Friday, February 27, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough...

...the tough go shopping?
Today really felt like spring, but I wasn't quite ready for shorts yet, so I slipped on my favorite pair of jeans, from the Ready for Fun set. After school today Harriet and I were chilling out at her place when she got one of those new AG catalogs for us to look at. I wanted to see if I could find a new formal dress for the open house coming up. She had her eye on the new yoga outfit and the permission slips for summer camp -- which will be held at Pine Lake this year.
"What about the new Spring Party outfit?" Harriet said, eyeing the model playing the violin in the dress. "I think it would look real good on you, you know, bring out your eyes."
"I dunno," I whispered. "It's cute but a little too -- I dunno, too dressy. I'm talking about open house, not the prom."
"Right." Harriet nodded. Then she saw the new softball outfit and we both said "Kristy" in unison.
Kristy's still suspended from school because of that fight with Madisyn Baker a couple days ago, so I haven't seen her and neither has Harriet. And she's gotten to the point -- Kristy, that is -- that she still isn't talking to me. I tried calling her on the phone, and when the director goes to get her she screams and yells "I don't want to talk to her!"
So we looked through the new catalog to see what we liked, and to get our minds off of this crap. I decided I liked the new PJ set and Harriet wants to try yoga. Sometimes I think Harriet is from a different place and time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Right after the spelling bee, during recess, all hell broke loose. Really.
Hilary and I met Kristy when she came out of her class, and Madisyn came up to us. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by Meredith and her whole gang.
Other than Madisyn calling Kristy 'half-boy, half-girl' and saying her clothes 'look like they came from her brother's closet' I don't remember exactly what she said. All I know was she made Kristy mad enough to attack her. Before I knew it, Madisyn was on the ground and Kristy had jumped on top of her.

Meredith, Sasha, and Marisa stood right there, cheering Madisyn on. Either one of them could have broken up the fight. As a hall monitor, though, it was my duty to break up the fight. But there was a part of me that didn't want to. There was a part of me that wanted the satisfaction of seeing Madisyn's chickens come home to roost.
I broke up the fight anyway, because I didn't want to see anyone get hurt. Then, on top of that, I had to take both of them to the principal's office.
Principal Ballard made Kristy take off her cap, and sent a nurse to patch up Madisyn's eye. Then he sat down. "Okay, Baker, Van Dyke, tell me what happened."
I stood there as Madisyn and Kristy repeated their sides of the story. They did even more shouting at each other. My ears were ringing.
"Enough!" the principal yelled, looking at Kristy. "How long has this been happening?"
"Since the first day of school."
"I'm suspending the both of you for two days." Then the principal looked at me. "Hotchkiss -- I'm glad you brought this incident to my attention. Someone could really have gotten hurt."

While the nurse was patching up Madisyn's eye, I tried to chase Kristy as she was running out. "Wait!" I pleaded.
"I don't want to talk to you."
"Well, will you just hear me out?"
"No," Kristy shouted. "I had her, I finally had her."
"I know, but I had to stop the fight."
"But did you have to tell the principal?" Kristy gave me a look I hadn't seen before. It wasn't anger and it wasn't frustration, it was something else entirely. She looked like she wanted to hit me. "Just leave me alone, okay? Just leave me the heck alone."
"Kris --" I called, but she was gone.

I knew all this was going to come to blows sooner or later. It just had to. There was just so much tension in the air, and to be honest it's been building up since the beginning of the school year. I went over to Harriet's place and told her what happened. She didn't say anything. I took it as, she didn't want to take sides since she and Kristy are friends, too.
Then Harriet whispered something in my ear. "Come here. Let me tell you something about Kristy."
I sat and listened as she began to spill the details of Kristy's rough life. Her parents died in a car accident when she was seven, and ever since she'd been bounced between foster homes, finally settling in a group home for troubled kids right around where Harriet lives.
After hearing that, I kinda felt sorry for her.
As for Kristy, she still isn't speaking to me. But I'm entirely sure that I did the right thing by turning her and Madisyn in to the principal for fighting, even though in light of what Harriet said I still feel like crap about it. Harriet volunteered to bring Kristy's homework to her for the next two nights.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spelling Bee Blues

