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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Class of ’88: Senior

Class of ’88: Senior
by Linda A. Cooney

Five friends. Nick, the golden boy, Celia the beautiful, Sean the thinker, Allie the wild, Meg the brave.

Meg and Nick have stayed away from each other for four years. Finally they want to be together… and someone’s stopping them. Celia and Allie are trying to be friends again. But they both have a date for the prom – with the same guy. Sean is a BMOC and valedictorian, yet he still wants revenge for freshman year.

In high school they lost some hopes, some dreams, some fears. Now they have to hold on to the one thing they’ve got left – each other. (transcribed from back of book)

Dude. I can assure you I did not buy this book because of the summary on the back. How awful is that to stomach? Yeech. I bought it of course, because it’s the final book in the series. Closure! And it’s SENIOR YEAR! Which means SENIOR PROM! *squeeeeeeeeeeee*

Yeah.

There is so much to say about this book, much of it is how cheesy the story is. Ok, so I never did expect this series to be unpredictable and original. I am fairly certain I remember rolling my eyes at 12 almost as much as I did at 34. I do still relate to the underdogs and their wanting to fit in with the rest of the crowd, though it’s not as passionate and emotional as it was then. I was different. I was the Allie in real life. I recall crying when Allie tells her father she wants to study at Theatre college rather than going to real university. I remember crying when Allie and Celia become friends again (even though I think Celia is a moron). I remember not really caring when Meg and Nick finally admitted they loved each other (so not a spoiler since it’s lead up to pretty heavily from Freshman year). I remember feeling slightly vindicated when Sean gets a job at the, er, stereo/tech shop and realizes the guy that taped him to the flagpole his Freshman year is the janitor.

I liked Brooke. I don’t think I ever really paid much attention to her when I first read the books but she sticks out now as one of my favourite characters even though she’s not one of the original five friends.

At one point I thought I was reading a Lisa Mantchev book:

Allie lifted her paperback copy of Romeo and Juliet. “Ever heard of it?”
“Very funny.” He inched closer. “You know, you remind me of Juliet.”
“Must be my eyes like stars.” She crossed her eyes and giggled again. “Or my star-crossed eyes.”

Ha ha! I never noticed that line before, and of course that was not one of the Shakespeare plays I covered in high school.

Speaking of that scene. I had to love/hate Derek, the dumbass University student that Celia was dating. They describe him has having a light blonde mustache, wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches and – get this – smoking a pipe! A PIPE! Even when I was 12 I thought he sounded like a loser and was trying way to hard to be a “cool” university student. (I have never liked facial hair. I don’t like any body hair to be honest, on your head and eye brows are ok, but other than that? Why the hell do we have so much hair? Ick! Ew! Don’t get me started!)

Derek wants to be a poet and he writes crap poetry and he wants to impress his potential Frat brothers (I have never gotten the concept of Fraternities or Sororities either). Celia is dating him because she’s tired of the immature high school scene and she thinks she’ll make an impression by bringing University Stud to her senior prom. Lame.

Of course then Derek meets Allie outside of her father’s classroom at the university and he thinks she’s a university student and he hits on her, realizes she’s still in high school and is miffed when she doesn’t return his attention. He also thinks that artsy Allie is just what he needs to help is poetry career! So he dumps Celia and asks Allie to the prom with her tickets! Jerk.

He was the lamest character ever, and it was meant to be that way. I have to laugh at how pathetic he is and sounds.

In the end all 5 friends spend one last night in the tree house they used to spend all their time in and think about how they have each other and that’s all that matters as they all go off on different college paths.

And now? There’s a Class of ’89, people! Just waiting for their stories to be heard! Of course I am missing the Sophomore year of that series and I can’t seem to find it online. If I see it on Bookmooch people never send to Canada. If I see it on eBay it’s like $14 to ship! What the hell!? Grr. I need that Sophomore book! I cannot read the next series without it.

