. She gave those to me the day we met. Back then, I wasn't in a good place at all, so I was always very surprised and emotional whenever someone gave a gift to me. 

So that's that. 

In a separate post, I'll write about my mini bag that I tuck away in my school bag. It's full of wonderful sensory things that can be surprisingly helpful when I'm not feeling too great. 

I've also found a way to read for pleasure just a little bit every day. Right now I'm reading "It's a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini. I know I wrote about buying this book around two years ago, but now I'm ready to read it, and it's wonderful so far. Very honest and straightforward, not much "fluff." 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

drinks at the cafe

If nothing needs to be done at work, you'll find me making funny little drinks. 
Below are a few that I had the chance to take a picture of. 

1. This mug is adorable; I love it. It's bigger than those tiny espresso mugs, and smaller than our "small" mug (if you were to order a small coffee). 

This is two shots of espresso, and just a bit of steamed soy milk and foam. Cinnamon on top. 

I like to make this an hour before closing, as we have lots of cleaning to do after closing. Sometimes I feel like I just don't have the energy to get through it, and this is a cozy quick fix. 

2. This is pumpkin spice latte in my cat mug. See the ears poking up on the sides? Yeah, they poke me in the face when I finish a drink in this mug. Always a fun time. My brother Ben gave me this mug for my birthday this past May, and he wanted me to take a picture of my latte in the mug. Sorry, I kinda messed up the latte art. Oh well. 

3. This is a medium whole milk latte, and it actually wasn't mine! The customer had walked away and no one else was around, so I snapped a quick picture before sending this beauty away. Not perfect, but I thought it was cute. 

4. Plain old soy latte. Probably my best latte art, to be honest. 

5. Alright, bare with me here. I know, this looks like a complete disaster of a drink, but it's amazing. 

I start out with two shots of espresso on the bottom of the mug. Then I steam soy milk, a couple splashes of the chai concentrate (that we use for chai lattes) and a couple scoops of cocoa all together at once. Now I have this soy chocolate chai mixture. 

I pour it right in the middle of the espresso, so I can keep the outline of the crema and the chocolate in the middle. Plenty of foam on top, and sprinkled cocoa. 

The orange outline is the espresso, and the brown in the middle is the chocolate. Best of both worlds, I'm tellin' you. 

A regular chai latte with a shot of espresso is known as a "dirty chai," so I guess you could call this a double dirty chocolate soy chai? I don't know. I just call it my special drink, because it's the best thing ever, especially in the winter time. 

6. This is the same as above, but in a tiny mug that turned out to be one of the owner's flower pots. Oops. It was on the mug rack, and it didn't have a hole in the bottom. We cleaned it well, don't worry. 

Those are all the pictures I have for now. 


I somehow became a barista?

I've always thought that drinking coffee, especially drinking coffee without milk, was a hardcore sophisticated grown-up thing. Like it was a competition to see how little milk or sugar you can take in your coffee. I would see grown-ups walking around with their paper cups of coffee, and it was like they passed some kind of test in my head. It was a status symbol of adulthood. 

When I started working for my dad the summer after eighth grade, he and I went down to the cafeteria in his office building to get our "morning drink" to get us going. His was coffee. Mine was usually some variation of bottled ice tea or flavored water. 

Sometimes it was chocolate milk, especially if I was in need of comfort. Chocolate milk does nothing but comfort me. I always have a lot of chocolate milk after any kind of extremely stressful event, such as an audition. I never have and never will have any shame in having chocolate milk. I order it in restaurants and public settings all the time, and oftentimes there is a bit of hesitation on the other end. I look old enough to order alcohol if it's an option, and even if it isn't, I guess they expect me to have a soda, or even just the usual "just water for me, thanks." 

Surprise surprise, one morning, I decided to take the plunge and try coffee for the very first time. My first steps into mature-working-black-coffee-drinking-adulthood. We came back upstairs to his cozy office, with his desk in the back, two desks for his other two employees Mike and Mary, and then a couch and comfy chairs at the front for client meetings and me. 

