Author Archives: malachite57

My Thanksgiving Poem

On Thanksgiving I will eat lots of turkey,

Mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, too,

There will still be plenty of leftovers,

More than enough for me and you.

 

The leftovers will be made up

Of nothing but my cooking,

Because I have absolutely no skill in the kitchen,

Except when it comes to looking.

 

Be thankful you’re not eating my concoctions,

You will surely get bad results,

Don’t worry about rejecting the food,

Because I don’t take the rejection as insults.

 

Finally, I’d like to wish everybody

A very happy Thanksgiving,

A day where everyone who celebrates

Feels that life really is worth living!

 

 

Poll!

About Me – A Short Poem

Author’s Note: Yes, my poem isn’t very good, but I just thought I’d share it anyway.

Pencil in hand, paper ready,

Always writing, but writing steady.

Writing and writing, writing on,

Creating stories flowing like song.

Puppy Love

Author’s Note: If you can read this article, I hope you will enjoy it!

      从我记事起,我就一直想要一只狗。无论是大狗还是小狗,我都喜欢。

      我一直哀求爸爸妈妈,“我们能养狗吗?要是我生日那天,你们能送给我一只狗,我保证别的东西什么都不要!求你们啦!这狗让我一个人照顾就行!我不需要你们喂它,给它洗澡,或者做别的事!”

       虽然我请求了那么多年,爸爸妈妈坚决不同意让我养一只狗。

       我为什么那么喜欢狗呢?

       我,像很多孩子一样,被小狗那神奇的目光、愉快的表情和灿烂的笑容打动了。

       小狗实在是太可爱了!要是我用手指轻轻地抚摸它的毛,小狗会回头,用温柔的眼神看我,然后舔我的手指尖。小狗的毛永远像丝绸一样光滑,又像棉花一样柔软。有一些小狗的毛又厚又多,看着像一个毛线团一样!

       有时候,我会看见一只狗和它的主人散步。那小狗永远看起来很高兴 – 它的耳朵竖得直直的,尾巴轻轻的甩着。

       我的愿望就是能养一只小狗。我会用爱心和关心照顾它。我会给它起个好听的名字,然后像家人一样地对待它。

       这只小狗就会成为我最好的朋友。

My Beloved Panda

Author’s Note: If you can read this, enjoy!

今年夏天,我和爷爷奶奶一起去北京动物园。因为我们没有参观熊猫馆,我半开玩笑、半认真地说,“我们应该买个玩具熊猫,因为我们没看熊猫馆。”

奶奶便带我去一家大型熊猫商店看那里的小熊猫。各种各样的都有啊!好多可爱的小熊猫坐在柜台上看我们。除了玩具熊猫,那店里也有熊猫钥匙链、漂亮的上衣、拖鞋等等!

虽然店里的玩具熊猫多的是,只有一只是我想要的。那就是一个抱着一根竹子的小熊猫。它的标价是25元。因为它的价钱不便宜,也因为我的玩具动物多的是,奶奶没给我买那只熊猫。

一个月过去了。我参加了一个夏令营,名叫 “中国 – 寻根之旅 – 相约北京 海外华裔青少年夏令营。”当我得知我们要专门去动物园看熊猫时,我真高兴啊!

那天,我照了好几张熊猫的相片,然后我马上去另一家熊猫店寻找我一个月前看到的小熊猫。唉,这家店有那么多熊猫,但是怎么找不到我想要的那只呢?

我找啊,找啊。这个店的熊猫的价格都非常贵!有些熊猫都标价一百到两百块钱啊!但没有一只熊猫是我想要的!突然,我们的老师说时间到了。我只好失望地离开那家店。没走多远,我抬头一看,啊!前面有一家小店在马路边上。那里只卖三种熊猫。但是我仔细一看,那小店里有我最想要的那只熊猫!我赶紧冲过去,怕我晚一步就买不到了!

等问完价钱后,我立马就掏出钱买下这只小熊猫。

我给我的熊猫起了名字。它的名字叫, ”泡泡,” 英文翻译叫, “Bubble.”

泡泡很可爱!雪白的脑袋上,它的两只小耳朵还真好玩哪!圆圆的黑眼珠像星光一样,既有魅力又显神奇。泡泡的小嘴微微地啃一根竹子,一边啃一边笑。它看起来很高兴,很愉快。

我很喜欢我的小熊猫,因为它会带给我欢乐和笑容。

Sliding Down

Author’s Note: This is a memoir I wrote for English. It is a true story (Hint: It is a memoir). I hope you will enjoy it!

Confidence, integrity, and perseverance are what teachers tell us to have all the time. They tell us to stand firm for what we believe in, and they want us to feel confident about ourselves. What they don’t know is that there are overachievers, people who go above and beyond normal expectations. There are people who may shine with confidence and who can be more stubborn than a mule will ever be.

Yes, overachievers of that sort do exist. I know, and I’m sure, because that description can only be used to describe me.

How wonderful and exciting that must be! I thought, standing waist-deep in the cool water. I will try it after that kid is done.

Looking up at the massive, towering water slide, I traced the swirls and loops of the textured, forest-green surface with my mind, wondering what it would be like to slide down this great masterpiece one time. Just one time.

I had never been on a water slide before, and I was eager to go on one for the first time in my life. It would be a daring task for a six-year-old to undertake, but I knew I could do it.

However, threads of anxiety and doubt nagged at me. I realized that I couldn’t swim underwater. So there was no purpose in going on the water slide unless I was up and ready for a miserable drowning session.

I had also heard many stories about kids drowning because they couldn’t swim, and that added to my accumulating list of worries. Would I be part of the “drowned” list if I went on the water slide? The odds of that were very slim. Besides, would going on a water slide just one time be any harm?

I carefully considered the options. If I didn’t go on the tempting water slide, I would be safe from drowning, but it would be pure torment to sit by and watch other kids enjoy themselves on a thrilling, exciting ride down the water slide.

After looking on as happy kids whooshed down the water slide, I became all but hesitant to go on it. The twists and turns of the slide, the way the kids flew out into the shallow, blue water, laughing as they came up for air – it looked too marvelous to pass by.

Shivering from cold – or nervousness, I couldn’t tell which – I got out of the activity pool and made my way to the water slide. The climb up the stairs seemed endless! Trying hard not to slip on the cold, white, water-slick surface of the metal stairs, I finally stopped at the top, waiting my turn.

As I waited in line, half of me was ready to face the water slide, but the other half was resolute to go back to the activity pool. When someone asked if I was in line for the water slide, I managed to utter a shaky, uncertain yes.

Suddenly, the boy directly in front of me slid down the water slide with a loud shout. Seconds later, we saw him jogging towards the ladder with a grin on his face, getting in line to go again.

This is my moment, I thought. While everyone is still waiting, I can ask to go back to the activity pool.

However, like all the other times I hadn’t spoken up because of shyness, I missed my “perfect moment.” I was left to either go on the slide and drown or embarrass myself in front of everyone by asking to go back to the activity pool. Hmm… Which should it be?

As I stood at the head of the line, my mind went blank. Was I supposed to go? Everyone was watching me, but they didn’t say anything. I looked to the lifeguard for help. She looked at me and nodded her head. It was my turn.

My heart pounded fast, and I tensed with anxiety. Trembling like a leaf in the wind, I watched as the water on the slide crashed and roared, and I felt frightened. No, more than just frightened. Terrified. Deathly terrified. Thoughts raced through my mind. Why am I doing this? I thought. The water is rushing too fast. It will carry me into the water before I can react, and then I will drown. I’m going to ask if I can go back down the stairs or if I can have someone else go before me.

Clearing my throat, I whispered to the lifeguard, “Is it my turn?” Everyone in line was watching me, and some people were muttering words like “hurry” and “go” under their breath.

“Yes, it is. Please hurry up, because you’re holding up the line,” she replied.

I watched the roaring, churning water and hesitated another few seconds, then asked, nervously, “Do I really go now?”

“Yes!” she exclaimed. “Are you going to go, or not? If you aren’t, please go back to the activity pool because we don’t have time for this.”

Taking a deep breath, I knelt down at the mouth of the slide, preparing to sit. Just then, the boy behind me angrily muttered, “Come on, go!”

Upon hearing his remark, I accidentally sat down at the start of the slide. The water rushed and flowed toward the end pool, carrying me with it. I felt like a twig in a river current, trapped and hopeless. I grabbed in vain for the edges of the slide, trying to stop myself, but the force of the water was too strong for me. I had completely no control of how fast I was going, and I didn’t know when the slide would shoot me out into the water.

I closed my eyes tight and braced myself for the anticipated splash into the water. It didn’t come. I waited tensely, holding my breath. It still didn’t come. I had just decided I was in the middle of the water slide when I flew out of it and landed with an unceremonious splash in the water. The shock and suddenness of it all took me completely by surprise, and I did not, or could not, react for a few seconds.

