Boston ~ Days 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

This is just getting rididculous! I'm having way too many new experiences in Boston for me to just take a few hours to sit down at the computer to reflect on the days' events because either me and my sister are planning what we should do next, or we're out doing it, or we're taking time off to relax and recuperate from excess of fun! I apoligize for taking the internet equivalent of forever (e.g. a week ^_^) to write a new "Boston" post, and I've decided instead of doing individual days I'm just going to give you all the highlights of our trip so far. Is that alright with you? Fine. Here goes...

June 28~Today was a Sunday, wonderful chance to take a break before the new week starts, so we went and bought bagels at our favorite bagel place, Kupel's. We also wanted to go to our favorite bookstore, Barnes and Noble, but sadly it closed down. Don't you hate it when a favorite business closes down and a new one takes it's place as if the original never existed? Well we still wanted to go somewhere where we could sit in a building and read for an hour or so, so we had a trip trying to find the Brookline Public Library, only to find that it was closed on Sundays! And both me and Bettina had to go to the bathroom! ^~^ Well we decided to go home and unwind for a while by watching several Marx Brothers clips on YouTube. Harpo's hilarious when he tries to pantomime something to Chico. An hour or so before 5:30 we went to catch a show at the Science Museum, and we saw this totally awesome IMAX movie about skydiving and base-jumping and risk-taking in general. If you've never been to an IMAX theater before (like me) then I suggest you go as soon as possible, because it's an experience you mustn't miss!

June 29~Started the day later than usual (around 9:00), and on my own I took a walk to get a couple copies of the Metro newspaper, because on long train rides it's fun to have some good reading materials. After breakfast (strawberries and bananas), me and my sister took a walk around the reservoir in opposite directions. It was nice, because we met each other in the middle. ^,^ Then we took the "T" to AIB (Art Institute of Boston) at 12:00, we almost got lost but we just made it for the tour. Since it was summer the campus seemed very small and empty and not very art-filled. Still there were huge old-fashioned printing machines to marvel at and rooms full of Mac computers and graphic tablets, which I approve of. You have the old art forms alongside the new art forms, printing presses and graphic tablets.

After 1:00 we found a nearby Barnes and Nobles and happily spent a couple hours just hanging out and reading. I read a graphic novel called "The Rabbi's Cat 2" and a new kids book "The Dunderheads". Then we checked out the Boston Public Library, and for dinner we went out to the Cheesecake Factory restaurant and we had a wonderful meal! I had a big Hawaiian tasting salad, and Bettina had a nice pasta bowl with mixed vegetables, and we both shared a slice of carrot-cake cheesecake. It was the first time we went to a fancy restaurant and picked up "the tab" all by ourselves. Full and happy, we took the train home, and when we got back, we decided to watch YouTube. And tonight was the night I got hooked on Animaniacs!

For hours we watched Yakko, Wakko, and Dot sing and dance and drive people crazy and they are so funny and smart too! I can't believe it, I'm a child of the nineties and I have never been interested in the show before now! Actually the Animaniacs entered my consciousness a couple months ago when I read a post by Rainy.Rani (now known as Rainy.Roni) about the "Yakko's World" cartoon. I was intrigued, but I forgot about it. But now I am completely obsessed with this animated series because it so good! The animation is pristine, and the characters are incorrigible, and the musical element is fantastic! I am gaga for the Warner brothers (and sister).

Ahem. Okay, I had my fun. Now, more highlights.

June 30~Today's college visit was to MassArt. This time instead of being late we made it in time for the info session. Boring. Heard a lot about the application process, I asked a few questions, but still. Then the tour began. We got a tour guide who had a nervous sounding voice and didn't act very enthused about being a student at the college, but the rooms that she showed us were more impressive than at AIB. At least there were some great pieces of art hanging around so Bettina could take pictures of them. After the tour we went back to Barnes and Nobles and read a lot. I love the art section! After reading many art books it makes me look at everything with a respect to design and originality and energy. Kind of the feeling I get after I see a well-done animated movie. We had to go home around 2:15, because our week-long Charlie passes had just run out! We got a slice of pizza at a place called Pino's and got new train passes at 7-11. Then we hung around our apartment and watched some more Animaniacs. This was when I was really hooked and I couldn't stop thinking about them. Have you ever had an obsession with a movie or a song or a TV show and you thought it was the best ever and you couldn't stop thinking about it? Well that's how it was with me.

Then we took a walk around the reservoir to get some fresh air, and we went in a new ice-cream place called Chill (cool-sounding name, pun intended) and bought a mango scoop for me and a carrot-cake ice-cream for my twin. She really likes carrot cake, don't ask me why (I know why, but don't ask). Then what did we do when we got back? You guessed it, enjoyed watching more Animaniacs on YouTube! We even saw the movie "Wakko's Wish", sans part 1 (all the rest of the movie was intact though) and I just have to say that it was the best movie I've ever seen based on a cartoon! We stayed up till about 11:00 talking all about the movie. I know, I know. I'll go to an Animaniacs Anonymous if you'll get off my back about it, sheesh.

July 1~Woke up really early this morning, around 6:30. Bettina wasn't up, and I was still very psyched after watching the wonderful "Wakko's Wish" Animaniacs movie, so I found on Google Images a webpage of how to draw Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner, and I proceeded to draw them in my trusty sketchbook, which I brought with me on this trip but frankly hadn't used up till now. Here's the picture, I hope I did a good job in my reader's opinion (as an artist I need other people's criticism):--->The weather was cloudy and gloomy outside. We had made plans of going to the Chestnut Hill Theater again just like last Wednesday, but the only movies that were showing was Ice Age 3, which I wasn't holding my breath for, UP, which we've already seen, Transformers 2, which I would like to see if only I'd seen the first one, and The Proposal and The Hangover, 2 adult movies. We Skyped with our folks for about 27 minutes, our longest session yet, and took the free time to get some dishes done (though it wasn't our dishes we were doing). I had a lot of trouble scrubbing this disgusting grease-blackened pan, but I used a lot of Mr. Clean on it and I think it made it a bit easier, though I do wish I had an SOS soap pad with me. Enough of this banal kitchen stuff though, these are not highlights here!