Today started normally enough -- except that Harriet missed school because of a cold. And we had the final rounds of the sixth grade class spelling bee. The competition had come down to the final three -- me, Hilary Lang, and this other girl, Sasha Moore.
I don't know Sasha at all, I hadn't seen her, even, before today. Harriet told me, though, that she's biracial, that she lives in River Forest subdivision (the wealthy area of town) with Meredith and Marisa.
I tried not to look over at Hilary, but sometimes I wonder how she could always be so well put together.
Mrs. Baldwin looked at me. "Your word is 'cuckold."
I repeated the word. "May I have a definition, please?"
"A man whose wife is unfaithful. Cuckold."
"May I have the word used in a sentence, please?" I have to admit, I had no idea how to spell it.
"Cuckold. K-o-o-k-" I gave a pause. "Cuckold, k-o-o-k-o-l-d, cuckold."
Mrs. Baldwin looked at me. "I'm sorry, Haley, that's incorrect."

I took my seat in disgust. Hilary and Sasha were the only ones left.
Mrs. Baldwin asked Sasha to spell the word. "The word is cuckold."
Sasha stepped up. "Cuckold, k-u-k-o-l-d, cuckold."
Mrs. Baldwin said, "That's also incorrect, Sasha. Now, Hilary, if you correctly spell the word and another word I give you, then you have won the competition. The word is cuckold."

Hilary ran her fingers through her long, silky blonde hair and took deep, heavy breaths. "Cuckold, c-u-c-k-o-l-d, cuckold."
Mrs. Baldwin smiled. "That's correct!"
Suddenly I found myself clapping hard.
"Hilary, if you correctly spell the word 'exacerbate' you have won the Adams Junior High sixth grade spelling bee."
She spelled the word right without breaking a sweat. How does she do it? I thought.
Mrs. Baldwin called Sasha and me back up to receive second and third place ribbons. For winning, Hilary got a shiny gold medal and a chance to compete in the county spelling bee, coming up in two weeks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not-So-Peppy Pep Rally

Today there was a pep rally because Adams' girls basketball team is playing in the state playoffs. The only reason I was going was because Kristy is on the team. While we were on our way to the gym, I ran into you-know-who, dressed in her cheerleader uniform and her hair in two ponytails. "Well if it isn't Little Miss Four Eyes and her Band of Losers."
I took a deep breath. "That's not nice, Meredith."
Flinging a pom-pom in my face, she turned around, flounced her skirt, and left.
When we finally got to the gym, we took our usual seats in our usual section, wishing the whole thing would be over. Meredith's voice was the loudest as usual as she shook her pom-poms.
"Gimme an A, gimme a D, gimme an A, gimme an M, gimme an S, what that spell? ADAMS, what that spell, ADAMS, what that spell, ADAMS..."

I forced myself to cheer, but I really wanted to be someplace else instead of staring at her waving pom-poms and screaming really loud. I actually don't see what's so fun and cool about being a cheerleader. All they do is run around in short skirts and scream real loud. At least the ones at my school do. Oh, and they treat those who aren't cheerleaders like they don't exist.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweetheart Dance

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
I had Harriet over at my place yesterday evening to help me get ready for the Valentine's Day dance. I decided earlier in the day to pass out a bunch of valentines to friends and classmates. An hour before I left, Vee walked in with the dress I'd seen in the Chrissa movie and said I should wear it to the dance. At first I was, like, no, I shouldn't be wearing the dress, but then Harriet said maybe I should try and that I might look nice in it.
So when we got to the dance, the first thing Harriet and I did was look around for Adam, but I didn't see him. Thankfully, though, neither did I see Meredith.