However, the initial surprise didn’t last long. Through all of my body, I could feel that I was slowly sinking to the bottom of the pool. I was three-quarters of the way down when I began to kick my feet and flap my arms in desperate attempts to float back up to the surface. My lungs were burning for air because I had not had enough time to draw a long breath before I flew out of the water slide. How many more seconds would it take me to get back to the surface? Struggling harder, I finally felt myself slowly rising. I kicked even harder, until my head popped up out of the water.

Taking a deep, shuddering breath and opening my eyes, I felt relief and thankfulness flooding over me. I splashed my way to the pool ladder and ran back to the comfort of the activity pool.

As I ran, my waterlogged nose started feeling weird and painful. I hated how it felt, and I swam around in the shallowest part of the pool until the pain receded completely.

That night, I didn’t tell my parents about nearly drowning. I didn’t see the need to. Why worry them? I had learned my lesson, hadn’t I? I had also promised myself to be less overconfident and less stubborn. However, being the person I am, that promise didn’t hold true for very long.

I learned my lesson last time, I thought to myself. I am taller now, and wiser, so I am sure to be fine.

There was no one in line, and there hadn’t been for quite some time. If I were to get on the water slide now, nobody would be watching, I thought.

I had planned every single detail in my mind – how to get on the slide, when to hold my breath, and everything else – so I decided to give it a shot. I was going on the water slide for the second time in my life. I was seven years old.

Okay, so it was a stupid idea to even try. I had not improved my swimming skills since then, or had even thought of doing so, but I firmly believed that my increase in height, age, and knowledge would prevent me from drowning. I was shining with confidence, and I was positive my plan was going to work.

That embarrassing day, I was at a friend’s birthday party. Tired of splashing around in the shallow water, yet too afraid to swim in water above chin level, I spotted the purple water slide and decided to try it when there was no one around.

I climbed up the stairs and sat down on the very edge of the water slide, holding on as hard as I could to it. Checking to make sure that no one was in line after me, I took a deep, long breath, opened my eyes wide, and slid down.

The breath of air I had held soon ran out, and I found myself drawing breath repeatedly. Suddenly, I felt the slide disappearing underneath me, felt myself become airborne, and I saw one glimpse of the blue water before I landed in it.

Splash! I went underwater. My feet touched the bottom, and I frantically began waving my arms and legs. After a lot of flailing and kicking, I floated up, realizing that it was a little easier to come up this time, but not by much. I had still gotten water up my nose, and it felt as awful as it did the first time, if not worse.

Swimming over to the side of the pool to get my hair out of my face, I looked up suddenly to see my friend watching me. She had been calling my name, but I couldn’t hear her while I was underwater.

While laughing, she said, “Mimi, when you were underwater, you looked like a monkey!”

“What do you mean?” I asked in confusion.

“You know,” she said, “like this.” She made monkey-like gestures for me, and I nodded my head slowly and smiled. However, I felt rather humiliated that my friend had just seen my not-too-wonderful underwater show.

She led me back to the activity pool, where we played in the water. Well, she knew how to swim, and I followed her as she darted around like a fish. All the time, I was desperately wishing I could swim the way she did.

Several years later, I have learned how to swim underwater. I would love to get on a water slide, but I can’t get over my fear of drowning.

However, I know that someday my curiosity will get the better of me. While swimming at the pool, I will look up to see people sliding down a water slide, and I will watch as they go down the twists and turns of this magical creation. I will then convince myself to slide down it one time – just one time – the way I did so many years before.

Exploring Beijing

Author’s Note: I wrote this for my English class when we had to write an essay about our favorite place. Enjoy!

 

      A true place of hidden beauty is waiting for you in the city of Beijing, where a feast for the eyes, mind, and soul will greet you with every step and turn. This wonderful city is a very special place to me, one of great happiness, bliss, and warmth.

 

       To the average person, Beijing is just like any other economic hub. Sky-high buildings tower over unending streams of people and cars. Swarms of pedestrians march on sand-colored sidewalks. Bicycles swerve and dart like fish around pedestrians leisurely crossing the streets. Beijing is indeed a fast-paced, active city full of life and commotion.

 

       In the early hours of dawn, the city slowly hums to life. Taxi drivers begin their daily routes, and early workers make their way to their workplaces.

 

       By the time the crystal-clear sunshine brightens the morning sky, Beijing has become a bustling commotion of noise. Impatient drivers tap their car horns. Women, clad in high heels and business attire, hurry across the streets to arrive at work on time. Children walk with their friends to school, laughing and chattering along the way.

 

       During the middle hours of the day, the noise level decreases. However, when the 4:00 rush hour comes by, Beijing roars to life once again like a lion in battle. The roaring loudness continues for about four more hours until it slowly fades away to a whisper in the darkness. The quiet whisper stays as soft as a kitten’s mew deep into the night until the emergence of dawn pierces the stillness once more, beginning a new day.

 

       Have you ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Here in Beijing, that really is true. Beautiful, colossal landmarks like the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, and Summer Palace are definitely worth the time and money to visit. You will be getting a glimpse of the powerful, ancient Chinese civilization and culture from the sophisticated architecture, grand designs, and nobility that you see.

 

       This, however, is not all that Beijing has to offer. Deeper into the heart of the city, breathtaking sights, unforgettable views, and gorgeous attractions fill my camera with hundreds of pictures each day. My mind fills with everlasting memories every time I visit, accumulating memories that I will love for years to come.

 

       While touring the ancient wonders of Beijing, you should stop by some of the more modern buildings like the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. It is remarkable to see their high-tech designs and advanced engineering and to see how China has progressed and developed in the modern world of technology.

 

       If you get hungry while you explore Beijing, you will have no trouble finding something delicious to eat. Sweet, tangy candied hawthorns served on sticks are a tasty treat, most abundant during the winter season. Fragrant, mouthwatering lamb kabobs with just the right amount of seasoning and spices will tempt you almost everywhere you go. In addition, while in Beijing, you cannot miss the chance to buy some traditional Beijing snacks. Some have lots of sesame on them. Other snacks, like sweet, hawthorn slices, and Chinese candy, are also ones you should not pass by.

 

       If you have finished tasting and sampling the unique treats, you should try some Peking roast duck! You dip the duck meat, along with some cucumber and onion slices, in a salty, flavorful sauce. Using a thin, small, semi-transparent Chinese tortilla, you wrap the meat, cucumber, and onion like a burrito, and then eat it. It tastes so good! What the meat lacks in juiciness, it makes up in its extreme richness and superb taste. The mouthwatering scent smells exactly like the dish itself – wonderful and delicious. The one-of-a-kind meal that really defines Beijing is roast duck- you cannot say that you have visited Beijing without tasting Peking duck!

 

       Whenever I eat roast duck in Beijing, I am always with a table full of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live there in the city. Celebrations with them are always cheerful and joyful, where we socialize and talk while we eat. Being with them gives me a very content, secure feeling, which always reminds me that family is the greatest treasure of all.

 

       If you were ever to open up a window to a completely new world and look deeper into it, you would see all of its glory, magnificence, and splendor. The window I have opened up takes me right to the heart and soul of the city of Beijing. No matter the time or year of my visit, I am never sorry to have gone in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheddar Moon – Chapters 1-4

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 1 

       I have a story to tell you, young readers. This is a long story, one that occurred when I was a mouse your age. It has been a very long time, so I might not remember everything. But if you listen carefully and quietly, I will tell you about the time when the moon really was made out of cheese.

       In the olden days, it was easy for us to live. There were few humans to disturb us, and they left us in peace. We built our homes out of old wood strips, and shredded fabric was used for bedding. Every home was large enough to hold ten mice, but discreet and small enough to be hidden from passing humans. We spent much of our time indoors, taking care of siblings, gathering fabric to shred for bedding.

       One day, I decided to explore the great outdoors. I had heard from family members that everything was different.

       “It’s dangerous, you know,” my sister said. “You never know what’s out there!”

       Shrugging off her concerns, I prepared to leave, packing a bag full of food, wood strips, and fabric in case I needed to shelter in an emergency or lost my way. For the rest of the day, I was extremely restless, eager to get outside. I tried to pretend everything was the same, trying to keep a nonchalant attitude. My strategy didn’t work.

      “You’re awfully quiet tonight,” my mother remarked as she passed me a bowl of soup. “It’s minced morsel stew, your favorite, and you haven’t said a word!”

       “Yes,” my father added. “Is something wrong? Is there anything troubling you? If so, you can always ask your mother and I for advice.”

       “No, it’s fine. Everything’s okay. I guess I’m just tired,” I say, hoping the conversation will end soon.

       “Charles has been thinking about-!” I cut my sister off with a warning glare.

       “Thinking about what, darling?” my mother intervenes.

       “I-I didn’t really mean that,” my sister says. “I think we should all sleep early tonight. We all seem tired.” Kayla lowers her gaze, picking up her spoon, gesturing to everyone to do the same.

       “Let’s eat!” my mother says, rubbing her hands together. “The stew’s getting cold. Charles, if you’re not going to eat that, dump it back in the cooking pot. Otherwise, stop playing with your food and eat a decent meal.”