From what I recall, it was Green Mountain medium roast with a splash of skim milk. I took a sip of it, acknowledging the strange taste in my mouth, trying to think of something witty to say, but I had nothing. 

I hated it. No amount of milk would cover up the awful taste, never mind the strange bitter aftertaste it left behind. How could millions of people drink this every day? How could so many people crave this, and grow even mildly dependent on this? I thought to myself. My biggest question was, how can anyone possibly enjoy this without any milk?! 

"You'll like it when you get older, it's an acquired taste." Every adult ever has told me that. That's what they tell me about coffee, as well as alcohol. All I could do was shrug my shoulders, and return to my beloved chocolate milk and flavored waters and wait for time to pass. 

A few months later, my freshman year of high school began. My dad would drive my brother and I to school when we lived at his place, and if we left the house early enough, sometimes we would stop by Dunkin' Donuts on the way to school. 

The only thing I knew about coffee at that point was: 
a) It's gross with no milk, wow 
b) If it has chocolate in it, it's a mocha, right? 

So I would always order a small iced mocha. It came to me with lots of chocolate on the bottom, full of ice, lots and lots of milk, and a hint of coffee. At the time, I had no idea what espresso was, or even that a mocha was an espresso-based drink. It still counts as coffee, and I can hardly taste a thing. Perfect! 

I felt like the most badass freshman ever, walking around with my iced mocha, making it last for three class periods (about three hours). Walking around thinking, that's right. We went to Dunkin' Donuts and I'm so awake with this cup of icey milky chocolate drink that still somehow counts as coffee. I'm just sipping it, no big deal. It's 10:00 in the morning, and you think I went off campus to get this? I didn't but wow I totally would because it's so good and I love coffee now. 

So intense. I know. 

I started getting-- stand back, everyone-- a medium iced mocha. Lord. 

My girlfriend Sarah and I were "techies" for the winter musical, and we worked backstage. I would get her coffee some days, she would get me coffee some days, we acted like we couldn't live without it, as if we were actually dependent on the caffeine, when I suspect we really just craved the sugar. Either way, it was cute and it worked. 

When I turned sixteen a little over a year ago, I was searching everywhere for a job, mostly because I wanted to spend the following summer doing art programs at colleges, and it was pricey. Of course, now, I'm spending my entire summer training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, taking care of some chickens and getting my act together in a lot of different ways.

Phase one of the job hunt:

I would email places in hopes of getting a response, but I quickly learned that emails can easily be ignored and trashed, and that the best thing to do, at least in my situation, is to put on an outfit I feel confident in and walk right in the store and ask if they need help. The worst they could do is say, "no, sorry." I got lots of rejections in person, but every now and then they told me to come back in August, or gave me an application and they said "we'll keep it on file and contact you if we end up having an opening."

Keep in mind that back then, my people skills weren't the best. Walking in and pretending to be confident and asking for a job over and over again wasn't easy. But hey, fake it 'til you make it, right? 

Phase two of the job hunt:

One day, my dad and I drove down a long stretch of road in town, and I vowed to stop at every store that seemed mildly interesting to work at. At my age, I couldn't afford to be too picky about where I worked. 

I took notes on the feedback of each one. I tried the mediocre pancake house, a chocolate store, the coffee house, a couple of gift shops, the pet store, and I saw the local doctor's office was looking for a high school student to work after schools as a receptionist-type person. I applied, and even got an interview. During the interview, I wore my purple "erase hate" shirt, and I was almost sweaty because it was hot out and I had walked there. Excellent first impression. Pretty sure I bombed the interview, too, because they never got back to me and I was too nervous to email them. Oh well. It smells weird in there anyway.

During that drive down the long road, I had been making very quick judgements and decisions of lots of places all at once. When I saw the cafe, I thought, "coffee? Sure, why not. Time to ask for an application!" 

One of the sections of the application said "Knowledge of coffee; other relevant skills and interests" and below, in a big empty box, it says, "Please describe why you want to work at Acton Coffee House and what strengths you possess that would make you a valuable member of our staff." 

