Evolution of journal entries, from 2000 to 2013...


Hello. My name is Brooke. I went to New York today. I did reserch about planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe. It was cool. I sat on my dad’s lap. The first time I did reserch it got lost. But Steve gave me his. Steve is very nice. I saw a space moovie it looked like I was really in a space ship and was in space! I think YOU should and want to go to new york. New York is the coolest place I ever went!


Hi today I went to the Yankees Statem. I saw a baseball game. I ate Bagle Hot Dog and Penuts also some Coke. I had Binoculars. I think the view from the top level was nice but too scary. I didn’t now that the Yankees play so bad. It was Mariners 11 and Yankees 1. Can you beleave that? I baut a teddy Bear. We went to the Yankees Statem because it was Steve’s 10th Birthday! I didn’t know they had to hit so far to get a Home Run. Bernie Williams was the only one who hit a Home Run! Going to the Yankees game was the !BEST! trip ever!!!!


Today I had a wonderful day. I went golfing and ate at a resrant called: East Grand Buffet. When I came back home I biked around. Later at around 8:00 my family played a game. My Dad would write a sentense and then someone would act it out. The other people would have to guess what the sentense is.


Right now I’m flying high in the air. I can see the clouds! The plane that I’m on is quite fast! I’m really bored. I can’t wait till my family gets to California. I really want to meet my cousins because my family is going to California to meet them! I know I already said I was bored but right now, I’m REALLY bored the only thing I want to do right now is write. I can’t wait till I get to California!


I want to catch the sun, to hoard the stars just to comfort myself, assure myself I’ve done something worth doing in my 14 years but I’m regretting every day, every word I speak. It’s not just that summer is coming to an end. It’s that I’m afraid to lose. And I might not be losing everything, but God knows I’ve lost the past. No matter where I look I can’t find that little sliver of confidence I once had. I can’t find those smiles that came so easily, I can’t find those days when I was content with what I had.


In the dark hours of the night, when the seen become unseen, is when the unseen is seen more vividly than ever before.


Sometimes I wonder, and it bothers me that I should wonder, but sometimes I wonder what’s ahead of me to look forward to. I look around, and I know I’d rather live than die. Yet at the same time, I wonder what I’m living for. I wish life was a merry-go-round. I could be happy with getting nowhere.


What defines a person? His actions? His words? His dreams? Ugh. It’s 4:05am. On such sleepless nights, what are dreams anyways?


I failed to keep up with this journal, just as I knew I would. I wish I could just fast-forward to the final goal: a beautifully filled journal, each page completely covered by words written in such a blur of passion that they are almost tumbling into each other within the confines of these lines, straining to express the details of my life. Yes, that is what I want to hold in my hands one day – a completed journal.


Chilling at Starbucks for half an hour before work. I really want to own a café someday. I don’t know why I love coffee shops so much; I guess it’s because it’s full of thinking people. It’s a small little place where inspiration hits, where dreams form their blueprints, where imagination becomes reality.


I’ve always been scared of drinking alcohol when I am sad. I know that it will probably actually make me feel better and that the next time I am sad I’ll think that drinking is the solution. But tonight I will make an exception because I am lonely in my room and beer is the only drink in the fridge. I have “Great Expectations” by The Gaslight Anthem on repeat right now and I’m not sure why but somehow it just fits my mood. One of these days, I’m going to figure it all out. I’m going to know exactly who I am and what I want, where I’m going and how to get there. I’m going to be the best I can be and nobody is going to stop me. I don’t usually make promises unless I know I can keep them, but I guess this will be my second exception of the night. Because tonight, I promise to find myself.

Bonjour From Paris: Day 4

Today, our main destinations were the museums l'Orangerie and d'Orsay. However, we started out the day by shopping at the local flea market outside our hotel:

I didn't end up buying anything, but it was cool looking at all the fresh foods, as well as browsing through scarves, purses, hand-made journals, and many other things.

