I’m moving!

Well the time has come for me to move my blog again. *sigh* Hehe my new blog address is hayleytai3.wordpress.com

If I’m on your blogroll, you probably need to change my link to this new address. I look forward to seeing lots of new comments!

Goodbye edublogs!

Head Student

“Hayley, you’re shaking so much!” Megan told me as we squeezed into a chair in the principal’s office.

“I know! I can’t stop!” Another nervous shiver passed through me as Mr McCabe walked into the room. He sat down in his chair at the head of the table and surveyed us all. The nervous talk around us stopped.

No, I was not sitting in the principal’s office for being in trouble, I was there along with the rest of Te Awamutu Intermediate’s Class Councillors and House Captains that had applied for job of Head Student. We had all undergone application letters and interviews the week before. It was at this meeting that Mr McCabe was going to announce his decision!

“Right guys, as soon as I say this, I’m going to leave the room. You are welcome to stay behind and chat.  I have decided that this year’s Head Students are…. Hayley and Nicole.” He then left the room. There was a stunned silence. Then, the room was full of whispers.

“Shot Hayley!”

“Congatulations Nicole!”

Nicole and I were very surprised and proud-I was so happy that I could not stop laughing! We all got up and hugged each other. I am looking forward to the rest of the year and what is now held in store for me!

What keeps me going…

Thanks Amanda for tagging me!

What keeps me going? Well, when I’m sad, I would say hope that things will turn around. Hope for the future and being able to look forward to the future and the things you could do and experience in it.

The love I have for my friends and family and pets. Without them, it would be very difficult to keep going! Besides, if I ‘stopped going’, I wouldn’t want them to experience the sadness they may feel if I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t want to cause them grief. If that makes sense.

Not knowing whats around the corner. Anything could happen next, and thats one single thing to keep going for. Curiosty is partly to blame for that, but I think waking up every day and not knowing whats going to happen in the time between then and when your head hits the pillow again is a great motivator.

For this post, I tag

Megan

Georgia

Nicky

and Alex.

My new responsibility!

My head was spinning with thoughts, worries and hopes as Room 3 sat down and waited for assembly to start. But this was no ordinary assembly, because it was then that the House Captains and Class Councillors were to be announced! Well, most of the other classes already knew who their councillor is, but ours didn’t so I was very nervous because I had applied for both jobs. It seemed like forever waiting!

But finally, Mr McCabe told us that we were about to hear the names of the House Captains. It turned out that my best friend Megan had gotten Puniu’s, and my other friend Georgia got Waipa’s! I was very happy for them! But then, Mr McCabe said that the councillors would get their badges next week, because they already knew who they were. I was very confused. I looked at Mrs Crowe but she gave me an expression saying ‘don’t worry, you’ll find out!’. So, after the assembly, she came up to us, and said, ‘this year’s Class Councillor is… Hayley!’ I was very happy- I had been hoping for that moment for weeks! I felt very proud as I went to join the other Class Councillors in the library for our first meeting. =]

 

Smoking

I was very bored the other day so I went and had a look at www.funny.com. This picture was in the most popular pictures of all time! The picture is of a mural painted above a designated smoking area. Me not being a smoker, I found it quite funny, but I can imagine seeing someone who does smoke seeing it and feeling a bit guilty! (About what they may be doing to their body). What do you think about it? Comment please.

Inside the life of a year 8…

Well, school had started again and I have resurfaced as a year 8. I know it may sound boring, but being a year 8 at Te Awamutu Intermediate is actually a great experience! For starters, you get to apply for jobs like Class Councillor and House Captain, you can boss around all of the year 7’s (just kidding =]), and there is the great celebration of the year 8 ball at the end of term 4!!! The ball is one aspect I cannot wait for.

So far this year, I have signed up for these jobs:

Leader of the school magazine,
Cat monitor (feeding the school cats),
Staffroom monitor (cleaning the teachers’ dishes :P),

And I have written my applications for Class Councillor and House Captain. I really hope to achieve one of those, and a role in the school production! (I personally think everyone’s a bit out of character in the run up to the decision of House Captain etc, if you know what I mean, so I can’t wait for the decisions to be made so we can get back to normal!) But anyway, so far this year has been pretty good; watching the year 7’s settle in, swimming in our school pool and doing lots of sport, catching up with everyone after the holidays, and lots more. I think that 2009 is going to be great!

2008!

2008 has been one of the greatest years I’ve had so far, I think! I have been involved in so much, and everything has been very rewarding. Some of my highlights were speeches, Wearable Arts, ski trip, and the Shoemaker and the Elves. This year feels like it has gone so fast, but I can’t wait for 2009 to start. Because next year I will be a year 8, so everything will be twice as busy! I’m not complaining though, everything is rewarding in the end. (By the way, I’m sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while, I have just been so busy this term with athletics, my dance production, Christmas preparation, lip sync and magazine work).

Some of my goals next year are…

Getting a role in the school production,
hopefully achieving class councillor, then head student (or maybe house captain),
going on the Ski Trip again,
making the school magazine twice as good as this year (if that’s possible),
being a good role model to all the new year 7’s,
continuing my music lessons with the trombone,
continuing participating in school drama,
and maybe joining another cultural option like Jump Jam or dance.

Wish me luck!

The 11 Year Old Gangster

“A Gisborne school is fighting to save an 11-year-old boy from a life of crime after his mother bragged he had already passed Mongrel Mob* initiation tests.

 The boy is said to already be running his own gang which includes some 18-year-olds.

But Awapuni School principal David Langford says he is being hampered by a lack of early intervention support for pupils with severe behavioural problems.

The boy was excluded from his first primary school in 2006, aged eight, after a series of violent incidents including bringing a baseball bat to school, crushing a pupil’s hand with a chair leg, and assaulting and injuring children.

That principal, who did not want to be named, said the boy had been behaving violently since his first day at the school as a five-year-old.

The principal also said the boy’s mother had recently boasted to educational professionals that her son had passed gang prospect tests.

“This is a child we are talking about who was encouraged to complete criminal acts,” she said. The boy, whose father had been a Mongrel Mob leader, is known to police.

The boy was described by a psychiatrist as a predatory assailant several years ago and is now believed to be running his own gang, which Langford said included some members who were aged 18.” – http://www.stuff.co.nz/4739968a11.html

I think this is a disgrace. I think there should be more done to support this boy and lead him away from the path he is straying down. Such as counselling, or maybe his parents just need to be more strict and keep a better eye on him. This story just goes to show how gang culture is affecting New Zealand’s children- I don’t think it’s fair to be exposed to crime and violence at such a young age. Especially in this case- the boy was obviously exposed to the world of gangs through his father, who was apparently a Mongrel Mob member. My opinion is that all gangs need to be cracked down on. You know that it is getting out of control when younger and younger people are getting involved. I don’t know that this boy is the youngest child to ever be involved in a gang, but I do know that the last thing New Zealand needs is another one.

* Mongrel Mob-a New Zealand gang.

My Term 4 Goals

~ To help finish the school magazine on time, and put as much of my input in as possible.

I can do this by helping organize and collect the articles/pictures.

