Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smart Vampires and Dumb Vampires

Hello. This is Clare. :-)

Our plan was to continue blogging from home while Bree, Summer, and Blakeney took their trip... but frankly, not that much that's interesting has been happening here. We've been going to school - well, homeschooling for me and some of the days for Kaya - and doing our usual activities. We didn't find much to write about.

So this isn't really a news post, but a sort of thinky, speculative post. (If you want news, Bree and Summer each posted an entry from their trip, so you can check that out in the previous posts.) What I'm writing now was inspired by some comments on the post about how we saved Kiwi from bad vampires. Several people noted that the bad vampires didn't seem like they're very smart.

I think that's true, in a way. I think there's another piece to it, though: they act more like animals than like humans. More instinctive, less good at plans... backup plans nonexistent. It makes sense, because they're hunters. Predators. Just with humans for prey.

So why am I different? I mean, I'm not claiming I'm the smartest person in the world or anything, but I can think things through. I can plan, and make choices. I don't attack people. I don't even attack the dog. But I'm a vampire too. So... why?

I think it's a matter of lifestyle. When I was first turned, I was like them, and thought like them - because they turned me, and I lived with them. Once I ran away, things changed. I'm part of society again. I have a family, that I very much do not want to eat. I do school lessons and read books, so I have more to think about than my next meal. I go places. I spend time around humans in a non-food capacity. I think that helps me focus, and remember that people are not meals. It keeps getting easier the more I practice.

So yeah, there are animal-acting, hunter vampires. And then there's me. I don't think I have anything innately special that makes me different. I think I just live in such a way that I can't disengage my emotions about other people or check out of society. I have people I care about, that I don't want to harm - and they care about me in return. It keeps me sane. In a very, very literal way. Even though it's tough sometimes, I'm glad for that.


Into Town

Hi, this is Bree with another trip update. (I think Clare is planning to blog from home today too.)

Yesterday, we took a walk downtown. Blakeney had told us her parents live in a small town - a village, really, technically - but I admit I was surprised. Downtown consists of about two blocks, a quarter of which is still residential houses. There's a town hall, a hardware store, a library, a post office, a small museum, a bank, two churches, a closed convenience store... and that's it. It was cool, though. Summer and I had gotten used to living in a more urban area, so it was neat to experience somewhere rural. I'm not sure I'd want to live here, but it was fun to visit.

The museum was closed, unfortunately, but we visited the library. There were some neat books, although it was smaller than the library at home. I was surprised that we didn't have to explain further after telling people that we're sisters, since we look so different. (We are sisters, even if we live in houses next door to each other. We're one big family.) A lot of times in other places we've gotten weird looks from strangers. I guess here they're managing to figure out that one of us could be adopted. (Actually, we both are.) The people we met seem really nice, and very welcoming.

I'm really glad I came along. It's been a fun vacation, and I like spending time with Summer. She's twelve and I'm sixteen, but we have a lot of interests in common, so we have lots to talk about.

Today, Blakeney is sick. Seems like a yucky cold. So we read books and kept her company. Maybe tomorrow we'll explore more.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Fun in Western New York! :-)

"Look at me, I'm the King of New York..." - Newsies

Hey, this is Summer! :-) Bree is here too.

We made it safely to our destination on Thursday afternoon. No major airline delays or problems, and we actually arrived in Rochester about five minutes early. The timing didn't work out for a meal at the Ethiopian restaurant (Blakeney's mom had to go to a meeting) but we're going to do it another day while we're here.

Since then, we've been having a really good time! The weather has been awesome - yesterday was warmer and sunnier than it was at home all summer!

We've visited Blakeney's relatives, met her parents, gone for walks, done lots of reading, and taken rides in their little red convertible, which is such a cool car. We're planning some craft projects, and we're also planning to bake a bunch of cookies for an event on Sunday. Neither of us are fantastic cooks, and Bree is nervous about ruining them, but I think with some help we'll be okay.