Hilary walked in and spotted Harriet and me from across the room. "Hey, you guys," she said. I have to say, she and Mia were the only ones who helped me decorate for the dance. The flowers were Hilary's idea. "Wow, Haley, you look great!"
I looked at Hilary. I did?? I told her thanks for the compliment.
Madisyn Baker, though, made up the slack for Meredith. I swear, I think the only reason she bothered to show up was to make me miserable. "What'd you make that dress from, a bed sheet?" she asked.
"Looks like something my grandma might have worn," Natasha Ivanova added.
I kept waiting for Adam to show up. He never did. I was bummed. But I knew where he must have been -- where a lot of the kids went -- to Meredith's party. She lives in this huge house on the other side of town. Only about twelve sixth graders, eight seventh graders, and four eighth graders showed up to the dance. Madisyn and her gang checked out early as well. It wasn't too bad though, except for the constant stream of Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers tunes blaring through the stereo. Harriet and Hilary and I ended up hanging out together. The three "H"'s I guess.
At the end of the dance, Mrs. Baldwin gave out special certificates for those of us who helped out and planned it.
Sometimes, when I think about Valentine's Day, I think about my parents. My mom and dad divorced last year, and I've spoken to my mom only once since last April. I'm not sure how to feel about that. Most of the time I've felt like she was too busy (she's a successful lawyer) to try to get to know me, but I think I'm more like her than I am my dad, which scares me. Looks wise, I have dad's freckles but everything else belongs to mom, even down to the way my hair curls slightly on the end.
Another fact that's interesting is that my mom is an identical twin. Her twin sister? Nicki's mom! I saw pictures, and when they were kids they looked exactly alike, nobody could tell them apart. And they couldn't have ended up more differently if they tried. Nicki's mom married a rancher and settled in Colorado, where they now have 4 kids (Nicki included). What's funny is that Nicki's mom has also had identical twin girls. My mom, of course, became a lawyer, and from what I'm told, only got married because she was pregnant with me.
I've always been more of a daddy's girl, anyway, although my relationship with him is changing, too. Perhaps it could just be chalked to me getting older??
This morning I decided to give my dad a call. He's a freelance writer who mostly works out of the house. When I caught him he was working on his latest article for a magazine (that's how he met my mom, shhhh).
"Hey, Scooter, how are ya?" he asked. I could still hear his Pennsylvania accent. "How's your Valentine's Day?"
"Crummy," I answered.
"Cat got your tongue?" he joked. "Come on, I want to hear it."
I ended up telling him about the dance.
"I'm sorry it didn't go like you wanted, Scooter." I ended up emailing him a picture of what I wore. "You looked nice at the dance, but I feel like there's something you're not telling me."
"What do you mean?"
"Something's going on with you, Haley."
I shook my head, as if he could see me. "No, nothing's wrong."
"Are you sure?" I replied no, but then he added, "Well, you know my number when you're ready to talk. And the house is always open to you whenever you're ready." With that we hung up.
Any of you guys doing anything special for this special day?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fifteen Things You Should Know About Me

Sophie's list of Les 15 Choses gave me the idea for this post. So, here are fifteen entirely random (and some nonsensical) things you should know about me. It may end up more than fifteen if they're put together like they are, but who's really counting.

  1. My last name, Hotchkiss, is English and Scottish, and the family originates from a place called Shropshire in England. I found this out last year while surfing the net.

  2. I'm fascinated with England and would love to visit there one day. I think part of the reason has to do with #1.

  3. My middle name, Elizabeth, comes from a relative of my father's.

  4. I started wearing glasses in third grade and have had several pairs since.

  5. I would love to go to college somewhere in New England. I'm aiming for Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

  6. My future ambition is to become president of the United States. If I can't become president, I'm willing to settle for becoming a civil defense attorney. Not sure I could deal with the scum of the earth.

  7. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, I have recognized this and tried to loosen up. I can't tolerate anything less than a B on test papers and class work, and really would like straight A's in everything. In this way I am like my mother, who is a successful attorney who travels everywhere.

  8. I have a tendency to be bossy. I have my own ideas about how things should go and what should be done. I guess it's why I'm class president.

  9. I am a teacher's pet and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I can't help myself, most days at school I spend more time talking to teachers than other kids (Harriet is an exception, but then again, she's an old soul anyway)

  10. I'm allergic to pretty much everything that breathes. Which explains why being around my cousin Nicki with all her animals is such a pain sometimes.

  11. I hate Hannah Montana with a passion, and must admit to not watching very much Disney Channel fare at all. Therefore, I don't really share the obsession that most girls my age have with Disney channel stars. I have to admit, however, that there is one Aly & AJ song I tolerate, and my musical tastes otherwise run from pop to hip-hop to oldies. My favorites include Joss Stone, Alicia Keys, Alanis Morissette, and Celine Dion.

