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Reading

1)  I think it depends on a few things.  If you are looking at a person who has no idea that you are looking at them, they probably won’t change anything because they are being observed.  It’s like using a two-way mirror to try to observe the “real” someone.  Because if someone sees you looking at them they might get self-conscious or uncomfortable or just weirded out which would definitely change their actions.  Plus, looking and being looked at is not just gendered, but also depends on a person’s religion and culture and whatever social norms they were raised with.  So the act of looking definitely can have an effect on who is being looked at, especially depending on the response the person being looked at hopes to get from their audience.  The act of looking also changes the way things are viewed, as everyone views things differently based on their own experiences.  People can look at the same artwork and see very different things.   And it is interesting to think about the possibility of how objects change when we are not looking at them, like the toys coming to life in  Toy Story or when a little kid plays pretend or imagines that their stuffed animal came to life when left at the library for a sleepover.

2)  The status of the painting changed immensely in value and reputation.  As you said in class, millions of  people lined up just to see the empty space on the wall where the Mona Lisa had been.  Every moment the Mona Lisa stayed hidden it became more and more popular.  Like a rumor spreading,  the more something or someone is talked about, the more well-known it becomes.  Thus the saying, “no press is bad press.”  Add to that a sense of mystery and drama, and the status of the missing Mona Lisa grew enormously.  Probably everyone had a theory and loved talking about it.

Labels

I went to Noise (the youth group at my friend’s church) last Friday. It was really fun. The theme was Victorian mystery night. They set up a huge Sherlock Holmes mystery based on a board game. It was actually very involved, and supposedly based on a real mystery from the 1920s. My team almost won, but nobody was actually right. We were all really close though. I am generally not very good at these murder mysteries, but I still had a great time. The Bible study was also interesting. There is a new, young couple that has been coming lately and helping out with the youth group. At first I was not sure if I liked them, but they turned out to be very cool. They were the ones to give the Bible study this time. It was all about labels. First they asked us about what we thought a label was. We decided that a label could be a few different things. For instance it could be like a label on food or on a present, or it could be something invisible that you put on a person. Basically it identifies someone or something. We were talking about the kind you put on a person. It was more fun than other Bible studies because they tried to get us involved. They gave us a sheet of paper and showed us a slide show of pictures of people and asked us to write down a word that came to mind when we saw the person. Some examples of the pictures were things like a cheesy looking business man, a really big sumo wrestler, and a peppy, blond cheerleader. It was not very hard to think of words to describe the people. After the slide show we read our answers out loud, and some of them were pretty mean. Others were funny, but it just goes to show you how quickly we label people without even meeting them. I guess it is like not judging a book by its cover. Of course there is nothing stopping us from making these labels in our heads. Maybe we were raised around people totally different and these new people just seem weird to us. We need to get to know the person before we put them in with a “group” where we think they might belong. What if you saw a random person standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus, but behind him was a group of smokers. Would you automatically assume that he was a smoker? Highschool is a great example of all these stereotyped people whom we label. All smart people are assumed nerds, all cheerleaders popular and annoying, and all jocks bullies or jerks. A lot of labels start as rumors. Or maybe you heard it from your parents or saw it on TV. But it is up to us to decide who we are and who we want to be, and who our friends are. First impressions can ruin your chances of getting to know someone who might be a really cool person. All we can do is to keep an open mind about people all the time.