Today we've been working on the crafts thing. I'm working on pattern for a bag to carry my yoga mat (see, I told you it was good to bring it along!) and Bree has been making bead bracelets. Tonight we're getting pizza!

So far no sign of bad vampires, vampire hunters with a grudge, or other such crazies!

We've missed you guys! Sorry we aren't getting a lot of updates done, but we have to borrow Blakeney's dad's computer when he isn't using it, so we don't have a lot of time online. Plus we're so busy having fun!

Bree is saying she wants to go for a walk, and I think that sounds fun too, even if today is a little more overcast than yesterday. We haven't seen the "downtown" of this little town yet, so I think that's where we'll go. We both want to check out the library, and we're curious about the local museum.

Talk to you soon! :-)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


"But you'd miss New York before you could unpack..." -Rent

Hi, this is Summer. :-)

We're in the process of getting ready for our trip! We're finishing up last minute laundry and cleaning - and packing, and changing our minds, and re-packing. You know, the usual pre-travel stuff. ;-)

Great news, by the way... Bree is coming along after all! The school decided not to fuss about it, and she's braving her fear of flying to make the trip. I'm so excited. It would have been fun either way, but it'll be more interesting to have another kid along to share the adventure.

While we're gone, Inna, Maia, and Kiwi are going to sleep in the Greens' house. With Blakeney and Bree out of town there will be enough extra room that it won't be too much of a squeeze, and that way they can supervise everyone and make sure they're safe. Way more fun (and less awkward, given all the wonderful weirdness at home) than hiring another adult to babysit. They'll be moving their stuff over after we're done with supper.

Our flight leaves tomorrow at 5:50 a.m. - so pretty much tonight, since we aren't going to get much sleep if any. We have to be through the check-in line by 4:50 because of our airport's rules, so that means leaving the house pretty early. Hopefully we'll have a safe flight, and arrive uneventfully on the other end!

The girls staying here are still planning to blog, and Bree and I will try to post entries from our trip, too, but it'll be a chaotic couple of weeks on both ends, so don't worry if you don't hear from us for awhile. We're a little nervous about the travel portion... but very excited! Yay for taking trips! :-)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Super Powers

After a number of weird episodes over several months, and after some testing and experimentation of our own, we have realized something as a family. We all have super powers! :-)

We kind of already knew that. At least, we knew some of us did, and our readers probably suspected it was all of us. Just recently, we found out what Felicity's was when we rescued Kiwi. For a long time, we thought Charissa and Evelyn didn't have any either... until we remembered some things that happened a long time ago. Very early on in our blogging times, Charissa just disappeared one day, but claimed she was there all along. We finally figured out why - she can turn invisible! At first it just happened when she was feeling shy or wished she was somewhere else, but she's started learning to control it. Also, remember when Evelyn broke her arm? And remember how she healed very fast from it? Well, we realized - after many skinned knees and elbows that repaired faster than normally possible - that her power is healing! We were pretty amazed; that's a great power, and we thought she had none!

While making all these discoveries, we've been testing and practicing, and we're starting to be able to use our abilities more consistently. This is a good thing, given how much crazy we seem to be dealing with lately!

For those who need a rundown, here are our special gifts...

The Greens:

Kirsten - Shattering things
Bree - Speed
Felicity - Influencing people with her voice
Clare - Being a vampire (surely that's enough!)
Josefina - Making fire
Molly - Creating ice
Kaya - Feeling other people's emotions
Charissa - Invisibility
Fiona - Telekinesis
Evelyn - Healing

The Roses:

Maia - Turning into a cat
Inna - ??? (She's very mysterious about it. She has suggested "fashion," "being Slavic," "having an accent," and "crazy driving" as what her power might be, but we're pretty sure she actually has a real one but is keeping it secret for some reason.)
Summer - Cat
Kiwi - Also cat

So... that's us! We're special, and strange, but mostly life is still just regular and normal. Only with more vampires, shapeshifters, and strange happenings than most people experience.