Even though we knew it was all rainy and cold outside, we decided to go to the Arboretum. Last year we enjoyed walking through the picturesque paths and breathing the oxygen rich air of trees, trees, and more trees, but this trip all we got was mud, mud, and more mud, plus one tiny umbrella! Luckily we found a nice dry gazebo to rest at, and we had sandwiches and cereal there and scratched our initials out on the bench with a key. After that we decided we wouldn't wait until the rain lightened up, so we went back the way we came and made it back to the train station wetter than comfortable, but more or less fine.

Then we went to a Barnes and Nobles, because it's so nice and cozy to be lost in a good book while the world outside is rainy and cloudy. We stayed inside until the storm let up, and then we went out. We were hungry, so we found a Boloco's and got a very special deal. You know the Metro newspaper? Well it had coupons for Boloco's and instead of burritos you get the filling in a bowl and you eat it like a salad. It costs less and has fewer calories in it. We brought them back to the apartment and watched some more Animaniacs on YouTube. There was this funny episode called "The 'Please, please, please Get a Life' Foundation", about Animaniacs fans who stress over trivial facts or tidbits and really need help. How do the Warners cure these poor unfortunate souls without a life? They hit them over the head with a mallet!

Yakko: "Is this you? Are you happily engrossed in inconsequential cartoon trivia to the point where your socks can probably stand up by themselves? if you are, there's hope. There's help. There's the 'Please Please Please Get a Life Foundation'!"

Too bad it's not a real foundation. Do you think I need it? We watched until 11:00 and after that we made plans to visit MIT at 3:00 the next day. Then we went to sleep. (The next day is the last one on this blog post, just hang in there, 'kay?)

June 2~This morning I did another Animaniacs drawing, and here is the picture to the right. ---> I could've done Yakko better, but I'm proud of my Dot. Anyway we had to go to MIT, or for those unaware of the acronym's meaning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The train ride was slow, it just stopped for about half an hour and everyone got really pissed off. Still, when we arrived it was easy to find the administrations building, but we were a few minutes late and we missed the beginning of the tour. We wandered around the MIT campus aimlessly trying to plot our next move until we caught a bunch of people following this guy around and we figured that that must be the tour we missed, so we just blended in and pretended we were there the whole time. Of course it would've been better if we heard the beginning, but the guide was really interesting and he showed the whole group a bunch of interesting stuff like huge libraries and statues and he related a few personal anecdotes about his time as a student at MIT.

We had a really great time, all because the guide was friendly and enthusiastic. Even though I'm interested in art schools, I had not a lot of fun touring the MassArt and AIB campuses because the tour guides weren't professional. So to any college admissions officers reading this post, it pays to invest in good student tour guides! Anyway, after the tour we decided to take it easy on the way back home, and we walked down the famous Newbury street, known for it's eclectic mix of shopping venues and expensive (but face it, fabulous) fashion. We decided to get 2 slices at "Upper Crust", a real gourmet-type pizzeria. They had a special on tomato, spinach and garlic pizza slices, so we bought those. We enjoyed them near the Boston Public Library, and just watched people walk by. It was a beautiful day, and Boston is such a wonderful city to be in the middle of.
Well thank you very much for reading till the end of this post. The next blog will only have July 3 and July 4 because those were two very special days.
So until next time, *mwah* Goodnight Everybody!


Boston ~ Day 5, Freedom Trail

June 27~Today was a weekend! YAY! We got up right before 8:00 (no surprise by now), and slept in for about 20 minutes more, but we gave up lazing about for any longer. It was my Grandpa's birthday today, and he lives in Israel, so me and Bettina each sent him a nice e-mail congratulating him. Afterwards I took my first shower since arriving at our apartment (it's shared by all of the renters, but taking turns is easy), and it felt so refreshing to be nice and clean after doing so much walking and exercising lately.

At around 12:30, after packing a sandwich picnic, we walked to the "T" and took a very long train ride to begin our Freedom Trail journey. We started at a visitor's center somewhere in the Boston Commons, and all we had to do was to follow the red brick line on the path. How simple is that? First place we stopped at on the trail was the Granury Burying Ground, where the famous Paul Revere was laid to rest. Neat, huh? It was cool being in the graveyard, not quite so spooky as you'd think. Of course it was broad daylight at the time, so no surprise there. What was really interesting was reading off the names on the headstones, and noting how old or young people were when they died. I believe J.K. Rowling used to go to graveyards to get inspiration for names for her characters.

Anyway, as the path was easy to follow, we just let the trail lead us past a statue of Benjamin Franklin, the Boston Massacre Site, and Faneuil Hall, plus we went past a bit of the Haymarket, which we made a note to visit later (it's a fine place to buy fresh fruits and veggies at a bargain). Then the Freedom Trail led us through an area called North End, also known as Little Italy, and no wonder: there were enough Italian restaurants and shops and people to make one forget that they're still in America!

Then we passed Paul Revere's house, and another burying ground, but we didn't stop there! We followed that Freedom Trail all the way over the Charlestown Bridge to a fork in the path where we could choose 2 different ending points: Bunker Hill Monument, or the USS Constitution ship. We decided on the Monument. When we got there we discovered that people could climb up to the top of the tower for free! So me and my sister climbed all 294 steps to get to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. We were huffing and puffing before we made it all the way up, but the view of down below was worth it. It was still a work-out going down all of those steps, although it was a lot easier than walking up.

After all that walking, we decided to have our picnic near the Bunker Hill Monument. It was peaceful, but it was also cold! All the time we walked along the Freedom Trail, Bettina and I noticed some low hanging clouds, and that made the day a little less sunny and more chilly than the past couple of days. Once we were done picnicking, we made our way to the nearest "T" stop and rode to the Haymarket Station, in order to visit the Haymarket (naturally).

However, as we found out much later, Haymarket Station was not necessarily situated near the actual Haymarket, it was just a misnomer! We had to wander around unfamiliar roads with names like Merrimac and New Chardon and Friend Street before we remembered that the Haymarket was located near Faneuil Hall. We felt really tired and silly, just like we did when we were in search of the theater where we saw "UP", but we also felt very relieved to be back in someplace familiar.