~ To learn and master my dance for jazz dancing before the end of year show.

I can do this by concentrating in lessons, and not continuing until I have mastered each step.

~ To try to the best of my ability in Athletics and hopefully make it into the interschools.

I can do this by training hard and trying out for the sports I am most able in.

~ To balance school and home work effectively and hand them in on time.

I can do this by prioritizing with due dates, and working hard.

~ To perform well with my drama group in the grandparent’s concert.

I can do this by rehearsing lots, and avoiding stage fright.

Finally- some rest!

This last term has been very busy, with Cross Country, speeches, schoolwork, Wearabe Arts, Ski Trip, dancing exams, and trombone competitions, so I am very glad to finally have a chance to put my feet up. But I’m not saying that the last 10 weeks haven’t been rewarding! I managed to scrape 14th in Cross Country, 2nd in the Speech Finals, 2nd in trombone competitions, and 2nd in the Wearable Arts finals for my category! I have also particpated in jazz dancing and essay competitions which have results yet to come. The Ski Trip was very fun too. A group of us went up and stayed on a lodge at Mount Ruapehu for a week, and went skiing every day. But unfortunately, I came back with no voice, and a bad cold.

Which is why I am pretty grateful for our two week school holidays. They haven’t been too eventful so far- I was lying on the couch with a box of Strepsils, a book, and a box of tissues for most of the first week. And, despite the resulting cold from my first try, I bravely went skiing again for a day on my way to Taupo! (Bad idea- there was a terrible blizzard. But at least I managed to thaw out my frostbitten fingers and toes on the remaining car ride to the resort!) We stayed in Taupo with my auntie, uncle, and two little cousins for about 5 days. I made sure to pack a lot of tissues! In our time there, we went swimming in the hot pools, we had a look around the shops, and we went bike riding a lot. (Which, by the way, resulted in me getting lost in the backyard of a marae, and almost skidding into the Huka Falls!!)

We arrived back from Taupo a few days ago. In the days that have followed, I went to the movies with a friend, went to my best friends house and went to the movies again, and picked up the phonebooks that we have to deliver sometime this week. I don’t know how I managed to come back from Taupo with no cold, but I am definitely not complaining! And plus, my voice is back! (I can scream again!)

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) FINAL CHAPTER

A shower of glass was suddenly launched into the air, soon cascading to the ground. All down the street, front doors began to open and people came out of their houses in dressing gowns and pyjamas, wondering what on earth the noise was. The police cars all rolled to a stop, and officers jumped out armed wih dangerous weapons. A huge array of dogs accompanied them not long after. But everything began to blur up in Jack’s sight, as he saw how bad the damage was to Darren’s car. There was no way he could have survived the crash. Rain mixed with tears seeped down his cheeks. He knew that Jack was a very bad man, but he could not help but feel sorry for him after all that they’d been through.

The dogs began to howl. But their mournful tones started to melt into a very strange noise. Almost like… a whining cat! Jack opened his eyes. He sat up and looked around. He seemed to be still lying in his garden. Amber was sitting next to him whining and whinging, trying to wake Jack up. Jack rubbed his head- he must have hit it on something and been knocked out. Come to think of it… there was a small tree resting right next to him. He got up and picked Amber of the ground, then began to walk back towards his house. Jack’s dream was slowly coming back to him now. He thought it had something to do with all the cats acting strangely, his neighbour Darren, and a lot of police dogs. Jack scratched Amber’s head as he opened the back door.

“Listen, do I have a story to tell you!”

THE END

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 9

Jack, as quickly and as quietly as he could, opened his door and slipped out into a shower of rain. Since they had stopped in a suburban area, he was able to find a dripping bush to hide behind. He heard Darren call out his name. Jack crouched down and tried not to make a noise. The last thing he wanted was for Darren to find him. To think he had trusted such a creep.

What am I going to do? Jack started to worry when he realised how desperate his situation was. It was pouring with rain. He was alone with a mass murderer in the middle of some strange town, with no way to escape or get home. Except…

Maybe those animals really are police dogs! It was Jack’s only hope. The footsteps seemed to be getting closer and closer anyway. The sound of an engine revving up met Jack’s ears- Darren must have realised that Jack knew his plan. He was driving away! Jack waited for the sound of Darren’s car to fade, then leaped out from behind the bush. He then started to walk down to the other end of the street. Hopefully, if luck was on his side, there would be police officers with the dogs.

Suddenly, the growing sound of footsteps stopped, and was replaced by a police siren. It got louder and louder, until a line of police cars appeared at Jack’s end of the street, along with Darren’s green van. Jack quickly dived behind a hedge and watched. Darren seemed to be doing everything he could to avoid being caught. He swerved from side to side, and gained speed. The van got faster and faster, finally spinning out of control. It skidded through a puddle, then crashed into a huge tree.

To be continued…

 

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 8

Darren quickly turned around and started fumbling around in his bag.

“Hurry Darren, they’re coming fast!” Jack was right. The pounding of huge paws on the ground was getting louder and louder. Darren turned around. He had a sheepish look on his face.

“Uh… I don’t know how to break this to you, but I packed the wrong bag.”

“WHAT?!” Jack shrieked. “What are we going to do!?”

“Run for it!” yelled Darren. Him and Jack sprinted the long distance back to the van and dived inside. They drove in tense silence for around 5 minutes. Then, a spluttering noise met their ears, and the van slowed to a stop.

“There must be something wrong with the engine”, muttered Darren as he looked at the fuel gage- which was almost full. Darren hopped out of the van and jogged around to the bonnet. While Jack waited, a newspaper clipping met his eye. It was poking out from under the seat.

‘NOTORIOUS MASS MURDERER DARREN HENRY ESCAPES’ read the title. The article had a picture too. it was of a younger Darren holding Cupcake as a kitten. Jack froze. This couldn’t be right. Darren- a murderer? The date on the top of the page read: 12/5/06. This meant that supposedly, Darren had been on the run for over 2 years. Jack now felt even more scared than before. What if all of this was just a plan for Darren to get to Jack? His mind started to work furiously. It was all making sense to him now. Darren had moved next door two years ago. Amber acting strangely- she must have known about Darren’s plans somehow. All of the lies about dogs- Darren must have made them up in an attempt to take Jack away to a remote place. But then what could the huge animals have been? Fake…unless they were police dogs! Maybe the police had found out about Darren’s plans.

Suddenly, the sound of footsteps met Jack’s ears. Darren was coming back to the van!

To be continued…

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 7

Darren and Jack climbed the staircase to the outside world, and trudged over to Darren’s beat up green van. Jack, following Darren’s lead, threw his bag into the backseat and hopped inside.

“So, where exactly are we going, Darren?” Jack asked.

Darren laughed. “Right to the edge of our town, young man!”

He revved up his engine and the van started to creep along the driveway, windows rattling. Jack breathed a sigh of relief once they reached the road, for he knew that he wouldn’t be in danger of waking up his sleeping parents anymore.

