Plans for the New Year

'Twas the night before New Years, and all through the town,
All the people were counting. That is, counting down.
The clocks were synchronized and ticking in time,
to pass the last moments of 2009...

That was the beginning of a poem I wrote last week, a parody of the "Night Before Christmas" verse. It's pretty appropriate right around now, don't you think?

Last year to this day, I wrote a blog post about my plans for 2009. I made few resolutions, and I kept them all. Here's what I said:
  • I hoped that Leslie and Kyle would become a big hit someday. Back then we only had about 7 episodes. Now we have 11 episodes, and me and my team is looking into making a 12th one. I already wrote a first draft for the next show! Sometime in January it's gonna turn into YouTube material!
  • I hoped that my artistic skills and talents would improve, and they did! I said nothing about improving my ability to post up my work though. In the New Year, I strive to remember to post more stuff on my Art Blog, so you all can see how good I'm getting!
  • I hoped to have more adventures and new experiences, and I certainly did! Check it out! I took an Improv class, did the SATs, started watercolor painting, got my driver's license, went up to Boston twice (first with just Bettina, then with the whole family), and joined Toastmasters, all in one year! Let's hope I have more stories to tell in 2010!
  • There were two other "resolutions" that don't count, one where I vowed not to fall asleep in the middle of the day January 1st 2009, and the other one where I promised to be a better person. Both of them were too easy.
My plans for the new year of the new decade are big, because I love to dream big, and someday I'm going to make it big! However, the journey of a 1,000 miles begins with 1 step, which means I should focus on setting manageable goals for myself so I don't get overwhelmed.
  • One of my plans is to change this blog. I'd like to learn how to put a picture in the background. I've been keeping the same layout for the whole year! This blog needs sprucing up! Also I plan on writing more than just 97 posts like I did this year, not counting the Art Blog posts. Perhaps I can get close to 150 in 2010! Plus Art Blog posts!
  • Another one is to keep working on my many talents and skills: drawing, painting, creating puppet web-shows, singing, acting, and public speaking. The more I practice, the better I get.
  • I'm also going to look for more job opportunities. It really is time. I'm 18 and I'm still living with my parents. The least I can do is help out where I can.
  • Travel! Oh, how I want to travel! Cross-country! Israel! Europe! Is it in the cards? Oh please please please please please!
  • Would it be too much to ask for a little romantic interest on the side? I suppose I have to wait and meet loads of people first. I resolve to be more sociable and outgoing this year.
  • One last thing, I'm looking to become a more independent self-supporting adult-type person. This resolution sort of overlaps the last 3 in a way (job, travel, and romance), but it's mainly about making my own decisions, learning how to do laundry, and spending less time goofing off doing nothing (a loophole in this clause is if I'm goofing off with someone else, because that's called "bonding").
That's it. Just 6 resolutions this year. I am so thankful for the power to change what I think needs changing, and I'm going to use that power for good! Happy New Year Everybody!


Happy "Long Time No Blog"!

Letmesee letmesee letmesee, I'm trying to figure out a way to explain what's been happening for me this month, but it's so hard when I keep putting off writing to do other things. Darn you, procrastination! You are my weakness, and you are not my friend! I'm kicking you out and replacing you with my old buddy responsibility. He never lets me down!

That is one of my resolutions for the new year in 2010: To cease the activity of saying I'll do something later when it's actually fully in my power to do it right that moment. To take action rather than do nothing. I'm betting I'm in good company with this resolution, eh? ^_- So to all those other procrastinators out there, remember that there will always be a "later", but there will never be another moment quite like "now".

Anyway, here is a random, but true and eclectic list of what I've been up to recently:
  • Helped my mom re-tile and redecorate both of the bathrooms in my house along with my sister Bettina. I had a great time working, and it's a lot easier than it sounds to spread adhesive, lay on tiles, wait for a day or so, and then grout the whole thing and let that dry before giving it a final wash.
  • Celebrated Chanukah (Hannukah? Hanuka? Hanover? Chanukaka? So strange trying to spell this holiday), which started on the night of Friday the 11th, and ended on Friday the 18th. On the last night, Bettina and I made the traditional potato latkes (pancakes) and our mom finally got a break after all these years of frying them herself. They tasted delicious,especially with homemade applesauce! ^_^
  • Taught my friend Martina a few chords on the guitar and then she taught me and my sister a few excellent massage techniques, which we practiced on my mom. An excellent trade-off, no? We had a fun time having Martina and her boyfriend Scott over. They're both really cool people, and I remember they brought this rich and yummy chocolate pudding dish in honor of Adam's birthday. It was delicious, but I felt so drowsy after eating just a slice of the heavy dessert.
  • Skipped Tuesday the 22nd's Toastmaster's meeting, seeing as it was cancelled due to the Holiday season. Darn it all, and that was when Bettina was scheduled to present herIcebreaker speech. Now she gets a whole 2 weeks of extra practice before the next gathering on Jan. 5th 2010! My sister gets a last-minute postponement and I didn't? No fair! Not that I'm complaining though, I gave my speech everything I got, and it was a good one, as evidenced in the video in last post.
  • Created a homemade version of the board game Othello after playing it at a Christmas party at our friend Ramona's house (where there was food and friends and the kiddies watched "Night at the Museum 2"), and haven't stopped playing it since! I've played everyone in my family, and taught it to many other people. It's a really fun game where you have to use your brain, kinda like chess, but without all the confusing pieces with different moves for each.
  • Attended a Christmas vegan potluck very similar to the Thanksgiving potluck I described a couple posts ago, only it was at someones house instead of at a park. Totally had an awesome time eating and partying, and met a few friends that I recognized from last year. I brought my homemade Othello board and pieces, and it was a hit at the party! I beat a couple of people, but I think everyone had a good time.
  • Fed the hungry on Christmas Day-night. That is, the night of Dec. 25th. We volunteered with a group and got to meet new people and fill some stomachs. My mom made our special homemade no-dairy banana ice-cream and served it in these tiny sample cones, and everyone liked it a lot! Felt good doing a good deed and helping other people in need.
  • Recovered from a winter "bug" that gave me first a stuffy nose, then a runny nose, then a cough, then a froggy voice. It lasted about 3 and 1/2 days, but I'm all better now! Got me a couple fine cups of orange-grapefruit juice and a weekend of relaxation too. Accompanied by icky phlegm stuff of course, but still.
And that is all folks! I can't believe I've been a blogger for a whole year now! Ever since December 24th of '08, can you believe it? If you feel like reminiscing along with me, check out a few of those early posts of mine and maybe give me some comments.
It's Christmastime... tomorrow that is.
Oh What a Night...(Jan 1, 2009)
Hope everyone had wonderful holidays, and I wish everyone a Happy 2010! Peace out!