The Greens and The Roses

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Major Oversight

Hey everyone,

We just noticed something we're super embarrassed about. Several of us worked on the blog banner, and while we were passing it back and forth, somehow Josefina's picture got left out! Ack! We didn't realize it until just a moment ago.

In case anyone was wondering about that, it was just a mistake. Josefina still lives here. (Although she's not too thrilled with the rest of us right now - but she didn't notice either!) We didn't lose a sister.

We'll work on getting the banner fixed! Sorry if we confused anyone. :-)

The Greens and The Roses

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More about Letters

Hello. This is Kaya. :-)

Summer isn't the only one who got a letter this week... or the only one who sent one recently.

I got a letter from my biological sister, Rosa. She lives with relatives back in Idaho. It was a happy letter, not a lot of serious emotional stuff. She turned eight recently, and she was telling me about her birthday party and her school. Rosa even drew me a picture of her with her dog, which was really cute and made me smile.

It also made me miss her even more than usual, though. I sometimes wish I could be both places - or even better, that she could come here and live with me. I know that would be hard for her. It's a big change, and she's a lot younger than I am, so she wouldn't comprehend it as easily. Rosa is probably happier where she is. I know she misses me, though... and I miss her too. I think about her a lot. It's hard when you can't be with all of your family.

Evelyn has two sisters she doesn't live with, too. One of hers is older than her, and one is younger. I know she misses them, and feels the same way.

At least we can write, phone, and e-mail, though. It's good that technology can help us stay in touch. If I lived this far from Rosa 100 years ago, I'd most likely just never have contact with her again. I'm glad we can at least still be in each other's lives. That's the bright side.

Now, about my sent letter. I joined a penpal program! I know, it sounds very retro. Everyone uses e-mail and online message boards, now, to talk to people all over the world. We have blog friends who comment regularly from several different countries. Still, there's something to be said for getting paper mail. It's really fun to open the mailbox and get a letter.

I'm still waiting to find out who my penpal will be. I asked to be matched with a girl approximately my age who lives in The North. I know we seem pretty "north" ourselves - and we sure feel that way! - but actually there's quite a lot of area to the north of us also, where people live. Very sturdy, determined people; sometimes we have to be pretty sturdy and determined to live even where we do.

My pen pal will probably live in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunatsiavut. I am hoping (and it is very likely) that she will be from a First Nations tribe or band. ("First Nations" is the term usually used in Canada to refer to native/aboriginal people.) I think it would be really neat to learn about her culture, and I can tell her about the history and some of the traditions of my tribe, too.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Letter and a Trip

Hey, this is Summer! I have two pieces of news to fill my bloggy friends in on. :-)

First of all, remember (or I will remind you...) how the day after my birthday, I asked Inna and Maia if we could find out about my biological family? Well, as I updated in the comments on that entry, Maia sent a letter to the Children's Aid Society that placed me for adoption, to see what they knew about my background. Yesterday we got a letter in response. I was pretty excited, but also kind of scared and nervous to find out what it said!

They sent what's called "non-identifying information," which basically tells me some things about my biological parents and why I was in foster care, without telling their names or giving information that would lead to figuring out who they are. I have to wait till I turn eighteen to get my full records... which I find kind of lame because my adult adoptive sister who has custody of me said it was okay. I can wait a few more years, though. It kind of takes the pressure off making decisions about meeting them if I can't yet anyway.

The coolest thing was it told me what my biological parents looked like. No pictures, but there was a description. As I already knew, my dad was black and my mom was white. I got my curly hair from both of them, and my amber eyes from my dad's side of the family. Actually it sounds like I look more like my dad in general. My hobbies are more like my mom, though. She liked writing and horses, too. One cool thing I found out was that my dad had been to college; I guess I just kind of assumed neither of them would have. They were pretty young, though, and they had some problems, including drinking and drugs, so they didn't take good care of me and I ended up in foster care. (They didn't abuse me, though, but I knew that.) My parents worked on a case plan for awhile, but they weren't able to get it together in time and they lost their parental rights. It didn't say if they were still alive or not, but they were as of when I was adopted, so hopefully their lives went better after that.

