Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Modern Christmas Carol at Hancock Church

The kids from Lexington, MA in a one-time performance of a modern Christmas Carol, at the Hancock Church. My two granddaughters were in the show. You would recognize them. Daria was in the choir, very formally dressed, with white shirt and tie, all that stuff. As for Bianca, she was also in the play: look for the young lady with furry boats. I'm wondering whether May, Bianca's good friend, was not in the play, too. It seem to me that she was, the girl with a very open smile (wait a little: all of them had open smiles, so... okay, one of them).

(video by bitdribble)

(video by bitdribble)

(video by bitdribble)

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Granddaughter Bianca in the School Orchestra

Diamond Junior High School, Lexington, MA
photo by John M. Sullivan
no copyright infringement intended

As most of you know, I am the proud grandfather of Bianca and Daria. I will talk today about Bianca. She is a student in the Diamond Junior High School and she plays the viola in the school orchestra. They had a concert and here are 3 videos: Bianca is the second in the second right row.

Mozart, Viennese Sonatina in C Major
Andante and Allegro
arr. by Clifford P. Barnes
(video by bitdribble)

Flop-Eared Mule, Traditional American
arr. Andrew Dabczynski
(video by bitdribble)

One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein
arr. Robert Longfield
(video by bitdribble)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What Came First, Chapter Two

It's a wonder that I could even sleep last night. But either way, I wake up in bed the next morning. I know that my mom is crying even before I look at her. She always sleeps next to Dad but last night we both agreed that it would be better with another person to comfort you in bed.

I'm not saying I didn't cry. I was up until two o'clock, staring at the ceiling. I remember his last words to me, when I told him, "Good night, see you tomorrow," just before he got into the taxi. He got unusually pale when I said that last part, and now I know why. He just replied "Good night," which isn't what he usually says. Or rather, said.

I have to ask my mother five times how the driver did it before she answers.

"He was texting on his phone," she replies. "And your dad didn't notice." Her voice cracks on that last part, and I know she isn't done crying yet. "He swerved the car into a tree, and they both..." She starts yet again.

"Mom?" I say in a small voice. "Want to come home early?"

She nods while still sobbing into my shoulder.

The early plane is scheduled for tomorrow. I can barely wait to get out of this room. It already reminds me of death. The red polka-dots remind me of blood now.

We eat, take walks, that kind of stuff on the new last day. But it doesn't feel the same without Dad. Last night was probably the worst night of my life. The driver died instantly. Dad had to suffer. And it wasn't even his fault.

How could have he known?

We pack extra fast today. I can't even tell which is which, my underpants or my socks. They're all going in the same place anyway.

I don't even want to ask what we'll do with Dad's luggage.

I guess we just pack up all of his stuff, and drag the extra luggage around.

While cleaning the desk in the room out, I see a piece of paper, a note addressed to me. It says "Jason" in big, curvy, messy handwriting. Dad's handwriting.

I get a horrible feeling in my stomach. Half of me doesn't even want to open it. But I do it anyway, slowly and carefully, like I'm defusing a bomb. My hands shake while holding the note.

Dear Jason,

I know I don't have much time. The taxi driver's going to kill me and himself---

I gasp. How did he know? I keep reading.

---and then I won't be able to tell you what to do. Go out of the room, to the left, and keep on going. This is a forbidden hallway, so don't let anyone see you.

Turn to the right at the end. You'll see an elevator. It'll look out of order, but don't worry, it works just fine. After all, I've used it before.

I bite my lip. I didn't know Mom and Dad have ever been to this hotel before.

It's already set to the right time and place. Only press the green button that says "GO". If you press anywhere else you'll mess it up and it won't work the way it's supposed to. It's crucial that you do only this. And you might want to say bye to your mother before you do this. It'll be a long time before you see her again.

Your dad,
Jason Sr.

I drop the note. My mother is still outside, talking to the hotel staff about the money withdrawal. I said goodbye already, I could go now.

I take a left like the note says, and follow the rest of the instructions to the elevator. This one doesn't look like the others at all. It's only black and white, like a photo in the early 1900's. Instead of normal buttons that write numbers on them, there are five types. The first types range from the negative numbers to three thousands. I'm startled to see that when I touch it, the wall moves. It appears that the numbers go on forever.

On the second wall, there's buttons from one to twelve. On the third, up to thirty one. On the fourth, one to twenty four on one side, and up to fifty nine on the other.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that this is a time machine.

