Sunday, July 27, 2014

Calista's Diary Entry - Summer Travels

Dear Diary,

My parents are really cheap.  Sometimes for our "vacations", we all travel with my dad on one of his business trips.  I remember a previous summer where we "vacationed" in Huntsville, AL.  There was not much to do.  My dad worked the whole time.  I went swimming, shopping, and hung out in the hotel room a lot.  There was a concert taking place on the grounds outside of our hotel one night, but my parents did not want to go out and they would not let me go alone.  Luckily, I could hear the music (it was really loud) and I could see the bands from my patio.

This year, my dad's company sent him to Denver, CO.  I was not thrilled at first, but my parents promised me that we would have a good time.  I got to thinking, I'm a little older now, so maybe I'll have more freedom and be able to do more things than in the past.  While waiting on our flight at the airport, I started to feel excited.

I didn't bring my camera with me on the trip, but I took a lot of photos with my cell phone.  They are not my best photos.

Our room in Denver was really nice.  It was like a little apartment. 

It had a living area and a full kitchen.

I had my own bedroom.

On our first night there, we went to the mall.  They have an American Girl store!  I wanted to go in, but my dad didn't want to.  "You're not going to buy one of those dolls, so why do you want to go there?"  I told him that I just wanted to see a huge store full of dolls.  I just had to look at them through the window, though, because we did not stop there.  I asked "When are we going to do something that I will enjoy???"  My parents told me that they had a surprise for me.

My parents told me that they were taking me to the Breckenridge Fun Park.  They said that there is a rollercoaster that goes down the side of a mountain!  And Segway tours!  And a SuperBungee Trampoline!  And a bunch of other fun stuff!  Ok, this has the potential to be the BEST VACATION EVER!

It was a long car ride from Denver to Breckenridge.  We made a quick stop in Idaho Springs.

It was such a beautiful day, and the views were spectacular! 

We finally arrived in Breckenridge, and it was breathtakingly beautiful!

My dad had started feeling sick in the car on the way there.  We stopped for lunch, and he was so out of breath just walking into the restaurant.  We thought he would be fine after he had something to eat, but he just kept feeling worse.  We tried walking around a bit and he started to feel faint.  Luckily, there was an oxygen bar nearby.

After talking with the workers there, my dad got the maximum amount of oxygen - 45 minutes.  While he did that, me and my mom went shopping in Breckenridge.

There were so many little shops within walking distance, and beautiful scenery all around. 

The weather was wonderful.  The high was 72 that day.  I talked to some other girls my age, and they told me that they had just come back from the fun park.  They said that there was still a little snow up there.  Snow in the summertime?  I couldn't wait to see!  They said that we would have to ride gondolas up to the peak.  I couldn't wait!

After about an hour, me and my mom met my dad back at the oxygen bar.  My dad told me that he was sorry, but we had to leave.  He just was not getting enough oxygen, and he felt sick.  He said that we would have to go back to Denver right away.  WHAT?  BOOOOOOO!

I mean don't get me wrong, I felt bad that my dad was sick.  I could tell that he really did not feel well, but this was the thing that I was looking forward to the most.  We spent all that time driving here just for this.  I was just really disappointed, and I had a hard time hiding it.

All the way back to the car, I kept asking questions.  "Can't Dad just stay at the oxygen bar while we go to the fun park?"  "Can you just leave me here and I'll go to the fun park alone, and Mom can drive Dad back to Denver and pick me up later?"  "Can't Dad just drive back to Denver alone, and Mom can rent a car and drive us back to Denver after we go to the fun park?"  These sounded like reasonable questions to me.  Every question I asked, I was told "No!"  I was so disgusted.

My mom drove us back to Denver.  So I knew it had to be really bad, because my dad always drives when the 2 of them are in a car together.  As we were driving away, I said "I don't see why we ALL have to suffer just because Dad is sick!"  My mother pulled the car over and turned around and looked at me and said "Calista Clementine Knight,!"  Well, I still had stuff to say!  I said "But..." and my mom said "Not another word!"  The way that she looked at me when she said it, I knew that I would be in big trouble if I kept talking.  I plugged my earbuds into my phone and listened to music all the way back to Denver.

The next day, on the way to the airport, we stopped by my Dad's job.  You can see the mountains from there.  If I had an office with this view, I would spend my days gazing at the mountains.

Then it was off to the airport, where we rode the train to our terminal.

I'm still a little disappointed that my trip did not go exactly the way that I wanted it to, but I'm appreciative of the things that I did get to do and see.  I had never been to Denver or Breckenridge, so it was all new to me.  I feel bad that I made my dad feel worse than he already did about not being able to take me to the fun park as planned.  I know that it wasn't his fault that he got sick.  He was so apologetic and he told me that he would make it up to me one of these days.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Who remembers Palmer and Zalika?

