New Year’s Eve, Adventures in the Asian District, and Ziggy Tales

It’s New Year’s Eve!  Almost time to start putting away the Christmas decorations until next year.  I wish I didn’t have to say good-bye to my collection of nutcrackers though.  Today’s the last day of 2014 and all in all it’s been a pretty great year!  It was my last year of elementary school.  My family went on vacation to New Orleans and Disney World.  So awesome!  I started the dreaded middle school and it hasn’t been that bad.  I turned twelve.  I changed dance schools and I got a part in the ballet company’s production of The Nutcracker.  I am excited about 2015 and all the good things to come.

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Well, ever since we went to Epcot at Disney World this summer, I have been interested in Asian snacks, mostly Japanese snacks.  I asked for a lot of different Japanese candies that I saw on Amazon for Christmas and my sister, Ashley, bought me a bunch of it for my present.  Some of it was good, like the green tea Kit Kats.  They taste just like the green tea lattes that my mom gets from Starbucks.  Yum!  Some of it was meh.  But, it just made me want to try more of it. Have you ever had dried seaweed or shrimp crackers?  What about dried squid?  So, ever since last week, I’ve been begging my parents to take me to a couple of grocery stores in the Asian District of the city where we live.  Today, my mom worked half a day and when she got home, my mom and dad took my brother and me to get some candy.  We didn’t spend very much money at all, but we got a lot of stuff, and I found more Kit Kats. I also realized that I could read the ingredient and nutrition labels because they are in English!

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Finally, I wanted to tell you about Ziggy.  He’s been quite a good dog since I’ve been sick.  He’s even taken to sleeping at the foot of my bed.  I think he was being extra nice to me because he knew I had the flu.  Well, the other morning when I was still out of it from being sick, I went to feed him his breakfast.  He eats Cesar dog food.  I took it out of the can, plopped it in his bowl, and went back to bed.  Pretty soon, I heard dad calling me.  He sounded mad.  Oops!  I forgot to break up Ziggy’s food.  So, he picked up the entire square shaped, wet dog food, put it in his mouth like a sandwich, and proceeded to take it over to the carpet to chew pieces off of it.  Dad was mad about the dog food grease that Ziggy got on the carpet.  So there goes another one of Ziggy’s Tales.  The moral of the story is:  remember to break up the dog’s food or he’ll think it’s a burrito and carry it away from his bowl.

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Happy New Year everybody!

The Flu Ain’t No Joke!!!!

So, the Monday before Christmas was the last Nutcracker performance and I was in it.  It seemed like almost immediately the next morning I started to feel bad.  When my mom got home from work on Tuesday, I was lying on the couch and I told her I was sick.  It was just the usual stuff……runny nose, a little coughing.  I took some medicine, rested, and did all the things you usually do when you have a cold.  My grandma made me some hot herbal tea with lemon.  My mom made homemade chicken noodle soup.  I still wasn’t feeling well on Wednesday, but it was Christmas Eve.  That night, my mom and dad, my brother, my sister, and I piled into the car with our white hot chocolate from Starbucks and we went to look at Christmas lights.  We even took Ziggy with us.  My sister had gotten over a bad cold the week before.  My dad had also been fighting a cold for a few days and he never gets sick.  During the trip, my brother started coughing.  Then my mom said that she felt her throat getting sore.  I was already sick and didn’t feel that great.  My mom even made my dad stop by Walgreen’s to get some Zicam for her.  We got home, got ready for Christmas, and went to bed.  My brother set his alarm clock for 3 a.m. and woke everybody up so we could open presents.  By that time, my mom was feeling pretty sick.  We opened presents and she went back to bed.  So did everybody else.  My mom was in and out of bed all day long.  So was I.  Then on Friday, I started to feel worse.  I was achy all over.  My mom said she was all achy too, especially her knees.  My dad and my brother were sick, but not as sick as we were.  We felt like Spongebob Squarepants when he was sick.  I think we looked like him too.  See.