Ten minutes later, the roads started to turn more dusty. Jack poked his head out the open window and could smell the scent of dryed up shrubs. The dark landscape in front of them displayed a desert-like scene. Jack’s thoughts were suddenly halted- he could actually hear the chirping sound of cicadas! Up until now, the harsh rain had blocked out any noise except raindrops clashing with materials. But the rain had stopped, and Jack could even detect a flowery scent among the smell of dryed shrubs.

The old green van slowed to a stop, and Darren jumped out the door, beckoning Jack to follow him.

“Grab the bags on your way out!” he called, and Jack obeyed. Jack and Darren started to trek across the desert. They stopped walking around fifteen minutes later.

“Here we are!” said Darren. Suddenly, a mournful howl consumed their ears. All too quickly, silhouettes of large animals appeared on the horizon.

“Darren! What do we do?!” Jack shrieked.

To be continued…

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 6

Jack scrambled out of his chair, dusted himself off- then stopped.

“Darren? How do we get out?” he inquired.

“Ah.” said Darren. “I forgot to mention that. There’s a staircase over there.” He pointed to the far corner of the room. Jack couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed it before! Jack thanked and told Darren that he would see him later, and climbed up the staircase. He heaved open the trapdoor that appeared above him, and poked his head out. He seemed to be on the edge of Darren’s garden. He scrambled up and out, while closing the trapdoor behind him. The garden was a beautiful sight, even in the, still wet, darkness. Jack could tell that it looked spectacular during Spring. He ran across the garden and jumped the fence into his backyard.

As he was about to take a step forward his foot connected with something squishy- and soft. Amber! She screeched and ran towards the back door. Jack followed her, opened the door and she dashed inside. Jack glanced at the clock- 11:00pm. He set his watch to go off at 5:15am. Then he threw on some pyjamas and settled in for the night.

* * *

Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Jack’s watch woke him a with a fright. It was still dark and rainy outside. He rolled out of his bed and toppled onto the floor. He knew he wouldn’t have any time for breakfast, so instead just quietly put some clothes on, being wary of the fact that his parents were still sound asleep.

I suppose I’d better get ready. Jack thought, and spotted his backpack by the door. He threw in some food from the fridge and his drink bottle. He also included his pocket knife set. The door loomed appealingly at him, so he gave up on doing anything else and exited the house.

Back in his study, Darren was waiting excitedly for Jack. As soon as he arrived, Darren lept out of his chair.

“Okay mate, let’s go!”

 

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 5

“W-what are you d-doing here?” Jack stammered. “What’s g-going on? Who’s coming at d-d-dawn?”

Darren sighed. “I knew this day would come. My hideout is too obvious for the adventurous types.” He glanced at his watch. “Well, I might as well start from the beginning. Take a seat.”

Jack sat.

Darren continued to stroke Cupcake. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a sixth sense. The ability to predict the future and the present. Normally it works in favour of me- such as this time. I built this study to give myself a place to think and research my abilities.

“About 3 weeks ago, a strong feeling of anxiety began to creep into my system. I had dreams and visions of a gang of vicous dogs coming for our town. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true. I researched it, and found out that these dogs are known all over the world as a myth, and that they cause cats to become out of character. Hence Cupcake venturing out of the house.”

“And Amber hating warm milk” said Jack quietly.

Darren continued. “I even managed to find the exact time and date that these canines would arrive. Tomorrow at 6:00am. But now, since I have told you everything, the offer becomes more apparent. Would you come with me to help ward the dogs off?”

Jack sat up. “Are you mad?! Of course I will! Anything to get Amber back to normal!”

“Great then!” Darren clapped his hands together. “I knew, as soon I saw you come through that bookcase, that you were the perfect helper. Only a true adventurer could figure out how to get down here. Shall I meet you back here then, at say, 5:00am?”

“Sure!” said Jack.

To be continued…

 

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 4

Jack’s head was suddenly abuzz with questions. Who were ‘they’? Why were they coming? Where was Cupcake? How did she get out? His eyes traced the path of the paw prints. They began at the bean bag underneath the trapdoor, and finished right where he was kneeling. They were a little scuffed where they stopped, so Jack guessed that she either had to jump, stand on her hind legs, or crawl to get to the exit. Jack remembered a story he had read when he was younger. It was about a boy who was trapped in a room, and the only way he could get out was through the bookcase. How had he done it? It was right on the verge of Jack’s mind… 

He got up and paced back and forth in front of the bookcase. Maybe it was blocking something- the exit could be behind it. Jack walked over to a side and pulled. Nothing happened. It wouldn’t even budge!  

Suddenly, Jack’s eyes caught sight of something. It was a book called ‘Handles’. The author was ‘Ima Doorknob’.

That’s ironic, thought Jack. Too ironic. He walked over to it and tried to pull it off the shelf. A faint ‘click’ was heard, and the entire bookcase swung towards him. Jack was hit and flew back towards the beanbag. He wasn’t put off, however, and jumped up straight away -but somewhat cautiously- to meet the sight before him.

His eyes slowly took in what he was seeing. It was Cupcake, proudly purring, and sitting in the lap of Jack’s 50- something year old neighbor, Darren. One hand being used to stroke Cupcake, Darren leered at Jack from a rickety old rocking chair.

‘I see you’ve found my study.’

To be continued…

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 3

Jack scrambled under the dripping flowers and readied himself to jump down into the trapdoor. Then a terrifying noise stopped him. It sounded like an animal hissing- but it didn’t sound like Amber. He slowly turned around and found himself face to face with the neighbor’s cat, Cupcake. Her normally calm ginger face was twisted into a snarl. Jack froze.

How could this be Cupcake? She never comes out of her house- especially in the rain. He made a fast, loud noise- but Cupcake didn’t budge. She didn’t even run away like her usual self would. What could Jack do? Suddenly, Cupcake pounced. Jack rolled sideways out of the way, and Cupcake went sprawling down the open trapdoor.

Phew. Jack quickly scanned the dark garden for any more strange happenings, but seeing nothing, turned back around and followed Cupcake down the trapdoor. He fell in darkness for a few seconds, but then landed with a thump on top of something. Something soft. He looked down and realized that he was sitting on top of a squishy bean bag.

What the heck… Jack’s eyes swept the room and they fell upon a dusty wooden floor, a table with a lit candle on it, a full bookcase, and another bean bag. It was some kind of secret room. A rush of fear and confusion came to Jack- the candle was already lit! Somebody had been in here, and they were definitely human. How could a cat light a candle?

Cupcake! Jack suddenly remembered. Where was she? He lifted up the bean bags, checked under the table, and scanned the floor. Nothing. Not a trace of fur anywhere. Just a few paw prints in the dust leading to the bookcase… Jack jumped in shock- he hadn’t noticed those before. He followed them, but they came to a halt at the bottom shelf. Then something caught his eye- a note sticking out of one of the books. The book was called ‘Canines from Afar’. Jack pulled the note out. Written on it, in scrawled messy handwriting, were the words;

“They will come at dawn.” 

To be continued…

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 2

A saturated Jack, once again, peered through a small tree. Nothing. How was he supposed to find out what had happened to Amber with no clues, leads, or hints?

Wait a minute. Jack stopped. Where was it that he had found Amber before?