pictures

Dancing

It seems like I have been dancing for my whole life. I have probably been dancing since I was four or five years old, which is almost my whole life (it definitely keeps me busy). My mom said that I started dancing at an after school program through the town. I started to go to an actual dance studio when I decided that I liked dancing. I tried ballet, jazz, and tap. I stayed there for a year or two, but it was a competition dance studio, and that was not what I was looking to do. There were probably one or two dance studios that I went to before I found one that I liked. I went to this dance studio for around seven years. I stayed with ballet and jazz, but this studio did not offer tap, which I enjoy, so I had to find that elsewhere. I never wanted to do hip hop-that is not really my style. I had a few good friends in my class but after my fourth year there, all three of them quit at the same time, and I became a little bit of a loner. I never really became close with the other girls-they all had their own groups and were not overly friendly. I liked the teacher, but she could be quite strict. Plus the classes were too big. So this year I finally switched to a new studio. I am very happy there so far; there are smaller classes, friendly girls, and nice teachers. The schedule is about the same, I dance five days a week which adds up to about thirteen hours of dancing each week. It takes up most of my free time, but I really do love it. I now do ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. My favorite is probably tap, but ballet is a close second. I do not know if it is something I want to continue in college or anything. I definitely do it  just for fun. But after I graduate from highschool it will be weird not dancing all the time. I know I will be busy with college and new activities, but it just will not be the same. Dance has been such a big part of my life.

Horses

My brother is taking me horse back riding this weekend. I am really looking forward to it. He is part of the outing club at Le Moyne College where he attends school, and he took me last year too. It was my very first time last year and it felt really good to sit on the back of the horse. It makes you feel so tall when you are up there. It is also kind of scary though; I mean you would not want to be thrown off the horse’s back if your horse suddenly went wild. Of course at these horse riding places the horses are pretty tame. If you have never gone horse back riding before, I highly suggest it. It was just last fall that my brother and I went riding. I think my horse’s name was Big Jack. And he was big, let me tell you. He was also very beautiful, kind of  reddish-brown with gentle eyes. We went on this long trail and circled back around to the little western town where they kept all of the horses and stuff. And when I say little, I actually mean little. It was a miniature town that they had set up just for show. The trail was really pretty long. But since it was fall, everything was extremely muddy and judging by how the weather has been lately, it will probably be very muddy again this weekend. Not to mention cold! It was really very funny though, because we had this long line of horses just walking along, following each other, and every thirty seconds one horse would stop and use the bathroom or eat some weeds and the whole train would stop because we were not allowed to let the horses pass each other or else they might kick each other. For the most part they were very well-behaved though. There were probably only one or two that did not always listen to you. I had never really been that fond of horses. Mostly because I have never really been around horses or had anything to do with them. But riding on them is so much fun. I have a friend who loves horses. I guess she just thinks they are really pretty. I do not think she has actually ever ridden one before though. I have another friend whose little sister takes riding lessons and rides in shows. I don’t think I would want to compete like that. But I do like horses now, they really are amazing animals; smelly, but still amazing.

NOPL sketches

School Plays

For the past couple of months I have been taking part in a play.  These plays have been happening  since I was in first grade.  I was actually in the very first play ever performed by the home schooling group.  The director was very interested in drama and wanted to start a theater group.  It has really been a great opportunity for me as well as other students who wanted to participate in acting troupes.  The group is called Scene 7 and the first play included home schoolers of all ages and was opened up to students who attended public school later on.  We all help with the scenery and set up, and people who don’t want to act can still participate as stage crew.  I like to act, but I can remember being very nervous when I first started doing plays.  In the beginning there was no stage and we used shower curtains for the curtains.  Costumes consisted of whatever people could gather from home.  But each play got more involved, with more props and better costumes, and now we have a big collapsible stage with painted back drops and a huge costume supply.  Anyone is welcome to take part in  the plays and the director split up the grades into two groups,1st-6th and 7th-12th.  She even does little one week summer plays every summer.  The younger kid’s plays happen in the fall, and the older grades do their plays in the late winter early spring.  Sometimes we will do standard plays like The Three Musketeers and The Phantom of the Opera.  Other times the director writes originals.  This year she wrote an original scrip called Aged to Perfection.  It is a kind of silly and fun play about vikings on an uncharted island off the coast of Canada.  This island, called Yuland, is way behind  the times and their young queen is having a hard time running the kingdom.  It is a fun story about troubled times, betrayal, adventure, and Shakespeare.  All of my friends are in it with me, and we always have a good time.  The opening night of our play is on April Fools Day this year.  That ought to be interesting.  This week is filled with dress rehearsals.  I had my first one on Monday.  It did not feel like we got much done, and it was a pretty rough first run through on the stage.  But I think it is really coming together, and by Friday we will definitely be ready.  It is always really sad on the last day, but it just gives me something to look forward to next year.

