Maisie’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland

This weekend was one of the craziest weekends of my life. After having Thursday and Friday off from school due to a blizzard, we drove down to New York (the state, not the city) on Saturday because my dad had planned my grandpa’s birthday party for Sunday.

Before hitting the road on Saturday morning, Mom read the news report and told Dad that it was a bad idea to drive to New York this weekend because there was a winter storm warning in place for all of New England. One thing you should know about Dad is that he is one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet in your life, second only to Grandpa. Dad is a lawyer by training, and although he doesn’t argue in court, he can get his way in any situation you throw at him. From the beginning, Mom did not stand a chance against Dad. It was his way or the highway, except in this case, his way actually involved a highway, so that metaphor did not make sense there.

After an hour of arguing, Mom finally gave into Dad and we had a rather uneventful drive until we reached central Connecticut. While we were in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot getting ready to go back on the road after a pit stop, Dad’s stepmother called and told him that Grandpa was sick. Although that meant that Grandpa’s birthday party was probably off, Dad decided to keep going because we were already halfway to my aunt and uncle’s house in New York and he thought that we could still have Grandpa’s birthday party.

We got to my aunt and uncle’s house in New York after about 2 more hours of driving. At this point, Dad still did not want to call off Grandpa’s party, but my Auntie Michelle said that there was no way that our relatives from Philadelphia would drive up to New Jersey in a snowstorm and said that we had to cancel the party. Just then, Dad got another call from his stepmom and found out that Grandpa had to go to the hospital. Dad decided that we would stay overnight and leave the next morning.

As if the events of Saturday weren’t outrageous enough, Sunday’s forecast included another winter storm warning, and I woke up to see more intense snowfall than I had seen when school was cancelled on Thursday.

“Brad, we are not driving home in this weather!” Mom said.

“You probably shouldn’t drive back to Massachusetts in this weather,” Auntie Michelle said. Nonetheless, we packed our bags and got in the car. Dad promised that he would drive slowly and exercise caution. Mom had me put on the Hamilton soundtrack to ease her fear of a potential accident.

When we crossed over the Connecticut border, the windshield was getting too cloudy to see out of. Dad made out the faint outline of an exit sign, and we pulled over to wipe off the windshield. At this point, Mom was absolutely terrified. The snow was so heavy and the windshield so cloudy that we couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of us. I knew it was time to call in the reinforcements, my grandmothers. I texted Granny and Grandma and told them that my father was insisting upon driving in the middle of a freak snowstorm. Granny called me and asked where we were.

“We’re in Connecticut,” I answered.

“You’ll be fine, just keep going,” Granny said.

“That was no help whatsoever. Love you!” I said and hung up the phone.

I knew that I had to seek out other reinforcements. We were inside a Panera, so I told the people behind the counter about our current predicament. They said it wasn’t safe to drive back to Massachusetts. Mom asked a random guy his opinion. The guy, whose name was Josh, turned out to be a professional snowplow driver.

“What kind of car do you guys drive?” Josh asked.

“Subaru,” I answered.

“You’ll be fine. The roads tend to get clearer outside of Hartford,” Josh said.

Mom was still apprehensive, but at this point, Dad was getting the car ready to go. We had no choice but to follow Dad’s lead. Lo and behold, keeping a steady pace of 35 miles per hour, about half our normal highway driving speed, we got back to Massachusetts safely.

My favorite moment from the drive home was when we stopped at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant to use the bathroom. My family, being snobby Northerners, took the opportunity to mock everything in the restaurant. There was a jukebox-like machine that let you select songs to play in the restaurant, and my little brother selected about 10 or 15 Blake Shelton songs, so for the next half an hour, the only music playing in the restaurant would be a continuous stream of Blake’s hits. The poor patrons and waitstaff will never know what hit them!



Trump Presidency–it hasn’t even been a month and I need it to end!

DISCLAIMER: This article is extremely unpolished as I a) am very angry about the current political climate and b) desperately needed to throw something together to post for you guys.

First off, let me just say this: Oy. Oy vey.

Secondly, I can’t believe this is happening. We went from one of the most classy, experienced, fantastic, and amazing presidents this country has ever seen to an orange blob who is destroying everything in his wake.

I felt a little bit better after going to the Women’s March in Boston with my mom and her friend. It was so empowering to be surrounded by 200,000 beautiful people who stood for equality, justice, and freedom for all, including the incomparable Elizabeth Warren. I missed the memo on the pussy hat, but I wore the pink beanie I always wear, so I didn’t feel too out of place.

However, within a week, Trump reinstated DAPL and Keystone XL, barred federal funding for overseas groups performing abortions, actually promised to build the infamous wall, abolished Obamacare, preventing government funding to sanctuary cities, and, in my opinion, worst of all, suspended Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely and blocked people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including those with visas and green cards.