       I decide to leave the dinner table, and brush my teeth for bed. However, I don’t sleep. I spend my time planning my escape into the outdoors world. Hours pass. Night falls. I hear Kayla come upstairs, stepping softly, trying not to “wake” me. She tucks my blankets more firmly around me then closes the door and leaves.

       I wait three long, excruciating hours in bed, until the clock chimes. Midnight. I know Mother and Father must be asleep, but I stand up to check. Pressing my ear to the door, I listen. Not a single squeak. I grab my bag, check my inventory, then scribble a note to my parents telling them of my decision to explore the outside world. I stick the note to my bedroom door, and creep down the stairs, silent as a shadow. I am looking back at my home for the last time. I turn around, my hand firmly around the doorknob. I am turning the cold, smooth handle when-

       “Charles!” my father’s voice comes to me. I start, my hand releasing the doorknob. My father comes racing down the stairs, stumbling and tripping on the last four in his haste to reach me. “Wait, son! Don’t go!”

       “Father?” I say, my confusion evident. “How did you know I was leaving tonight?” Suddenly, I realize. “Kayla! She told!”

       “Yes, she did, Charles. And she did so for good measure. Kayla didn’t want you to go alone. We arranged a way to help you during dinner,” he says calmly.

       “But you can’t stop me from going on the adventure of my life, Father! I’ve been dreaming of it! Besides, you and Mother can manage without me just the same. Kayla can cook, and Sarah can sew! You don’t need me here!” I protest, whiskers twitching in frustration.

       A sad expression crosses his face. “Charles, I don’t want you to go alone. You’re my only son. Just let me go with you,” he says.

       “No, Father. I’m sorry, but this is my mission. I promise to return as soon as possible. I just don’t want to leave Mother with Kayla, Sarah, and Baby Nellie to take care of. Please let me go alone. Please!” I beg, awaiting his decision.

       We stand in silence, until Father straightens, opening the door. “Good luck, Charles,” he says, “and I wish you the best on your journey.”

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 2 

       Readers, do you remember when my relatives said that everything was different in the outside world? It certainly was. After leaving the house where I had spent my entire childhood, I had stood outside in the dark, dim light of the world when it was sleeping. There was not a sound, just the calm, warm resonance of lake water lapping at the shore, the scent of a summer breeze being carried through the trees, sending blankets of soft, green leaves down onto the carpet of green grass. I stood outside for nearly one hour, breathing the scents of summer beauty, admiring all that I could see at one time. Finally, lying in the shade of a tall, sturdy maple tree, I fell asleep, comforted by the smells and sounds of nature.

       In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of birdcalls. I had never before heard them, because my home had been so isolated from nature. I watched the sun rise from the horizon, watched the darkness of night fade, to be replaced by the vivid, bright golden colors of dawn. I slowly climbed up the maple tree, and sat on the lowest branch to eat my breakfast. I was so immersed in watching the sun rise that I did not notice an angry bird squawking and screeching above me.

       The bird turned to its nest, reached in, then dropped a squirming, wriggling worm square on my head. I shook it off in anger, then threw it with all my might to where the bird was. The worm was too heavy for me, and I dropped it onto the carpet of green grass surrounding the tree. The bird fluffed up its feathers in contempt, then flew away to get more food for its chicks. I heaved a sigh of relief, then gradually slid down the tree trunk. I kicked the worm away, where it wriggled twice then stopped moving.

       Sitting on the bag I had brought with me, I began to plan things out. I found a piece of tree bark which I used for a notebook to plan my journey, and I found some sticks to use as a calendar. I went back to the maple tree to grab more tree bark, and I stuffed the pieces into my bag. I found two old, rusted bottle caps, and I attached them to the bark pieces to make a wagon. I held everything together with some tree sap, and I put my bag onto the wagon. Now was the time to gather materials, I thought to myself. I should make use of the daylight while I have it.

       Pulling my wagon, I searched the base of the tree for any materials I could use to write with. With no luck, I sat down, brainstorming. My eyes wandered to the decaying worm, and I leaped onto my feet. I raced to the top of the tree as fast as I could, and sat on the highest branch. Looking down at the abandoned bird’s nest, I measured the distance with my eyes, and jumped. I landed on the very edge, but my weight caused the nest to tip over, and it sailed gracefully in the air before landing several feet away from my wagon. Panting with the effort, I slumped against the nest, trying to catch my breath. Once I had restored my energy, I hauled the wagon to the nest, and piled the eggshell bits into the wagon. The dried-up eggshells would work perfectly as chalk, and when I used up one piece, I still had some to spare. I counted the shell bits, and recorded it in my tree bark journal. Exhausted from all the muscle-stretching work I had done – building a wagon was no easy task – I ate a simple lunch and fell asleep. A day’s work had been done.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 3

       After waking up from a long and luxurious rest, I stretched, twitching my whiskers and waving my tail. My muscles felt very tense and sore, and I was unwilling to get up. I was unaccustomed to the hard, rigidness of the ground I slept on, and I longed for my warm, dry bed at home. My bed at home had been lined with the softest, smoothest fabric my mother could find, and it was always fresh and clean. My makeshift bed of fabric strips was meager in comparison, and it was wet with morning dew. Undaunted, I laid the fabric strips onto the dry bark of my wagon, hoping it would dry throughout the day.

       Shaking the sticky dew drops off my ears, I picked a dandelion stem to eat for breakfast, but the stem was too tall and slick for me to hold. It blocked my vision, and I ran into the maple tree. A piece of bark fell, opening a hole in my new shirt. I realized it was time for a change. I decided to spend one whole week under my maple tree shelter, patching clothing, gathering food, and doing other miscellaneous activities. I wanted to gather food, but my clothing was in need of repair, so I decided to patch my shirt in the bright daylight, and I could use the dim light of the night to gather food. That way, I could make use of my time while staying safe under the cover of night.

       I grabbed a clean, white shirt from my wagon, ducked behind the tree to change, and emerged with the torn shirt in my paws. My day of sewing was about to begin.

       I had never been good at sewing – that was always what Sarah had loved to do. My younger sister would happily patch clothing while I gathered food and materials for the family. I never had time to watch her sew and mend, so it didn’t surprise me that I was clueless right now. However, I was spared the trouble by the surfacing of a distant memory. In the memory, I was watching my mother sew, her furry paws warm and soft from hours of chores. She was mending a pair of overalls, and she was instructing me. “Charles,” she had said, “I know you don’t sew. But even if you do, some time in the future, you need to remember to always watch the needle and the fabric. You can’t let your eyes wander and stray or you could hurt yourself.”

       With the memory fresh in my mind, I set to work. Grabbing some tough weeds and grass, I tore the grass into thin shreds. I had found a human-sized needle, and I worked the shredded grass into the hole of the needle. The job was a lot harder than I thought. The needle was too big, so I had to hold it with two paws. It took me the entire day to patch the paw-sized hole, but it was better than nothing. Only until I had finished did I realize how hungry I had been. I had been concentrating so hard that I forgot to eat lunch! Oh, well. I guess I’d transition straight to dinner!

       For dinner, I ate the leftovers of the dandelion stem I had eaten this morning. The plant was delicious, and it satisfied my hunger and thirst. Sitting on my favorite tree branch, I reflected on my day. I realized that this was the life I had always wanted, one where I could explore and figure things out for myself. I enjoyed my new independence, and I wanted to make it last. Watching the sun set, I could form only one thought in my mind. Nature has given us many gifts in life – my gift is the ability to explore and enjoy life in a completely different perspective.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 4

       My week of preparation had passed. Everything had gone smoothly, and I knew I would have no trouble. I had made a solid wooden shield for myself if I needed self-defense from other animals, and I had gathered enough food to eat for one month! I was proud of my hard work, and ready to begin my long journey at last. I ate some homemade candied dandelion stems for breakfast, oiled my wagon with a strong-smelling liquid called Coca-Cola, grabbed a hand-stitched backpack, and began walking. I found an enormous, worn-out compass in a garbage disposal, and I rolled it on the ground when I walked.

       My goal was to hike three miles today, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. So far, I’ve only gone about one-fifth of a mile, and it’s taken me five hours to do so! Well, don’t call me a slowpoke, will you? Don’t forget that I am several times smaller than you are! True, mice can scamper and run really fast, which compensates for our small body size, but it’s not very easy to run with a month’s supply of food stocked on your wagon, a backpack on your back, and a wagon that is rusting because you oiled it with Coca-Cola! Enough said; it’s time for lunch.

       The salted tree bark I had packed in bulk turned out to be very nutritious and filling, and the candied dandelion stems made a very sweet and tasty dessert. I drank some groundwater from an oak tree, filled my water canteen with the same groundwater, groomed myself, and continued walking again.

       It was at this part of my journey that I met up with trouble. If you want to guess, I’ll give you a chance. Okay. So, what are two things that a mouse can’t do? Okay, flying definitely counts. No, mice are extremely good at hiding. How could you not know that? Another answer, please? That’s right – swimming.