Under the kitchen window! Jack remembered. He jogged over to the flower bed under the window, only pausing to flip his umbrella the right way in again. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning lit up the gloomy sky. In the brief light Jack glimpsed something hiding underneath some withered lillies. A pair of eyes.

“Amber!” Jack hissed. Startled by Jack’s voice, she sprung out from under the flowers and whisked herself off into the shadows. Jack groaned loudly. Deciding that Amber could look after herself for a while, Jack bent down to examine the ground that his cat had just deserted. He reached out a hand and felt around in the dirt. Then his hand bumped into to something that felt suspiciously hard.

“A padlock!” he whispered excitedly. Jack fished around in his pockets for a paperclip and began to pick the lock. With a small ‘tuh’ it sprang apart. Abandoning his umbrella, Jack put both hands under the flowers and brushed away the dirt. A wooden square began to formulate. A trapdoor! Jack heaved it open and peered inside.

To be continued…

Beneath the Raindrops (a random little story) Chapter 1

Oh man, where is she?

Jack adjusted his hold on the umbrella, and bent down to peer through a small tree. It was a raining, cold, dark night, and Jack was searching around his family’s garden trying to find his pet cat, Amber. He regretted letting her out earlier, because he knew how much she hated thunderstorms. Jack squinted through the raindrops, thinking that he had seen something under the kitchen window. He crept over and gingerly poked the lump.

A piercing screech filled the damp air, and Amber shot out from under the window and flew through the open back door. Jack ran a hand through his light brown hair and breathed a sigh of relief. He let down his umbrella and followed Amber through the door.

Inside the cosy suburban house, Amber was quivering beneath a table. Her eyes glowed in the bright light as she watched Jack prepare a saucer of warm milk.

“Here Amber! Come here!”

Jack coaxed her towards him and set the saucer down on the wooden floor. Amber crept over to it, caught a whiff, and streaked back under the table. This is very unlike her, Jack wondered, warm milk is her favourite drink. A crack of thunder ignited the silence and sent Amber in a whirlwind sprint towards the open towel cupboard door. She soon darted out and ran back towards the table, then began to frantically lick her paws. Now this is wierd, thought Jack. Something strange happened out there, and I’m going to find out what it is.

He grabbed his umbrella and stepped through the back door, not noticing Amber sneaking past him and running into the darkness.

To be continued…

A Season for Elves

You all probably know about the show I am in at our local town theatre (The Woolshed- owned by Te Awamutu Light Operatic Society- TALOS), The Shoemaker and the Elves. I wrote a post about it earlier. Well, now we are almost at the end of our season. The shows started the first Saturday of the school holidays and have been going ever since -the last one is tomorrow. The whole cast has had a lot of fun performing. There have been many jokes, from the elves chant, to the Shoemaker and the Elves after party!

The group of us has gone from nerve racking auditions, to time consuming rehearsals (two hours, three times a week for two months!), to the great shows. All of the shows have been great fun. The feeling when you step out onto the stage with all the lights on you is amazing. I am definitely going to miss the cast and backstage crew when we end. But I can’t wait to do it all again next time I’m involved with a production!

P.S: If you wanted to know, my part in the production is an elf.

Over 500,000 cats exterminated in Beijing

“Thousands of pet cats in Beijing are being abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounts an aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games. Hundreds of cats a day are being rounded and crammed into cages so small they cannot even turn around. Then they are trucked to what animal welfare groups describe as death camps on the edges of the city. The cull comes in the wake of a government campaign warning of the diseases cats carry and ordering residents to help clear the streets of them. “

– http://www.antifursociety.org/CHINA_MISSION.html

I was searching for pictures of China before, and I came across the above image. I clicked on it, and found this information. I just had to write a blog post about it, so my readers know the extent of Beijing’s Olympic Games clean up acts.
Others include spray painting grass green and killing homeless people. (Although I’m not so sure on the homeless people fact).
Anyway, doesn’t it make you feel sick? Hundreds of thousands of poor cats are being killed, just so Beijing looks good for the Olympic Games. Me being an avid cat lover,the horrific photos struck hard.
The cats are hauled of the streets and crammed into cages, to travel to their doom. If only I lived in Beijing, then I could try and rescue them! I wish there really was more I could do to help, but for now all I can do is spread the word.

A Review of my Goals

Academic:

~ To not get distracted when doing my work, and to manage my time effectively. I can do this by ignoring distractions around me, and getting my work completed early.

I think I did okay with completing this goal. I have gotten most of my work in on time this term, without too much stress!

~ To work hard in Maths and try to get into the top group. I can do this by concentrating hard, and asking for help when I don’t understand something.

I didn’t manage to get into the top group, but I discovered that this is because I am a year 7, and still have a year and a half left at TAI. I have been asking for help when I need it.

~ To make the most of my time in each Tech Art. I can do this by putting my all into the different subjects, and trying hard.

We have done hard materials, music, and cooking so far for tech arts. I think I made the most time out of cooking, because I tried hard to make my food taste nice, and to make invitations and posters for our taste testing expo.

Social/Cultural:

~ To help more with the T.V. show with my role as a producer. I can do this by helping the rest of the group when we do filming, and offering ideas and suggestions.

I haven’t really completed this goal, because there hasn’t been much action with the TV group lately. but when we start to work on it again, I will help as much as I can.

~ To get into the class softball team and try my hardest. I can do this by learning all of the rules of the game, and remembering to bring my P.E. gear! 

I didn’t manage to make it into the softball team, but the season’s over now anyway. But soccer has started, and I am in the class team for that!

~ To put more effort into helping my group in the ICT club. I can do this by getting more involved, and putting my ideas in.

I have helped a bit more with the ICT club this term than I did last term, because I helped my group take photos and film people using ICT.

Personal:

~ To perform well with my part in The Elves and the Shoemaker. I can do this by remembering all of the script and songs, and practising them.

I have done pretty well with my part in Elves and the Shoemaker. We are now doing dress rehearsals, with lights and makeup and everything, and it’s a lot of fun! Our two week run of the real show begins this Saturday at the Woolshed, so we have been rehearsing like mad!

~ To get into the Senior Band with my instrument. (Trombone) I can do this by practising every day, and trying my best.

I got into the senior band and the jazz band after some practise! We are learning lots of new pieces, and some of them are pretty challenging, so I am getting better.

The High Ropes- my poetic writing

My eyes slowly gazed up at the thin pole before me, taking it all in.  Behind me, belayers were fastening my shoulder harness.

“Okay, you’re ready to go!” one of them instructed my already retreating back. I walked over to the starting point and began my climb. Wanting to show everyone that I could catch the trapeze, I was full of confidence and very excited! But my mind slowly blanked itself of all thought as I made my way up the staple pole. Left, right, left, right, left right…

Suddenly, my hands grazed something. I glanced above me, and was jolted from my repetitive dream world and back into reality when I realised that I’d already reached the metal platform. My trembling arms reached up to grasp the grippy metal. Now I wasn’t sure if they were shivering from excitement or nerves. I hoisted myself up, legs flailing like an upside-down turtle. One knee after the other, I clambered until the only thing supporting me was this seemingly weak sheet of steel. Gingerly, and gripping the handholds tightly, I raised my legs one at a time until I was squatting.