Fun Fact!: Linda A. Cooney is actually TWO people!  Linda Alper and Kevin Cooney. Tricky, eh? I just learned that while rereading this series.

Class of ’88

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior

ending july on a high note

Even with all the other stuff that has been going on in my every day life, I still feel that this has been an amazing summer so far. The weather has been splendid in my opinion – ignoring that two week heat wave in the middle of July, but then again that’s what July is for. The days have been sunny and breezy. The nights, for the most part, have been cool enough that for almost all of June we didn’t even have our a/c on at night. The humidity hasn’t been as horrible as it normally is – as in, we haven’t had it every day of the summer 24/7. There have been days when it’s impossible to breathe with the humidity, but the next day will drop in temperature and be comfortable again.

When it has rained, it has gone all out. Major storm warnings and downpours that make you want to hide. But at the same time, the sky would clear within a couple of hours and you can go out about your day, or it’s only rained at night.

I feel content this morning. Even with my allergies so bad that my eyes have dried out and I can’t see a bloody thing clearly (one regret? Getting this stupid LASIK done in February).

But today I am happy.

This was breakfast:

Yes, that is fried baloney. I needed a meat product. The little white container on the top left holds the creton we bought at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. So much deliciousness!

Even Annie had fruit!

Of course she would have much preferred the baloney and eggs.

My tree is slowly, very slowly, coming back to life.

Although it seems to have decided to come back with it’s autumn colours on.

The leaves aren’t very big yet, nor plentiful and I hope that next summer it’ll pop back to life properly. I don’t think this is so bad for it having died completely for 2 weeks during the heat wave.

Still, I am very happy to see she still has some life in her. I think to celebrate the rebirth of the tree I shall give her a name. I dub thee, Celeste. (Shawn dubs thee, Gretta. He’s wrong though.)

I have been delving back into my childhood for much of this month. Part of that nostalgic trip has been while rereading a series of books I had back in the late 80s.

I am on the final installment of that series now, which will bring my total read books for the month to 17 – only 3 short of last July’s total of 20. Although this month also included To Kill a Mockingbird, which I feel should equal about 5 books worth of reading.

Jinx didn’t want to be left out of my final post for July so he happily posed on the back deck for me.

The back deck is HOT on bare feet so I didn’t let him (or me!) stay out that long.

The last week saw the painting of our deck over many days – if we didn’t have rain! It’s now almost complete and I can move my lone cherry tomato plant back up on to the deck.

We’ve had so much rain in the evenings for the last little while and had been looking forward to a week without rain so we can paint the deck – I forgot to water the poor little plant for 4 days and the bottom is starting to yellow. I have been watering it every night now and hope that we’ll get a little more rain in case I forget. I do have little green tomatoes starting to grow though!

Obviously not everything is back on the deck yet, but my faerie and the plant are back where they belong! I can’t wait for my tomatoes!

Jinx wanted to show off the finished deck but I had to tell him that those railings to his right still needed their second coat! Once that’s done it will be 100% finished! Thanks to my father-in-law for providing the stain. The green even matches the aluminum roofing on our house. Oh, so 70s. (Actually it looks really nice on the deck.)

Now my towels are hanging on the line to dry – sadly there seem to be dark ominous clouds on the horizon. Grr. And I am finishing off this post about my summer so far. I might have some more berries to snack on since we had breakfast around 11:00 am. I have taken the hamburger meat out of the freezer for dinner tonight, that with fresh corn from the farmer’s market. Mmmmm. Dinner seems so far away right now.

And I shall leave you with this final photo of  my silly Annabelly who will not play with toys but has no problems falling asleep next to them in weird positions. This happened as I was about to unload all my photos from the camera for my post.

My dogs bring me so much joy. So has this summer. (And of course, so does my husband!)

I hope everyone is having as much fun this summer as I have been – even with the ups and downs.

tarnished angel

The internet is a funny thing. It can open up your world to a whole group of people you would never have met otherwise and may become your bestest of friends. It can single you out, hurt you, chew you up and give you nowhere to hide. It can be your voice and it can be your curse.

