Monday, December 19, 2011

An unexpected turn

My family research project took an unexpected turn last night. And I got my first big break.
My dad emailed me this photograph. "Who was she?" I asked.
"Marie-Grace Rousseau Gardner Hotchkiss."
"She was my dad's great-grandmother. She was originally from New Orleans but she was raised in Pennsylvania. After she'd returned to New Orleans, she met John Peter Hotchkiss (of Quaker descent) when she was seventeen. The next year she married him and returned to Pennsylvania with him. The records say her name was Mary-Grace Hotchkiss, but that was because when she got to Pennsylvania she Americanized her name." According to the records, John and Mary Grace Hotchkiss had 6 kids.
Hmm, that explains why after the divorce my dad decided to come to Louisiana. Turns out I'm not the only one researching this family.

Friday, December 16, 2011


My Innerstar gear arrived yesterday.

And today is my last day at Adams Middle School. After the holiday, I'm going to start school at Innerstar Magnet Academy.

You know what's strange? I spent two years trying to get away from AMS... and now that I've gotten my wish, it's almost like I don't want to go.

For starters, I'm going to miss my BF Harriet loads. Unless she finds a way to get into IMA... but that's not likely at this point. IMA is for gifted and talented girls.

Then, who is going to finish the yearbook?

Oh, and one more thing. I still haven't finished that family history project, and it bothers me. Some of the other kids have come with fascinating stories. Harriet's ancestors had been enslaved. Kat Engel's family comes from Germany and Norway. Lindsey's family is Jewish. Kate Osborne's great-grandparents survived the Great Depression.

So I haven't done a single solitary thing for the project because I've got nothing interesting to add.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family Ties

Since the holiday season is about celebrating families, every student at Adams Middle School has been given an assignment. We're to research our family histories. The project is due the week we go home for Christmas break, and some of the best essays will be read aloud at the annual Christmas pageant this year.

My problem is, I have no clue how to even begin.

I know from earlier research that the name Hotchkiss is English and Scottish, and that my father, Donald Leroy Hotchkiss, comes from a long line of Pennsylvania Quakers. There is this one site,, but it doesn't tell me very much. Also, I don't know much about my mother's family. My mother, Jillian McCaughey Hotchkiss, is not very open about her heritage. My mother and my cousin Nicki's mother are twin sisters. Identical twin sisters -- in looks only. Personality wise they could not have been more different. Sometimes -- and I hate saying this -- I wish Aunt Joan was my mother.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catching up -- part deux

The other part that has happened is that a bunch of girls have left. There are only a few of us actually remaining. Hilary's gone (again), and quite a few others have left, but I didn't know those girls well. Hilary's departure left the presidency open for me.

Meredith Hopkins no longer attends Adams Middle School, but that doesn't mean she's no longer a problem. Apparently she's now taken to calling me nasty names through my IM. How she got my instant messaging name and account I don't know. And I don't have a Facebook. Given what I've heard about Facebook, I'm kind of scared to get one.

Safe to say the "Pretty Girls" are no longer what they once were. Meredith was so upset at Natalie for becoming cheer captain that she transferred to Hillside, the private school on the other side of town, and, I heard, became cheer captain THERE. And, I'm told, Meredith and Natalie are no longer on speaking terms, even though they live in the same neighborhood. I think Natalie's gymnastics training helped her become cheer captain. As for the third girl, Sasha, she spends most of her time now with glee club -- and the new girl, Cassidy Fitzgerald. And in my book, that's a GOOD thing.

Speaking of Natalie, she and Harriet (yes my best friend) take a yoga class together and have the same PE period. I thought about signing up for the yoga class but with all my duties I've been much too busy. It's actually kind of weird seeing them laughing and talking together.

And I have more news. Remember Antoinette, the French exchange student who spent time here a couple of years back? Well, she applied to attend Innerstar Magnet Academy -- and got in! So, she'll be at IMA when I get there!

Oh, and just this morning I learned that my twin Robyn Pickering's dad passed away suddenly of a heart attack.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catching up

Okay, I promised Sabine at AG Playthings that I would be doing an update entry. Vee's health issues and my own busy life have seriously cut into my computer time. Trouble is, I may have to do TWO because so much has happened since I last wrote here!

I may have stretched myself TOO thin. That's because I'm now (finally) Student Body President at Adams. Yes, I got elected to the position pretty much by acclamation (sp) because no one else ran. You got that right. No one else ran. Right now, for example, I'm coordinating the holiday food drive.

Also, I'm in charge of all of Adams' student publications. That means the newspaper, the yearbook, everything.
And that isn't all. I'm also president of Jr. Beta club (which is an honor society for kids who have been on the honor roll) and volunteer in the library.

And you'll never believe what ELSE has happened. Natalie Spencer (yes that Natalie) is now captain of the cheerleaders. She beat out Meredith and boy was Meredith ANGRY. Meredith was so mad that she transferred to the private school on the other side of town, our biggest arch-rivals, Hillside Academy. Harriet says it's karma. I say Meredith got her just desserts. But Natalie being cheer captain is just so... weird. It really is. And it's even weirder cause she's kinda sorta dating Ethan Bergman. As in my friend Lindsey's older brother.

And to think, Natalie looked like THIS when she got here. Sigh.

