Pet Semetary: Haunt of the Blaszak Family Pets

I’ve grown up with a variety of pets, ranging from hermit crabs and hamsters to simply cats and dogs. I’ve never lived a second of my life without a furry buddy, but after 17 years, I’ve experienced the deaths of a lot of these pets.  Fortunately, their deaths make me laugh, not cry. Here are a couple that I find most interesting:

Chewy the Gluttonous Hamster: Chewy was originally identified as a male. He lived with us for 2 weeks, until he turned into she and gave birth to 9 babies. Chewy loved these babies, loved her cage, and LOVED food, hence the name. She loved eating so much that she happened to eat 3 of her children. This sadly led to her demise. During a 2 week trip to France, Chewy was left to our neighbors and grew so fat that she got stuck behind her hamster wheel. Chewy could not get out from behind the hamster wheel. So Chewy starved and died behind said hamster wheel. RIP

Pete the Stinky Rabbit: Pete was and will be the chillest rabbit. He resided in my bathroom for a solid amount of time but we decided he would be best in our garage. Now don’t worry, Pete had heat to keep him warm during the cold Cleveland winters, and he could frolic in our backyard during the hot summer days. Sadly, Pete’s death was depressing, he started to seize and run into the walls while my sister was bawling, and all I wanted to do was go sledding. That winter, the ground was frozen solid, so the usual ritual of burying our dead pets had to be delayed. It was delayed 2.5 years. Pete’s dead body stayed in our freezer during this time and he awaited my sister’s return from college so he could be buried in the summer. His funeral was beautiful. I played Taps on my trumpet, and my sister made a slideshow of his life. RIP

Geronimo the Hunter: Now Geronimo is not dead, but he hunts. This cat is unable to live indoors for more than 24 hours. He constantly wants to go outside. This leads to copious amounts of animals he captures and brings into our house. Geronimo, more than once, brought a live bird into our house. And more than once, I had to try to capture it in a small shoe box. It is close to impossible to achieve. Not only does Geronimo like birds, but he loves rabbits. Let me preface that I am a lover of all animals, and seeing my cat eat a dead rabbit under my desk makes it hard to be one. I spent the whole night cleaning blood out of my carpet crying my eyes out. Geronimo, you are one of my favorite pets but all of these other animals did not deserve to die. RIP

All of these stories have happened, and I now can laugh because it’s been many years. I AM empathetic towards my pets and I DO hate the deaths of the pets I have loved but these stories have aged like fine wine making them very enjoyable to share.

Poems for a New Season by Heath Thompson

In my Freshman year L&L class, we had a poetry unit. My teacher, Ms. Doersen, made us write multiple different kinds of poems. Not to brag, but I was pretty amazing at it. But, like all great things, my great poetic saga had to come to an end. I hung up the hat and swore that I would never return. But, as we come to the beginning of this beautiful season of Fall, I’ve decided to step back into the limelight. I wrote, for your reading enjoyment, my magnum opus. So, without further ado, please enjoy:

Heath’s Awesome Autumnal Anthology

Leaves fall in autumn

They are orange and yellow

You were expecting a proper haiku, weren’t you?

*Snaps of congratulation*

Halloween is coming soon,

Fear and fun galore

It’s really hard to rhyme with soon,

My knees are kinda sore

I wanted to write a rhyming poem,

But now I don’t think it’s so cool

That’s all

*Overwhelming amounts of polite and adoring snaps*













I call it the screaming lightbulb, thank you

*Hooting hollering, and other such forms of loud affirmation*

I understand how difficult it may be to read these final lines, as your eyes are blurred by tears by the sheer beauty of my writing. But, I implore you, steel your heart and calm your emotions. For there shall be more in the future. I bid thee ado.

Dylan. By Zara Troupe

When you walk into the writing center and go to the left side of the room, you will find a bulletin board on that back wall. On that board there is a paper skeleton, and his name is Dylan. Dylan was a writing center intern all the way back in 2016 when it first opened. In fact, some of the writing center’s success came from Dylan himself. He was very friendly and welcoming and overall just great with people. Dylan loved being an intern, and he found a deep satisfaction and sense of purpose with helping his fellow students here in the writing center. In 2017, Dylan died. 