The Haymarket was jammed with people, and the smell of fresh produce and loud voices calling out bargains filled the air. We found an old favorite pizza place called the Famous One, famous for it's $7.00 pies! We bought a whole pie, and me and Bettina took turns eating slices and going out to get some fruits and vegetables. I got apples and bananas, tomatoes and grapefruits, and she bought cucumbers, strawberries, and mangoes. Plus we bought a big bag of pita. That's a lot of stuff to carry, but carry it we did to Government Center Station to board the "T" back to our apartment.

Somehow we fit all that we bought into the refridgerator, and then we went to our room and had a well-deserved rest. As it got dark, Bettina and I decided to go out again for the last time that day so we could climb the special tree near the Reservoir to see our initials. Because of the dry weather of late, the tree was in perfect condition for climbing. We climbed that special tree almost to the top, and we hung out for a good while. After it started getting really dark, we climbed back down and went back to the apartment and watched YouTube. I forgot what we saw now. Oh well.


Boston ~ Day 4, Emerson Tour

June 26~Bettina and I started the day early as usual, only this morning we were very tired. Our legs still ached from the very long walk from the UMass campus to the JFK Museum the previous day, so we mutually decided to skip the reservoir walk. We spent the time on our computer, checking our emails and working on our blogs. We also planned on having a special home-cooked meal later in the evening, so we decided to take the "T" to Star to get some spaghetti and sauce! Plus a bag of grapes (for a treat) and some mayonnaise (need a sandwich spread besides hummus). We saw on the newspaper racks that every front page had Michael Jackson's picture on it, so it was officially big-time news that he died! Still so sad. Later I used the payphone to call Tamara to seal our plan to meet up at the "Frog Pond" later that afternoon, but she didn't pick up. Still, Bettina and I had hopes that we would bump into them somehow, and if we didn't see each other, fine.

We set off on our trip to Emerson college at 'bout 1:00, so we'd have plenty of time for the train to get us there. It turns out that Emerson is located right near the Boston Commons, so a half-hour before we had to do the tour, we searched for Tamara, Joe and their kids around the Frog Pond, but we couldn't find them anywhere. It started to drizzle after a while, so chances were good that they didn't even go that day. We had plenty of time to relax before the Emerson college tour, so me and my sister had a lovely sandwich picnic near the Frog Pond, close to this huge statue on a hill. We were fine until the rain became a little harder, then we had to search for shelter.

We went to a Starbucks nearby so Bettina could use the "facilities", but a sign said only paying customers could use the restroom. So we decided to buy ourselves some big cookies. They were called Outrageous Oatmeal, and they had these beautiful multicolored raisins on top. I asked the guy behind the counter for two cookies please, and so he gave me two, but he forgot to charge me for them! How about that?! Free cookies?! However Bettina wouldn't have us taking cookies without paying for them, so I went back to the counter and said "I'd like to pay for two cookies please", but instead of the guy it was a girl, and she gave me two extra cookies and charged me for those! She did not know that I had the original two! Bettina let it slide after that, who can beat a 2-for-1 deal? (It might've been 2 for nothing, but oh well.)

We found Emerson College easily, it was practically next-door to the Public Gardens and the Boston Coomons! Nearby was a Barnes and Nobles, and we love bookstores, so we went in to check it out, but there was no place to sit down to read, and it stopped raining outside, so we left the store. We sat down at an outdoor-cafe table and ate our delicious Oatmeal cookies. A little bird flew near our table, so we shared tiny crumbs with it until it got close enough for Bettina to take a photo. It was cute.

After that we went inside the Emerson admissions office and sat and waited for the tour to begin. While we waited, we watched a slideshow of cool facts about Emerson. A lot of successful people like Jay Leno, the Wachowski brothers (of Matrix fame), Denis Leary, the guy who marketed the Furby dolls, and the producer of Friends (Kevin Bright) all went to Emerson! Eventually three tour guides came in and split up the now large group of campus tourists into groups of ten or so. We followed two guides whose names were Sarah and Emily. Sarah reminded me of Tina Fey, and she said her major is in Production (kinda like Tina Fey in the show 30 Rock). She was nice. Emily was nice too, but she seemed to be a little less experienced as a tour guide. Sarah was great though.

The college was great too! It was very big and beautiful, and we went through theater stages, peeped through the windows of recording studios, sat around a table used for Marketing students, got a glimpse of one of the dorms, and listened to Sarah and Emily talk about the great majors Emerson had to offer. You could be a moviemaker, a journalist, a writer, a musician, a producer, a graphic designer, comedian, political pundit, or even a stage-hand! I was very impressed, as I dream of someday working in the movie business.

The tour ended up at this big and beautiful theater called the Cutler Majestic. It looked like an old fashioned opera house with fancy booths and fantastical ceiling art! As we left, I fancied myself going to a college like Emerson. Might be really fun. Anyway, Bettina and I went out for burritos at a nearby "Boloco's", and we sat in the Public Gardens enjoying the tranquility of nature. We brought along peanuts with us, but we didn't bring them for ourselves. We brought them for the pigeons and squirrels!

Oh what a good time we had! The animals in the Public Gardens are so tamed by tourists that they have no trouble at all walking up to humans and eating out of their hands. We attracted many different squirrels and pigeons, and even Mallard ducks, who were a little greedy. Didn't see any swans though. Huh. The squirrels were the best customers. As they ate out of our hands, we were able to pet them on their heads as they nibbled! And the pigeons went all over our laps to get at the peanuts in our hands! I felt just like one of those Disney heroines like Snow White or Cinderella who all the animals love and trust. Many people walking past would smile at us and maybe stop to try and feed the animals themselves, but we had a grip on the market. Nobody got so many animals as us.

Eventually though we had to tear ourselves away because we'd been at it for a couple hours. I'll never forget those moments though. We took the "T" back to our apartment, and then we called our parents on Skype and told them all about our day. After that, we made our very own spaghetti and sauce dinner. It was delicious, and it was extra good because we had the pride of cooking it ourselves. Unfortunately we couldn't finish it all, so we stored the rest away in the fridge for later. Then, happy and fed, we went to bed. (Hee-hee, a rhyme!)