Why had I been so enthusiastic about this? Why is my confidence slipping away with every passing second? And how in the world am I going to be able to catch that trapeze that seems a million miles away? Thoughts ran through my mind as I let go of one of my reliable handholds. The platform wobbled dangerously as I let go of the other. The wind stung my face as I raised myself to a standing position. Now I no longer felt confident. Instead, my feelings were flecked with fear and nerves. My legs felt like jelly, and my head felt like lead. I braved a downward glance, and gasped loudly at the huge ten metre height. I also spotted some colourful dots, ready to tug on the wires. The wind carried their encouraging shouts to my ears. My eyes watered as more cruel wind whipped across my goose-bump covered skin.

Right then, the multicoloured specks down below yelled that they were going to begin the countdown.

My voice shook as I called out “Okay!” I did a double take. Hold on – I’m supposed to leap all the way out there? The wind must be getting to me… more thoughts jumbled my brain as I spotted the distance between the trapeze and I again.

“Three!” Oh no…

“Two!” Help!

“One!” All thoughts and worry were blown from my mind as I jumped. I forgot about the trapeze as my feet left the platform. Flying through the air, I felt like a (loud) bird, my screams of adrenalin blocking my ears from the words of encouragement down below. My feelings of worry were quickly traded with excitement.

Suddenly, I gasped. Every last scrap of air was ripped from my lungs as the harness cruelly tightened against my pounding chest. I struggled to draw breath as my belayers lowered me to the ground. I didn’t mind though, because I could barely feel it through the happiness radiating from my body. I let myself descend lower and lower until I was on my hands and knees, finally in contact with firm ground. Legs shaking like leaves in a tornado, I raised myself to a stand. Then, grinning at everyone around me, I asked;

“Can I go again?!”

A Poem About Clouds

Sculptures of the imagination,
Hanging in the sky,
Floating, flying, flinging onwards,
But staying side by side.
Dancing with the breeze,
Forming shapes at ease,
Almost as though saying;
Come with me, please!
When I look up to the sky,
This is what I see,
I see that this is,
What clouds are to me.

House Fire Heroes

“The fire began shortly before 9am yesterday in the bedroom of the house in Kauika Rd, Whangarei, and may have started by the two boys playing with matches, said police.

The name of the dead child, a five-year-old, had yet to be released. His three-year-old brother was in a critical condition in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital.

The two men carried both to the front lawn where an attempt was made to revive the older child and the younger boy was given first aid.

The occupants were alerted by a passer-by who saw smoke pouring from the eaves.

One of the people living in the house and the boys’ stepfather ran to the bedroom but burnt their hands on the door handle and had to kick down the door.

Northland police said “initial indications” showed the fire began in the children’s bedroom and matches were found in the room.

All four smoke alarms in the house had no batteries.” -stuff.co.nz

I think the two men should be given an award for doing this. I mean, it’s not every day that your house catches on fire, and you save a life. I’ve also read different stories where people doing great deeds like this got a medal.

I don’t think it was a very smart idea to play with matches. Maybe the boys’ parents should have realised what the two were doing, so the tragedy never had to happen. At my old school, people came in to talk to us about fire dangers- they mentioned never playing with matches. But the two young boys might not have been to school yet, so they wouldn’t have learnt about fire safety.

The men were very courageous, considering the situation. I can only hope that if anything similar happens at my house, I can be as heroic as them.

Fire

21 Babies Infected by Critical Bug

I was getting ready for school this morning and I happened to glance at The New Zealand Herald newspaper on my way past the kitchen bench. My eyes fell upon an article about this, and I had a quick read. The newspaper’s title on the story shocked me, so I was eager to find out more.

An outbreak of Staphylococcus Aureus (a deadly bacteria) has infected at least 21 babies at Auckland’s City Hospital. This bacteria can cause diseases such as Meningitis, Pneumonia, Septicemia and Toxic Shock Syndrome for babies. It isn’t so bad for the rest of us though, usually producing only boils. But the bacteria is one of the top three fatal infections for newborn babies. All of the babies are being tested for the infection, and some of them are already seriously ill. But the hospital staff aren’t entirely sure if this is because of Staphylococcus Aureus or not.

I was pretty gutted when I read the article about this, because I thought of the babies’ mothers and/or fathers, and how it must have affected them. I mean, how would you feel if you had just gotten a new pet or something, and then you found out that they may be about to die? Yeah. Pretty disappointed. I wish that there was some way we could help the babies and their families, but for now all we can do is hope that they get better.

Blood Brothers

The lights were starting to darken, but my feelings of excitement were starting to lighten! I was sitting in our town Woolshed theatre, and the musical ‘Blood Brothers’ was just about to start. Me, my mum, and a ‘couple’ of her work friends were all there. Mum and her friends had planned to go the week before, but I had persuaded her to let me come too, because I absolutely love drama, and going to musicals. She agreed, seeing as it was the night of my birthday anyway!

The performance started off with a choir-like song, behind an eerie clear curtain. Then the narrator appeared up in a window, and told us in his poetic, booming voice, an insight into the tale we were about to experience. The story starts with a pregnant Mrs Johnstone singing of her problems, including having 5 kids, no husband, and very little money. The woman she works for, Mrs Lyons, convinces Mrs Johnstone to give her one of the not-yet-born twins. Mrs Johnstone gives in, and they swear over the bible. Within the month, the twins are born. Even though she is doubtful, Mrs Johnstone passes on a twin to Mrs Lyons. (Eddie)

Mrs Lyons fires Mrs Johnstone, in fear that she is getting too close to her son. The two brothers, now named Mickey and Eddie, are brought up in different life styles. Mickey lives in a poor, undisciplined world with 5 siblings, while Eddie is showered with anything he desires, and is an only child. The boys end up meeting each other, and forming a special bond. They call themselves ‘Blood Brothers’, but are still unaware of their real connection. The mothers found out, and are furious at first. But kind hearted Mrs Johnstone finds it hard to not like Eddie, and grants him a special locket.
Mrs Lyons is trying to avoid the past, as the narrator keeps reminding her, and so moves away with Eddie, and her husband, up into the hills. Mrs Johnstone, without realising, follows her. The boys grow up some more, but then find each other again. Mickey’s girlfriend Linda starts to accompany them on their little adventures as they develop into young men. Meanwhile, Mrs Lyons discovers that Mrs Johnstone is living near her, and attempts to murder her, but fails and goes mad.

One day Eddie announces that he is headed to college/university. While he is gone, everything changes. Mickey and Linda become engaged, and Linda discovers that she is pregnant. Mickey gets caught up in an attempted robbery and murder with his brother Sammy, and is sentenced to 7 years in jail. He gets addicted to anti-depressant pills. Eddie then arrives back from college, and admits to Linda that he has always loved her. Linda realises that Eddie is the only person she has to turn to. Mickey finds out about them, and goes on a rampage to find Eddie. He does, and threatens to shoot him. Then Mrs Johnstone appears and begs Mickey to stop. And she finally confesses the truth about the twins’ connection. Mickey realises that Linda was all he had left, and that now she had been taken from him. He shoots Eddie, and the police shoot Mickey.