Dylan loved the writing center so much, he never wanted to leave. So he didn’t. Dylan decided that after graduation he would come back to the writing center and stay there over the summer so he could surprise Ms. Lawlor when she came in. However, the surprise was not the one he intended it to be. In case you didn’t know, the writing center is stocked with snacks and drinks. In his arrogance, Dylan thought that would be enough to last him through the summer. But he ran out within the week, and because it was summer the door was locked and he was unable to get out. He had two choices at this point. He could either jump out of the window, or he could wait for someone to come find him. He should’ve picked the window. 


When August came around, and the school was opened again. Poor, naive Dylan was found. When Ms. Lawlor came in, the room was almost the exact same as she left it. The only change? There was now a small skeleton on the bulletin board with a name tag beside it. But how did Dylan get there, and who wrote the name tag?

The Condiment Calamity by Chloe Khayat

This past Saturday, I took a much-needed break from the stress of college applications to go to the Cleveland Guardians game against the Baltimore Orioles. I accompanied my good friend Caroline and her family as we headed downtown. During the game, I kept a sure eye on the jumbotron, hoping to finally get featured. However, I quickly came to regret watching it when I witnessed one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Broadcasted on the big screen was a man holding a wooden spoon and an unnecessarily large tub of mustard. I watched as he began shoveling spoonfuls of the mustard into his mouth. I have a weird thing about condiments, so this was especially hard to watch.

Surprisingly, my appetite remained after this, so Caroline and I went to get soft pretzels. I devoured the greasy, salty stadium delicacy in a matter of minutes. However, my food risked a reappearance when the mustard man came back on the jumbotron. I watched him ask the man sitting next to him to hold a hot dog for him so that he could put mustard on the bun. He then proceeded to ignore the hotdog and just eat the mustard-drenched bun. (I spared you from seeing this image and chose a panorama I took at the game instead).

This series of events was almost enough to take my mind off the fact that the Guardians were losing the game. While we did manage to get a home run, we lost the game five to one.

Sigmund Freud Sometimes has Good Ideas by Praslin Arth

For thousands of years, humans have slept, and with that, they have dreamed. The vivid and extravagant images that occur when one dreams are thought by some to be the inspiration for things like religion, prophecy, Roman and Greek mythology, and other imaginative beings like unicorns and fairies, but the truth is we do not know much about dreams.

Sigmund Freud

The first theory about dreams came from Sigmund Freud at the dawn of the 20th century. In his book, The Interpretation of Dreams Freud created the unconscious mind theory. He believed that dreams were the fulfillment of our unconscious wishes. He expands on this theory in his later book Dream Psychology where he writes, “What is common in all these dreams is obvious. They completely satisfy wishes excited during the day, which remain unrealized. They are simply undisguisedly realizations of wishes.”Freud’s theory is still talked about to this day and similarly, other theories stem from his ideas.

Modern Theories

 Besides Freud, there are a few other more modern theories for why we dream. The first theory is threat simulation. Some scientists believe that dreaming is an ancient biological defense mechanism from evolution, where the brain rehearses new survival strategies, and our brains have adapted and changed to include social threats and social situations. Some scientists and people in general believe that dreams have no purpose and that they are simply underutilized by society. Another main theory is memory formation. Because areas like the hippocampus turn on during REM sleep, some believe dreaming has to do with memory, learning recent information, and storing it long-term. Personally, I believe that dreaming is a combination of memory formation and emotional processing. For about 2 years I have kept a note on my phone and every morning when I wake up I start to try and write down whatever dream I had the night before. Looking at this LONG list I’ve created, I’ve found that most of the time my dreams have to do with how I’m feeling and what has recently occurred in my life. and this kind of blooms into common interpretations of dreams and the idea that dreams mean something. An example might be losing your teeth in a dream, in which some believe that the dreamer is undergoing stress and emotional upset, or more literally, has dental pain and mouth irritation. 