Boston ~ Day 3, UMass Tour

June 25~Woke up at around 7:00 in the morning again. Awesome! Bettina and I took another walk around our reservoir, only this time in the opposite direction. The weather was a lot sunnier, and since we set foot in Boston, we saw a bit of blue sky for the first time! Along the way we munched on an apple and a banana each, pacing ourselves so we wouldn't get stomach cramps. Afterwards I tried to call our friend Tamara by payphone to try to make plans to meet up with her at the Public Gardens sometime (remember they had to leave by Saturday?), and I got her husband Joe, and he said they already went and had a great time. Still, he said we could make plans to see them at the "Frog Pond" at the Boston Commons, so that was cool.

For most of the morning afterwards, all my twin and I did was hang around in our room planning out the days ahead and researching how to get to the various colleges we were to visit on this trip. I also used the free time to blog all about our first two days, which was fun to do. We also took a trip to the Star Market to get some sandwich stuff, because we didn't have anything else in the fridge besides fruit.

Anyway, at around 2:00 or so, we took the "T" down to Government Center, where we changed from the Green line to the Red Line and took that train to JFK/UMass station. It was a very long train ride, so it's a good thing we took a "Metro" newspaper so we could do the Sudokus and crossword puzzle.

When we finally got to JFK/UMass station, we had to wait for a free shuttle-bus that would take us to the college, but it didn't come until it was almost 3:00, which was when we had to be on the tour. The University of Massachusetts is a really impressive looking college with many well designed buildings, but we didn't know where to start for the tour, so we asked a couple people where we had to go, and we were pointed in the direction of the admissions office. When we got there, we asked the nice ladies at the desk if we were late, and they said only for the info session, and that we could wait a few more minutes until the actual tour. What a relief!

For about an hour thereafter, me and my sister, and quite a few other people, were led all over the impressive campus, and we checked out the library, the dorms, some of the classrooms, and the cafeteria. Connecting the many buildings was this awesome "catwalk" that has clear glass windows so you can see the view outside, plus it keeps students warm in the cold weather instead of having them go out to change from building to building. There were a whole bunch of cool looking statues all over the grounds, and Bettina took a lot of interesting photos. The college had a whole bunch of diverse majors, such as math, science, art, english, and social studies. The tour guide was very nice, and she was very enthusiastic throughout the visit, which is important on a good campus tour.

After the whole trip, we sat down at one of the benches and had our sandwich picnic. It was nice to have a picnic on the UMass campus, and the sunny weather helped matters too. When we were well-fed, Bettina and I decided to visit the JFK Museum/Library, which we heard was a short walk away. We had a map of the campus to guide us, but it was hard to pinpoint where we were in relation to the museum. We walked a long long time to get to some place familiar, and we eventually found out that the JFK museum was a lot further away than we thought. Still, it was great exercise (as if we don't get enough on this trip already), and there was a walkway next to a harbor, which made for a great, cool ocean breeze. We had a lot of fun walking and talking, and we still thought it amazing that we found ourselves in this great big city far away from home. Finally we made it to the museum! We felt so proud and happy of how far we had trekked, but then we saw that the museum hours were from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and we got there 15 minutes too late! Big bummer :(

We took the free shuttle-bus from there back to the "T" station, tired as can be. An hour or two later we got back home, and Bettina and I just hung out, worked on our blogs, read a bit of Thin Threads, not doing much. Our resident musician, Jake, played some more songs of his, and we thought of calling it a night and hitting the sack. However, around 10:00, our dad Benny called us using Skype, and the ringing from the computer was enough to wake us up. He told us that he saw on the news that Michael Jackson died! It was shocking news, but it didn't really affect me that much when I heard it. I was probably too tired. But now I can say how very sorry I feel that we lost a great and talented American icon, and it's such a shame that he had to go out looking the way he did and being misunderstood by the general public. I really like his music, and now that I know he won't be writing anymore songs it's very very sad.


Boston ~ Days 1 and 2

I've been having so many adventures here in the capitol of Massachusetts that I hardly know how to remember all that has happened! I'll just give you the highlights of our "vacation" so far. (By the way, me and my twin Bettina pretty much did everything together, so forgive me for using the pronoun "we" and "us" gratuitously.)

June 23~Woke up right with the alarm-clock at 4:00 in the morning, and had fresh orange juice and warm porridge for breakfast. Benny, Shira, and Adam all went to see us off at the airport, and give us good luck and much love.

Security check process was surprisingly quick. We saw our friends Toniann, Kailen, and Adrianna waiting for us. We knew that we would find them, because a few days ago, their mom, Tamara, told my mom that she was going on a trip to Boston on the same day, on the same airline, and on the same plane as us! The difference is, her family is only staying until this Saturday, and we're staying for 2 weeks.

Time passed very slowly on the plane. Lift-off was way cool, but this time I didn't notice my ears go "pop". We were seated near the back of the plane, so we had easy access to the tiny bathroom. We munched on bags of trail mix, listened to our iPod, and read a book called "Thin Threads" to pass the time. I did some meditative breathing exercises as well.

Bettina wanted to take a movie of us getting off the plane after we landed, but there were too many people crowding up the lines. We parted ways with Toniann, Kailen, and Adrianna, and took a free shuttle to the subway. Every train that we took before arriving at our apartment was there right when we needed them to be. We took a lot of movies and pictures of our adventures.

When we got to our apartment, we unlocked the front door and nobody seemed to be at home yet (all of our renters are in college for summer classes this year). We got up to our room, and we found a small dog living in it! He growled at us. Then we went to the kitchen (there were a heap of dirty dishes in the sink and the trash was overflowing!) and called our parents using Skype. It was such a relief to hear everyone's voices thousands of miles away.

A few minutes later, a couple of the tenants, Jake and Brad, came in, and we said hi and stuff. We also met Jake's dog Leroy, who's a Weimaraner (do you remember William Wegmans' dogs on Sesame Street?). The little dog, it turns out, belonged to a friend of Jake's. Anyway, Jake cleared out our room pretty well (there were a few clothes and dog chow and a video game system when we first appeared) and left us alone to unpack. We put all our stuff in a big bureau, and made plans to go out.

