Friday, September 10, 2010

In which we went camping...

I know this is a bit late, but I've been so busy this week. It was the first week of schooling. You would think that being homeschooled, you would have more time, but it's quite the opposite, I think. Anyway, a few days ago, Rosa and I went camping to celebrate the end of summer vacation.

We set up camp in Alder Creek, where we had the fire the previous night. I even let Rosa bring my Ugly Doll with her, so she could have something to cuddle with! We made everything very neat. It's actually cleaner than my bedroom right now!

We had no problem with the no shoes rule!

My favorite thing was playing dolls. Rosa's Ugly Doll was a princess from Spain, who was try to flee from the evil dragon-dinosaur-fairy-monkey who wanted the crown! Rosie helped hide her in a cave!

Alyosha told us we needed to go to bed early though because school started the next day. Oh poo! But it had been a long, fun day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Trip to Dayton and the Campfire

Yesterday was only 70* as a high! Isn't that crazy. At night it went down to 54*. Boy did it feel cold!

 We had to drive up to Dayton (it's about an hour away) to visit Alyosha's grandparents from up north, and Uncle Bill. I wasn't allowed to go inside with Alyosha and her famiy, but they gladly took me up for the car ride. It was fun long, but highly entertaining.

Everyone in the backseat (Alyosha, her brother, and me) watched Glee. Alyosha's brother refuses to watch it unless Jonathan Groff is in it. I don't know why, but it's stilly.

About half way we saw "Touchdown Jesus" for the first time since it burned down a few months ago. For those of you that don't know about this odd statue, here is a bit of background:

"King of Kings was a 62-foot (19 m)-tall statue of Jesus on the east side of Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church, a 4000+ member Christian megachurch near Monroe, Ohio, in the United States. It was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire on June 15, 2010.

Located on the Interstate-facing side of the church's outdoor amphitheater, the statue was set on an island at the head of the church's baptismal pool, flanked by fountains and lit by colored spotlights. It depicted Jesus from the chest up, with his arms and head raised to the sky. The statue had a 42-foot (13 m) span between its upraised hands and a 40-foot (12 m) Christian cross at its base. The completed statue weighed 16,000 pounds (7,000 kg).

Since its construction, the statue has been given many nicknames, both affectionate and derisive, by local residents and I-75 travelers. Among them are: Big Butter Jesus, Touchdown Jesus, Big J, Swamp Jesus, and Mega Jesus.

The statue is also credited with inspiring two musical works: Comedian Heywood Banks wrote and performed his novelty song "Big Butter Jesus" about the statue. Singer-songwriter Robbie Schaefer of the band Eddie from Ohio wrote the song "Monroe, OH" after driving past the statue.
On June 14, 2010 the statue was struck by lightning and suffered major damage in the resulting blaze. The statue was sculpted using a thin skin of fiberglass over a flammable styrofoam interior stabilized by a metal frame, and the fire left only its internal metal structure. Following the fire, the pastor of the church stated that they plan to have the statue rebuilt, but now using fireproof material. In the days after the destruction, the church's digital sign had the message "He'll be back" running. Although the statue cost about $250,000 to construct, it was insured for $500,000 because the artist, Brad Coriell, had donated his time to the creation. The damage to the statue and amphitheater was estimated at $700,000 with $300,000 being for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater. PETA has offered funding through an 'anonymous Christian donor' to help rebuild the statue if they are allowed to promote veganism at the church."

Along this same road we saw IKEA, three flea-markets, a REALLY COOL Mosque, Entertainment Junction, the Ohio outlet malls, and lots of red punch-buggies!

On the way how I played with Rosie and my new Ugly Doll (Thanks Virginia), Ninja Batty Shogun. They had an amazing adventure in Belize, rock climbing and jumping into waterfalls!


Last NIGHT we had a campfire because it was so cold! It wasn't much, but we invited my neighbor and my new friend I'd like to introduce to come out and enjoy it too. My neighbor, Emma (I don't know her real name, she changes it all the time!) is from England. Her family moved here when she was little. She's lived there for a long time. She goes to a public school and I don't, so she has a lot of friends from school to play with, but sometimes she comes over and we play, and sometimes she brings a friend.

We stayed up and took turns telling scary stories. They were more funny than they were scary though. Maybe like fairy tales. Princesses, dragons, and an evil queen!

Now I'd like to introduce you to someone special. This is Rosa Maria Sanfilippo. She is staying with me until the end of next school year. Rosa is from Italy! Her English isn't very good, but neither was mine when I first came from Ukraine. She is very much into theatre too, and loves playing dolls! I'm very excited to have here here with me!

I just know Rosa and I are going to be best friends!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Summer in Michigan and Illinois

Once again, I was very sad to leave yet another friend in Virginia, but this time there were no jitters! I was going to visit one of my best friends in the whole wide world, Anna Lee! Last year when I went traveling, Michigan was my first stop. I was very excited to go back and see my friend again. I missed her!

My Visit in 2009
Only after a few short days of travel I arrived in Michigan. I knocked on the door and Anna Lee answered in her pajamas. She said she didn't think I'd be here so early. She kept apologizing, but it was okay. It was just nice to see her again.

The next day, Anna Lee and I convinced Katie to let us go to the park. We decided we were going to pretend to be twins from Australia. We stayed up all night practicing our accents. (Olivia Newton-John was my model!) We wore our matching Ragtime shirts and matching braids. We were ready to go, but it started raining!

But we were determined to make the most out of the day. Anna Lee suggested that we watch a movie. We watched Harriet the Spy, based off the awesome book! When it was over, we came up with the great idea of playing spies! Anna Lee was Maxine Smart and I played Jamie Bond.