Dream Interpretation

Dream interpretation can be a good source to utilize and can be very important for individuals to better understand themselves and their desires. There are two important steps to remember when interpreting your own dreams. The first relates to memory. After you wake up, your brain slowly leaves its sleeping state, so your dream and the details will slowly fade away. If you want to start interpreting your dreams, a good idea is to keep a notebook beside your bed or start a note on your phone, which is what I do. Every morning when you wake up, if you remember your dream start writing it down and little details will come back and then you can analyze it with much more clarity. The second important step to remembering dreams is to look at objects, symbols, and situations as to how they relate to you personally. For example, a snake is very scary for many people, and yet some find snakes interesting. So a dream about a snake seems like it could be scary, but for those fascinated by them, it very well may not. 

I have a few examples of dreams and how I interpret them, to hopefully give you a better sense of how to go about it. The first dream began with me in the movie, Don’t Worry Darling universe. I could leave this universe by sitting in a bath on top of a mountain and focusing on sound waves, but when I don’t focus enough, I find my friend who is also stuck in this fake world. I pull her into the cave on this mountain to try and get her out, but she doesn’t want to leave, so I leave for my old life to find my wife. She has a new husband and a baby, that I find out is mine, and decide I need to be in this baby’s life. My wife agrees, so I go back to the Don’t Worry Darling universe , where I create an elaborate plan to once again try to save my friend. At this point, I woke up. There are a few odd details I left out, like the fact that my wife did a math equation to preheat lasagna. But I don’t see any importance to that. The important parts of this dream have to do with the fact that it occurred one night or two after I watched Don’t Worry Darling with the friends that appeared in the dream. The other important detail is that to leave this stressful situation, the fake world, I had to focus extremely hard. This is something that I don’t do very well, which can cause me a lot of stress, especially in my schoolwork. Another important detail is that I try hard in this dream to save and protect my friends. The last important detail is that immediately I love the baby, probably relative to the fact that I feel a need to protect my little sister sometimes in the way a parent does. 

Analyzing your dreams is definitely not a science and I may be getting a little metaphorical with it, but either my dreams have taught me to take less on and focus on myself more. All and all,  be aware of how you feel and allow your brain and your dreams to tell you just what you may need.


Lying Through The Game by Nolwenn Chemali

Life is a game. My life, I can assure you, is crazy. I do so many things all the time, that main character energy radiates off me like my robotic tiger’s eyes.

Life is a game, they say, you can do anything you want and not feel guilty about it.

Take this one time, when my mom’s second cousin climbed up on a roof and did 3 front flips into a pool while juggling torches. At the same time, I threw those mini fireworks (that we all love) at him while he tried to avoid them. He did. He does everything perfectly. 100 points for execution. Every time I see him, I have him sign my Guinness World Record book. Unfortunately, he lives in the Azores, training monkeys, and killer whales, so I don’t get as many signatures as I would like.

That reminds me of this one time I jumped out of a plane and rode on an ostrich’s back. Some people may not know this, but ostriches are starting to be able to fly. I got lucky and found one ahead of the evolution quota. Honestly, it was a little bit cold, and I didn’t like it.

It doesn’t nearly compare to when I rode on a camel in the desert for a year. This experience was the opposite of cold, plus a little bit better for my fear of heights. I still remember wrapping the scarf around my head, ensuring maximum protection from the grains of sand. Boy was it windy, but this I liked. The desert adventure was an opportunity to really ground and connect with myself. I learned a lot from my year on sabbatical. It was sure worth the ride.

The more I reflect on the meaning of life, the more I realize the extent to which we shouldn’t hold back. Life is supposed to be full of awesome adventures (like the ones mentioned above). There should be absolutely no sentiment of sadness or anxiety in life. It’s a game, games are fun. These feelings prevent us from winning, even though we all experience them. The biggest thing I’ve learned from my experiences is that you just have to rock who you are. If you do what you want, coolness will manifest itself.  Sometimes, things are supposed to make sense, but other times they really don’t. Playing the game is for wimps, living the game is the right way to go.

My Boss; The Enigma by Addison Weingart

Instead of spending my summer with friends or at the beach, I worked. I picked up doubles and stayed out of trouble. Being a lifeguard, I eat, sleep, and dream of chlorine. In any other job, working non-stop is a nightmare, but at Canterbury Country Club pool, I have my Hail Mary, My Savior: My Boss.