Sponge bob By the time Saturday rolled around, we were still sick and then my mom goes all a sudden, “I have the flu!!!  My knees are killing me!!!”  For me, it was my back.  Finally, we got out of bed and got showered and dressed, which took every bit of strength that we had and we went to the Urgent Care Clinic.  We were there for 2 ½ hours, along with what seemed to be the rest of the city.  They tested us both for the flu and guess what?  Both tests came back positive.  And then when the doctor listened to my breathing, he heard something and ordered a chest x-ray.  They said that they saw a shadow on my lungs and so they prescribed me antibiotics for pneumonia.  The flu!?!  Pneumonia!?!  I’d never had the flu before, neither had my mom.  We were sick as two dogs.  I tell you what, the flu ain’t no joke!!!

It wasn’t so much the runny nose, sneezing, and coughing as it was the fever, chills, extreme fatigue, and the achiness.  I never want to get the flu again.  And to think that we got our flu shots this year.  We get our flu shots every year, but apparently that doesn’t always matter.  From what I read online, this year’s flu vaccine only covers you for the most prevalent strains of last year’s flu.  Now, what kind of sense does that make?  So, apparently we got this year’s most prevalent strain of the flu.  Sigh……….  And the flu is just getting started.  Flu season runs from October through April.  It’s just December and the flu is sweeping the country.  I even read a story that said that the flu is especially bad so early in the year in the very state that I live in.  Double sigh………

To prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, cover your nose when you sneeze and your mouth when you cough, and stay home if you are sick.  Believe me; you don’t want what I just had!  Be well.

American Girl Dolls

For Christmas, I got another American Girl doll.  This time it was Isabelle.  She’s the 2014 Doll of the Year.  American Girl Dolls are a line of 18-inch dolls that were first released in 1986 by Pleasant Company. The dolls portray eight– to eleven–year–old girls of a variety of ethnicities. They are sold with accompanying books told from the viewpoint of the girls. Originally the stories focused on various periods of American history, but were expanded in 1995 to include characters and stories from contemporary life. A variety of related clothing and accessories is also available for each doll.
 This is me with Marie Grace, Cécile, Molly, and the My American Girl Doll, that’s supposed to look like me.

For Christmas 2011, I got a French-American doll named Cécile.  Cécile lives in New Orleans with her best friend Marie-Grace.  For Christmas 2012, I got Marie-Grace.  I like her because she is a pretty doll and I wanted Cécile to have a friend.  Each of the American Girl Dolls has a series of books written about them.  I got Marie-Grace as a companion to Cécile so that I would have both dolls when I read about all of her and Cécile’s adventures.  In February 2013, I got a My American Girl Doll, customized to look like me.  They allow you to choose skin color, eye color, hair color, and hair texture.  My mom bought the ballet outfit for her and gave her to me after my first solo dance competition.

The Historical Characters line of 18-inch dolls were initially the main focus of the American Girl Doll line.  Their purpose is to teach aspects of American history through a six-book series from the perspective of a 9- to 11-year-old girl living in that time period. Although the books are written for an eight to twelve year-old target audience, they still include serious topics like child labor, child abuse, poverty, racism, slavery, animal abuse, and war in a way that a kid my age can understand.  In the summer of 2013, I got Molly McIntire.  Molly McIntire was one of the first three Historical Characters of the American Girl Dolls, representing the World War II Era. Molly was released in 1986.  In June 2013 American Girl announced that they would archive Molly’s entire collection.  She, her friend, Emily Bennett, and their collections were later archived in December 2013.

In 1995 Pleasant Company released a line of contemporary dolls: American Girls of Today. In 2006 the product line was renamed Just Like You; it was changed again, in 2010, to My American Girl. Like I stated previously, each doll has a different combination of face mold; skin tone; eye color; and hair color, length texture, and/or style. American Girl states that this variety allows customers to choose dolls that “represent the individuality and diversity of today’s American girls.”  A wide variety of contemporary clothing, accessories, and furniture is also available, and there are regular releases and retirements to update this line. Each year, a Girl of the Year doll is released who has her own special talent.