We went to a 7-11 to buy some week-long train passes (called Charlie Cards), CVS to get some toilet paper and a new pair of scissors. (Couldn't bring one on the plane now could we?) Then we walked all the way to our local supermarket (Star) and got a bag of apples. After that we took the "T" home (T is for train), put the apples away (in a small corner of the fridge that wasn't being occupied by our 4 boarders), and went out again to the reservoir nearby. We had carved our initials on a special tree a year ago, and we would've climbed up to check it, but it was raining (a very strange, misty sort of rain), and the tree was all wet and dirty, so we said we'd save it for another time. Then we decided to treat ourselves to a small pizza pie at "Presto's". We went slightly over budget after that, but hey, it was a great pizza!

That night we were so happy and satisfied with how our first day went that we just hung out for a few hours. Shira, Adam and Benny called us on Skype and we had a nice 10-minute conversation. Then we brushed our teeth (manually rather than using our electric brushes back home), and went to bed early, about 10:00 or so.

June 24~Woke up around 7:00 in the morning, completely recharged and refreshed. Seems we got just the right amount of sleep for us to wake up. Right away we went out to enjoy our first morning in Boston by taking a nice long walk around the Reservoir. The weather was still very cloudy and the rain was as misty as the day before. We took an umbrella with us, but we still got very cold and wet. Still having the time of our lives though! We also took apples along for our walk, and we ate them on the way.

We got a Skype call from our parents after we came back. We told them of our plans for the day (which I will reveal later) and how much we still missed them. After hanging up, we went to work in the kitchen to clear up the messy dishes and the garbage. I took out the trash and swept the floor while Bettina took care of the washing. It was almost fun working together to clean up the mess, because we thought about how pleasantly surprised the guys would be when they saw a clean sink.

After all that work, we hurried to the "T" stop to catch the train to Chestnut Hill Station. We wanted to go to the AMC movie theater to see "UP", but after we got off, we didn't know how to get from the station to the cinema. We went back home feeling very silly, but I didn't feel defeated. We'd simply catch the 1:30 showing instead of the 11:00 (though the tickets do cost more later in the day). To cheer ourselves up, we bought a couple burritos at "Boloco's". They were nice and warm to eat after being out in the cold, wet weather.

We then went back home to search Google Maps for the precise route on how to get to the AMC theater, and after that, we went back on the "T" to do take 2. Happily, we made it to the theater this time. Instead of buying popcorn to munch on during the film, I went out and got us 2 peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookies at a bakery close by. Huge savings at 2 bucks a cookie.

The movie "UP" was absolutely fantastic! PIXAR's 10th film is a hit! The animation's great, the acting is great, the story was great, and the subtle soundtrack was great. The only thing I wish is that there should have been less talking-dog gags. We didn't see the movie in 3-D, but it was still an excellent theater experience that made me forget where I was and what I had to do later for the duration of 1 and 1/2 hours. I would almost say that this was my favorite PIXAR movie yet, if WALL-E wasn't so darn cute!

I was almost sorry to leave the theater, but Bettina and I still had lots of fun discussing our favorite parts of the movie. We went back on the "T" to go to the Brookline library, but it was a
very long trek from the train stop to the library. We almost thought ourselves lost, but we kept thinking happy thoughts and kept in mind that life is about the journey, not the destination. Eventually we made it, and we spent a couple hours happily surrounded by books.

We wanted to take out a few DVDs, but the librarian said that our cards weren't activated. Oh well. We left the DVDs there and decided to go shop at Star Market and get some bananas. I also wrote down many of the bargain prices in my notebook, so we wouldn't spend more than we had to on groceries. Along with bananas, we got a bag of peanuts and a box of cereal. It felt good knowing how well we could take care of ourselves. We stopped over at our old favorite, "Eagle's Deli" for a large plate of french fries. It was very tasty, but I don't plan on making any more similar trips because I know how "not good" fries are for the body.

When we got back home to put away our food, we found one of the guys, Brad, cooking something and burning it. It activated the fire alarm, which was very annoying, but not too serious. Just like the day before, we pretty much lounged about in our room for the rest of the evening, called our family on Skype, and went to bed. This night however was the start of a very nice tradition of Jake, the guy who lives in the room next door, playing music that he wrote and practising and experimenting with new melodies and words. It's fun sleeping next-door to a musician!

There, that's all of Days 1 and 2! The rest of my blog posts are probably going to be as long as this for a while, but I sure hope this isn't a turnoff for my readers here! Later dudes!


Jane Eyre Review

Hurray! I have finished the wonderful book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte! This story is one of those classic stories that can appeal to both men and women (although I can't speak for the guys, seeing as I am female), no matter how old they are or what time they live in. This is basically a novel posing as an autobiography (in first-person narrative) of the fictional heroine Jane Eyre (pronounced Air), a woman who may be described as "plain-looking", "intellectual", and "free-willed"; though she is a lady living in the early 19th century, she doesn't conform to the Victorian stereotype of being subordinate to men and not being able to think or express herself freely. This story pretty much has 5 distinct parts to it:
  1. Jane's childhood at Gateshead, the house of her uncle's family where she is neglected and abused by her aunt and cousins.
  2. Her education at Lowood School, a charity institution run by the hypocritical Mr. Brocklehurst whose family lives a comfortable and rich lifestyle but whose students suffer from poor living conditions.
  3. Her time as governess of Thornfield Manor, where she teaches a young girl named Adele who is the ward of Edward Rochester, a classic example of the Byronic hero. Eventually she falls in love with him, and he with her, even though there is a twenty year difference between them. Sadly, just when they're about to get married, it is revealed that Edward has a wife from a previous marriage, a violent madwoman whom he keeps locked up in the attic. Jane refuses to be Edward's wife, though she still loves him, on the grounds that he would be a bigamist and it would go against her moral values.
  4. Jane then runs away and finds herself at Moor House, home of St. John Rivers and his sisters, who turn out to be Jane's first cousins. St. John intends to travel to India and devote his life to missionary work and he asks Jane to accompany him as his wife (What the hey? They're cousins for crying out loud!). Jane consents to go to India but adamantly refuses to marry him because they are not in love. John continues to pressure Jane to marry him, and his forceful personality almost forces her to comply, but at the right moment, she hears a voice that sounds just like Edward Rochester's calling her name, and she decides to leave her cousins' home and go back to Thornfield Manor.
  5. In the last part of the story, Jane travels back to Thornfield. But in her year of abscence, the house had been burned down by Rochester's mad wife, who after setting the house on fire committed suicide by jumping off the roof. (Sure was crazy, huh?) Rochester survived the blaze, but he lost a hand and his eyesight in the bargain. Jane finds him living alone except for a few servants in an isolated manor house, and there she reunites with Rochester. At first, he fears that she will refuse to marry a blind cripple, but Jane accepts him without hesitation. Happy ending!
I loved reading this story because it was easy to relate to, and the characters seem to leap off the pages, along with the settings. The author, Charlotte Bronte allegedly based many of the events in the story on her own life (going to a harsh school and becoming a governess for examples), so the narrative seemed almost real. I very much recommend this book, and give it a thumbs-up!