  12. What do I do for fun if I'm not into Disney fare? I used to read a lot, and wish I could still read but don't really have time to do, now that I'm in activities. My favorites include AG books, but I also must confess to being into the Beacon Street Girls series and having read most of Meg Cabot's books. The only writing I do is for newspaper and yearbook, and this blog and a personal journal. In addition, I've been known to read encyclopedias.

  13. My favorite outfit is my crisp white oxford shirt and my navy blue plaid A-line skirt. My favorite jeans are the ones I came wearing, they're roomy and comfortable. They have little flowers on the sides. My least favorite outfit is the purple pastel skirt and vest combo I got from my birth mom for this past Christmas. It's cute enough, but the vest especially is more Meredith's taste. And the pleats on the skirt bunch up and don't look good at all.

  14. My favorite color is blue, but I seem to have a lot of pink in my closet. Hmm. :\

  15. My favorite school subject is social studies/civics/history. Most of the time the subjects are wrapped up into one. I like learning about current events and how they relate to what happened in the past. Right now I'm reading about the Great Depression, and some of the stuff that's happening now is very similar.

Well, that's fifteen. I could have put out more, but why?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Harriet's Slumber Party!

Greetings from Harriet's slumber party!
This was supposed to happen in November when she turned eleven, but a lot of things happened so it didn't and it's happening now. Then we decided to move the date up to this Friday because of the dance next week.
Kristy, Katarina, and Hilary came in addition to Harriet and me. That Hilary showed up was a surprise. That Katarina did too was a complete shock.

I looked inside one of Harriet's American Girl magazines, Katarina and Hilary each brought their dolls, and Kristy just seemed bored with the whole thing. Poor girl, she'd rather be watching football or something. She was good for something though -- she hooked up Harriet's webcam so I could send a video of the slumber party to Nicki. "For the first time, Haley, you make me wish I was there," she wrote. One of Harriet's magazines has an article in it on teasing. I'm doing my social studies project on bullying, so I think I'll take this one home.

Hilary is making it very hard for me not to like her. I didn't know she played with dolls -- I knew Katarina did, from the episode in the gym. "My mom is trying to get me to stop," Hilary confessed. "She thinks I'm too old." So while Harriet and I were up on the top bunk talking about the articles and taking the quizzes in the magazine, Hilary and Katarina were having a grand old time acting out voices. I asked Hilary if she thought about trying out for the drama club, and she laughed and replied that was Bridget's thing. (Bridget, by the way, showed up later, after these pics were taken. She has a mass of red curls and freckles like mine. Megan and Mia did too.)

After that, I came down to see what they were doing. Then I asked to see Katarina's blond doll. I haven't played with dolls, really, since I could remember. I was never really into dolls, but I was curious about it. Katarina didn't want to at first, but then she decided to let me see it. I took the gesture as a sign that she was beginning to trust me. I looked at the doll carefully, and it is a genuine American Girl doll. "Her name is Kirsten Larson. I got her for Christmas," she told me. "She's become my favorite." I could tell. Katarina was also telling me that she was reading the book that came with the doll. It's about a girl whose family came here from Sweden in the 1850s.

We spent the rest of the night eating, gossiping, and watching a bunch of movies Harriet had rented. Wendy from her comments on this blog suggested we rent "Mean Girls" and we did. Even though the girls in that movie are older than we are we recognized some of the same stuff. Sometimes I do wish Meredith would get run over by a car, as what happened to Regina in the movie. We also watched the Chrissa DVD again (because, let's face it, watching a movie in a crowded school gym with people talking behind you is next to impossible). I couldn't help but again recognize Katarina in the character Gwen. And the similarities between my situation and Chrissa's (moving to a new place, starting a new school, being bullied by the reigning popular girls) were (and are, still) unbelievable and uncanny.

