Courageous or Crazy?

The all too well-known BRCA1 gene is a genetic mutation generally found in women that causes breast cancer.

Breast cancer will affect 12% of the women population in the world, making it one of the most common forms of cancer, alongside skin cancer.

Two years ago, Angelina Jolie was tested for the BRCA1 gene and was told she had a 87% chance of getting breast cancer. She was also told she had a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

A lot to digest?

Yes, but this is nothing new. Hundreds of thousands of women develop breast cancer every year, but Ms. Jolie took a bolder approach than most.

She had a double mastectomy two years ago, and recently had her ovaries removed as an extreme, but somewhat necessary, preventative measure

Her strong voice in the media has been an inspiration to many women, as she shows the not so glamorous side of her life, and the honest fear she felt when she received the news that she had a very large chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

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She’s a whole lotta woman, with a whole lotta courage.


Piano Keys

The soft pangs of the notes filled the air, swirling up from the grand piano all the way around the curving stairs and straight to the top of the high ceiling of the hallway. The girl sitting on the black leather bench had wispy blonde hair, her feet dangling far above the pedals.

She shared the small seat with her mother, a woman appearing to be in her forties. She had short dark brown hair, and her makeup was applied deliberately, giving her face a slight orange tint. As she pointed to certain keys and moved her child’s small wrists up higher, her brow creased and defined the onset wrinkles there.

They were an offsetting pair – the small girl’s fragility was evident next to the woman’s full frame. It was almost as though their appearance conveyed the unsung words of their relationship; the dominance of the woman over the powerless child. And as the small blonde girl clinked away at the keys, her small fingers were barely able to reach the far black rectangles, and so the woman pulled her hands further apart, stretching the little pads of her pointer fingers further than they could go, mounting a tremendous tension of tingling sparks in the girl’s tiny fingernails, ready and itching to explode.


The week leading up to the end of the quarter is stress-inducing for all Ojai Valley School students. In order to accurately evaluate each student, teachers are assigning copious amounts of homework, including big projects with a high point value to assemble a final (quarter) grade.

Every class seems to have at least one test this week, often worth even more points than usual. This week feels like a year, going on and on, but soon to be over!

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Students seem to be dragging around campus as a result of late night studying and cramming to finish projects. Getting a good third quarter grade is often important, since slacking can sometimes happen at the end of the year. Therefore, this final push is what brings everybody to the last quarter, and then the end of the school year.

With that in mind, the quarter end is highly anticipated – everyone just has to make it through this week first!


The Jinx Justices

As most of the world may know by now, Robert Durst has recently been caught and is in custody for the murder of Susan Berman, his friend, in 2000.

His admitting to this crime came to surface during Durst’s six part documentary series The Jinx on HBO.

This happened when Durst was still attached to a microphone, and during a bathroom break, muttered under his breath that he “killed them all.”

A little disturbing? Yes.

Durst had been interrogated many times about his friend, Ms. Berman’s, death. He had not once admitted to any participation in her murder. After holding in such a serious secret for 15 years, it appears that it had been taking a toll.

If you watch the documentary series, during his final interview, Durst has a physiological reaction, uncontrollable burping and muttering nonsense under his breath.

His reaction to the questions asked in the documentary obviously shows how psychologically disturbed Durst is, as his odd behavior increases to a max, he finally admits to the murders… thinking he was all to himself.

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The Spiders Rise pt. 2

Parts of the following blog are fictional accounts.

I’m always the first one back from breakfast, so the dorms are quiet and still. Halfway down the hallway, a drawing of a cartoon spider flutters to my feet from it’s position on the wall. It was an omen, I swear it was. There was a spider in the dorm’s cutlery drawer when I was looking for spoon to make hot chocolate with.

The girls went to bed that night feeling weary but quite hopeless. We all knew that the relentless torture would not ease up yet. “Third time’s the charm,” they say.

3am and the all-too familiar sound fills the dorm. I laid awake in bed for 20 seconds or so, contemplating just staying in my room and facing the consequences.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with that thought, as I was the first person out of the dorm. The other humans took their time coming out because they knew that there was no fire and no danger.

We’re all tired. We’re all bickering.


No sign of our 8-legged friends anywhere, so I felt internally relieved. The other girls felt hopelessly exhausted and didn’t have as much knowledge as I do.

All was quiet that night. Not a peep, not a ring, not a twitch.

6:40am and I’m brushing my teeth, eyes still closed and dozing off in the silence. A friend screams and points to the wall – a large brown recluse, crouching and staring at me from the mirror. I bring him outside and try to calm my beating heart, now definitely awake.

There’s the cartoon spider at my feet again. I had stuck it back onto the wall on Tuesday, and today… Well, there it is.

9pm Thursday. I’m prepared for their final attack.

5am and I was woken by the smell of smoke. It was faint enough that the fire alarms didn’t go off.

There were about (aw heck no) a dozen spiders on my floor.

They all ran under the crack of my door and I followed them out into the hallway and out of the dorm. It was hot outside. Like, fiery hot. Actually, there was a huuuge fire outside the dorm that singed the edges of my tie-dye shirt and curled the ends of my braided hair.

The fire alarm finally went off but the dorm didn’t jump like it usually did.

Everyone was sick of the fire alarm. Every single one of them stayed in their beds and covered their ears and groaned. Nobody was awake enough to smell the smoke or to even bother to check the hallways, where smoke was coating the ceilings.

The dorm dogs ran outside silently, followed by a cat and several hundred more insects of all shapes and sizes.

I thought I was dreaming, which is why I only laughed and waved at the dorm.


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Loving Your Life

What is life, anyway?  I have struggled far too long with realizing why we are here on this planet. But recently, I have finally understood what I believe to be the purpose of life.

We are all here for different reasons, with different talents and different things to do. Not everyone will be able to do what they want- there will always be obstacles standing in the way, but the fun is in the journey. There are many things we can do- make lots of money, travel, go on adventures.  But the most important part of life, to me, is loving those we are surrounded by.

It took me a long time to realize this, but now I understand. There is no point to living a life where you don’t love those who love you. It doesn’t get you anywhere, it only sets you back and fills you with negative feelings. Why should I do this to myself? I am so happy that I have finally learned one of life’s greatest lessons- loving others infinitely. This love for people is the one thing that can never be bought or stolen, and it is the most basic necessity and reason for living.

I love you, Mom.

The Countdown to Summer

I’m ever so patiently waiting for long summer days, and even longer summer nights.

I would always rather be at the beach, but that urge is actually attainable during my favorite three months of the year.

The way the warm sand feels on the soles of my feet, the warm sun beating down on my shoulders, and the shock of the cool salty water brings me to a happy place like no other

There is no need to go to bed early for an upcoming class or even worry about homework.

These next few months are going to feel like a life time, but I know it’s worth the wait.
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