Father's Day post

I am so happy that today turned out to be so wonderful. I am so lucky to have a father like my Benny, because he is the best dad ever! This morning, as per usual on special occasions, my family had a bountiful breakfast of fruit and pancakes! Then me and my sibs presented our father with homemade cards that he read with pride and love. Want to see 'em? Here they are!
First there is my card, then Bettina's, then Adam's. Anyway, along with cards, us kids got our dad a brand new pen as a gift. Nothing too fancy, just a little something something he can have practical use for (you know, all the bills and checks he has to sign ^,^ lol).

We had decided that since today was a Sunday, we'd go to the beach as usual, even though the weather didn't look very sunny. We've weathered some bad storms on our beach in the past, and besides, this weekend was the last one me and my sister spent on the beach until we come back from our Boston trip, so we wanted to make the most of it. It started out as a pretty good beach day, even though there was gray clouds overhead. You ever get those kind of clouds that look stormy, but it doesn't rain for a couple hours? Those are the kind that we got, and it was nice because with the sun behind all those clouds, there was no chance of getting burned. The Atlantic Ocean was pleasantly warm on Father's Day. Warm like a relaxing bath.
At one point word got around that a kid found a bunch of starfish somewhere, so we swam over and, lo and behold, about 6 or 7 starfish, ranging in size from a tennis ball to a dinner-plate, were floating around the sandbar floor! (This picture is similar to one of the big ones we saw.) We picked them up and examined them, but after handling them for a few minutes, some woman came over and told us not to take the starfish out of the water or handle them so much, otherwise they could die! Well, I don't want a dead starfish on my conscience, so I let them alone, and observed them underwater at a short distance.

Soooooooo, after swimming, and having something to eat, I decided to just lie down, and get a rain-tan (at that point little random drops of moisture were coming down one at a time almost unnoticeably). Then when the drizzle really started, we started to pack it up and quit while we're ahead. Funny enough, earlier when my dad parked the car the beach parking lot was full, so he had to park far away, and now that it was raining he had to go out into the wet and get the car for us. Adam volunteered to go with him, and me, Bettina, and Shira stayed dry in a tunnel that goes under the traffic next to the beach. It was very exciting and scary, because along with lots and lots of rain now (you know how fast storms can pick up, right?) there was also thunder and lightning! I forget how to do the trick where you calculate how far away the lightning is by counting the seconds between it and the thunder it makes, but I think it was safe to assume that the bolts were far away from us. It gave us a heck of a show though. We had to wait quite a while until Benny and Adam came around with the car, and when they finally came, we hailed them as our heroes! What an adventure they must have had while we were safe and dry! (Well, maybe not totally dry, the water level was starting to come up to our ankles, making it seem like some disaster movie in slow motion.)

Funny enough, as we drove, the weather started to turn bright again, as if it hadn't rained at all! (Although anyone could plainly tell by all the puddles in the roads that it had clearly been a down pour.) We decided not to waste the fine weather, so we parked at a new beach that we've never stopped at before. We payed the parking meter $1 for one hour on that beach, and we lay out the blanket, brought out the picnic, and enjoyed the sunshine. Adam went swimming, like he usually does. We watched a couple guys playing catch football together, and one of them was good-looking, so what's a girl to do? I had a lot of fun hanging out at that beach, and it made me realize that our family had been going to the same beach for so long that any other beach was like a novelty! Anyway, long story short, all of a sudden, our beach umbrella turned inside-out from a gust of wind, and we decided to pack it up anyway. We saw that the time we spent on the beach was almost exactly one hour! Talk about divine timing! We didn't even think of going until the umbrella went inside-out!

Fast-Forward to after we got back home:>> I had read more of my book, Jane Eyre (which I'm 30 pages away from finishing), and we tried getting Skype to work on our computer so we'd be able to keep in touch with our family in Boston, but when we call each other the sound doesn't work too well (maybe we need new microphones). Benny decided to watch a movie with us kids, so we saw the 5th volume of the Beatles Anthology set. We learned all about how they played in Shea Stadium, and toured Japan, and met Elvis Presley, and put out their revolutionary new albums, Rubber Soul and Revolver. It was great fun, because whenever the Beatles played a song, we'd sing along with them.

Just think, in about 36 hours I'll be at the airport waiting for my next adventure to arrive!


In Loving Memory of Hazel the Hamster

Yesterday, after watching Roman Holiday, we were shocked to discover that our beloved hamster Hazel had died. Just that morning I noticed that she was sleeping more than usual, and breathing fine. But it wasn't to last. Adam wanted to take her out to play, but she felt limp and still. I'll spare the gruesome details, but I'll tell you that Adam was very upset. He thought it was his fault because he didn't feed her often enough, but the problem with that theory was her food bowl still had a good amount of food left. Me and my sister assured him that it was nobody's fault, and that it was simply her time to go. Our parents were out for the night, so we had to tell them the bad news this morning. Our mom Shira was very sad. She used to feed Hazel fresh vegetables and fruits and nuts and spouts almost every day. She said that Hazel was her favorite hamster that we ever owned. I agree completely. This morning I wrote a heart-felt poem to read at Hazel's funeral. You can read it below.