Harriet said the reason she wanted to have this slumber party was so that she could get to know more people. She'd been made fun of for so long (and part of the reason, I fear, was because she is African American) that even though she had been here she hadn't made too many friends. By the time everyone went to sleep, it was clear that we'd have to do this again, and soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Busy, busy

Avery's latest blog entry got me to thinking -- about my own schedule. By all accounts I've got a pretty full life.
My school classes first -- I have math first period with Mr. Herbert. You'd think starting off the day with fractions and decimals and basic algebra would frighten me, but as tough as math is, I'm glad I get it out of the way early, it wakes up my brain. He's this old gray-haired guy with thick glasses who's fond of grading us on the highest curve possible. All things considered I'm lucky to be getting a B in his class.
2nd period is spelling, right next door. I'm actually pretty good in spelling, I must admit. My teacher is Ms. Joyce. She says what she means and means what she says.
Third period is reading with Mr. Glenn. He's a young guy, looks like he should still be in school himself, and half the girls have a crush on him.
Fourth period is English with Mrs. Baldwin. She's also in charge of the yearbook and the newspaper, so I see her a lot.
Lunch and recess follow, and fifth period is social studies/history. I have to admit it's my favorite class. And it's not just because I got extra credit in it for my successful campaign for the class presidency. It's because I feel like I learn so much in there.
Sixth period is science with Ms. Evans. She's a hard one to figure out. It doesn't help that science is among my least favorite subjects.
Seventh period is physical education with Ms. Riley. I try with this one, really I do.
Last period is study hall, but honors students have the option of taking French. I'm now taking French classes, and I have to say I'm enjoying them very much. Not that I can speak the language as well as Sophie or Avery, but oh well. D'accord.
After school there's newspaper staff, yearbook staff, student council, plus I tutor some days after school. Many days I don't get home until 7 or 8 at night, and then after that it's homework. I have a strict bedtime of 10 p.m, except on weekends.
Sometimes I wonder if I've given myself too many things to do. But the fact is, if I don't give myself things to do I get bored very easily.

So, today, after I was done tutoring I went over to the gym, where the dance committee was meeting. As of now the dance committee consists of myself, Hilary Lang, Mia St. Clair, and (unfortunately) Meredith Hopkins. And Meredith, as usual, showed up late. But this time she came with a new copycat, a girl named Marisa Perez, who was dressed head to toe exactly like her. "You're late," I said.
"So?" Meredith asked.
"We started talking about the dance ten minutes ago."
"What do I care?" asked Meredith. "I told you I wasn't going to your stupid little dance."
"Then why did you sign up for the dance committee?" I asked her.
"I didn't sign up for that."
I got out my signup sheets and showed her where her name appeared, just below Mia's. "I didn't write that."
"I don't care who wrote it," I said, "what matters is that you signed up, and I expect you to show up to all meetings on time."

Meredith was all in a huff, but she disappeared up the bleachers, with Marisa following her. I tried not to get upset about the whole thing, but every time I thought about it, I fought back tears. Come on, Haley, you're the class president, you can't let her get to you, I was telling myself. I was getting ready to wipe my eyes when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I looked back with some shock when I found it was Mia. She didn't say anything, but the fact that she did that let me know she had my back.

While that was happening, though, Meredith was forcing Hilary to give up her seat on the top bleacher so that she and Marisa could sit there. "This is my seat," she yelled, startling both Mia and me.
"I don't see anyone's name on it," Hilary said.
"You know every time we have a meeting I always sit on this top bleacher." Then I heard Marisa kind of correct Meredith, telling her Hilary's new. Hilary got up anyway, though, and Meredith and Marisa took their seats on the top bleachers. After the meeting I passed both Mia and Hilary invitations to Harriet's party.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Adams' 'Mean Bees' sting again

Today I was given another reminder of the meanness of Meredith and her crowd.
We were on our way to gym class when I spotted Katarina walking down the hall. She was carrying a doll. The way she was holding it, I couldn't tell what kind of doll it was but I could see it had blond hair.
When Katarina walked by, Meredith started pointing at her while the other girls laughed and snickered. "Hey, Fat Kat," she shouted.
Frankly I was surprised that Katarina brought a doll to school at all.

Then, when we got to the gym, Natasha Ivanova, one of Meredith's minions, walked up to Katarina, who was sitting on one of the bleachers. Katarina has asthma so she only does limited activities. "Pretty dolly," Natasha said. I knew from the way she said it she wasn't being nice. "I had one like that -- when I was seven." She let out a laugh and Meredith and Madisyn behind her laughed too.
I didn't say anything, I just walked up to Katarina and gave her an invitation to Harriet's party.