This is Jay-Jay. He, and his brother and sister, have birthdays on March 29th. We don't know their actual birthdays other than that they were born in March. He will be turning 15 years old. He is only six months younger than I am, and he and I are inseparable. He is a golden doodle and weighs over 50 pounds. When he was younger he loved to play tug-of-war, and he still plays with me occasionally. His birthday is a milestone, but also makes me feel a bit sad. I try not to think about it, but I know that I don't have that much time left with him. The good thing about the coronavirus quarantine for me is that I get to spend a lot of time with him.
This is Midnight. He will be turning five years old. He is super playful, sweet, and scared of everything. He is so frightened of the broom and the vacuum cleaner that he will hide behind whoever is nearest to him. He adores playing fetch, and is very particular about which green tennis ball he plays with. He is a labrahuahua, which is a labrador and chihuahua mix. Even though this breed sounds bizarre, they are actually extremely common. I think he really enjoys the quarantine because it gives him more time to pester my brother and I to throw his ball.
This is Mona. She will also be turning five years old. We adopted her three months after we adopted Midnight, and ever since they met they have been best friends. She was in a bad situation before we rescued her, so she is very protective of us and barks at strangers. She is a tiny maltese mix, but she thinks she is huge and terrifying. She loves to play with Midnight, and even though he is double her size, she never backs down. Once they played so rough that she had to go to the hospital, and since then Midnight has always been gentle with her. She is very agile and patient, and she even allows us to dress her up in seasonal outfits.
Although I have had a lot of homework while I've been home, I have also had a lot of free time. One of my favorite ways to spend that free time is playing family games. My family plays some sort of game almost every night. My favorite game is Scrabble. So far this week we have played Scrabble and Monopoly. Additionally, my brother and I played Jenga. The games are a great way to have fun together and relax. My little brother won both Monopoly and Jenga. During the Scrabble game, my mom and I kept trading the lead, until I finally won by one point!
This is a photo I took with my mom's camera of one of the succulents in my backyard. One of the ways I have been coping with the stress of being home is going outside and focusing on nature. It's good to realize that even though it seems like the world has ended, everything around me, like the plants, is still exactly the same. Even if I have nothing to do, each day I try to go out and just look at, photograph, and smell the plants. Sometimes I'll run around with my dogs too. All of the nature around my house helps me to understand that I'm going to be alright.
These are sugar cookies that I baked today. I love to cook and bake, but I usually don't have time. It was really fun and relaxing. I played my favorite music and was mindful. I used this high-end vanilla extract that my aunt gave me last time she visited, which tastes amazing. I also noticed that the baking powder I was using expired in 1998. The weirdest thing about that is that my family did not live in this house in 1998. Therefore, either they for some reason brought it from the our old house in Culver City, or just bought some very old baking powder. Despite the expired baking powder, the cookies taste amazing!
During quarantine I have been feeling bored, and today my mom suggested I sew masks for the family, because we need some and can’t get them anywhere. I have a sewing machine and have known how to sew since I was four years old, although I have never been particularly good at it. My grandma, on the other hand, is excellent at sewing and was happy to help. We looked in our fabric box and found some quilting squares which were the perfect size and material. We then hemmed, pleated, and attached elastic. I thought making masks would be incredibly easy considering I had sewn clothing before, but I was wrong. Even my grandma, who taught me how to sew, had a hard time getting the elastic even. We had a lot of fun making our first two masks, but then we ran out of elastic. I was disappointed, because I was hoping to make many more, and was enjoying the quality time with my grandma. We looked online to order more elastic, but saw that everywhere was sold out. My mom then came up with idea of cutting elastic hairbands and using those. We tried it, and the hairbands worked great. I’m excited to continue making masks!
Usually, schoolwork and projects can be very stressful for me, but with so little to do throughout the day, they have actually been pretty calming. The biggest project I have over break is, unsurprisingly, for biology class. I have to draw, color and label 16 different diagrams of muscular and skeletal systems of the human body. The project was assigned at the end of March and is due on April 24th. All of the information we need is in our notes, so I have been using those and the internet to come up with my diagrams. I dislike drawing, and I'm not exactly good at it, so when I first started this seemed pretty daunting. But after awhile, I have gotten used to it. So far I have completed five diagrams and am working on my sixth.
My family and I decided to dye eggs and have an egg hunt this year, as a way to bond as a family during quarantine. It was really enjoyable, especially since I haven't done any of that since I was little. We dyed eggs yesterday, and last night my mom hid a few plastic eggs. When we were younger she would hide a ton of easy-to-find eggs, but since we are older, she only hid a few. Each egg had a dollar in it, and was hidden in an extremely difficult location. One was in a pillow case, one was behind a painting, and another was up inside the light fixture hanging from our ceiling. I had an amazing time, and celebrating Easter was a great way to do something fun while at home.
My brother and I decided to go outside and walk our two younger dogs around the block. The weather was nice, although a bit too hot. We wore the masks I had sewn, which worked great. My brother didn't talk to me much while we walked, but it was still nice to hang out. Walking, even just around the block, made me feel really happy. Additionally, it massively reduced the stress of being stuck at home. We even passed our neighbors, whose daughter is in kindergarten and is really sweet.