My Icebreaker Speech/Adam's Birthday

Sorry for my prolonged absence from Blogger. Since Thanksgiving, I've been up to so much I hardly know how to catch up on everything. At least I don't have to document everything online for my own sake, I keep up writing in my physical notebooks often enough. But how am I going to keep the outside world informed of my goings-on if I don't make the time to type up a blog-post once in a while and get it over with? Oh well. Quite a lot has happened in the last couple weeks...
Before I get too far, I have to write about how my first ever speech for Toastmasters went! For every member of Toastmaster, there comes a time when he/she has to write his/her Icebreaker, a special speech that tells a little about the new speaker in a 4-6 minute time-frame (hence the term Icebreaker, it breaks the ice for the audience, made up of mostly experienced Toastmaster members who remember very well doing their first speeches and can really relate). By now me and my sister have been coming to Toastmasters for about a month, so we've gotten to know all of the members pretty well. All the same, I had a very hard time preparing for the whole "standing-in-front-of-a-small-crowd-yapping-about-myself-for-5-minutes" experience. Actually, from Sunday the 12th to Tuesday the 15th (the day I gave my speech) I was in total panic-mode, Annette Levy style.

Annette Levy style panic-mode is not fun at all, it involves a lot of crying, floor-pacing, conflicting emotions, doubt-filled thoughts, and bashing of the ego, and it also made me feel more hungry and tired than ever, not that I could take a break for one minute from preparing for my all-important speech, no way. I could hardly believe how scared I was of speaking about myself for a small audience (not more than 10 people including my sister), when in the past I've done all manner of things that require a lot of courage, such as traveling to Boston for 16 days with only my sis Bettina for company, and performing Improv (see older blog posts).

My family was super-supportive, especially during the weekend before my Icebreaker. They all kept reminding me what a special person I was, and gave me all sorts of great material to use in my speech. For me, it's challenging to talk about myself, because if I catch myself talking about all my wonderful talents and achievements, it makes me think that I'm being boastful, and who wants to listen to a braggart? My mom and my dad told me over and over again that it was perfectly okay to be proud of myself and toot my own horn, as long as I'm always honest and don't hurt anyone with my words. Easy enough.

Boy oh boy, when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was acting like I was going to get a tooth removed or something. I wrote some helpful notes about myself to give me memory boosts, just in case I should happen to get hit by instantaneous amnesia. @.@ (hypnotized face) Bettina drove the both of us to the meeting so I could do some uninterrupted deep-breathing. As we took the elevator up to the second floor of the A.I.U. building, all the fear I had inside me dissipated until only excitement was left, and I felt very calm and full of energy at the same time, but I wasn't quite as scared anymore. When I entered the room and saw all the friendly faces in the room, my nervousness all but disappeared.

If you like, you can watch my Icebreaker speech right here on this post.
Just like that, it was all over, and I went back to my seat the proudest I'd ever been of myself. I could've done a much better speech, but I couldn't have put a bigger effort into what I made myself do. I could've very well delayed my Icebreaker indefinitely, but instead I faced my fear head-on and came out alive! After the meeting was over, Bettina and I drove to Publix and treated ourselves to some chocolate. I had an Almond Joy, and Bettina had these caramel-turtle thingies. Then we went right back home where congratulations were showered on me by my brother and my parents. ^.^ I was so happy. We ended the day right by going out to the movies to see "Pirate Radio", a nice comedy stuffed with rock-and-roll music and history plus poke-in-the-ribs fun at the expense of the pompous stuffed-shirt British government of the '60s.

In other news, my brother Adam had his 12th birthday on December 10th (^.^ I made him a lovely handmade birthday card). That was a Thursday, and we also celebrated his birthday on Sunday at our favorite weekly beach hangout with our friends and bought a couple bags of Hershey's Hugs and Kisses to share.
The Hugs are white chocolate with little chocolate swirls around them. On the 4th he ordered this Harry Potter wand from eBay and he's been checking the mail every day since, but nothing's come in yet! He's very anxious to get it. It has a light-up tip I think. On the 9th we got him the DVD of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" the day it came out, so that was good. The special features are awesome!

I think that's enough out of me for now. See ya real soon, and I mean it this time. Goodnight everybody!