I honestly don’t know what to do or say at this point. Trump’s actions have me at a complete loss for words. Not only is religious intolerance extremely wrong, it scares me as a Jewish person for obvious reasons. Religious freedom is not only a Constitutional right, but a basic human right, and the proposed “Muslim registry” and this arbitrary ban completely violate those rights for thousands of people.

Trump claims that he wants to “make America great again” by barring immigrants and refugees. America is, and has always been, a nation of immigrants. Native Americans are the only people who are, well, native Americans. Even the Pilgrims came from England, and if I recall correctly, Trump’s grandfather was an immigrant. In fact, without immigration, Trump wouldn’t have any wives!

The Syrian civil war is a humanitarian crisis, and if we’re not doing everything we can as a country to help the civilians needlessly targeted by the bloodshed, we’re doing something wrong. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it states that all people have the right to seek asylum in another country if they are not safe in their home countries. The US signed the Declaration, so by not upholding every part of it, this country is violating it. If we do not adhere to the Declaration, humanity will suffer, and too many people have already encountered hardship. America needs to step it up as the leader of the free world. This is not the country that my great-grandparents risked their lives to come to, and this is not the country that the international community once looked upon as a shining example of democracy. So Donald, if you really want to make America great again, either get with the program or get out of the way.

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Maybe 2016 Didn’t Totally 100% Suck?

via Daily Prompt: Year

A lot of people around the Internet believe that 2016 was the year of universal suckage, which can definitely be justified. Many influential people, such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, George Michael, Gene Wilder, and Christina Grimmie (I still can’t accept that one), died. Countless people of color were needlessly terrorized, attacked, and murdered. Heinous war crimes were committed during the war in Syria. Protesters at Standing Rock were tear-gassed by police officers for exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. 50 LGBTQ+ Americans were killed and 53 more were injured in the biggest mass shooting in US history. Terrorist attacks have become part of the ordinary evening news cycle. One of the most disgusting people to ever exist was elected President of the United States, and his cabinet is made up of the whole basket of deplorables, from executives who use porn in their advertisements to proud Neonazis.

However, my friend (@/the.nerdy.queer.feminist on Instagram) posted a list of positive things that happened in 2016 (WHAT? NOT POSSIBLE!), and the things on this list make it pretty hard to claim that 2016 was 100% terrible.


This just goes to show that although horrendous things happen in the world, nothing is ever completely one way or the other. Yes, one of my favorite singers died and a giant orange monster is going to be President, but at the same time, medical breakthroughs were made, the environment got a little better, and more people are supporting everyone’s basic human rights .


Thanksgiving Poem 2016

Ever since my mother was a young girl, my family has had a Thanksgiving tradition where each child has to write a poem about what they are thankful for. This year, I wrote a couplet (a poem where each set of two lines rhymes) that encapsulates what I am thankful for, and at the request of my family, I am posting it here. (NOTE: Due to the spacing on WordPress, I have to put each rhyming couplet in one line).

Thanksgiving Poem 2016

I am thankful for:

My family’s constant support and love, which is truly a gift from up above.

Each and every one of my friends, on whom I always can depend.

My teachers, who have always believed that whatever I want, I can achieve.

My parents, who are always able to put a roof over my head and food on the table.

Living in America, with everything I need; already the best country in the world, indeed!

Now, I’d like to take this moment to pray for those without a family or place to stay.

For the people in desperate need who don’t know how to write or read.

For the people who, no matter how hard they try, are barely even scraping by.

For the people who wish on stars, begging to be accepted for who they are.

For the people told they can never win because of the color of their skin.

For the people living through a war, who don’t have anything worth fighting for.

Today, we thank God for giving us all we need, and ask God to help others succeed.

Because even though things may seem tough, we must always remember those with less than us.


Hot on the Trail

Over the past few months, I have been to New Hampshire three times to canvass for Hillary Clinton. Since I’m too young to vote, I felt like I needed to do absolutely everything in my power to get a decent human being to win this election season. With the election being this Tuesday, I thought I’d take some time to share my experiences from the campaign trail.

The first time I went up, it was August, and Hillary had just accepted the nomination for President. I was with my dad, my brother, and a friend of mine. I was pretty nervous because it was my first time canvassing, but I knew it was imperative for me to do my part. That time, we knocked on over thirty doors, and only a few people answered the door. One guy refused to talk to us, and a few elderly ladies were convinced that Hillary was a psychopathic liar (NOT TRUE). The most rewarding interaction of the day was when my friend and I convinced an undecided voter to vote for Hillary, even though the voter’s husband was so dead set against voting for Hillary that he refused to talk to us. As I have learned, every single vote counts, especially in this election. And who knows? Maybe the undecided voter talked to some other undecided voters and convinced them to vote for Hillary, and 1 voter turned into 5, then 5 turned into 10, and so on. You never know. The worst part of that first day was that our car broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, I was able to pick up a non-password-protected WiFi signal from a neighbor, so I was occupied until the AAA guy came to our rescue.