Having been part of the online community in some shape or form since I was 14 (back in the days when there was NO world wide web, but there were dial-up modems) I have been lucky enough to have met many people I never would have met in real life. I have seen it all, friendships, love affairs, break ups, bullying, drama and good times. I have been through it all and managed to stay relatively out of most of the drama. I have made great friends who have come from far away to my wedding, I have made friends that I have since lost touch with as we grew older. I have dabbled in fandom and personal home pages. I have lived much of my life surrounded by an online community where I felt safe and finally not so much as alone as I felt among the people I knew in person.

The latest  community I have become a part of has been of the book blogging variety. I have made amazing friends with whom I share common reading interests and through talking about books discovered there are other common interests as well. I have befriended authors, not in a  name dropping way, but because we have established a communication and friendship through comments and emails. Authors are people too, you know.

One author in particular has a blog where she spotlights and embraces the teens she writes for. She does amazing things on her blog like having an Open Mic night where she invites her readers (of all ages) to showcase what they have written, be it a story, poem or song. She also has an Anonymous Teen Reader feature where an anonymous teen will answer questions, sort of like an interview. One interview in particular really struck a chord with me and through tears I automatically wrote this long rambling comment without even thinking. It also got me thinking a lot about myself and how the thought of young people going through such hard times, now with the added bonus of internet bullying, I felt I needed to let people know that there is a possibility that you will get through this hard time and the stuff that seemed to Big and Important when you were 14 doesn’t matter one bit when you’re 34 BUT it will stick with you and influence who you will be at 34.

I must have been feeling emotional and crazy at the time because I emailed my author friend and a) apologized for jumping in there like that and rambling on and b) I had an idea. What if I wrote something about myself and my experiences and my bad times and showed that I made it and that that stuff was Big and Emotional but in the end, those people you’re trying to impress fade into the background fairly quickly if you think about it. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was trying to ask her or what I wanted to say.  I just wanted so badly for 14 year old ME to have something out there to cling to to make me feel less alone. I wanted someone older to just UNDERSTAND what was going on and not just say “you’ll get over it, you’re young”. So my author friend agreed and I set out to write a very difficult and emotional bunch of text.

That text had to be edited down from about 13 pages to 4 and then some. I wanted to say so much and didn’t know exactly how to express it that conveyed how much I truly meant what I was writing and not to come off sounding like someone who just didn’t have a clue. Sure I can’t relate to every one’s problems, but there are some kids out there who feel like I did back then and still do now at times. What I went through isn’t something I can walk away from, it’s sewn into my pores, it’s in my blood. It’s a part of my DNA and what makes me ME. I live with my pre-teen and teenage self every day, I just make sure she’s in the background while I show her how life really is worth living.

After much agony and frustration that I wasn’t saying things right, I sent the text to my friend. This text was published as a guest post this past Tuesday. I was not going to post about it anywhere because it’s personal and it’s not something I wrote to get attention. It’s something I wrote to try and help someone, anyone, just one person – 14 year old me.

I tossed around the idea of having it posted anonymously. The friends I have made in the book blogging world do not know much much beyond the last 2 years of my life. There are things in there very few people know about me unless they’ve known me forever. A teeny part of me was worried that the friends I made would think differently of me when they read what I wrote.

But then I thought about what I was saying in my post – I was saying be honest. Be true to yourself. BE yourself. When you stop trying to be what others think of you, like-minded people will find the YOU you really are. So if I posted this anonymously I wasn’t following my own advice – advice that I truly follow every day. I wasn’t being true and I, at 14, would take someone less seriously if they were too ashamed to be so raw and open and yet not let people know who they are. Also, if the friends I have made in the last 2 years suddenly think less of me because of my past, they aren’t really the friends I want to spend my energy on.