This afternoon I decided to roller blade around my neighborhood. I haven't gone roller blading in a long time. I used to be really good at it, but today I had a bit of difficulty. My ankles ached after only a few minutes. This was frustrating, but I kept roller blading and eventually felt somewhat confident. By the time I was on my way home, I didn't feel rusty at all. I felt the same way I do when I'm rock climbing. This made me miss rock climbing which I haven't done in months due to quarantine and back problems. Still, flying down the street on my roller blades felt amazing.
Today my mom and I decided to cook dinner together. We made paella, which is one of my favorite foods. Paella is a Spanish dish with shrimp, chicken, rice, mussels, squid, green beans, onions, and tomatoes. It takes several hours to make, but tastes amazing. I mostly focused on prepping and cooking the chicken, garlic, and spices. The paella turned out delicious, and we were very proud. I really enjoyed doing something fun in the moment. While I was cooking, I forgot about missing my friends, school, and being able to do things outdoors.
Since the weather has warmed up, my family decided to go swimming in our backyard today. My parents took a few hours off of work, and we all swam. I had a blast, and it felt like a vacation from quarantine. My brother, mom, and I played Marco Polo, which was really enjoyable. I also relaxed and just floated around for awhile. Even though our pool doesn't have a deep end, I still cautiously jumped in. My dogs even joined in on the fun, running around the pool and barking. At one point my brother coerced my dog Midnight into getting in the pool. Midnight paddled around in my brother's arms, and then he swam to the edge and got out. When we were done, both us and the dogs were exhausted.
These past few weeks I have been missing my friends a lot. Although we text and call often, it doesn't feel the same as seeing them at school every day. I miss playing cards, laughing together, and taking photos of them on field trips. Additionally, one of my closest friends was going to visit this summer for a month, and now we don't know if she can. Her name is Nicole and she is 17 years old. She and I have been friends since I was four years old. She lives in Maryland, so I only get to see her about once every one to two years. She is an amazing, funny, fun person and I miss her so much. I am still hoping that Nicole will be able to visit and that I get to see my other friends soon.
Schoolwork and calls with my friends have been the main things keeping me sane while at home. Although they can sometimes be annoying, assignments and projects have helped me to feel alright. I currently have a lot of work for some classes, such as biology, and very little for others, such as geometry. The assignments that I have enjoyed the most are creative projects and writing assignments. Usually, I like to get all or most of my work done at school, because working at home can be stressful. Now that I don't have that option, I have actually become a lot better at time management and doing work at home.
These are rock rings, a type of training equipment used by climbers. Late last November, I hurt my back at a climbing competition. For awhile I continued to climb through the pain, but eventually I stopped. Since then, I have been doing back exercises and training to get back to climbing. I feel ready now, but due to the stay-at-home order I can't go back yet. I can even do a pull-up in the four finger slots of the rock rings, and I can hang for 10 seconds in the three finger slots. This isn't as good as I used to be, but I'm making progress and I can't wait to go back!
I have been playing a lot of video games with my brother and my dad lately. The only problem is, I'm absolutely terrible at video games. I sometimes play "Animal Crossing New Horizons," which I love and have a really cool outfit in. My brother on the other hand loves shooting games. His favorite game is "Fortnite," which I have been trying to play with him. I have actually started to get good at it, and even won a match with my dad. That being said, I still don't understand why you can build in that game, nor do I ever try to build. My brother can play for hours on end, but I get bored after about 20 minutes. Either way, video games have helped me stay occupied.
This week I have been working on a project for my journalism class. The project is to make an entertainment podcast about one of our entertainment reviews which we wrote earlier this semester. For the podcast, I have been working with my friend Gabby. We have both decided to read movie reviews. The majority of the class have been using the app "Garage Band" to record, but we can't use it due to the type of computer we each have. Instead, we have had to use "Audacity" which is really confusing. We couldn't figure out how to have both of our voices overlap or how to add music, which was very frustrating. But after several hours of work, we figured it out. Even though the podcast is a bit choppy, I feel very accomplished and am happy we completed it.
This evening, my family and I played canasta. Canasta is a card game that you play in teams of two. The goal of the game is to be the first team to get 5,000 points. I learned the game from my grandparents, and I play it with them whenever I see them. Today, the teams were my mom and I against my brother and my dad. It was difficult to get my brother to play, which was frustrating. Once we convinced him though, we had a lot of fun. In the end, the boys won, but only by a little.
My family celebrated Mother's Day today. My dad and I spent the majority of the day cooking for my mom. We made fresh pasta, garlic bread, chicken, and a tomato basil sauce. I made the pasta from scratch, which was a lot of work. My mom loved the dinner, which made it worth it. We also bought her flowers, although I didn't get to help choose them because my parents didn't want me going to the grocery store. She does so much for me and has always been there for me, so I really wanted to show her how much I love her. The rest of the day we relaxed in the pool. I think she had a great day. I know I sure did!
Jay-Jay's health has been rapidly deteriorating during quarantine. He can't make it down the back steps to go outside, and can hardly walk. We take him outside on a leash to go to the bathroom every few hours, but he often resists. It devastates me to think that just last year he loved to play outside, and now he hates leaving the house. I try to pet him every chance I get, and I constantly give him treats. I may only have a few weeks left with him, but I'm going to make them count.