My dad and I went up a second time a couple of weeks ago. We went to the same place as last time, but this time, the doors we had to knock were all in walking distance from HQ, so car wreckage wouldn’t be a problem. We knocked on the same number of doors as last time, but we had even less success. A total of four people answered the door. One was a burly, middle-aged man who slammed the door in our face, and one was a timid, elderly lady who was still in her PJ’s and refused to speak to us. The other two interactions were much more successful. We met an elderly lady who was a vocal supporter of Hillary and had voted in every single election since the early 1960s, and at another house, we informed the 18-year-old daughter of a registered Hillary voter that she could register to vote and vote on Election Day, and the expression on the girl’s face completely negated every single rejection we experienced on the campaign trail.

Today was the last time my dad and I canvassed for Hillary. This time, we took a middle-aged woman up to New Hampshire with us because she did not have a car. We got our assignments at someone’s house and ended up teaming up with a middle-aged guy who was there by himself. We decided to take two packets of addresses and divide and conquer. My dad and I did half of the addresses, the other two people we were with did the other half, and we all carpooled with the guy we met at the launching site. It took us about two hours, but this time was the easiest and most fun because everyone on our list was a Hillary supporter, so it was essentially reminding people to get out the vote, or, as we say on the trail, #GOTV. However, it was also really scary because most of the houses and businesses we passed by had Trump signs on their lawns, and Trump supporters aren’t exactly known for their civility. My dad and I ended up escaping New Hampshire unscathed and with two new friends that we would never forget.

Even though a lot of parts of campaigning were enjoyable, I’m not going to lie: it is scary, sometimes disappointing, and absolutely EXHAUSTING. But this election season, the stakes were too high just to sit at home and hope for the best. Trump is a showman, and he has a Klan…I MEAN horde of supporters who will believe anything that comes out of his mouth and forgive his many wrongdoings. He is a racist pig who brags about sexually assaulting women, vows to ban an entire religion from this country, and believes that women who decide to get an abortion should be punished, and that’s not even the beginning of the damage he could do to the world. He could declare himself dictator, for all we know! Even if Trump wasn’t an awful human being, he has absolutely zero qualifications for being Commander-in-Chief. It seems like he just woke up one day and decided to run for President. Despite the propaganda that FOX News is spewing at everyone, there is only one option for this election season, and it is Hillary Clinton. She has always prioritized helping children and families in need, and she is one of the most experienced presidential candidates we’ve had in decades. Even though I can’t vote, I have a voice, and I will use it to speak up for what is right. On Tuesday, November 8th, you need to POKEMON GO TO THE POLLS and secure this country’s future.

I will end this with a quote from President Obama on this election:

“Civility is on the ballot.

Equality is on the ballot.

Justice is on the ballot.

Democracy is on the ballot.”


“Volunteer”–in response to today’s DailyPost prompt


There’s this website called DailyPost, and every day, they have a new one-word blogging prompt. It’s always a good challenge to try to craft a good post in response to one of their prompts. Today, October 22nd, 2016, the DailyPost prompt was “volunteer,” so I’m going to make a list of things I associate with the word “volunteer.”

  • “How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower somehow defeat a global superpower?”–Aaron Burr in the song “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton
  • soup kitchens
    • According to my dad, they also have sandwiches at soup kitchens. In that case, wouldn’t it be called a sandwich kitchen? Or a sandwitchen?
  • food pantries
    • the ads for said food pantries on the subway that feature really sad-looking little kids and always make me feel bad about my life
  • Peace Corps
    • I know people who have done/are in the Peace Corps right now
  • Small children
    • Oy gevalt!
  • Community service hours
    • My friend in yoga class who is required to complete said community service hours for school and is not excited about it at all. I really don’t blame her.
    • The fact that we don’t have them at my school *cue party music*
  • Voluntourism
    • When you go on a trip to volunteer in the place where you go
    • I don’t know, I just like the word and it pertains to volunteering
  • Volunteering as tribute
    • Katniss Everdeen
    • Archery
    • J-Law
      • J-Lo
        • J-Hud
        • Beyonce
        • DREAMGIRLS!
      • Cee-Lo
      • How low can you go?
      • Lo and behold
  • My mom volunteering as a pinstripe girl at a hospital sometime in the 80’s
    • Relating to Thomas Jefferson and how he “basically missed the late 80’s” in Hamilton, except for the fact that not only did I miss the late 80’s, I missed the early 80’s and the 90’s.
      • Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the early 2000’s. I was never a kid who shopped at Limited Too or binge-watched That’s So Raven. I was born in 2000, for pete’s sake! My prime was the Good Luck Charlie era!
  • World War II-era motivational posters and the awesomeness and feminist badassery that is Rosie the Riveter
    • Motivational cat posters


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My top 9 picks for The Voice Season 11!