I swear, when I wrote about how much a know about coffee, I wrote something along the lines of, "I don't know much about coffee at all, but I'm willing to learn! :) " With the smiley face, because I'm that professional. I figured there's some room for fun. It's not like this is a doctor's office or anything.

I handed in my application to the coffee house without even thinking twice about what it means to be a barista. Honest to god, I was so focused on just getting some kind of job. 

I didn't even know my title would be "barista." I didn't think about all the different kinds of people I would meet, all the Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts vocabulary I would learn to translate into English, all the drink preparations I would memorize, and the "regular" orders I would memorize, all the pastries I would come to know in love, all the nice customers, rude customers, and everyone in between that I would come across. I didn't think about latte art, or the warm fuzzy feeling I would get when someone says the drink is gorgeous, or that it was incredibly well done. I didn't think about any of these aspects of the job as a barista. I didn't even know that my next door neighbors, the family who I had previously known as "that guy who sometimes play saxophone," were the owners. 

I practice flute a lot with the windows wide open, and now I don't think my scales will ever be windows-wide-open worthy. Oh well. 

Phase three:

Profit! (I have no idea why they hired me).

It's been a year since I started working at Acton Coffee House, and now I feel so confident and comfortable there. It's nice and cozy. I feel pretty darn lucky for winding up behind the counter there.

I'm writing a separate post, with pictures, about all the strange drinks I've made, and the latte art I've done.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a lovely graduation disaster

The seniors of my high school graduated last Friday. Honestly, I didn't particularly want to be there, although I do have a small handful of senior friends. I'm in the band, however, so I had to be, and 
as a junior, that was the last time I played Pomp and Circumstance for twelve and a half minutes straight. Graduation is arguably the worst part about being in band. 

I've been to graduation for the past four years now. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade. 8th and 10th because of an older brother graduating, and everything else for band commitments. So, frankly, I'm quite sick of the painfully traditional and nicely polished "graduation exercises," as they call it, that my school does slightly different each year. 

I have this beautiful image in my mind of a disaster graduation that I'd love to see someday, even if it was all an act. 

Here goes: 

Family, friends, faculty and students are all gathered on the football field for graduation. The ceremony has yet to begin. Everyone is nicely dressed as usual; typically the girls in the short dresses and wedges, and boys wearing slacks and shirts and ties, and the graduates have their royal blue caps and gowns on. People are taking pictures, talking, laughing. So far, so good. 

The principal walks up to the podium to start the ceremony, and the band starts to play Pomp and Circumstance as the seemingly endless line of seniors around the track starts to walk in step. 

The band is awful in every way imaginable. Everyone is horribly out of tune with each other, everyone's articulation and dynamics is varied and inconsistent, everyone's tone quality is atrocious, and the band isn't starting and stopping phrases together. Timing is completely out of control; the snare drummer isn't keeping a consistent beat and neither are the low brass playing straight quarter notes. No one is quite together; it's as if we are all playing our part with earplugs and blindfolds on, not watching for cues from the conductor or listening to those around us. 

It's a complete mess, and the seniors don't know when to step left and when to step right due to the confusing timing. The seniors in the front start franticly running to their seats, and their classmates follow behind them. Now everyone is running as if their life depended on it to find a seat in the senior section. People are tripping over each other, pushing and shoving; no one is in any kind of line or order anymore. They used to be in alphabetical order. Now, who knows how the diploma distribution will go. 

During all of this, there have been frequent on-and-off light rain. Just to annoy everyone, of course. It gets everyone damp enough to be irritated, but not damp enough to seek umbrellas or move graduation to the indoor gym. 

Congratulations, class of 2015. 


Saturday, May 09, 2015

10/10 would recommend

I recently visited with an old teacher of mine, and she asked me, "so how is everything? How's life? On a scale of 1-10?" I said ten out of ten, because I'm almost through with my junior year of high school, and life couldn't be better.

Not even kidding.