My Boss is a work of fiction. In the garage-turned-dingy guard office, a sign posterized with his face, “The Man, the Myth, the LEGEND” is not hyperbole. The guy is 75, with thicker hair than mine and a faster freestyle time. You can always spot his car in the lot, with its massive kayak teetering over the top and the smell of On the Rise cookies wafting through the windows. So this summer, when the awful Cleveland thunderstorms made the pool nearly unswimmable and the number of visitors zero, I spent hours listening to My Boss’s crazy stories. I have a running list on my notes app, but I don’t want to copy-paste. Out of all of them, my favorite story is Catch Me If You Can.

My Boss grew up in the ’60s, the Golden Age of the University School Boys Swim Team. The team was reveling from a big win, chowing on pasta, scarfing down cookies, and chugging Coca-Cola. All around were voices talking and laughing, cracking jokes and making merry. In attendance was not only My Boss, but also senior swimmer, The Powerhouse Tim Fitzwater. With a name like that, the guy was bound for trouble. Apparently, so was My Boss.

So just as Tim turned around, My Boss, at the punch-line of an unfortunately timed joke, screamed out,” Finn *insert female body part water!”. Silence. The only movement was the twitching of thumbs and the craning of necks. Who would draw first blood? The question was answered when Fitzwater lunged for My Boss’s neck, almost tearing it to shreds. My Boss dodged quickly out of the way, and the crowd erupted in cheers. Off to the races, Fitzwater chased My Boss throughout the arena, circling him like a ferocious bird of prey. The chase continued until someone tried to be clever and throw an obstacle in My Boss’s path. As My Boss came around the patio for the 18th time, expecting to run right through, he was instead greeted by the slam of a glass door. Mission Accomplished. As the dust settled, My Boss was found on the ground, unfazed but not unhurt.

So out of the fifty lifeguards in the room, one managed to scrape him off the floor and drive down to the nearest medical center. The midnight medical student who stitched up his right ear said that if My Boss had been running any slower, he’d find himself in the morgue instead of the Emergency Room. He also noted that his jugular vein was visible throughout the entire time. Three hours and 100 stitches later, My Boss left with a crazy scar and cool story. He lived, obviously, and continues an equally crazy life.

This is one story of many, but there are loads to still be discovered about the enigma of My Boss.

The Substitute by Evelyn Rossman

The bottom drawer of my bedside table lies a book of great importance. Brimming with wisdom and preserved for over 10 years with little to no damage, it is more valuable than anything else in my possession. If my house were on fire, this would be the first thing that I would retrieve from the hungry flames. As you may have guessed, the book in question is my first-grade reading folder, circa 2013.

This humble item is yellow and made of flimsy plastic. I was given this in my first English class of the first grade, and it became my holy scripture. Within these pages lie the beginnings of a literary genius. I wrote many stories, with many being about animals, specifically one about being chased by a herd of unicorn turkeys, but none were more dear to my heart than one particular story. As a writing center intern, it is my duty to help other students improve their own writing. In order to demonstrate the skill that I have crafted since an early age, I have decided to copy down my story, with some redactions for efficiency’s sake, for your reading enjoyment. 

(Note: I am aware that I misspelled potato back then as “potatoe”. I decided to keep this in for historical accuracy)

So, without further ado:

My Potatoe Substitute: A Fiction Story

Written by Evelyn Rossman, age 7

Today started like any other day. I woke up, brushed my hair, and got dressed. I wore a red-violet shirt, a turquoise pair of pants, and orange shoes. I ate a bowl of Oatmeal Squares, a cheese stick, and vitamins. Then my mom drove me to school. But when I expected Ms. D to come out with Ms. M, Ms. M walked out by herself! But that’s not all. To make it more crazy I asked Ms. M where Ms. D was and she said we had a substitute. So, I waited and waited, then, finally, he came. But he wasn’t who I expected because he was a potatoe!

“Good morning class!” he said, and we went inside. He really wasn’t how we expected, because when he was doing attendance he would say stuff like, “Is Potatoe Rossman here?” or “Is Potatoe Simonelli here?” And so on. He also read a whole book of the “Encyclopedia of Potatoes”! I know, that sounds crazy, right?

Then, in math, all we did was add and subtract potatoes. Potatoe this, potatoe that, potatoe EVERYTHING. I was getting frustrated when finally, it was time for lunch. I was glad to get out of there because the moment the substitute said, “Lunchtime!” he pulled out his lunch and started eating with his mouth open! But here’s the crazy part, he was eating himself. Actually, let’s explain it, he was eating potatoes! A potatoe eating potatoes!

