At the store.
A girl wails that they wanted the newest Barbie Doll set but they are all sold out,
A mother comforts a little boy who complains that's its not fair that a Wii game is too expensive,
A teenager begs their parents to buy them an IPhone for their birthday,
Posted on the back window of the store is a picture of a family in Africa which has no food, torn clothing , no education, and none of them have ever dreamed of owning anything such as a Barbie Doll, a Wii, or an IPhone,
The girl spots it first and stops wailing,
The boy spots it next and stops complaining,
The teenager spots it next and wants to make a difference,
And in each and every person's head,
The same words echo,
We are lucky to have what we have.



We are waiting,
We are watching,
We peer over the frosty glass window-
Is it here?
But alas it is only the summer,
saying hello.
I think that I am the only one who's eyes float upon the calendar,
for school to begin,
what child would want to be rid of-
sunny days,
and beach trips,
what child would want to be rid of-
no homework,
and the thrill of no school,
but I am wrong,
for as I sit at my desk-
first day of school,
a girl smiles at me,
saying in her own language-
I've been waiting too.


San Francisco

During July, my family drove to San Francisco,California, USA and I'm going to recount the adventures of that great trip...
Day 1:
Driving, Driving, Driving, that's pretty much it. We hit the road early in the morning and five excited people were on their way to San Francisco. Soon enough, we were out of Washington and were greeted by a " Welcome to Oregon" sign. We passed many fields and pastures and occasionally had to roll up the windows when the strong smell of cow manure( I know- ew!) drifted in. We stopped for lunch and returned to the road where more fields of crops and pastures awaited us. It was a relaxing drive and we entertained ourselves by playing card games and singing ( okay, maybe I was the only one singing :-)) as well as reading. Soon, once the sun started setting, we looked for a place to spend the night and found a place to stay. When we reached the hotel we put our bags in our room and immediately went for a swim in the pool which I must say was very fun. Then, we went for dinner and went back to our rooms and slept. We woke up early in the morning for breakfast and started driving again.
Day 2:
Okay, we begin driving and driving and soon began to pass olive trees and hills and well and a vinery or two and we knew that we were reaching California soon.
Our "suspicions" were confirmed when we saw a sign saying " Welcome to California". Yay! We drove some more and began to see signs for shopping malls, gas stations and restaurants so we decided to stop for lunch at a shopping complex. There was only one teeny problem- it was 108 degrees outside...The truth was the we were next to a valley and therefore, there were always extreme weather conditions here( meaning: very,very hot or very, very cold). So, we ate indoors in the cool air conditioning of the restaurant and then took off and kept on driving again. It began to get cooler as we neared San Francisco and soon, we reached signs of city life and saw the Golden Gate Bridge. Everywhere, advertisements and billboards of Itouches, Transformers2, Wii Sports, and restaurants were there and we drove passed until we reached the inn which we were staying at. Oh yeah, the funny thing is that while we were trying to find our way to the inn, we went on the Golden Gate Bridge by accident..., it was fun but we didn't really get to enjoy the view because we were all wondering how to get back to San Franciso instead of going away from the city. Then, by the time we stopped at a view point and got directions and checked into the inn, it was dinner time. So, we walked along the street where our inn was located and found a Chinese restaurant where we ate. Then, we found a gelato\ice cream place where we had desert. Yum! (Note: they had really interesting flavors- who's ever heard of black ice cream?) Finally, we made our way back to our room at the inn anticipating the next day...
Day 3:
We woke up, early in the morning( okay, maybe not early but it adds a dramatic effect...) and ready to do some sightseeing around San Francisco.
We saw:
Homes in San Francisco: These are really different than what I would have expected but they look really cozy and fun to live in. They also look like "dollhouses". :-)Here is a picture:
Do you see how they all are joined together and have small windows? We even saw a pink house- how nice!
Palace of Fine Arts: That was a beautiful structure , although my mother who actually gone to Italy says that the architecture in Italy is much better....Anyways, there's not much to say because we just walked along and enjoyed the view as well as saw the animals, but here is a picture:

Crookedest Street in the World: Well, I must say that it was a very crooked street and we actually drove on it, it had a bunch of turns and curves.
Coit Tower: We rode to the top in the elevator and saw the gift shops, there also were some cool view points around. ( Fun Fact: There are these cool machines were you put in a penny and a quarter and it comes out as a souvenir coin with a picture of the Coit Tower on it). When we went to the top, it honestly felt like you were on top of the world and although is wasn't that high up, you could look all around the area. It also was of some historical importance so that was cool ... Here is a picture:

Fisherman's Wharf: If there's one thing you should know about San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf, there are a lot of souvenir shops selling sweatshirts, magnets, keychains, sweaters, t-shirts, pajamas, you name it...Anyways, we went to Fisherman's Wharf which lived up to it's name and had a lot of seafood- yum! There were all kinds of seafood- lobster, crab, shrimp, clam chowder, etc. and we ate our lunch there.
China Town for Dinner: Finally, after looking around the town a bit, we went to China Town for dinner and we found a restaurant where we ate. The thing is, many times I wish I knew Chinese, because some of the shop names were in Chinese so we couldn't read them and instead just had to go by the pictures and shop windows. Oh yeah, and the menus usually always had a "Chinese menu" which we couldn't read either, but most of them had words in English too which was good. There were bakeries, markets, dentist shops, and even China town souvenir shops.
The Golden Gate Bridge: Yes, we went on the Golden Gate Bridge and we actually walked on it. We could see the Alcatraz Prison which was supposed to be one of the worst prisons a long time ago ( now it's just for sight-seeing). Did you know that although the prison was only one mile away from the shore, the water was so cold that they couldn't even swim! They also were given very hot showers to insure that they wouldn't swim away because the temperature change would be a big difference. So, the walk on the bridge was very fun. Here is a picture( you can't exactly see the top of the bridge but still- it's very cool):

So, after an eventful sightseeing day, we went back to the Inn and went to sleep...
Day 4:
Today we went to see a lot of wineries and olive oil places. The first winery had tasting for different types of olive oil- some were bitter, some were very sweet. There were also were rows and rows of grape trees. Anyways, so we went to about six or seven wineries and the nature was very beautiful. Here are some pictures:
As you can see, there are rows and rows of grapes and olives which then will be made into wine. There even was wine tasting in some places for the adults. A lot of places also had facts and history about wine making and olive growing and it was a real "educational" experience. :)
Ghirardelli Square: This was by far, the tastiest place that we went on the trip because it was home of the Ghirardelli chocolate factory a long time ago. There were about five stores and ice cream shops which sold World Famous Ghirardelli ice creams and sundaes. In the main store, there were machines which showed how the chocolate was made, and the store smelled wonderful! We looked around the store and sat down for sundaes and mint chocolate chip ice cream- yum! It was the best ice cream that I've ever tasted and that's saying something...There was toffee, almond chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and so many other brightly wrapped chocolates and candies in baskets and places. For a person addicted to chocolate- it was amazing! Double yum!
So, another long day of our vacation came to an end...we went back to our room at the inn awaiting another fun-filled day in San Francisco.
Day 5:
Exploratorium: This was really cool, especially since I am interested in science and chemistry and things like that. It is essentially like a science center and it had things about magnetism and electricity, light, engineering, computer programming, the human body, how the human eye sight works, optical illusions, a whole room full of mirrors, a dark room where a light could take a picture of your motions, the five senses, bubbles, reflection, variables, motion and balance, and so many other interesting things and hands-on activities. It was also a "educational" experience, but it was very fun too.
Then, we went back to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. Yum! After that went back to the local bookstore and picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which I was reading at the time. We hung around there for a while and when dinner time came, we went to a restaurant called Pluto's which had salads and soups.
Finally, we retreated back to the hotel and had a good sleep.
The next day we just drove back home, and in my mind I was just thinking and going over what a fun, relaxing, wonderful vacation we had. Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Home!