Dear Hazel,

I'm sorry that you had to go.
Where did you go?
Who's to know?
Did you know I loved you so?

With your big bright eyes and perky ears, I thought you had a few more years.
I hope you didn't suffer, just knew it was the end.
You know there's nothing tougher than losing a furry friend.

Thank you for being our pet. You're one I won't forget.
You made us smile. You had such style.

Now you're gone, but I'll move on.

I'm sorry that you had to die.
Who can say why?
Now you will lie
in peace.

Goodbye girl.
Love, Annette.

Hazel: bought Sept. 26, 2007 ~ died June 17, 2009


The Buzz on Boston

The title may be a little lame, but I had to do better than: "Make way for me!" or "Wicked Awesome Summer Trip". You don't even know what I'm talking about, do you? (Unless of course you read my sister, Bettina's blog, she's a bit more up to date than I am.)

Yesterday, my mom booked a flight for me and my twin to go to Boston, Massachusetts to stay for 2 weeks at the apartment that we spent the first year of our lives in. My parents own the apt. and they rent out the rooms to college students, and one of them has been vacant for a while. So, while Shira tries to find tenants down here in the Sunshine State, me and my sister will be living by ourselves in the home of the Hatchshell, Harvard, and Fanueil Hall.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the several days I have left here in Florida in style. My sister and I have been making good use of our new licenses by driving to the library all by ourselves every so often. God it feels great to be lady-good-driver!

In other news, today I have seen two new movies:
"Being John Malkovich" and "Roman Holiday". Here are my opinions on both: if you are like me, you would not like to see "Being John Malkovich" a second time. I mean don't get me wrong, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and the "Malk" himself are talented actors, but the story was just too weird for me. Plus it was littered with filthy-talk; F**k, $h!t, go to h&!!, that sort of nastiness that I don't appreciate.
However, I highly recommend "Roman Holiday". In my opinion it's one of the greatest romances of the 20th century, and possibly all time! The '50s. Now that was a time to see good movies. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck roaming the "Eternal City" (get it? Rome, roaming?) and falling in love in one glorious day. What a treat! You have to see "Roman Holiday", or your life will be incomplete!


Drivers Test

I passed the drivers test today!
I can barely believe it, but me and my sister both got our very own, very new Florida drivers' licenses! See how happy I am in this picture! I'm so excited I could scream (if I could convey it in text form)! Here goes...Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well I don't feel any different after typing that, but I hope I have satisfactorily conveyed a sense of major accomplishment. Gosh, let me tell you about what happened...
This morning I woke up very early, about 6:00 a.m., and I didn't go back asleep again because, to be honest, I was excited as heck! I went online to review many driving tips for the test that was to come, such as accelerate, steer, and change lanes smoothly, exaggerate the checking of mirrors, and use the blinkers and signals appropriately. I was pretty nervous, but I tried to keep my anxiety at a low level by reading a chapter of "Jane Eyre" (I'm on the part where she meets Edward Rochester for the first time), making porridge, and yeah, pacing a little (not that that did much good).
I felt nervous enough for myself and my sister, for both of our tests were on the same day, and Bettina seemed not to be anxious at all. I mean we've been driving for a whole year, no accidents, no speeding tickets, no nothing, so why shouldn't we pass the drivers test? Still, I thought to myself, "A little nervous energy is good before taking any test, right? Makes you more alert." Then I realized that there was plenty of time before we had to go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and take our tests, so we relaxed and watched the beginning of "Shiloh", the movie. Adam borrowed the book from the library, but he wanted to see the movie first.
Anyway, at about 11:30, all us kids hopped in the Yellow Beetle. We dropped Adam off at his friends Lexi and Ben's house for the afternoon, and then Shira, Bettina and I drove on to the DMV. When we got there, we were about half an hour early, so we thought we'd have a while to wait, so I brought my book along so I wouldn't get bored. But actually, we didn't have that long to wait at all! Since we came early, the people checked us in and we showed our permits and we were told to wait outside for our driving instructors.
Boy! That was fast! I took the test first. The course was right near the parking lot, and it was very small! All I had to do was make a few turns, stop at all the stop signs, make a three-point turn (sometimes called a K- or Y-turn), back up 50 feet, and then park the car. And that was that! I passed, piece of cake! Shira was so proud of me.
As I waited for Bettina to finish her test, me and Shira sat and talked to this family which had two sisters who I think were getting their permits, I think, and an 11-year-old boy who said he knew how to drive in the parking lot. It was so great to relax and feel at ease, because my piece of plastic was assured me. It only took about 15 to 20 minutes for the test to be over, and we just had to verify all our pertinent information before we got our upgrade from permit to legal license. How happy am I! On the way home, we pondered what we should do to celebrate. We stopped at the supermarket and decided to get some carrot muffins for starters. Then we got back home and told our dad all about it. Shortly afterward, brother Adam came back home and gave me and Bettina each a great big hug for passing the driving test. I am so proud of myself. Why was I ever worried that I would fail?


Awesome Beach Day

Today was the first time in about 3 weeks that my family decided to go to the beach again for some fun in the sun (and the Atlantic ocean). I woke up real early in the morning, around 6:45, but after 15 minutes of no one else waking up, I went back to bed and stayed there until 8:00. Me and Bettina helped chop up veggies for the picnic, and I decided to start reading "Jane Eyre", a book that my sister recently finished. It starts out with the main character, 10-year-old Jane Eyre, living with her aunt and cousins, because her parents are dead, and her uncle promised to take care of her, only he's dead too, and the aunt and cousins treat her very poorly. Almost reminds me of another fictional young kid who lives with his aunt and uncle and mean old cousin (hint: Dursleys). Anyway, enough of my book. The weather at the beach was absolutely glorious! The sky had just the right amounts of cloudiness and sunniness so that I could get a nice tan without getting burned! The sea was wonderful as well; not too wavy, and not too calm. I wore a new pair of swimming goggles though, ones with a blue tint, because I lost my other pair many weeks ago to rough and choppy waters. Whenever I wanted to take my blue-tinted goggles off for an instant, the whole world took on a pinkish hue! It's something to do with the eyes, I think. When I close my left eye, I see more of the color blue, and when I close my right eye I can see more of the color red, and when I wear 3-D glasses, the red lens is on the "blue eye" and the blue lens is on the "red eye", and so with the brain all properly confused, when you sit in on a 3-D movie, the characters seem to come out at you! Oops, sorry for all the science, I kindof went off on a tangent there. Back to the beach. We stayed there for a lovely 5 hours or so. Not once did it rain. I wonder if this means the rainy spell we've had for almost three weeks has now come to an end? I hope we can go to the beach again next week, I really was beginning to miss it.