I search for the "GO" button. I find it on the ceiling, right in the middle. I can't reach it, I'd have to jump. So I leap up, and miss. Like a graceful snowflake, I collapse on the ground. In the process, I hit my head on one of the buttons.

Panic seizes me. Which one was it? It seems like I changed the "month" section, but I don't see where. I almost cry out in frustration. Which one was it!?

During my seizure, the elevator starts to move. I feel my eyes widening right out of their sockets. In only five seconds, I feel angry, sad, excited, and faint. It takes a few moments to realize that the button on the ceiling isn't green.

I hit the right button while falling down, on the ground.

I start swearing, getting out all of the bad words I know. No one's here with me, anyway.

It starts shooting up, so fast that my eyes start tearing up. They should really put a seatbelt on this stupid thing, since I don't even have anything to grab on to while I'm airborne.

Finally the elevator jerks to a stop, and I fall to the ground in a daze. It opens, welcoming me into the new world. I scramble to my feet. After I'm out of there(thank God), the elevator closes slowly and curtly, as in saying, Have a nice day!

Of course that's totally believable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Came First, Chapter One

Since I am the clumsiest person alive, I trip on the way out of the
taxi. My mom smiles, shaking her head, and helps me back up. "Thanks,"
I mumble.

My dad looks like he's holding back a chuckle. He finally lets loose a
guffaw when he takes a look at my bloody knee. "Will you ever learn
how to stand up on your own two feet, Jase?" he snorts.

I glare at him. Sometimes he can be a pain in the neck. He's just as
clumsy as me, so really it's a tie for first place. "I thought I did
at eighteen months."

We all turn our heads to look at the Colorado hotel. It's called "The
Stars of Five", which is a stupid name, if you ask me. Why? It only
has four stars.

Even though it really is a nice hotel, I have to admit. Its design is
generally yellow with red and/or orange polka-dots. It comes complete
with chandeliers and pictures of bright flowers in every room. If I
didn't know, I'd think it would probably have five stars.

As we head in one of the maids smiles at me. I wait in one of the
couches in the front room. The couch is yellow with orange stripes. I
absentmindedly finger the stripes with my right hand.

After ten minutes I stand up and walk around the room. The still life
paintings remind me of the flowers in my grandmother's garden. The
grandmother on my mom's side, I mean. For all I know, my dad's parents
don't even exist.

"Jason, we're signed in," my mom says loudly so apparently everyone in
the room hears. "Let's find our room."

Our room reminds me of the twentieth century. It looks like it's the
backround for a "Haunted Hotel" movie. I sit down, shaking. All I want
to do is go to sleep. After all, we did drive for two hours from the
airport in Wyoming.

My mother notices, and manages a weak, wavering grin. "You know what,
Jason? How about we go to eat dinner, and then we'll go to bed. Sounds

"Music to my ears," I say into my pillow.

As we eat dinner at a restaurant called Lake George Pizza. Even though
I'm not hungry, I succeed to take a few small bites of my pizza.

"You know what I want to know?" I say.

My parents wait, expectant.

"Why did we come here, to Colorado?" I ask. "I mean, not that it's bad
or anything. I know Grandma used to live here, but she doesn't
anymore. What's so special about this place? Why can't we go to a
popular attraction town, like New York, or Paris?"

My dad takes an unusually long sip from his Coca Cola. Mom finally starts.

"Well, you know how special this place is for me," she said. "And we
haven't gone in such a while, I thought it would be nice to visit it."

"But we don't even own the house anymore." I push away the pizza. My
stomach's about to burst.

I think my dad looks sad, or angry. Maybe even a twist of both. "So
what? We're here, let's enjoy it." His voice is shaky on the last

I stare out of the wooden window, my look fixed on a tree in the
distance. Old, withered. There's a new one right next to the old,
almost looking like it's mocking it. Saying, "You'll never again be as
young as me. You might as well be hit by a car."

Something about their presence annoys me. I quickly turn my head to
glance at my parents. "Okay. I'm done. Let's go."

I'm not able to sleep tonight. Something about this silence scares me.
Dad has went to the library in the streets, and since it's a long way
he's taken a taxi. I remember earlier today, right after we left the
restaurant, my dad kept shaking while staring at the street. I'm not
exactly sure, but I think he was looking at those same two trees.