I really enjoyed this musical. My favourite character was by far the narrator. The poetic way he spoke really drew in the audience. So did the way he loomed over some particular scenes, just watching the characters talk.

I also liked the actual storyline. The overall plot isn’t very realistic, but it gets a little more so towards the end. The deliberate lack of props in some scenes left a lot of room for acting, and for imagination. For instance, instead of having a bus, there would just be a steering wheel. Or, instead of a fence, there would only be a climbing block. If this musical opens again somewhere for show, I would definitely recommend it!

Never Take Anything for Granted

It was interval, and my friends and I were sitting around talking and eating. One of my friends said that she had seen a dead ginger cat on our street. The words hit me like a bomb. I pestered her for more information, and the description she gave me sounded just like my cat. She said that it was after I had left to go on the bus. I could picture my cat chasing a stray pet across the road without checking for cars. All day these horrible thoughts ran through my mind and I found it hard to concentrate on any of my school work. All I wanted to do was go home and check if it was my cat who had been hit by a car. On the bus ride home, I started to feel sick. We were nearing my house and I would be getting off soon. The girls next to me started talking about their pet cats, and I felt like crying. We turned on to my road, and I scanned the ground outside my house for a trace of ginger fur. There was nothing. I got off the bus and looked down the whole street – there was no fur or anything. I couldn’t find any cat at all! I walked up our driveway and went into our house. I looked around, and I found my cat, alive and well, outside on the deck! I gave her a huge hug, and texted my best friend; ‘SHES ALIVE!!!’

This just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, and that you shouldn’t take anything for granted. After this happened, I gave my cat, Jaffa, so much attention that she ended up getting a bit frustrated with me. So when your mum, or dad, or dog, or someone, gives you a hug in the morning before school, don’t brush it off, hug them back because it just might be the last time you see them.

Girls Cyber Bullying

“Education Ministry figures show a 41 per cent increase in girls being stood down, suspended or kicked out of school for assaults between 2002 and 2006. But the way violence is dished out appears to be changing. Experts point to a new gang-like mentality among schoolgirls whereby a popular “queen bee” uses friends to bully or hurt others to reinforce her power.

Secondary Principals’ Association president Peter Gall said schools were seeing not only more overt physical violence by girls, but a big increase in cyber-bullying – sending nasty text messages and e-mails, or putting humiliating images or words on the Internet.” –Stuff.

I was looking around at stuff.co.nz, and I stumbled across this article. The information wasn’t new to me, but I decided to share it with whoever reads my blog, incase they ever come across a situation that involves cyber/mental bullying. I think this is a much worse variation to bullying than the physical kind. Because in some cases, words can hurt far more than hits. It contradicts the old saying; ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’. Bruises and cuts heal a lot faster than a wounded soul. If you are ever aware of somebody being bullied in this or any other way, I think you should stick up for them, and help them get through it. If you ever get stuck in a cyber bullying problem, I think a good way to deal with it would be to try and ignore whoever the bully is, and tell someone you trust and/or know will help you fix the problem. I have never exactly been a target in cyber or mental bullying, but I am sure to watch out for it. I advise you to as well.

Totara Springs Band Camp

Monday 12th May – day 1

I groaned as I looked ahead and saw the remaining distance that I had to lug my weirdly heavy bag and trombone case over. It was a cold and foggy Monday morning, and I wasn’t the only one complaining. I looked around me and saw other TAI students struggling with their luggage and instruments. We were packing the school trailer, and buses, with instruments and bags. It was the day that we were to be leaving for Totara Springs. More and more students arrived, each one shivering as they passed their bags to the parent helpers. At last, some hour later, we were all set to file into the buses and begin the trip. The bus ride took a little over an hour. We arrived at the camp and spotted Matamata Intermediate, who were staying with us, arriving too. After a lot of confusion, everyone had unpacked and settled into their pre-arranged cabins. But not for long! Soon after, it was said over the loud speaker that the first rehearsal for the followings night’s concert was about to begin. There was going to be a presentation from the Junior Band, the Senior Band, and the choir. The three groups walked over to start practising. The rest of the day carried on with 2 more practises, some free time, mealtimes, and a little sing-a-long session after dinner.

Tuesday 13th May- day 2

The day of the concert was upon us! After such a ‘long’ wait! As you can imagine, nerves began to build up as the day progressed to the evening. Me being the only trombonist in Junior Band, I was definitely feeling some pressure too! There were 3 more rehearsals throughout the day, along with free time, meals, and tuning up. The junior band had prepared 4 pieces, but one was cancelled at the dress rehearsal due to timing issues. The Senior band had prepared 6, and the choir had about 5. We couldn’t wait to show them off! Later that afternoon, we were all in the lecture theatre for tuning up. But then, the unthinkable happened- the fire alarm went off! Since nobody had heard about a fire drill, panic was definitely in the air. We all had to assemble out by the hockey field. I can understand why we were told to bring our instruments- can you imagine the cost if they all got burnt!? Anyway, after much confusion, we were told that everything was okay. Apparently, one careless cabin had left a towel on their heater. But someone had stepped in to help, and soon we were all back in the lecture theatre. There was a little pep talk, and then we all piled into the auditorium. The audience was still chattering away about the previous ordeal! I waved to my parents and Grandma as I walked past. Once we had all sat down and shut up, Mrs Germann began her introduction. 

The night breezed on by without a hitch. (If you don’t count the microphone breaking right before a choir solo, and the fire alarm fiasco!). My little solo in ‘Geronimo’- a junior band piece – went well, as did the rest of the junior and senior band pieces, and the choir. There were some extra performances including a talented drum group from Matamata, a flute duet by two older girls, and a violin group (from Matamata). The Salvation Army band also made a guest appearance! After the concert, the students met up with their parents/friends/relatives/etc and then it was time for bed.

Wednesday 14th May- day 3

D-day. Well, not really, but it is the day that we were leaving. Not too much happened, except that both schools got to have a turn on the outdoor hydroslide and other activities. It was one of the parts of camp that people had been looking forward to the most – including me! The ‘other activities’ were shooting, archery, and 3 wire rope walking. The only one of those that I went on was the 3 wire rope. It was okay. Although I was pretty freaked out, especially when it started raining when I was halfway across! I managed to get down alright though. But the best part of the day was definitely the hydroslide. The water from the hot pool was used for it, so it was very warm! Most of us went on it at least 3 times. There were rumours going around about some ‘ghost boy’ that slows you down when you go around a certain corner, but I chose not to believe that. Mainly because most of the corners were extremely fast! Anyway, after everyone had gotten dressed, we started to pack the bus and prepare lunch. We ended up having it on the floor of the dining room, because the tables had been packed up! So there were a lot of crumbs, as you could probably guess.

We arrived back at school around 2:00, to find our bags were being put in the hall. But everyone managed to find their luggage okay! (I think!). Overall, I really enjoyed this camp, not just because of all the free time we got, but because of the new skills I learnt on my instrument, and the new friends I made. I think I have improved a lot on my trombone! Also, I would like to thank all of the parent helpers and teachers that made this trip possible.