Books

One of the books that I just read was about a person who only had a few weeks left to live.  It was very moving and of course I cried when I read the sad parts.  I usually like to read comedies or mysteries; I did not realize this particular book was going to be sad when I read it.  Ultimately it was a really good story, and I am glad I read it, but it got me thinking about what I would do if I had but weeks to live.  I probably would not know what to do with myself.  Maybe I would not tell anybody that I was about to die.  I would want my last few weeks to be fun, and if everyone knew that I was about to die they would probably just be sad.  Well, maybe I would tell one person (I am really bad at keeping secrets).  They would have to be someone who did not cry and would help make my last few weeks the best.  Maybe in my last few weeks I would want to see all of my friends and family one more time.  Not to say good-bye, but just to sort of know that everyone remembers me and is all right for the time being.  And anyone who I could not see, I would write a letter to or call on the phone.  I would also want to fix any broken relationships because I would prefer it if people said nice things at my funeral.  Now this probably all sounds pretty boring, but I really am not the type of person who wants to go out and do something crazy before I die. Though I always thought it would be cool if someone found a letter that I wrote after I died.  It would have to say something really epic though.  I will start thinking about it later. Maybe someone will find this blog after I die.  That would be kind of funny too.  I am not sure that I would want to know if I were about to die.  But I guess if I knew if I only had a few weeks left to live, I would drive myself crazy making sure that I was ready.  Of course, being so young, it is hard to even imagine what my reaction would be and how I would really feel.  It makes me wonder how authors make up such good stories and write so well about things that haven’t happened to them.  And most authors don’t just write one book, they write a bunch of books!  I don’t know how they do it.  Well I guess it’s just lucky for me that they do because I enjoy reading them.  Well, some of them anyway.

My Big Family

I come from a very big family.  I have three brothers and a little sister.  I have always found it nice though. It can definitely be very frustrating at times, but over all it is fun.  My older brother can be very weird sometimes, but he is good for help with my homework and stuff.  We hang out and get along pretty well, and have some friends in common.  My other two brothers are younger than me, and they can be very annoying.  They are about five years apart, and you look at them one minute and they are best friends,  then you turn around for two seconds and they are fighting again.  But they are always willing to play a game or watch a movie with you.  I finally got my younger sister after eleven years of being the only girl.  Most of the time she is cute, but she can be a tattle tale and is kind of spoiled.  She loves to read books with me and play school and she loves to play with my old dolls and she really looks up to me.  So that’s kind of nice.  Basically  there is somebody around all the time to hang out with or play a game with or even just someone to complain to.  A neighbor of ours is an only child and he comes over every day to play.   I guess I don’t have to worry about being bored or lonely with so many siblings.

Now that is just my immediate family.  My mom has two sisters, and my dad has two brothers, and each of them are married with two or three kids each.   My cousins are all very cool.  My one cousin and I are really close, but unfortunately she lives in North Carolina and we do not see each other as often as we would like.  You can probably imagine what that twelve-hour car ride is like when we do visit.  Let’s just say we are all pretty happy when that’s over!  My dads two brothers live in Washington State, so we do not get to see them that often either.  I do still have one aunt in the area though, but her kids are all grown up.

As for grandparents I have a grandma in Florida,and a grandfather and two more grandmothers here in New York.  Family reunions do not happen very often in my family.  It would be impossible to find a time when even half of my family can come.  But I get to see the whole family in pieces at a time at least once or twice a year.  I really look forward to the visits.  So although it is big and crazy, I love being in a big family.

Money Sketches

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