I'll write separate posts in much more detail about most of these, but here are just a few reasons why things are just A+ right now:

  • working at a local coffee house for almost ten months, and no it's not all about the money
  • training brazilian jiu-jitsu, as the clumsiest student on the mat ever, staying positive
  • playing the flute is always a nice time
  • college visits, round one, are done and my feet are plenty wet
  • deciding to take a gap year following high school graduation
  • reading this crazy good book, after finishing this other crazy good book, and I want to tell you all about both of them
  • first shot at the SATs are done, and I feel amazing about the whole thing
  • summer plans = working, training, driving, Iceland, drum corps international, and band camp
  • senior year next year is looking good so far, scheduling-wise
  • oh, and I chopped off all my hair again -- back to normal, just the way I love it
  • this street sign that we passed on the road several months ago keeps making me laugh, and then I edited it to high-contrast black and white. Now I want to write a story about it. Funny how that all works. 

That's all for now. 


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Day 64

Nothing like a good lesson on photosynthesis to cheer you up. 

My job was to cut out the sun from yellow construction paper. 

Everyone else in my group, meaning two other people, got all nostalgic because of how everyone used to draw the sun with a smiley face and sunglasses, and always in the top corner of the page. 


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Day 62

A lost, frozen sole found on the ground today. 

Not much of a story behind this one. I spotted it while walking towards the car. 


Monday, March 03, 2014

Day 61

Studying for a make-up history quiz today. 

"Damn it, how he nicks 'em" 

"Oh! This cursed ograbme!" 

This is during the time of the Embargo Act. The turtle represents the US government, and the people are trying to trade with England but can't, because of said Embargo act. Ograbme is embargo backwards. 

Pretty exciting stuff, I'm tellin' you. 


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Day 60

If you know who C.P.E. Bach is, bonus points for you.

If you don't, know that he is a composer, and son of the more well-known J.S. Bach.

My old church was doing a musical celebration for C.P.E. Bach's 300th birthday. 

I got an email awhile Bach from the music director at my old church, asking if I wanted to be apart of the instrument ensemble today. I emailed her Bach, she sent me the music, and we all got together today to perform it at church.

There were two flutes, one cello, two violins, and the regular church choir. We all sat Bach behind the alter. Music was gorgeous. 

I have a hard time not appreciating music, regardless of the genre, especially when it's live. 

I'm going to be straight up honest here, I'm not religious. Sometimes I truly wish I was, though, because religions seem to make people so happy and full of hope. It gives them something to come Bach to at the end of the day.

Bach when I was eight, I started going to Camp Calumet Lutheran camp for a couple weeks each summer. I was so convinced that I was going to become a counselor in training, and spend as much time at Calumet as I possibly could. This past summer was my last summer there. I could never bring myself to teach anybody anything that I don't truly believe in.

There isn't much I can do about that. So I didn't really know what to say when people who recognized me, and said, "Hey, you're Bach! Welcome Bach! So nice to see you!" I didn't know if they though I was going to be coming to church regularly again or not. 

I just went with it and smiled and shook peoples' hands, ate some cake, tried to look and act my age, all that. 

It's nice to feel sophisticated and appreciated every now and then. 


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Day 59

It's not much for today, but I found out that there's a chance of me taking CP Physics next year, as opposed to CP Chem like the rest of my classmates. 

Science at my school usually goes from Earth Science to Biology to Chemistry to Physics. 

Most people start with Earth Science their freshman year, and progress down the line like any other rat in the maze. Then there's the handful of smarty pants kids in each grade who did really well in 8th grade science, and therefor start Honors Biology freshman year. 

I've done my research. I don't see why I can't take CP Physics next year and just not take Chemistry. Considering that I'm planning on going into animation, special effects, 3D graphics and such, I think it makes sense for me to take Physics as my lab science, and use the extra time in senior year to work towards my art profile with art electives. 

Anyway, it's just nice to know that I've found a pathway out of the maze, and I can do my own thing. I just need to run this by one more person, and then I'm good to go. 

I was telling my grandma all about this, and how excited I was when I found out, and she said, "Way to go, Sonja! Make an executive decision!" 


Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 58

Felt like a badass today during kickboxing. Hell, I even rocked my winged Captain America socks before and after the class. If kickboxing in socks was acceptable, I would've worn them then, too. But it's not. 

Big brother Sam gave these socks to me for Christmas this year. 

I was introduced to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers over this past summer, and I'm still enthusiastic about all of them.

As far as The Avengers go, I'm very much on Loki's side. For the record. 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 57

Wicked awesome salmon soup for dinner. 

I'm a believer that soup can make horrible circumstances somewhat less horrible. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 56

The drama group at my school performed their 40-minute play for the public today. This play is referred to as the "festival play," since they'll be competing in the METG high school festival.

The play is entitled "Paper Stars", and was written and directed by two seniors. 

I can't even begin to describe it. Here's the description from the drama website:

This original 40-minute play about a young man who lands in a psychiatric hospital under false pretenses and meets young adults like him who are struggling with much bigger problems such as navigating the medical and legal systems. Through these bleak circumstances, friendships form and inner strength is revealed.

It was powerful, adorable, and hilarious all at once. 

However, several people that evening referred to the psychiatric hospital as mental hospital, the nut house, loony bin, all that.

Let me explain you a thing. 

Unless you are a patient in a psychiatric hospital, don't you dare refer to a psychiatric hospital as anything but that. It can be extremely offensive if you refer to it as otherwise. 

That's all I'll say about that. 

The star was drawn on my hand as a makeshift ticket, since tonight was the only public performance before they go off and compete in the preliminary round this coming weekend. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 55

Turns out, if you're kickboxing, breathing is highly recommended. 

I forgot the proper breathing technique today during kickboxing. Whoops. 

About half an hour into the class, everyone lined up against the wall and watched our teacher, Scott, demonstrate a kick. 

Aaand then the pretty color splotches came to invade my vision. Shit. 

I wrote a conversation with myself that raced through my head when I knew that I was going to pass out if I didn't do anything soon.


You need water. Now. 

But he's explaining something. 

Fuck that. Go to the girl's changing room and drink your water, goddamnit. 

Do you want to look like a wimp? 

No, but-

Do you want to look rude?

No, but-

If you brought your water out on the mat like everyone else, you could probably get away with it. But you didn't. 

But it's so close---

Relax. Scott won't be long. You can get your water afterwards. 

This is really important though. I can't pass out, especially not on the mat. 

Just make a run for it as soon as he sends people off with their partners. 


At that point, my head ached too much to debate further. I silently prayed that Scott would hurry up so I wouldn't pass out right then and there on the mat. 

By the time he was sending everyone off with their partners, I was leaning against the wall; I could hardly see, I felt incredibly dizzy, my hands were shaking, and my balance had been compromised. 

My partner, Chloe, who was too hyped up to start working on kicks to notice that something was a little off about me, started to approach me. I just told her that I was getting water as I stumbled and forced my body out towards the girl's changing rooms. My hands attacked every surface they could find; walls, chairs, door handles, in an effort to keep myself from collapsing until I made it to my destination. 

Sitting on the floor, I drank what was left of my water and took a moment to catch my breath. I tried slapping myself to get myself back in the headspace of kickboxing. 

After a solid two minutes, I willed myself to go back in and try again. 

Not sure if that was the smartest decision, but we weren't doing burnouts that day. 

Burnouts is something we occasionally do at the end of class; they're intended to wear you out and build stamina and endurance, all that fun stuff. We line up facing the flexible gymnast-mat-type-thing and, without worrying about form, just punch it repetitively for a minute. It's exhausting, but I love them. 


Take note if you plan on boxing in the future. 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 54

This is Ally. She's very aware that her bangs are nearly as long as the rest of her hair. 

Ally's learning Japanese, and apparently there are three different alphabets.

I had a free period during Biology today, so I went to go visit my friends down at lunch. 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 53

I uploaded the photo to X-Large today so maybe you can read that comic that took me a few hours to throw together. 

