Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Blond Girl Shows Up Again

I thought about what Wendy and Sophie had posted under my "Mean Girls" post all night. I couldn't sleep, tossing and turning in my bed. And then I figured out why that was.
So the next day after school I had a little bit of a 'bull session' with my friends, and we've decided on a new tactic for dealing with the girls at school.
We decided to try to isolate Meredith by being nice to her followers, even though some of them are as mean as Meredith herself. We figured out that Meredith was probably the problem, and that she's probably bullying them too.
We wanted to try out our new tactic, but after school I had to go to the newspaper office, where I had a surprise waiting for me.

The blond girl showed up, again.
I was surprised when she did, because she's still in fifth grade and won't attend Adams till the fall. "I'm Kathryn Kittredge. Call me Kit," she said as she extended her hand.
Kit it was, and she was wearing glasses. When we walked to the newspaper offices, she was telling me she was originally from Ohio and was into baseball trivia, aviation history and newspaper journalism. She also said she was related to the Kit Kittredge immortalized in books and even a movie. "She was my great-great aunt," she told me, "my great-grandfather's younger sister."
"Oh, and I want to run for class president."
I didn't really know what to make of that statement. She seemed so sure of it, too. In contrast, I hadn't made up my mind to run until I was reading Felicity Merriman's books and I realized Meredith was running unopposed. Then it suddenly dawned on me that my tenure as sixth grade class president is soon to come to an end. I have some decisions to make. I know my position at the newspaper is probably secure. But if I were to return to Adams, would I run for seventh grade president? Should I? My head's still spinning. Even though summer's coming up, August will be here before I know it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shocking News!

I just got off the phone with my mother. And I got some shocking news. Jillian Laura McCaughey Hotchkiss is on her way to Louisiana. And she's coming to see -- me.
The last time I saw her, we exchanged bitter words. And I think I know what the problem is.
I'm exactly like her.
Looks wise I have dad's freckles but that's it. Everything else belongs to her. The eyes, the hair color, the hair cut, even the near sightedness.
When my parents split up, my dad took custody of me while mom traveled the country as an attorney.
Mom was a total go-getter. She was the kind of person to whom if there was an opportunity to do something, she went ahead and did it, and then asked questions later.
During tonight's phone conversation, my mother sounded somber, almost melancholy (did I spell that right?). She was crying. It was someone I hadn't heard before.
She wasn't my mother. She was someone else pretending to be my mother.
As I've said before in this space, my mother is an identical twin. Her twin sister, Joan Marie McCaughey Fleming, lives in Colorado with her rancher husband and 4 kids. They look exactly alike but are different as night and day. Sometimes I used to wish Aunt Joan was my mother instead of my mother.
I'm nervous as all heck and I have no idea what I'm going to say to her. I, Haley Elizabeth Hotchkiss, who has something to say (usually) about anything and anyone, will probably turn to mush around that woman.

The Mean Girls

I know you guys are tired of me talking about the mean girls in my class, but I think since you've seen them so much you need to know who they are.
On the left is Sasha Moore. She's biracial. Her mom is black and her dad is white, and they're both lawyers. They live next door to Meredith, in the swanky River Forest neighborhood. I hear Sasha is a very good singer, but I've never heard her.
Next, and the worst, is the famous Meredith Hopkins. She's pretty much an eleven-year-old Barbie doll, with the blondest hair I've ever seen. Sometimes I wonder if she dyes her hair, since she has brown eyebrows. Hmmm. Anyway, she's from Florida, and where she was, she did some modeling, beauty pageants, and local TV commercials. I hear she's got designs on a showbiz career.
The third girl is Marisa Perez. Marisa's family came over from Cuba when she was little. Her dad is now a doctor in our town. I hear Jennifer Lopez is her idol.
Not in this pic is Natasha Ivanova. She's from Russia and I hear her parents are some kind of diplomats or something. She's short with wavy auburn hair. The only thing saving her height sometimes, I think, is the way she teases her bangs up in the air. Otherwise, she's a midget.
Also not pictured, there was a fifth girl, Madisyn Baker, also a blue-eyed blond, but her parents took her out of Adams after that big fight with Kristy. I don't like her very much either, and I suspect she egged Kristy on to hit her, and Kristy being Kristy took the bait.
These girls talk alike, dress alike, wear each others' clothes (mostly I've seen Marisa, Madisyn, and Natasha wear Meredith's clothes) and when they walk down the hall they look like they're joined at the hip. Harriet calls them the 'copycat girls.'

