Violence in Failing Venezuela Schools — AP Images Blog

A beautifully written article. These kids are no older than me yet are having such sad thoughts. It helps me remember that I’m truly lucky to be where I am now.

Photos by Ariana Cubillos Maria Arias slipped her notebooks into her backpack, scrounged for a banana to share with her brother and sister, and set off for high school through narrow streets so violent taxis will not come here for any price.

via No Food, No Teachers, Violence in Failing Venezuela Schools — AP Images Blog


The Captured Princess 1

“Hey ugly!”

The dragon lazily swung its head to glare at the little knight standing at the base of the mansion. Its yellow eyes burned holes into the knight’s head but, surprisingly, he didn’t back down. “Release the princess at once and maybe I’ll let you live, stink-breath!”

“God, I bet he spent all week thinking of that one.” The dragon hissed under her breath.

“Monster, I give you one chance! Release the princess or suffer!”

The dragon roared loudly, “Oh shut up!” before shooting a small blast of fire at the small man. He dropped his sword and scuttled away, probably to his Horse he had parked somewhere nearby. When her job was done, the dragon snorted disdainfully.

“Joy, what was he like?” An excited whisper floated from underneath the dragon.

Her expression softened. She swiftly entered the house to meet a bouncing girl who immediately lifted herself onto the dragon’s neck, “Was he cute?”

Joy shook her head, “He was old. Looked all wrinkly.”

The girl nodded approvingly, “Well I’m glad you got rid of him, he wasn’t very nice to you. Though you should’ve said the usual lines.”

The dragon sighed and the girl could feel it resonate throughout the hard body. “I would have but he was really annoying. I really just wanted to kill him.”

Once the words had left her mouth, she instantly regretted it. “Oh Joy, don’t say that. You’re trying to reform. Saying things like that won’t do you any good. And my father wouldn’t be happy if he heard you say that either!”

“I was kidding, Beth. You know I would never.” But her comforting words had no effect. Princess Beth had slid off the back of the young dragon and turned away. “Tell you what, let me go grab those berries you love. We can make a pie together.”

Joy heard the princess gasp and knew everything was resolved. “I shouldn’t have said that, I was just angry he called me ugly. He also said my breath stank.”

Beth giggled as she flung her arms around her friend, “Your breath certainly doesn’t stink, you brush twice a day! And I know for a fact that you’re the prettiest dragon around. That old fart had no idea what he was talking about.”

If the dragon could have turned any redder, she would have. Instead she opted to lightly press her lips against the girl’s forehead. “I’ll be right back,” and she sailed out the window.

Meanwhile, the princess danced happily throughout her mansion. She floated into the kitchen and spun in circles, pretending to be dancing with invisible partners who would treat her kindly and weren’t pursuing her just for her money. Joy hated it when she pretended such things but what else was a lonely princess to do? Joy hated anything that meant her leaving the safety of the castle. She understood why, of course, being the Crown Princess of the entire world was a huge position, one that anyone would kill to have.

The princess’ pretendings often left her oblivious to the world around her. With her eyes shut tight, she circled the kitchen. She knew every bit of the manor by heart, something that comes with eighteen years of living in it.

A knock at the door made her jump. She was jolted out of her dreams. Her heart skipped a beat. Nobody had ever knocked on the door before. Maybe because the door was fake.

“Pixie Pizza, delivery!” The knock came again, this time harder.

Beth started bouncing on her toes. Bolts of energy flew through her body. A prince? Could it be? She dusted her dress off and fixed her hair.

The door to the mansion was just painted onto a solid wall, her father brilliantly came up with the idea so knights couldn’t sneak in, but the window above was real. Beth had discovered that it could be opened just enough to fit through. She never left obviously, that would be suicide to go into the world, even if she was to rule over it.

“Hello.” She sang softly in a voice she had practiced alone just for this occasion. The purpose was to lure the prince to look up and call for her. So it wouldn’t appear as if she initiated contact.

The prince below kept knocking, “Pixie Pizza, I have your food!”

Beth felt a little hurt. The voice always worked in the books. She tried again and again but the prince didn’t respond. By now, both parties were getting frustrated. The prince abruptly ceased his knocking and turned away. “Guess it’s mine now,” he muttered.

What was she to do? Her prince was getting away. “Wait!” She cried, but her voice cracked and she choked on her words. But at least she got his attention. He looked back and saw her hanging out the window, fighting to hold back a cough.

“Are you… hold on,” he fumbled through his pockets while she struggled to regain her composure, “Got it… are you Barry Olga?” He squinted at the piece of paper he had just procured.

Princess Beth

Princess Beth

“Sure.” Beth smiled warmly, “Why don’t you come up?”

The poor prince looked alarmed. “Why don’t you just open the door? Or, how about this, I’ll just leave it here and you toss me the money.” He tried to place it on the ground in front of the fake door much to Beth’s disbelief.

“Money? Oh yes, money. I have them here. Come up.”

