#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 31

A few weeks ago, we had an assembly to find out how to be a 6th grade mentor.

It’s a part of the RISE program at our school to help incoming 6th graders make a better transition into middle school.

Jacob was a RISE mentor.

Over 270 students attended the assembly to become a RISE mentor.

Some of them came just to get out of class, but it’s a popular program and usually, the mentors are the leaders in the 8th grade class.

We have to fill out an application and then hope our teachers speak for us as being good candidates.

Part of the application was to make a 60-second video about why we would be a good mentor.

It was time for me to be creative and not quiet.

I came up with the idea to wear the different t-shirts from my different activities and, while taking each off to show the next, explain why each has helped me gain qualities of a good mentor.

I talked about being a summer camp counselor in training. I talked about being a library aide. I talked about Math Olympiad and TSA. I talked about student council as well.

Jacob helped me film and edit the video down to 60 seconds.

I was glad I had more to say than the required time allowed for.

I submitted my application on the Monday after we got it.

Between then and when the applications were due, it seemed that everyone I talked to had already applied or was planning to.

They only take 70 mentors.

I really hope that I make it.

Today is the day we find out about RISE.

They give out an envelope to everyone who applied.

Inside is either: “Congratulations” and details, or “We’re sorry to let you know…”

They wait until the very end of the day before our spring break to tell us – I guess so no one comes to school the next day all upset.

They hand out the envelopes to each of the kids who applied in my last period class.

My name is called and I hold up my hand for my envelope.

It says my name and the number of the room that I’m in.

I look around the room.

Lindsey is opening her envelope.

She smiles. She looks up and nods.

She got in.

I look back down at the envelope in my hand.

I flip it over.

I slide the turquoise colored paper out.

I unfold the paper.

I glimpse – “Congratulations.”

I have been chosen.

I am seen.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 30

Today is my brother’s birthday.

He is having a few friends and girls over to watch a movie and play video games.

He is letting me watch and play with them.

Everyone agrees on a Harry Potter to watch.

Then we have pizza and cake.

Afterward, we play Mario Brothers.

We don’t have other video games, but our games are multi-player, so we have fun.

One of the girls who is there went to an 8th grade dance with Jacob last year.

He says she’s not his girlfriend, but just his friend that is a girl.

It started me wondering, though.

How do you know if you have a crush on a girl?

Later that night, I ask my mom this question.

She says all this sappy, gooey stuff about wanting to tell them everything and wanting to be with them all of the time.

I do think that I think about Lindsey a little bit this way, but I’m also fine if we don’t talk for a few days.

So I guess the answer is: I don’t have a crush on anyone.

I only have girls that are friends too.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 29

Today in front of everyone at our lunch table, Lindsey’s friend, Alexis, asked me what was above my lip.

I rubbed the skin above my lip really hard and asked, “Is that better?”

She commented, “It’s still there.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I got up from the table, walked across the cafeteria to my guidance counselor, who often hangs out with our grade at lunch, and asked to go to the bathroom.

Aside from my skin being pink, I didn’t see anything.

What was she talking about?

I took a step back from the mirror.

I noticed a brown “shadow” above my lip.

I remembered when Jacob had a brown shadow above his lip, and how I had teased him.

I called it his “moosteesh.”

Now I had one.

I was extremely embarrassed.

I stayed in the bathroom as long as I could.

Just before the bell rang, I headed back to get my stuff from the lunch table.

Luckily, the girls had moved on to talking about something else.

I kept my head down the rest of the day.

That night, I begged my mom to shave above my lip.

She told me that once she shaved it, I would have to keep shaving it and that it would grow back darker and thicker each time.

I didn’t care.

I asked her to just get it over with.

There was no way I was going back to school with that shadow on my face.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 28

I just switched into gym for my exploratory.

I hate gym.

Not just because I’m not a great or good athlete, but also because of the way all of the boys act.

It seems like every time we have gym, one of the sporty boys feels the need to notice me, and not in a good way.

This time around, it’s a boy named Luke.

My nemesis – Luke.

First, he started by saying things like, bounce a ball much, Jake?

Run much, Jake?

But now, and I don’t know how he found out, he’s calling me “gay.”

This is wrong on so many levels.

First, the word should not be used as a put-down.

Everyone should be accepted for who they are.

Second, just because I am not dating someone, doesn’t mean I do or don’t like girls.

I mean, I’m in seventh grade!

It’s too early to date.

What would we even do on a date?

I don’t drive.

I don’t have money.

I wish Luke would stop noticing me, really.

It would be great to be invisible whenever I needed to be.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 27

Some concerning things have been going on at lunch.

There are a bunch of new girls at our table.

Most of them are friends with Lindsey, but Kiera and I don’t really know them.

Sometimes we have to move to a different table to sit because too many of Lindsey’s friends invited more friends and there are no more seats.

I don’t know why Lindsey doesn’t come to sit with us.

I guess everyone wants to be with her.

Then, her one friend, Alexis, keeps asking me when I’m going to ask Lindsey out.