Friday, March 27, 2009

That's What Friends Are For

I was walking down the hall when I caught Meredith teasing Hilary. "That outfit makes a fat girl look even fatter!" she shouted, without knowing I was in the area, and the other girls surrounding her broke out in laughter.
Hilary looked relieved that I'd shown up, and in the midst of their laughter, I said, "Apparently someone here didn't think that joke was funny."

"Oh, loosen up, Ms. Teacher's Pet. We were just having a little fun."
I was steaming mad but I didn't say anything. Instead I just walked to my next class and took Hilary with me.
Other than this, my life after the open house is still as hectic as ever. Between the social studies fair project I'm doing on bullying, and trying to plan a workable class play, the class field trip, and the school talent show, and writing for the newspaper, and putting together the yearbook, it's a wonder I haven't split into a hundred different pieces already.
As for Meredith, she's still got it in her mind that she is the only person who matters in the entire school. She is the most selfish person I've ever met. Her little followers don't get that Meredith is all about Meredith, that they're just accessories to her, that she wears them like she'd wear a pair of earrings or a necklace, she can take them off whenever she gets ready.

I ran into her after sixth hour today and saw her sucking up to the principal. She gave me this look like, I'm the queen, I'm the boss, and you can't stop me. You talk to just about any one of the teachers, they'd have you believe she's a model student. She manages to talk her way out of detention just about every time, except the one time Kristy actually nailed her. I swear, one of these days...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Open House

Open House at Adams Junior High was held last night, mostly in the school gym and auditorium. I looked around and suddenly I felt a bit overdressed. There were quite a few of the usual suspects, along with kids I'd never seen before. One girl with short blond hair said she wanted to join the newspaper staff when she got to Adams next fall -- and this other girl, Carissa Miller I think her name was, who was wearing the same dress I'd seen in the movie -- said she liked to paint, sew, and do pottery.

I was talking to the blond girl, I didn't quite catch her name, mostly about the newspaper and what kinds of stories they covered. She showed me some of the work she'd already done for her hometown paper in Ohio -- including an article she'd written about homeless kids -- and I told her I was sure our editor would love to have her join the staff when she entered next year. As sixth grade class president and a member of the newspaper staff, it was my job to try to 'sell' these activities to the incoming students.
Then I introduced her to Megan, the editor, and had them talk awhile, while I went ahead and spoke to Carissa about our art classes.
Carissa's father is Michael Miller, a local sculptor. Harriet says he's the one who sculpted the statue of former president John Adams outside our school's front entrance. I suppose that's where Carissa got her artistic side from.

Just then Meredith showed up. She was there as captain of the cheerleaders, recruiting new members. She was wearing an especially slinky pink dress. "Well, if the dork didn't decide to put on a dress. If you dress up a dork, guess what, it's still a dork."
"Shut up, Meredith," I said.
"What'd you just say?"
"I said shut up. Didn't you hear me?"
Meredith tossed her blond head in staged anger. "Are those -- heels -- you're wearing?" she asked, looking down at my feet.
"So, what if they are? They're my shoes and I can wear them anytime I want."
It felt good. They were things that needed to be said, and I'm glad I said them. By that time though I was holding my heels in my hand and walking with little slippers on. Meredith went off in a huff but I didn't care. Carissa asked me if she was always like that, and I nodded.
Lindsey from the basketball game was there, too. She has freckles and auburn hair. She mentioned she was Jewish and was getting ready for her brother's bar mitzvah (a sort of coming of age in the Jewish culture). She also said she was interested in the newspaper and the yearbook.
With the addition of at least two new staffers next year, the newspaper should be very interesting.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It's been awhile since I've been able to put up a post pretty much about nothing, but here it is. A post that really is about nothing.
Today really felt like spring, and it was so warm that I put on shorts. Not just any shorts though. They were the shorts and tank top my cousin Nicki left behind here when she went back to Colorado. I'm not really a pink person, Nicki is, but the outfit is verry comfy. Oh well. She's not getting them back ;-)
Since it was a pretty good, warm day, I took a walk around my neighborhood. I wish I had my bike here but, oh well. Walking's good anyway. The signs of spring are everywhere. People are outside cutting their lawns, kids are outside playing, and flowers are blooming. I don't know everyone here, but for the most part people I passed by said hi to me.
One bad thing (for me, anyway) that comes with spring are the allergies. I'm practically allergic to everything that lives, so a lot of the time when I'm outside I'm sneezing like crazy.
BTW, tomorrow night is Open House, and not only do I think I'll fall flat on my face as soon as I get to the front door, but the heels are so tight I may not even keep them on.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Let's Play Dress-Up

I have to admit it, I'm not a total clothes freak. But I do like to look nice. I'm a Virgo, after all. LOL Anyway, after agonizing over what I'm going to wear to the upcoming Open House, Vee provided me with the answer. And it shocked me.