I also made a new friend. I love puppies!!!!!
Next, we went to the Museum of l'Orangerie. This was a small museum and I didn't take many pictures. My favorite parts of this museum included Monet's two water lily rooms, which consisted of two oval-shaped rooms -- each with a panoramic view of water lilies -- connected together to form an infinity symbol. I also enjoyed the work of Renoir immensely. He is my favorite because he always paints happy scenes; even when he grew so old and ill that all his paintings had to be done in horizontal frames because he could only paint sitting down, he would paint joyous scenes.

Both the the paintings in front of me in this picture are by Renoir.
We have a copy of the painting on the left at home! The painting on the right depicts the daughters of Henry Lerolle (another painter). I think it's really interesting how all the famous painters we know today were all acquaintances of each other in the past. Apparently, the Lerolles hosted parties often, as they were members of the "intellectual elite," and even Claude Debussy attended these parties!

On our way from l'Orangerie to the Orsay Museum, we passed by the Love Lock Bridge, a famous bridge in Paris where couples will hang locks with their names inscribed on it. Here is the bridge:

The Lock Lock Bridge.
The Museum of Orsay was pretty strict about taking photos, so I don't have any pictures, but here are a few of my favorite paintings:

Femme assise sur le bord d'une baignoire et s'épongeant le cou by Edgar Degas.

Naissance de Venus by William Bouguereau.
Chemin de la Machines by Alfred Sisley.

Les Glacons by Claude Monet.
We then went to Notre Dame, but it started pouring...

We got pretty soaked.
We spent quite a while searching for a particular restaurant that my dad had looked up, but when we finally found it, we discovered that they only accepted people who made reservations. We ended up going back to to the hotel and eating at a German cafe right outside the hotel, but it turned out to be so, so good.

The one on the left is called Abbaye de Floreffe, and the one on the right is Licorne Legende. Both super good!

Duck leg and potatoes, very similar to the one we had on the first day.

Goose liver again! I remember it's real name now: foie gras.

I don't remember the name for this, but my brother called it "beef sashimi," because that's essentially what it was: raw beef.

And last but not least, some delicious veal.
Tomorrow will be our last day in Paris! We are going back to Notre Dame again so we can explore it more, since it was raining when we went today. Then we are going to go to the Eiffel Tower. Can't believe there's only one more day left!

Bonjour From Paris: Day 3

We spent the entire day exploring the Palace of Versailles. This was the home to the French royal family, as well as a hub for political affairs, from Louis XIV's reign until the French Revolution. Complete with a reception room, a large ballroom called the Hall of Mirrors, the King's lavish chamber, the Queen's equally lavish bedroom, a room dedicated to Napoleon's accomplishments, a hall commemorating successes in war, a dining room, an opera house, a chapel, a gigantic garden, a separate estate for Marie Antoinette within the garden, and many other rooms and buildings that I can't remember, the Palace of Versailles was pretty freaking astounding. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of the rooms had been renovated, but there was still a feeling of surreal-ness as I walked through the palace, knowing that it was once bustling with people from an entirely different era, when France was still a monarchy. Anyways, here are some pictures from the adventure:

The palace from outside. The line was insanely long.

This is the Hall of Mirrors, used for family and  court functions, including the famous Ball of the Yew Trees. I wish I could go back in time and attend a ball. A real ball!

This is the King's Chamber.

And this is the Queen's Chamber.

This was a room adjacent to the King's Chamber where the king often signed official documents or had private meetings with other members of the royal court.
Lunch time! French Onion soup, my favorite.

And mashed potatoes with herbs.

We then went out into the gardens to watch the fountain show! This statue shows Apollo on his chariot. They sure were big fans of Greek Mythology; practically every room had either a painting or sculpture of a Greek God or Goddess.

Then we went boating in the little river than was built in the garden. Poor Steve rowing the boat all by himself. Look at the concentration on that face...