So I let my friend post it with my name and face all over it and I held my breath and fretted over Tuesday.

My biggest fear? That no one would read it and GET it. And that’s when I started seeing the comments come in. It’s not the number I was worried about, it was the “whatever, old person, you just don’t get it” comments I was worried about. However the comments on this post have been some of the most passionate, powerful and emotional things I have ever read and more than once I teared up. They meant the world to me, not in an attention-getting way, but in this wonderful, I think I might have helped someone way. I feel so proud of what I wrote (when I read it on the blog I thought, did I really write this?) and I feel so overwhelmed by the response it got. People who opened up and say they got it, that what I did write made a difference. Parents with kids who are bullied, younger people who feel there isn’t much to look forward to in life.

Someone GOT what I was trying to say and this is the best feeling in the world. I am very proud of my decision to ask to do this and actually follow through. I can’t save the world, but I’d sure like to try and help at least one person down off that ledge.

And so, though I wasn’t going to post about it here, I feel proud enough of what I wrote that I will share it with you if you so desire to read it. Note: I edited a ton out of it and there was a lot I didn’t end up saying that I wanted to (I mean it wasn’t MY blog and I don’t think anyone would have read 16 pages worth of emotion). I did do a PS in the comments that said my parents helped me a lot, even though I mentioned in the post that they didn’t completely understand. My mother was my one and only best friend for so long. That should have been in there but wasn’t (and I am not just writing that in here now because they read this. *waves to parents*). It’s a PS I wrote as soon as she told me it was posted.

You can read what I wrote here, but I encourage you to read the comments even more. I have so much respect and admiration for those people who wrote what they did in reply to my post. And I warn you once more, it’s honest and emotional and not the happiest of stories, but with a happy ending – me, right now, alive and writing about this.

oh, well, i never, was there ever?

PEOPLE! This is amazing breaking news. Are you listening, people? Are you? Are your eyes open? Do you see that lovely photo just above these words? DO YOU?

CATS is coming to Montreal in a month. ONE MONTH! And it’ll only be showing for 3 days. THREE DAYS!

I first saw this enchanting musical full of unitards, whiskers, junk and song when I was 12. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I used to listen to the sound track over and over again until I broke the tape. I used to stage dance routines in my bedroom and sing along to McCavity (the mystery cat!) and pretend I was in the musical, LIVE! ON STAGE!

Most amazing theatre experince ever. The entire place was decorated with junk so that you, the audience member, felt as though you were in the junk yard with the cats. The cast all ca,e running up on stage through the aisles where you, the audience member, had JUST WALKED! It was BRILLIANT!

And at some point, in one song, they MAKE A TRAIN OUT OF THE JUNK PROPS! Just like that! From nothing! Out of nowhere! MAGIC!

And they sing such melodious songs. Oh, the singing! Oh the harmonies! Oh, the dancing!

I saw this musical again when I was in the 8th grade and we went to New York and I saw it on BROADWAY!

I did not care for the Broadway version as much as I loved the one I saw at home 3 years earlier. But I guess that’s the way it is when you have a different cast.

I know most of the world mocks and looks down on this musical, but I love it ever so much and I am proud of that love.

I desperately want to go next month, but I don’t think it is going to happen.

If I had not had to take another route home last night due to an accident on the bridge, I would never have seen the ads that were up in the metro station. I think it was fate I saw this! FATE!

Sadly my parents are likely in another Province during the show weekend and my sister is off camping in some wilderness location. So rude! My family cares not one bit about me. A girl whose NAME is the SAME as the musical, only minus an “s”.

I shall enter any and ever contest I might hear about to try and win tickets.

I must see the musical that captured my soul when I was but a wee’ kitten (and about 2 inches shorter than I was now. I didn’t grow very much.)

Fate, you shall help me out in this, as you were the one who made me have to take that alternate route home last night!

Class of ’88: Junior

Class of ’88: Junior
by Linda A. Cooney

Five friends. Nick, the golden boy, Celia the beautiful, Sean the thinker, Allie the wild, Meg the brave.