That brings us to the Girl of the Year.  Each year a new doll is announced and she is retired at the end of the year.  At the beginning of the year when Isabelle was announced as the Girl of the Year, I knew I had to have her.  The reason……she’s a dancer, just like me.  I’d gone all year without her, so I actually didn’t think I’d get her this year, but I was wrong.  “Santa” brought her to me for Christmas.  The doll comes with the first book in the series, and I also got a ballet outfit, her ballet barré and accessories, and a flute, which didn’t belong specifically to Isabelle, but I asked Santa for it anyway because I started playing in the band this year at school.  I play the clarinet, but the American Girl catalog doesn’t make a clarinet, so I asked for a flute, the next best thing. DSCF2500

Take a look at Isabelle below.

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American Girl Dolls are sold mostly through the catalog and online.  There are stores around the country, but only a handful.  I have been to the Dallas, TX store twice, but not any of the other stores around the country.  The stores have a restaurant and a doll salon and a doll hospital.  They are awesome!!!  I know that I am getting a little old to be playing with dolls, I am twelve, you know?  But, American Girl Dolls are different.  They are timeless.  Collector’s items – I’ll keep them for my own daughter.

Merry Christmas!!!

Hello everyone.  It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post….almost a whole month!  I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and spent time with their families relaxing, opening presents, and eating good food.  I had a great day even though I’ve been sick with a cold the last few days.  I wanted to share with you what I’ve been doing all month long, since it clearly hasn’t been blogging.  Well, as you know, I changed dance studios at the beginning of this school year.  At the end of my first week there back in August, they held auditions for the traditional December/Christmas time ballet, The Nutcracker.  And after being in class for only two days, I got a part!!!  Yay me!  Remember, my ballet school is tied to the city’s ballet company, and because The Nutcracker has so many parts for kids, they let the kids who attend the ballet school be in the professional production.  I got the role of a Peppermint Page, Cast B.  There were two casts.  Cast A performed in five out of the ten shows and Cast B performed in the other five.  Some of the older kids were in both Casts A and B and so they had to perform in all ten shows!  We began practicing on Saturdays, every Saturday in fact, starting in September.  Then beginning on Tuesday, December 9th, we began practicing at the downtown venue from about 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night.  This included regular stage blocking rehearsals and dress rehearsals in full make-up and costume.  I performed in the first show on Saturday, December 13th.  It was the 2 p.m. matinee.  On Saturdays and Sundays there were two shows –  a 2 o’clock and a 7 o’clock.  The two casts traded off on whether we did the early or the late show.  So, you see I’ve been busy for the last three weeks straight.  I haven’t had much time to blog.  Not to mention that I still had to go to school every day through Friday, December 19th.   And we had final exams because it was the end of the semester.  My last show was on Monday night, December 22nd.  And man oh man, was I tired.  Then, I got sick!!!

My parents bought tickets to each and every show so that I always had family in the audience to see me perform.  That was very nice of them and it was very expensive.  They also took me to see one of the Cast A shows that I was not dancing in because all that being backstage, I hadn’t even seen the show in full.  Both my mom and my dad saw the show three times each.  My big sister, Ashley, saw it twice.  As a Peppermint Page, I performed in Act II, Scene I.  The pages escorted the Sugarplum Fairy out on stage, more or less.  Now, here’s a little background on The Nutcracker.   The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the book called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.  In 1891, the legendary choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write the music for the Nutcracker Ballet.  In 1892, the first showing of the Nutcracker took place at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia, home of the Kirov Ballet.  The Nutcracker made its way to Western Europe in the 1930’s and to America by 1940, performed by Ballet Russe. The first American full length Nutcracker was performed by the San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by W. Christensen. The Nutcracker has since become an annual holiday tradition.  In The Nutcracker, a Christmas present — a nutcracker — comes to life as a handsome prince. After being given to a young girl, Clara Stahlbaum, at a Christmas party, the Nutcracker takes Clara on fantastic adventures where toys come to life, including a sword fight with the Mouse King.

Take a look at some of my pictures below and come back tomorrow so we can talk Christmas presents and American girl dolls.

2014 Nutcracker

2014 Nutcracker Tree 2

2014 Nutcracker curtain

2014 Nutcracker tickets