There was also information about my first adoptive family who sent me back, but I just kind of skimmed it. It was what I remembered. They were married, upper middle class, two other kids that they had by birth. I wasn't really interested in the details, but maybe I will be someday. Right now I kind of feel like if they didn't want me, why should I care about them? I have a new family now, that loves me. I set that part of the letter aside.

All in all, I feel pretty good about this. I found out some information, and it satisfied some of my curiosity. Someday when I'm older, I'd like to find out more, but I'm content for now. I'm glad I asked Maia and Inna to help me get the info.

Also, on a totally different subject, Blakeney is taking a trip to visit her parents and grandparents in upstate New York - and she's taking me with her! I'm so excited! I've never been to the United States before, and the other girls say there's a lot of cool stuff to do in the Rochester area. Blakeney's favourite restaurant in the whole world is in there - a really good Ethiopian place, and we don't have an Ethiopian restaurant here at all - so we'll probably eat there the day our flight gets in. Blakeney's parents live in a smaller town in the area, so we'll get to experience some rural life too. I'll try to post some blog entries from our trip!

Bree may get to go with us too. She really wants to, but she's trying to figure out if she can miss that much school. She's never been to New York State either, although she grew up in the United States, so for her it's not a new country.

Hopefully it'll work out. It would be fun to have Bree along! We would have loads of fun in Flower/Flour City, and visiting Blakeney's folks! Bree and Summer, painting the town red... not literally. I hope she gets to go too, but I'm on the trip for sure.

So that's our news for now. Hope life is good for our blog friends, too. :-)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back to School!

Hey, this is Clare. For once, I'm not blogging about crazy vampire stuff! Or even my own weird past. I'm blogging about something normal: our first week of school. :-)

On Wednesday, our school started up again for the autumn term. (Typically schools here begin on the first Wednesday after Labour Day unless that would cause it to be extremely early or extremely late.) Our first school "week" was only three days long - I guess the point is so we can settle in and get used to things before we get back into full swing.

I think of all of us, Charissa was the most nervous, because she was starting a school she had never been to before. She used to attend a special school for hearing impaired students, but the government decided that wasn't needed anymore and closed it, so all the kids from her old school were sent to different places. Charissa now attends the same school as Fiona, Kiwi, and Evelyn. It's the local Anglican parish elementary school. So far, Charissa says she likes it. I think it helps a lot that she's in the same class as Fiona and Kiwi, so she automatically has them as friends, and their friends are spending time with her too. It's hard to tell how the schoolwork will be for her because of her learning disabilities, but the teacher is willing to help her. I think Charissa was more worried about whether she'd have friends, anyway.

Summer and Kiwi were also a little nervous because they started school last May, so they only had two months before summer break. They were afraid it would be hard to settle in again. They said it was easier than they expected, though. It was easier than moving at almost the end of the year, at least. Kiwi is getting over how scared she was when she was kidnapped - I think the school routine is helping.

The one person having a little bit of trouble is Bree. Last school year she got caught up on the studies she'd missed because of family problems, but the one class that's still an issue for her is French. French is required here because Canada is officially bilingual. When she lived in the United States - she only moved to Canada last school year - Bree took Spanish, and they didn't even start that till high school. And honestly, according to her the school she attended didn't exactly have the most academic excellence in languages, so I'm not sure how much Spanish she actually speaks anyway.

The teachers here, though, expect that at Bree's age, she'd have been learning French for ten years or so. Last year it wasn't a big deal because Bree was so behind in all her subjects, but this year she feels pretty bad about the French. She's studying really hard already, and Felicity and Josefina have been helping her. Bree likes school, so it'll be nice if she can get to a point where she doesn't have to stress anymore.

The other girls are just starting a normal year at the same schools they went to last year, and it's going well for them.