— Summary to be transcribed when I get home and have the book with me. Oops!–

I have to admit that although reading the first two in this series triggered memories of reading the books the first time (in 1987/1988) I don’t recall much about this Junior year of the five friends at all. But what struck me was this – the book fit in very well with a guest post I wrote for a blog this week. It was all about how tough it is to be a teen and the stuff I went through, and that others go through and how hard it is to be yourself in high school and not just the person the “cool kids” think you should be.

Although the cover of this third book depicts Sean and Nick, the book has a large focus on Allie, who after spending 6 months in New York City (because her father was transferred) has come back to Northern California and Redwood High and has changed considerably.

The funny thing I realized as I was reading (and I think I felt similarly when I was 12) was that the way they described Allie’s clothing and look (all black, combat boots, black dyed hair) is similar to the way I dress now (ok so I don’t own combat boots) and the way I have always WANTED to dress and envied when I was a kid (when I had no guts to follow through). Wow that was a long sentence with a lot of parenthesis. Oh, well.

Celia, the blond-all-about-being-popular one, is constantly shamed by her hair stylist mother who wears her hair with blue or purple or pink streaks in it. HOLY COW did I WANT that kind of hair when I was 12 and here is a book that promotes preppy and following the crowd and shuns her. Had they never watched Jem and the Holograms? (I was totally going to be in that cartoon band, by the way.) The fact that most of the kids in these books look down on those whose style and expression is different is a HUGE point in this series. It’s hard being in high school and it’s very hard to walk to the beat of your own drum when 90% of the population is telling you that makes you a loser and uncool.

Allie discovered while she was away that she didn’t like the same things her best friend since they were born liked. She felt because she didn’t like school or dressing in the latest fashions she had no future – a slogan that was printed on her black jacket which she sported daily. Celia shunned her and made it a project to get Allie back in the good graces of the cool and popular, but Allie didn’t want anything to do with it. The only person she could talk to was Sean who went from being bullied and being called a nerd in Freshman and Sophomore years to being respected because he was smart and able to repair computers, amps, tech stuff. He was finally “cool” and because of this almost lost his first girlfriend – a girl named Brooke who was PROUD to be different and quirky and lost his friendship with Allie.

Meanwhile Meg and Nick were on the back burner for this book. They are still in love with each other but won’t admit it and continuously date people they don’t really want just to make the other jealous or have someone. Yawn. Boring.

What struck me the most was how much this book resonated with how I felt growing up and even though this is one of the stories I remember the least in the series, I know that I must have felt the same way when I first read it – EXCEPT! – I would have been way too insecure and shy to be that punk, alternative, new-wave girl that I longed to be. These days? I wear what I want, when I want and I will opt for comfort over fashion 99.9% of the time. I am the Allie that was emerging in this book, only a lot less moody. 😉

Allie does find something she loves to do in the end – acting. She joins the drama club and gets the lead part in a play. She is shunned for this by her now former BFF, Celia because only lame losers join drama and don’t focus on dating college boys, prom, or cheerleading.

Celia has always been my least favourite character in this series. I have always loved Allie and Sean. Nick, although he sounds dreamy (and constantly refered to as “blonde good look” and yet always drawn with dark brown hair and eyes on the covers) and Meg have always just been background, never really thought about characters. Do not like or dislike them. They are just there. Rather bland.

I’m just starting the final book out of the four – we’re about to enter Senior year and finally become the official Class of ’88!

Oh, and I am so sick of basketball ALWAYS being written as “b-ball”. Not once is anyone referred to or the game mentioned as a fully written out word. Did Americans really talk like that in the ’80s? I don’t remember. I am pretty sure that here in Canada we often used the full word. Say it with me now, “BASKET – BALL”. There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Class of ’88

  1. Freshman
  2. Sophomore
  3. Junior
  4. Senior