It's for a history project. I had to research the election of 1820 and the Era of Good Feelings. Basically, there was no threatening opposition party against President Monroe's re-election in 1820. The Federalists practically didn't exist after the War of 1812, and the election itself was a breeze. 

I promise I can draw better than this, this is just my goofy cartoonish style. I can't get over how I drew John Quincy Adam's face. He looks like he's going to cry if he can't get his point across to Tompkins. 

My history teacher has a great sense of humor, so hopefully I'll get away with this. 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 52

This picture actually says it all, if you look carefully enough.

I spent all morning and then some relaxing in the window seat, which gets a crazy amount of sun. 

It was perfect.

I was lying there in the window seat, the sun pouring in. My heavy knit sweater was draped over me as a makeshift blanket. I laid on the plush pillows with my thrift shop tie-dye v-neck on, alternating between reading The Glass Castle and just melting into a nap, bathing in utter bliss. I had to take off my glasses in the chance that my head would collapse back down into a nap again on the pillow. Mum brought carrots and hummus, and sparkling cider. It's not champagne, I promise.

Felt really funny this morning, like everything was surreal. Maybe I got up too early. Or too late. Maybe it's because I practically read myself to sleep the previous night, and I started reading the next minute I woke up. 

Everything was just peaches and cream today. I don't get to say that too often. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 51

Julian came over today. We made guacamole with lots of cumin in it.

Now mom and I are having a much-needed silent reading time. I'm reading The Glass Castle, and mom is reading one of the books I bought yesterday, Orange is the New Black. 

Good day. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 50

Tell me that isn't a cool picture.

My view from my bedroom window, next to my reading nook. Read some of The Glass Castle today. So far, I highly recommend it. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 49

(I've never brushed off a car of snow before. Hush.)

My dad was surprised to see how happy I was when I found out that there was a second brush in the trunk, so I could help him brush the snow off. He was doing it nice and neatly and slowly, and I was whipping the brush everywhere, as if it was a contest to see who could get the snow off faster. I accidentally whipped some snow in his face. Sorry dad.

He chuckled when I told him that brushing the car was the best part of the day. 

I've been sitting on my ass all day long, being less productive than usual, which bothers me, despite the fact that I have total control of how productive I am. 

Snow's just awesome, okay? I make snowmen when I'm really upset, and I really like brushing off cars of snow. Snow's been really good to me this year. Never got down my neck or anything wacky like that. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 48

Back at the office. Ridiculous snow storm. 

And I finished a research paper... my vacation is so eventful, I don't even know where to start. 

Nah, I'm glad that I got work done. That's why I'm doing this entire photo project, is to help me recover and focus on the positives.

Look at that mighty fine clock tower over there. 

This is the hallway outside my dad's office. It's definitely got character. This building inspired the setting for a new story idea of mine. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 47

Went to my dad's office for the day, knowing that being in a somewhat professional atmosphere would force me to work on schoolwork instead of work that isn't for school.

This is one of the hallways in the building. It's really odd. Yes, that's my dad. 

I also found a weird orange plastic stubby screw in the brick walls.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 46

Everyone needs to watch at least one terrible shark movie at some point in their lives. 

Got together with a bunch of my guy friends, and Julia, and watched Sharknado, followed by Brother Bear and season one of Spongebob.
I was laughing so hard at Sharknado that I didn't even hear what they were saying half the time. The special effects in that movie are half the reason why I want to major in animation, special effects, and interactive technologies. So things like Sharknado never come out ever again with that bad effects. 

My favorite line, by far, was the guy at the convenience store, who says, "The gods aren't angry at us, aliens aren't coming down, it's the government.

Julia and I had to leave during the bubble-blowing episode of Spongebob. That episode always reminds me of band camp.
Squidward tries to blow a bubble, without using Spongebob's proper technique.