It was the Silver Belle dress I'd seen online last Christmas. It's a very Asian-inspired outfit, made of silk and brocade. And the shoes -- heels! Yes, heels. I've never walked in heels before! Knowing me, I'll be falling all over myself. I guess I'll have to spend the next couple days learning how to walk in them. Or I could cop out and wear a pair of flats.
If my glasses look different, there's a good reason for that. Yesterday I left school early and went to the optometrist to get my eyes checked. He changed my prescription and I got a new pair of glasses! These new ones are rectangular and tortoise shell. I'd seen them before.
So now with new glasses and a new outfit, I'm just about ready to face the open house. I just have to figure out how to walk to the door first.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

Well, it's here. I'm talking about March Madness. No, I'm not talking about the college basketball tournament that's going on, I'm talking about the jr. high girls' state basketball championship game! And it was held tonight... right in Adams' gym!
The Adams Junior High Lady Jaguars, the #1 ranked jr. high girls basketball team in the state, played against St. Theresa of Avila Catholic School, a team from the northern part of the state. St. Theresa, I'm told, is the #3 ranked team in the state, and I'm told there's a player named Melanie Blanchard, who's supposed to be really good.

I told you before that Kristy was on the team. What I didn't tell you was she was the starting point guard. Alison told me that just yesterday, I didn't know that. She also told me how unusual it was for a sixth grader to start on the team, so she had to be really good. Since Alison herself was playing IN the game (she's the team's starting shooting guard), I found myself having to write about it for the paper, even though I know next to nothing about basketball or any sports. Truth be told, since Kristy was going to be playing in the game, I would probably find myself going anyway. Harriet would have dragged me if nothing else.
Anyway, this has been a pretty big deal at school. Even Meredith has found she's had to shut her trap and scream real loud to cheer. Today we had to wear the school colors and there was another pep rally in the gym.
So we got to the gym at about 6:30, and it was packed. Harriet, Hilary, and I decided to form our own cheering section, along with Harriet's mother and grandmother and some girls from Kristy's group home. I struck up a conversation with a Lindsey Bergman, who sat in front of us and who says she'll be attending Adams next year. She thinks she'll be trying out for the team.

Hilary, Harriet, and I had spent most of last night making signs and getting spirit flags to wave. By the time we'd gotten our snacks and taken our seats, the game had already started. We watched Kristy bounce the ball up and down the court and throw it to her teammates. Alison kept throwing the ball at the net and missing, and I could tell she was mad at herself for missing. Then, when the coach called a timeout, I heard him tell Kristy, "They're daring you to shoot, so, shoot!"
The next time, when Kristy got the ball, she threw it up. And it went in! It also went in the next time, and the time after that, and the time after that. By halftime, I'm told, she'd scored eighteen points and the Jags were leading by nine.
Well, you can guess what happened next. St. Theresa, I'm told, asked Melanie Blanchard to guard Kristy. All Kristy did was score ten more points and pass the ball seven more times for other people to score, including Alison. And...
We won! The final score was Adams 57, St. Theresa 48.
And Kristy was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No News Is Good News

We met to produce another edition of the Adams Gazette, the school newspaper that's distributed to the faculty and students. Most of the time, our newspaper is about events that happen at school, but sometimes we talk about national events. In January we had a 3 page special on the inauguration of the president and how students felt about it. Our editor-in-chief is Megan Ryder, who's pretty much been writing since she was a tot. Her father is a reporter who travels all over the world, and ever since she was little, Megan has wanted to follow in his footsteps. She really likes the color yellow and pretty much wears that color all the time.
So, today Megan showed up to the meeting wearing her glasses. Sometimes she wears glasses and sometimes she wears contacts, but I know when she has her glasses she means business.