       I had been walking along, my backpack bouncing on my back, and the wagon creaking and squeaking along on the rough and gravelly dirt road behind me. In my left hand was a map, and I held a long, sharp stick to help me walk on hilly trails. The road wasn’t smooth like the roads back home; instead, it had many sharp, jagged stones. The road was coarse and rough, and my bare feet were aching with pain. I had been looking down the whole time to ensure I didn’t step on any rocks, and I was beginning to feel dizzy, and my neck had started cramping. Looking up, everything seemed to sway. The trees around me, the tall, enormous buildings, even the ground. I immediately dropped my bags and sat down until the wave of nausea passed.

       I was thankful to get a minute’s rest to recuperate from the tiring day and my dizziness. I hadn’t rested for several hours, and I was feeling faint with hunger and thirst. Reaching for my water canteen, which was located in a secret compartment in my rusty wagon, I let out an involuntary gasp. I had not been aware of my surroundings before, and now I noticed them for the first time. Three feet away from me lay the largest, deepest canyon I had ever seen! Do you know how large it was? The canyon was about five feet deep – hey, that’s not funny! You do realize I’m a mouse, right? Trust me – I’m not making excuses! If you’ve ever seen a mouse, you would realize how scary a five-foot drop would be! Well, if you’re still not convinced, visualize it as a canyon two stories deep!

       For the first time since I started this long journey, I felt afraid. At the bottom of the canyon, there was a huge pool of dirty, litter-filled water. If it weren’t for the fact that the canyon was so deep, and the water was filled with bits and pieces of shattered glass, rusted metal, and other debris, I might have had a chance to jump down, using some scrap tree bark as a raft.

      I peered down, cautiously, to search for any humans or wild animals hiding in the canyon. From where I stood, I could only see the middle of the canyon; I was oblivious to the walls and sides. I desperately needed a closer look.

       I tried tiptoeing to the edge of the canyon, stepping ever so carefully; I was afraid to move my arms for fear that they would throw me off balance and send me tumbling to my death in the heart of the canyon. Moving my foot just one inch was difficult. I broke out in a cold sweat, and my hands were wet with moisture. I held my arms like a scarecrow, and I was walking stiff-legged, much like a zombie. I held my breath, looked down at the walls of the canyon, and – nothing happened. I ran back to my wagon as fast as I could, tripping over small pebbles on the ground. I collapsed on my backpack, my chest heaving with the breaths that had been waiting to be breathed.

       Laying on my backpack for what seemed like forever, I finally mustered the courage to stand up, eat dinner, and lay out the shredded fabric for bedding. Raising my head, which had been buried in the backpack the whole time, I was shocked. How could time pass by so quickly? When I had arrived, the sky was a clear, cloudless blue, and the sun was shining in the sky. A gentle breeze ruffled the green leaves on the trees, and birds were chirping and singing to one another.

       Now, the sky was a magnificent violet-purple, tinged with stripes of gold and ribbons of peachy pink. The sun was lowered to the horizon, a dim, auburn semi-circle. It was now sunset, and there were only faint birdcalls to interrupt the silence of the evening. A light wind made the lush carpet of grass sway and dance, ruffling my pristine white shirt and messing up my whiskers.

       As I lay flat on my back on the makeshift, shredded fabric bed, I watched the beautiful, glorious sunset until fatigue and exhaustion overcame me like a wave and I fell asleep.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 4

My week of preparation had passed. Everything had gone smoothly, and I knew I would have no trouble. I had made a solid wooden shield for myself if I needed self-defense from other animals, and I had gathered enough food to eat for one month! I was proud of my hard work, and ready to begin my long journey at last. I ate some homemade candied dandelion stems for breakfast, oiled my wagon with a strong-smelling liquid called Coca-Cola, grabbed a hand-stitched backpack, and began walking. I found an enormous, worn-out compass in a garbage disposal, and I rolled it on the ground when I walked.

My goal was to hike three miles today, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. So far, I’ve only gone about one-fifth of a mile, and it’s taken me five hours to do so! Well, don’t call me a slowpoke, will you? Don’t forget that I am several times smaller than you are! True, mice can scamper and run really fast, which compensates for our small body size, but it’s not very easy to run with a month’s supply of food stocked on your wagon, a backpack on your back, and a wagon that is rusting because you oiled it with Coca-Cola! Enough said; it’s time for lunch.

The salted tree bark I had packed in bulk turned out to be very nutritious and filling, and the candied dandelion stems made a very sweet and tasty dessert. I drank some groundwater from an oak tree, filled my water canteen with the same groundwater, groomed myself, and continued walking again.

It was at this part of my journey that I met up with trouble. If you want to guess, I’ll give you a chance. Okay. So, what are two things that a mouse can’t do? Okay, flying definitely counts. No, mice are extremely good at hiding. How could you not know that? Another answer, please? That’s right – swimming.

I had been walking along, my backpack bouncing on my back, and the wagon creaking and squeaking along on the rough and gravelly dirt road behind me. In my left hand was a map, and I held a long, sharp stick to help me walk on hilly trails. The road wasn’t smooth like the roads back home; instead, it had many sharp, jagged stones. The road was coarse and rough, and my bare feet were aching with pain. I had been looking down the whole time to ensure I didn’t step on any rocks, and I was beginning to feel dizzy, and my neck had started cramping. Looking up, everything seemed to sway. The trees around me, the tall, enormous buildings, even the ground. I immediately dropped my bags and sat down until the wave of nausea passed.

I was thankful to get a minute’s rest to recuperate from the tiring day and my dizziness. I hadn’t rested for several hours, and I was feeling faint with hunger and thirst. Reaching for my water canteen, which was located in a secret compartment in my rusty wagon, I let out an involuntary gasp. I had not been aware of my surroundings before, and now I noticed them for the first time. Three feet away from me lay the largest, deepest canyon I had ever seen! Do you know how large it was? The canyon was about five feet deep – hey, that’s not funny! You do realize I’m a mouse, right? Trust me – I’m not making excuses! If you’ve ever seen a mouse, you would realize how scary a five-foot drop would be! Well, if you’re still not convinced, visualize it as a canyon two stories deep!

For the first time since I started this long journey, I felt afraid. At the bottom of the canyon, there was a huge pool of dirty, litter-filled water. If it weren’t for the fact that the canyon was so deep, and the water was filled with bits and pieces of shattered glass, rusted metal, and other debris, I might have had a chance to jump down, using some scrap tree bark as a raft.

I peered down, cautiously, to search for any humans or wild animals hiding in the canyon. From where I stood, I could only see the middle of the canyon; I was oblivious to the walls and sides. I desperately needed a closer look.

I tried tiptoeing to the edge of the canyon, stepping ever so carefully; I was afraid to move my arms for fear that they would throw me off balance and send me tumbling to my death in the heart of the canyon. Moving my foot just one inch was difficult. I broke out in a cold sweat, and my hands were wet with moisture. I held my arms like a scarecrow, and I was walking stiff-legged, much like a zombie. I held my breath, looked down at the walls of the canyon, and – nothing happened. I ran back to my wagon as fast as I could, tripping over small pebbles on the ground. I collapsed on my backpack, my chest heaving with the breaths that had been waiting to be breathed.

Laying on my backpack for what seemed like forever, I finally mustered the courage to stand up, eat dinner, and lay out the shredded fabric for bedding. Raising my head, which had been buried in the backpack the whole time, I was shocked. How could time pass by so quickly? When I had arrived, the sky was a clear, cloudless blue, and the sun was shining in the sky. A gentle breeze ruffled the green leaves on the trees, and birds were chirping and singing to one another.

Now, the sky was a magnificent violet-purple, tinged with stripes of gold and ribbons of peachy pink. The sun was lowered to the horizon, a dim, auburn semi-circle. It was now sunset, and there were only faint birdcalls to interrupt the silence of the evening. A light wind made the lush carpet of grass sway and dance, ruffling my pristine white shirt and messing up my whiskers.

As I lay flat on my back on the makeshift, shredded fabric bed, I watched the beautiful, glorious sunset until fatigue and exhaustion overcame me like a wave and I fell asleep.

A Restaurant Review – Aladdin Cafe

The Aladdin Café is a Mediterranean restaurant with the most flavorful, delicious food ever! While dining there, I ate the curry chicken, and it was AMAZING! It was so good! The curry was spicy, but it was just right, and the vegetables that came with the dish were appetizing.

For dessert, I ordered tiramisu. Oh, my gosh, it was the best I’ve ever tasted! Drizzled (well, poured) on top was this delicious, rich chocolate sauce, and I savored every drop of it. The actual tiramisu itself was just as good as the chocolate sauce, maybe a little better! The tiramisu melted in my mouth, and it had the impression of chocolaty mousse. When I ate it, it felt like I was eating a mixture of mousse and ice cream cake.

To complement my meal and dessert, I drank rose lemonade. It had a rather interesting taste. There was nothing special about it – it was just plain lemonade with shredded rose petals sprinkled daintily in the glass. I’d never tasted rose petals before, so a drink made with them was a nice way to sample them.