"Technique! Technique! Technique! Squidward, you're-- you're not-- using.. correct.. technique."
And Squidward goes on and mocks Spongebob's technique.
Our drill instructor and drum majors always yell "technique!" at us during our marching practices.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 45

That's my laptop. I'll give you a tour, starting in the top left hand corner. 
  • Proscenium Circus is the drama club at my school.
  • The Boss is a sticker my mom gave me. Sometimes I like being in charge, many times I don't.
  • Fenway Park, 100 years. Got the sticker at a Red Sox game with my dad. 
  • The weird octopus thing is a logo for some custom t-shirt company. 
  • Big hunk of purple text is from last year's Day of Silence.
    It reads:
    "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies. My silence echoes that which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."
    To read more on the Day of Silence, click here
  • CCL stands for Camp Calumet Lutheran, an overnight summer camp I used to go to.
  • Spongebob. 
  • The big red B is the logo for Beats Headphones, which I received last Christmas. 
  • Batman name tag. Self explanatory. 
  • Elmo. I stole that sticker out of the sticker basket on my way out of the doctor's office. 
  • Legalize Love 2012, as part of Obama's re-election. Elmo is covering the O in LOVE, because I don't consider myself strictly democratic. And there wasn't much room elsewhere for Elmo. 
  • That pink dog sticker is also from the doctor's. That time, I was extremely light-headed, and I was having blood drawn, making the light-headedness even worse than it already was. I felt like I was going to pass out right then and there in that sticky chair. I was trying really hard to tell the nurses about Legally Blonde, the musical at my school, and how there were two live dogs on stage, but they either didn't hear me, or ignored me and thought I was talking to myself.
    "Just drink your apple juice, sweetheart." They kept saying with a thick Boston accent.
    "Can... can I have a sticker? Please?"
    That got their attention. 
  • The rainbow ribbons are from the day in health class last year where we talked about what LGBT meant, and nobody except for me, Colin and Sam knew what transgender meant.

Laptop today, because I did nothing productive except for finish and mail my application to that writer's conference before the post office closed.

Lots and lots of writing today. Can't post it on here, though. This is a blog, where real, non-fiction writing belongs. I'm hoping that someday, one of you will see my name on the cover of a book in the book store. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 44

My apologies for yet another picture of Pesky. 

Valentine's Day, and the usual happens at school. 
  1. Carnation deliveries.

    You can buy a carnation for a buck a piece, and send it to a friend with a note on Valentine's Day. They even color-code the carnations to match your relationship. It's a very high school thing to do.
    Pink = friends
    Red = significant other
    White = secret admirer

    So that's always something to talk about.
  2. Singing valentines

    You can buy singing valentines for friends for three dollars. Small a cappella groups from the school chorus come around and sing a cute song to your English class. They usually come to other classes too, because they have the time.
  3. Cute couples being cute.
  4. Single people making jokes about "singles awareness day," and how they'll end up "forever alone." 
  5. Food everywhere. 
It was also the day before February vacation. 

We band kids had the last period of the day free, so instead of ending my day with band, guess what I was doing until late after school?

That's right. Biology midyears.

My school does two days of science midyears and two days of math midyears. I still had to make up the science, so what better time then after school on Valentine's Day, right before a week long vacation?

Nah, I'm just glad they're over with.

Now I'm back to what I did yesterday: forcing the creativity onto paper in the form of fictional writing to prove myself worthy. I'm actually making progress, though. I've been told that I'm excellent at writing believable dialogue, so I'm writing a conversation as a teaser for the rest of this new story idea. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 43

Our third snow day. The time that wasn't spent on my bio lab was spent desperately trying to tap into my creative side. 

A little less than a month ago, my English teacher e-mailed us about the Young Writer's Conference at Champlain College. How could I resist. After all, publishing a book is pretty high on the bucket list. 

Attending the conference obviously requires an application, and since I'm really hoping on attending the fiction workshops, I have to submit a piece of fictional writing no longer than three pages by the 15th of February, to prove myself worthy. 

It's driving me insane. Creatively writing fiction on a strict deadline is unpleasant, to say the least. Especially when you haven't written fiction in so long that you're willing to work with. 