I don’t understand why a girl and a boy cannot be friends.

I guess I understood when the guys said we were dating.

Boys sometimes only see things one way: dating/not dating.

Being friends with a girl doesn’t come into the equation.

But, one of her closest friends?

And, for some reason, I don’t know why, it really bothers me that Lindsey says that we are just friends.

I’m not sure why.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 26

We had to wait until Tuesday to find out who earned enough points to be invited to TSA states.

I did.

I wasn’t surprised because I placed in all of my events and at least one was an individual event. Those are worth more.

I was excited.

At least six of my friends qualified as well.

My friends and I talked about what it would be like to stay in a hotel for the first time without our parents.

They have a pool.

They have an elevator!

Jacob made it to states too.

He was the only ninth grader to qualify. Figures.

That Thursday, when I thought I was going to be staying with my friends, like Aaron, I found out that I am sharing a room with Jacob and two tenth graders.

They must have not had enough high school students to put into the room.

On the one hand, I like it because now I don’t have to worry about sharing a bed with one of my friends.

I was thinking I would sleep on the floor.

But, I’m away from my friends at night. They are probably just next door, but still. We had plans for great fun.

As I was talking at home about all the fun we were planning to have, my mom interrupted: “You know you’re there for a competition, not to ruin the time of all of the other guests. I hate kids like you when I’m staying in a hotel, that run loudly down the halls when I’m trying to sleep.”

“I know Mom, but we have to make the most of our time away from home! We are boys and need to have fun!”

I’m not exactly sure why both she and Jacob were shaking their heads in response.

#SOL18 – “I Don’t Need…”

“I don’t need you to ask me about my homework.”

“I was just trying to help you stay organized.”

“I don’t need to talk right now.”

“I was just making sure you were okay.”

“I don’t want to sit with the family and watch tv.”

“We didn’t get to see you much today.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You need to eat and this is something that I can do for you.”

“I need to be alone.”

“I know, but I miss my little boy…”

(Some things that were said this week… last night we shopped for the week’s meals and hung out later that night to catch up. My guy was back, at least for a little while. I know he won’t always have this pre-teen angst, but I miss him when he does.)

#SOL18 – My Childhood

My childhood tasted like…

still steaming New York City style bagels: pumpernickel, rye, and everything,

Charlie’s chips and pretzels from a tin,

homemade Jewish Apple Cake,

fried spam or pork roll sandwiches with yellow mustard,

Italian hoagies,

wonton soup and egg rolls,

Philadephia soft pretzels, either just baked or cold from being sold on Bustleton Avenue,

cherry cheesecake and french fries for lunch,

and my grandmother’s wide noodle homemade chicken soup.


My childhood sounded like…

children playing in the pool,

air raid sirens every weekday at noon,


the theme song of Little House on the Prarie,



my dad’s laugh.


My childhood smelled like…

freshly-cut grass,

azalea bushes,


Pennypack Park,


sweaty bodies of kids playing.

(Thank you to Stopping by an English Class on a Random Day for the idea for this post).

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 23

Mom finds me, dragster in hand.

I tell her how we won the technology bowl live rounds.

She gives me a hug.

Then I spot my dragster’s rubric: 38/50.

Oh, well. I guess that won’t be a winning event.

I did have a good time building it and working with Mr. Thomas on it.

We head into the auditorium for the awards.

Thankfully, my mom sits with other parents and I sit with my teammates – my friends.

I see the high school students sitting on the exact opposite side of the auditorium as us.

I fill with pride because the middle school brought twice as many students, and I’m one of them.

We wait for a while as the results for the whole competition are counted up.

Then the announcements start.

Jacob: 1st place in Music Production.

2nd place in Biotechnology Design.

2nd place Technology Bowl.

High school is very competitive, so this is actually good for his 9th grade year.

Me: 1st place Technology Bowl (which we knew).

Then comes a surprise: 1st place in Technology Bowl written. Woah!

2nd place Website Design – Aaron and I bump fists and then head up to the stage together.

Then, 2nd place Electrical Applications. What? We didn’t even finish the schematic. I guess the other teams didn’t either. Aaron and I head back up!

Finally, the biggest surprise of all: 1st place in Dragster! I smile at Mr. Thomas as I head up to get my ribbon.

I cannot believe it! I placed in every one of my events! What a surprise!

We have a great time on the bus ride home.

We were the top middle school today.

We all hold our ribbons and talk about our events.

What a day!

I get off the bus and put my materials away in the Tech Room.

While I’m sitting in the car with my mom, waiting for Jacob to do the same, she says quietly, “I know that sometimes you feel like you are in Jacob’s shadow, because he has done so well at so many things.

But this year, you ran faster as a 7th grader than he did in his same year.

In TSA, he only qualified for states with one first place event. He actually forgot one of his events back at school when he was in 7th grade.

You placed first or second in all of your events.

It’s time you realized that you are standing out on your own.

Just something to think about, okay?”

I think to myself, Very okay.