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When it rains during school vacation week, my sled looks FORLORN, which is my new favorite word. It sounds so forlorn…which means sad and lonely. I also like JUBILANT and last night we were! Dad called Mom and we thought it was an emergency because he hardly ever does, and it was just the northern lights. Mom and Tofu and I ran out into the field behind our house. The sky had cleared, and it was like the sky was singing…white beams of light and green shimmering. It made us feel small and also jubilant.

We got the afternoon off school on Chinese New Year. It wasn’t because Wolfgang Elementary was actually celebrating the Year of the Dragon, though. It was because of a bomb scare! Someone reported that there was a threat scrawled on the girls’ bathroom door. I saw it myself. But I don’t really think it was a bomb threat. “Ther is a bom.” If you can’t spell “there” than you probably can’t spell “BUM!” Anyway, most people were glad but I had mixed feelings. I like school and also people should learn to spell. Still, it was fine to go home and start making dumplings with Mom early. The Dragon is supposed to be extra lucky. Maybe it will be?

Ice is Never Perfect for Long!

There’s a little pond in the woods near my house, and sometimes skating. Ice is like magic. It doesn’t happen all the time. But today, I fly over the ice like a girl in a fairy tale. The sun is  under a winter spell, so it’s always off to the side, never overhead. Tofu on ice is hilarious, skidding all over the place. At the far end of the pond, there’s a motorboat, under the ice. It’s been there forever, and nobody knows the story. I feel like I’m skating on top of history, on this new ice, in this new year!

Maine abbreviated is ME. I love that!

Mrs. Ordinance likes to welcome the new year wearing pearls, so she did, even though it was just me, and Mom, and Colby in our plain old house. And Tofu of course. Still, she looked very nice, and we all wore those funny birthday hats. In a way, it is a birthday: the NEW year is born. Colby and Mom made a new year’s painting together, while Mrs. O and I baked cookies in the kitchen. The house smelled great: oil paint and chocolate. I called Dad and Richard and they let me talk to Bird. She said, “dumpling” for some reason. I don’t know if she was talking about herself or the new year.


I like both my houses at Christmas. Over at Dad and Richard’s, Beatrice Strawberry Bird went missing and scared us all for a while. We always worry she’ll actually get out of the house. That wouldn’t be good, especially right now since it’s winter. But we found her when we heard opera coming at us from the top of the Christmas tree!  Maybe she thinks she’s an ornament?

A Summer Song in December!

My Dad makes jam from all the summer berries. He freezes them, first, then waits until now when it’s cold and standing over a steam bath of canning jars on the stove feels good.

“You do this with surgical precision, Andrew” says Richard, which means that Dad is really good at not spilling, and at getting all the jars to seal up tight. Also, he IS a doctor, after all. I love Dad’s blueberry jam best, but also the strawberry, since I helped him pick some of those berries way back in June. Jamming means we get summer in a jar, all winter long. Besides, Bird is in Bird Heaven, since we let her have some berries to peck at. “Fat Berry” says Beatrice Strawberry Bird. Maybe she is talking about herself?

Dear Deer, I wish I could pat you. You look so beautiful, standing there at the edge of the woods. Only your ears are twitching. The rest of you is still. But I can’t go into the woods, because it’s still hunting season. I have to make sure Tofu doesn’t either, even with his bright orange collar. Colby’s out there right now, with his dad and uncles. They almost always get their deer. My mom says we prefer to shoot our deer with a camera, but it’s true we eat meat. So it’s complicated.

For right now, I just stand in a clump of birches, holding my breath. Looking at a deer.

I wanted to be Hawaiian but it snowed.  So I had to wear my puffy jacket and it looked ridiculous. I snuck out of the house with no boots, though. Only flip-flops. (My toes think this might have been a mistake.) I went with Colby. He was a surfer dude. But then he had to take Darby and Cece, two of his sisters, home before we’d really gone anywhere. I kept going by myself, and of course I ran into Amanda and her friends and looked like a lonely loser in a stupid costume. So I went to Mrs. O’s house, which I always save for last, on account of the cookies, and a tall werewolf opened the door, and I screamed. Tricks can be so embarrassing if they happen to you. (Fortunately, I did get a lot of treats, too, including bubblegum.)

A week ago, Dad and Richard and I harvested their pumpkins. I got to pick one to take back to Wolfgang. It was easy to pick since they only got three pumpkins (one got eaten by squirrels). I picked the one that grew in the tree! For some reason, its vine snaked up the trunk and produced a pumpkin. Richard helped me get it since he’s really tall. Not too many people have a pumpkin tree. It looks like a regular pumpkin, even though it grew way up high. Maybe I’ll carve it into some kind of bird. (It’s a good thing we harvested when we did, since it actually SNOWED yesterday. A lot. I hope it melts before tomorrow night, since I don’t want to wear winter boots with my costume. Which is secret for now.)

On the last day of summer, my mom took Colby and me to the lake. There was a grasshopper just floating around, far from shore, so I rescued it. It sat wetly in my hand, until we got near the rocks. Then it got up on my fingers, ready to leap off, like a dog in the bow of a boat. Colby said it is probably going to die by winter anyway, but I don’t care. I am a hero and my grasshopper is alive somewhere for now, under the trees!

My name is India McAllister and these are my true, random, sort of secret thoughts.

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