Disaster Strikes in Myanmar! (near Thailand)

“Myanmar’s state media said Cyclone Nargis killed at least 22,980 people and left 42,119 missing.

American diplomat Shari Villarosa, who heads the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, said the number of dead could eventually exceed 100,000 because safe food and water were scarce and unsanitary conditions widespread.

The situation is “increasingly horrendous,” she said in a telephone call to reporters. “There is a very real risk of disease outbreaks.”

A few shops reopened in the Irrawaddy delta, but they were quickly overwhelmed by desperate people, said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program in Bangkok, Thailand, quoting his agency’s workers in the area.

“Fistfights are breaking out,” he said.

A Yangon resident who returned to the city from the delta area said people were drinking coconut water because there was no safe drinking water. He said many people were on boats using blankets as sails.

Local aid groups distributed rice porridge, which people collected in dirty plastic shopping bags, he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared getting into trouble with authorities for talking to a foreign news agency.

U.N. officials estimated some 1 million people had been left homeless in Myanmar, which also is known as Burma.” – http://www.kansascity.com/449/story/609158.html

Cyclone Nargis, which hit near Thailand, struck on the 2 & 3 of May 2008. I think this is a really horrible thing to happen. Cyclone Nargis was worse than Hurricane Katrina (for more info click here), which is saying quite a lot! It is horrible to think about the fact that now 1,000,000 more people are homeless due to this disaster. It’s even more horrible to think that at least 20,000 were killed too. I read at www.stuff.co.nz that New Zealand has donated $500,000 to aid the relief agencies in Myanmar. I was actually quite proud when I saw that! It’s great to know that our country is contributing to the funds. My heart goes out to the people in Myanmar who are suffering because of this terrible cyclone. I hope the rest of us can pull ourselves together, to do everything we can to help.

Ohope Camp

Day 1: Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, the students of Rooms 3 and 7 all arrived at school in mufti clothes, much to the envy of the rest of the school! We had our luggage all packed and ready to go. The parents, teachers, and students departed for Ohope beach at about 10:00 am. We arrived at Lake Okataina, which is on the way, around lunchtime. We had lunch there, and walked part way around the lake and back again. After that, everyone jumped back into the cars for the remaining car trip to Ohope. We arrived around 3 o’clock. When we arrived at Ohope Christian Camp, everybody started unpacking and exploring the campground. We went for a short trip to the beach, and we also went for a swim at the Whakatane Aquatics Center. Bedtime was around 9:00.

Day 2: Wednesday

Today, Room 3 went to the High Ropes and Amazing Maze n Maize, and Room 7 went Fishing, Kayaking, and walking over the hills to Shelly Bay. The High Ropes were a lot of fun. Firstly, we stayed on the ground and did some trust exercises and group activities. Then, after lunch, we braved the ropes. They involved climbing up poles, jumping for trapezes, walking across logs in mid air, jumping from platform to platform, jumping across swinging tyres… you get the idea. Of course, these were all supervised by professionals, and we had to wear helmets and harnesses. After all of this, Room 3 trudged on over to the Amazing Maze in Maize. This is, as it implies, a maze in maize. We had to navigate our way through the sweetcorn mazes, to find little snippets of Kiwiana information dotted through the fields. It took forever, with many confused walks around the same area, but my group managed to find most of the asked pictures and questions! We found the exit about 3 times in a row, and this was before we had had enough. Room 7 had fun with their activities too. In the evening, we went to the Whakatane Aquatics Center again.

Day 3: Thursday

This day, Rooms 3 and 7 swapped activities, so now Room 7 was headed to the High Ropes and Maize, and Room 3 was headed for the Fishing, Kayaking, and Walking to Shelly Bay. My group went to Shelly bay first. The walk over there and back was extremely tiring! But it was worth it, for the amazing views, and pretty shells. The next activity was wharf fishing. There was a man there. I guess you could call him a mysterious stranger, because he didn’t say much about himself, apart from that we should call him sir. He made sure that everyone caught at least one fish, rescued us from hungry bees, baited our hooks, and taught us heaps about fishing, which I thought was extremely nice of him. Next was our final activity, kayaking. It was held in the Ohope Beach Harbour. Tiring, because we had to paddle against the strong currents. Painful, because I, along with everyone else, got covered in rashes and windburn. But very fun, because we played ball tag with the kind instructor, Kenny. In the evening, everybody attending camp went over to the Awakeri Hot Pools. The teachers allowed the kids to buy junk food at the shop there, which probably wasn’t such a great idea in my opinion. Everybody went a bit crazy with the sugar!

Day 4: Friday

This was our last day, so we didn’t have enough time to do much, except have breakfast and pack up. On our way back, we stopped at Te Puke, and had lunch there. Since us kids were allowed to spend their money there to buy lunch, most people bought Subway. Including me! We came back to T.A.I at about 2:00 pm.

This camp was a lot of fun, and I think the highlights for me would have been the High Ropes and Amazing Maze in Maize. I would do them again any time!

The TAI Disco

Last night, (Wednesday), the school council held a disco. They had been organising it for a few weeks, and the outcome was great! The theme was “dancing with the stars”, so everybody had to dress up as their favourite star. This part was a little disappointing, because half of the people that attended had gone as themselves! I did as well, so I can’t say much. But, the people that did dress up as stars did a good job of it! There was a James Bond, a Johnny Depp, a Paris Hilton, and a Nicole Richie to name a few. James Bond won a prize for best dressed. The night included dance competitions, food and drinks, and singing competitions. The disco went from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Nobody was allowed to leave the hall until their parents arrived, for safety reasons. Which was fair enough, I suppose.

Although I didn’t win a prize, (my dancing was pretty crazy), I still had a great time!

My Goals for Term 1/2

Academic:

~ To not get distracted when doing my work, and to manage my time effectively.

I can do this by ignoring distractions around me, and getting my work completed early.

~ To work hard in Maths and try to get into the top group.

I can do this by concentrating hard, and asking for help when I don’t understand something.

~ To make the most of my time in each Tech Art

I can do this by putting my all into the different subjects, and trying hard.

Social/Cultural:

~ To help more with the T.V. show with my role as a producer.

I can do this by helping the rest of the group when we do filming, and offering ideas and suggestions.

~ To get into the class softball team and try my hardest.

I can do this by learning all of the rules of the game, and remembering to bring my P.E. gear! 

~ To put more effort into helping my group in the ICT club.

I can do this by getting more involved, and putting my ideas in.

Personal:

~ To perform well with my part in The Elves and the Shoemaker. (See below)

I can do this by remembering all of the script and songs, and practising them.

~ To get into the Senior Band with my instrument. (Trombone)

I can do this by practising every day, and trying my best.

Poetic Writing

Sorry Mrs Crowe, I kept forgetting to put this on!

