says bella


I’d never heard of this program before, but it works for me! Basically, high-achieving kids at the high school are offered a guaranteed admission to a UC school just based on grade-point average.

This is an excerpt from the letter Bella received this weekend:

“Dear Bella,

As one of the highest-achieving seniors at your high school, you have satisfied the University of California’s admission requirements through Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC). I am pleased to guarantee your admission to UC Davis for fall 2011 in the major of your choice. Congratulations!

All you need to do to join the UC Davis class of 2015 is to apply by the November 30 deadline, complete required “a-g” coursework and exams, and maintain your academic performance.”

I am one proud mama!

Me: Bella, You have A LOT of clothes.

Bella: And you Mom, have a lot of YARN.

Somehow I always seem to have more of an appetite for travel than the rest of my family, which seems (to me) easily solved by hopping off for a travel adventure on my own with baby in tow. But it always takes some time for Bella and Chad to come around to the idea. It’s not exactly the Kubler-Ross grief cycle, but close!

Resistance stage:
Chad: We can’t afford it.
Bella: You CAN’T go Mommmmm.

Bargaining stage:
Chad: You can go if I don’t miss Christian’s birthday.
Bella: You can go if you stay for less than two weeks. MOMMMMM, you CAN’T GO!

Acceptance stage:
Chad: I have some great bike rides planned for while you’re gone, and I’m going keep every surface in the house completely empty!
Bella: If you see some knock-off TIffany’s jewelry, I like necklaces – especially those silver rings that hang on a chain – wait, I have it pulled up on my computer right now…

While we were away for a month, Bella’s car needed to be moved and reparked twice a week or street cleaning, so she worked out a deal with Chad: he’d move the car twice each week and in exchange she would cook dinner for us all. The results have been more than satisfactory.

Wednesday: Bella made Walnut Banana Bread with a recipe she brought home from Starbuck’s.

Thursday: Bella wanders in my room and says, “What’s that site you like for recipes?” and then gets all the ingredients for and cooks a Baked Ziti with Proscuitto and Peas from the Williams-Sonoma site. (She’s not eating pork or beef at the moment, so we used chicken sausage in lieu of prosciutto.)

Friday: Superbowl-style Nachos

Saturday: Cannelloni with Spinach and Pine Nuts and a pensive comment, “I didn’t pick very healthy meals for my three dinners…” (but delicious and creamy!)

Sunday: An hour of driving practice with Bella. It was her first time outside the parking lot of our gated community. I still feel queasy. It took three times around a parking lot for her to get into position to park… into a PULL IN SPOT!

The garden courtyard at Crepes & Co where we had brunch. The gardens are always that lush here.

The garden courtyard at Crepes & Co where we had brunch. The gardens are always that lush here.

We dropped Bella off at the airport Tuesday night and she flew back to the States all by herself! She arrived at LAX after 9 pm, and then had to turn around and get to John Wayne Airport the next morning by 8 am to fly to NYC with her best friend.

Headed out down the soi an dpassing some construction. Note the

Headed out down the soi an dpassing some construction. Note the tricked out dump truck.

She (and I) were a little concerned because the “direct” flight here had included a 2-hour layover in Tokyo. And although we reboarded the same plane, we still had to disembark and go through security again. Luckily for Bella, the flight home was on Thai International (we purchased the tix through United) and was indeed a direct flight. She has been sending regular text updates (her phone to my computer):

“Im in the car.
The flight was good
It was a direct flight and everyone got their ow tvs with tons of movies
And the food was really good
Salmom and pumpkin ravolio!”

Note that she knows that I would have asked what kinds of meals were served. A foodie like her mom. And then when she got to NYC:

“Hey mom
So we got here last night
Then we walked around times sqaure then had dinner at this really yummy italien restaurant then we walked up to the empire state building it was so pretty at night
Its about 845 on thursday and i think today is our museum day and then billy elloit
Miss you
Bella”

It cant have been easy to have been the only teenager on the trip...