Updates (and cool links)

I just realized today that I haven't done a regular blog post in weeks! By regular I mean one that focuses on my current life events and not just my art-du-jour. The last time I wrote a non-doodle or paint-post was on Mother's Day! Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I want to remember all the cool stuff that's happened to me for my own reminiscing pleasure. I don't want to look back at this period of time and ask myself, "Gee, what happened? Did I just spend all my time painting or drawing?" No. And so, I present a few short paragraphs about the month of May and the beginning of June:
  • May 18: This was a real fun-packed day; instead of going to the beach as usual, Bettina and I decided to go to Borders, because Rick Riordan was doing a book-signing that day. Not that we own any of his books, Bettina's read a couple of his works, and she liked them, so it's because of her that we went. As it happens, the store had just been reorganized, different sections in different places, and the art section was placed near the area where Rick Riordan was doing his book-signing, so I loved it! I flipped through books about design, and catalogs of different company logos admiring the aesthetic appeal of each trademark. What a good time. After Bettina got Mr. Riordan's autograph, we went to the in-store cafe and bought ourselves a couple large, warm cookies. Nice memory. Then we walked from Borders to the mall (a few street-crossings away), and bought Pendragon 10 in Books-A-Million. I know, it's funny that we should come from a bookstore to another bookstore to buy a book but Pendragon 10 wasn't in Borders, so there. After that we sat down and had Chinese food at Panda Express, chow mein noodles with vegetables and fried rice, and spring rolls. Then Bettina and I read the first couple chapters of Pendragon 10 as we waited for the bus to take us home, and after that we walked through a golf course where we saw a rainbow and a family of ducklings. It was great to spend a day just me and my twin sister.
  • May 19: Pretty much ever since this day, it's been raining every day up to now. It's been nonstop wetness here in South Florida, and it's been great! That day me, Adam, and Bettina took a walk, each with an umbrella in hand, and at first it drizzled lightly, like a mist. As we walked further and further, the rain got heavier and heavier, until we had to put up our umbrellas like shields against the wind and downpour! We were completely soaked! It made for a great adventure, and an even better story. Better than the walk home, which was still rainy, but not as torrential. When we got back, we saw another family of ducklings, just like the day before.
  • May 22: Bettina and I went with Shira and Adam to a home school meeting. Normally the meetings are at the park, but since it was so cloudy and rainy, plan B was to go to Toniann and Kailen's house. Toniann and Kailen have a big, goofy golden retriever puppy named Bella, and she was great fun to play with. Me and my sister led a short presentation about fun math tricks and stories. A lot of fun was had by all. There were lots of snacks, like chips, veggies and dip, cookies. Even though it had rained, all the kids jumped on the trampoline, and so did me and Bettina. I just love trampolines! We kept bouncing long after the other kids left to swim in the pool. We also celebrated a couple of birthdays within the group, and there was card-reading and cake. We stayed for about 4 hours or so, and came back home happy and tired.
  • May 25: That day, me and my family spent an afternoon watching a community theater workshop production of Guys and Dolls. The whole cast were kids from about 8 to 16 years old. It was directed by the same woman who directed the play me and my brother and sister were in (High School Musical) a year ago, Ms. Judy. If you've seen Guys and Dolls before you'll know what I'm talking about when I say I wondered just how they'd be able to pull it off. I mean this play is about gambling! Still, there was some young talent, and the songs and dances were done well. But, as per usual, the sound booth in the back of the auditorium was dysfunctional; sometimes a song wouldn't start playing as soon as it should, and a few times, singers had to sing a Capella to cover up the discrepancies. Sometimes the actors' microphones weren't working, and they had to speak extra loud, until suddenly the microphone starts working again, and they have to compensate for being too loud! All in all, it might have been the best play in the world, but a bad stage makes for a bad theater experience. I know. High School Musical had a few kinks as well, but at least I got to play Ms. Darbus!
  • May 31: At the end of the month, after much hard work and planning, the eleventh episode of Leslie and Kyle was uploaded to YouTube, and since then it's gotten over 80 views! It's different from the regular format of the show, but it's still the same funny sock-puppets. Here's the link to the show!
  • June 3: Played a 2 player game of Boggle with Bettina, and then Adam. I lost to Bettina, but I also won over Adam. I love Boggle because it's fun to learn new words and rearrange letters. It's awesome when you get the 6 letter word that no one else got, or to have one pointed out to you that you didn't write down!
  • June 4: Yesterday, we played a family game of Scrabble, and Bettina won. Also I took two walks in the evening, one with Bettina to the supermarket, and one with Bettina and Adam around the golf course near our house.
  • June 5: And now, up to today. So far I've taken two early-morning walks and finished reading The Portable Film School by D.B. Gilles (a real good read for budding screenwriters, directors, movie makers, and moviegoers alike), and learned how to make myself a fresh fruit-n-spinach smoothie! It feels like it's going to be a good day.
Along with great days, I have been exposed to many great books and films since my last "real" blog post. Here, I present a list of movies and books that I've seen or read this past month, and I recommend them all!
I have read:
  • "Strangers on a Train" by Patricia Highsmith
  • "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul 3 "
  • "Persepolis 1 & 2" by Marjane Satrapi
  • "I am America and So Can You" by Stephen Colbert
And I have watched:
  • "The Terminal" (a comedy with Tom Hanks)
  • "Death Becomes Her" (a dark comedy with Bruce Willis, Goldy Hawn, and Meryl Streep)
  • Company (a Stephen Sondheim Musical)
  • The Day After Tomorrow (an action film with Dennis Quaid)
  • Monsters Vs. Aliens (a Dreamworks Animation Studio comedy with all sorts of famous and funny people. See it, it's really cool and hilarious!)