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Thursday, March 10, the loft

I am completely exhausted. I don't know why, when I must already bear the burden of having been born

a princess-even though I was not aware of it until recently-that I also have been cursed with such a trying


I mean, it is bad enough that they waited until I was nearly fifteen before letting me in on the whole

"oh-by-the-way-you're-a-princess" thing. But now they can't even agree on whether or not I can spend

my Spring Break with the rest of the Albert Einstein High School Gifted and Talented class inWest

Virginia , volunteering for Housing for the Hopeful.

As if doing good works for the less fortunate was not what being a princessis all about!

And okay, I can see how my whole Princess-Di-and-the-landmines argument didn't work onGrandmère

- who thinks I spend enough time in my overalls as it is- but my MOM? I just spent an hour impressing

upon my mother Housing for the Hopeful's "theology of the hammer": how partnerships founded on

common ground- for instance, a lot of people from different cultural, religious, and socioeconomic groups

getting together to build a house- bridge theological differences by putting caring into action. I mentioned

how everyone, no matter how uneducated, can use a hammer, turning it into an instrument that manifests

peace and love.

My pregnant mom- who was lying on her bed watching Stolen Women: Captured Hearts on the Lifetime

Movie Channel with a carton ofHäagen-Dazs chocolate-chocolate-chip ice cream balanced on her

enormous belly (even though she is supposed to be limiting her saturated fat intake to less than twenty

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grams daily due to her more-than-thirty-pound weight gain in the past half year) - just looked at me and

asked, "Mia, are you in a cult?"

OH, MY GOD! Only the extreme hormonal imbalance my mother is going through right now could

make her believe that my working to provide affordable housing for the poor so that they can live in

dignity and safety is in any way comparable to religious fanaticism.

When I mentioned that out loud, however, my mother shrieked, "Frank! Come here, quick! Mia's in a


Thank God Mr.Gianini came into the bedroom- he'd been in the living room, practicing his drums- and

explained to my mother in a calm, reasonable voice that Housing for the Hopeful is not a cult, that it is a

nonprofit, nondenominational organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and

homelessness worldwide. He also said that he himself had volunteered to escort students from Albert

Einstein the past five Spring Breaks, and that the only reason he hadn't gone this year was on account of

my mom being pregnant with his unborn child, the sex of which we do not know because my mom says if

she knows it's a boy she won't have any incentive to push, men being the reason we even need

organizations like Housing for the Hopeful. Because male politicians make such bad decisions when they

are elected to public office, such as starting expensive and unnecessary wars before making sure all their

constituents have decent housing first, etc.

So then I pointed out to my mom that Tina Hakim Baba, who isn't even inGifted and Talented, and

whose father owns a bunch of oilwells and is always worried about Tina getting kidnapped by some rival

oil baron's henchmen, has been given special permission to go. And that LillyMoscovitz , resident school

genius and my best friend, is going. Ditto her boyfriend, BorisPelkowski , violin virtuoso and mouth


Then I added that my own boyfriend, Lilly's older brother Michael, is going, as well. I tried not to look

too eager as I stressed this last piece of information. I mean, really, there's no reason to belabor the fact

that Michael and I would be together, without parental supervision, in the wilds ofWest Virginia for five

whole days. I was pretty sure my mom wouldn't be too thrilled if she realized this was the primary reason

for my wanting to go. I tried to make it sound like my primary reason for my wanting to go was my desire

to help those less fortunate than me.

Which is completely, 100 percent true.But also...well, I sort of want to make out with my boyfriend

without having his parents or my mother or stepfather or grandmother barge in on us.

I stressed to my mom that the trip is totally a school sanctioned outing, and would be fully supervised by

Dr. Juan Gonzales, the director of the Northeast Division of Housing for the Hopeful; Albert Einstein

High School's principal, Principal Gupta; Mrs. Hill from my Gifted and Talented class (not that I am

gifted or talented, but whatever); Mademoiselle Klein from French; and Mr.Wheeton , the track coach

and Health and Safety teacher.

Oh, and that-hello-the Appalachian Mountains are only, like, seven hours away from Manhattan by bus,

and the whole trip is only for five days, so what is the BIG DEAL????

But my mom still looked a little skeptical...

...until I mentioned thatGrandmère had declared that my wanting to go at all was entirely Mom's fault,

for enrolling me in such a hippy-dippy school in the first place.

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When I told Mom that, she got thislook in her eye, and went, "Your grandmother said that? You know

what, Mia? You can go. Now get out of the way, you're blocking Janine Turner."

It's a wonder I'm as well adjusted as I am, if you think about everything I have to put up with.

Well, whatever. After all that arguing, I'M GOING TOWEST VIRGINIA !!!!!!!!! I must summon my

last ounce of energy to tell my one true love of our impending bliss:

FTLOUIE: Michael! My mom said I can go!

LINUXRULZ: Oh, hey, that's great.

Oh, hey, that's great?That's IT? This is the full extent of Michael's appreciation for all my hard work

and whining?Oh, hey, that's great? Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet.

FTLOUIE: ToWest Virginia ! Where we will be alone AT LAST!

LINUXRULZ: Well, not really.Because everybody else in G and T is going to be there, too.

Oh, my God. This is going to be harder than I thought. Michael is obviously not thinking along the same

lines I am concerning this trip. He is probably looking forward to doing some good for the less fortunate.

Which I am too, of course.

But I am also looking forward to making out with my boyfriend under theWest Virginia stars....

Must work on planting seed of romance in him, so it can come to fruition in time for major make-out

session in our nation's thirty-fifth state!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 11, Homeroom

Lilly is so excited about theWest Virginia trip she can't talk about anything else. But she is excited for a

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different reason than I am. She is bringing her video camera, and she is going to tape the trip and show it

later on her public access cable television program,Lilly Tells It Like It Is. She says it is going to be a