The last time we heard from them, they were on their way to Rod and Danielle's reception after having an intense and drama-filled trip to Morristown and attending the wedding with co-travelers Darius and Adele.  Here's a reminder for you:

Since returning, Palmer and Zalika have been inseparable, and their relationship has been as intense and as passionate as ever.  But Zalika soon learned that dating a politician can be complicated.  For instance, Palmer has always stressed a need for discretion.  For Palmer, that means having control over what the media prints about him, so it is particularly important to keep his romantic life out of the headlines.  For Zalika, this means that there is a barrier.  This means that they can hang out together and with small groups of friends, they can vacation together (usually traveling to the destination separately), and this means that on those huge occasions where she really wants to be by his side, she is in the background, away from media scrutiny.

And for a while, that was okay.  For all the time that they spent apart, they seemed to make up for it when they did get together.  They had incredible vacations together, even if they did have to travel to the destinations separately.

Once, they were actually able to travel together because Palmer had access to a private plane.  That trip was particularly memorable for them both.

And it wasn't as if Palmer was keeping her a secret.  Palmer's friends have known Zalika almost from the beginning, and Zalika is invited to small social affairs, as long as there is no chance that the media will be present.  

Zalika doesn't discuss her relationship with Palmer with very many of her friends.  She is careful who she shares information with, especially since her friends may not understand their relationship.  Her friend Nina knows about the 2 of them has asked on more than one occasion "I saw Palmer's picture in the paper at that event... where were you?"  Zalika had replied that she was there, but that she and Palmer are not letting the media know that they are a couple.  Nina said "You said what you would NEVER be in a relationship where a guy hides you away from the people in his life!"  Zalika had explained that Palmer is not keeping her a secret, they just don't want the world to know.  Nina responded "So you're not a secret to a few people, but you are a secret to the rest of world.  That just sounds weak to me."

In the past, it had been easier to dismiss her friend's comments.  Now it was quite a bit more difficult.  The prospect of talking to Palmer about their relationship and about their future scared her a little, because she did not want to lose what they had.  On the other hand, if this was a relationship with no real future, she had to know that.  She invited Palmer over and they talked for hours.

Palmer has this way about him that is so charming and so slick, and he has a way of getting people to do what he wants and making them think that it was their idea.  Zalika knew this about him and admired that quality, but she was determined not to fall for that (at least not this time).  She needed real answers.  Palmer was very attentive and reassuring and let her know that her concerns were definitely valid.  But this is what it all came down to.

Palmer said  "I'm willing to take our relationship to the next level.  I've lived the majority of my adult life under media scrutiny, and I've grown accustomed to it.  For us to be completely open about our relationship would be freeing in a lot of ways, but it will be stifling in other ways.  As you know, I have very high political aspirations.  Right now, all you really have to worry about is the local media.  Think about what will happen when I run for President.  Are you ready for the background checks that my political enemies will run on you, and how they will spin the information that they find to your detriment, just to get at me?  Are you ready for reporters to interview your friends from high school and college, trying to find your deepest secrets?  Are you ready for the betrayal you'll feel when your old friends sell your secrets to the tabloids to earn a few bucks?  Are you ready to have reporters going through your garbage?  That's just a little bit of what will happen."

Zalika paused for a bit, and then opened her mouth to speak.  Palmer said "Don't answer me now.  Think about it for a while.  REALLY think about it.  And then, let me know what you want to do."

It's been a mild summer, but Palmer and Zalika are heating things up in this video!  Check it out, unless you are easily offended, in which case you should avert your eyes.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Calista's Diary Entry - Play Time

Dear Diary,

As the summer began, I spent most of my time relaxing and watching TV.  I didn't want to do much of anything.  It was just nice being able to hang out in my pajamas and relax.

Well, the longer I did that, the more agitated my parents seemed to become.  I heard my dad talking to my mom, saying something about me regressing.  One Saturday, I was in the kitchen fixing myself a bowl of cereal for lunch, and my dad said "Don't you think that you're a little old to be playing with toys?"  I said "What, this?  This isn't a toy, it's my teddy bear.  And I don't play with him, I just..." and then I couldn't think of anything that I could say that would erase the frown from my dad's face.  My dad said "You've been carrying that thing around everywhere you go."  My mother came in and patted my dad on the arm and said "It's alright, I'll talk to her."