Only three of us showed up -- Alison, Katarina, and me. We're understaffed but we manage.
We had a couple decisions to make. One was who was going to cover the upcoming open house for incoming students. I wasn't going to be able to, because as class president I have to make my own presentation. I knew Alison, as sports reporter, and Katarina, as fact checker and researcher, might probably have to pick up the slack.

Just then Megan pulled me aside. I had to admit she looked quite 'editorly' in her glasses and starched yellow skirt set. "Haley -- is something wrong?" she asked me.
I shook my head. "No -- there's -- there's nothing wrong."
"I was wondering -- because you've seemed a bit distracted lately."
"Listen, Haley, I know you're class president and I realize that takes up a lot of your time. If you need to resign just let me know."
I shook my head again. "It's not a problem, really. I can handle it."
Who am I fooling? There are days I come home wondering what on earth I got myself into. Did I take on too much? My dad says I need to figure out how to be eleven again. Problem is, I never did.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twelve Candles

Well, today was Hilary's birthday. And it rained. All day.
I didn't really want to go to the party, and didn't really have anything to wear, but Harriet called and convinced me to go. I even borrowed her Sparkly Tunic top -- and I NEVER borrow any clothes from Harriet, lol.
So we got over to Hilary's house and the place is in a tizzy, but not because of Hilary's birthday. It's because today was also her little sister's ballet recital. "Hallee," Hilary's mother called, "do you have your costume?"
Hallee Lang is blond like Hilary and has blue eyes like Hilary, but that's all they have in common. She walks on her tippie toes and wears a fake plastered grin. Hallee's been in beauty pageants, local shopping mall fashion shows, and has taken dance lessons since she was in diapers. She's an eight-year-old spoiled brat and her parents clearly favor her.
Hilary looked sad, even though she was wearing a cute blue and white floral babydoll dress. "They forgot my birthday," she said as Harriet handed her our present.
"No, they didn't forget --" I tried to cheer her up.
"You don't know. They really forgot my birthday."
"Hilary, are you coming to the recital?" I heard her mother ask. She was putting on earrings as she walked up the hall.
"Mom, you know today's my birthday, I'm not going to sit down at another one of Hallee's recitals."
"Hill, what did I tell you about disrespecting your sister's dancing?"
Hilary's parents tried to get her involved in the things Hallee's into, but she was never interested.
When her parents and Hallee left, Hilary walked to the cupboard and got out some snack chips that were left over from her parents' last get-together. Katarina and Kristy showed up awhile later.
Hilary's a big Disney fan, so she pretty much had a Disney themed gathering. We watched Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- and then she told us she'd read the books these movies were based on, too. "Nothing I do pleases them," I heard Hilary mutter. "It's always Hallee this, Hallee that. It's like I don't exist and Hallee is their only child."
Afterwards the five of us got in a circle and held hands, as Hilary suggested. We sang "Happy Birthday" and blew out the candles from twelve cupcakes that Katarina baked. I'm not much for mushiness, but Hilary is a sap and she started crying. "You guys are the best!" she exclaimed, wiping sloppy tears from her eyes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Clearing the Air

I know the last post seems to have caused a bit of a stir... especially with Ali and Kristy. I don't know what's going on with them, and it's not really my business to know, except where the paper is concerned, and Ali is on the staff and was not pulling her weight. So, I told her about it. She understood where I was coming from and that was that. The fact that she had Kristy with her had me a little unsettled, but my beef with her is over.
Anyway, tomorrow (it's after midnight here) is Hilary's birthday. If you wanna know what happened at the spelling bee, she did win district, so now she's going to regionals to compete against spellers from about a seven or eight county area.
As for tomorrow, Hilary's said she doesn't really want a party, but we're gonna have a little get-together at her place anyway, if the weather is nice we'll have it outside. She's a big Disney movie fan -- and I'm not talking about High School Musical and the like. I'm talking about Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, etc.
Speaking of Beauty & the Beast, one of Harriet's cousins works at a music store, and he happened to find the full original soundtrack, so today Harriet went to pick it up and that's what we're giving Hilary for her birthday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dullards and Deadlines

It's just dawned on me that I can't wait till summer.
As it is now, I'm swimming in deadlines. There's my social studies fair project, which I still haven't finished. There's my year-end book report for English class. There's the yearbook, which we still haven't started working on. And there's my article on gymnastics tryouts for the newspaper. That's as big a problem as any. And making matters worse, Bridget, the captain of the team, is not making things any easier.
Bridget O'Shaughnessy used to be BFF with Hilary Lang, but they began growing apart this year. So that's what Hilary told me. Bridget's into gymnastics, dance, theater -- anything that involves performing in front of a crowd, that's where she'll be.