I had a big change this year, though. I'm homeschooled now, and I never was before. I actually like it more than I expected to, because I can work at my own pace, but I admit I miss the social parts, at least from when I used to live in Nova Scotia. I didn't have many friends at my school in Colorado, anyway. Going to the public high school isn't really an option, though. Sunlight and all. Vampire. Newfoundland isn't super sunny, and a lot of days are cloudy, but it's not consistent enough that I could really be enrolled in regular school.

Kaya does online classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I like that best because we can study together. We're in different grades so we can't really work together on our assignments, but at least there's some company. Tuesday and Thursdays are going to be harder because Kaya does her co-op classes with other local students that day.

Thursday actually was good this week, though, because Inna let me come to work with her. (She works as an art historian at the provincial museum.) I did my lessons in one of the empty meeting rooms, but at lunchtime I sat with Inna and during my breaks I got to look at the art, photography, and natural history exhibits. Inna says I can come any time that it's non-sunny enough for me to go out in the daytime. That'll be really good. School for vampires doesn't have to be that bad after all!

I hope the rest of our blog friends are enjoying the new school year, too! :-)


Sunday, September 4, 2011

How We Rescued Kiwi

"What you've got to do is finish what you have begun.
I don't know just how, but it's not over till you've won..." 
- The Secret Garden Musical, "Hold On"

Hey, this is Bree, yet again. My sisters figured I should be the one to finish the story, since I was the one who filled you in on the beginning and the middle. I'm glad to report, so you don't need to worry anymore - it had a happy ending! Kiwi is home safely.

After we got the last letter, all we could do was wait. I read a few blogs and commented on them, because I was trying to be as normal as possible, but it was never far from any of our minds where Kiwi was, and how much danger she was in.

As it got closer to nightfall, we started trying to prepare ourselves. At first, Blakeney said none of us kids could go, but then eventually she considered our chances and relented a little and said no one under age fifteen could. Inna sharpened some stakes, and the rest of us thought about how we could use our individual powers and skills to help Kiwi.

The plan went like this: Maia would change into cat form, and scout the area. Once she figured out they where they were holding Kiwi, the others would create a diversion and/or actually fight off the vampires if necessary, while I dashed in with my awesome speed (which is apparently my special gift,) grab Kiwi and run. Once I signaled that I had her, we'd all get out of there as fast as we could.

Of course, there was one obvious downside to that. The vampires would come back, eventually, and try again, even if we got away. I'm not big on killing people or anything, but I very cautiously asked about a more permanent solution.

Inna got a very steely look in her eyes, and said that once Kiwi was safe, she would go take care of it. I wasn't scared of her, because you know... it's Inna. She's basically my sister. At that moment, though? I was glad I wasn't on the other side.

As we got ready to go, we tried to work up our morale. Blakeney gave us all a pep talk. Then Kirsten started singing rousing songs from Les Miserables to try to get us in the mood... till I kind of put a damper on things by reminding her how that story turned out. Les Mis is not a plotline I hoped to emulate! Kirsten pouted a little, but she got the point and switched to The Scarlet Pimpernel, a much better example of heroism that actually paid off.

We got to the park as the sun was setting. Maia went behind a tree (the clothes thing) and turned into her cat form, then she came out and we all petted her for good luck. She took off into the night. Ten minutes passed. Then fifteen. Inna and Blakeney started to get ansty. The park isn't that big. Was something wrong? At the twenty minute mark, Maia came back. She turned back into human form, and told us the vampires were in the brick gazebo at the centre of the park.

This was not entirely surprising. If I was going to pick a place to defend in the park, it would be there. The shelter is solid, the sides are steep, and it's surrounded by a wide grassy space with no trees, so it would be difficult for us to sneak up. We were definitely going to need that diversion.

Luckily, three of my sisters have pretty flashy powers. Josefina lit a pile of leaves on fire. Molly started making sheets of ice, then Kirsten would concentrate and shatter them. I'm not sure what the vampires thought was going on, but from where I was standing, it sounded like a huge battle. I was sure they would go investigate.