It can't have been easy to have been the only teenager on the trip...

A last gelato at the airport before leaving.

A last gelato at the airport before leaving.

It feels strange to have her gone. She did have a good time with her aunt Sue, and uncles Songbae and Joss, and my parents. Besides all the grilling of her future plans she often got to choose what she wanted to do for the day (Songbae took her to MBK several times!), lots of loving attention, and money slipped into her pocket before she left.

And now who’s going to Hip Hop Abs with Songbae??

Just got Bella’s report card: two A+’s and four A’s. So for a treat we trekked up to Beverly Hills and got our hair done.

While we were there I got to see Yayoi Kasuma’s exhibit at Gagosian, and we all had delicious Thai food afterwards at Baan. Both are worth a visit.

Bella’s first week of summer has begun with a vengeance. Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes to her SAT prep class from 9 am -noon, and then her Art Appreciation class at the local junior college (Saddleback) from 6 pm – 10 pm. Starting next Wednesday, she’ll be volunteering at the Shea Center (horseback riding for kids with disabilities) from 9 am- noon.

In her free time, she’s in advertently begun a small dogsitting business. It started with a friend’s two toy poodles for 2 1/2 weeks and now a neighbor has asked her to do the same when she goes to Hawaii next week. People pay a lot of cash to have their dogs watched! Bella made $480 watching those toy poodles…(granted she did bathe and groom them twice, which was an additional $100)

And let me make it clear, that I’m not the one making Bella’s uber-structured plans this summer. The only thing I’ve organized for her has been three weeks to Thailand when all her classes and volunteering work is through. Although I suspect that she considers accompanying me to Thailand just barely in the realm of vacation, and more in the domain of familial obligation (as she considered going strawberry picking with us last weekend). HER vacation is a weeklong trip to NYC with her best friend: it’s her friend’s 16th birthday gift from her aunt to visit any city in the States and she was allowed to bring along a friend – all expenses paid! That will be fun for her and will surely include a lot of clothes shopping without any babies in tow.

I am encouraging her to take the time to relax though. Her schedule for her junior year sounds pretty brutal: Advanced Placement (AP) Language Composition, Honors Pre-Calculus, AP Psychology, AP Physics, US History and French III. The only way to make that schedule harder would have been to take AP US History, which Bella decided not to do, in view of the fact that she was already taking three AP classes. She even considered taking Pre-Calculus over the summer  (in lieu of going to Thailand!) so she could be in Calculus as a Junior. Luckily, the Calculus teacher advised against it.

Bella had always been an intense and determined girl.

Last week I looked at my phone and didn’t recognize the background picture. It looked like a blurred line running up the center of the screen – like somebody had accidentally taken a photo of the table edge.

As I typically do when anything on my phone is changed, I yelled for Bella and asked her if she knew anything about it. She informed me that it was a picture of her forearms pressed together.

As she walked away, she breezily said, “It’s supposed to look like a butt crack.”

Goofy girl. She may look like she’s growing up, but she’s still a kid at heart. We cuddled up and watched Lost last night – and yup, she still needs everything explained to her…

(I still haven’t gotten around to changing the pic – I’m walking around with a representation of a butt crack on my phone! If it were actually an interesting image I might bother to post it, but it’s not.)

I’ve been instructed by my daughter not to wear my new eyeglasses around her. Also to act my age not my shoe number.

Otherwise things are hunky dory in Bella land. For a brief period at the end of the semester Bella was pretty convinced that she was going to get a “B+” in Accelerated Trigonometry/Algebra II class, because of a few tests she’d bombed early on. Then for an even briefer time, she was convinced that the extra credit and her full scores in homework were going to pull her grade up. Then she found out her teacher used weighted grading – meaning that homework, only ever counted for 10% of the grade. And then she studied and studied for the final and got a 97%, which pulled her up to an A (91%!).

And then the next day she crashed and burned on her written tennis final, and the A she’d held in Tennis all semester, slid into a B+.

All A’s and one B is still pretty good.

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