The house was old, abandoned, and dusty, as if the occupants had deserted the house a long time ago. The floor she was standing on creaked as she walked. Then the front door loomed up. It was marked with brutal stains of the past. The moonlight gleamed through the cracks, and through the window panes on either side of the door. The burgundy paint was peeling, giving off the sense of neglect. The brass keyhole was situated in the dead centre of the wooden door. Her eyes gazed around the room she once knew. Photos of happy memories littered the moth eaten shelves. There he was, with his wife, laughing on the beach with the wind in his hair. Those days were gone. It was unfair of them to take him like that. Her eyes flicked back to the door. Did she imagine it, or did she just hear something outside on the gravel? She could hear faint, ghostly, footsteps coming up the stairs. There was a silhouette of a broad shouldered man now blocking the light of the half moon. The shrill doorbell pierced the silence. Her heart beat with the excitement and anxiousness that had been bottled up for years. She threw open the door and saw him. He was standing there in his camouflage uniform, which was never to be used again. He had crinkly eyes that portrayed sights he should never had seen. His hair was speckled with grey, and he had walked with a limp. But all of that didn’t matter. He was there, and that was what counted. She shrieked and ran towards her son, with a hug that should have followed many before it. The door swung beside them, and squeaked on its rusting hinges, as though it too, was laughing with joy.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Okay, so this is how the story goes: (Skip this part if you like)

There was once an old shoemaker, that made good shoes, but they took him a long time to make, and he sold them for very little money. So he and his wife were pretty poor. One night, the shoemaker left the next day’s leather on the bench, and went to bed. The next morning, he woke up and discovered a ready made pair of shoes, beautifully crafted down to the last stitch, where the scraps of leather had been. A customer walked in, and paid well over the usual price for the leather shoes. With the money, the shoemaker bought twice as much leather, and put the leather on the bench for the following night. The next morning, two pairs of top quality leather shoes sat where the leather had been. The shoemaker was delighted! He and his wife sold the shoes for top dollar, and bought twice as much leather to lay out on the bench. This pattern continued, until one day, the shoemaker’s wife decided to find out who was making these shoes, that were bringing customers in from around the country. So that night, she set out the leather, as usual, and hid behind a curtain in the corner with her husband. They stayed there until the clock struck midnight. Then, a window above the working bench creaked open, and in climbed two of the tiniest people the shoemaker and his wife had ever seen, crept in. The sat down in front of the leather, and set to work. They crafted every pair of shoes with great care, as if by magic. When the elves had finished and left, the shoemaker and his wife crept back to bed, but only to lay awake pondering about their little friends. The following morning, the shoemaker’s wife set about sewing together some little clothes for the elves, to replace their ting rags. She left these clothes on the workbench, instead of leather, and waited for nightfall. That night, instead of finding leather, the elves spotted the clothes. They looked at them in amazement, and cautiously put them on. The smiled at each other, and hopped out the window. That was the last time the shoemaker and his wife ever saw the elves. But good luck remained with them. They became very rich, sold every single pair of shoes everyday, and lived happily ever after. 

This fairytale, you might already know this, is being made into a musical. (Showing in August) The auditions were last Saturday, and I was one of the nervous people that tried out. But I made it through! I got a part as one of the elves. I thought I was just going to be acting but it turns out, singing and tap dancing are a part of the deal as well! It was very nerve-racking, (auditioning) but I’m glad I did it. I used to do tap when I was 6, up until I was 9. So I know the basics. Apparently there are 9 other elves, unlike the story. I hope it will be fun!

I got this version of the fairytale from ‘A Lothian Book’ titled ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’

Publishers: Oyster Books Ltd 

New Theme!

Do you like my new theme? It’s a photo of my 16 year old cat, Jaffa, that I took this morning. I was getting bored with my old theme, so I wanted to change. Many thanks to Milly for showing me how to make the header into a photo. And vice versa! Oh, and sorry the photo’s a little pixelated. It came up really huge when I downloaded it, so I had to shrink it to fit.

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

When I leave high school, I am going to have a gap year before I go to university. I might go to an underdeveloped country and help build houses or something. When I come back, I’ll probably go to a performing arts university/college somewhere, because I love acting and dancing. So they might play a part in my career. But I’m not really sure. When I retire, I’ll probably own a farm. But all of this isn’t exactly definite, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

My Book Review

Let the Circle Be Unbroken

By opening up this book, you will be entering an emotional story of love, courage, and hope. When the
Logan family’s teenage friend T.J., is wrongly accused of brutally murdering a shop owner by a white jury completely biased against black people, 11 year old Cassie is left with confused thoughts and feelings. This book is set in 1935 in
Mississippi, following Cassie as she begins to understand the unjust life she leads with her black, cotton farming family. She makes some enemies, black and white, and befriends a special person named Wordell who saves his words for only the people he cares about most. Cassie also aids an elderly friend, Mrs Lee Annie Lees in her quest to stand for what she believes in. Cassie goes through some heartbreaking hardships as well, but manages to pull through for the sake of one of her much loved family member’s life.

 

‘Let The Circle Be Unbroken’ is the sequel to a book called ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’, another bestseller by Mildred D. Taylor. Let The Circle Be Unbroken has significant pros and cons, and explains the characters moves in great detail. I enjoyed the parts of the book where dramatic things happened, and when new things or people were introduced. But there were a few things that I didn’t enjoy. There were parts in the plotline that left me feeling confused. For instance, there were big gaps in the storyline where nothing was happening, and those parts were pretty boring. This was partly why I enjoyed the dramatic parts. The wording of this story is very detailed and specific, and the characters speak in a way that makes the book seem very authentic. They use words such as ‘y’all’ and ‘’bout’, and talk to each other in such a polite manner that is rarely seen or heard in today’s world. This book made me feel very privileged and lucky to live in a world where racism is rare in most countries. This story gets pretty emotional in some parts, but also very uneventful in others. I think this book would appeal to kids in their late teens, and maybe young adults. Also to people studying the hard, confusing, and unjust life of black children in earlier years.

 

 

By Hayley

Trombone

Today I finally got my trombone! It’s kind of big, and coloured gold. I can make a horrible sound on it. (Yay?!) Lessons start next week, so I’ll probably get better. I also had my first hip-hop lesson today after school. It was fun, and half of the moves were almost the same as my jazz ones, so I picked up on it quickly.

Dancing

Last week, I had my first dance class of the term. I do jazz dancing, and I am starting hip-hop this Thursday. When I was 9, I did tap dancing as well as jazz, but I stopped after a bit. The lessons in jazz get tougher and tougher as you move up in grades. I am in grade 5 now, and the classes are pretty disciplined. My thighs hurt for two days after one particular lesson! (A very challenging stretch). But I have improved a lot in my opinion.

Jazz dancing is sort of a cross between ballet and hip-hop. It starts out easy, but doesn’t stay that way forever! This photo was taken at my dance show two years ago. We were cowgirls/boys. (It wasn’t exactly my favourite show!)
2006 Dance Show

Hello!

My name is Hayley. This is my second week at Te Awamutu Intermediate as a year 7, and I am loving it! I am in the accelerate class, and so far we’ve done Tech Arts: Design, P.E. , Swimming, and Visual Language. I am part of a T.V. Show committee, and we are going to be putting the finished project on our class blog (room3tai.edublogs.org) when it’s done, so watch out for it! I am also going to be in the band, playing the trombone. I’ve never played anything apart from the piano before, so it’s pretty much all new to me, but I should be alright =)