I needed to wait till they were out of the way... but not too long, in case they came back. I counted to ten, then dashed in. The gazebo was mostly empty. There was one of those pet carriers, which I figured Kiwi must be in. Poor thing! Unfortunately, there was also a vampire still standing guard - and the difference between one vampire and none is fairly significant.

I took a deep breath and psyched myself up. Be brave, Bree. Be fast! Before I had time to think about how suicidally insane what I was about to do was, I took off at a run toward the gazebo and pounded up the steps, keeping my eyes on the the pet carrier. Luckily for me, the vampire was startled. I think he would have expected someone to run away from him, not toward him. He didn't react fast enough. I didn't stop running; I grabbed the carrier and vaulted over the low rear wall. I said a quick "Oof!" as I took the impact in my knees, but there was no time to stop, and thank goodness I didn't fall. 

I ran all the way to the park entrance, still holding onto cat-form Kiwi in the carrier. Luckily she's the size of a normal cat. I didn't have time to stop and let her out, and I'm not sure she could have kept up with me. When I was close to the boundary of the park, I started whistling "Into the Fire," the song from The Scarlet Pimpernel that we'd used to psyche ourselves up. That was the signal.

It wasn't long before I heard running feet. The others looked pretty tense and exhausted, but they were all still okay. Inna and Clare were the last; they were holding off the vampires. Unfortunately, one of the vampires was still following them, and gaining on them.

At that moment, we discovered Felicity's power. She later told us she didn't know why, but she yelled, "Just settle down!" at the vampire... and he stopped, confused. So that is how she stops our arguments all the time! She knows how to make us calm down!

There was no time to stop and talk. We ran to Inna's station wagon, let Kiwi out of the carrier, and piled in. Inna drove like a crazy person - but she always does that, even when we aren't running from anything. 

Once we were on our way, I turned to Felicity. "That's really cool!" I told her, still kind of panting from my run.

Felicity looked very proud of herself. "You guys helped me figure it out, with all your bickering," she joked.

"You're welcome!" I replied, and stuck out my tongue.

It didn't take us long to get home. Kiwi hadn't cried the whole time she was being held captive, but when she was safe she finally did. She was really really scared, both for herself and for Clare, and she was tired of being in a tiny cage. She's okay, though, and happy to be home.

So that was our "adventure." Everyone is safe. For now, at least...

School starts next week. It would be okay for life to be boring for awhile. :-)


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Update: More Bad News

Hey everyone. This is Bree again.

This is an update on our last post about Kiwi being missing. She still hasn't come home, and we haven't found her. The police haven't found her either. We checked the animal shelter and Humane Services in case she's stuck there in her cat form, but we didn't find her there. We were worried all along - she's only ten - but now we're getting really scared.

Late last night (or early this morning, really...) we temporarily returned to the house from searching, and found another note on the door. We all sort of drew in our breath, knowing what it was but hoping it was just an advertising flyer or something. It wasn't. It was a note from the evil vampires, of course:

"Time is up. We have the girl. We will trade her for Clare, tonight, at the park. If you cause trouble, you lose both. You can't win this. Do the smart thing."

We stood in silence for a moment, then Inna turned to Maia and said a little too calmly, "You know, I have really had enough of them."

Maia agreed with her.

Clare was looking terrified, but she said very bravely, "It'll be okay. I'll go. Make the exchange and get Kiwi back. I'm ready."

Inna shook her head. "It doesn't work that way," she told Clare. "We're not losing anyone. Including you."

Clare looked around at the rest of us, and saw that we all agreed. She still seemed worried, but she smiled a little. It can take time to realize some people keep their promises; believe me, I know it takes time. I think Clare gets that she's part of the family - but she's starting to realize she's as important as anyone else.

How Inna intends to pull this rescue off, I do not know. I guess we'll find out tonight...