Harry Potter

I'm going to post my views on all seven of the Harry Potter books- you could see it on my shelfari page, but it would take a while to find it, so here it is:
I think that stating the weak and strong points and aspects of the books is a good way to understand everyone views of the book(s) and what they thought made the book interesting or a good read and what they thought could have been better, so...:
1. Magic. Well, although J.K. Rowling did have some creative ideas, it seems as if she was just playing around the usual Halloween-themed idea of goblins, witches, and ghosts of which many books have been written about. I believe that the magical side of the story was not very consistent throughout all seven of the books and that Harry's magical abilities were not clearly stated in the series. Sometimes, Harry performed outstanding spells that would even conquer Voldemort's wand and on other hands, he was not top of the class in most subjects and often needed Hermione's help for simple summoning spells and transfiguration. Also, J.K. Rowling simply compares Harry's skill in classes at Hogwarts to Ron, although Ron probably wouldn't be able do the things that Harry did to Voldemort. Then, there is also Lily Potter's love for Harry and how powerful it proved to be against Voldemort. In my opinion, the detail is kind of fuzzy because I'm not sure if the author ever explains just how love is supposed to interfere in magic. Finally, there is the Floo Network and the Apparating and minor magical details like that, I have different views about things like that. Although these simple things were not always clearly explained, I believe that they were very creative and if you think about it- what would Harry Potter be withouht magic? There wouldn't be much to read about. This is one of the reasons why I didn't like the seventh book so much as the first books- because Harry, Ron, and Hermione were just camping in the woods, and I missed reading about all the magical passages and portraits and such in Hogwarts. Overall, I have mixed views about the magic side of this book and from a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate it a 6 and a half or a seven.
2. Plot. The plot is the most important part of the book because it creates all the suspense and keeps the reader reading on. I think that J.K. Rowling did a good job at this in the first six books. On the other hand, at the end and in the Order of the Phoenix I wasn't very impressed at first with the whole idea of Harry having visions in Lord Voldemort's mind and one day going to save his godfather because he thought that he was dead. But then, it turns out that Lord Voldemort was using these visions against Harry and that Sirius was not in danger. So, then the Order of the Phoenix turns up in the Ministry of Mysteries room and helps Harry fight against Voldemort, which in the process- Sirius dies. It just seems kind of cluttered at first but once the reader sorts everything out, it begins to make sense. I actually really liked the last books plot wise because like Bo-Peep says, the sixth books turns you against Snape and then the seventh book makes you realize that he was actually helping Harry and killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's commands. Also, being an avid mystery reader and lover I enjoy suspense and questions and throughout the whole book, you are wondering- is Snape a double agent for Dumbledore or is he really on Voldemort's side? Which, I think is one of the reasons why the reader keeps on reading and therefore, I believe that the plot is a strong point throughout all the books.
3. Characters. I'm not really sure why, but I think that in the last books it was as if Harry just realized that his parents had died and that Voldemort was after him because he suddenly began to have random angry outbursts and got frustrated really often. True- you could say that this made him more "human", but I didn't really like it because it made the reader just want to tell Harry that if he listened to Dumbledore instead of blaming people and getting angry at Dumbledore, he would be much better off. I liked it much better when Harry was reasonable in the first books and faced the facts without over-reacting and I believe that although Dumbledore thought that Harry was too young at age eleven to be told about the prophecy, maybe it was better if he had been told at age eleven instead of fifteen- (or sixteen was it?) because it was as if Harry had been keeping his feelings inside him for a long time and suddenly he released them in the last book. Ron was kind of the same as Harry because he suddenly started having all these fights with Harry and Hermoine and if anything- I don't think that it was much help for Harry and that if he was still the reasonable, reliable friend to Harry as he had been in the first few books, he would have been much greater of a companion and friend. Hermione was just Hermione. I must say that J.K. Rowling created her well and I agree with Bo-Peep about how boring it would be to read about perfect characters, but I think that she began to express her feelings a bit in the last book- not very much though, just enough that she seemed human. Dumbledore was also a well-created character but he seemed way over protective of what Harry should know and what Harry should not know. It just puzzles me why he didn't tell Harry so many things and just left Harry to find them out for himself in the last book. It seems that he trusted Harry and knew that he would never cross over to Lord Voldemort's side, so why not tell him? Snape was a very unusual character and I agree that he was not created so well. No one truly knew what side he was on until the very last part of the last book which is good in a way because it keeps the reader reading but then again, at least he should be a tad bit nicer to Harry, in fact he acted so mean to Harry (which I'm sure was part of his I'm-On-Lord-Voldemort's-Side Charade) that it began to get a bit suspicious and I'm surprised that Lord Voldemort did not began to question and suspect Snape himself.
4. Details. Well, I must admit that I didn't really pay much attention to those broken details, but I must agree that if too many mistakes are made, then it starts to get obvious and then it doesn't seem very put together. It's kind of like movie bloopers. Some people find mistakes in movies that would have been obvious to anyone had the paid attention to it, but usually in movies, mistakes are found and are changed before the movie is being released. In books, however as the broken details grow more in number, they grow as bigger mistakes and then the book doesn't make sense at all, for we must remember the small details make up the bigger ones. It's just that the author might have skimmed over these mistakes while a very careful reader might immediately detect them their first time reading the book through. So, the details were not very strong- I agree. Overall, I believe that while certain areas were not very strong, other areas and parts of the books covered up for them, such as the interesting plot kind of made up for the magical part of the book not being very good. Do you understand what I mean? It's just that we can find both strong and weak parts of the book but the strong parts- if really good- can make up for the weaker parts making the book not as good.



Today is one of those days...one of those sunny, bright, cheerful Sundays. Kids begging their parents to take them to the beach, birds flying in the sky, boats out on the water, ice cream trucks out and ready- but I still can't help wonder- Is this one of the last days of summer? Is fall coming? The leaves are started to turn yellow on trees in some places, the Halloween costumes and decorations are started to get stocked up in stores and more and more signs of fall are coming. Should I be sad to see summer fly away so fast and go? Should I anticipate the coming of fall? It is sad to see the sunny days coming to an end...Fly away summer, fly away...The trees seem to whisper to me as I run past them in their own language and seem to remind me- September is coming...
Last minute school supply shoppers roam the aisles of the stores and summer camp flyers are soon to be gone. I make a list in my mind- what am I looking forward to this fall? I come up with many answers. The thing is that although I'll miss summer...I have to admit that I'm looking forward to fall... :)



It's funny...
how our enemies are our friends- when we're afraid,
how our fears are not longer so scary- when we see find bigger ones,
how one word can change a friendship,
how happiness is different- for each and every one of us,
how time goes by so fast when we enjoy it,
and how it's so hard to say goodbye.


When I'm armed with a pencil in hand and paper on my desk, my brain is filled with possibilities, my mind is put to work. When I'm faced with a crowd wanting to here what I've got to say- my mouth begins to move and words pour out. And when I have a sketchbook or a white piece of paper- I just long to fill it up with drawings, pictures, color, just not keep it blank. Yup, that's me.

The funny thing is that,
I would describe life as-
a merry-go-round,
we all have those days,
when we are on a graceful white horse,
when we can make-believe,
and we all have those days,
when we are on a lion or a dragon,
days that carry on- adventure filled,
and we all have those days,
when we are on a black horse,
which doesn't move at all,
a merry-go-round of days.