The prince furrowed his eyebrows, “Can you just open the door?”

“No I can’t. So come up and get your money.” Why was this so hard? In everything Beth had ever read the prince eagerly climbed the princess’ tower without so much as an invitation. She must’ve gotten herself a rather stubborn prince. It was clear she was going to have to do most of the work, “I’ll throw you a rope and you can climb it.”

“What about your pizza?”

“What’s pizza?”

Next Chapter

Sunday, Gameday

The over invested parent pacing the field anxiously. The uninterested mothers gossiping at the edge. The random sibling shouting pointless advice. That one mom who’s really just trying to understand what’s happening. That ref who doesn’t even know why he’s here in the first place. That kid sitting next to you criticizing everything the players do.
If you can’t see one of them around you, it’s probably you.

What Owning Dogs Has Taught Me

Selfies with my puppies.

Selfies with my puppies.

In honor of national dog day (which was on Tuesday) I decided to dedicate this post to my precious babies (my puppies).

My family has had a total of three dogs. Our first one tragically died during our year in Texas, it was so sad and if you were to ever talk to my mom about it, she’d probably tear up and change the subject after describing how good of a dog our first baby was. It was heartbreaking. Once we managed to recover, we received two little sisters. Their names are Alice and Olivia and they are the cutest things ever.

My family has been owners of dogs for about five years now, so that basically makes us experts on the subject. Of course, owning a pet can really change the way you look at animals, and here are some of the things I’ve noticed about owning dogs.

1. They have feelings. This may sound strange but before owning dogs, I never really thought of animals having feelings or preferences. My first dog taught me that not only do they have feelings, but they’re also very adamant about what they like or don’t like. He didn’t like to be pet while eating and he didn’t like to have his paws touched at all. Our dogs now have very picky tastes and the fatter one picks and chooses what she wants out of her kibble.

2. They have their own personalities. Again, this was something I never thought of before owning dogs. My current dogs fight a lot yet cry when they’re without each other. The fatter puppy, Alice, is a feisty girl who doesn’t like to be touched too much while Olivia, the skinny one, is timid and shy. She sometimes will just sit next to you just because she wants to be close. Alice, on the other hand, prefers to be alone yet wants you there when she needs it. Alice loves car rides, sometimes she tries to hang outside the window and we have to drag her back into the car, Olivia will shake and throw up the first minute she steps into a car.

3. THEY LOVE YOU SO MUCH. You could step on them and they’ll come back to you with the same adoring eyes they always have. They just stare at you with a loving look, and sometimes, when you’re sitting on the couch, they’ll move to your side just to be close to you.

4. It’s like they know when you’re tired or sad. It’s soul comfort when they curl up into your lap after a long day. They know when you’ve had a bad day and they know just how to help you.

5. They’re family. The reason my family was so devastated after the death of my first dog was because we loved him as if he had been with us since the beginning. Even with our dogs now, it feels as if they were born right into our family, and we love them as so.

Some believe owning a dog is just saving another dog from a kennel. I believe that owning a dog actually saves the owner rather than the puppy, they will love you unconditionally, forever. They will even love you more than they love themselves.


This is Alice after we gave her a bath.


Alice on the left, Olivia on the right.


To me, blue is when you close your eyes while listening to your favorite song as you allow a pleasant nap to sneak up on you – the kind to leave you feeling refreshed and calm. A soft color of complete tranquility and relaxation. Where you lay on your back under the warm sun on a cloudless day, and stare up at the limitless sky while feeling content with the world. The feeling of perfect control over everything in your life. When a sight, sound, or scent lulls you to wonderful nostalgia and you bask in your memories. That is the color blue to me.

My Dad

I write this post as my dad sits in the living room, laughing hysterically at something just said on TV. I spent 20 minutes sitting here trying to think of something worthy enough to say about my father – and nothing came to mind. He’s been with me my entire life, never wavering, and always quick to help me whenever I need it. Yes, he’s quick to anger, and yes, he doesn’t like it if I comment on any of his Facebook posts (saying it’s not very professional to comment a ton of smiley faces) but he’s always got my best interest in mind. He always put his family before himself, always thinking of us, and because of that, I could never ask for a better dad. He’ll complain about my obsessive need for new clothes as he spends hours at the mall, buying me whatever I want. He’ll angrily protest to me even thinking about getting a license as he takes me to empty lots to practice my driving skills. He’ll sigh in shame at my candy addiction as he places several bags of various candies into our shopping cart – all for me. I could go on and on about how much my father does for me, but to write all that would take forever, and the list would go on for days. I cannot hope to write something even close to expressing all my gratitude for my dad, instead, I’ll just comment “Happy Father’s Day 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)” on his Facebook page and hope he knows I love him.
(Just kidding, I probably shouldn’t risk that).
Happy Father’s Day, dad, and I hope whatever you’re laughing at on TV is as great as you’ve been to me. 🙂