Oh, and one more thing. When I came back this new girl, Cassidy, had formed a Glee Club, and Harriet of all people had joined it. I don't know her that well, but the other day she asked ME to join. Seriously. I can't sing a lick. Neither can Harriet actually, that's why she eventually quit the club. Anyway... I think she's playing Clara this year in the Nutcracker ballet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm BAAAACK! (for awhile anyway)

Missed me? I sure hope so! (cue evil maniacal laugh here)

Anyway, my human Vee has been sick. Vertigo she says. And a lot of stuff has been going on.

Well, Harriet is in Wisconsin, at the big doll hospital there. She was in a big time accident. I hear she's having eye surgery.

I cannot believe Meredith Hopkins is entered in Miss Playthings. I'm not a pageant girl myself but I wish Vee would have talked to me first before the entries went out. I think I would have been as good an entrant as her or even better.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rabbits in the Yard

So, Vee's brother-in-law was mowing the lawn this morning when he found a nice surprise in the yard... Not one, not two, but THREE bunny rabbits!

So now I have one, Harriet has one and Lindsey and Kate have one. Now can you guys help us name them?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

History of Mardi Gras

My apologies for the lack of posts here, things have been super duper crazy this end. I mean, they usually are crazy but they're crazier than usual this year.

Today, of course, is Mardi Gras here in Loozeanna. Vee was never really big on the holiday, and that's because the way she was raised, her parents weren't big on it either. Anyway, folks dress up in crazy costumes and dance and party all night and throw beads at everyone and pretend to be kings and queens. So, being the history buff I am, I'm gonna tell y'all a little bit about Mardi Gras.

According to the site, the ancient Romans probably started Mardi Gras. Or, the festival that Mardi Gras was based on. It was called Lupercalia, and it consisted of days of partying and drinking. Sound familiar? It should, read on.

The Christian church adapted the holiday as a way of helping the ancient Romans convert to Christianity. They decided to make it a last week or so of partying before the period of Lent, the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, which lasts usually about 40 days. I'm not Catholic so whatever...

Anyway, the holiday spread across Europe, and to make a long story short, the French brought the holiday to their new homes in America. The term Mardi Gras is a French term meaning "Fat Tuesday" -- Sophie and Avery would appreciate that one, I think. I'm still learning the language.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Well, I checked my email on V-day (yep that same day when I found some classmate had written in my notebook) and found out that...


Every year, the AG Playthings Message Board does this grand end-of-year ceremony (sorta like the Oscars but for us American Girl dollz) and there are all these different categories.
Well, we at The Haleyverse have been nominated in the category of Best Writing!
We are thrilled for and shocked by the nomination, and thankful to whoever nominated us. We also realize here at the 'Verse that our fellow nominees are also some of our most loyal blog friends and followers, who have been here since our beginning.

If you want to vote for us, please do so HERE. If not, we understand. :D We sincerely thank you for following us.
Oh... Sophie suggested that we try to track down who might have written those words in my notebook. The handwriting in it is not Meredith's, Natalie's or Sasha's, so we're stumped as to whose it is.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Worst V-day EVAR

Heya. C'est moi, I know I've been MIA lately, but it's not my fault, really. Things have been really crazy at school and Vee has had a lot of stuff going on. She left town because her cousin died. She's really depressed about it. Sounds like they were close.
Anyway, today was the first day that really felt like spring. It was nice and warm so I even broke out a short sleeved shirt for school.
Poor Harriet. Harriet's grandma is really really sick, we don't think she'll make the end of the month. She's been in the hospital since the end of January. Harriet's been staying with me and Vee for the time being.

Anyway, I just had the worst V-day EVER. Seriously. I found this written in my math notebook. I'd accidentally left it in my desk at recess and when I came back that's what I found. Plus the only valentines I got were from Harriet and Kristy and Lindsey and Kate. Oh and I got an email from Antoinette. Not a single one from Chase Benson.
Who's Chase?
Chase Benson moved here from Georgia. He has sun-kissed blond hair and greenish eyes and ohhhh.... listen at me prattling on. Anyway, Chase doesn't know I exist.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One more thing...

...and this is gonna be super quick...

I found out the boy Natalie is crushing on ... is none other than Ethan Bergman. As in Lindsey's brother.


Talk on.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Apology and report card time

Hey y'all, I'm sorry for the lack of posts this end. Vee broke her digital camera, again. This time she says she sat on it!
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. It's report card time at AMS. Yours truly didn't get one because she didn't get back until the day before the holiday pageant. I'm hoping to get one next time.
Harriet has a D in math, and this was only because she's been going to tutoring after school. Otherwise she'd be failing. I may have to step in and give her some extra tutoring. Natalie is failing both science and math, Mia is failing social studies, Lindsey is flunking reading, and Kate managed to pull down straight A's.
Anyway, I know why Natalie is failing. She is pretending not to know the material in order to impress this boy in her class. Really, I think THAT is dumber than anything. Pretending to be dumb to impress a boy? On what planet does 'being dumb' impress anyone?

Oh, before I forget...
Antoinette came into my editor's office before she returned to France. We actually had a fairly long little chat.

She told me that she was applying to attend boarding school in the United States.

"That's great, Antoinette."

"My parents don't want me to come to the Etats-Unis," she said. "They want me to stay in France."

"Have you talked to them?"

"Naturellement. Absolutment. But there is no convincing them."

"Maybe they'll come around when they see how many friends you've made here. Everyone at the paper misses you."

"And I them."
I told her to keep trying to talk to them. And show them all the pictures you took of everyone here.

We exchanged hugs and email addresses and promised to keep in touch.