Back in 7th and 8th grade, creative writing was everywhere. I was never too impressed with myself, although I churned out a good handful of short stories, poems, and one longer untitled story about 40 typed pages long that I shared with a small group of friends. 

I stuck with the longer story for a little over a year, starting in April of 8th grade, and I kept telling myself I would finish it and it would be golden. For a short while, I was completely convinced that I was writing my first novel. I named one of the main characters after my best friend, Colin, and he and I would get so excited and brainstorm ideas of what would happen next in the story. 

Part of the problem was that I was writing entirely "by ear," so to speak. I did very little planning ahead. One day, I figured out how the story would end for one of my favorite characters, and I frantically texted away with Colin about that. He kept asking me how it would end for everyone else, and the fact that I could never give him even the most vague answer bothered me immensely. 

Now that I look back on it, I'm not too proud of it at all, as a whole. There's no use in finishing something you're not proud of, so I'm filing that story under "Gold Star, Younger Sonja. You tried." However, I might snatch a few strong characters out of that story and throw them in other stories in the future, so the year effort wasn't a total waste. 

I'm sure it was a "valuable learning experience," or something like that. 

There were times when I skipped gym to sit on the bleachers with all the regular skippers, and just scribble down the next chapter until my hand was begging me to take a break. My beautiful neat handwriting was compromised in those situations. I lost a fair share of sleep over it, too. There were nights where I would sit at my desk and type away, and then drink caffeinated tea the following morning during Science class; I was under the impression that that was a perfect substitute for sleep. It's not like I had a deadline to make, I was just too eager to get it down on paper, and share it with Colin. 

As valuable as this experience was, I sure hope no one ever finds that story. 

My seventh grade English teacher, who ran the creative writing club back when I was in the Jr. High, was kind enough to lend me the book in the picture: Spilling Ink. I've read a good fraction of it today. She was shocked to hear that I wanted to write something fresh off the grill, as opposed to working with my older pieces. 

Now I'm scratching my head, reading that handbook, doing everything I can to conjure up the creative side of myself, to prove to both myself and these people at Champlain College that I can still write fiction that I'm proud of. 

Part of the problem is I have zero ideas in my story idea bank. Hmph. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 42

Pesky strolls into my room and starts walkin' all over me when I'm trying to write an English paper. 

Decided to try the old cat and yarn deal, and that certainly did the trick. He tried eating it, too. 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 41

Walk in the front door.

"Philip Glass!!" I say, stumbling over myself through the front door.

Flute choir and flute lesson, all in one day, and I come home to Philip Glass.

I feel so cultured for knowing who that is.

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Knock knock.

Who's there??
Knock knock.

...Who's there???


Philip who?

Philip Glass.

Julian taught me that one.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Day 40

Only kids who go to my high school would even consider doing their homework with a textbook in the front seat of a car ride. 

It's a really uncomfortable set up. Those doctors who specialize in backs and posture and all that would probably yell at me. It involves long periods of time hunched over a textbook, squinting your eyes to read the textbook in the uncomfortably bright direct sunlight. 

Turns out I wasn't even doing the correct assignment. I was too proud of myself for doing my homework in the car to notice that until tonight. 

Oh well. We listened to some nice violin concertos on the way down. Pretty violins. 


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Day 39

This probably looks like some weird sketchy basement where only certain people know how to get to, for various reasons.

I'm just using my imagination here. Maybe you guys actually see the theatre, maybe you don't. Stage lights? Chairs?

It was an interesting set up. The Temptress

During intermission, this guy who reminds me a lot of my own Grandpa started talking to us, wondering if we knew anything about the actual plot line.

The whole atmosphere just made me feel bad for wanting to play Flappy Bird on my phone. So I didn't. 

One guy who looked old enough to be my dad walked up to some other dad-looking guy, and introduced himself, saying that he looked familiar, and oh I think I used to work with you. No way! Hi!   And they reconnected just like that.

Talk about a community. 

As for the rest of the day, we have
new flannels, Mexican food, and just overall super happy. So that's refreshing.

Not sure if I've mentioned this, but a change of scenery is so nice.