If you love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, you will love Aladdin Café. Their tiramisu and rose lemonade are some of the things you DEFINITELY have to order!

 Author’s Note: I bet you’re hungry now! :D

A Restaurant Review – Cinzetti’s

Cinzetti’s is an All-You-Can-Eat buffet with delicious Italian food. On weekends and weeknights, crepes are cooked fresh, and there are sixteen flavors of ice cream every day. I would recommend eating their pasta, pizza, dessert, and minestrone soup.

The strawberry cheesecake ice cream is the best I’ve ever tasted, and their desserts are rich and chocolatey and they melt in your mouth. I ate a strawberry-banana cream cheese crepe, and it was delicious!  The minestrone soup is perfectly seasoned, and the pastas are paired wonderfully with the sauces.

You should go to Cinzetti’s if you love Italian pizza, pasta, ice cream, and soup. It is the best place for people like me who love good food!

The Rainbows of Time – Chapter 1

Gazing out at the dark, starry night, Leah shifted her weight to get a closer look. The hard, wooden chair with its stiff back had been the only thing Leah could use. Her soft, pink beanbags were too low to the ground, and her panda shaped chair only made her level with the top of her nightstand. A few minutes earlier, Leah had tried sitting on the nightstand, which was only five inches shorter than her delicate 3’5’’ frame. As she climbed on, the nightstand wobbled and tipped away from the wall. Leah had stumbled away just as the nightstand fell onto the pink beanbag, the crash muffled by the soft, plush fabric.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Leah began walking backwards, away from the fallen nightstand. She tripped over a doll and hit her shin hard against the low frame of her bed. The bruise, which had formed almost instantaneously, had turned a shade of green.

Rubbing the 1 ½ inch long bruise, Leah sighed in anticipation. Tonight was like no other night. At exactly 11:59 P.M., Leah Katherine Trivue would be turning six years old. Forcing herself off the uncomfortable seat, she limped to her bedroom door and opened it. All was quiet. Leah could hear the quiet, steady breathing of her parents, who slept in the room next door, and she could hear the soft, quiet mews of her cat, Eve. Listening one last time, Leah carefully made her way down the stairs. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, squinting in the darkness, Leah could just barely make out the time. It was 11:55 P.M. Good, she thought. I can read for a while! Limping to the bookshelf, she picked out a random book, hopped outside on her good leg, and flopped down on the hammock that hung from two maple trees.

The cool, September air was damp with mist, and a breeze blew through the trees sending a few leaves floating towards Leah’s face. As she brushed them away from her wavy, golden-honey hair, the hammock swayed and Leah dropped her book. Bending over to pick it up, Leah hung on to a tree branch for balance, slowly inching her way up. With a final heave, Leah dropped the book onto her lap, panting.

Looking down at the book she had chosen, she smiled. Leah’s sixteen-year old sister, Mariah, had made the book last year just for Leah. The black leather cover was fine and unscratched, and its fancy, gilded letters shone with a golden radiance. Leah ran a finger over the title, tracing every curve and every line. She gazed openmouthed, at this wonderful work of art and talent. The cover of the book had a rainbow on it, and Leah spent several minutes looking at it. The colorful stripes of the rainbow sparkled, and the clouds at the end reminded Leah of white snow melting in the sunlight. When she viewed the cover from different angles, Leah saw a rainbow, an hourglass, a unicorn, and a picture of a girl who looked just like Leah. Her favorite picture, of course, was the unicorn, with its sparkling white coat and clear, blue eyes.

Opening the book, Leah read the title page. The book was called The Rainbows of Time. Leah loved the title. It sounded so distant and faraway, yet mysterious and thrilling. Turning another page, Leah read, “This book is written and illustrated just for my little sister, Leah. Happy birthday, Leah! Love forever, Mariah.” She smiled, recalling all the times her older sister had cheered her up when she was sad, read to her when Leah couldn’t read yet, and cleaned Leah’s injuries when she fell off her bike. Seeing the dedication page made Leah very happy, and she began reading.

“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a girl named Leah. When she read, Leah had the power to change the boundaries between fantasy and reality, fiction and truth. Leah – “Suddenly, she stopped short.

The sky was changing. Everything grew dark and pitch black. Leah tried to run back to her house, but she felt immobilized. She tried to scream for help, but her voice seemed to have stopped working. Leah had struggled to a sitting position, eyes wide with terror, hoping that Mariah could run forward to save her. But Mariah didn’t come. Instead, a beam of rainbow light appeared, shooting across the sky like a rocket. The light set off other light beams, which shot across the sky like fireworks, exploding at random moments. One of the beams exploded one foot above Leah’s head, and she screamed.

Suddenly, all the lights seemed to vanish. For one split second, everything was perfectly still. The next moment, all the light beams exploded simultaneously, filling the sky with whirlwinds of color. Leah started crying and sobbing, not knowing what was happening, but not wanting to know either. Something must be wrong, she thought. Terribly wrong.

Cheddar Moon – Chapters 1, 2, and 3

     Chapter 1

     I have a story to tell you, young readers. This is a long story, one that occurred when I was a mouse your age. It has been a very long time, so I might not remember everything. But if you listen carefully and quietly, I will tell you about the time when the moon really was made out of cheese.

       In the olden days, it was easy for us to live. There were few humans to disturb us, and they left us in peace. We built our homes out of old wood strips, and shredded fabric was used for bedding. Every home was large enough to hold ten mice, but discreet and small enough to be hidden from passing humans. We spent much of our time indoors, taking care of siblings, gathering fabric to shred for bedding.

       One day, I decided to explore the great outdoors. I had heard from family members that everything was different.

       “It’s dangerous, you know,” my sister said. “You never know what’s out there!”

       Shrugging off her concerns, I prepared to leave, packing a bag full of food, wood strips, and fabric in case I needed to shelter in an emergency or lost my way. For the rest of the day, I was extremely restless, eager to get outside. I tried to pretend everything was the same, trying to keep a nonchalant attitude. My strategy didn’t work.

      “You’re awfully quiet tonight,” my mother remarked as she passed me a bowl of soup. “It’s minced morsel stew, your favorite, and you haven’t said a word!”

       “Yes,” my father added. “Is something wrong? Is there anything troubling you? If so, you can always ask your mother and I for advice.”

       “No, it’s fine. Everything’s okay. I guess I’m just tired,” I say, hoping the conversation will end soon.

       “Charles has been thinking about-!” I cut my sister off with a warning glare.

       “Thinking about what, darling?” my mother intervenes.

       “I-I didn’t really mean that,” my sister says. “I think we should all sleep early tonight. We all seem tired.” Kayla lowers her gaze, picking up her spoon, gesturing to everyone to do the same.

       “Let’s eat!” my mother says, rubbing her hands together. “The stew’s getting cold. Charles, if you’re not going to eat that, dump it back in the cooking pot. Otherwise, stop playing with your food and eat a decent meal.”

       I decide to leave the dinner table, and brush my teeth for bed. However, I don’t sleep. I spend my time planning my escape into the outdoors world. Hours pass. Night falls. I hear Kayla come upstairs, stepping softly, trying not to “wake” me. She tucks my blankets more firmly around me then closes the door and leaves.

       I wait three long, excruciating hours in bed, until the clock chimes. Midnight. I know Mother and Father must be asleep, but I stand up to check. Pressing my ear to the door, I listen. Not a single squeak. I grab my bag, check my inventory, then scribble a note to my parents telling them of my decision to explore the outside world. I stick the note to my bedroom door, and creep down the stairs, silent as a shadow. I am looking back at my home for the last time. I turn around, my hand firmly around the doorknob. I am turning the cold, smooth handle when-

       “Charles!” my father’s voice comes to me. I start, my hand releasing the doorknob. My father comes racing down the stairs, stumbling and tripping on the last four in his haste to reach me. “Wait, son! Don’t go!”

       “Father?” I say, my confusion evident. “How did you know I was leaving tonight?” Suddenly, I realize. “Kayla! She told!”

       “Yes, she did, Charles. And she did so for good measure. Kayla didn’t want you to go alone. We arranged a way to help you during dinner,” he says calmly.

       “But you can’t stop me from going on the adventure of my life, Father! I’ve been dreaming of it! Besides, you and Mother can manage without me just the same. Kayla can cook, and Sarah can sew! You don’t need me here!” I protest, whiskers twitching in frustration.

       A sad expression crosses his face. “Charles, I don’t want you to go alone. You’re my only son. Just let me go with you,” he says.

       “No, Father. I’m sorry, but this is my mission. I promise to return as soon as possible. I just don’t want to leave Mother with Kayla, Sarah, and Baby Nellie to take care of. Please let me go alone. Please!” I beg, awaiting his decision.

       We stand in silence, until Father straightens, opening the door. “Good luck, Charles,” he says, “and I wish you the best on your journey.”