So, anyway, on the second day of tryouts, I asked Bridget if I could sit in and watch again, and she tried to cop a Meredith-like attitude.
"You can't close down tryouts!" I said. "Who do you think you are?"

She didn't want to, but she let me sit down anyway. A few moments later, who walked in but the paper's regular sports reporter, Alison McCann. And she had Kristy in tow. I had to admit the closeness of their relationship over the last few weeks made me just a little bit uncomfortable. They were always touching each other, holding hands and stuff.

"Alison," I shouted as Bridget did her stretches, "this is your baby. You haven't been pulling your weight. If Megan finds out --"
"Megan's not going to find out, is she?"
I shook my head. Alison could be such a basket case sometimes. "So who's going to write the article, Alison -- me or you?"
She looked at me and shrugged. "Haley, why are you so bossy? You're not the editor."
"Maybe not, but I've been covering gymnastics tryouts, and as sports editor that's your job."
I could see Kristy peering at us off to the side. She and Alison had gotten quite close over the last few weeks.
"Okay, Haley, I tell you what," Alison said. "Give me your notes from the tryouts and I'll take it from here."
Believe it or not, I had mixed feelings about this. I wanted to prove that I belonged on the newspaper staff. And on the other hand, covering the tryouts was Alison's job, not mine. I had other things to do.
On top of all this, I have to find something to wear to the open house coming up. As sixth grade class president, I have to be there and make a presentation to the incoming students. And all this at a time when I don't even know if I'll be at Adams this fall.

Monday, March 9, 2009


It was another warm day today.
I spent all evening at Hilary's with Harriet, doing our pile of homework and grilling her on the words to help her prepare for tomorrow's district spelling bee -- which means she'll probably miss most of the school day. The spelling bee will have sixth graders from all over the area, including those from Riverside Academy across town. Harriet tells me their spellers win every year.
Hilary came to Adams in January, after the Christmas holidays, transferring from Riverside, I've learned. She's told us that most of the girls there are exactly like Meredith, Madisyn, and Marisa, and she left because her mom lost her job and they could no longer afford the tuition (it's $8000 a year to go!). She had a best friend but she and that friend have grown apart. But Hilary's also mentioned something else. Her parents are getting a divorce and she might have to move. One place that's been mentioned is California. The strange thing about this is, I don't want her to leave.
Now, this coming Saturday is Hilary's birthday, and she'll turn twelve. I have no idea what to do, if anything. She is a friend but I can't say I know her that well, even though we work together on student council, as she's the rep who replaced me when I became class president.
When we got to Hilary's house, I noticed she had Kat's Kirsten doll and 'meet' book with her. Apparently she's borrowing them.
So, we're going over all the words on the master list, and I asked her how come she knew how to spell so many of them.
"I used to take dictionaries with me to bed at night," she said. "I love words."
Then I asked her if she wanted to write or something, and she had a strange answer. She wanted to become someone who studies the origins of words. "An etymologist," she smiled. "My mom thinks I'm pretty weird."
I guess my group, we're all pretty 'weird' in our own way.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Time to Talk

I came home and laid on my pillow, face down. I realized that what Kristy had done was a potential breakthrough. So I waited until I was sure they had phone privileges at the group home where she lives to try to call her. They told me she'd gone out for her evening walk, so I decided I'd wait until later.

Meanwhile, I told Harriet what Meredith did, and then wrote about it in my blog. Harriet in my bedroom and Wendy and Sophie on my blog all agreed that Meredith had now gone too far and I needed to tell an adult. Indeed, the entire situation was now officially beyond my control.
So before classes started this morning, Harriet and I decided to go and talk to my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Baldwin. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought to talk to her before since I can never find the guidance counselor and the principal is always busy. To my surprise, though, Mrs. Baldwin seemed as though she wanted to talk to me. Before I could say anything, she asked me if something was wrong.
I broke down in tears as it all started flowing out. Mrs. Baldwin reached for me and Harriet put her hand on my back.
"How long has this been going on?" she asked.
"Since the beginning of the school year."
"And you haven't told anybody?" Mrs. Baldwin asked.
I shook my head no.
"We need to schedule something with the principal, right away."
When I got to the principal's office, though, Kristy was already there. She looked me in the eye. "Haley -- we need to talk."
I was all ears. "When?"
"After school. Can't say much in here."
Just then Mrs. Baldwin, Principal Ballard, and Meredith arrived. "I understand from Mrs. Baldwin that you girls have been having an issue."