My dad and I have always been close. He looks almost exactly like me,
except an older, wrinklier version. There are crinkles at the ends of
his smile, the sun reflects on his teeth. If he wasn't so old, I'd
think he was my brother.

He's also the same as me in personality. He likes to joke around, like
me. When he was younger, he messed around with his teachers like I
did. When he tells me about his teachers for the younger grades, he
stops and pauses for a second, as if trying to remember what he was
supposed to say, like he'd waited a long time for this moment. I
always think that's strange, but hey, he's old. Maybe he's just

But the point is, we've always been very close. Even closer than my
mother and I. Which is why I was so shocked when tonight, just when
I've managed to go to sleep, my mother tells me he's died in a car

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jaques Prevert

Il pleut il pleut
Il fait beau
Il fait du soleil
Il est tot
Il se fait tard
Toujours il
Toujours il qui pleut et qui neige
Toujours il qui fait du soleil
Toujours il
Pourquoi pas elle?
Jamais elle
Pourtent elle aussi
Souvent se fait belle!

This was the first french poem I've ever learned. In case you're wondering, it's about how it's always about "he" and not "her"(you'd understand it better if you knew french)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In France

More than anything right now I wish that I was at home, snoozing until eleven o'clock since it's summer, having sleepovers left and right, and heck, even going to (shudder) summer camp. But I'm stuck in France.

Okay. Rephrase.

I wish I was doing awesome stuff at home, but instead I'm doing awesome stuff in Paris.

I mean, it's fine here. Well, to be precise, way more than fine. We're in Paris! The city of love. (I got that from a TV show). But, it would be much better with my friends, my house, my school, my town(both of those are phisically impossible, but oh well), and pretty much everything else. At least in six days, things will be back to normal.

Even though I can't wait to see the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre and Notre Dame(which means Our Lady. I know because I've been studying French), and all the other tourist attractions. All we've seen so far was l'Arc de Triomph and Musee d'Orsay(I don't care if I spelled it wrong, people. Have mercy!). In l'Arc de Triomph we climbed stairs to the very top and then took pictures, since we could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. In case anyone was wondering, I was so tired because of all those stairs that I had to sit down twice.

The day before that, we went to the Musee d'Orsay(still don't care if I spelled it wrong, thank you very much!). We went on the fifth floor and saw Claude Monet paintings and other French painters. Afterwards we were running out of time, so we went on the second floor to see the famous Van Gogh self-portrait. Then the museum closed down.

When we went outside there was a huge downpour, so we had to hide under one of the buildings(I think it was part of the Louvre but I'm not sure) until the rain passed. There were so many people hiding from the rain that I almost couldn't believe my eyes. I'm going to sum up how hard it was raining cats and dogs: in the first five seconds you went outside, you got drenched to the underwear.

The good part about it(the ONLY good part)was that it was over soon, so we didn't have to spend the night next to a bunch of sweaty, smelly people who sprinted to get under the nearest building before they got drenched. For the record, no one wasn't soaking wet.

But the large puddles in the streets and on the sidewalks that were gathered up in about ten minutes made it look like there was a flood that lasted for two hours. I actually felt bad for the cars, much less the motercycles and bicycles that usually got stuck in them. I wondered if it was like this every day.

Turns out that it was, at least when we stayed in Paris. Just every day had a different level of "extreme".

I like to say that every day has a good part and a bad part. For example...

The good part about today was that we finally got the souvenirs for me and five of my friends. The good part about yesterday was that we actually arrived home in one piece without Mom biting Dad's head off for not taking a cab in the first place, and the good part about the first day we came here was that (obviously) it was my birthday.

The bad part about today was that we woke up exactly at eleven thirty and almost all breakfast places were closed(and by that I mean all but one). The bad part about yesterday was the downpour(although it was exciting), and for the first day it was that it literally took an hour and a half for the taxi to drive us to the hotel from the airport. No lie! It made us late for dinner!

Anyway, I look forward to the last six days of my vacation(even if it'll come back and bite me in the neck like a diseased vampire). See ya later,


Hi Bianca

Hey everyone on Bianca's blog! You all know she's a geat writer! Encourage her to write a story then put it on her blog! Bye,  DARIA!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Dear Mom,

You've always wanted to get a kitten while Dad said he wasn't allergic. Why don't you want one anymore? I thought you wanted one! When our house had mice, you told Dad that if you saw one more $%^& mouse, you would march out and get a kitten! WHY DON'T YOU WANT A KITTEN ANYMORE!?