My dad walked away and I fixed my cereal really fast, hoping that my mom would walk away too.  But she followed me to my room and closed the door.  I tried to hide my eye rolling from her.  She said "You really do miss that boy, don't you?"  I said "Who?"  My mom didn't even try to hide her eye roll from me.  She said "Bob.  That's the boy who gave you that bear, right?"  I nodded hesitantly.  My mom continued "Yeah, we talk to his dad Brad sometimes at church.  Brad said that his son would be gone almost the entire summer.  Calista, he will be back before you know it."  I said "Ok.", hoping that would end the conversation.

My mom said "In the meantime, we are not about to let you spend your summer moping around and hugging on a stuffed bear.  You need to find an activity."  I said "Isn't it a little late for that?"  My mom said "No, there's still plenty of things that you can do.  If you can't find anything, your dad and I will choose something.  Hey, Vacation Bible School is coming up next week..."  I said "No!"  I didn't mean to say it so loudly.  I said "I'll find something."  My mother said "Ok, you have 1 week."

I went to the Community Center that same day to try to find something to occupy my time this summer.  As I expected, there wasn't a lot left to choose from.  But something did catch my eye.  A local musician was offering music lessons.  I've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, so it seemed like a good idea to me.

I called the number from the ad and I set up an initial meeting.  When I arrived, I was surprised to see that the "local musician" was actually an older boy from my school named Jay.  He didn't recognize me, even after I told him that I had been on the Junior Spirit Squad.  I recognized him right away.  He performed in school talent shows, and he's really good.  He also has a bit of a reputation for being a jerk.  And from what I've heard, he skips school and drinks.

I told him that I thought I needed to find an instructor who was a bit more mature.  He told me fine, he didn't need my money anyway, and that the lessons were for my benefit and not for his.  He said that he was trying to share the gift of music with someone who was willing to work hard.  I told him that I am no stranger to hard work, but I need to make sure that I get someone who is reliable, and I shared my concerns about him skipping school.  He told me "So what!"  He went on a rant about how music is his life, his passion, and when it comes to music, he does not cut corners.  He works really hard, he's good at what he does, and he does not disappoint.  He told me that it was up to me, but if we chose to work together, I would definitely be impressed.  He said that I would not find another person who was as passionate about music, especially within my budget.

I told him that I would give him a chance.  He told me that he would give me a chance also, but that he would drop me if I didn't work hard.  I said "Drop ME?  I'm the one paying!"  He said it didn't matter, he didn't want to waste his time on someone who wasn't serious.  He said "Are you serious, Clarissa?"  I said "It's CALISTA, and yes I'm serious."

So he showed me his instruments.  He asked me if I was interested in playing the drums and I told him no, and that I thought that was too easy.  He told me that there's a lot more to it than what I think.  He let me play his drums, and I sounded awful.  Still, I wouldn't want to pay anyone to teach me to play the drums.  That seems like something that I could learn on my own. 

Then he let me play his guitar.  He showed me how to play a couple of chords.

I liked the guitar, but I knew that I wanted to take lessons on the keyboard.  Jay said that the guitar is more his thing, but that he can definitely teach me to play the keyboard.  We agreed to have my lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  He told me that I needed to practice 2 hours a day, 6 days a week.  I said "2 HOURS!"  He said "Hey, you said you were serious, and not a stranger to hard work, right?"  I replied "Right."

I played Jay a song that my dad had taught me on his keyboard when I was a little girl - Chopsticks.  Jay said that I would be blown away by the songs that I would be able to play by the end of this summer.  I hope he's right.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I've decided that I want to post more videos.  Prior to posting Calista and Bob's latest video, I had only posted 5 videos in nearly 5 years.  And let me tell you, although I enjoy putting together the videos, doing so can be very time intensive!  I did not expect to spend nearly an entire weekend day putting together Calista and Bob's video, but that's what I did.  I can't spend that kind of time very often, but I want to post more videos.  I decided to learn another video editing software program, hoping that things would be a little easier with that one.

I am learning a new software program, and in the process I have created some new videos.  Some of them were much easier, some not so much.  My Articulated Dolls and Action Figures Comparisons video below was truly a labor of love.  While it did not take me an entire day, it took me several hours.  And when I think about the hours that went into posing the dolls and taking the photos, well, like I said it's been a labor of love.  I hope that you enjoy, and if you do please click "like" and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

I also created a video review for my Prettie Girls Lena doll.

And I created a video for my Monster High Wolf family dolls (Clawdeen, Clawd, Howleen, and Clawdia).

These were fun!  I made it a goal to create 10 new videos this summer.  I've created 5, and I want to make 5 more this month.  And I want to make at least 1 video per month for the rest of the year.  Also I want to create at least 1 video using a different video editing software program than the 2 I've already used.  Let's see how it goes!