Neither of us said anything. But after a few moments Meredith yelled, "Kristy pushed me."
"But not before you started it," shot back Kristy.
"Okay," shouted Principal Ballard, "enough! Now, one by one I want you to tell me what's been going on."
I started first, remembering events that had been going on since the beginning of the school year, when I first arrived at Adams. Then Meredith and Kristy said their pieces.
Principal Ballard scratched his chin. "So this is what last week's fight was about. I see."
"These tensions between these two groups have been building since school started," said Mrs. Baldwin. "And the election didn't help."
"I agree," he replied, "this situation must be dealt with. As for today's incident, Hopkins, since I don't think this is the first time you've bullied, I'm suspending you for two days."

Meredith hopped from her chair. "What?" she asked in disbelief, stamping her feet. "You can't do this!"
"And you're to spend the rest of the week in after-school detention. As for you, Van Dyke, you're suspended for one day. You've got a history of discipline problems. Madisyn Baker's parents have taken her out of Adams because of last week's events. A couple more skirmishes like this and you're expelled."
Kristy slumped in her seat and sulked. Then Principal Ballard looked at me and he said he was glad I finally got the courage to tell someone about my being bullied.
All this reminds me, I need to finish my project. Any suggestions?

Anyway, after the meeting, Kristy called me aside and said we needed to talk. She dragged me out to the hallway -- finding a quiet place in Adams' hallway is quite a feat -- and then started. "You know --"
"I'm sorry, Kristy," I said, "I'm sorry you got in trouble."
Kristy shrugged. "It's no big deal. You'd be surprised how often it happens. People like Madisyn and Meredith just make me mad, y'know?"
"I know what you mean."
"They think they run the school. Sometimes you gotta take 'em down a peg or two. And I don't like the way they treat you."
"Kristy, I appreciate you taking up for me," I said, "but you can't go around beating people up."
She put her hand on my shoulder. "You gotta admit, though, Madisyn Baker deserved what she got, and I was about to give it to Meredith too --"
Right then and there, I realized, I need to confront Meredith, once and for all. Not Kristy, not Harriet -- but me. But where am I going to get the guts?
On top of all this, Hilary's twelfth birthday is next week -- and I have no clue what to get her. She told me her parents might be moving at the end of the school year. It's funny that she was basically just a replacement class rep after I was named class president, but she's actually sweet and has become a friend. If she moves I'll miss her.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What About Your Friends? Part Deux

"How'd it go?" Harriet and Hilary asked in singsong voices.
I shrugged. "It didn't go at all. Kristy still won't talk to me."
"Haley," Hilary said, "you did the right thing. I would have done the same."
"It's been a week and she's still upset," I said.
Harriet offered to talk to Kristy for me, but I wasn't sure what would come of it. As it is, she's spending a lot of time lately with her new BFF, Alison McCann. I know her from the paper. Ali's forgotten more sports trivia than I ever knew.

Anyway, I tried to listen in as Harriet tried to talk to Kristy. Kristy was, in Harriet's words, "just being stubborn." The situation was hopeless, and I thought I'd never get through to her. I had to admit, it was a huge setback in my attempt to be friends with her.
Just then, though, Meredith and her gang came up to me again, and again they asked me to do their homework for them. When I kept telling them 'no,' they kept on asking. And then I heard someone's voice: "Leave her alone."

I looked up. It was Kristy!
"She ain't gotta do YOUR homework for you!"
"Hey, you don't want me to slam you in your locker, do you?" Meredith asked.
Kristy stared her down. "As if YOU can slam anyone in a locker. You'd be too afraid to even break a nail!"
"You wanna play tough?" Meredith asked. Before I could blink, Kristy had pushed her beside a wall.
If there's anybody that hates Meredith Hopkins more than I do, it's probably Kristy. After all, Kristy says, ever since she came back after having moved away, Meredith has made her life miserable. Kristy says Meredith, passing by with her family in their fancy car, spotted her at her favorite fishing hole, took pictures, and circulated it all around the school, yet to this day Meredith denies ever doing it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What About Your Friends?