First we spied on Katie, but she was being boring. She just read her book! We then moved on to spy on Katie's husband. We hid under the kitchen table and listened in on him. Whatever he was watching on HBO, it had a lot of bad words and Anna Lee and I couldn't help by laugh. Katie caught us and said we needed to go into the bedroom until the show was over. Oh poo!

Michigan is VERY hot in the summer. Sometimes it felt hotter than Ohio! That's saying something seeing as Ohio is the only place in the world where you can experience all four seasons in one day! We tried to eat our yummy ice cream to cool off, but it melted fast. Once again, oh poo!

Finally we got some exciting news - we got to go on a little road trip! Katie had to go to her grandmother's 90th birthday party in Illinois, and we got to tag along! We started going through all our clothes right away to find the perfect matching outfits.

It's just not summer until you've taken a road trip. We drove through Indiana and stopped for lunch! We saw a huge fireworks place too! We weren't allowed to buy anything though! In Illinois, it was all cornfields, one right after the other! We tried to count them at first, but soon lost track. There were just too many! We arrived in Illinois earlier than planned, so we stopped at a Frisbee golf course and played a few holes. The course was all through the woods, and just like regular golf, you aimed the Frisbee at a "hole" and counted how many tries it took you to get it in.

We stayed at Katie's grandma's house while everyone else went out to her dinner party. We got to stay in the master bedroom! There was a king-sized bed just for us with tons and tons of pillows on it! There were about a million knickknacks on every surface in the house - perfume bottles, little boxes, jewelry, pictures. We looked at everything for a long time (and tried our best not to touch too much). After we put our pajamas on, we lounged around on a fancy bench and pretended we were princesses locked up in an enchanted castle. It was fun to pretend we were in an old castle, because the whole house, especially the bathroom, was full of gold stuff. The bed had all satin blankets, and Anna Lee and I stayed up late playing our princess game, plotting how we were going to break the enchantment on the castle and what escape route we should take once we did.

The next morning we had to leave our castle behind to go back to Michigan. One weekend we went to see Katie's parents. We were going to go fossil hunting in the ditch behind their house, because real fossils were found there back when the ditch was first dug up. But it rained and rained most of the weekend and the ditch filled up with water, so we could not hunt there. We got these pretend dinosaur eggs instead, with a real dinosaur inside to excavate! I got my egg open first!! My dinosaur! I used my excavation brush to clean him off a little. Then Anna Lee's egg broke open too, and she squealed! We decided to name our twin dinosaurs Simon and Alec.

Then we played that Simon and Alec had been frozen thousands of years ago and came back to life in the present day when they un-thawed. Anna Lee and I had to protect them from the government, who wanted to take them away and stick them in a research lab forever and never let them have a normal life. When we got back home, we played with our dinos and our dolls. We pretended that Anna Lee's guinea pig, Ginger Rogers, was a killer monster who was after them. Ginger Rogers wasn't very threatening to them while all caged up, so we let her loose. "Run, Nancy!" Rosie, my doll, shrieked. "Don't let the monster get you!" And then Ginger Rogers, who is really very timid and not at all the killer monster type, got scared and ran and hid between the chair and bookcase. We had to be very gentle and quiet and coax her back out. We put her back in her cage and petted her and fed her a carrot, and then she seemed happy again. Sorry we scared you, Ginger Rogers!

We really like watching the show Project Runway about fashion designers, so one day we decided to try and design outfits for our dolls! We looked through the sewing box to get some supplies. My doll's clothes don't come off, and Anna Lee's doll only has red socks, so we picked red and white satin material that wouldn't clash. Anna Lee measured Rosie and Nancy, and I cut some fabric for us. After much cutting and pinning and stitching, our finished product was...well, not quite what we envisioned. "This material ravels if we so much as look at it," I said glumly. "I guess we shouldn't have used satin." Anna Lee was especially dejected that our fashion designing didn't work out, so I convinced her we should go outside to play and just forget about it.

But when we woke up the next morning and went out to the living room where we'd left the dolls in their awful dresses, they were sitting there wearing brand new satin skirts and capes! We were so surprised! There was a note pinned above them that said, "For Hodel and Anna Lee - remember, practice makes perfect!" Anna Lee said Katie must have made the outfits for us, but when we asked her she said she didn't! She said it must have been elves who thought we needed a little bit of magical inspiration. "Wow, elves," I said happily, hugging Rosie. "Or maybe it was fairies! This is so cool...I wonder why they picked us to surprise?"

On my last day in Michigan, we went to the beach at Lake Michigan! It was so pretty there. I have seen Lake Erie and Lake Ontario before. Now if I can see Superior and Huron, I'll have seen all the Great Lakes!

Anna Lee took out our beach shovel and said, "Hey, let's dig a giant hole and bury Katie's husband in it!" "Yeah! That sounds fun!" I giggled. However, we soon realized it would take us all day to dig a hole big enough for him with our tiny shovel and pail, so we decided to spare him from having to be buried. I'm sure he is very sad we didn't. It was more fun to wait for big waves and then run into the water and try to jump over them!

When it was time to go we wrapped up in our towels and got the backseat nice and damp and sandy on the ride home. After we got back from the beach, I had to start packing to go home. :-( Anna Lee helped me put some of my souvenirs in my bag. Then I said goodbye to Ginger Rogers, who seemed sorry to see me go, even after I scared her during the killer monster game. I guess she doesn't hold grudges!

Now that I am experienced at traveling, I think the nicest thing about it is getting to meet new people and seeing how other girls who maybe aren't the same religion as you, who celebrate different holidays or go to a different kind of school, can still become dear friends. You get to be a part of their lives for a little while and you get to see that in your hearts, you are really the same. :-) Happy travels, everyone! It's time to go home.