Chapter 2

       Readers, do you remember when my relatives said that everything was different in the outside world? It certainly was. After leaving the house where I had spent my entire childhood, I had stood outside in the dark, dim light of the world when it was sleeping. There was not a sound, just the calm, warm resonance of lake water lapping at the shore, the scent of a summer breeze being carried through the trees, sending blankets of soft, green leaves down onto the carpet of green grass. I stood outside for nearly one hour, breathing the scents of summer beauty, admiring all that I could see at one time. Finally, lying in the shade of a tall, sturdy maple tree, I fell asleep, comforted by the smells and sounds of nature.

       In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of birdcalls. I had never before heard them, because my home had been so isolated from nature. I watched the sun rise from the horizon, watched the darkness of night fade, to be replaced by the vivid, bright golden colors of dawn. I slowly climbed up the maple tree, and sat on the lowest branch to eat my breakfast. I was so immersed in watching the sun rise that I did not notice an angry bird squawking and screeching above me.

       The bird turned to its nest, reached in, then dropped a squirming, wriggling worm square on my head. I shook it off in anger, then threw it with all my might to where the bird was. The worm was too heavy for me, and I dropped it onto the carpet of green grass surrounding the tree. The bird fluffed up its feathers in contempt, then flew away to get more food for its chicks. I heaved a sigh of relief, then gradually slid down the tree trunk. I kicked the worm away, where it wriggled twice then stopped moving.

        Sitting on the bag I had brought with me, I began to plan things out. I found a piece of tree bark which I used for a notebook to plan my journey, and I found some sticks to use as a calendar. I went back to the maple tree to grab more tree bark, and I stuffed the pieces into my bag. I found two old, rusted bottle caps, and I attached them to the bark pieces to make a wagon. I held everything together with some tree sap, and I put my bag onto the wagon. Now was the time to gather materials, I thought to myself. I should make use of the daylight while I have it.

       Pulling my wagon, I searched the base of the tree for any materials I could use to write with. With no luck, I sat down, brainstorming. My eyes wandered to the decaying worm, and I leaped onto my feet. I raced to the top of the tree as fast as I could, and sat on the highest branch. Looking down at the abandoned bird’s nest, I measured the distance with my eyes, and jumped. I landed on the very edge, but my weight caused the nest to tip over, and it sailed gracefully in the air before landing several feet away from my wagon. Panting with the effort, I slumped against the nest, trying to catch my breath. Once I had restored my energy, I hauled the wagon to the nest, and piled the eggshell bits into the wagon. The dried-up eggshells would work perfectly as chalk, and when I used up one piece, I still had some to spare. I counted the shell bits, and recorded it in my tree bark journal. Exhausted from all the muscle-stretching work I had done – building a wagon was no easy task – I ate a simple lunch and fell asleep. A day’s work had been done.

 Chapter 3

     After waking up from a long and luxurious rest, I stretched, twitching my whiskers and waving my tail. My muscles felt very tense and sore, and I was unwilling to get up. I was unaccustomed to the hard, rigidness of the ground I slept on, and I longed for my warm, dry bed at home. My bed at home had been lined with the softest, smoothest fabric my mother could find, and it was always fresh and clean. My makeshift bed of fabric strips was meager in comparison, and it was wet with morning dew. Undaunted, I laid the fabric strips onto the dry bark of my wagon, hoping it would dry throughout the day.

       Shaking the sticky dew drops off my ears, I picked a dandelion stem to eat for breakfast, but the stem was too tall and slick for me to hold. It blocked my vision, and I ran into the maple tree. A piece of bark fell, opening a hole in my new shirt. I realized it was time for a change. I decided to spend one whole week under my maple tree shelter, patching clothing, gathering food, and doing other miscellaneous activities. I wanted to gather food, but my clothing was in need of repair, so I decided to patch my shirt in the bright daylight, and I could use the dim light of the night to gather food. That way, I could make use of my time while staying safe under the cover of night.

     I grabbed a clean, white shirt from my wagon, ducked behind the tree to change, and emerged with the torn shirt in my paws. My day of sewing was about to begin.

     I had never been good at sewing – that was always what Sarah had loved to do. My younger sister would happily patch clothing while I gathered food and materials for the family. I never had time to watch her sew and mend, so it didn’t surprise me that I was clueless right now. However, I was spared the trouble by the surfacing of a distant memory. In the memory, I was watching my mother sew, her furry paws warm and soft from hours of chores. She was mending a pair of overalls, and she was instructing me. “Charles,” she had said, “I know you don’t sew. But even if you do, some time in the future, you need to remember to always watch the needle and the fabric. You can’t let your eyes wander and stray or you could hurt yourself.”

       With the memory fresh in my mind, I set to work. Grabbing some tough weeds and grass, I tore the grass into thin shreds. I had found a human-sized needle, and I worked the shredded grass into the hole of the needle. The job was a lot harder than I thought. The needle was too big, so I had to hold it with two paws. It took me the entire day to patch the paw-sized hole, but it was better than nothing. Only until I had finished did I realize how hungry I had been. I had been concentrating so hard that I forgot to eat lunch! Oh, well. I guess I’d transition straight to dinner!

       For dinner, I ate the leftovers of the dandelion stem I had eaten this morning. The plant was delicious, and it satisfied my hunger and thirst. Sitting on my favorite tree branch, I reflected on my day. I realized that this was the life I had always wanted, one where I could explore and figure things out for myself. I enjoyed my new independence, and I wanted to make it last. Watching the sun set, I could form only one thought in my mind. Nature has given us many gifts in life – my gift is the ability to explore and enjoy life in a completely different perspective.

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 3

       After waking up from a long and luxurious rest, I stretched, twitching my whiskers and waving my tail. My muscles felt very tense and sore, and I was unwilling to get up. I was unaccustomed to the hard, rigidness of the ground I slept on, and I longed for my warm, dry bed at home. My bed at home had been lined with the softest, smoothest fabric my mother could find, and it was always fresh and clean. My makeshift bed of fabric strips was meager in comparison, and it was wet with morning dew. Undaunted, I laid the fabric strips onto the dry bark of my wagon, hoping it would dry throughout the day.

       Shaking the sticky dew drops off my ears, I picked a dandelion stem to eat for breakfast, but the stem was too tall and slick for me to hold. It blocked my vision, and I ran into the maple tree. A piece of bark fell, opening a hole in my new shirt. I realized it was time for a change. I decided to spend one whole week under my maple tree shelter, patching clothing, gathering food, and doing other miscellaneous activities. I wanted to gather food, but my clothing was in need of repair, so I decided to patch my shirt in the bright daylight, and I could use the dim light of the night to gather food. That way, I could make use of my time while staying safe under the cover of night.

I grabbed a clean, white shirt from my wagon, ducked behind the tree to change, and emerged with the torn shirt in my paws. My day of sewing was about to begin.

I had never been good at sewing – that was always what Sarah had loved to do. My younger sister would happily patch clothing while I gathered food and materials for the family. I never had time to watch her sew and mend, so it didn’t surprise me that I was clueless right now. However, I was spared the trouble by the surfacing of a distant memory. In the memory, I was watching my mother sew, her furry paws warm and soft from hours of chores. She was mending a pair of overalls, and she was instructing me. “Charles,” she had said, “I know you don’t sew. But even if you do, some time in the future, you need to remember to always watch the needle and the fabric. You can’t let your eyes wander and stray or you could hurt yourself.”

       With the memory fresh in my mind, I set to work. Grabbing some tough weeds and grass, I tore the grass into thin shreds. I had found a human-sized needle, and I worked the shredded grass into the hole of the needle. The job was a lot harder than I thought. The needle was too big, so I had to hold it with two paws. It took me the entire day to patch the paw-sized hole, but it was better than nothing. Only until I had finished did I realize how hungry I had been. I had been concentrating so hard that I forgot to eat lunch! Oh, well. I guess I’d transition straight to dinner!

       For dinner, I ate the leftovers of the dandelion stem I had eaten this morning. The plant was delicious, and it satisfied my hunger and thirst. Sitting on my favorite tree branch, I reflected on my day. I realized that this was the life I had always wanted, one where I could explore and figure things out for myself. I enjoyed my new independence, and I wanted to make it last. Watching the sun set, I could form only one thought in my mind. Nature has given us many gifts in life – my gift is the ability to explore and enjoy life in a completely different perspective.

Cheddar Moon – Chapters 1 & 2

Author’s Note: I have added this post so that readers could understand the story more easily because I haven’t written this for a LONG time!

Chapter 1:

      I have a story to tell you, young readers. This is a long story, one that occurred when I was a mouse your age. It has been a very long time, so I might not remember everything. But if you listen carefully and quietly, I will tell you about the time when the moon really was made out of cheese.

       In the olden days, it was easy for us to live. There were few humans to disturb us, and they left us in peace. We built our homes out of old wood strips, and shredded fabric was used for bedding. Every home was large enough to hold ten mice, but discreet and small enough to be hidden from passing humans. We spent much of our time indoors, taking care of siblings, gathering fabric to shred for bedding.

       One day, I decided to explore the great outdoors. I had heard from family members that everything was different.

       “It’s dangerous, you know,” my sister said. “You never know what’s out there!”