Kristy's still mad at me.
Harriet and I came up with what we thought was a foolproof plan to try to smooth over hurt feelings. We knew that today Kristy was going to come back to school after her suspension. See, I tutor some days after school, and ever since she was in the hospital last year, I've been tutoring her. So the plan was, I was going to tutor like normal, and not even mention, you know what, until after we were done with the session.

So I went to tutor her as usual. She's dyslexic (did I spell that right? I had to look in the dictionary) so she has trouble with reading and spelling and English. We went over last week's lessons and some of the spelling words (I had to ask Hilary for the word list) and we also skimmed through the math assignment. The whole time she wouldn't even look at me. Of course I was bummed about it, but I have to remember that part of this is in fact my own fault.

Worse, when I was leaving the gym, who would come up to me but you-know-who and her latest little accessory, Marisa Perez.
"You have the math assignment, right, Brainiac?" Meredith asked.
"What assignment?"
"The one I asked you to do for me last night."
"You never asked me to do any assignment," I said, "and besides, even if you had, I wasn't going to do it anyway." As soon as I'd said it I wished I hadn't.
"You said WHAT?" Meredith shouted in my face. "I told you, you four-eyed loser, you'd better have my homework assignment for me --"
"Or what?"
"Or I tell the whole school what really happened to your parents."
"You don't know anything about my parents!"
"You think not?" Meredith folded her arms. "Just for that, I want last night's assignment and tonight's. Got that?"
"I'm not doing your homework, Meredith!"
"I'll lock you up in your own locker if you don't do it." I heard Marisa give some amused snickers. The fact is, I know Meredith tries to copy off of me in class, so I've been trying to sit as far away from her as I can.
I feel like crap now, and I'm not sure what to do about it. For the first time in my life, I really don't have the answers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My First Solo Assignment

The other day at school, I had to turn in a report on the President's speech to Congress. I had to give a bullet list of the main points of his speech. Which was something I didn't mind doing, except I couldn't figure out really what he was saying.
As I told you before, last fall, at the request of my English teacher, I joined the newspaper staff. With my duties as class president I've been very busy with that, so I kinda neglected the newspaper. Then my teacher gave me an assignment. I had to go cover the tryouts for the gymnastics team. Sports aren't my thing, so I groaned at this assignment.

When I got there, there was a girl with a purple jacket and a whole lot of red curls that came up to meet me. "Hi, I'm Bridget O'Shaughnessy," she said. "I'm the captain of the gymnastics team."
"Haley Hotchkiss from the Adams Gazette." She extended her hand, and seemed like she was going to squeeze my fingers off.

For an American Girl, Bridget was incredibly tall and thin. I couldn't believe it. While I scrambled to find a seat, Bridget led the girls through some exercises. I recognized a few familiar faces -- Mia St. Clair, Marisa Perez, and Natasha Ivanova among them -- and wondered openly why they would spend their time tumbling on a mat and doing somersaults and trying to walk on a plank only a few inches wide.
Bridget spent pretty much the entire hour screaming at Mia, saying she needed to lose weight and train harder.

When the session ended, I asked Mia openly why she was going through with it. "As a figure skater," she said, "I needed a sport to keep myself in shape during the summer months, and since gymnastics is mostly flexibility and strength training, it works." I have to admit, I admire her dedication. She is determined to make the 2014 Olympics. I have no doubt she'll get there.

After I'd finished my homework, I spent the rest of my evening trying to write this article. I knew the basics of newswriting, but actually doing it is quite another thing. My thoughts are, should I do this by talking about Bridget? Or do it by profiling the girls trying out for the gymnastics team? How does Megan do this? I wonder.
I've thought myself about becoming a traveling doll, but Vee says if it happens at all it won't be until the summer months and then it would be limited to maybe one or two locations every couple of weeks. And I absolutely would have to return home by time school starts up again. Sucks, but them's the rules.
Speaking of school, I haven't really decided where I'm going to school next fall. Believe it or not, returning to Adams has crossed my mind, a thought that was unthinkable just a few weeks ago. I'm class president and writing for the school paper and yearbook. Then there's the thought of leaving my friends. Yes, I said it. Leaving my friends. I never thought in a million years I'd have a best friend but I do. Even back home I had problems making friends because I'm smart.
I have, however, been considering a couple private schools -- Hanover Academy (an all-girl boarding school for grades 7-12) and Parkview Ladies' College in Virginia. But going to a private school means I'd have to make the 'new girl' adjustment all over again. And who knows how it's going to go this time around.