I felt bad, so I decided to give it a try too. Turns out the oars are freaking heavy...

As you can see, Steve does not approve of my rowing techniques. Sorry, brother.

We even saw a swan! So pretty.

But then it started raining, so we headed home and bought some dinner on the way to eat at the hotel. We were all too tired to go out.

Ended the day by trying some Hoegaarden, at Steve's suggestion. Not bad, but the Jeffe from the first day was still the best, I think.

My feet are so sore...I feel like I just played a 36-hole golf tournament. Tomorrow we are going to Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay, and Musée de l'Orangerie. More walking! So I better go get some rest soon.

Bonjour From Paris: Day 2

Here are pictures from today's events!

First stop was the Arc de Triomphe. So many stairs to climb to get to the top!
Worth it though, here's the view. The street in the middle is Champs-Elysees, one of the most famous streets in the world. We explored its many cafes and luxury stores, but everything was so damn expensive that we ended up eating at McDonald's (which actually wasn't disappointing at all - they have "hamburgers" twice as big as normal ones, served on baguettes with twice the patties. Win!)
Next stop: The Louvre! Biggest museum I have ever been in.

Some of the most memorable pieces included the Victoire de Samothrace,

The Mona Lisa (hey Dad),

And Venus!
We even chilled in some of the statue rooms and did some sketching. I felt so artsy...

And of course, I tried out some new beer.

And some more...

But by far the most exciting part of today was the new harmonica that I bought. I already learned Piano Man on it. Life goal accomplished.

Tomorrow we are going to spend the day in Versailles. Time to go to sleep now!

Bonjour From Paris: Day 1

So the trip from home to our hotel in Paris was supposed to consist of a 6 hour flight to Heathrow, a one hour layover, another one hour connecting flight, and a convenient metro ride. As a result of various forms of adventure and disaster, however, such as security alerts at the airport, delayed flights resulting in missed flights, an unavailability of metro tickets at the airport, and a weird train that decided to end its route early, we arrived at our hotel at 4:00pm, as opposed to the scheduled 10:00am. Nonetheless, our day ended with a lovely family dinner at Cafe Hugo, a quaint little restaurant with red-toned lighting, heaters that looked like street lamps, and a combination of bright-eyed tourists and native Parisians. Here are some of the delicious things I had:

The one of the left is called 1664 and was an alright light beer. The one on the right is called Jeffe and was so good that I finished it before my entree came...
Believe it or not, this is goose liver. I'm sure it has some fancy French name that I don't know, but in any case, it tasted like butter. And you eat it like butter too, served on toast. Pretty crazy.

Duck leg with potatoes. Whoa.

Lamb chop!

Crepes! But this is no ordinary crepe, it was filled with bananas and then "cooked" with...burning rum? Made for a pretty sight, and was pretty good to eat too. 
Anyways, after we retired to the hotel I took a hot shower in a fancy shmancy bathroom, and then totally goofed by not realizing the towels were hanging on a towel warmer. Burned a finger on what I thought was an innocent towel hanger. Oh well, worth it!

Can I drink the sun for afternoon tea?

Do you remember when we were little how we ate oranges so very carefully because if you swallow that seed a little plant will start growing in your stomach, honey. But as we grew older that was no longer a fear, not because “we knew better” but because our bodies grew with our minds, and as we began to think darker thoughts we became cold caves where no plant would ever dare to grow. I miss the days when I thought shooting stars could really grant wishes, before I learned that they were merely pieces of dust and rock burning as they crossed the atmosphere. Maybe it is too late, but maybe if I keep asking questions and seeing the best in people and letting my mind wander, maybe I can grow a garden around my heart. Maybe flowered vines will embroider my ribs and delicate tulips that look like colorful little porcelain cups will collect sunshine above my tummy. And maybe I will pick a bouquet of these flowers and give them to you, and to him, and to her, and maybe we will all be children again.