       Shrugging off her concerns, I prepared to leave, packing a bag full of food, wood strips, and fabric in case I needed to shelter in an emergency or lost my way. For the rest of the day, I was extremely restless, eager to get outside. I tried to pretend everything was the same, trying to keep a nonchalant attitude. My strategy didn’t work.

      “You’re awfully quiet tonight,” my mother remarked as she passed me a bowl of soup. “It’s minced morsel stew, your favorite, and you haven’t said a word!”

       “Yes,” my father added. “Is something wrong? Is there anything troubling you? If so, you can always ask your mother and I for advice.”

       “No, it’s fine. Everything’s okay. I guess I’m just tired,” I say, hoping the conversation will end soon.

       “Charles has been thinking about-!” I cut my sister off with a warning glare.

       “Thinking about what, darling?” my mother intervenes.

       “I-I didn’t really mean that,” my sister says. “I think we should all sleep early tonight. We all seem tired.” Kayla lowers her gaze, picking up her spoon, gesturing to everyone to do the same.

       “Let’s eat!” my mother says, rubbing her hands together. “The stew’s getting cold. Charles, if you’re not going to eat that, dump it back in the cooking pot. Otherwise, stop playing with your food and eat a decent meal.”

       I decide to leave the dinner table, and brush my teeth for bed. However, I don’t sleep. I spend my time planning my escape into the outdoors world. Hours pass. Night falls. I hear Kayla come upstairs, stepping softly, trying not to “wake” me. She tucks my blankets more firmly around me then closes the door and leaves.

       I wait three long, excruciating hours in bed, until the clock chimes. Midnight. I know Mother and Father must be asleep, but I stand up to check. Pressing my ear to the door, I listen. Not a single squeak. I grab my bag, check my inventory, then scribble a note to my parents telling them of my decision to explore the outside world. I stick the note to my bedroom door, and creep down the stairs, silent as a shadow. I am looking back at my home for the last time. I turn around, my hand firmly around the doorknob. I am turning the cold, smooth handle when-

       “Charles!” my father’s voice comes to me. I start, my hand releasing the doorknob. My father comes racing down the stairs, stumbling and tripping on the last four in his haste to reach me. “Wait, son! Don’t go!”

       “Father?” I say, my confusion evident. “How did you know I was leaving tonight?” Suddenly, I realize. “Kayla! She told!”

       “Yes, she did, Charles. And she did so for good measure. Kayla didn’t want you to go alone. We arranged a way to help you during dinner,” he says calmly.

       “But you can’t stop me from going on the adventure of my life, Father! I’ve been dreaming of it! Besides, you and Mother can manage without me just the same. Kayla can cook, and Sarah can sew! You don’t need me here!” I protest, whiskers twitching in frustration.

       A sad expression crosses his face. “Charles, I don’t want you to go alone. You’re my only son. Just let me go with you,” he says.

       “No, Father. I’m sorry, but this is my mission. I promise to return as soon as possible. I just don’t want to leave Mother with Kayla, Sarah, and Baby Nellie to take care of. Please let me go alone. Please!” I beg, awaiting his decision.

       We stand in silence, until Father straightens, opening the door. “Good luck, Charles,” he says, “and I wish you the best on your journey.”

Chapter 2:

       Readers, do you remember when my relatives said that everything was different in the outside world? It certainly was. After leaving the house where I had spent my entire childhood, I had stood outside in the dark, dim light of the world when it was sleeping. There was not a sound, just the calm, warm resonance of lake water lapping at the shore, the scent of a summer breeze being carried through the trees, sending blankets of soft, green leaves down onto the carpet of green grass. I stood outside for nearly one hour, breathing the scents of summer beauty, admiring all that I could see at one time. Finally, lying in the shade of a tall, sturdy maple tree, I fell asleep, comforted by the smells and sounds of nature.

       In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of birdcalls. I had never before heard them, because my home had been so isolated from nature. I watched the sun rise from the horizon, watched the darkness of night fade, to be replaced by the vivid, bright golden colors of dawn. I slowly climbed up the maple tree, and sat on the lowest branch to eat my breakfast. I was so immersed in watching the sun rise that I did not notice an angry bird squawking and screeching above me.

The bird turned to its nest, reached in, then dropped a squirming, wriggling worm square on my head. I shook it off in anger, then threw it with all my might to where the bird was. The worm was too heavy for me, and I dropped it onto the carpet of green grass surrounding the tree. The bird fluffed up its feathers in contempt, then flew away to get more food for its chicks. I heaved a sigh of relief, then gradually slid down the tree trunk. I kicked the worm away, where it wriggled twice then stopped moving.

Sitting on the bag I had brought with me, I began to plan things out. I found a piece of tree bark which I used for a notebook to plan my journey, and I found some sticks to use as a calendar. I went back to the maple tree to grab more tree bark, and I stuffed the pieces into my bag. I found two old, rusted bottle caps, and I attached them to the bark pieces to make a wagon. I held everything together with some tree sap, and I put my bag onto the wagon. Now was the time to gather materials, I thought to myself. I should make use of the daylight while I have it.

       Pulling my wagon, I searched the base of the tree for any materials I could use to write with. With no luck, I sat down, brainstorming. My eyes wandered to the decaying worm, and I leaped onto my feet. I raced to the top of the tree as fast as I could, and sat on the highest branch. Looking down at the abandoned bird’s nest, I measured the distance with my eyes, and jumped. I landed on the very edge, but my weight caused the nest to tip over, and it sailed gracefully in the air before landing several feet away from my wagon. Panting with the effort, I slumped against the nest, trying to catch my breath. Once I had restored my energy, I hauled the wagon to the nest, and piled the eggshell bits into the wagon. The dried-up eggshells would work perfectly as chalk, and when I used up one piece, I still had some to spare. I counted the shell bits, and recorded it in my tree bark journal. Exhausted from all the muscle-stretching work I had done – building a wagon was no easy task – I ate a simple lunch and fell asleep. A day’s work had been done.

Fireglass – Chapter 2

     The nurse, seeing my pale expression, immediately stands up. “Did I hurt you?” she asks.

       “No, it’s just-!”I stop. Why bother explaining to someone who has no idea about it? “I’ll be fine, Mrs. Powell. I just have one thing to ask, if it’s okay with you,” I say.

       “Ask away, Lizzie,” she says cheerfully. “I’m all ears.”

       “Is it okay if I borrow a wheelchair or a pair of crutches? It’s hard for me to walk because my legs are so sore.”

       Mrs. Powell grimaces. “Lizzie, I don’t usually allow students to borrow wheelchairs for fear that they will use them for the wrong reasons. However, if I loaned you a pair of crutches, you would have to walk on one leg, and I know you don’t want to do that. Just this one time – I’ll let you borrow a wheelchair- but don’t let it happen again!” She walks over to the wheelchair I had been asking about and pushes it to the chair I’m sitting in.

       “I won’t, Mrs. Powell. Thanks again!” I gingerly settle myself in the seat and wheel out of the office, heading down to the locker room before class.

       In the locker room, while everyone’s changing for gym, I wheel in. Jennifer Mayfield, my best friend, and Nicole Williams, one of my other friends, are standing next to the door, chatting. When they see me, it’s as if a chain reaction occurs. Jennifer screams, and Nicole follows suit. Then questions start coming at me from both of them.

       “OMG, Lizzie! What happened to your legs? Are you okay? OMG! Did you fall?” Jennifer and Nicole’s screams have now triggered the attention of the other girls, who are crowded around me. Like I said before – being the leader of the A-Clique and the most popular girl isn’t easy. However, my injury seems to have gotten me some extra attention.

       Everyone crowds around me, asking me questions, telling me they’ll call today. Finally, I’ve had enough. I wheel out of the locker room into the gym, telling everyone I’ll text them all about it tonight. They all shriek with excitement, because none of them knew what happened. Except me. But I don’t feel like telling them, either.

       The rest of the day passes in a blur. After school, I head back to the Biology room to pick up my assignments. I go to my locker, take all the books I need for homework, and then I wheel out to the parking lot. I pull my car keys from my purse, and I travel towards my Mini Cooper convertible. I stop in front of the car only to realize I couldn’t drive in my condition. I unlock the car, put my backpack on the passenger seat, and lock the doors. I decide to text Jennifer to see if she could give me a ride. She willingly accepts, and, ten minutes later, she arrives to take me home.

       I lay on my bed, sighing. Jennifer dropped me off two hours ago, but I still don’t have any homework done. I couldn’t focus. I tried listening to my iPod, but it didn’t do a single thing. I watched TV, but it didn’t work. I texted all of my friends twenty times each, but it just made my fingers sore. When my thirteen year old brother came home from soccer practice at 5: 15, I didn’t even bother going down to meet him. I just let him do whatever.

       “Lizzie? Are you up there? Lizzie?” he called. I listened to him take off his shoes, throw his backpack on the floor, and run up the stairs. To discourage him from coming into my room, I slam my door. The door rattles on its hinges, sending a gust of cold wind into my freezing room.