Alright, guys, it’s that time again! The Voice Season 11 Blind Auditions are over and the Battle Rounds began last night, and it’s time for my top picks from this season to be revealed! It was SUPER hard to limit all of the immense talent on this season to 10 artists. This isn’t meant to hate on any of the artists who are not on the list. Every single artist on Season 11 has something that makes them special, this is just my opinion on who stands out to me. Also, click on each artist’s name to view their blind audition performance.

1) Wé McDonald

The Voice - Season 11

Wé McDonald is a 17-year-old from Paterson, New Jersey. The thing I love the most about her voice is how clear and powerful it is. There was so much intention and strength behind her vocal delivery, and her vocal technique is immaculate. Her performance was a textbook-perfect example of a four-chair turn. Ultimately, Wé went with Alicia Keys because Alicia said that Wé could “show the world what love sounds like.” Wé’s battle aired last night. Spoiler alert: she absolutely slayed it and won!

2) Billy Gilman


Billy Gilman is a former country singer from Rhode Island who had great success very early on in life. His song, “One Voice,” earned him 2 Grammy nominations at the age of 12, but in his heart of hearts, he wanted to be a pop singer. Some people may think that Billy peaked 16 years ago, but I would argue that now is his time and he is a stronger singer than ever. Billy was another four-chair turn, but he went with Adam because Adam said, “So rarely do I hear EVERYTHING happen on this stage!” Adam went on to express that Billy “embodies all of the qualities of the person who wins the show.” Billy also won his battle last night and showed everyone what battling was all about.

3) Riley Elmore


If the authorities were looking for the 16-year-old crooner who swallowed Frank Sinatra, Riley would have been arrested by now! His clean tone and classic style moved Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to turn their chairs. Ultimately, Billy went with Adam after Adam took it upon himself to sing “The Way You Look Tonight” as a duet with Riley to teach him how to loosen up onstage. “Beginning the coaching process,” as Adam called it. Riley also won his battle, Michael Buble’s “Cry Me A River,” last night.

4) Ali Caldwell


Ali Caldwell has all of the qualities that are necessary to win the show: a perfect voice, a clear idea of who she is and wants to be, and the drive and determination necessary to make her dreams come true. Because of her absolutely enormous potential, all four coaches fought tooth and nail to get Ali on their teams. In the end, Ali took her mother’s advice to “dare to be different” and went with Miley Cyrus. Ali won her battle round last night, and I envision her onstage at the finale.

5) Sa’Rayah


Sa’Rayah’s voice speaks for itself. She is the type of singer whose voice belongs in a stadium filled with thousands of people. Miley and Alicia immediately picked up on Sa’Rayah’s obvious talent and personality. The only reason that Adam and Blake didn’t turn their chairs was that they felt that Miley or Alicia would work better with Sa’Rayah. She ended up going with Miley because of her desire to do something unpredictable. Sa’Rayah is also a major contender for the trophy this season.

6) Whitney and Shannon


Season 11’s only duo’s hypnotic harmonies earned them a four-chair turn. (On a totally separate note, if my little brother is reading this: GABE, WE NEED TO FORM A SIBLING DUO AND DO THIS). Blake argued that the only successful duo in Voice history, The Swon Brothers, competed on his team, and he wanted to replicate that success with the new sibling duo. However, after Alicia said that the duo “represent the future of music,” there was no way that these talented ladies would join any other team.

7) Courtney Harrell


Courtney Harrell’s blind audition was the first time she sang in public for over 15 years. Her voice has the ability to be really soft and vulnerable, but the big notes she hit were just as incredible and powerful. Courtney’s re-entrance into the music world inspired Alicia and Blake to turn their chairs, and, after her mother’s screaming from backstage, Courtney chose Blake to be her coach.

8) Dana Harper


What stood out to me about Dana’s voice was how beautiful her lower register was. Most female artists on the show hit these big notes up in the stratosphere, but Dana came along and paved her own path to success. Adam, Alicia, and Blake all turned for Dana, but Dana eventually went with Blake because of his vision of her success on the show.

9) Gabriel Violett


Gabriel Violett came onto The Voice stage hoping to find success after starring in Spring Awakening on Broadway. His pitch-perfect rendition of “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes turned Alicia’s chair almost immediately, but Blake swooped in at the last second. Gabriel ended up joining Team Alicia.