So then it was recess, and it was normal. Clara and I told Eleanor about our potatoe substitute. She asked us if we liked raw potatoes. I said yes. Then she said. “Then why don’t you eat your potatoe substitute?”

I said, “No, that would be disrespectful,” but after much thought, I said “Well, okay, but I don’t have any other ideas,”  “That’s ok, I can live with it.”

We played at recess and came back in. It was reading, and we were all very bored because our substitute only had us read books about potatoes, or listen to audiobooks about potatoes. So reading class was boring, very boring, reading was very, very, very boring. Then he said the class could have free time (I don’t know why). So I waited and waited then finally, finally it was time to pack up. It was time to go and boy, was I tired. Hopefully this day won’t happen again. 

Thank you for reading 🙂

My trip to the Bedford Reservation by Meredith Stevenson

Over this past weekend, my dad and I found ourselves overtaken by boredom – we were lying around on our phones for hours doing nothing. Our dog, Bruno, also found himself sleeping around all day, so, my dad and I recognized a need for a change of plans. We knew we had to do something, and we had to include Bruno. Earlier in the week, my dad had the idea to go on a run at the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation but he ended up getting caught up in work. He proposed the idea of driving down for the day with Bruno and going on a walk at the Reservation. Obviously, I knew Bruno would love it so I enthusiastically agreed!

The reservation was about a twenty-five-minute drive from our house. Bruno was in the back wondering where this unfamiliar trip was taking him. When we got there, I was immediately overwhelmed by the plethora of greenery surrounding me. We started out our trip by spraying lots of bug spray and sunscreen to protect our skin from bugs and the beaming rays of the sun.

The trail was about two miles long and incredibly beautiful! There were so many trees and plants that I’d never even seen before but, we had to be careful and watch out for poison ivy because Bruno likes to stick his face into everything! As the walk went on we could tell Bruno was getting very tired so we made haste to the end destination: a beautiful grouping of tiny waterfalls (pictured above). Finally, we decided it was time to wrap up our little adventure, so we headed back to the car with Bruno. I definitely recommend visiting for anyone who loves nature!



A Terribly Brief Disquisition on a Wonderfully Grand Concert – Ezra Ellenbogen

I did a lot over the summer, including going to eleven concerts! So many of them were incredible, and some, well, not so much. The first concert and one of the best I went to was Panchiko!

Panchiko, named after a misspelling of a Japanese gambling game, is a wonderful band with an inspiring story to boot. They were formed before the turn of the century by school friends, with very limited success. In 2016, someone found one of the CDs in a record shop in Nottingham, a city in the UK, and went to the internet, looking for anyone who had information about the band; no one did! The band reunited and started to re-release music after someone meticulously contacted every person named Owain (the name of the singer credited on the CD) in Nottingham. Almost 20 years after disbanding, Panchiko had reached fame none of the members could believe.

Panchiko’s first tour started in 2022, and included a stop in Cleveland on my birthday! So, of course, I had to go. It was a great experience and I got to speak with Owain (lead vocalist and guitarist) and Andy (guitarist/keyboardist), who were very humble and still surprised that so many people loved their music from two decades ago. If you’re wondering, their music is a mix of indie rock and shoegaze – sometimes termed as noise pop. 

After releasing their new album, Failed at Math(s), Panchiko went back on tour in 2023, coming to Cleveland once again. This time, they toured with the shoegaze legends LSD and the Search for God (which I’ll call LSD) as well as the up-and-coming act Horse Jumper of Love (HJOL). The concert ended up starting an hour late because of complications with an under-21 fee at the door. I missed the first song LSD played, but the rest of the set was great – they played an unreleased song at the end simply titled “New Song.” It was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see them play live since they usually never leave the West Coast. HJOL isn’t my favorite, though I know some people who loveeeeee them, so no hate to them. Finally, Panchiko came out and played some old songs and some new ones, with lots of fun effects from pedals and a voice distortion microphone. I wasn’t able to stay too long after to talk to the band, though I caught Andy. Overall, it was a pretty great experience, and if Panchiko comes back to Cleveland (again), I’ll be buying tickets!