       “Elizabeth! Don’t slam the door on me. You know I hate it when you do that,” he says calmly.

       “Don’t call me that!” I snap. I had already had a long day, and I didn’t need his aggravating serenity at this moment.

       “Look. Just tell me what’s wrong.” His voice, out of nowhere, appeared in front of my closed door. I started, and jumped about three inches off my bed. “How did you get in here?”

       “Never mind,” he said, grinning. His face suddenly turned solemn. “Look, Lizzie. I know what you’re thinking about. Just forget the past. I know it’s hard to forget, but you can’t live in it forever.”

       My anger at him suddenly vanishes. “Alec, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to be such a jerk.”

       “It’s okay, Lizzie. I’ve got to go now. I can’t miss football practice. Coach would be absolutely furious.”

       After a homework-dinner (which is sort of like a TV dinner except that I do homework), I lay in bed, ready for another long day. While I had pushed the thought of the Fireglasses out of my mind, my brain wasn’t ready to give up yet. That night, it sent me a vivid dream of the incident. Every. Single. Detail.

A Game For All Horse Lovers

Are you a horse fan? Do you like riding horses or collecting pictures of them? If the answer is yes, you should try www.howrse.com. Trust me – it’s really fun! It’s a free game, and you can take care of horses, train them, enter them in competitions, and do a lot more! By the way, you have to spell the website h-o-w-r-s-e or it will go to a different website. You should try it!

Cheddar Moon – Chapter 2

       Readers, do you remember when my relatives said that everything was different in the outside world? It certainly was. After leaving the house where I had spent my entire childhood, I had stood outside in the dark, dim light of the world when it was sleeping. There was not a sound, just the calm, warm resonance of lake water lapping at the shore, the scent of a summer breeze being carried through the trees, sending blankets of soft, green leaves down onto the carpet of green grass. I stood outside for nearly one hour, breathing the scents of summer beauty, admiring all that I could see at one time. Finally, lying in the shelter of a tall, sturdy maple tree, I fell asleep, comforted by the smells and sounds of nature.

       In the morning, I awoke to the sounds of birdcalls. I had never before heard them, because my home had been so isolated from nature. I watched the sun rise from the horizon, watched the darkness of night fade, to be replaced by the vivid, bright golden colors of dawn. I slowly climbed up the maple tree, and sat on the lowest branch to eat my breakfast. I was so immersed in watching the sun rise that I did not notice an angry bird squawking and screeching above me.

         The bird turned to its nest, reached in, then dropped a squirming, wriggling worm square on my head. I shook it off in anger, then threw it with all my might to where the bird was. The worm was too heavy for me, and I dropped it onto the carpet of green grass surrounding the tree. The bird fluffed up its feathers in contempt, then flew away to get more food for its chicks. I heaved a sigh of relief, then gradually slid down the tree trunk. I kicked the worm away, where it wriggled twice then stopped moving.

           Sitting on the bag I had brought with me, I began to plan things out. I found a piece of tree bark which I used for a notebook to plan my journey, and I found some sticks to use as a calendar. I went back to the maple tree to grab more tree bark, and I stuffed the pieces into my bag. I found two old, rusted bottle caps, and I attached them to the bark pieces to make a wagon. I held everything together with some tree sap, and I put my bag onto the wagon. Now was the time to gather materials, I thought to myself. I should make use of the daylight while I have it.

       Pulling my wagon, I searched the base of the tree for any materials I could use to write with. With no luck, I sat down, brainstorming. My eyes wandered to the decaying worm, and I leaped onto my feet. I raced to the top of the tree as fast as I could, and sat on the highest branch. Looking down at the abandoned bird’s nest, I measured the distance with my eyes, and jumped. I landed on the very edge, but my weight caused the nest to tip over, and it sailed gracefully in the air before landing several feet away from my wagon. Panting with the effort, I slumped against the nest, trying to catch my breath. Once I had restored my energy, I hauled the wagon to the nest, and piled the eggshell bits into the wagon. The dried-up eggshells would work perfectly as chalk, and when I used up one piece, I still had some to spare. I counted the shell bits, and recorded it in my tree bark journal. Exhausted from all the muscle-stretching work I had done – building a wagon was no easy task – I ate a simple lunch and fell asleep. A day’s work had been done.

Fireglass – Chapter 1

       It’s 10:15 A.M. Hour 3. Biology. I’m sitting next to Jack Summers, the dumbest kid one could ever know. Well, he’s not THAT dumb. He’s just a total science geek and nothing else. Trust me; as the most popular girl in the school, I definitely know how nerdy he is. As far as I’m concerned, Jack’s probably the only kid who even likes biology. Everyone else will die sooner or later of boredom. The group that dies will include me, that’s for sure.

       About time to introduce myself, isn’t it? I’m Elizabeth Kingston. You can call me Lizzie, though. Everyone does. One thing you definitely need to know about me? I hate biology. And it’s not my fault that I’m stuck in it. It’s not an elective. It was either this or chemistry. I opted for the “easier” one. Well, you know how people say things change over time? Now I’m regretting taking biology. All my friends (who are also the most popular girls) are taking chemistry. Janelle Simon, Lisa Bradley, even Katie Schroeder, who practically worships me and follows me everywhere.

       I turn to the whiteboard, sighing. Mrs. Fletcher, as usual, has written down the assignment for the class period. I guess we’ll all be dissecting frogs today.

       “OMG. I can’t wait to dissect frogs!” I say brightly to Mrs. Fletcher. “I’ve been waiting to do this since my freshman year!” And I can’t wait for class to end, I think to myself. To be honest, I’ve NEVER wanted to dissect frogs. I’m just really good at pretending and acting, and it also helps if you’re the teacher’s pet.

       “Isn’t it great?” She beams at me. “If you like it so much, I can assign you to do the calculations and dissection,” Mrs. Fletcher offers.

       Ugh, no! She really needs to get her facts straight. “Oh, it’s okay,” I say sweetly. “I’ll let Jack do it – he’ll do so much better than I can!”

       “All right, then,” Mrs. Fletcher announces. “Class, please settle down. We will begin the experiment, once everyone sits down.”

       “Um, Mrs. Fletcher? What if our science partner isn’t here?” one boy asks.

       “I guess you can do the experiment on your own, then!” Mrs. Fletcher smiles at him. “All right,” she proceeds. “I’ll call out names, and once you hear your name, please come up to get the necessary materials.”

       She begins calling names. “John Ashford. Lizzie Kingston. Jane Martin…!”

       Walking towards the front of the room, I skim the list on the whiteboard. Two notebooks, three markers, one tape measurer, one roll of paper towels. No, wait. There’s something else. It seems to be written smaller than everything else. Is it just me? I lean forward to get a closer look. The words say “magnifying glass.” Ha, irony.

       I walk over to the tub, picking one up, but something feels wrong. Suddenly, a memory flashes in my mind. I see a flash of what happened three years ago, and I remember what caused it. My sandal strap (hey, it can’t hurt to wear sandals in October, can it?) gets caught on the desk leg, and I stumble, dropping the magnifying glass. It shatters on the hard, white-tiled floor, and something strange happens.

       As it shatters, the clear glass catches light, and the magnifying glass seems to break into millions of red, yellow, and orange shards. The black handle, however, remains intact. I try to walk away, but my sandal is still stuck. I fall, my legs getting the worst of the impact. Wearing a short skirt, I could do nothing but watch as the shimmering glass crystals cut into my legs. My hands, which I had used to steady my fall, were covered with glass crystals and smears of blood.

       Mrs. Fletcher comes running over. “Lizzie, are you all right? Should we take you to the nurse’s office?”

       I manage a weak smile. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” I struggle to my feet, heading for the sink. “I’ll clean up the shards. I’m sorry I broke the magnifying glass.”

       “Oh, honey, it’s fine. I’m more concerned about your legs, though. Are you sure you don’t want to go to the nurse’s office?”

       “Yeah, I think I’ll have to be excused from gym. My legs are pretty sore.” I say, wincing.

       So, of course, I go to the nurse’s office. I go at snail pace, until I find a wheelchair in the hallway. I wheel myself into the nurse’s office and get my legs cleaned and bandaged. As the nurse removed the last shard of glass, I saw it again. The same reddish-golden glow that seemed to radiate from the glass. I remember. I let out a gasp. The magnifying glasses that caused total destruction three years ago in my hometown. The ones that ignited and burned, causing chaos all around. They were no doubt the Fireglasses.

Environmental Poem

Together we can save the earth,

Not just you and me,

But everyone can work together,

Building like a tree.

Together we can all recycle, doing our own part,

For we all know it’s good for Earth

From deep down in our hearts.

Together we can all plant trees,

Lush, beautiful forests of jade,

Trees that block the glare of sunlight,

Providing cool summer shade.

Together we can save Earth’s water,

This precious golden rain,

Conserving it for future generations’

Use of it again.

Together we can save the oceans,

Keeping them clear and blue,

Being careful not to pollute them,

Keeping them clean and new.

Together we can save the earth,

But no matter what we do,

It takes a team to do it,

Including me and you.